Daily Archives: May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

img_0217


May 3, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had what the White House called a “very good” call during which they agreed to step up efforts to cooperate on resolving the Syria conflict and the fight against terrorism.

President Donald Trump hosts Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas at the White House as he weighs how to approach a Middle East conflict that has eluded resolution for seven decades.

Manufacturers used to shut plants for a week or two in July for maintenance and to keep inventories in check. This summer, widespread closures may be back, and for weeks longer than before. The reason: four straight months of declining sales and little expectation the trend will reverse anytime soon.

Saudi Arabia will spend at least half the money it raises by selling shares in the state oil company on domestic investments, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a rare televised address to a nation that’s shown signs of uncertainty over his austerity plans.

India’s government summoned Pakistan’s envoy to New Delhi to convey its outrage over the killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers in Kashmir it blames on Pakistan army personnel.

The Pentagon will attempt a new test by the end of this month of whether it can intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile like the ones North Korea is seeking to develop, according to the deputy director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. plans to move hundreds of London-based bankers to expanded offices in Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg to preserve easy access to the European Union’s single market after Brexit, the firm’s head of investment banking said.

The Treasury asked members of TBAC to comment on demand and structure of 50- and 100-year bonds, according to documents released by the department in Washington. The committee said it doesn’t see evidence of “notably strong or sustainable demand” for ultra-long bonds, adding however that issuing more longer-term debt could make sense if Treasury wanted to raise its borrowing capacity.

One of the most coveted cars in the world lost its driver this week when Atlanta millionaire Preston Henn, a flea-market magnate and racing aficionado, died at age 86. Make no mistake, the 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale could well be the Ferrari, the most rare and storied specimen from a brand built on scarcity and lore. It may also be the world’s first car to break the $100 million mark, provided it finds its way to the auction block.

AP Top Stories

Mexican security forces on Tuesday arrested accused drug kingpin Damaso Lopez, believed to be locked in a bloody struggle for control of the Sinaloa Cartel against the sons of its captured leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The leader of al-Qaeda’s forces in Yemen has said his fighters have worked with government-allied factions in the civil war towards their common goal of ousting Houthi rebels.

University of Texas police are defending how they used the campus warning system during a deadly stabbing rampage. Students complained on social media Monday that it took up to 30 minutes get a text notice from campus police. Campus police Chief said the suspect was apprehended within two minutes of the first call to police and the situation was immediately under control. Carter says the campus siren system wasn’t used because that would indicate the need for a lockdown.

Major automakers on Tuesday posted declines in U.S. new vehicle sales for April in a sign the long boom cycle that lifted the American auto industry to record sales last year is losing steam, sending carmaker stocks down.

A jihadist assault led by suicide bombers killed dozens at a camp for the displaced near Syria’s border with Iraq, as pressure grows on the Islamic State group in both countries. The violence left at least 46 people dead and came as another surprise IS attack on Tuesday killed 10 soldiers in Iraq, to the south along the border.

Israel showed off its new F-35 stealth fighter jets recently delivered from the United States on Tuesday as part of an air show marking its annual Independence Day celebrations.

The Trump administration on Monday relaxed some rules aimed at making U.S. school lunches healthier, a move viewed by health advocates as a direct hit on former first lady Michelle Obama’s signature issue.

The head of Libya’s UN-backed unity government on Tuesday held a rare meeting with a military strongman who supports a rival authority in the violence-wracked country, official media said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a rare visit to Russia, said that Berlin and Moscow had to keep talking despite their disagreements, but those same differences overshadowed her talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

There was a time when Apple investors were loath to call it a “dividend stock.” Now it’s the biggest dividend stock there is. Apple announced after the bell Tuesday a 10.5 percent increase in its dividend to $13.22 billion annually, surpassing Exxon Mobil’s $12.77 billion payout and making it the biggest-paying dividend stock in the world.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday approved a request to trade quadruple-leveraged exchange-traded funds, marking a first for the growing market for such products in the United States.

BBC

A suicide attack on a convoy belonging to the NATO mission in Afghanistan has killed at least eight people in Kabul, officials said.

US President Donald Trump is to hold talks with the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, at the White House.

WND

A document dump of nearly 1,000 pages revealing still more classified information in emails sent by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton through an unsecured email system is prompting a call for a new criminal investigation.


The Briefing 05-03-17

Trump expected to sign executive order on Thursday protecting religious liberty, our first freedom

United Methodists to hold council on LGBT questions in 2019 after high court rejects openly gay bishop

Church of Scotland report considering same-sex marriage sets Jesus and Scripture at odds

The post The Briefing 05-03-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 5/3/201

Antarctic Peninsula ice more stable than previously thought
The earlier study reported that the region was losing three times this amount of ice, based on measurements of glacier thinning and mass loss determined from other satellite measurements. The Leeds study casts doubt on that interpretation, because the degree of glacier speedup is far too small. Study co-author Professor Andrew Shepherd, from Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment, explained: “Although Western Palmer Land holds a lot of ice – enough to raise global sea levels by 20 centimetres – its glaciers can’t be dramatically out of balance, because their speed hasn’t changed much over the past 25 years.

Did Bannon reveal plan to move US Embassy to Jerusalem?
Though President Trump’s intentions vis-à-vis the embassy move have remained a mystery, an innocuous photograph taken by Rabbi Shmuel “Shmuley” Boteach during a visit with White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon may have let the cat out of the bag.

US military trying to hack HUMAN BRAIN to create ‘full potential’ super soldiers
“DARPA’s goal with TNT is to further enhance the most effective existing training methods so the men and women of our Armed Forces can operate at their full potential.” The respective agencies involved will send electrical pulses to the nervous system of animal and human trialists to see how different nerves effect learning processes.

FBI rogue employee marries ISIS terrorist she investigated
A CNN report revealed the alarming case of former FBI translator Daniela Greene who married an ISIS operative she was assigned to investigate, catching the FBI off guard in a shocking incident.

PM orders Israel to cut payments to UN over UNESCO’s ‘demented’ Jerusalem vote
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday directed the Foreign Ministry to deduct another $1 million from the funds Israel annually pays to the UN in response to UNESCO’s “demented” vote to disavow Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. “There is a price for harassment,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “I directed the director-general of the Foreign Ministry to deduct a further million dollars from the money Israel transfers to the UN.”

NSA collected over 151mn phone records in 2016 despite surveillance law changes
The NSA collected over 151 million phone records from Americans last year, while having warrants for only 42 terrorist suspects, an annual report shows. In 2015, the agency’s snooping powers were cut following Edward Snowden’s revelations. The new transparency report revealing the agency’s haul was released Tuesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Reported increase in activity at “Kick-Em-Jenny submarine volcano
A reported increase in activities at “Kick-Em-Jenny”….the region’s only submarine volcano located between Grenada and the Grenadine island of Carriacou. As a result, the alert level is now on “yellow” and sea users and ships have been warned to stay away from vicinity of the submarine volcano.

US Air Force launches another long-range missile into Pacific
The Minuteman III missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California by a team in Montana shortly after 3 a.m. ET, the Air Force said in a statement. Officials said the launch was planned years in advance and was not related to rising tensions with North Korea.

Iran Using U.S. Cash to Fund Unprecedented, Massive Military Buildup
Iran is using the billions in cash resources provided under the landmark nuclear deal to engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an “offensive” juggernaut, according to a largely unreported announcement by Iranian military leaders that has sparked concern among U.S. national security insiders and sources on Capitol Hill.

New Huma Abedin Emails Reveal 29 Previously Undisclosed Clinton Emails With Classified Information
Judicial Watch released State Department documents on Tuesday revealing 29 email correspondences between Hillary Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin containing classified information. As a result of the FOIA request, 29 previously undisclosed email exchanges including classified information were released, part of a total of 317 emails that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to turn over to the State Department.

Trump to seek Abbas commitment to peace
“The president will seek President Abbas’ commitment to work with us as we try to move peace efforts forward,” the official, who was not named, said. Abbas arrived Tuesday in Washington and will remain for three days. During their meeting Wednesday, Trump and Abbas are expected to make statements to the media,

Israel summons Swedish envoy to protest UNESCO vote on Jerusalem
Israel summoned Swedish Ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser to the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday to protest Sweden’s vote on Tuesday in favor of the UNESCO resolution disavowing Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem. Sweden was the only EU country to vote for the resolution, which passed by a vote of 22-10, with another 26 states either abstaining (23) or not showing up to vote (3).

