Daily Archives: July 19, 2017

July 19, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Jul. 19, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

The U.S. is poised to impose sanctions on Venezuela’s defense minister and several other top officials for human-rights violations, according to people with knowledge of the plan, who added that the action was one of several under consideration by the Trump administration against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is shutting down an office that coordinates cyber issues with other countries, according to two people familiar with the plan, in a move that critics said will diminish the U.S. voice in confronting hackers.

Despite efforts by Wall Street firms to regain trust since the 2008 financial crisis, fewer than a third of Americans view the industry positively — unchanged from 2009.

John Horgan’s first move as British Columbia’s new premier took a cue from Canada’s feminist leader, appointing women to half the posts in his cabinet including the job of finance minister. He immediately announced his 22-member cabinet — the province’s first ever gender-balanced one, according to a government statement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named 15 women to his cabinet of 30 when he took office in November 2015.

The resignation of the head of France’s military has thrown the spotlight on President Emmanuel Macron’s lack of experience and may prove to be the first major test of his governing style.

Iran will respond to any new U.S. sanctions that violate the terms of the nuclear deal with countersteps, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday,

Retirement security in the U.S. took a significant hit in a global ranking, falling three notches to No. 17 among 43 developed countries.

Initial coin offerings, a means of crowdfunding for blockchain-technology companies, have caught so much attention that even the co-founder of the ethereum network, where many of these digital coins are built, says it’s time for things to cool down in a big way.

Bitcoin reversed steep losses as miners began using new software which aims to bridge an ideological gap that has threatened to divide the cryptocurrency.

The revolution in self-driving cars holds promise for a segment of the population that thought they’d never be able to operate a vehicle: the blind. Advocates for the estimated 1.3 million legally blind people in the U.S., and millions more with other disabilities, have joined automakers and technology companies in lobbying Congress to help spur the roll out of self-driving vehicles.

AP Top Stories

Vice President Mike Pence delivered an energetic endorsement Tuesday of the Senate Republicans’ new approach to the Affordable Care Act: Repeal it now and figure out a replacement later.

A 10-year-old boy who collapsed at his Florida home last month and later died had the lethal painkiller fentanyl in his system, making him one of the states – and perhaps the countries – youngest victims of the opioid crisis, officials said.

A Saudi woman has been arrested for defying the kingdom’s strict dress code by walking around in a miniskirt and crop top in a video that sparked public outrage.

The White House offered its support Tuesday to the proposal of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to do away with Obama-era net neutrality protections.

Tens of thousands of troops are on the move from the Baltic to the Black Sea, as NATO and Russia open up a series of massive military exercises the size of which the continent hasn’t seen since the Cold War.

The U.S. Navy successfully tested the world’s first laser gun system that has been designed to target drones. The Laser Weapons System (LaWS) gun was tested by the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport ship on a mock enemy drone, CNN reported Monday. Naval officers claim the laser moves at the speed of light, is “more precise than a bullet” and is expected to be used in combat by the year 2020, reports said.

The Royal Navy scrambled a warship to shadow a Chinese flotilla as it steamed through the English Channel en route to meet Russian vessels for maneuvers in the Baltic Sea.

A plan to privatize the nation’s air traffic control operations has hit turbulence in the House, raising questions about whether one of President Donald Trump’s infrastructure priorities can survive.

BBC

A Canadian town has voted to oppose a zoning change that would allow a Muslim cemetery to be built.

Senators in Chile have voted in favor of a proposal which would end the country’s total ban on abortions. The measure would allow abortion in cases of rape, if the mother’s life was at risk or if the fetus would not survive the pregnancy.

A court in Thailand has found a former general guilty of human trafficking at a landmark trial in Bangkok. Manas Kongpan is among more than 40 people convicted in the trafficking of Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted minority fleeing Myanmar.

The four Arab nations leading a boycott of Qatar are no longer insisting it comply with a list of 13 specific demands they tabled last month. Diplomats from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt told reporters at the UN they now wanted it to accept six broad principles.

WND

The head of the U.S. government’s lead immigration enforcement agency said Tuesday that he will send a wave of agents to arrest criminal aliens residing in sanctuary cities, focusing attention on interior operations as illegal crossings at the southern border continue falling.

In a stunning rebuke of U.S. conservative Christians, two close aides to Pope Francis have drawn comparisons between Islamic terrorists and American evangelicals, accusing the latter of advancing “a theocratic type of state.”

Doctors and pharmacies in the nation’s capital are now allowed to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill patients.


Top News – 7/19/2017

Seasonal storm forecast doubles number of hurricanes
A leading storm season forecast doubled the number of hurricanes expected this year as El Niño hibernates and a region typically quiet until August sees an early muster of tropical systems. Colorado State University is forecasting 15 named storms during the season that runs through November, including eight hurricanes. That’s four more named storms than its original April prediction and twice as many hurricanes.

Kamchatka Volcano Klyuchevskaya Erupted
This Wednesday morning local time the volcano blasted ash in to the atmosphere and it spread on more than 60km southwest of the volcano, writes the agency. Orange code alert for aviation danger is announced which means that local and international flights might suffer delays.

Iran’s Rouhani says new US sanctions violate nuclear accord
President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday new US economic sanctions imposed against Iran contravened the country’s nuclear accord with world powers and he vowed that Tehran would “resist” them, state television reported. The Trump administration slapped the new sanctions on Iran on Tuesday over its ballistic missile program and said Tehran’s “malign activities” in the Middle East undercut any “positive contributions” coming from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord.

Jerusalem police close Temple Mount to Jewish visitors
The Temple Mount compound was closed on Wednesday for visitors – Jews and tourists – by the police due to “breaching the rules of conduct that apply to the holy site.” According to a police statement, Jerusalem District Police Commander, Maj.-Gen. Yoram Halevy decided to close the Mughrabi gate, which is the only gate that Jews and tourist can use to enter the Temple Mount, after a group broke the rules of visit.

PA calls on world to force Israel to remove Temple Mount metal detectors
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday called on the international community to make Israel remove metal detectors from the entrances to the Temple Mount. “We call on the international community and the Arab and Islamic states to take responsibility for… stopping the occupation’s measures that are in contravention with all laws, agreements and international charters,” he said.

Hundreds of German choir boys abused over six decades – report
At least 547 young members of the Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir in Germany were subjected to physical and in some instances sexual abuse over a period of 60 years, a new report says. The report accuses 49 members of the Catholic Church of carrying out the abuse between 1945 and the early 1990s. The alleged perpetrators are unlikely to face criminal charges because of the amount of time that has elapsed.

Chile moves towards legalising abortion in limited cases
Senators in Chile have voted in favour of a proposal which would end the country’s total ban on abortions. The measure would allow abortion in cases of rape, if the mother’s life was at risk or if the foetus would not survive the pregnancy. Currently, women can be prosecuted if they have an abortion.

Qatar crisis: Saudi-led bloc drops list of 13 demands
The four Arab nations leading a boycott of Qatar are no longer insisting it comply with a list of 13 specific demands they tabled last month. Diplomats from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt told reporters at the UN they now wanted it to accept six broad principles. These include commitments to combat terrorism and extremism and to end acts of provocation and incitement.

