Daily Archives: May 7, 2017

May 6-7, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 05/06/2017

Ohio Couple With Five Children Adopts Six Siblings Who Didn’t Want to Be Separated   May 03, 2017 12:01 pm

CINCINNATI, Ohio — An Ohio couple with five children has adopted six siblings in foster care who wanted to stay together as a family. Christopher and Christina Sanders of Forest Park had made an agreement prior to becoming foster parents that they would keep the children, and would always keep siblings together, no matter how many. “We just made the…

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Reps for Prosperity Preacher Benny Hinn Confirm Govt ‘Reviewing Certain Operations’ Following Raid   Apr 30, 2017 06:00 am

GRAPEVINE, Texas — Representatives for prosperity preacher Benny Hinn have confirmed that the federal government is “reviewing certain operations” following a raid on Hinn’s Texas office. “As has been widely reported, Benny Hinn Ministries is cooperating fully with the governmental entities that are reviewing certain operations of the Church,” a social media…

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Florida Teacher Accused of Promoting Homosexual Advocacy in Math Classroom   Apr 30, 2017 05:43 pm

TAMPA, Fla. — A religious liberties organization has submitted a letter of complaint to a school district in Florida after being contacted by parents who say that their child’s math teacher is promoting homosexual advocacy in the classroom. The teacher denies any wrongdoing. Attorneys with Liberty Counsel wrote to Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins…

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Trump Signs Religious Freedom Executive Order in Front of Interfaith Gathering at White House   May 04, 2017 12:55 pm

WASHINGTON — During an interfaith gathering at the White House, President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday—the National Day of Prayer—upholding religious freedom in the nation and directing departments in his administration to ensure that the rights of religious Americans are not infringed. “We are a nation of believers. Faith is deeply embedded…

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Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ Suggests Parents Should Be Penalized for Having ‘Extra Kids’   May 01, 2017 08:18 am

Bill Nye “the Science Guy” suggested during an episode of his new Netflix series that “extra kids” are a burden to the earth’s environment and that governments should consider penalizing parents who decide to raise large families. For the final installment of “Bill Nye Saves the World,” which premiered on April 21, Nye interviewed a panel of guests…

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City Council Unanimously Votes to Remove Bench That Features ‘God’ Quote From State Founder   Apr 29, 2017 10:52 am

OIL CITY, Pa. — A city council in Pennsylvania has unanimously voted to remove a park bench that was meant to honor veterans due to objection from an atheist group regarding a God-centered inscription on the display that is attributed to the state’s founder. “From an administration standpoint, this is heading toward litigation,” Mark Schroyer, the city…

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Fired Pennsylvania Youth Leader Pleads Guilty to Impregnating Teenager   May 01, 2017 03:04 pm

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — A former youth leader in Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to impregnating a teenager who had looked up to him as a father figure in her life. “I want to say I am deeply sorry for the way my weaknesses have hurt and my family,” Jacob Malone, 35, and married father of three said during his sentencing hearing on Friday. “I recognize that…

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Texas Lawmaker Tearfully Implores God for Forgiveness of America’s ‘Manifold Sins’   Apr 29, 2017 04:03 pm

WASHINGTON — A Texas lawmaker tearfully implored God to forgive the manifold sins of the nation this week during a prayer gathering at the U.S. capitol. Rep. Randy Weber delivered a prayer at Wednesday’s “Washington—A Man of Prayer” event, which was organized to honor the life of America’s first president, George Washington. “‘Washington—A Man of Prayer’…

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Judge Allows Advancement of Lawsuit Challenging Denial of ‘Atheist Prayer’ Before Pennsylvania House   Apr 30, 2017 08:28 am

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal judge has allowed the advancement of parts of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of atheist groups upset that unbelievers cannot present a prayer before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives just like Christian chaplains. As previously reported, since its initial formation in 1682, the Pennsylvania House has invited a chaplain to…

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Dove ‘Real Moms’ Commercial Features Father Who Identifies as Mother   Apr 29, 2017 07:39 pm

A recently-released commercial from the popular personal hygiene company Dove, which centers on the lives of “real moms,” includes a father who identifies as the co-mother of his child. “Meet #RealMoms whose diverse parenting styles shatter stereotypes about motherhood and prove that there are no rules about how to be a parent today,” a description of…

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Weekend Snapshot

May 6, 2017
Top Stories This Week
Quote of the Week

“Democratic complaints about Comey’s conduct are absurd. He did her (and her team) an immense favor. ‘Regular’ folks would have faced prison. Instead, Hillary and her confidants face the speaking circuit. Justice has not been done.” —David French


http://video.foxnews.com/v/video-embed.html?video_id=5421767813001&loc=watch.org&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwatch.org%2F&_xcf=WASHINGTON — Protecting and promoting religious liberty – that’s the goal of an executive order President Donald Trump signed Thursday, according to a senior White House official.

This order does three things:

  • Declares that it’s a policy of the executive branch to protect and promote religious liberty.
  • Directs the IRS to use maximum enforcement discretion when investigating tax-exempt organizations (this addresses the Johnson Amendment).
  • Offers regulatory relief to religious groups that have a moral objection to the contraception mandate in Obamacare.

Jan Markell, Eric Barger and White House correspondent Bill Koenig consider the aligning of the nations and final day activity breaking in the Trump Administration. Why could 2017 be so significant?  Having been in the presidential press core 16 years, Koenig shares how things have changed in Washington due to President Trump. Still, while some strive for peace, there is only the threat of war.  Hear an insider’s view from our nation’s capital.


Daily Chart Freedom Of Worship Is On The Decline In Many Countries

State restrictions on freedom of worship are concentrated in the Middle East and North Africa, the origin of the Abrahamic faiths. In that region, 95% of governments engage in harassment and the use of force against religious groups, with Egypt’s policies the sternest of all. However, European countries, including some of the continent’s secular liberal democracies, can be intolerant as well.

Nearly 2,000 years ago today, according to the Bible, Jesus of Nazareth was crucified for “subverting” the people of Judea. Even after two millennia, humanity has still not managed to eliminate religious persecution. In fact, one index published on April 11th suggests that freedom of worship is actually declining.

Pew, a think-tank, evaluates obstacles to the observance of religion in two dimensions, based on the text of countries’ constitutions and on reports by governments and human-rights groups. It measures laws and policies that limit religious beliefs in a government-restrictions index, and violence and other intimidation from the public at large in a social-hostilities index. The overall level of restrictions on religion is surprisingly elevated: the study finds it “high” or “very high” in fully one-quarter of the 198 nations assessed. Moreover, the situation appears to be getting worse: both the government and social indicators show that religious freedom deteriorated in 2015—the latest year for which data are available—for the first time in three years.

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Americans’ Perception of Pastors Is a Mixed Bag

And while pastors may have an image problem, personal contact seemingly counteracts negative perceptions. Among those who know a pastor personally, 64 percent regard pastors very positively. Personal contact appears to affect not only churchgoers but also the religiously unaffiliated, who are more likely to have something positive to say about pastors when they say they know one personally.

Americans aren’t sure what to make of pastors, except the ones they’ve met personally.

As part of its State of Pastors study, Barna Research asked Americans their views on pastors and the contributions clergy make to society.

In general, Americans are split on their attitudes toward pastors. Almost 3 in 10 (28 percent) have a negative opinion, with 19 percent saying “somewhat negative” and 9 percent saying “very negative.”

However, close to the same number (24 percent) say they have a very positive opinion of pastors.

The same diversity of perspective appears when Americans are asked whether pastors are influential in their city or neighborhood.

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Christian college demands staff sign statement opposing gay marriage, faculty threaten to leave

According to Christian Today:

Photo credit Montreat College website

Faculty members of a Christian college once attended by Franklin Graham are threatening to resign after they were asked to sign a statement affirming their opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion.

Montreat College, a private Christian arts college in North Carolina, is insisting its staff affirm and live according to the school’s ‘Community Life Covenant’, recently added to staff handbooks.

The covenant affirms ‘the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman’ and the ‘worth of every human being from conception to death’, according to the Citizen-Times.

Montreat’s director of communications, Adam Caress, explained the covenant, which comes out of two years of listening to concerns of students, staff and alumni.

He said in an email: ‘The Community Life Covenant is rooted in core biblical values that have been central to Christianity for 2000 years and central to the college throughout its 101-year history.

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Encouraging or Empty? Faith-Based Groups Divided Over Impact of Trump’s Religious Freedom Executive Order

Christian News reports:

Faith-based groups across the nation are divided in their opinions over how much of an impact that President Trump’s newly-signed executive order will actually have on the protection of religious liberty in the nation.

“Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the federal government. The executive branch will honor and enforce those protections,” the order reads in part.

“In reality, what Trump issued today is rather weak,” Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation wrote in a commentary for the Daily Signal following Thursday’s signing. “All it includes is general language about the importance of religious liberty, saying the executive branch ‘will honor and enforce’ existing laws and instructing the Department of Justice to ‘issue guidance’ on existing law.”