‘Valuable progress’ already made toward Mideast peace, Pence says
The Trump administration has already reconstituted the Middle East peace process by fostering “goodwill” amongst Israelis and Palestinians, US Vice President Mike Pence said at an Israeli Independence Day reception held at the White House on Tuesday. Reiterating the president’s “personal commitment to resolving the Israeli and Palestinian conflict,” Pence said the new administration had found a way to pursue peace whilst simultaneously devoting itself to securing the Jewish state.

Kabul bomb attack targeting Nato convoy kills eight
A suicide attack on a convoy belonging to the Nato mission in Afghanistan has killed at least eight people in Kabul, officials say. The victims were all civilians, a government spokesman said. About 25 other people were injured, including three US service members. The attack on the group of military vehicles happened next to the US embassy during the morning rush hour.

Brexit: UK and EU at odds over size of ‘divorce bill’
The UK won’t pay a 100bn-euro (£84bn) “divorce bill” to leave the EU, Brexit Secretary David Davis has said, as the two sides clashed over the issue. He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain the UK would pay what was legally due, in line with its rights and obligations, but “not just what the EU wants”. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there was no desire to punish the UK but “its accounts must be settled”.

Venezuela crisis: Opposition condemns Maduro move
Opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have set up roadblocks and staged demonstrations demanding elections as the country’s political and economic crisis deepens. They responded with defiance to his call for a new constitution to end unrest that has killed 28 people. Mr Maduro said his move was necessary to fend off a foreign-backed plot against him.

Trump and Putin: Syria ceasefire heads leaders’ agenda
US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to press for a ceasefire to halt the war in Syria. The two spoke by telephone for the first time since the US launched air strikes against Syria nearly a month ago, straining relations. White House and Kremlin statements suggested a productive conversation.

NSA collected Americans’ phone records despite law change: report
The U.S. National Security Agency collected more than 151 million records of Americans’ phone calls last year, even after Congress limited its ability to collect bulk phone records…The report from the office of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats…found that the NSA collected the 151 million records even though it had warrants from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court to spy on only 42 terrorism suspects in 2016…

Praise Allah! Islam goes evangelical in Nigeria’s south
Sunday morning is usually the preserve of Christian pastors in the Nigerian megacity of Lagos but a new form of worship is emerging to challenge the monopoly. “Praise Allah!” shouts the imam of the Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) before thousands of his faithful, gathered under tents on the outskirts of the city. Pacing up and down through the crowd, he punctuates his message with vigorous “Allahs” in the trademark bombastic style of Nigeria’s evangelical preachers.

As U.S. and China find common ground on North Korea, is Russia the wild card?
When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent Lunar New Year greetings this year, the first card went to Russian President Vladimir Putin, ahead of leaders from China and other allies of the isolated country, according to its official news agency. Some academics who study North Korea argue Kim could be looking for Russia to ease any pain if China, which accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea’s trade, steps up sanctions against the isolated country as part of moves to deter its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump, Putin discuss Syria ceasefire in first talks since U.S. air strikes
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday moved to ease the tension from U.S. air strikes in April against Russian ally Syria, expressing a desire for a Syrian ceasefire and safe zones for the civil war’s refugees. The two leaders spoke by phone for the first time since U.S. relations with Russian were strained by the U.S. attack on a Syrian airfield.

North Korea says U.S. bomber flights push peninsula to brink of nuclear war
North Korea accused the United States on Tuesday of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war after a pair of strategic U.S. bombers flew training drills with the South Korean and Japanese air forces in another show of strength.

Feds Send In Reinforcements After Baltimore Mayor Pleads For Help: “Murder Is Out Of Control”
“We’re grateful to the federal intervention in the city of Baltimore.  We are looking for all the help we can get. Murder is out of control.”

China Issues Unprecedented Warning To Citizens In North Korea: Return Home
“The embassy has never given such a warning. I was worried and left the country in a hurry…”

Vaccine industry goes “nuclear” in push for new law that would deny you YOUR JOB if you aren’t vaccinated
North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, a Republican, has introduced new legislation that, taken to its logical end, might eventually provision for employers to force their employees to be vaccinated under the guise of “wellness.”

DOJ: One in Four Federal Inmates Is Foreign-Born
Nearly a quarter of the inmates in federal prisons were born outside the United States, and more than half of those have final deportation orders, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Big Brother Is Still Watching You: Don’t Fall for the NSA’s Latest Ploy
Supposedly the National Security Administration is going to stop collecting certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target.


Study Shows Only 10% of Americans Have a Biblical Worldview

Avery Foley of Answers in Genesis has the report:

Despite the growing number of religiously unaffiliated people, over 70% of Americans still claim to be Christians. Yet only 46% of US adults would say they have a biblical worldview. But do almost half of Americans really possess a biblical framework through which they view the world?

Survey: Do You Think and Act Biblically?

The American Culture and Faith Institute (ACFI) recently conducted nationwide surveys of over 6,000 people to determine how many Americans have a biblical worldview—that is, how many Americans use the Bible as their filter for reality, to determine right from wrong, and to shape their beliefs, attitudes, and actions. Research shows that nearly half of Americans believe they have a biblical worldview, but, not surprisingly, this in-depth ACFI study showed that a substantially smaller number than 46% actually hold to basic biblical beliefs and practice what God’s Word teaches.

View article →


Debt Insanity: Does Anyone In Washington Even Care That We Are 20 Trillion Dollars In Debt?

There has been a tremendous amount of talk about the spending deal that was just reached in Congress. Most of the focus has been on who “won” and who “lost” politically, and if you have been keeping up with my articles you definitely know my opinion on the matter. But what nobody is really talking about is that this deal actually increases spending at a time when our debt has been absolutely exploding. We added more than a trillion dollars a year to the U.S. national debt during Obama’s eight years in the White House, and our debt binge actually accelerated toward the end of his second term. In fact, the national debt increased by more than 1.4 trillion dollars during fiscal 2016(Read More…)


U.S. Auto Sales Plunge Dramatically As The Consumer Debt Bubble Continues To Collapse

One sector of the economy that is acting as if we were already in the middle of a horrible recession is the auto industry.  We just got sales figures for the month of April, and every single major U.S. auto manufacturer missed their sales projections.  And compared to one year ago, sales were way down across the entire industry.  When you add this latest news to all of the other signals that the U.S. economy is slowly down substantially, a very disturbing picture begins to emerge.  Either the U.S. economy is steamrolling toward a major slowdown, or this is one heck of a head fake. (Read More…)


Limbaugh Presses Pence: Sick of This ‘We’ll Get ‘Em Next Time’

Newsmax reports:

Photo credit: Twitter

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh drilled down on Vice President Mike Pence over budget bill concessions to Democrats on funding for a border wall, sanctuary cities, and Planned Parenthood.

When Pence called into Limbaugh’s daily show Tuesday to defend the $1 trillion budget deal, Limbaugh scolded the vice president, saying: “You guys were sent there to drain the swamp.”

“If I’m the Democrats, $21 billion, $15 billion for defense that was not originally authorized — that’s a small price to pay for continuing to fund refugee resettlement, continuing to fund Planned Parenthood, continuing to fund sanctuary cities, continuing to fund the [Environmental Protection Agency], and not build the wall,” Limbaugh said.

He railed President Donald Trump’s agenda is virtually ignored in the funding deal.

View article →


Truth Matters

By Jill Martin Rische

What’s behind Hank Hanegraaff’s conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy and why is this different than Evangelical Protestant theology?

View Short Video


Technology’s Dark Side: Isolation and Depression

Thanks to technology Americans are more isolated than they have ever been before, and as you will see below, this is really starting to cause a major national crisis. Humans were designed to be social creatures, and researchers have found that a lack of interaction with others can cause major mental, emotional and social problems.

Not only that, it can also lead to premature death. We actually have a need to love others and to be loved by them, and if those needs are not met the consequences can be quite dramatic.