ICE chief praises Trump, plans to send more agents to sanctuary cities
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan…said he plans to further crack down on undocumented immigrants by sending more resources and agents to sanctuary cities…”In the America I grew up in, cities didn’t shield people who violated the law,”…“What I want to get is a clear understanding from everybody, from the congressmen to the politicians to law enforcement to those who enter the country illegally, that ICE is open for business.”

‘Atypical’ form of mad cow disease confirmed in Alabama cow
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed an “atypical” case of bovine spongiform encephalopothy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, in an 11-year old beef cow in Alabama but emphasized that the animal never entered the slaughterhouse and “at no time presented a risk to food supply or to human health.”

US Army Seeks Internet-of-Battlefield-Things, Distributed Bot Swarms
The Army Research Lab is turning more of its attention to fighting land wars against far more technologically sophisticated adversaries than it has in the past several decades. In the coming months, the Lab will fund new programs related to highly (but not fully) autonomous drones and robots that can withstand adversary electronic warfare operations.

Thousands evacuated central California, wildfires burn across U.S. West
A 25,000-acre wildfire in central California, one of three dozen major blazes burning across the U.S. West, threatened hundreds of homes and businesses on Wednesday after forcing the evacuation of about 5,000 residents. There were 46 active large fires spread across 12 states, with 11 new blazes reported on Tuesday alone, according to National Interagency Fire Center website.

Pence Tells CUFI That Just as God Kept Promise to Israel, So Will Trump
In his address at the 12th Annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Summit in Washington on Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence reassured the 4,000 attendees that the President Donald Trump’s administration stands strongly behind Israel, and that despite the delay, Trump will most assuredly fulfill his campaign promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Law passes initial vote
Law requiring 80-vote supermajority to divide Jerusalem in future negotiations passes first vote. A law which would limit the government’s ability to divide the capital in any future final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority was approved in its first vote Wednesday afternoon.

Minister: Israel Will Now Act to Reestablish Jewish Sovereignty Over Temple Mount
The Islamic Waqf’s jurisdiction over the Temple Mount is over and Israel will now work to reestablish Jewish sovereignty over the holy site, said Knesset Member Avi Dichter (Likud) on Tuesday. “The question of our policy [at the Temple Mount] may not be clear to the Palestinians, but it is very clear to us… The Mount will remain under the control of the Israel Police.”

Muslims Call to Ban Jews From Temple Mount
Despite refusing to ascend to the holy site themselves in protest of new metal detectors, Muslims are demanding that Jews be banned from the Temple Mount in the wake of events following Friday’s terror attack.

Druze Heroes Killed on Temple Mount Fulfilled Foretold End-of-Days Israel Alliance
The deadly attack last week on the Temple Mount pitted Israeli Druze against Muslims, tightening an prophesied alliance with Israel that has Biblical roots leading back to the Druze patriarch Jethro. The fulfillment of their role as brothers-in-arms with the Jews precipitates the end-of-days war against Amalek. Their sacrifice was a clear fulfillment of Balaam’s prophecy, which foretells that the Druze and Jews will fight together against their enemy, Amalek.

President Trump: Democrats Own This, We’re Going To Let Obamacare Collapse
Speaking from the White House Tuesday afternoon along side Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump said he is “disappointed” in the failure of the healthcare bill in the Senate and said he intends to allow Obamacare to collapse while continuing to pursue the rest of his agenda. “Let Obamacare fail, it’ll be a lot easier,” he continued. “We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you Republicans are not going to own it.

3 California Counties File Multi-Billion Dollar Lawsuits Against “Big Oil” Over Rising Sea Levels
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the snowflake capital of the world finds new, creative and amazing ways to shock your system.

UK’s First State-Funded Muslim School Taken Over by Gov After Pro-Rape Books Found
England’s first state-funded Muslim secondary schools – that segregated boys and girls and had books promoting domestic violence and marital rape – is to be taken over by the Government.

Obama gave 1 million green cards migrants less than 2 Christian the rest were muslims
Former President Barack Obama chastised the American people in front of world leaders saying that “accepting only Christians who are seeking asylum from war-torn countries is un-American and not who we are.”

Garbage Men Being Trained to Spy on Customers
…It’s not enough, though, for the supervisors of the surveillance state to train trash collectors to watch their neighbors and report any “suspicious activity.” For a few years now, city waste management companies have been installing automatic license plate readers (ALPR) in their garbage trucks! How many thousands (maybe millions) of Americans are being secretly subjected to this new level of surveillance?

Cashless Society Alert: Visa Will Be Giving Up To $500,000 To Restaurants That Go ‘100% Cashless’ The push toward a cashless society is becoming more of a shove.  Before today I had never heard of “The Visa Cashless Challenge”, but after reading about it I have to say that I am quite alarmed.

As Senate Bill Dies, President Trump, Mitch McConnell Call for Clean Repeal of Obamacare
President Donald J. Trump is calling on congressional Republicans to drop their failed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare in one fell swoop and instead pass a clean repeal of the failed health care overhaul from the previous administration now and push through a bipartisan replacement plan later.


July 17, 2017
ALAN KEYES — In the debate over homosexual marriage, much is made of the emotional bond established by mutual consent. But all human friendship involves such a bond. No institution is required to regulate emotionally formed human friendships…. (more)

July 17, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump told GOP Senators Monday night they should go ahead and simply vote to repeal Obamcare now, then work out a replacement…. (more)

July 17, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — Two Senate Republicans late Monday said they oppose the Republican health care bill, effectively stopping in its tracks the push to replace Obamacare and pushing GOP strategy toward an outright repeal without a replacement. Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas simultaneously announced their opposition, meaning four Republicans have declared that they will vote against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bill, forcing both President Trump and Mr. McConnell toward “Plan B.”… (more)


July 17, 2017

NEWSMAX — The U.S. Navy already has deployed lasers that can take out land- and air-based targets, and is developing second-generation weapons to hit missiles at the speed of light, CNN reported…. (more)


July 17, 2017
USA TODAY — The good news on America’s report cards: More high school teachers are handing out A’s. But the bad news is that students aren’t necessarily learning more…. (more)

July 17, 2017
NEW YORK TIMES — The condition for which Senator John McCain had surgery on Friday may be more serious than initial descriptions have implied, and it may delay his return to Washington by at least a week or two, medical experts said on Sunday…. (more)

July 17, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — Klaus Eberwein, a former Haitian government official who was expected to testify against alleged Clinton Foundation corruption and malpractice next week, has been found dead in Miami via gunshot wound to the head…. (more)

July 17, 2017
BYRON YORK — The public learned on March 10, 2015 that Hillary Clinton had more than 60,000 emails on her private email system, and that she had turned over “about half” of them to the State Department and destroyed the rest, which she said were “personal” and “not in any way related” to her work as Secretary of State…. (more)

July 17, 2017
ROBERT KNIGHT — If you don’t think the Left is terrified by the prospect of clean voter rolls, you might not have heard about the latest ploy by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU has sued President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, charging them with violating federal “transparency” laws…. (more)

July 17, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Democratic operative James Carville is not optimistic that his party will be able to take back the Senate in the 2018 midterm elections. “I would say we have a pretty good chance of taking the House back. The Senate is very, very difficult,” the Clinton loyalist told the John Catsimatidis radio show…. (more)