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Firestorm brewing as scientists work to create synthetic human DNA

“The fouled ethics of creating synthetic human DNA will not deter them from going ahead with it. Technocrats invent because they can. However, Transhumanists are vitally interested in creating super-men who can conquer immortality.” — Technocracy News

According to CNBC:

As synthetic DNA is being researched, ethical questions are coming to surface  Tuesday, 2 May 2017 | 7:00 AM ET | 01:50

Last May a seemingly commonplace meeting kicked off a firestorm of controversy. More than 100 experts in genetics and bioengineering convened at Harvard Medical School for a meeting that was closed to the public — attendees were asked not to contact news media or to post about the meeting on social media.

The same group is getting back together in New York City next week.

View article →


Top News – 5/6-7/2017

Clash erupts on Afghan-Pakistan border
Troops from Afghanistan and Pakistan have exchanged fire along their border, prompting Pakistan to seal the Chaman border crossing. Pakistan said Afghan border police opened fire on troops who were guarding a census team. The head of a government hospital in Chaman told the BBC that at least six people have been killed and 31 injured.

Exclusive: US bank shuts anti-Israel account in a reportedly unprecedented move
The giant Dallas-based bank Comerica announced on Friday that it will close a bank account held by an anti-Israel organization that promotes a boycott of the Jewish state. “Comerica Bank has taken steps to close the account. The account closing, the result of a business decision, will occur in due course. We will have no further comment on this matter, ” Wayne Mielke, the bank’s spokesman, wrote The Jersualem Post by email.

Canada considers retaliation for US tariff on softwood lumber
Canada is considering multiple trade actions against the US in response to tariffs on softwood lumber. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday he was considering banning US coal exports in response to the “unfair” tax on Canadian lumber. The government is also looking at duties against several Oregon industries, the BBC has learnt.

Tornado touched down at Atlanta airport, the National Weather Service says
An EF-0 tornado touched down Thursday at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, the National Weather Service said Friday. The tornado lifted about 10 cargo bins that weighed up to 500 pounds after touching down briefly at a cargo bay on the north side of the airport, officials said. Some of those bins landed on a nearby roof that was 60 feet high, according to the National Weather Service.

‘Alarming’ rise in children hospitalized with suicidal thoughts or actions
The percentage of younger children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions in the United States doubled over nearly a decade, according to new research…A steady increase in admissions due to suicidality and serious self-harm occurred at 32 children’s hospitals across the nation from 2008 through 2015, the researchers found. The children studied were between the ages of 5 and 17, and although all age groups showed increases, the largest uptick was seen among teen girls.

Venezuela Is Starving
…“I watched him sleep and sleep, getting weaker, all the time losing weight,” said Ms. Planchart, 34 years old. “I never thought I’d see Venezuela like this.” Her country was once Latin America’s richest, producing food for export. Venezuela now can’t grow enough to feed its own people in an economy hobbled by the nationalization of private farms, and price and currency controls.

LGBT Conference in the state religious schools
The State-Religious education division in the Education Ministry held a first of its kind seminar on Wednesday for principals of yeshivas and ulpanot (Jewish high schools for girls), which dealt with issues relating to the gay community. In the event, which was held in Tel Aviv, the attendees listened to personal stories, experiences with the difficulties of sexual identity and held an “open conversation from the heart of the debate.”

Japan, China agree to enhance financial cooperation
Japanese and Chinese finance ministers agreed on Saturday to enhance cooperation through bilateral dialogue on their economies and policy steps. The two ministers also agreed to hold the next bilateral economic dialogue in 2018 in China, a joint statement issued after their meeting showed.

Iowa Supreme Court blocks portion of 20 week abortion ban
The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday granted an emergency temporary injunction halting a portion of a 20-week abortion ban that was signed into law by Republican Governor Terry Branstad just hours earlier. The law, passed by Iowa’s Republican-controlled House and Senate last month, bans abortions once a pregnancy reaches 20 weeks and stipulates a three-day waiting period before women can undergo any abortion.

U.S. job growth rebounds sharply, unemployment rate falls to 4.4 percent
U.S. job growth rebounded sharply in April and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent, near a 10-year low, pointing to a tightening labor market that likely seals the case for an interest rate increase next month despite moderate wage growth. Nonfarm payrolls surged by 211,000 jobs last month after a paltry gain of 79,000 in March, the Labor Department said on Friday. April’s job growth, which was broad-based, surpassed this year’s monthly average of 185,000.

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia, U.S. in talks on billions in arms sales – U.S. sources
Washington is working to push through contracts for tens of billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, some new, others in the pipeline, ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s trip to the kingdom this month, people familiar with the talks told Reuters this week. Saudi Arabia is Trump’s first stop on his maiden international trip, a sign of his intent to reinforce ties with a top regional ally.

Fake Law: How Trump-hatred warps the judiciary
Something ugly is happening to the First Amendment. It is being contorted to enable judges to protest Donald Trump’s presidency. The perennial impulse of judges to manipulate the law to achieve morally and politically desirable ends has only been exacerbated by the felt necessity to “resist” Trump. The result: Legal tests concerning the freedoms of speech and religion that in some cases were already highly dubious are being further deformed and twisted.

FCC to Investigate Stephen Colbert Over Controversial Donald Trump Joke
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that his agency will be looking into complaints made against Stephen Colbert for what some labeled a homophobic joke about President Donald Trump. “I have had a chance to see the clip now and so, as we get complaints — and we’ve gotten a number of them — we are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts and we’ll take the appropriate action,” Pai told Philadelphia’s Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.

Macron Says He Is Victim Of “Massive, Coordinated” Hack After 9 Gigabytes Of Private Documents Released
The Macron political campaign said it has been the victim of a “massive, coordinated” hacking operation on Friday night, when over 9 gigabytes of private emails and documents were released on 4chan, many revealing Macron’s personal financial data and transactions.

A New Street Drug Can Kill You By Touching Your Skin: What You Need To Know
Carfentanil, a powerful new opioid, has already claimed three lives… Engineered to be used as an elephant tranquilizer, the drug’s lethal dosage is 20 micrograms. Since the product can cause deadly effects just by being sprinkled on someone’s skin, authorities are highly concerned.

TrumpCare passed because GOP moderates know it’s doomed to fail
“Historic,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said as House Republicans passed TrumpCare II by two votes.  “It’s gonna be an unbelievable victory,” President Trump bragged in advance, a few hours later. “Unbelievable,” indeed.  Yesterday’s events were a Kabuki performance.  The bill passed because it’s sure to fail.

Hideous! Australian Company Turns IVF Human Embryos into Jewelry
…IVF human embryos are set in “embryo straws,” which are then cremated prior to the creation of the jewelry. The “cremains” are then set within a durable resin, which can be colored with various “shimmer tints.” Glistening mica can also be added to the resin, according to the firm’s Web site. The resulting resin stone is then set into jewelry.

Trial to expose radical Islamic agents embedded in U.S.
A former federal investigator enlists his son to infiltrate a Muslim front in the nation’s capital that had routinely collaborated with the White House and federal law-enforcement agencies as a “civil rights” group. The daring undercover operation results in the capture of 12,000 pages of incriminating internal documents along with audio and video recordings, attracting the interest of the FBI and congressional investigators.

Ministers approve controversial Jewish State bill
A proposal to anchor Israel’s status as a Jewish state in a Basic Law was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday. MK Avi Dichter (Likud)…called the vote “a big step towards establishing our identity, not only universally, but mainly towards ourselves, the Israelis, to be a free nation in our land,” a line from Hatikva…”I’ve been working on the Jewish State bill for six years,” Dichter recounted. “Six years to establish the simple and most basic truth: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People.”

Israel to debate ousting UN from Jerusalem headquarters
The government on Sunday is set to debate the question whether or not to oust the United Nations from its Jerusalem headquarters, but is not expected to take any action on the matter at this time. The Foreign Ministry will give a presentation on the matter, including legal and diplomatic impediments to the move. The issue was put on the agenda after…UNESCO Executive Board’s vote in Paris on Tuesday that passed a resolution disavowing Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

Hamas chooses Ismail Haniya as new leader
The Palestinian militant group Hamas has announced that Ismail Haniya has been chosen as its new overall leader. He succeeds Khaled Meshaal, who has served the maximum two terms in office. Mr Haniya, 54, lives in Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since 2007, unlike Mr Meshaal, who lives in Qatar.

University of CA Caves to Demands After Black Student Group’s Sit-In
The University of California-Santa Cruz caved to the demands of liberal student protesters…The school’s African-Black Student Alliance occupied the building for three days, demanding four specific concessions…four years of student housing for “all students from underrepresented communities”…in the Rosa Parks House, creating a lounge space in the Parks House, painting the Parks House the colors of Pan-African liberation and teaching a “mandatory educational diversity orientation” to freshmen students.

Islamic State mounts fierce resistance on new Mosul front
Iraqi forces faced stiff resistance from Islamic State in northwest Mosul on Sunday after opening a new front against the militants there in a push to rout them from the city after seven months of fighting. Trapped in a steadily shrinking area of the city, the militants are fighting back with a barrage of suicide car bombs and snipers concealed amongst hundreds of thousands of civilians they are effectively holding hostage.