View Article


Mid-Day Snapshot

May 3, 2017

Hillary Rides the Blame Train

Clinton continues to blame everyone but herself for losing the election. Comey, the Russians, misogyny — you name it.

The Foundation

“It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)



ZeroHedge Frontrunning: May 3

  • Fed Rate Rise Unlikely, but Possible June Move in Focus (Read More)
  • GOP Health-Bill Woes Signal Centrists’ Rise (Read More)
  • As U.S. and China find common ground on North Korea, is Russia the wild card? (Read More)
  • North Korea says American was detained for ‘attempted subversion’ (Read More)
  • SEC Probes Solar Companies Over Customer Cancellations (Read More)
  • Slumping Car Sales Are Latest Data to Rattle Bets on Growth (Read More)
  • Putin Meets Erdogan as Russia Pursues Syria Diplomacy Blitz (Read More)
  • Macron and Le Pen to square off in French pre-election TV showdown (Read More)
  • Trump aide lays out ‘disruptive’ approach on eve of Mideast talks (Read More)
  • JPMorgan to Move Hundreds of Staff to Three EU Offices on Brexit (Read More)
  • On Serbian airwaves, a battle for heart of Balkans (Read More)
  • China to Start Security Checks on Technology Companies in June (Read More)
  • One Sign That the Retail Industry Isn’t Dead Yet (Read More)
  • China’s Silk Road push in Thailand may founder on Mekong River row (Read More)
  • U.S. senators seek Venezuela sanctions (Read More)
  • China to step up crackdown on illegal forex deals in 2017 (Read More)
  • Buffett to face big crowd as Berkshire grows bigger (Read More)
  • NSA collected Americans’ phone records despite law change: report (Read More)
  • Strong demand at Taco Bell drives Yum Brands’ profit beat (Reuters)
  • Uber in U.S. court reckoning on possible shutdown of self-driving program (Read More)

Top Headlines – 5/3/2017

Israeli President urges world to recognize Jerusalem, move embassies

Pence: Trump giving ‘serious consideration’ to embassy move

Despite Trump’s will, Palestinians doubt two-state solution possible with Netanyahu

At White House, Abbas to ask Trump to back Arab peace plan

Meeting with Trump comes at time of crisis for Palestine leader

G.O.P. Pressures Trump to Take Tough Stance With Mahmoud Abbas

Minister calls for annexation of Jerusalem-area towns

UN ignores unanimous Senate to pass anti-Israel measure

US official raps ‘biased’ UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem

Palestinians applaud UNESCO vote denying Israeli claims to Jerusalem

Israel to UNESCO: Reject fake history on Jerusalem

Israeli minister calls to shut UNESCO’s Jerusalem office after contentious vote

Jewish Human Rights Group Warns of Potential UNESCO ‘Catastrophe’ as Saudi Arabia, Iran Join Qatar as Frontrunners for Leading Posts

Israel combats Palestinian hunger strike by blocking cell phone reception

Netanyahu wants to stop PA funding for terrorists, but how is another matter

Senators to Trump: Demand Abbas stop paying terrorists

UK can no longer rely on US leadership over Middle East

Hezbollah slams Hamas for accepting Palestinian state in ’67 lines

In public debut, F-35 jets streak over Israel for Independence Day

The enemy within: How ISIS is trying to impose religious law in Egypt’s North Sinai

Trump and Putin: Syria ceasefire heads leaders’ agenda

Putin, Merkel struggle to move past differences in tense meeting

NATO weighs new counterterrorism post following Trump’s demands

Swiss govt says threat of extremist attacks ‘remains at heightened level’

Intel on ‘imminent threat’ drove airline electronics ban, top lawmaker says

Dialogue With Iran Is Impossible, Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Says

Saudi prince says Iran wants to take over Islamic world

Indian anger over soldiers’ bodies ‘mutilated by Pakistan’

Trump, Putin discuss Syria, North Korea, Middle East in phone call: White House

In call with Trump, Putin urges ‘restraint’ on North Korea

U.S., China talk firmer U.N. response to North Korea’s missiles: diplomats

Hawaii preparation for North Korea nuke attack far from complete

US: North Korea’s nukes may be a tactic for taking over South

Japan’s ‘peace constitution’ under pressure at 70

DOJ: One in Four Federal Inmates Is Foreign-Born – cost of incarcerating non-citizens in federal prisons exceeds $1.2 billion

Pro-Trump PAC rescinds endorsement, says White House failed on immigration

Hillary Clinton: FBI chief, Putin cost me election

Putin: US election meddling accusations are ‘simply rumors’

Ex-US attorney-general to testify about warning Trump on Flynn’s ties to Russia

CNN defends rejecting ‘false’ Trump campaign ad

Budget fight: White House blasts Dem victory dance on spending bill

Activists Slam Pro-Life Majority Congress Over Spending Deal Funding Planned Parenthood

Trump defends $1 trillion budget bill in face of conservative fury

Ryan defends spending deal as pro-GOP ‘game-changer’

Donald Trump tweets: A government shutdown is needed to ‘fix this mess’

US warns on sanctions over Venezuela’s move on constitution

Venezuela death toll hits 29, protesters battle security forces

London Tabloids, Champions of ‘Brexit,’ Loom Large

Apple is now worth more than $775 billion – another record for the world’s biggest stock

Facebook ’10 concerts’ meme and other trends could let people steal users’ lives, experts warn

NSA, Reined In, Still Collected 151 Million Phone Records in ’16

Warning from Stephen Hawking – we must leave Earth

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Ascension Island region

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits South of Tonga

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Torbat-e Jam, Iran

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

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Blizzard: ‘We Lost the Western Kansas Wheat Crop This Weekend’

Torrential rain to exacerbate flooding following record crests along central US rivers

Lightning strike kills 32 cows near Cabool

Firestorm brewing as scientists work to create synthetic human DNA

CRISPR Eliminates HIV in Live Animals

Supreme Court Again Rejects Appeal to Strike Down California’s Gay Therapy Ban

Kansas archdiocese severs ties with Girl Scouts and urges end to cookie sales over promotion of liberal values

Matt Walsh – Dear Christians, there’s nothing ‘compassionate’ about helping people get to Hell

Mark Driscoll’s former elders deny his account of how Mars Hill folded

False Teacher of the Day #4: Lance Wallnau

Steve Shultz promotes the New Breed/Manifest Sons of God heresy

Mass brawl breaks out at Georgia church during vote over controversial pastor

Detroit World Outreach Pastor’s Widow Arrested During Worship in Fight Over Megachurch

Egyptian Christians living in fear for the future

Man spends $25,000 on surgery to become ‘real-life elf’…

Posted: 03 May 2017 07:25 AM PDT

A fantasy fanatic has spent more than £25,000 on plastic surgery as he wants to become a real-life elf.  Luis Padron, 25, from Buenos Ares,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Church of England Accused of Being ‘Homophobic’ and Too Weak on Biblical Marriage

Posted: 03 May 2017 07:10 AM PDT

The Church of England has been branded as both “institutionally homophobic” by a gay vicar for its biblical stance against same-sex marriage, and too liberal…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Navy Chaplain Punished Over Biblical Advice on Homosexuality Felt ‘Betrayed’ by America

Posted: 03 May 2017 07:05 AM PDT

The Navy chaplain who faced potential discharge after he voiced his biblical beliefs on sexuality during a counseling session says that he felt as if…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

650 Aftershocks Continue to reel Valparaiso, Chile since Magnitude 6.9 earthquake on April 25th

Posted: 03 May 2017 06:57 AM PDT

A little more than 650 aftershocks have been recorded off Valparaiso since a Magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit the region 10 days ago. This intensification in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Historic Flooding Closes Hundreds of Roads in 3 States; St. Louis Cut Off From Southeast Missouri

Posted: 03 May 2017 06:51 AM PDT

Flooding has forced Missouri transportation officials to close Interstate 55, along with other major routes Wednesday, effectively cutting off St. Louis from any roads to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pence Assures That Trump is Giving ‘Serious Consideration’ to Israel Embassy Move

Posted: 03 May 2017 06:24 AM PDT

In light of Israel Independence Day, the Trump Administration is reinforcing its support for Israel.  On Tuesday Vice President Mike Pence hosted a group of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UN Declares Israel an “occupying power” in Jerusalem on Israel’s 69th Anniversary