July 16, 2017

ASSOCIATED PRESS — Sen. John McCain’s absence from the Senate as he recovers from surgery for a blood clot has led the GOP leadership to postpone consideration of health care legislation already on the brink…. (more)


July 16, 2017
BRYAN FISCHER — An arrogant junior level judge in Hawaii has appointed himself dictator-for-life for America’s immigration policy. He should be ignored by the man with genuine, constitutional, and legal authority over immigration policy, the president of the United States…. (more)

July 16, 2017

PAUL BEDARD — A coalition of conservative groups whose advocacy has been labeled “hate” by the leftist media-darling Southern Poverty Law Center are launching a counteroffensive Monday, accusing it of fueling hate, killing free speech and even encouraging terrorist-style attacks on those it doesn’t agree with…. (more)


July 15, 2017
SELWYN DUKE — The obsession with Donald Trump Jr.’s “Russian” email chain is just the latest example of what the Media/Democrat Party/Establishment Axis does best: engage in misdirection to confuse people about who America’s real enemies are…. (more)

July 15, 2017
NEWSMAX — More Christian refugees have arrived in the United States under President Donald Trump than Muslims, a shift from the previous administration. The Pew Research Center looked at data from the Department of State and concluded that 9,598 Christians have emigrated to the U.S. from Jan. 21 to June 30. 7,250 Muslim refugees came to the U.S. during the same time frame…. (more)

July 15, 2017
LEO HOHMANN — Should taxpayers fund sex changes and hormone therapy for soldiers, sailors and marines who suffer from “gender dysphoria” and are in the process of “transitioning” from male to female or vice versa?… (more)

July 15, 2017
GREG COROMBOS — As Senate Republican leaders scramble to find the votes to pass a health-care bill, their fidelity to a warped understanding of the filibuster rules is deeply impacting the content of the legislation and the odds of passing anything in a deeply divided chamber…. (more)

July 15, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — Officials at Great Ormond Street Hospital in the United Kingdom, who have recommended that life support for 11-month-old Charlie Gard be withdrawn so that he dies, now have tried to exclude his parents from a meeting that could very well decide his future. Unsuccessfully…. (more)

July 14, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Senate GOP leaders hope offering more money for reducing insurance premiums for poor people is enough to get centrists to support their healthcare bill after they were cool to the latest version. Republican leadership released a new version of the healthcare bill that adds $70 billion to a stability fund to stabilize the individual market and $45 billion for fighting opioid abuse. However, leadership faces a monumental task of winning support from several key centrists, especially after leaving in place more than $700 billion in Medicaid cuts…. (more)


July 13, 2017
NEWSMAX — Tuesday’s release of photos of a chance encounter between evangelicals and President Donald Trump in the White House, which shows leading evangelicals laying hands on and praying for the president of the United States in the Oval Office, has touched off an angry backlash on Twitter and in the mainstream media…. (more)

July 13, 2017
BOB UNRUH — So the media claim there are links between President Trump’s campaign and Russia. They make wild claims about a “set-up” that had Donald Trump Jr. meet last year with a woman claiming to have information from Russia about Hillary Clinton…. (more)

July 13, 2017
RALPH Z. HALLOW — President Trump is facing the double standard with which the left-wing press and Democrats have been soiling American politics for many years. Absurdity is now the norm in the left’s drive to undermine the public’s confidence in the institutions that have made this the go-to country for seekers of opportunity and freedom all over the world for more than two centuries…. (more)

July 13, 2017
MICHAEL BARONE — Overreach. President Trump seems to have an uncanny knack for provoking it in his opponents and critics. This often hurts him and the country. But it has the potential to hurt those doing the overreach as well…. (more)

July 13, 2017
ALICIA POWE — Members of the House Freedom Caucus are demanding GOP leaders cancel the annual August recess so they can tackle top-line policy issues, including the debt ceiling, repealing the Affordable Care Act, a tax overhaul and building a wall along the nation’s southern border…. (more)

July 13, 2017
GREG COROMBOS — Senate Republican leaders are still scrambling to craft a health-care bill capable of attracting 50 GOP votes, and while success appears elusive right now, a prominent House conservative still believes a good bill can get passed thanks to the pressure from voters and the resolve of President Trump…. (more)

10 Surprising Ways the Government is Spying on You (VIDEO)

Sigh.

Great video.

It does seem that our dystopian future is going to be (is) a mix of both 1984 and A Brave New World.

And don’t forget, there are many government contractors making a lot of (taxpayer) money developing the surveillance state. (To keep an eye on the taxpayers.)

Read More


The New York Times Calls George Soros a “Holocaust survivor”

Proves insanity of left-wing media

Turned on his own Jewish people during the Holocaust:

During the Holocaust, George Soros (a Jew) collaborated with the Nazis to confiscate all material wealth from the Jews in Hungary, before he led them to the trains which took them to the death camps.

View Article


Obamacare Survives Thanks to Republican Moral Narcissism

The Kansas and Utah senators announced they would vote no on their party’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, joining Susan Collins and Rand Paul in the nyet column, therefore tanking the bill.

Bravo to them. They maintained their ideological purity. But that’s the problem, because in so doing they have put our country on the royal road to single-payer healthcare. You can depend on it.

View Article

Mid-Day Snapshot

July 19, 2017

On Health Care, Congress Needs to Do Its Job

Republicans aren’t playing like a team, and that’s undermining their responsibility to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

The Foundation

“Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction.” —John Witherspoon (1776)


ZeroHedge Frontrunning: July 19

  • Republicans consider bipartisan healthcare talks (Read More)
  • Health Care Collapse Could Leave Trump Winless in His First Year (Read More)
  • Republicans to Push Ahead on Repeal of Affordable Care Act (Read More)
  • Obscure Coal CEO Rains Money on Trump While Outflanking Rivals (Read More)
  • GOP Tries to Regroup on Obamacare Repeal as Trump Lashes Out (Read More)
  • Insurers start to press on subsidies (Read More)
  • Russian lawyer who met Trump Jr. says ready to testify to Congress (Read More)
  • Discovery, Scripps Networks in Cable-TV Merger Talks (Read More)
  • Robots Take Over Retail Jobs (Read More)
  • Saudi King’s Son Plotted Effort to Oust His Rival (Read More)
  • France’s armed forces chief resigns after clash with Macron over budget cuts (Read More)
  • The Manhattan of Venezuela Parties Amid Crisis (Read More)
  • Germany summons Turkish ambassador to protest arrests of activists (Read More)
  • Where’s the Volatility? Markets’ Steady Climb Defies Historic Odds (Read More)
  • Campaign urges U.S. public pension funds to divest from owner of Trump hotel (Read More)
  • Akzo Nobel Chief Quits Over Health (Read More)
  • The Man Who Got Americans to Eat Trash Fish Is Now a Billionaire (Read More)
  • Morgan Stanley’s profit boosted by underwriting, wealth management (Read More)
  • Wall Street Efforts to Improve Its Image Fail to Sway Americans (Read More)