China to further tighten its internet controls
China will further tighten its internet regulations with a pledge on Sunday to strengthen controls over search engines and online news portals, the latest step in President Xi Jinping’s push to maintain strict Communist Party control over content. Xi has made China’s “cyber sovereignty” a top priority in his sweeping campaign to bolster security. He has also reasserted the ruling Communist Party’s role in limiting and guiding online discussion.

Trump travel ban back in U.S. courts next week as battles stretch on
Legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from some Muslim-majority countries heat up again next week when two U.S. appeals courts consider whether it is constitutional. The legal fights may end up at the U.S. Supreme Court perhaps in the fall…

San Diego police killed boy, 15, in school parking lot
Police shot and killed a 15-year-old student Saturday after he pointed a BB gun at them in a high school parking lot, authorities said. The Torrey Pines High School student called 911 shortly before 3:30 a.m. to ask officers to check on the welfare of an unarmed boy in front of the school, according to a police statement.

Stephen Colbert used to parody a blowhard — now he is one
He rose to fame parodying a blowhard. Is he aware he’s become one? Last Tuesday, “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert — who’d been struggling in the ratings until the election — made national headlines for a monologue that, as it does nightly, skewered President Trump.

The Military is Using Human Brain Waves to Teach Robots How to Shoot
Modern sensors can see farther than humans. Electronic circuits can shoot faster than nerves and muscles can pull a trigger. Humans still outperform armed robots in knowing what to shoot at — but new research funded in part by the Army may soon narrow that gap.

France Warns Media Not To Publish Hacked Macron Emails, Threatens With Criminal Charges
France has cracked down on the distribution of the files, warning on Saturday it would be a “criminal offence” to republish the data, and warning the French media not to publish content from any of the hacked emails “to prevent the outcome of the vote being influenced.”

Silicon Valley ‘Tech-Slaves’ Forced To Live In Their Cars
As the Nasdaq melts up to record highs on the back of Silicon Valley’s hub of computer and technology companies the soaring costs of living are forcing some people to turn to cars, vans and RVs for housing.

Federal Court Demands Release Of Hillary’s State Dept Emails On Benghazi Attack
“Does President Trump know his State and Justice Departments are still trying to provide cover for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama? This may well be an example of the ‘deep state’ trying to get away with a cover up – if so then the Trump administration must put a stop to it.”


This ‘n’ That

  • Mabel did a lot, but did she know Christ?
  • Great, like we needed another reason to hate ticks.
  • The parental leave means nothing to me, but unlimited time off? Yes, please!
  • I haven’t actually read this, mostly because I stopped caring about the Driscoll debacle, but I link it here for your information.
  • I don’t know anything about this church beyond what’s available on the website, but I appreciated much of this sermon about Hannah.
  • No, you cannot lose your salvation.
  • If you’re looking for a good summary of Ephesians 1, try this sermon.
  • All I can say is, Saint Joseph better stay out of my dreams.
  • Jesus is the Bread of Life:

Top Headlines – 5/6-7/2017

‘Trump refused to postpone his visit to Israel to the date of the anniversary of the Six-Day War’

Trump to Visit Israel May 22-23, on Jerusalem Day

US envoy holds Israeli-Palestinian parlay

As winds of war rise, Israel must decide whether to pull the plug on Gaza. Should Israel finance the power supply for a terrorist regime committed to its destruction?

Jordanians protest in support of Palestinian hunger strikers

ISIS urges jihadis to get into hostage-taking business, buy weapons at U.S. gun shows

Iraqi forces gain foothold in northwest Mosul after surprise new push

Iraqi Christian villages to begin rebuilding process with the first 100 homes

US Navy SEAL killed in Somalia

Famine of ‘Biblical Proportions’ Descending Upon Yemen; Child Dying Every 10 Minutes

Bernie Sanders Defends Israel, Slams Saudi Arabia and Other Middle Eastern Nations for Human Rights Violations

Doubts over Saudi order that ‘eases’ control over women

Saudi Arabia, U.S. in talks on billions in arms sales – U.S.

Rouhani: Revolutionary Guards tried to sabotage nuke deal with anti-Israel slogans on missiles

Failed Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile Test Boosts US Concern Over Iran-North Korea Military Alliance

North Korea accuses US, South Korea of Kim Jong Un assassination plot

‘Don’t test our patience’: North Korea implies ‘damaged’ alliance with Beijing

Cartoonists ‘first victims’ of crackdowns on press in 10 countries

Eiffel Tower stunt exposes security concern on eve of French election

Comey pressed for anti-Trump dossier in classified Russia report, sources say

WikiLeaks’ Assange to Clinton: ‘Blame yourself’ for election loss

French candidate Macron claims massive hack as emails leaked

Merkel Takes on Trump Over Demands for German NATO Spending

Trump’s pick for Army secretary drops out amid criticism of LGBT, Islam remarks

Fake Law – How Trump-hatred warps the judiciary

Texas’s Immigration Bill Allows for Jailing of Police Who Disobey

Refugee admissions plummet under Trump, USA TODAY analysis finds

Spooked by Trump, Central American immigrants turn to Mexico

People Literally Starving Thanks to Socialism in Venezuela

Deadly unrest grips Venezuela as students rally

George Soros battles $10B lawsuit, familiar charges of wielding political influence

EU official: Hungarian PM’s crusade against Soros is anti-Semitic

S&P, Nasdaq notch record close ahead of the French election; Apple hits all-time high

U.S. job growth rebounds sharply, unemployment rate hits 4.4 percent

OPEC Runs Out of Options as Bid to Boost Oil Price Fizzles

California plans to tax space travel by the mile

UFO sighting? Video purportedly showing massive light over Paris raises questions

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits the Scotia Sea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Bamboo Flat, India

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 18,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 13,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Manam volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Death Toll Climbs to 10 in South, Midwest Flooding; Worst Is On the Way for Parts of Mississippi River

Heavy rains cause flooding in NYC region, disrupt travel

A New Street Drug Can Kill You By Touching Your Skin: What You Need To Know

Obamacare is ‘dead’ says Trump after healthcare victory

Virginia gov: ObamaCare repeal bill ‘puts people’s lives in jeopardy’

TrumpCare passed because GOP moderates know it’s doomed to fail

‘Alarming’ rise in children hospitalized with suicidal thoughts or actions

Company in Australia Turning IVF Embryos Into Jewelry

Scientology facilities in Tennessee closed after police find patients held against their will

Fines for Worship, Prison for Bible Study in China

Anne Graham Lotz Confesses 12 ‘National Sins’ of America at National Day of Prayer Observance

US lawmakers urge recognition of Jerusalem births as in Israel

French presidential frontrunner Macron rules out unilateral recognition of Palestine

New leader, same old Hamas, with Gazans now firmly in control

UN headquarters enjoys diplomatic immunity, warning minister’s demand it be shuttered violates treaties, official quoted saying

German president lands in Israel in wake of diplomatic spat

For the first time, Auschwitz guides taught to teach about Jews’ ‘spiritual resistance’

Ministers vote on ‘Jewish State’ bill

Report: Iran gives $600 million to Hezbollah

Top US general affirms pledge to ‘de-conflicting’ operations in Syria with Russian counterpart

Why Russia Can’t Quit Syria

Deja Vu: Why Is Russia Back in Afghanistan?

Clash erupts on Afghan-Pakistan border

6,000 migrants rescued in Mediterranean in two days

Nigeria exchanges 82 Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram for prisoners

Iran TV censors Rouhani campaign documentary ahead of elections

In French election, voters face a choice that mirrors the West’s new divide

In French vote, two radically different visions for country’s future

France’s vote ripples across Europe, markets, diplomacy

Moment of truth for the euro as France votes

How Abstaining Far-Left French Voters Could Hand Le Pen Victory

Why many French gays adore Marine Le Pen

France Warns Media Not To Publish Hacked Macron Emails, Threatens With Criminal Charges

Russian effort suspected in French election hacking attack

Russia Sends Its Most Advanced Fighters to U.S. Coast

Concerns over terrorism lead TSA to issue warning to trucking companies

Atheist Bill Maher: ‘I Never Hear Anybody Go ‘Merry Christmas’ Before a Bomb Goes Off

University announces 100 percent free college to illegal aliens

Venezuela: Trump administration calls for quick, peaceful conclusion to unrest

In Venezuela’s Chaos, Elites Play a High-Stakes Game for Survival

Venezuelans are losing weight amid food shortages, skyrocketing prices

Federal Court Demands Release Of Hillary’s State Dept Emails On Benghazi Attack

Fight Brews Over Push to Shield Americans in Warrantless Surveillance

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Yunaska Island, Alaska

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Cohoe, Alaska

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Camana, Peru

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ashkasham, Afghanistan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kermadec Islands

Earthquake of 4.4 magnitude hits South Iceland

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 14,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 12,500ft

Poas volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 11,000ft

Bagana volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 10,000ft

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 10,000ft

Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna to threaten life and property in New Caledonia this week

Cyclone Donna upgraded to category four storm

Levee failures cause extensive flooding in Arkansas

Four reasons why Eastern Canada is flooding

Could towing icebergs to hot places solve the world’s water shortages?