Posted: 03 May 2017 06:04 AM PDT

On the same day Israel celebrated its 69th birthday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO, passed a resolution declaring…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Hamas Calls for Israel’s Annihilation as Abbas Meets Trump

Posted: 03 May 2017 06:00 AM PDT

Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip, has released a policy statement that demands Jerusalem for a Palestinian capital and alludes to the total…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump Ready to Sign Religious Freedom Order on National Day of Prayer

Posted: 03 May 2017 05:50 AM PDT

President Trump reportedly will sign a controversial religious liberty executive order Thursday, just before he and conservative leaders celebrate the National Day of Prayer. Citing…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US tests second intercontinental ballistic missile from California

Posted: 03 May 2017 05:43 AM PDT

The US Air Force test-launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile from California early Wednesday, the military said. Air Force Global Strike Command spokesman Joe Thomas…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: China urges citizens in N. Korea to return home out of concern of war

Posted: 03 May 2017 05:34 AM PDT

The Chinese Embassy in North Korea has advised Korean-Chinese residents to return home amid concern that the North’s military provocations may trigger a U.S. attack…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Commandos Set to Counter North Korean Nuclear Sites

Posted: 03 May 2017 05:27 AM PDT

U.S. special operations forces are set to conduct operations against North Korean nuclear, missile, and other weapons of mass destruction sites in any future conflict,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea vows to put US military bases in Japan “under radioactive clouds”, threatens another Hiroshima

Posted: 03 May 2017 04:19 AM PDT

North Korea has vowed to put US military bases in Japan “under radioactive clouds” if war breaks out. Kim Jong-un ‘s regime issued the chilling…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea may use nukes to influence US to abandon South

Posted: 03 May 2017 04:13 AM PDT

North Korea’s nuclear weapons development could be used as “blackmail” to influence the U.S. to abandon its ally in South Korea in order to make…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. Auto Sales Plunge Dramatically As The Consumer Debt Bubble Continues To Collapse

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:21 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) One sector of the economy that is acting as if we were already in the middle of a horrible recession is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Porn Star Broke Down and Begged God to Show Her That He’s Real. What Happened Next Totally Changed Her.

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:17 PM PDT

Ex-porn star Crissy Outlaw has been speaking out for the past decade about what drew her into adult filmmaking — and why she eventually abandoned her lucrative career….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Are Severe Natural Disasters Evidence of the ‘Biblical End Times’?

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:13 PM PDT

As the third and final season of HBO’s “The Leftovers” airs — and as the U.S. faces intense challenges involving Russia, Iran, North Korea and other contentious…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: US B-1 Bombers Spotted Over Korean Peninsula

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:07 PM PDT

US Air Force B-1 bombers have conducted four presence missions in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region since April 1 and flown near the Korean Peninsula twice in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

How to Discern False Fruit

Posted: 02 May 2017 03:35 PM PDT

(By Anna Aquino) The Bible is very clear that in the last days, false prophets and others who are bearing bad fruit will increase, and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Stephen Hawking Warns Humanity Must leave Earth!

Posted: 02 May 2017 03:31 PM PDT

Humans will need to colonize another planet within one hundred years to ensure our survival, according to Professor Stephen Hawking. The astrophysicist has made a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Muslim Man Receives Vision of a ‘Man in White’ and Heals Him in the Dream

Posted: 02 May 2017 03:16 PM PDT

Nabil* and his family were refugees and had recently settled in a small apartment that happened to be near a Christian named Greg. Nabil found…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: Israeli strikes raise stakes in face-off with Hezbollah

Posted: 02 May 2017 03:11 PM PDT

Two Israeli air strikes against Hezbollah targets in Syria in recent weeks seem to mark a more openly assertive stance toward the group after years…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

HIV Eliminated From Live Animals in ‘Humanized Model’…

Posted: 02 May 2017 03:06 PM PDT

Due to their innate nature to hide away and remain latent for extended periods of time, HIV infections have proven notoriously difficult to eliminate. Yet…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. Appeals Court Rules Same-Sex Couple Can Seek Damages From Kentucky Clerk

Posted: 02 May 2017 01:59 PM PDT

A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a damages lawsuit against Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who in 2015 refused to grant marriage licenses…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sheryl Crow Resorts To ‘Deep Meditation’ to Stave Off Fear of “Trump Apocalypse”

Posted: 02 May 2017 01:54 PM PDT

Musician Sheryl Crow says she turned to meditation to confront fears of Donald Trump’s “apocalyptic” presidency. In an interview with Rolling Stone published Monday, the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

California May Place ‘Third Gender’ Option on State Documents

Posted: 02 May 2017 01:50 PM PDT

A bill under consideration in California would place a third gender option on state documents — which, if it passes would make California the first…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Hawaii Unprepared For North Korea Attack

Posted: 02 May 2017 01:26 PM PDT

Kailua, a beach community on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, has everything that residents and visitors could want from a tropical paradise: exquisite beaches, crystal…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US deploys Global Hawk high-altitude drone to Japanese air base ‘to monitor N. Korea’

Posted: 02 May 2017 01:11 PM PDT

The US has sent a high-altitude surveillance RQ-4 Global Hawk drone to Japan, marking the beginning of a five-month deployment. It is expected to monitor…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Harvard Homosexual and Transgender Group Claims ‘Gender Is Fluid and Changing’

Posted: 02 May 2017 01:02 PM PDT

A pamphlet being distributed by Harvard University’s office of BGLTQ Student Life claims that “there are more than two sexes” and that “gender is fluid…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Special Thank You to many of our Supporters

Posted: 02 May 2017 12:55 PM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, I take the time to personally thank many of our supporters over the many months and years that continue…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Should Disney Be Boycotted In Our Homes?

Posted: 02 May 2017 12:48 PM PDT

Alerting all parents! Disney Channel is gradually becoming another Freeform Network. Adult content is included in the new upcoming Disney Channel show “Andi Mack,” which…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Top Immigration Group Pulls Trump Endorsement Due to ‘Betrayal’ on Promises…

Posted: 02 May 2017 12:23 PM PDT

Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans are set to pass legislation this week that forbids President Trump from using federal funds from the May 2017…

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).


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

AWANA Now Teaching Children to Hear the Voice of God

Lighthouse Trails has this lead in followed by a letter from someone who is concerned about the direction AWANA has taken, i.e. getting youngsters involved in unbiblical Spiritual Formation:

Today, the church is “reaping the fruit” of nearly 40 years of Spiritual Formation influence (since Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline was released in 1978). Lighthouse Trails has warned its readers on a number of occasions about the direction AWANA children’s club is going with regard to contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation) (see links below). In the following letter to the editor, you can see that AWANA is now teaching children to “listen to God” (the goal in contemplative prayer).

We thought AWANA clubs was to teach children the Word of God through memorization. Since when did they take it upon themselves to teach children to listen to God voice?  If you have children or grandchildren who participate in AWANA, we strongly urge you to examine all AWANA literature and teaching tools carefully as well as discuss your concerns with your children’s AWANA leaders and make sure they understand the dangers of contemplative spirituality.

The big emphasis in today’s church is, “Hear God’s Voice!” It’s all about feel-good and mystical experiences.  What a tragedy the focus isn’t on “Know God’s Word.”

Jesus said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).

View article →

Check out CRN’s Research Paper on Spiritual Formation

Source: AWANA Now Teaching Children to Hear the Voice of God

21 Bible Verses About Joy

Happiness is fickle, and requires happy circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, sticks around. It doesn’t get chased off by trouble.

The author of Lamentations describes how happiness disappears when turmoil enters the scene:

My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is. (Lamentations 3:17)

But the Holy Spirit supernaturally gives us great and lasting joy, even when we face affliction:

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. (2 Corinthians 8:1-2)

21 Bible Verses About Joy

In the English Standard Version of the Bible, the words “joy,” “rejoice,” or “joyful” appear a total of 430 times, compared with “happy” or “happiness,” which appear only ten times. Joy is lasting, and it satisfies the heart in a unique and marvelous way.