Top Headlines – 7/19/2017

Police: Temple Mount closed off to Jews

Clashes break out in Old City as Temple Mount tensions heat up

Some Muslim worshipers throw stones, bottles at police after prayers outside Temple Mount

Arab MKs at Lions’ Gate to express support in protest against Temple Mount security

Jordan’s FM talks to Russian counterpart about Temple Mount in phone call

Report: Saudi King asked US to intervene in Temple Mount standoff

Saudi Mufti: ‘Al-Aqsa’s closure damage the sanctity of the Mosque’

Gaza factions warn Israel over Temple Mount ‘aggression’

Fatah calls for ‘day of rage’ on Wednesday

The campaign to exploit Jerusalem terror and fan new round of violence

‘The world should know: UNRWA perpetuates the conflict’

Israel, Hamas make prisoner swap counteroffers

Pence: Embassy move to Jerusalem is question of ‘when, not if’

Israel’s Netanyahu tells Macron of doubts about U.S. peace push

China reiterates commitment to Israel-PA peace

Christian Zionists still uncertain about Trump – but sure glad Obama is out

PM Orban tells Israel’s Netanyahu Hungary has zero tolerance of anti-Semitism

ACLU urges senators to oppose bill targeting Israel boycotts

PM meets Mexican diplomat fired for challenging UNESCO Jerusalem vote

UN agency continues accusing Israel of apartheid

With Bibles and shovels, a search for the biblical tabernacle gathers pace at Shiloh

Jordanian Parliament Speaker: ‘We are documenting Israel’s racist laws and will spread them around the world’

Gaza sewage water polluting Israeli groundwater

Car-ramming terror attack in Hebron leaves 2 soldiers wounded, terrorist shot

Trump administration will continue to consult with Israel on Syria ceasefire

Israel Stuck Between a Trump Rock and Putin Hard Place Over Syria Cease-fire

US, Russia tout Israel’s security needs amid concerns of Iran in Syria

Allen West: If Israel goes, Western civilization goes

IDF says videos prove Hezbollah hiding behind NGO at border

Lebanon preparing for military operation near Syria border

Suicide bomb attack kills four in Kurdish-held Syrian northeast

Turkey and the Kurds are on the brink of war – and the Pentagon is right in the middle of it

The troubling US post-prison experiment to ‘rehabilitate’ an ISIS supporter

Islamic State’s customised car bombs – in pictures

Egypt police trap and kill 3 top ‘terrorist group’ members

Egyptian security forces kill prominent Islamic State militant in North Sinai

Trump was talked out of declaring Iran in breach of nuke deal

US slaps Iranians with sanctions over ‘malign’ activity

US sanctions Iran for ballistic missile program

Iran condemns ‘worthless’ US sanctions, responds with its own

Arab nations urge Qatar to adopt six anti-terror principles

Saudi-led coalition blocks UN aid staff flight carrying journalists to Yemen

Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen kills 11 civilians

Saudi King’s Son Plotted Effort to Oust His Rival

Controversial French anti-terror bill clears hurdle

Franklin Graham ‘Hurt and Stunned’ That Canada’s Justin Trudeau Awarded Former Al-Qaeda Member $8M

UK’s First State-Funded Muslim School Taken Over by Govt After Pro-Rape Books Found

U.S. general: North Korea can hit us

Top US general: North Korea might have the range, but lacks in accuracy

North Korea conducts public executions for theft, watching South Korea media

Pro-Russian rebel leader in east Ukraine unveils plan for new state

‘Sick:’ Trump slams report of ‘second meeting’ with Putin at G-20

House to vote on Trump’s $1.6B border wall request next week

House bill includes funds for just 28 miles of Trump border wall

Why the GOP Congress will be the most unproductive in 164 years

Trump Finds That Demolishing Obama’s Legacy Is Not So Simple

Sen. Chuck Schumer blames Trump for Obamacare failure: ‘Sabotage’

‘Let Obamacare Fail,’ Trump Says as GOP Health Bill Collapses

Health care bill collapse leaves divided GOP at crossroads

A Republican Party at war with itself hits the wall on health care

Robots to Ease the Burden on the Health-Care System

New Tech Brings Live Facial Recognition to Police Body Cameras

This incredible laser gun could be the Navy’s secret to fighting enemy drones

Cute floating space drone sends first images from ISS

White House supports FCC plan to dismantle net neutrality

Hacker steals more than $7 million in digital currency using a link switch

Visa offers thousands to small business owners to go ‘cashless’

Foreigners snap up record number of US homes

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Ryukyu Islands, Japan

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Attu Station, Alaska

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Owen Fracture Zone region

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 14,000ft

Nishinoshima volcano on Japan erupts to 10,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

India: New tropical depression threatens flooding this week

Adriatic fires prompt evacuations in Montenegro and Croatia

3 California Counties File Multi-Billion Dollar Lawsuits Against “Big Oil” Over Rising Sea Levels

Crews Spraying Around The Clock After A Billion Mosquitoes Blown In By Storms In South Florida

Israeli court gives government 2 months to reassess gay adoption policy

Kevin Daly – Who is My Brother?

Seeing the Unseen: The Nature of Spiritual Warfare

Word of Faith Fellowship – Defense team for pastor accused of kidnapping, assault wants ‘secret recordings’

Most Refugees Entering The U.S. Under Trump Are Christian

Iran – Christians jailed for 10 years and face public flogging for drinking communion wine

The New Covenant In The Blood of Jesus Christ Is The Only Covenant In God’s Sight!

When We Separate Prophecy from the Word of God

Former C3 Pastor Nick Dimitris strikes again…

NAACP leader Rev. Barber says praying for Trump ‘borders on heresy’

Mexican folk religion involving human sacrifice gaining status among criminals

Pastor in India Shot Dead

Willow Creek — Sacrificing the Church on the Altar of Carnal Leadership

The ‘New Breed’ Among Us (Part 1): Todd Bentley

David Jeremiah: “Appreciates Sarah Young and Jesus Calling”

Shack Author Says “ I Want to Be More Like Oprah”

Meet Five Men Who All Think They’re the Messiah

Two pastors from Washington, D.C., have filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola

ABC and NBC Call Pro-Life Legal Organization a “Hate Group”

Planned Parenthood Injures Woman in Botched Abortion, Hides Victim With Sheets

Pro-Abortion Leader Admits: Our Next Goal is Forcing Americans to Pay for Abortions

RUMORS OF WAR: Israel Prepares To Counter Iran and Hezbollah Build-Up In Syria

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:36 AM PDT

One of Israel’s most highly-regarded national security experts has warned Iran and its proxies — Hezbollah in Lebanon and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Atheist Group Stops Church From Handing Out ‘Religious Flyers’ During State-Affiliated Hunter’s Safety Class

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:28 AM PDT

A prominent professing atheist group that seeks to separate God from government has succeeded in stopping a church from distributing gospel literature and an invitation…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Minnesota City Eliminates Free Speech Zone Following Controversy Over Satanic Monument

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:25 AM PDT

Council members in a Minnesota city have voted to eliminate a free speech zone that it had just created in February as a way to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Another Hyper-Grace Teacher Bites the Dust