Supplement industry flies under the radar, poses deadly risk

Doctors warn Minnesota measles outbreak still “early” as cases increase

Iowa Supreme Court blocks portion of 20-week abortion ban

Poland Considers New Law Banning All Abortions and Protecting Unborn Children

Kentucky is Fighting to Become the First State to be Abortion Free

Posted: 06 May 2017 07:26 AM PDT

Kentucky leaders have been cracking down on abortion clinics in the state in the past several years, closing two abortion facilities that were performing abortions…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Max Lucado’s Daughter Asks Why Atheists Are ‘More Loving’ Than Christians

Posted: 06 May 2017 07:13 AM PDT

Andrea Lucado, a writer and daughter of renowned best-selling Christian preacher Max Lucado, has opened up about some of her struggles with faith, including wondering…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: Fuego Volcano Erupts In Guatemala – Strongest Eruption Since 2012

Posted: 06 May 2017 07:07 AM PDT

Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted at 13:15 UTC on May 5, 2017, producing pyroclastic flows and ejecting thick volcanic ash cloud to an estimated altitude of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Hundreds of Leopard Sharks Wash Up Dead on San Francisco Beaches

Posted: 06 May 2017 07:02 AM PDT

For seven weeks now, hundreds upon hundreds of leopard shark corpses have been washing up on the beaches of San Francisco Bay, turning the City…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Canadian passports will have new marker for “transgender travellers”

Posted: 06 May 2017 06:55 AM PDT

Transgender travellers will soon have another option to tick off on their passport other than “male” or “female.” Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the government is working…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US dismisses Russia’s ban on military aircraft over Syria safe zones

Posted: 06 May 2017 06:51 AM PDT

A State Department official on Friday said that the Russian proposal calling to bar U.S. military aircrafts from flying over designated safe zones cannot “limit”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Economic Collapse in Venezuela Leaves Country in Starvation

Posted: 06 May 2017 06:45 AM PDT

Jean Pierre Planchart, a year old, has the drawn face of an old man and a cry that is little more than a whimper. His…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

FBI Foils Boston Marathon-Style NYC bomb plot, Charges NJ Man

Posted: 06 May 2017 06:38 AM PDT

A New Jersey man arrested for trying to kill his family dog has been charged with attempting to support the Islamic State. He allegedly revealed…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Over 30 Christians, Including American Family With Children, Detained Overnight in China

Posted: 06 May 2017 06:32 AM PDT

Police officers raided a house church meeting in China’s southern Guangdong province on Wednesday evening, detaining 30 of the members in attendance including the pastor…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Minnesota measles outbreak grows to 44 cases…

Posted: 06 May 2017 06:28 AM PDT

New numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health show the measles outbreak in the state is growing, CBS Minnesota reports. There are now 44 cases reported in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

ISIS Warns Muslims ‘Stay Away From Christian Gatherings’, Warns of Coming Attacks!

Posted: 05 May 2017 05:37 PM PDT

The terror group known as Islamic State or ISIS is warning Egyptian Muslims to avoid going to places where Christian meet. “We are warning you…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pierce County, WA Making Preparations For Eruptions From Mount St. Helens and Mt. Rainier

Posted: 05 May 2017 04:14 PM PDT

Pierce County will prepare for the possibility of eruptions from Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens. Officials are enlisting help from halfway around the world….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Tennessee School District Temporarily Halts Bible Club Following Complaint From Atheist Activist Group

Posted: 05 May 2017 03:48 PM PDT

Officials at a school district in Tennessee have temporarily shut down a Bible club at a local elementary school following a complaint from a prominent…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Court orders State Dept to release Clinton emails on Benghazi attack

Posted: 05 May 2017 03:41 PM PDT

A Washington DC federal court judge has ordered the State Department to turn over Hillary Clinton’s emails that immediately followed the terrorist attack in Benghazi…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Main Reason Depression Is on the Rise

Posted: 05 May 2017 03:33 PM PDT

(By Michael Snyder) Do you ever feel like you have been completely abandoned by the world? Do you struggle with feelings of loneliness, isolation and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Major Conservative Voices in America May Soon Be Silenced!

Posted: 05 May 2017 03:30 PM PDT

What would the world be like for American conservatives if Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Dave Ramsey were suddenly no longer on the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Harvard Wants to Remove Christian Roots From School Traditions

Posted: 05 May 2017 03:23 PM PDT

Prestigious American university Harvard is considering removing a line from its ceremonial song that references its Christian heritage. A Harvard professor claims the lyric could…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Wait, The Weary and The Watchmen

Posted: 05 May 2017 02:31 PM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, we will discuss how the Lord reveals to us through several parables and passages that he would remain in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

NFL Star Dez Bryant: God’s Commandments Are Not ‘Old Fashioned, but Well Fashioned’

Posted: 05 May 2017 02:09 PM PDT

Dallas Cowboys pro-bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant took to his social media accounts on Sunday to share his thoughts on what he learned at church…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Alarming rise in children hospitalized with suicidal thoughts or actions

Posted: 05 May 2017 02:04 PM PDT

The percentage of younger children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions in the United States doubled over nearly a decade, according to new…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Anne Graham Lotz Confesses 12 ‘National Sins’ of America at National Day of Prayer Observance

Posted: 05 May 2017 11:01 AM PDT

Anne Graham Lotz, a renowned evangelist and Billy Graham’s daughter, concluded the 2017 National Day of Prayer by leading those gathered for the observance at…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UPDATE: Satanic Temple to Erect First Ever Satanic Monument on Public Property

Posted: 05 May 2017 10:55 AM PDT

City leaders in Belle Plaine, Minnesota have granted The Satanic Temple permission to erect a satanic monument next to a Christian memorial. The Veterans Memorial…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New Tick-Borne Virus Can Be Transmitted in Just Minutes

Posted: 05 May 2017 10:50 AM PDT

A new health concern is brewing for tick bites. It’s known as the Powassan Virus, and experts say it can be transmitted to humans in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Senior Russian Senator Blasts US Plans to Enforce N. Korea Sanctions on Foreign Territory, Calls it a “Declaration of War”

Posted: 05 May 2017 10:46 AM PDT

A senior Russian senator says the American bill allowing the US Navy to enforce international sanctions on North Korea through the control of Russian ports…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘Real-Life’ Possession Story Behind William Peter Blatty’s ‘The Exorcist’

Posted: 05 May 2017 10:39 AM PDT

The Internet is abuzz over the tragic news that William Peter Blatty, author of the terrifying book and feature film, “The Excorcist,” died on Thursday at the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

10 Reasons Millennials Are Backing Away From God

Posted: 05 May 2017 10:32 AM PDT

(Reported By Beth Harrison) Millennials and their habits, beliefs, views and work ethic are a frequent topic of conversation in today’s culture. This generation has…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Puerto Rico to Shut 179 Schools, Relocate 27k Students amid Historic Bankruptcy

Posted: 06 May 2017 05:48 PM PDT

The largest mass shuttering of public schools in Puerto Rico’s history follows the island declaring bankruptcy on a record $70 billion debt. Restructuring the entire…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Hundreds rescued as police smash international pedophile ring

Posted: 06 May 2017 05:42 PM PDT

Nearly 900 suspected pedophiles have been arrested and almost 300 children identified or rescued from their abusers following the massive takedown of an underground online…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Atheist Group Threatens To Sue Trump Over Religious Liberty Executive Order

Posted: 06 May 2017 05:36 PM PDT

A Wisconsin-based atheist group is asking a federal judge to strike down President Donald Trump’s latest executive order, which is designed to protect religious freedoms….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Elderly Ex-Vicar ‘Marries’ Male Model 54 Years Younger, Wants Church of England to ‘Move On’ With the Times

Posted: 06 May 2017 02:50 PM PDT

A retired vicar with the Church of England has “wed” a young Romanian model 54 years his junior, and now wants the Church to get…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

18,000 Cattle Dead After Extreme Flash Flooding in Kenya

Posted: 06 May 2017 02:40 PM PDT

Livestock farmers in Samburu County are counting losses after an estimated 18,000 heads of livestock were swept by flash floods following a heavy downpour in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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


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

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Number of Teens and Children Admitted to Hospital Due to Suicide Attempts Doubled in Last 10 Years

Teen suicide

With the release of the controversial 13 Reasons Why show on Netflix, our nation’s collective attention seems to be on teen suicide once again. New research indicates the number of teens and younger children being hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts has doubled in the last 10 years.

The study is called “Trends in Suicidality and Serious Self-Harm for Children 5-17 Years at 32 U.S. Children’s Hospitals, 2008-2015” and will be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting on Sunday, May 7, 2017. As the title indicates, the research was gleaned from 32 children’s hospitals across the U.S. between the years 2008 and 2015. Over this period, the rates of children discharged from the hospital with a diagnosis of suicidality or serious self-harm rose from 0.67 percent in 2008 to 1.79 percent in 2015.

The research noted some interesting trends that parents, children’s ministers and youth pastors alike should take into consideration as they minister to these age categories.