Joy is characteristic of God’s people, found in his presence. As Pastor Colin says, “Christian joy flows from realizing our position in Christ: who you are in him, and what he has done for you.”

Here are 21 Bible verses about joy to encourage you when circumstances look bigger than Christ:

Lasting Joy

Sorrow and suffering will pass, but joy continues in spite of hardship. Eternal joy is promised to come and, when it does, it lasts.

1. Psalm 30:5

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

2. John 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

3. John 16:22

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Satisfying Joy

Unlike happiness, joy is true satisfaction. Several times, God’s Word describes joy as “full” or “complete.” Joy satisfies the heart in a way that temporary happiness never can.

4. Psalm 4:7

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

5. John 15:11

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

6. Philippians 2:1-2

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

7. 1 Peter 1:8-9

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Ever-Present Joy

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, fullness of joy is found in the presence of the Lord.

8. 1 Chronicles 16:27

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place.

9. Psalm 5:11

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.

10. Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

11. Roman 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Spirit-Filled Joy

No power of positive thinking can bring lasting joy. Instead, joy is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in us, and characterizes the people of God.

12. Esther 8:6

The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor.

13. 1 Kings 8:66

On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people.

14. Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Sacrificial Joy

Building our own kingdoms and following our agendas may offer temporary joy, but not lasting joy. Building God’s kingdom offers a special joy that can’t be replicated.

15. Luke 10:17

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”

16. Luke 15:6-7

And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

17. Acts 15:3

So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.

Deliberate Joy

We are commanded to be glad, rejoice, and shout for joy. Joy is a deliberate act of obedience in response to who Christ is and what he has done.

18. Psalm 32:11

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

19. Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

20. Romans 12:12

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

21. Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

In happy or sad times, in comfort or difficulty, we find joy in the presence of the Lord. Focusing on Christ—who he is, what he’s done to save us, and his promise to keep us—brings a supernatural joy that can’t compare with temporary happiness.

Download and print the infographic “Nine Bible Verses on Joy”:

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Email*
  • Subscribe to Receive Our Emails
    • Yes, I would like to receive your Monthly Newsletter email once per month.
    • Yes, I would like to receive LifeKEYS Weekly emails each Monday.

The post 21 Bible Verses About Joy appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Why You Still Need the Church—Even If You Have Been Hurt by It

As a pastor, I’ve had countless conversations with people hurt by religious authority. One would hope that words like coercive, corrupt, and manipulative would never be used to describe church leadership, but sadly that’s not the case. If you’re one of the wounded and you have turned your back on Christianity due to the experience, I want to plead with you to reconsider your response for three reasons:

1. Jesus is still with the church.

A few years ago, I got into a conversation with a man whom I met at a café. When I told him I was a pastor, he was eager to enumerate all of the problems he had seen in churches. They don’t care for the poor like they should; so many pastors only talk about money; churches are filled with hypocrites; and so forth. After a few more critical comments, he ended, “None of the churches today look to me like Jesus did in the Bible. That’s why I don’t go to church.” I smiled and told him I agreed with much of his assessment. I suspect he thought I too might leave the church after having heard his grievances! Instead, I replied, “You see all the church’s problems, and you use that as a justification to leave her. Do you know what’s so beautiful about Jesus? (I got a blank stare at this point!) Jesus sees how messed up the church is, and he still has not abandoned her!”

Jesus promised he would build his church (Matt. 16:18) and see the project through (Matt. 28:20). Individual Christian churches can become corrupt and fall away (Rev. 2:5), but Jesus will one day present the whole church to himself as a pure, beautifully adorned bride (Eph. 5:27). If the leadership of a particular church has abused you, please don’t let that keep you from experiencing the beauty of true Christian community.

When Christians gather to hear Christ’s Word and worship the way he intended them to, he is present among them. Yes, we’re imperfect, but imagine how much Jesus must love his people to continue to meet with them despite their blemishes. It’s that same love that Jesus offers you, wounds and all. If Jesus, who knows the church far better than you ever could, has not turned his back on her, then neither should you.

2. Jesus understands your struggle like no one else.

Did you know that no one can relate to your horrible experience like Jesus can? When Jesus was on earth, religious authorities constantly mistreated him. They mocked his mother, suggesting that she slept around (John 8:41); accused him of performing his miracles by the power of Satan (Matt. 12:24); ridiculed the company he kept (Matt. 11:19); lied about him (Mark 14:57–58); and condemned him (Mark 14:64). When Jesus was at his most vulnerable point, shamefully crucified, the religious leaders continued mocking him. “He saved others; he cannot save himself!” (Mark 15:31). No person has endured more violent abuse at the hands of “church leaders” than Jesus did, and because of that he can comfort you like no one else can. Other people may be unaware of what you’ve had to endure, but Jesus isn’t. He has wounds too (Rev. 5:6) and promises that through his suffering you can find healing (Isa. 53:5).

3. Jesus uses faithful church leaders to strengthen you.

This may be especially difficult for you to believe, since in the past the church has only hurt you. But consider the reason for which the apostle Paul said Jesus gave us church leaders:

And he [Jesus] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ. (Eph. 4:11–12; italics added)

Christ gave us pastors and teachers to build us up in the faith, not to exploit us! Another apostle, Peter, touched on this when he encouraged the elders of one particular church:

Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; and not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Pet. 5:2–3; italics added)

Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd who laid down his life for you. Having given his all so that you would live forever with him in glory, he also gives you pastors who will submit to his leadership and care for your spiritual well-being. Seek a faithful church with a pastor who isn’t concerned with his gain but rather your growth, and who will continually point you to Jesus and his Word to facilitate that growth.

Source: Why You Still Need the Church—Even If You Have Been Hurt by It

May 3, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1309

7:16 Your house … your kingdom … your throne. Lk 1:32b, 33 indicates that these 3 terms are fulfilled in Jesus, “… and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” forever. This word conveys the idea of 1) an indeterminately long time or 2) into eternity future. It does not mean that there cannot be interruptions, but rather that the outcome is guaranteed. Christ’s Davidic reign will conclude human history.

MacArthur Study Bible

7:16 The three promises in this verse—the permanence of David’s dynasty, kingdom, and throne—summarize Yahweh’s 10 promises in 2 Sam 7:9–15. They are mentioned three times in Psa 89:4, 29, 36.

Central to the nt is the understanding of Jesus as the culmination and ultimate fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. All four Gospels recognize Jesus as the Son of David (especially Luke; see Luke 1:32, 69). The “kingdom of God” (or “kingdom of heaven”) language of the Gospel accounts also affirm the other aspects of 2 Sam 7:16, identifying Jesus’ kingdom as inaugurated on earth but not yet fully realized—with its full realization happening in Jesus’ return. Paul likewise testifies to Jesus’ Davidic heritage, particularly in Rom 1:3 and 2 Tim 2:8. In addition, Revelation acknowledges Jesus’ ancestry (see Rev 5:5; 22:16). By identifying Jesus as a descendant of David, the nt authors affirm their conviction that Jesus is Yahweh’s ultimate anointed ruler (Messiah or Christ) from the Davidic line.

Faithlife Study Bible

7:16, 17 It further promised that David’s house, his kingdom, and his throne would be established forever, and that his own descendants would sit upon the throne. David’s dynasty has been interrupted since the Babylonian captivity, but it will be restored when Christ, the Seed of David, returns to reign over all the earth. Jensen elaborates:

David wanted to build a temple for God, but Solomon was given the privilege. Undoubtedly the character of David’s life work for God was fighting, not building. But even by this fighting he was clearing the way for another to lay the foundation of that house of worship which his heart had so fondly desired to build. After the warring was over, Solomon erected the temple from materials which David had prepared. David represents Christ in His suffering and victory over the great enemy. Solomon represents Christ in His glory after the suffering and the conflicts are finished. The church, which is the true temple of God, having Christ for its chief cornerstone, will be manifested in the last day. Now in the church’s days of suffering and conflict the materials are being prepared for this glorious building for God.

Believer’s Bible Commentary

May 3 – Overcoming Spiritual Inadequacies

“Having summoned His twelve disciples . . .” (Matt. 10:1).

✧✧✧

Jesus can overcome any inadequacy you might have.

