Monthly Archives: July 2017

Hillsong, Bethel Music and The Great Seduction

Satan and his minions are shrewd, deceptive, relentless and exceedingly powerful creatures!  So with this in mind, here’s a reminder from Emergent Watch:

Many have apparently forgotten that the Holy Spirit will not magnify Himself or some alleged experience, but will magnify Jesus! “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me…” – John 16:13-14

Many in the visible church seem to have forgotten that the Holy Spirit always points us to the Lord Jesus Christ, while Satan’s goal is to turn us away from Christ. One of the ways he accomplishes this goal is through “Christian” music, as you will see in the following piece:


For the first time, Hillsong United is uniting with Bethel (Redding’s) Music for a “Night of Worship” on July 21 @ the Redding Civic Auditorium. Note that by their participation, Hillsong is effectively declaring their affinity with Bethel Redding, it’s music, and by default, it’s doctrines.

That these two groups should join together is hardly surprising, as both have been at the forefront of the transformation of church music – from the worship of God, to effectively worshiping “worship” music – From music that exalts God, into music that exalts an experiential “encounter” with “the presence”, and which magnifies feelings and emotions.

View article →

Source: Hillsong, Bethel Music and The Great Seduction

The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 14 – Conclusion

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

37 For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
38 But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. Hebrews 10:37-39 (NASB) 

As we end this study of the Pilgrim’s Heart, let us take notice of the vast difference between the self-focused Christian, the Flesh-bound, and the God-focused Christian, the Spirit-led. The former is fleshly. He or she may very well be a genuine Christian, but they struggle mightily with besetting sins and are still focused on self-gratification as a means of fulfillment. His or her heart is relatively hard or callous towards God. The latter is not nearly as fleshly. He or she…

View original post 797 more words

July 25, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

Jul. 25, 2017 |


Donald Trump ratcheted up his criticism of Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, and a top aide said the president likely wants his attorney general gone and has recently considered firing the head of the FBI’s Russia investigation.

House Republicans this week are increasing the possibility of a government shutdown in October by moving forward with a $788 billion spending bill that complies with President Donald Trump’s demands to boost the military, reduce clean-energy programs and fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Israel began removing metal detectors from a contested Jerusalem shrine in a bid to quell violent Palestinian opposition, in a deal that also helped to end a diplomatic standoff with Jordan.

At 26 percent, Indonesia has the largest ratio of female ministers among the 10 biggest countries based on population size, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union or IPU, a global organization of parliaments based in Geneva.

U.S. Senator John McCain, who underwent surgery last week for brain cancer, will return to Washington Tuesday as the Senate prepares to take up embattled healthcare legislation, a dramatic development that could boost Republican efforts to get enough votes to pass the measure.

Steady price gains in 20 U.S. cities in May indicate that a tight supply of properties paired with increased demand is boosting home values, according to figures from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller on Tuesday.

AP Top Stories

Iran and Iraq on Sunday signed deals aimed at boosting military cooperation during a visit by Baghdad’s Defense Minister Irfan al-Hayali to Tehran.

Fake street signs warning of “easily startled” cops have popped up in Minnesota, sparked by the fatal police shooting of an area yoga teacher who called 911 to report a possible sex assault near her home.

Germany has no right to interfere in Turkey’s domestic affairs, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, his latest broadside in a blistering row sparked by the waves of arrests under the current state of emergency.

Hezbollah said on Monday its battle with Nusra Front jihadists at the Syria-Lebanon border was almost over and urged remaining insurgents in the area to give up, pressing its campaign to take their last foothold at the frontier.

World’s oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat, USS Constitution, made a comeback Sunday after a 26-month-long restoration project. The ship that turns 220 in October was undocked from the Charlestown Navy Yard Historical Park in Boston. It later entered the Boston Harbor. Launched in 1797, the wooden ship is one of the six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794.

Two former leaders of an isolated polygamous community in Canada were convicted Monday of practicing polygamy after a decades-long legal fight, setting up another potential court battle over the constitutionality of Canada’s polygamy laws. Winston Blackmore, 60, and James Oler, 53, were found guilty by British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Sheri Ann Donegan, who said the evidence was clear that Blackmore was married to 25 women at the same time and that Oler was married to five women in the tiny community of Bountiful.

Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea at the weekend, with one jet coming within about 300 feet of the American aircraft.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday demanded Russia’s Vladimir Putin halt arms supplies to rebels as the leaders of France and Germany tried to revive a peace plan.

Germany is urging the European Union to add up to four more Russian nationals and companies to the bloc’s sanctions blacklist over Siemens gas turbines delivered to Moscow-annexed Crimea.


Some workers at a company in Wisconsin will soon be getting microchips in order to enter the office, log into computers and even buy a snack or two with just a swipe of the hand. Of the 80 employees at the Three Square Market’s River Falls headquarters, more than 50 had agreed to get implants. Participation was not required.