Kids are more likely to attempt suicide in the spring and fall

The lowest percentage of suicidality occurs in the summer months of June-August, while the highest percentage occurs during the spring (March-May) and fall (September-November). While the press release on the research findings does not suggest why this may be, we can add our own hypotheses here: Perhaps these times of year represent the times kids feel the most stress—the beginning or end of a school year. An article on kidshealth.org says teens interviewed after attempting suicide say they “did it because they were trying to escape from a situation that seemed impossible to deal with or to get relief from really bad thoughts or feelings.”

Dr. Gregory Plemmons, the researcher who will be presenting the study at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, told CNN that while the research didn’t set out to answer why kids are attempting suicide at an increased rate, he did offer a theory as to why suicide attempts lessen in the summer months: “We know that school’s a stress just like a job is a stress, so it may just be that removal of that situation allows some kids to cope a little bit better.”

The largest increase was seen in teen girls

Plemmons also told CNN that at the beginning of the study in 2008, girls represented 60 percent of the children hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts. By 2015, they represented 66 percent. A comparable study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that actual suicides had tripled in girls ages 10 to 14 between the years 1999 and 2014.

Again Plemmons offers a theory on this: Girls are going through puberty at earlier ages than they ever have in history, and “puberty in itself is a risk factor for suicide.”

The study certainly warrants more research to be conducted along similar lines. While the show 13 Reasons Why has gained a lot of press, psychologists and counselors are blowing the whistle on it for its graphic portrayal of a teen committing suicide. According to a statement by the National Association of School Psychologists, the reason the show is dangerous is because “research shows that exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, can be one of the many risk factors that youth struggling with mental health conditions cite as a reason they contemplate or attempt suicide.”

For those of us in ministry to teens and children, this information is alarming. By all accounts, suicidal thoughts, attempts and successful suicides are on the rise. Please be diligent with the kids you minister to. Experts cite the following symptoms to look for in children: depression, lack of joy, problems concentrating and attempting to withdraw from other people.

The post Number of Teens and Children Admitted to Hospital Due to Suicide Attempts Doubled in Last 10 Years appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.

How much should ‘associations’ factor into my assessment of whether a teacher is false or not?

What do Billy Graham, Ravi Zacharais, Beth Moore and David Jeremiah have in common? They’ve associated with wolves who lead the sheep astray and they’re unrepentant about their associations.  Elizabeth Prata lays out why Christian leaders must not be careless when it comes to their associations.  As a Berean it’s up to you to check out the people evangelical celebs choose to associate with.  For example, when it comes to any sort of gathering, who’s name will appear on the marque with a person you admire? Prata advises

when we look at a leader or teacher’s associations, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. We have to take a prayerful & measured look when we’re looking at secondary circumstances like who is hanging around our author or preacher or teacher.

Elizabeth Prata has a lot more to say on this subject over at The End Time blog:

A woman asked me recently whether she should read a certain book because the preface to the book was written by a false teacher, though the book itself was written by a solid teacher.

I’m glad that people are aware that associations can harm a reputation and can also be an indicator of future doctrinal problems in a leader or teacher. Associations do matter.

The pure and the polluted share nothing in common ultimately. And the people of God cannot form intimate relationships with those who don’t belong to God. All relationships like that are superficial. You cannot make a meaningful relationship with an enemy of the gospel. They live in a different world with a different and completely hostile and antagonistic leader. Separating from Unbelievers part 1

View article →

Source: How much should ‘associations’ factor into my assessment of whether a teacher is false or not?

Abbas Lies To Trump: Palestinian Children Are Taught To Hate And To Slaughter Jews

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

The Muslim practice of “taqiyya” is permissible lying for the furtherance of Islamic domination in the world. It has been practiced since the Qur’an was written.

For many years, Mahmoud Abbas has told PM Netanyahu that the PA would never recognize Israel as the Jewish State.  That would in turn bring any hopes for peace to a screeching halt.

But now Abbas is using taqiyya on President Trump, and from all indications, Trump is buying it lock stock and barrel.  I was hoping that Trump’s Orthodox Jewish son in law, Jared Kushner, would see right through this.  Something about Mr. Kushner is unsettling to me.

From israelislamandendtimes.com

TAQIYYA: ABBAS LIES TO TRUMP: ‘WE ARE RAISING OUR CHILDREN ON A CULTURE OF PEACE’

Abbas attempted to whitewash decades of official PA incitement to violence and anti-Israel indoctrination that continue unabated until today.

Standing alongside President Donald Trump at the White House…

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Resource: What is the NAR?

WHAT IS THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION?

There is a global cult that is emerging in Evangelicalism which has been called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). You can read the experiences of other Christians leaving the movement here:

Christians Leaving the New Apostolic Reformation

The NAR has continued to evolve in its identity and doctrine, many leaders within the movement attributing it’s connection to the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) in 1948.

05_Code-Blue_NARCode Blue. Abb: NAR Symbol: Tilde. Representing how the NAR leads people to be tossed and turned by every wave and wind of doctrine. Eph 4:14

Since then, the NOLR has continually been criticized and therefore repeatedly rebranded itself over the decades. These are the most prominent forms from each decade:

  • The New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) in the 1940s.
  • The Voice of Healing Movement (VHM) in the 1950s.
  • The Charismatic Renewal Movement (CRM) in the 1960s.
  • The

View original post 1,185 more words

Brian Houston promoting New Apostolic Reformation theology in Hillsong music.

While writing the article, ‘The origins of Hillsong (Part 6): Latter Rain theology in Hillsong worship‘, we were also trying to track down another one of Hillsong’s earlier songs titled ‘Heaven Suffers Violence’. This song was written by Brian Houston and released in 1988 on CLC/Hillsong’s album ‘Spirit and Truth’. (In a future article, we will explain the particular NAR theology behind this song).

This song is not to be found anywhere online. However, we were notified of a Hillsong article and video that was uploaded to Hillsong’s blog, with Brian Houston saying he wrote this song.

We are trying to find the actual lyrics from the album. (Please email us at c3churchwatch@hotmail.com if you know the lyrics of the original). At the moment, we recall a rendition of this song with lyrics similar to this:

Verse 1
Heaven suffers violence
And the violent take it by force
Heaven…

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May 7, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1314

26:3 perfect peace. The peace described here is first the corporate peace of the city (v. 1) and the nation (v. 2) that comes from the “hand of the Lord” (25:10); but it is also the individual peace of the person whose mind is stayed on God. The source of such peace is the righteous, sovereign, saving God (25:9)—who “will swallow up death forever” and “will wipe away” every tear (25:8; cf. Rev. 21:4), and who alone is worthy of trust. (On the meaning of peace in the OT and NT, see note on John 14:27.)[1]


26:3 You will protect a firm inclination in peace, in peace The righteous can count on peace instead of war, destruction, and judgment as long as they continue to trust in Yahweh. Judgment came because they did not fully trust in Yahweh.

The major sin and folly of Judah (and all the nations) was placing trust in themselves and their own power rather than trusting in and acknowledging Yahweh’s power. The theme of judgment throughout Isaiah is intimately linked with the theme of human pride and arrogance.[2]


26:3 perfect peace. The peace of God that the righteous receive and promote (v. 12; 32:17, 18; 55:12; 66:12) will not be extended to the wicked (48:22; 59:8). This peace is found in Immanuel (9:6; 11:6–9; 14:7 and notes). As the previous chapters make clear, it is not a peace that stems from the absence of difficulties; rather, it is a peace that guards their hearts and minds in the midst of great trials.

stayed … trusts. See 2:22; 8:12, 17.[3]


[1] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1285). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 26:3). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (pp. 1165–1166). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

May 7 – Building a Leader: The Right Raw Material (Peter)

The twelve apostles included “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2).

✧✧✧

God can use your natural abilities as a basis for your spiritual service.

Peter is a good illustration of how God builds a spiritual leader. He begins with a person’s natural traits and works from there. Natural traits alone don’t make a spiritual leader; the person must also be gifted and called by the Holy Spirit to lead in the church and to be a model of spiritual virtue. But often God endows future leaders with natural abilities that constitute the raw materials from which He builds spiritual ministries. That was certainly the case with Peter, who demonstrated the leadership qualities of inquisitiveness, initiative, and involvement.

Peter was always asking questions. In fact, the Gospel records show that he asked more questions than all the other disciples combined! People who aren’t inquisitive don’t make good leaders because they’re not concerned about problems and solutions.

Initiative was another indicator of Peter’s leadership potential. He not only asked questions, but also he was often the first to respond when Jesus asked questions (e.g., Matt. 16:15–16; Luke 8:45).

Also, Peter loved to be in the middle of the action, even when it got him into trouble. For example, we might criticize his lack of faith when he sank after walking on water, but remember, the rest of the disciples never even got out of the boat.

Peter was inquisitive, showed initiative, and sought to be involved. How about you? Are you inquisitive about God’s truth? Do you take the initiative to learn about Him? Do you want to be involved in what He is doing? If so, you have the raw material for spiritual leadership. Continue to cultivate those qualities, allowing the Spirit to use you for God’s glory.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Pray for your spiritual leaders. ✧ Ask God for opportunities to lead others in the way of righteousness. Use every opportunity to its fullest.