Most people think of the disciples as stained-glass saints who didn’t have to struggle with the faults and frailties of normal people. But they had inadequacies just like we all do. Seeing how Jesus dealt with them gives us hope that He can use us too.

One inadequacy common to all the disciples was their lack of understanding. For example, Luke 18 tells us that Jesus gave them details about His future suffering, death, and resurrection, but they didn’t understand anything He said (vv. 31–34). Jesus overcame their lack of understanding by constantly teaching them until they got it right.

Another inadequacy was their lack of humility. More than once they argued among themselves about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (e.g., Mark 9:33–37). Jesus dealt with their lack of humility by His own example. He likened Himself to a servant, and even washed their dirty feet (John 13).

In addition to their lack of understanding and humility, they also lacked faith. Jesus often said to them, “O men of little faith.” In Mark 16:14 He rebuked them for not even believing the reports of His resurrection.

They also lacked commitment. Just prior to Christ’s death Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and the others deserted Him. Jesus dealt with their lack of commitment by praying for them (e.g., Luke 22:31–32; John 17:15).

Finally, they lacked spiritual power, which Christ overcame by giving them the Holy Spirit.

Those are significant inadequacies, but despite all that, the book of Acts tells us that the disciples turned the world upside-down with their powerful preaching and miraculous deeds. They were so much like Christ that people started calling them Christians, which means “little christs.”

Jesus still transforms inadequacies into victories. He does it through the Spirit, the Word, and prayer. Don’t be victimized by your inadequacies. Make those spiritual resources the continual focus of your life.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank the Lord for your inadequacies because they help you realize your dependence on Him. ✧ Ask for grace always to rely on your spiritual resources rather than your human abilities.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 20:20–28. ✧ Who spoke to Jesus on behalf of James and John? ✧ What was His response? ✧ How did the other disciples respond? ✧ What was Jesus’ concluding principle?[1]


10:1 In the last verse of chapter 9, the Lord instructed His disciples to pray for more laborers. To make that request sincerely, believers must be willing to go themselves. So here we find the Lord calling His twelve disciples. He had previously chosen them, but now He calls them to a special evangelistic mission to the nation of Israel. With the call went authority to cast out unclean spirits and to heal all kinds of diseases. The uniqueness of Jesus is seen here. Other men had performed miracles, but no other man ever conferred the power on others.[2]


1 He whose word (chs. 5–7) and deed (chs. 8–9) were characterized by authority now delegates something of that authority to twelve men. This is the first time Matthew has explicitly mentioned the Twelve (cf. v. 2; 11:1; 20:17; 26:14, 20, 47), who are introduced a little earlier in Mark (3:16–19). This commission appears to be the culmination of several previous steps (Jn 1:35–51; see comments at 4:18–22). Indeed, Matthew’s language suggests that the Twelve became a recognized group somewhat earlier. At the same time, this commission was a stage in the training and preparation of those who, after Pentecost, would lead the earliest thrust of the fledgling church. Twelve were chosen, probably on an analogy to the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. the council of twelve at Qumran, 1QS 8:1 ff.), and they point to the eschatological renewal of the people of God (see comments at 19:28–30).

The authority the Twelve received enabled them to heal and drive out “evil [akathartos, lit., ‘unclean,’ GK 176] spirits”—spirits in rebellion against God, hostile to man, and capable of inflicting mental, moral, and physical harm, directly or indirectly. This is the first time in Matthew that demons are so described, and only again at 12:43 (but see comments at 8:16). “Every kind of disease and sickness” is exactly the expression in 4:23; 9:35. The authority granted the Twelve is in sharp contrast to the charismatic “gifts [plural] of healing” at Corinth (1 Co 12:9, 28), which apparently were individually more restricted in what diseases each could cure.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 136). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1238). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 276). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MAY 3 – CHRIST DOES IN US WHAT WE CANNOT DO

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

COLOSSIANS 3:4

Writing to the Corinthian believers, Paul promised full spiritual deliverance and stability in the knowledge that Jesus Christ “is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” He also assured the Colossian believers: “You are complete in Him!”

Our great need, then, is simply Jesus Christ. He is what we need. He has what we need. He knows what we need to know. He has the ability to do in us what we cannot do—working in us that which is well-pleasing in God’s sight.

This is a difficult point in spiritual doctrine and life for many people who may have been prominent and ambitious, and used to doing their own thing in their own way!

But no matter who we are, we must acknowledge that it is a gracious plan and provision for men and women in the kindness and wisdom of God. Brothers and sisters, we get Christ and glory and fruitfulness, a future and the world to come and the spirits of just men made perfect; we get Jesus, mediator of a new covenant, and the blood of the everlasting covenant; an innumerable company of angels and the church of the firstborn and the New Jerusalem, the city of the living God!

And before we get all that, we have the privilege and the prospect of loving and joyful service for Christ and for mankind on this earth![1]


The Revelation

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (3:4)

Although the world may not now recognize those whose lives are hidden with Christ in God, that will not always be the case. When Christ… is revealed at His second coming, we also will be revealed with Him in glory. The apostle John describes that scene in Revelation 19:11–13, 15–16:

I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God.… And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

To this description of our Lord at His return in judgment, the vision adds that He will be accompanied by saints. John also wrote, “The armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses” (v. 14).

The verdict of eternity will reverse the verdicts of time. On that day, it will become apparent who really belongs to the Lord. “The Lord knows those who are His” (2 Tim. 2:19), and He will reveal them to the world. Lightfoot comments, “The veil which now shrouds your higher  life from others, and even partly from yourselves, will then be withdrawn. The world which persecutes, despises, ignores now, will then be blinded with the dazzling glory of the revelation” (Lightfoot, p. 210). John wrote, “We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Paul adds a wonderful parenthetical thought. He describes Christ as our life. Christ does not merely give life; He is life. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). He told the Corinthians that the life of Jesus was manifested in his body (2 Cor. 4:10). When facing possible martyrdom, he could say, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

The key to living the risen life is to have a life centered on Christ. The Son, not this present world, is the center of the believer’s universe.[2]


3:4 To climax his description of the believer’s portion in Christ, the apostle now looks on to Christ’s coming again. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. At the present time we are raised with Him and enjoying a life that is not seen or understood by men. But the day is coming when the Lord Jesus will return for His saints. Then we will appear with Him in glory. Men will understand us then and realize why we behaved as we did.[3]


4 If one motivation for thinking about the things above concerns the Colossians’ past (they died [with Christ]), a second pertains to their Christian future. Paul is at pains in this epistle to stress the believer’s present life in Christ (see esp. 2:12; 3:1). (Here he asserts that Christ is (y)our life [cf. Php 1:21]; the NIV reads “your,” the NASB reads “our.” The former is probable, though the latter is possible. Regardless, it makes little difference along interpretive lines.) In doing so, Paul hopes both to counter the “philosophy” and to encourage the congregation. Despite the detractors, the apostle contends that the assembly is already well equipped spiritually. Lest the congregation come to the erroneous conclusion that all that will occur has occurred, however, Paul sprinkles reminders throughout the letter that there is an eschatological “not yet” as well as an eschatological “already” (1:22–23, 27; 3:6, 24–25; 4:5). “Realized eschatology” is tempered by “future eschatology” (see my “Eschatology in Colossians”).

Paul clearly strikes a note of eschatological reservation in 3:4. What is now hidden in heaven will be made manifest at Christ’s revelation. Full and final revelation awaits the consummation. It is atypical of Paul to speak of Christ’s coming as an epiphany, as he does here in verbal form (Gk. phaneroō, “appears,” GK 5746; cf., however, 2 Co 4:10–11; 2 Th 2:8; note also 1 Ti 6:14; 2 Ti 1:10; 4:1, 8; Tit 2:13). The apostle most frequently employs the term parousia (“coming,” GK 4242; see esp. 1 Co 15:23; 1 Th 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Th 2:1) to speak of Christ’s ultimate advent. While some scholars seize on this point to argue for the non-Pauline character of Colossians, a more probable explanation is that “the language of being revealed rather than coming is shaped by the hidden/revealed contrast of vv. 3–4” (Lincoln, 639). Moreover, the verb “appears” is employed here “to emphasize the point that what will be openly demonstrated at the end is what faith has known all along to exist in hidden form” (Caird, 203).