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:21 AM PDT

(By Dr. Michael Brown) I was sad but not surprised to see the announcement as yet another hyper-grace teacher took a giant step towards apostasy….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Thousands evacuated central California, wildfires burn across U.S. West

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:18 AM PDT

A 25,000-acre wildfire in central California, one of three dozen major blazes burning across the U.S. West, threatened hundreds of homes and businesses on Wednesday…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Massive wildfire threatens power supply to Yosemite National Park, 4,000 forced from homes

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:14 AM PDT

A massive wildfire in Mariposa County triggered a new round of evacuations Tuesday as flames threatened power lines that feed Yosemite National Park, officials said. Approximately…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Tensions Continue to Rise at Temple Mount

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:08 AM PDT

Clashes broke out between Muslim worshipers and police in the Old City of Jerusalem for the third night in a row on Tuesday, in response…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Army to Build Autonomous Drone Swarms…

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:05 AM PDT

The Army Research Lab is turning more of its attention to fighting land wars against far more technologically sophisticated adversaries than it has in the past…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China demands India withdraw troops from disputed Himalayan territory

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 07:08 PM PDT

China has reiterated its calls for India to withdraw troops from a disputed territory in the Himalayan mountains, to avoid an “escalation of the situation.”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Dad says predator was luring kids in popular online children’s game

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 06:20 PM PDT

A strong warning to parents about a popular online game your children may play. It’s called Roblox and can be purchased from any app store….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Evangelical Leaders Praying for Trump ‘Bordering on Heresy,’ Liberal Pastor Says

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 06:13 PM PDT

According to liberal Christian civil rights leader Rev. William Barber II, evangelical leaders who gathered at the White House to pray over President Donald Trump…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. Plunges Toward “Occultism And Demons”

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 06:05 PM PDT

Television shows featuring exorcisms as entertainment. Lucifer as a crime-fighting hero on television. Occult symbols used in music videos. References to demons seem to be everywhere in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China’s Censors Can Now Erase Images Mid-Transmission

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 05:55 PM PDT

China’s already formidable internet censors have demonstrated a new strength—the ability to delete images in one-on-one chats as they are being transmitted, making them disappear…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DC doctors now allowed to prescribe life-ending medications…

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 05:50 PM PDT

Doctors and pharmacies in the nation’s capital are now allowed to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill patients. The Death with Dignity Act of 2016…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mystery radio signals emerge from star in space…

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 05:46 PM PDT

Some very “peculiar signals” have been noticed coming from a star just 11 light-years away, scientists in Puerto Rico say. The mystery has gripped the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Google Releasing 20 Million Lab Created Mosquitoes…

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 01:33 PM PDT

Last October, we announced the Debug Project, an initiative at Verily to reduce the devastating global health impact that disease-carrying mosquitoes inflict on people around the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

100 million Americans either has diabetes or its precursor condition

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 01:28 PM PDT

Almost one-third of the US population — 100 million people — either has diabetes or its precursor condition, known as pre-diabetes, said a government report…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Family Thanks Jesus as Infant Healed of Rare Disease

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:44 PM PDT

When doctors told the family of 7-month-old Denniya Rawls that she would finally be released from the hospital after spending more than 100 days there,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: LGBTQ Activists Double Down to Fight Trump’s ‘Hateful Policies’

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:36 PM PDT

The Human Right Campaign (HRC), the nation’s top LGBTQ activist organization, will spend $26 million to nearly double its existing political structure and prepare for the 2018…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Fears of Tsunami After Powerful 7.8 Earthquake Strikes Near Aleutian Islands

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:31 PM PDT

Warnings have been issued of a possible tsunami within 300km of a shallow magnitude 7.8 quake off the coast of Russia. The epicentre is reported…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New Research Reveals Turin Shroud Stained With Blood of Torture Victim

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:27 PM PDT

New research claims the Shroud of Turin is stained with the blood of a torture victim, supporting the theory that it was used to bury…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

70-year-old veteran fired after trying to stop shoplifters

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:19 PM PDT

A 70-year-old veteran working at a Home Depot store tried to stop shoplifters taking thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, but his attempted intervention cost…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Amazon’s Alexa Just Took a Major Step Toward Matthew 24:14

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:10 PM PDT

Amazon’s Alexa can now help individuals better connect with God, thanks to the Abide Flash Briefing skill. On the heels of Amazon Prime Day, users need to enable the skill…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

After Kid Rock Announces Run, Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner Mulling a Political Seat

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:05 PM PDT

With former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura as recent examples, President Donald Trump wasn’t the first celebrity to run for political office. He wasn’t…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Technology may soon replace half of all “low-skilled jobs”…

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 04:59 PM PDT

Ball State University sits in Muncie, Indiana, at the heart the “Rust Belt,” so educators there have the right to be pessimistic about the drift…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Visa To Offer $500,000 To Restaurants That Go ‘100% Cashless’

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 04:45 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) The push toward a cashless society is becoming more of a shove.  Before today I had never heard of “The Visa Cashless…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Facial Recognition Coming to Police Body Cameras…

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 04:42 PM PDT

Even if the cop who pulls you over doesn’t recognize you, the body camera on his chest eventually just might. Device-maker Motorola will work with…

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?


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July 19, 2017: Verse of the day

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The Event

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (12:1)

The key phrase of this passage is let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. In the book of Hebrews, as in many places in the New Testament, “let us” may refer to believers, to unbelievers, or to both. As a matter of courtesy and concern, an author frequently identifies himself with those to whom he is writing, whether or not they are fellow Christians.

In Hebrews 4 (vv. 1, 14, 16), for example, I think unbelievers are being addressed. Similarly, 6:1 speaks of unbelievers going on to the maturity of salvation. In 10:23–24, the reference can be both to believers and unbelievers.

In 12:1, I believe “let us” may be used to refer to Jews who have made a profession of Christ, but have not gone all the way to full faith. They have not yet begun the Christian race, which starts with salvation—to which the writer is now calling them. The truths, however, apply primarily to Christians, who are already running.

The writer is saying, “If you are not a Christian, get in the race, because you have to enter before you can hope to win. If you are a Christian, run with endurance; don’t give up.”

Unfortunately, many people are not even in the race, and many Christians could hardly be described as running the race at all. Some are merely jogging, some are walking slowly, and some are sitting or even lying down. Yet the biblical standard for holy living is a race, not a morning constitutional. Race is the Greek agōn, from which we get agony. A race is not a thing of passive luxury, but is demanding, sometimes grueling and agonizing, and requires our utmost in self-discipline, determination, and perseverance.

God warned Israel, “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure in the the mountain of Samaria” (Amos 6:1). God’s people are not called to lie around on beds of ease. We are to run a race that is strenuous and continuous. In God’s army we never hear “At ease.” To stand still or to go backward is to forfeit the prize. Worse yet is to stay in the stands and never participate at all, for which we forfeit everything—even eternal heaven.