For Further Study: Read the following verses, noting the kinds of questions Peter asked: Matthew 15:15; 18:21; 19:27; Mark 13:2–4; John 21:20–22.[1]


10:2 the names of the twelve apostles. The 12 are always listed in a similar order (cf. Mk 3:16–19; Lk 6:13–16; Ac 1:13). Peter is always named first. The list contains 3 groups of 4. The 3 subgroups are always listed in the same order, and the first name in each subgroup is always the same, though there is some variation in the order within the subgroups—but Judas Iscariot is always named last. Peter … Andrew … James … John. The first subgroup of 4 are the most familiar to us. These two sets of brothers, all fishermen, represent an inner circle of disciples often seen closest to Jesus (see note on 17:1).[2]


10:2 Apostles (plural of Gk. apostolos; used only here in Matthew; see note on Rom. 1:1) describes those commissioned to be Jesus’ special representatives, while “disciples” (Matt. 10:1) was also used more broadly to refer to anyone who believed in Jesus. Peter heads all the lists of the Twelve (cf. Mark 3:16–19; Luke 6:13–16; Acts 1:13) and serves as their spokesman. Peter, along with James and John, made up Jesus’ inner circle.[3]


10:2 apostles. The Gk. word apostolos designates an authorized representative or emissary whose word has the authority of the sender (cf. 2 Cor. 8:23, where it is translated “messengers,” and 2 Cor. 1:1 note). Here the Twelve receive authority to do exactly what Jesus has been doing (vv. 7, 8).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 140). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Mt 10:2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1839). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 1687). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

MAY 7 – PRAYERFUL THOUGHTS OF GOD ARE NEVER A BURDEN

…The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

JAMES 5:16

It is hardly possible to overstress the importance of unceasing inward prayer on the part of the one who would live the God-conscious life. Prayer at stated times is good and right; we will never outgrow our need of it while we remain on earth. But this kind of prayer must be supported and perfected by the habit of constant, unspoken prayer!

But someone may question whether in a world like this it is possible to think of God constantly. Would it not be too great a burden to try to keep God constantly in the focus of our minds while carrying on our normal activities in this noisy and highly complex civilization? Malaval had the answer to this: “The wings of the dove do not weigh it down,” he said; “they carry and support it. And so the thought of God is never a burden; it is a gentle breeze which bears us up, a hand which supports us and raises us, a light which guides us, and a spirit which vivifies us though we do not feel its working.”

We all know how the presence of someone we deeply love lifts our spirits and suffuses us with a radiant sense of peace and well-being. So the one who loves God supremely is lifted into rapture by His conscious Presence!

“Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”[1]


Prayer and Power

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. (5:16b–18)

By way of encouraging both elders and Christians to this kind of intercession for those in spiritual weakness, James reminds them that such prayer is effective. Effective translates energeō, from which our English word “energy” derives. The prayer of a righteous man (cf. 4:3; Ps. 66:18; Prov. 15:8; 28:9), James notes, can accomplish much (literally “is very strong”). Weak prayers come from weak people; strong prayers come from strong people. The energetic prayers of a righteous man are a potent force in calling down the power of God for restoring weak, struggling believers to spiritual health.

To further demonstrate the power of righteous prayer and provide an illustration that captures the essence of his discussion, James turns to one of the most popular Old Testament figures. Elijah, he reminds his readers, though a prophet and man of God, was a man with a nature like ours. The Bible records that he was hungry (1 Kings 17:11), afraid (1 Kings 19:3), and depressed (1 Kings 19:3, 9–14). Yet when he prayed earnestly (lit. “he prayed with prayer”), incredible things happened: It did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. Elijah’s prayers both created and ended a devastating three-and-one-half-year drought (cf. Luke 4:25). While 1 Kings 17 records the drought, only James gives its duration and links it to the prayers of Elijah.

The story of Elijah and the drought would certainly be a strange illustration if James had physical illness and healing in view throughout this passage. Certainly there are numerous clear biblical illustrations of healing he could have drawn from. But the picture of rain pouring down on parched ground perfectly illustrates God’s outpouring of spiritual blessings on the dry and parched souls of struggling believers. And He does both in response to the righteous prayers of godly people.

The significance and application of this critical call to intercessory prayer on the part of elders in behalf of struggling believers has been manifested repeatedly through the years in my ministry with great blessing. My fellow elders have made themselves available to our congregation every Sunday morning and evening before and after services, as well as at all other necessary times to meet with the weak and wounded for strengthening prayer.

One of the most memorable experiences of this ministry occurred when a student came to see me. He had been studying for ministry, came from a strong Christian home, was very skilled as a student, and had all the characteristics for leadership and effective service to the Lord. But he had often lost the struggle to some recurring temptations and had suffered some rejection and unjust criticism. He was struggling and losing. He confessed to me that he had lost the will to read the Scripture and had no heart for prayer. Finally, he sought me out to pray with and for him, that through my prayers God might grant him the power and victory he longed for, but had no heart to pursue.

I asked him to kneel with me side by side, using two chairs. I will never forget what he did. As I knelt with my arms and head down on the chair, he laid himself, not on his chair, but across my back, placing all his weight on me. This was a humble gesture of the dependence he was placing on me to be his strength. Tearful prayer and confession were followed by much joy as God heard my prayer, and in the days to follow he testified to strengthening grace. He completed his course nobly and went on to serve the Lord. [2]


16 Clearly building on the thought of the previous verse, with its mention of sins, prayer, and healing, the author transitions to exhort those in the Christian communities to mutual confession of sins and prayer. The use of “Therefore” (oun) followed by two present imperative verbs facilitates the transition. The first exhortation is to “confess your sins to each other.” Ropes, 309, understands the confession to be by the sick persons, who then are prayed for by the well, resulting in physical healing, but James seems to move from the specific situation of a seriously sick person in v. 15 to the general principle concerning the need for mutual confession and prayer in v. 16. On this interpretation, it is difficult to see the confession as preventative (as with Davids, 195), since the healing follows sickness in the verse, but the connection between sin in a community and physical illness seems clear nonetheless. Confession, a public acknowledgment of one’s guilt, may be by an individual or as a community, and in many cases in biblical literature, confession is connected to physical healing or some general form of salvation (Davids, 195–96; Johnson, 334). Johnson especially has shown the connection between physical healing and social restoration. This dynamic is prominent in the ministry of Jesus (e.g., Lk 5:17; 6:18–19) and reiterated in Acts (4:22, 30; 28:27; see Johnson, 335). Thus James, dealing with communities in which there was a good bit of social strife, points to vital Christian remedies for fractured relationships—open confession of sin and mutual prayer, which are actions that promote transparency, support, and unity. Consequently, the exhortations to confession and prayer are followed by “so that” (hopōs), a marker showing the purpose for something, and that purpose in the present case is expressed as “you may be healed.” The healing in mind is physical but points to a deeper spiritual healing of sin and broken relationships.

Whereas the first part of v. 16 consists of exhortations, the second makes a theological assertion concerning the effectiveness of prayer. In this case, the NASB reflects more accurately than the NIV the structure of the Greek text: “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” First, the prayer under discussion is that of a righteous person. In 1:5–8 and 4:3–4, James has already noted that a sinful lifestyle hinders prayer, and he now expresses the flip side of that fact. In 5:17–18, he follows by offering Elijah as a prime example of such a person. Second, the prayer is “effective” (energeō, GK 1919), expressed with an adjectival participle meaning “to work,” “to be active,” or “to be operative.” Thus the prayer in mind is prayer put into action, or made operative. Finally, this prayer is able to “accomplish much.” James uses a verb (ischyō, GK 2710) that connotes having the resources or power to bring something about, and what prayer is able to accomplish is “much.”[3]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 280–283). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 271–272). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MAY 7 – FAITH AND EXPERIENCE

O taste and see that the Lord is good.

Psalm 34:8

I insist that the effective preaching of Jesus Christ, rightly understood, will produce Christian experience in Christian believers. Moreover, if preaching does not produce spiritual experience and maturing in the believer, that preaching is not being faithful to the Christ revealed in the Scriptures.

Let me say it again another way: The Christ of the Bible is not rightly known until there is an experience of Him within the believer, for our Savior and Lord offers Himself to human experience.

When Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden” (Matthew 11:28), it is an invitation to a spiritual experience. He is saying, “Will you consent to come? Have you added determination to your consent? Then come; come now!”

Yes, our Lord gives Himself to us in experience. David says in Psalm 34: “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” I think David said exactly what he meant.

Surely the Holy Spirit was saying through David: “You have taste buds in your soul for tasting, for experiencing spiritual things. Taste and experience that God is good!”