When Christ is revealed by God (the verb is a first aorist passive subjunctive), so also will the Colossians be revealed (a future passive indicative verb) with him in glory (i.e., “heaven”). Christ is the Christian’s present help and future hope (cf. 1:27). Indeed, the whole of the believer’s story is inextricably linked to Christ’s. Even as Christ was crucified and raised and will be revealed, so also those who are his have been crucified and raised and will be revealed.[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 131–132). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2008). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 323–324). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MAY 3 – AN EXCLUSIVE ATTACHMENT

But now, after that ye…are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements?

Galatians 4:9

I am not in the business of trying to downgrade any other believer’s efforts to win souls. I am just of the opinion that we are often too casual and there are too many tricks that can be used to make soul-winning encounters completely “painless” and at “no cost” and without any “inconvenience.”

Some of the unsaved with whom we deal on the “quick and easy” basis have such little preparation and are so ignorant of the plan of salvation that they would be willing to bow their heads and “accept” Buddha or Zoroaster if they thought they could get rid of us in that way.

To “accept Christ” in anything like a saving relationship is to have an attachment to the Person of Christ that is revolutionary, complete and exclusive!

It is more than joining some group that you like. It is more than having enjoyable social fellowship with other nice people. You give your heart and life and soul to Jesus Christ—and He becomes the center of your transformed life!

Lord, as Your followers share the gospel around the world today, I pray that each hearer will have a clear understanding of the consequences of the decision they will make to either accept or reject Jesus.[1]


But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, Paul asks in bewilderment, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things to which you once gave your devotion? Why do you desire to be enslaved all over again? Now that you are sons, he asks the wavering Galatians, why do you want to go back into slavery? Now that you are free adults through faith in Christ, why do you want to revert to your childhood servitude under the law?[2]


4:9 How could they excuse their conduct? They had come to know God, or, if they didn’t know Him in a deep experiential way, at least they were known by Him, that is, they were saved. Yet they were turning from His power and riches (of which they were heirs) to weak and poor things, the things connected with the law, such as circumcision, holy days, and rules of diet. They were again putting themselves in bondage to things that could neither save nor enrich but could only impoverish them.

Paul labels the law and all its ceremonies as weak and beggarly. God’s laws were beautiful in their time and place, but they are positive hindrances when substituted for the Lord Jesus. It is idolatry to turn from Christ to law.[3]


9 “But now,” in contrast to “formerly,” the Galatians “know God,” or, more precisely, “are known by God” (cf. 3:26–29; 4:6–7). The Galatians do not merely have intellectual awareness of God, but they have experienced intimate familial relationship with him and have been identified as his “sons” (3:26) and as having received his Spirit (4:6). More important (the significance of the “or rather”), they are known by God. He has taken the initiative to come to humanity in the person and work of Christ, and by means of the proclamation of the gospel and hearing with faith (cf. Heb 4:1–2), the Galatians have been incorporated into Christ. This is why Paul asks, more than a little incredulously, how they can turn back to the “weak and miserable principles” of enslavement. Having come to know—and to be known by—the one true and living God, how can they desire a relationship that is anything other than what they have with God in Christ? How can they seriously entertain a return to the “basic principles” (v. 3) of a former age when those principles, in contrast to their life of faith in Christ, are now to be characterized as “weak” and “miserable”?

Paul has melded together the pre-Christian paganism of the Galatians and the former law observance of the Jewish Christians and identified both as being under “basic principles” so as to put both into stark contrast with relationship with God in Christ. Both are seen by Paul to have been superseded by the age of maturity in Christ. Compared to maturity in Christ, then, the immaturity of these relational dynamics are “weak” and “miserable.” So he asks rhetorically if the Galatians really want to become enslaved again to these “basic principles.” He assumes, of course, that they will see the logic of his argument and turn away from any Judaizing tendencies—tendencies that will only result in such enslavement.[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Galatians (p. 111). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1887–1888). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Rapa, R. K. (2008). Galatians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 608–609). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 3 – Jesus on God’s Love: That We Exceed Others’ Actions

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?—Matt. 5:46–47

These words of Jesus were perhaps the most devastating and offensive ones the religious leaders had ever heard. The Lord bluntly stripped away their hypocrisy to reveal that their love was nothing more than the ordinary self-centered love common among the despised tax collectors and Gentiles. Tax collectors were dishonest, traitorous extortioners; Gentiles were considered unfit to be people of God.

Yet the type of love displayed by the scribes and Pharisees, according to Jesus’ infallible assessment, was no better than the persons’ whom they so looked down upon. In essence, our Lord declared that their righteousness was no better than that of the worst and lowest of other classes and groups.

Christ urges believers to have a much higher standard of righteousness than the world’s low standard. The world should notice Christians as being more honest employees and more helpful and caring neighbors. The culture should always notice that saints love as God loves: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). J. Oswald Sanders once wrote, “The Master expects from His disciples such conduct as can be explained only in terms of the supernatural.”

ASK YOURSELF
Yes, we can become so comfortable in our culture and so indoctrinated in its ways that we are nearly indistinguishable in our likes, our schedules, and our matters of importance. Ask yourself what makes you appear different from the unsaved world around you. Is it just by what you don’t do, or by Jesus’ active brand of love and righteousness?[1]

Exceed Your Fellow Men

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (5:46–47)

If the scribes and Pharisees were certain of any one thing it was that they were far better than everyone else. But Jesus again cuts through their blind hypocrisy and shows that their type of love is nothing more than the ordinary self-centered love that was common even to tax-gatherers and Gentiles-to whom the scribes and Pharisees thought they were most undeniably superior.

Those were probably the most devastating and insulting words these religious leaders had ever heard, and they must have been enraged. Tax-gatherers were traitorous extortioners, and almost by definition were dishonest, heartless, and irreligious. In the eyes of most Jews, Gentiles were outside the pale of God’s concern and mercy, fit only for destruction as His enemies and the enemies of those who thought they were His people.

But the love of the scribes and Pharisees,Jesus said, was no better than the love of those whom they despised above all other people. You love those who love you, and that is the same type of love that even the tax-gatherers and the Gentiles exhibit. “Your righteousness,” He charged, “is therefore no better than theirs.”

The citizens of God’s kingdom are to have a much higher standard of love, and of every other aspect of righteousness, than does the rest of the world. Christians should be noticed on the job because they are more honest and more considerate. Christians should be noticed in their communities because they are more helpful and caring. Christians should be noticed anywhere in society they happen to be because the love they exhibit is a divine love. “Let your light shine before men,” Jesus had already said, “in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). As J. Oswald Sanders comments, “The Master expects from His disciples such conduct as can be explained only in terms of the supernatural.”[2]


There is no reward if we love those who love us; Jesus says that even unconverted tax collectors do that! That type of love requires no divine power. Neither is there any virtue in greeting our brethren7 only, i.e., our relatives and friends. The unsaved can do that; there is nothing distinctively Christian about it. If our standards are no higher than the world’s, it is certain that we will never make an impact on the world.

Jesus said that His followers should return good for evil so that they might be sons of their Father in heaven. He was not saying that this was the way to become sons of God; rather, it is how we show that we are God’s children. Since God shows no partiality to either the evil or the good (in that both benefit from sun and rain), so we should deal graciously and fairly with all.[3]


46 Luke 6:32 uses charis (“grace,” GK 5921; NIV, “credit”) rather than misthos (“reward,” GK 3635), a distinction that has fostered various complex theories concerning the relationship between the two passages. But in the same context, Luke also speaks of misthos (“reward,” 6:35), and his use of charis means no more than thanks or gratitude: “What thanks have you?” (cf. BDAG, 1080; hence “credit” in the NIV). The two passages are therefore very close, and neither construes “reward” in purely meritorious categories (see comments at v. 12). But the Scriptures do appeal to the hopes and fears of men (e.g., Heb 11:2, 26; cf. Mt 5:12; 6:1) and to greater and lesser felicity in heaven and punishment in hell (Lk 12:47–48; cf. 1 Co 9:16–18). The verb echete (“you have”; NIV, “you get”) may be a literal present; but more likely it is future along the line of 6:19–21: i.e., a man “stores up” and therefore “has” various treasure awaiting him in heaven.