Endurance (hupomonē) is steady determination to keep going. It means continuing even when everything in you wants to slow down or give up. I can still remember the excruciating experience I had in high school when I first ran the half-mile. I was used to the 100-yard dash, which requires more speed but is over quickly. So I started out well; in fact I led the pack for the first 100 yards or so. But I ended dead last, and almost felt I was dead. My legs were wobbly, my chest was heaving, my mouth was cottony, and I collapsed at the finish line. That is the way many people live the Christian life. They start out fast, but as the race goes on they slow down, give up, or just collapse. The Christian race is a marathon, a long-distance race, not a sprint. The church has always had many short-spurt Christians, but the Lord wants those who will “make the distance.” There will be obstacles and there will be weariness and exhaustion, but we must endure if we are to win. God is concerned for steadfastness.

Many of the Hebrew Christians to whom the letter was written had started well. They had seen signs and wonders and were thrilled with their new lives (Heb. 2:4). But as the new began to wear off and problems began to arise, they began to lose their enthusiasm and their confidence. They started looking back at the old ways of Judaism, and around them and ahead of them at the persecution and suffering, and they began to weaken and waver.

Paul knew some Christians in the same condition, and to them he wrote, “Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15) and “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Cor. 9:24–25).

Nothing makes less sense than to be in a race that you have little desire to win. Yet I believe the lack of desire to win is a basic problem with many Christians. They are content simply to be saved and to wait to go to heaven. But in a race or in a war or in the Christian life, lack of desire to win is unacceptable.

Paul believed this principle and he had a hupomonē kind of determination. He did not pursue comfort, money, great learning, popularity, respect, position, lust of the flesh, or anything but God’s will. “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:26–27). That is what Christian commitment is all about.

The competition of the Christian life, of course, is different from that of an athletic race in two important ways. First, we are not to compete against other Christians, trying to outdo each other in righteousness, recognition, or accomplishments. Ours is not a race of works but a race of faith. Yet we do not compete with each other even in faith. We compete by faith, but not with each other. Our competition is against Satan, his world system, and our own sinfulness, often referred to in the New Testament as the flesh. Second, our strength is not in ourselves, but in the Holy Spirit; otherwise we could never endure. We are not called on to endure in ourselves, but in Him.

The Christian has only one way to endure—by faith. The only time we sin, the only time we fail, is when we do not trust. That is why our protection against Satan’s temptations is “the shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16). As long as we are trusting God and doing what He wants us to do, Satan and sin have no power over us. They have no way of getting to us or of hindering us. When we run in the power of God’s Spirit, we run successfully.

The Encouragement to Run

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, (12:1a)

We are all creatures of motivation. We need a reason for doing things and we need encouragement while we are doing them. One of the greatest motivations and encouragements to the unbelieving Jews, as well as to Christians, would be all these great believers from the past, their heroes, who lived the life of faith. The cloud of witnesses are all those faithful saints just mentioned in chapter 11. We are to run the race of faith like they did, always trusting, never giving up, no matter what the obstacles or hardships or cost.

They knew how to run the race of faith. They opposed Pharaoh, they forsook the pleasures and prerogatives of his court, they passed through the Red Sea, shouted down the walls of Jericho, conquered kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, received back their dead by resurrection, were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two, had to dress in animal skins, were made destitute—all for the sake of their faith.

Now the writer says, “You should run like they did. It can be done, if you run as they did—in faith. They ran and ran and ran, and they had less light to run by than you have. Yet they were all victorious, every one of them.”

I do not believe that the cloud of witnesses surrounding us is standing in the galleries of heaven watching as we perform. The idea here is not that we should be faithful lest they be disappointed, or that we should try to impress them like a sports team trying to impress the fans in the bleachers. These are witnesses to God, not of us. They are examples, not onlookers. They have proved by their testimony, their witness, that the life of faith is the only life to live.

To have a whole gallery of such great people looking down on us would not motivate us but paralyze us. We are not called to please them. They are not looking at us; we are to look at them. Nothing is more encouraging than the successful example of someone who has “done it before.” Seeing how God was with them encourages us to trust that He will also be with us. The same God who was their God is our God. The God of yesterday is the God of today and tomorrow. He has not weakened, or lost interest in His people, or lessened His love and care for them. We can run as well as they did. It has nothing to do with how we compare with them, but in how our God compares with theirs. Because we have the same God, He can do the same things through us if we trust Him.

The Encumbrances That Hinder Us

Let us also lay aside every encumbrance. (12:1b)

One of the greatest problems runners face is weight. Several years ago the winner of a recent Olympic gold medal for the 100 meters came to our country for an invitational track meet. He was considered the world’s fastest human being. But when he ran the preliminary heat, he did not even qualify. In an interview afterward he said the reason was simple. He was overweight. He had trained too little and eaten too much. He had not gained a great amount of weight, but it was enough to keep him from winning—even from qualifying, Because of a few pounds, he was no longer a winner. In that particular race, he was not even qualified to compete.

An encumbrance (onkos) is simply a bulk or mass of something. It is not necessarily bad in itself. Often it is something perfectly innocent and harmless. But it weighs us downs diverts our attention, saps our energy, dampens our enthusiasm for the things of God. We cannot win when we are carrying excess weight. When we ask about a certain habit or condition, “What’s wrong with that?” the answer often is, “Nothing in itself.” The problem is not in what the weight is but in what it does. It keeps us from running well and therefore from winning.

In most sports, especially where speed and endurance count, weighing in is a daily routine. It is one of the simplest, but most reliable, tests of being in shape. When an athlete goes over his weight limit, he is put on a stricter exercise and diet program until he is down to where he should be—or he is put on the bench or off the team.

Too much clothing is also a hindrance. Elaborate uniforms are fine for parades, and sweat suits are fine for warming up, but when the race comes, the least clothing that decency allows is all that is worn. When we become more concerned about appearances than about spiritual reality and vitality, our work and testimony for Jesus Christ are seriously encumbered.

We do not know exactly what sort of things the writer had in mind regarding spiritual encumbrances, and commentators venture a host of ideas. From the context of the letter as a whole, I believe the main encumbrance was Judaistic legalism, hanging on to the old religious ways. Most of those ways were not wrong in themselves. Some had been prescribed by God for the time of the Old Covenant. But none of them was of any value now, and in fact had become hindrances. They were sapping energy and attention from Christian living. The Temple and its ceremonies and pageantry were beautiful and appealing. And all the regulations, the does and don’ts of Judaism, were pleasing to the flesh. They made it easy to keep score on your religious life. But these were all weights, some of them very heavy weights. They were like a ball and chain to spiritual living by faith. These Jewish believers, or would-be believers, could not possibly run the Christian race with all their excess baggage.

Some in the Galatian church faced the same problem. Paul tells them, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly” (Gal. 2:20–21). He goes on, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (3:1–3). To impress his point even more, Paul says, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” (4:9). “After you started the Christian race,” he is saying, “why did you then put all those old weights back on?”

Another type of encumbrance can be fellow Christians. We need to be careful about blaming others for our shortcomings. But a lot of Christians not only are not running themselves but are keeping others from running. They are figuratively sitting on the track, and those who are running have to hurdle them. Often the workers in the church have to keep jumping over or running around the nonworkers. The devil does not put all the encumbrances in the way. Sometimes we do his work for him.