Lord, the great need of people within and outside our churches today is to experience the “real thing”—God in all His power and majesty and personal involvement in our lives. Help me to inspire others to “taste” You, Lord.[1]


34:8 Experiencing God’s goodness anticipates the experience of goodness in Christ (1 Pet. 2:3).[2]


34:8 Taste and see Describes the act of trusting, fearing, and seeking Yahweh (compare note on v. 9).[3]


34:8 taste. The psalmist describes his personal experience of God’s goodness. After tasting God’s goodness in Christ, Peter alludes to this passage (1 Pet. 2:3).[4]


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

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 978). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 34:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 867). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

May 7 – Principles of Giving, Part 1

When you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.—Matt. 6:3–4

From this and other Scripture, we can learn principles to guide us in God-honoring giving. First of all, genuine heart-giving is an investment with God. “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38; cf. 2 Cor. 9:6).

Second, biblical giving should be sacrificial. We don’t determine this by the amount, but by the proportion. Consider the widow and Jesus’ observation: “A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned’ ” (Mark 12:42–44).

Third, Christians of all income levels should give. If you don’t give when you have little, you won’t necessarily give when you’re prosperous. You might give a larger amount, but not a greater proportion. Jesus’ parable of the unrighteous steward teaches, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10). God is concerned not with how much you have to give, but with how much love is behind the gift.

ASK YOURSELF
Think of personal examples from your own life where this “faithful in small things” principle has proven itself true. What have you promised you’d do if only you had a little more? What has usually happened when the “more” became reality?[1]

The Practice and Reward of True Giving

But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (6:3–4)

To not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing was possibly a proverbial expression that simply referred to doing something spontaneously, with no special effort or show. The right hand was considered the primary hand of action, and in a normal day’s work the right hand would do many things as a matter of course that would not involve the left hand. Giving to help those in need should be a normal activity of the Christian, and he should do it as simply, directly, and discreetly as possible.

The most satisfying giving, and the giving that God blesses, is that which is done and forgotten. It is done in love out of response to a need, and when the need is met the giver goes on about his business, not waiting for or wanting recognition. What has been done should even be a secret to our left hand, not to mention to other people. Whether the person we help is grateful or ungrateful should not matter as far as our own purpose is concerned. If he is ungrateful, we are sorry for his sake, not our own.

It is said that there was a special, out-of-the-way place in the Temple where shy, humble Jews could leave their gifts without being noticed. Another place nearby was provided for the shy poor, who did not want to be seen asking for help. Here they would come and take what they needed. The name of the place was the Chamber of the Silent. People gave and people were helped, but no one knew the identities of either group. (Cf. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. 2 [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972], p. 387; Joachim Jeremias,Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969], p. 133; and William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, 2 vols. [rev. ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 1:171, 188.)

Matthew 6:3 has often been interpreted to mean that all good works are to be done in absolute secrecy. But true righteousness cannot be kept entirely secret, and should not be. “How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times!” (Ps. 106:3). Isaiah says, “Yet they seek Me day by day, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that has done righteousness, and has not forsaken the ordinance of their God” (Isa. 58:2). John tells us, “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29).

Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus had specifically commanded, “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). The question is not whether or not our good works should be seen by others, but whether they are done for that end. When they are done “in such a way” that attention and glory are focused on our “Father who is in heaven” rather than on ourselves, God is pleased. But if they are done to be noticed by men (6:1), they are done self-righteously and hypocritically and are rejected by God. The difference is in purpose and motivation. When what we do is done in the right spirit and for the right purpose, it will almost inevitably be done in the right way.

The teachings of Matthew 5:16 and 6:1 are often thought to conflict with each other because it is not recognized that they relate to different sins. The discrepancy is only imaginary. In the first passage Jesus is dealing with cowardice, whereas in the second He is dealing with hypocrisy. A. B. Bruce gives the helpful explanation, “We are to show when tempted to hide and hide when tempted to show.”

Never in the history of the church have Christians been so bombarded with appeals to give money, many of them to legitimate and worthwhile causes. Knowing how and where to give is sometimes extremely difficult. Christians are to give regularly and systematically to the work of their local church. “On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:2). But we are also called to give directly to those in need when we have opportunity and ability. Both the Old and New Testaments make it clear that willing, generous giving has always characterized the faithful people of God.

God does not need our gifts, because He is entirely sufficient in Himself. The need is on our part and on the part of those we serve in His name. Paul told the Philippian church, “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account” (Phil. 4:17).

Giving is described in the Old Testament as a part of God’s cycle of blessing. “The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered” (Prov. 11:25). As we give, God blesses, and when God blesses us we give again out of what He has given. “You shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give just as the Lord your God blesses you” (Deut. 16:10). We are to give freely out of what God has given freely.

The cycle applies not only to material giving but to every form of giving that is done sincerely to honor God and to meet need. The way of God’s people has always been the way of giving.

From Scripture we learn of at least seven principles to guide us in nonhypocritical giving. First, giving from the heart is investing with God. “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38). Paul echoes Jesus’ words: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6).

Second, genuine giving is to be sacrificial. David refused to give to the Lord that which cost him nothing (2 Sam. 24:24). Generosity is not measured by the size of the gift itself, but by its size in comparison to what is possessed. The widow who gave “two small copper coins” to the Temple treasury gave more than all the “many rich people [who] were putting in large sums” because “they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:41–44).

Third, responsibility for giving has no relationship to how much a person has. A person who is not generous when he is poor will not be generous if he becomes rich. He might then give a larger amount, but he will not give a larger proportion. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10). It is extremely important to teach children to give generously to the Lord with whatever small amounts of money they get, because the attitudes and patterns they develop as children are likely to be the ones they follow when they are grown. Giving is not a matter of how much money one has but of how much love and care is in the heart.

Fourth, material giving correlates to spiritual blessings. To those who are not faithful with mundane things such as money and other possessions, the Lord will not entrust things that are of far greater value. “If therefore you have not been faithful in the use ofunrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:11–12).

Many young men have dropped out of seminary because they could not handle money, and the Lord did not want them in His ministry. Others have begun in the ministry but later dropped out for the same reason. Still others remain in the ministry but produce little fruit because God will not commit the care of eternal souls to them when they cannot even manage their own finances. Spiritual influences and effectiveness have a lot to do with how well finances are handled.

Fifth, giving is to be personally determined. “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Righteous giving is done from a righteous and generous heart, not from legalistic percentages or quotas. The Macedonian Christians gave abundantly out of their deep financial poverty because spiritually they were rich in love (2 Cor. 8:1–2). The Philippian believers gave out of the spontaneous generosity of their hearts, not because they felt compelled (Phil. 4:15–18).

Sixth, we are to give in response to need. The early Christians in Jerusalem shared their resources without reservation. Many of their fellow believers had become destitute when they trusted in Christ and were ostracized from their families and lost employment because of their faith. Years later Paul collected money from the Galatian churches to help meet the great needs that continued to exist among the saints in Jerusalem and that had been intensified by famine.

There have always been charlatans who manufacture needs and play on the sympathy of others. And there have always been professional beggars, who are able to work but would rather not. A Christian has no responsibility to support such people and should take reasonable care to determine if and when real need exists before giving his money. “If anyone will not work,” Paul says, “neither let him eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). Encouraging indolence weakens the character of the one who is indolent and also wastes the Lord’s money. But where real need does exist, our obligation to help meet it also exists.

Seventh, giving demonstrates love, not law. The New Testament contains no commands for specified amounts or percentages of giving. The percentage we give will be determined by the love of our own hearts and the needs of others.

All of the previous principles point to the obligation to give generously because we are investing in God’s work, because we are willing to sacrifice for Him who sacrificed Himself for us, because it has no bearing on how much we have, because we want spiritual riches more than financial riches, because we have personally determined to give, because we want to meet as much need as we can, and because our love compels us to give.

As in every area of righteousness, the key is the heart, the inner attitude that motivates what we say and do. Public righteousness is not to be rejected, but it is to be done in the spirit of humility, love, and sincerity. “For we are [God’s] workmanship,” Paul reminds us, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Also as in every area of righteousness, Jesus Himself is our supreme and perfect example. He preached His messages in public, He performed His miracles of healing, compassion, and power over nature in public. Yet He continually focused attention on His heavenly Father, whose will alone He came to do (John 5:30; cf. 4:34; 6:38). Even though He was one with the Father, while He lived on earth as a man Jesus did not seek His own glory but that of His Father (John 8:49–50).

When we give our alms … in secret, lovingly, unpretentiously, and with no thought for recognition or appreciation, our Father who sees in secret will repay us. The principle is this: if we remember, God will forget; but if we forget, God will remember. Our purpose should be to meet every need we are able to meet and leave the bookkeeping to God, realizing that “we have done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10).

God will not miss giving a single reward. “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). The Lord knows our hearts, our attitudes, and our motives, and every reward that is due us will be given.

It is God’s perfect plan and will to give rewards to those who faithfully trust and obey Him. And it is not unspiritual to expect and anticipate those rewards, if we do so in a spirit of humility and gratitude-knowing that God’s rewards manifest His grace to the undeserving. We can meet His merciful requirements for rewards, but we can never truly earn them.

The greatest reward a believer can have is the knowledge that he has pleased his Lord. Our motive for looking forward to His rewards should be the anticipation of casting them as an offering at His feet, even as the twenty-four elders one day “will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power’ ” (Rev. 4:10–11).[2]


6:3, 4 When a follower of Christ does a charitable deed, it is to be done in secret. It should be so secret that Jesus told His disciples: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Jesus uses this graphic figure of speech to show that our charitable deed should be for the Father, and not to gain notoriety for the giver.