The tax collectors (telōnēs) in the Synoptics are not the senior holders of the tax-farming contracts (Lat. publicani), usually foreigners, but local subordinate collectors (Lat. portitores) working under them (BDAG, 999). The latter were despised, not only because the tax-farming scheme encouraged corruption on a massive scale, but also because strict Jews would perceive them as both traitorous (raising taxes for the enslaving power) and potentially unclean (owing to possible contamination from association with Gentiles—a danger for at least the senior ranks of portitores, who necessarily had dealings with their Gentile overlords). They are often associated with harlots and other public sinners (see Notes). But even these people love those who love them—at least their mothers and other tax collectors!

47 Proper salutation was a mark of courtesy and respect; but if Jesus’ disciples tender such greeting only to their “brothers”—i.e., other like-minded disciples (see comments at vv. 23–24)—they do not rise above the standards of ethnikoi (strictly speaking, “Gentiles,” but since most Gentiles were pagans, the word came to have more than racial overtones). “In loving his friends a man may in a certain sense be loving only himself—a kind of expanded selfishness” (Broadus). Jesus will not condone this. “The life of the old (fallen) humanity is based on rough justice, avenging injuries and returning favors. The life of the new (redeemed) humanity is based on divine love, refusing to take revenge but overcoming evil with good” (Stott, Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 123).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 132). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (p. 349). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1223). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 193). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MAY 3 – NEAR OR FAR AWAY

But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

—Psalm 73:28

To speak of being near to or far from God is to use language in a sense always understood when applied to our ordinary human relationships. A man may say, “I feel that my son is coming nearer to me as he gets older,” and yet that son has lived by his father’s side since he was born and has never been away from home more than a day or so in his entire life. What then can the father mean? Obviously he is speaking of experience. He means that the boy is coming to know him more intimately and with deeper understanding, that the barriers of thought and feeling between the two are disappearing, that father and son are becoming more closely united in mind and heart.

So when we sing, “Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,” we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts. POG061-062

Lord, I long to be near to You in experience, in intimate awareness of our Father/child relationship. Draw me close, I pray. Amen. [1]


73:28 But as for me, the approach to God is for my Expresses the psalmist’s new sense of peace in terms that recall his earlier crisis (compare v. 2).[2]


73:28 good to be near God. The presence of God is the ultimate resolution to the problem of the prosperity of the wicked.[3]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 73:28). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 916). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

May 3 – Love of the Truth Brings Hatred

“All these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.”

John 15:21

✧✧✧

The world, in its general hatred of the truth and ignorance of God, will also hate believers.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ time hated Him intensely. If we are committed to following Him wholeheartedly today, we can’t expect to avoid persecution and hardship any more than He did. In John 15:20 our Lord tells us what to expect: “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”

If our perspective is right, however, this expectation should actually make us happy and even provide a certain sense of security. Receiving persecution from the world because we are Christ’s representatives means we have an opportunity to experience what Paul called “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). As one commentator has said, Christian suffering “is the very means God uses to transform us into the image of His Son.” Troubles and pains can be great reassurances that we have been united with Christ.

As we saw yesterday, it’s no surprise that the world hates us. It despises our general opposition to its system, but aside from that, the world hates believers simply because it doesn’t know God.

This basic ignorance of God usually appears in one of two ways. Either it shows up as apathy and religious superstition (Acts 17:22–23) or as more glaring actions and attitudes of moral and spiritual deviation (Romans 1:18–2:2). Whatever the case, people in the world are just doing what is natural for them because of their sin and depravity.

As a Christian, what should your response be? You should not be indifferent or accommodate the serious challenges you’ll face from the world. Instead, you ought to, by faith, realistically accept the truth of John 15:21, comfortably rest in the teaching of Philippians 3:10, and confidently seek to minister to the world “because the foolishness of God [the gospel] is wiser than men, and the weakness of God [the cross] is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you begin grasping what it means to partake in “the fellowship of His sufferings.”

For Further Study: Read Acts 5:17–42. How is the world’s attitude toward the gospel displayed in this passage? ✧ What did the apostles appeal to when faced with severe opposition?[1]


The things that the hostile world will do to Christ’s followers are not aimed solely at them; the persecution they face is ultimately for His name’s sake. In the Beatitudes Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (Matt. 5:11). In the Olivet Discourse He warned, “They will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name” (Matt. 24:9; cf. Mark 13:9; Luke 21:12). Speaking to Ananias about the apostle Paul, Jesus declared, “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). “If you are reviled for the name of Christ,” Peter wrote, “you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Peter 4:14). Suffering for the name of Jesus Christ is a repeated New Testament theme (see also Matt. 10:18, 22, 39; 19:29; Mark 8:35; 13:9–13; Luke 6:22; 21:12–17; Rom. 8:36; 2 Cor. 4:11; Rev. 2:3).

Ultimately, the world hates Jesus and His followers because it does not know the One who sent Him. Because “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God” (Rom. 8:7), “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (v. 8). Unbelievers are “dead in [their] trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), “alienated and hostile in mind” (Col. 1:21), and “darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18). All people are sinners by nature, born into a state of rebellion against God. They “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18), and “even though they [know] God, they [do] not honor Him as God or give thanks, but [are] futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart [is] darkened” (v. 21). Therefore in judgment God “gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (v. 24), to “degrading passions” (v. 26), and to “a depraved mind” (v. 28). All people are responsible for their sin, “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (vv. 19–20; cf. John 1:9).[2]


15:21 This hatred and persecution is “for My name’s sake.” It is because the believer is linked to Christ; because he has been separated from the world by Christ; and because he bears Christ’s name and likeness. The world is ignorant of God. They do not know that the Father sent the Lord into the world to be the Savior. But ignorance is no excuse.[3]


21 Whatever happens to the disciples happens because of their relationship to Jesus. Whatever the world did to Jesus it will also do to those who bear his name. Jesus had warned his followers that they would be persecuted (Mt 10:16–25). At the end of his ministry the apostle Paul had ample reason to write, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Ti 3:12; cf. 2 Co 11:23–27). Christians need to be sure, however, that any persecution that comes their way is the result of their close association with Jesus and not due to personal idiosyncrasies that unnecessarily offend.

Jesus states the ultimate reason for persecution: the world does “not know the One who sent me.” Willful ignorance of God leads to violent opposition. The spirit of rebellion, which has marked the human race from the beginning, relentlessly opposes anything that unmasks its true identity as malignantly antithetical to all God is and all he stands for.[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (p. 174). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1552). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 581–582). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 3 – Intimate Communion

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

John 10:27

The apostle Paul taught the Ephesians that one of the functions of the church is to build up the people in “the knowledge of the Son of God” (4:13). The word knowledge refers to full knowledge that is correct and accurate. That is the knowing of which Jesus spoke in today’s verse. He was not speaking of merely knowing their identities but of knowing them intimately, and that is the way He wants His people to know Him.

Paul’s desire is for every believer to develop this deep knowledge of Christ by building a relationship with Him through prayer and faithful study of and obedience to God’s Word. Growing in this deeper knowledge of Christ is a lifelong process that will not be complete until we see the Lord face–to–face.[1]


10:27 These next few verses teach in unmistakable terms that no true sheep of Christ will ever perish. The eternal security of the believer is a glorious fact. Those who are true sheep of Christ hear His voice. They hear it when the gospel is preached, and they respond by believing on Him. Thereafter, they hear His voice day by day and obey His Word. The Lord Jesus knows His sheep. He knows each one by name. Not even one will escape His attention. No one could be lost through an oversight or carelessness on His part. Christ’s sheep follow Him, first by exercising saving faith in Him, then by walking with Him in obedience.[2]


27 Three things are true of Jesus’ flock: they listen to his voice, they are known by him, and they habitually follow (present tense) him.[3]


Repeating what He said in His discourse on the Good Shepherd (see the exposition of vv. 3–5 in the previous chapter of this volume), Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” The elect will heed Christ’s call to salvation and continue in faith and obedience to eternal glory (cf. Rom. 8:29–30). [4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 140). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1527). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 507). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (p. 442). Chicago: Moody Press.