Let us also lay aside … the sin which so easily entangles us. (12:1c)

An even more significant hindrance to Christian living is sin. Obviously all sin is a hindrance to Christian living, and the reference here may be to sin in general. But use of the definite article (the sin) seems to indicate a particular sin. And if there is one particular sin that hinders the race of faith it is unbelief, doubting God. Doubting and living in faith contradict each other. Unbelief entangles the Christian’s feet so that he cannot run. It wraps itself around us so that we trip and stumble every time we try to move for the Lord, if we try at all. It easily entangles us. When we allow sin in our lives, especially unbelief, it is quite easy for Satan to keep us from running.[1]


1 The intimate connection of these verses with ch. 11 appears in the unusually emphatic “therefore” (toigaroun) that opens this verse. It is immediately followed by kai hēmeis, “we too”; “we” are not only part of the same race but also, as 11:39–40 has explained, the culmination of it, so that all the previous runners are looking to “us” to finish off what they have begun so well. The striking visual metaphor of a “cloud” (nephos) of witnesses (“fig. of a compact, numberless throng” [BDAG, 670]) surrounding the runners further emphasizes the solidarity of the Christian with God’s faithful people through the ages. They are “witnesses” (martyres) because their lives (and in some cases their deaths) witnessed to the unconquerable faith in God for which they were “commended” (11:2, 4, 5, 39—the verb is martyreō, GK 3455), but they are also, as those who trusted God and whose faith has been vindicated, witnesses to the reliability of God’s promises. Moreover, the presence of these “witnesses” (the secondary sense “spectators,” while not the main point, fits the metaphor well) means that to fail to complete the race would be not just a personal disappointment but a public disgrace.

The NT contains several references to the Christian life under the metaphor of an athletic contest (notably 1 Co 9:24–27; Gal 2:2; 5:7; 1 Ti 6:12; 2 Ti 4:7; in this letter already in 10:32); here it is specifically a long-distance footrace for which they are entered. Such a race, run in a very public arena, requires not only maximum concentration but also the removal of all that could reduce performance, pictured in terms of the athletic metaphor as “weights” (NIV, “everything that hinders”; the word could cover excess bodily weight as well as things carried or worn), but then also specified nonmetaphorically as entangling “sin” (in general, not just specific sins). The author coins a graphic term that probably means “easily ensnaring or obstructing,” picturing something, perhaps a flowing garment, that clings around the runners’ legs. Instead, the runners need “perseverance,” the determination to keep going even when it hurts. In 10:32, the author has commended them for this quality in the past and in 10:36 has singled it out as the essential basis for their continuing as God’s faithful people in the difficult situation they now face.[2]


12:1. Believers find encouragement in being surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses as the saints mentioned in Hebrews 11. Their triumph gives evidence of the possibilities of a life of faith. The figure of a cloud suggests a massive host of these exemplary servants. We receive much encouragement from knowing that others have faced obstacles in the Christian life and have gloriously triumphed.

Such encouragement should lead us to cast aside every hindrance and besetting sin. We are to rid ourselves of any thought, attitude, or practice which impedes our progress in the Christian life. Sin finds an easy victim in all of us, so we must reject its entanglement.

Rejecting sin’s entanglement lets us run our race with staying power. Perseverance calls for stamina or staying power. The race is that path God has marked out for us. We cannot select our own program. We must faithfully follow the route God himself has marked.[3]


1. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

The contemporaries of the first readers of Hebrews had developed an interest in sports. Athletes contended in a local stadium, while spectators sat on the tiered seats around the arena. Although Christians perhaps were not fully involved (because the games provided an excuse for pagan excesses), they were thoroughly familiar with the sports of their day. From the world of sports, the author borrows the imagery of spectators, apparel and condition of contestants, and the contest itself.

Note these points:

  • Cloud

The author places himself on the same level as that of the readers. He is one with them, for he is a contestant, too. With his fellow contestants, he looks up at the stands and sees a multitude of spectators. The writer of Hebrews calls them “a great cloud of witnesses.” This may be an idiomatic expression that means the same as our term a host of people. The word witness, however, has two meanings. First, it refers to a person who watches the scene before him; his eyes and his ears tell him what is happening. Next, the word means that a person is able to talk about what he has seen and heard.

The witnesses are not silent. In fact, the writer of Hebrews says of Abel, “And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead” (11:4). The heroes of faith mentioned in chapter 11 speak, but they do so through the pages of Scripture. They cheer us on, so to speak, for the race we run concerns the cause of Christ. Through their biblical voices they encourage us in our contest of faith.2 The witnesses surround us, for they have an interest in our achievement (11:40).

  • Hindrance

“Let us throw off everything that hinders,” writes the author. He looks at the clothes we wear and the physical condition we are in. When we run a race, we dress in suitable sportswear designed to provide minimum weight and maximum comfort. And to qualify as runners, we strive to lose extra body fat by strengthening our muscles. That which is bulky in our bodies must disappear, for it hinders us in the race that we run.

What are the impediments that hinder us? Jesus says, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life” (Luke 21:34). Paul instructs, “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (Col. 3:8; also see James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1).

  • Sin

A hindrance in itself is not a sin, but because it impedes a contestant a hindrance can become sin. Sin entangles, much as a flowing robe that reaches down to the ground would entangle a runner in ancient times. Put this impediment aside, says the author of Hebrews. “Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up.”

The writer is rather specific. He calls sin the sin. What does he mean? He refrains from answering this question, but other passages of Scripture suggest that the sin of covetousness ranks chief among man’s transgressions. Remember that Eve fell into sin because she desired to gain wisdom (Gen. 3:6). The last commandment in the Decalogue forbids covetousness (Exod. 20:17; Deut. 5:21). And this commandment actually serves as a summary to point out that the preceding commandments implicitly are directed against man’s covetousness. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul calls evil desires and greed idolatry (3:5; also see Eph. 4:22). Even though the author of Hebrews refers to the sin, he himself leaves the precise meaning an open question. The intent of his exhortation is that we ought to avoid sin, for it impedes our movement in the race that we must run.

  • Race

When the writer exhorts us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” he echoes the words of Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Paul spoke these words at the end of his life when he knew he was approaching the finish line and the “crown of righteousness” waiting for him.

We, the contestants, must run the race with perseverance. Our objective is to come to the finish line. But as we keep on running the course that God laid out before us, we keep our eye of faith fixed on Jesus. He encourages us to persevere in the contest, for he himself has run the same race. Jesus is the one who strengthens the runner and enables him to endure.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 372–377). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 167–168). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, pp. 218–219). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 364–367). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

LIAR! 12 Reasons God Hates Lying

Lying: God hates it, and don’t you? But God loves truth-tellers. He is truth! In this brief article, pastor-counselor Paul Tautges shares a dozen reason God hates lying with ample scripture. What would you add to the list? His article appeared first here and is used with permission.

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Deception, in one form or another, is a regular part of many people’s lives in our world today. However, much to the church’s shame, many Christians continue to give in to the temptation to lie their way through life as well. What does God think of this? Proverbs 6:19 includes on the list of things that God hates, “a false witness who utters lies.”

Why does God hate lying?

And why does he not only hate lying, but liars as well? The Bible provides many reasons. Here are twelve of them.

1. God loves truthful speech and truth-tellers.

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man (Prov. 3:3-4).

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight (Prov. 12:22).

2. Lying reveals a lack of godliness.

He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit (Prov. 12:17).