This passage should not be pressed to prohibit any gift that might be seen by others, since it is virtually impossible to make all one’s contributions strictly anonymous. It simply condemns the blatant display of giving.[3]


3–4 The way to avoid hypocrisy is not to cease giving but to do so with such secrecy that we scarcely know what we have given. Jesus’ disciples must themselves be so given to God (cf. 2 Co 8:5) that their giving is prompted by obeying God and having compassion on others. Then their Father, who sees what is done in secret (Heb 4:13), will reward them. The verb “to reward” (apodidomai, GK 625), with God as subject, here and in vv. 6, 18, is different from that used in v. 2. Bonnard rightly notes it has a sense of “pay back,” and this is compatible with “reward” (see comments at 5:12). “Openly” (KJV), here and in vv. 6, 18, is a late gloss designed to complete the antithetic parallelism with “secretly” or “in secret.” Jesus does not discuss the locale and nature of the reward, but we will not be far from the NT evidence if we understand it to be “both in time and in eternity, both in character and in felicity” (Broadus).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 136). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 356–360). 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. 198). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MAY 7 – STRUCK WITH AWE

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

—Isaiah 6:5

It should help us to be concerned about the quality of our worship when we consider that Isaiah’s reaction was a feeling of absolute profaneness in the presence of the moral purity of the divine Being. Consider that Isaiah was a commendable young man—cultured, religious and a cousin of the king. He would have made a good deacon in any church. Today he would be asked to serve on one of our mission boards.

But here Isaiah was an astonished man. He was struck with awe, his whole world suddenly dissolving into a vast, eternal brightness. He was pinned against that brightness—red and black, the colors of sin.

What had happened? Isaiah, only human, had glimpsed One whose character and nature signaled perfection. He could only manage the witness: “Mine eyes have seen the King.” WHT072-073

Lord, how can I help but fall on my face before You if I once get a glimpse of Your great glory? Forgive my sinfulness as I fall before You in worship. Amen. [1]


5 The word translated “woe” here (ʾôy; GK 208) is different from that used several times in ch. 5 (hôy [GK 2098], vv. 8, 11, 20–22), though they are similar in form and pronunciation and identical in meaning. They are, in fact, synonyms, each possessing various nuances ranging from a threat to a sigh. If this part of the book has been arranged with an eye more to its message than to its chronology, this “woe” may have been viewed as the climax of the series that began at 5:8. The reference in this verse to the people’s sin strengthens this possibility, the more so as sins of the tongue have found their place in ch. 5 at least twice (5:18–20) and possibly a third time, for acquittal (5:23) was made known by a pronouncement of the judge.

This verse teaches us that in order to be an effective channel for God’s penetrating word, the power of that word must be felt in the person’s own conscience. Wildberger (in loc.) says, “This terror is itself an element of the theophany (cf. Ge 32:30; Ex 3:6; Jdg 6:22; 13:22). Those who utter such a cry of woe about themselves are witnessing to the fact that their very existence is threatened” (cf. also Watts, in loc.).

It is true that the lips of the prophet were destined to proclaim God’s truth; but if he was in the temple at worship (see comment on v. 1), the primary reference may be to the defiled lips of the worshiper (cf. 1:15; 29:13). The people of the OT always felt a deep apprehension at the prospect of seeing God (Ge 32:20; Ex 33:20; Jdg 6:22; 13:21–22). This must have been underlined still more for Isaiah as he saw even the unfallen seraphs covering their faces in the presence of the Most High.[2]


6:5 unclean lips. If the lips are unclean, so is the heart. This vision of God’s holiness vividly reminded the prophet of his own unworthiness which deserved judgment. Job (Job 42:6) and Peter (Lk 5:8) came to the same realization about themselves when confronted with the presence of the Lord (cf. Eze 1:28–2:7; Rev 1:17).[3]


6:5 Woe is me. Isaiah is astonished by the glory of God; like Peter he becomes afraid (cf. Luke 5:8). He pronounces an oracular curse upon himself. His conviction of sin is specific: he has unclean lips. The fact that others around him suffer from the same condition compounds his sin rather than alleviating it.[4]


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

[2] Grogan, G. W. (2008). Isaiah. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, pp. 507–508). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 6:5). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 1132). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

May 7 – Trials’ Lessons: Right Priorities

“For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Genesis 22:12

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Trials from the Lord will reveal to believers what they love and appreciate the most.

A big part of the reason for the Lord’s testing Abraham at Moriah was to show him what he valued most in life. The question God wanted Abraham to answer was, “Do you love Isaac more than Me, or do you love Me more than Isaac?” And the Lord was prepared for the drastic test of taking Abraham’s son’s life if that’s what was necessary for Abraham to give God first place in everything.

God also tries the sincerity of those today who claim to love Him (see Deut. 13:3; Matt. 22:36–37). Jesus was so concerned that we have our priorities right that He made this radical statement: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). Christians must love Christ so much that by comparison they will seem to hate their families and themselves. In order to test this first love, God might in some dramatic fashion ask us to renounce the many tugs and appeals from family and place His will and affections first in our life.

That kind of radical obedience, which is what Abraham had, always leads to God’s blessings. Jesus Himself was a perfect example of this principle. Because He was fully human as well as fully God, our Lord did not escape ordinary pain and hardship while on earth. As the Suffering Servant (Isa. 53), He learned completely what it means to obey through pain and adversity, all the way to His crucifixion (Heb. 5:7–9). As a result, the Son was exalted by the Father (Phil. 2:8–9).

God sometimes makes our path of obedience go through the experiences of trials and sufferings. But if we are faithful to His Word and will, those difficulties will teach us to value and appreciate God’s many blessings.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that your priorities each day would stay in line with God’s.

For Further Study: Read Deuteronomy 6:1–9. What must be the top priority for all believers?[1]


22:12 now I know. Abraham passed the test (v. 1). He demonstrated faith that God responds to with justification. [2]


22:12 now I know that you fear God. Abraham’s action confirms his faithful obedience to God. While Abraham’s faith was earlier the means by which God counted him as righteous (15:6), that faith is now “active along with his works,” and the faith is “completed by his works” (James 2:21–23), so that his faith resulted in obedience, which is its expected outcome. On God’s knowledge, see note on Gen. 18:21.[3]


22:12 now I know The identity between the angel and God is blurred. The angel speaks in the first person as God, but also refers to God in the third person.[4]


22:12 you have not withheld. Abraham’s faith is confirmed by his obedience (Gal. 5:6; Heb. 11:17; James 2:21 note).[5]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ge 22:12). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 88). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 22:12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 48). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

May 7 – The Blessings of Growth

That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

Titus 2:10

Since Christians are already entitled to heaven and will attain perfection one day in God’s presence, why is spiritual growth necessary? There are a number of reasons.

First, it glorifies God.

Second, it verifies salvation. External change demonstrates an internal change of heart.

Third, it is a good testimony. Spiritual growth puts the truth of God on display for others to see.

Fourth, it provides assurance. When we progress spiritually, we see God at work in our lives, and that helps our confidence in our salvation (2 Pet. 1:10).

Fifth, it spares us unnecessary sorrow. Lack of growth toward godliness results only in pain and sorrow.

Sixth, it protects the cause of Christ from reproach.

And last, it makes us useful for serving in the church.

So continue to grow and be a blessing to those you meet.[1]


The Result

that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. (2:10c)

This last clause in verse 10 is the third purpose clause in this passage that gives a reason for such a call to holy living (see also vv. 5, 8) and, like the one in verse 5, focuses on honoring and glorifying God’ s Word.

Adorn is from kosmeō, from which we get “cosmetics,” the vast array of substances, both natural and artificial, that women (and men) use to make themselves more physically attractive. The root idea of the term is that of arranging something in proper order to give it symmetry, comeliness, and beauty. In ancient times it was used of arranging jewels in a brooch, necklace, ring, or crown in a way that best displayed the beauty of the gems.

Paul of course, was not speaking about physical and superficial adornment. What makes the church attractive and influential in the world for the Lord is not its strategy or its programs but the virtue and holiness of its people. His people therefore are to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior by their submissiveness, by the excellence of their work, by their respectful attitude, by their honesty, and by their loyal service to their employer—whether he is a fellow Christian or a rank pagan, fair or unfair, pleasant or unpleasant, deserving or undeserving.

Our supreme message to the unsaved about God is that He is our Savior and desires to be their Savior as well, because He is “no t wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). We are to let them know—by what we say, by what we do, and by the way we work at our job—that God “is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).[2]


2:10 One of the most obvious differences was that Christians did not succumb to the besetting sin of other slaves, namely, pilfering. The Christian ethic bound them to strict honesty. Is it any wonder that Christian slaves commanded higher prices at public auctions? In general they were taught to show complete and true fidelity. They were to be totally trustworthy and thus adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every aspect of their lives and service. What was true of Christian bondservants then should be true of all Christian employees today.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 144). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1996). Titus (pp. 101–102). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2141). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.