A righteous man hates falsehood, but a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully (Prov. 13:5).

3. Lying is a mark of an unfaithful person.

A trustworthy witness will not lie, but a false witness utters lies (Prov. 14:5).

4. Deceiving people in order to get financial help is worse than being poor.

The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death (Prov. 21:6).

What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar (Prov. 19:22).

5. Lying is often motivated by fear, which is contrary to love.

Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What have you encountered, that you have done this thing?” Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife” (Gen. 20:9-11).

Perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

6. Hypocrites are addicted to lying.

Ephraim surrounds Me with lies and the house of Israel with deceit; Judah is also unruly against God, even against the Holy One who is faithful (Hosea 11:12).

7. Liars love impure conversation.

An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue (Prov. 17:4).

8. Lying is a cause of unanswered prayer.

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken falsehood, your tongue mutters wickedness (Isa. 59:2-3).

9. Jesus called Satan “the father of lies” and the devil excites men to lie.

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3).

10. Lying often accompanies other sins.

Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel, for the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed (Hosea 4:1-2).

11. Liars will perish.

You destroy those who speak falsehood; the Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit (Psalm 5:6).

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish (Prov. 19:9).

But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).

12. Truthful people will prevail in the end.

But the king will rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him will glory, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped (Psalm 63:11).

Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment (Prov. 12:19).

As followers of Jesus Christ, the Truth incarnate, we are called to put away the old self with its practices, which includes lying (Col. 3:9). Therefore, let us make this our prayer: Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God (Proverbs 30:8-9).

RECOMMENDED MINI-BOOKHELP! I Want to Change, which is also available in Kindle format.

 

The post LIAR! 12 Reasons God Hates Lying appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.

Do James and Paul disagree on grace and works?

Critics of the slogan “faith alone” often point out that Scripture only speaks once about whether we are justified by faith alone—and that text denies it: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24, CSB).

What does James mean in saying we are justified by works?

I won’t defend the truth of justification by faith alone in detail, but it’s clearly taught, for example, in Romans 3:28: “A person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” Or, as Paul teaches in Romans 4:5, “God justifies the ungodly.” Both Abraham and David were justified by faith and not by works (Rom. 4:1–8; Gal. 3:6–9).

Salvation, as Paul elsewhere demonstrates, is “by grace” and “through faith” (Eph. 2:8–9). Works are excluded as the basis of salvation—otherwise people could boast about what they have done. Salvation by grace through faith highlights the amazing and comforting truth that salvation is the Lord’s work, not ours.

But does Paul contradict James?

James and Works Righteousness

James 2:14–26 repeatedly argues that faith without works doesn’t save on the last day. Those who claim to have faith but lack good works aren’t saved by such a claiming faith (Jas. 2:14). James compares such faith to “words of love and comfort” given to someone who is cold and hungry. Such words are meaningless if not accompanied by actions to feed and clothe the person in need (2:15–16). So also, faith without works is “dead” and “useless” (2:17, 20, 26).

Faith that is merely intellectual, or faith that claims to believe but is bereft of any action, is no better than “the faith” of demons. After all, they subscribe to the orthodox belief that “God is one,” and they “shudder” in terror (2:19). James highlights that Abraham was “justified by works” in offering up Isaac (2:21), and Rahab the prostitute was “justified by works” in receiving the spies and protecting them from danger (2:25).

More than intellectual belief

At first glance, it might seem James rejects justification by faith alone, but first glances aren’t enough when reading the Scriptures. We are called to read deeply and canonically. James doesn’t deny that faith saves; he rejects the notion that a particular kind of faith saves—a faith that doesn’t produce works. In short, faith that is merely intellectual assent is not saving faith.

Again, demons professed that Jesus is “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24), but their belief in that truth didn’t save them. Even though they knew who Jesus was, they hated him. Saving faith, then, is the act of the entire person. It includes the will and the emotions, such that those who believe in Jesus give themselves to him.

Faith alone justifies

Let’s think of it another way. Faith alone justifies, but only the kind of faith that inevitably produces good works. Now, such good works aren’t the basis of justification; indeed, they can’t be, for one sin makes you a lawbreaker (Jas. 2:10–11). Good works can’t function as the foundation of our justification because God demands perfection, and even after we are converted we continue to sin.

James, in fact, says this very thing in the next passage after discussing justification by works: “We all stumble in many ways” (3:2). The word “stumble” means “sin,” as the parallel text in James 2:10 shows. Every one of us without exception—including James (“we all”)—continue to sin.

Is he saying we sin only occasionally? Absolutely not. He says we all sin “in many ways.” We don’t just sin in a few ways, but in many. Since sin continues to characterize the lives of believers in remarkable ways, and since God demands perfection, works that justify can’t form the basis of our justification.

Fruit, not root

How should we understand the works James requires? Certainly good works are necessary, for without them we will not be justified, but we have seen that they aren’t the necessary basis or foundation.

The best solution is to say they are the result and fruit of faith. True faith expresses it in works. Paul actually says the same thing, teaching what ultimately matters is “faith expressing itself through love” (Gal. 5:6, NIV).

The concept isn’t hard to understand. If I said the room you were in was about to blow up in one minute, and you believed me, desired to live, and were physically able to leave, you would hurry to exit. True faith would lead to works! Leaving the room would be the result of your faith. So it’s right to say, as the Reformers did, that we are justified by faith alone, but that true faith is never alone. I would suggest James is teaching this very idea.

It isn’t as if our works save or justify in the sense that they qualify us to enter God’s presence—as if our virtue wins us God’s favor on the last day. James teaches that there is an organic relationship between genuine faith and works. If we truly trust Christ, that trust shows up in how we live. Works evidence our faith.

Twin biblical truths

Why do Paul and James sound so different? Why does it appear at first glance they contradict? We need to remember that letters were written to specific situations facing specific churches. Paul wrote to churches where people were tempted to trust in their works for salvation, while James wrote to those who were disposed to think intellectual assent could save them.

Paul counteracts legalism, while James corrects antinomianism.

Of course, Paul rejected antinomianism as well: “I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21). He also believed good works were necessary for eternal life, but both Paul and James believed such works were the fruit of saving faith, not the root.

In the beauty and completeness of God’s Word, Paul and James teach complementary, not contradictory, truths.

 

The post Do James and Paul disagree on grace and works? appeared first on Southern Equip.

Remember, Repent, and Recover

Unfathomable Grace

As you contemplate the past, do you find yourself rejoicing in how the powerful hand of God worked in your midst? In days gone by, has his Spirit called you and used you in supernatural ways to touch and transform the lives of people? Wasn’t it exciting to be spiritually tender and available? Wasn’t it a joy to see yourself as God’s ambassador to the neighborhood or the nations?

Now, as you contemplate your present condition, do you find yourself befuddled over your compromise, your coldness, and your current chaotic state? Have you lost the joy of your salvation? Does the Spirit seem quenched? Have you fallen away a bit … or a lot? Does yesterday’s ministerial glee seem a distant memory?

Well troubled brother and sister, what ought you to do? It is my contention that you should open the Scripture, study the numerous examples of struggling, sinful saints, and…

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The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 8 – The Spirit-filled Heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness…

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