Protesters in a south-western French town have built a wall around the entrance to a former hotel to prevent it being used as a migrant shelter.

The Vatican has started shutting off its famous fountains amid a prolonged drought in many parts of Italy.

The UN’s refugee agency has accused Australia of reneging on an agreement to reunite some refugees with relatives already living in the nation. It said Australia had recently backed out of that understanding. Australia has said no such promise ever existed.

More than half the world’s children who are not being educated are in Nigeria, the country’s government has said. It was “sad to note” that Nigeria had 10.5 million children out of school. This is the first time senior officials have admitted the size of the problem.

The new US special representative for Ukraine says Washington is actively reviewing whether to send weapons to help those fighting against Russian-backed rebels.


One college is now handing out punishment to students for disrupting free speech on campus, and while the speaker impacted says she is glad there are some consequences for those protesters, she still believes colleges may be hopelessly immersed in the movement of racial victimhood.

Following student accusations of “racism” and “homophobia,” and subsequently facing diminished teaching prospects, art professor Michael Bonesteel recently resigned from his position at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, claiming he was “unfairly vilified and demonized by [a] small cadre of militant LGBT students with an authoritarian agenda.”

Top News – 7/25/2017

DARPA invests $65 million in developing gene editing technologies
“The field of gene editing has been advancing at an astounding pace, opening the door to previously impossible genetic solutions but without much emphasis on how to mitigate potential downsides,” says Safe Genes program manager Renee Wegrzyn. “DARPA launched Safe Genes to begin to refine those capabilities by emphasizing safety first for the full range of potential applications, enabling responsible science to proceed by providing tools to prevent and mitigate misuse.”

US Navy Patrol Ship Fires Warning Shots At Iranian Vessel
One day after a US spy plane had to take “evasive action” over the East China Sea after a Chinese fighter jet showed off its Top Gun skills and appeared 90 meters in front of the interloper, a US Navy patrol ship fired warning shots toward an Iranian vessel near the northern Arabian Gulf on Tuesday after the vessel came within 150 yards

After spate of Chinese patrols, Taiwan says it’s prepared to defend itself
Taiwan is prepared to defend itself against China if necessary, the self-ruled island’s defence ministry said on Tuesday, in a strongly worded response to recent flybys by Chinese warplanes near the island China claims as a wayward province.

Temple Mount police concerned:’we’re sitting ducks’
The decision to remove metal detectors at the entrances to Temple Mount have alarmed the police situated at the site, who are wondering whether they are supposed to be what they termed ‘sitting ducks.’

Yemen cholera epidemic slowing after infecting 400,000
Yemen’s cholera outbreak is set to hit 400,000 cases on Tuesday but there are signs the three-month-old epidemic is slowing, according to World Health Organization data…

Muslims urged to stay away from Temple Mount
A senior cleric says Muslims should stay away from a major Jerusalem shrine, pending a review of the new Israeli security arrangements there. Ikrema Sabri, the head of the Supreme Islamic Committee in the city, said such a review might be completed later on Tuesday.

Netanyahu welcomes homes Jordan envoy and freed embassy guard
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in his Jerusalem office Tuesday morning with Israel’s Ambassador to Jordan, Einat Schlein, and Ziv, the Israeli guard stabbed in the embassy complex Sunday evening. The meeting came less than 12 hours after they…crossed over the Allenby Bridge after a hair-raising drama that began with the stabbing of Ziv, and his firing two shots in self-defense, killing the assailant and another man at the scene.

Israel removes Temple Mount metal detectors that enraged the Muslim world
Israeli authorities began Tuesday morning to dismantle metal detectors it had placed at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the placing of which earlier this month lead to widespread outrage in the Muslim world, claiming they violated the status quo in the site that is sacred to believers…In the meantime, Israel is also removing some of the security cameras it installed overlooking the entrance to the complex.

China set to launch an ‘unhackable’ internet communication
As malicious hackers mount ever more sophisticated attacks, China is about to launch a new, “unhackable” communications network – at least in the sense that any attack on it would be quickly detected. The technology it has turned to is quantum cryptography, a radical break from the traditional encryption methods around.

Japanese woman dies from tick disease after cat bite
A Japanese woman died last year of a tick-borne disease after being bitten by a stray cat, Japan’s health ministry says, in what could be the first such mammal-to-human transmission. The unnamed woman in her 50s had been helping the apparently sick cat. Ten days later she died of Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS), which is carried by ticks.

France tackles fierce forest fires on Riviera and in Corsica
Unusually hot, dry and windy weather in south-east France has contributed to the spread of forest fires across the region. The island of Corsica, the town of Carros, close to Nice, and Saint-Tropez were among the areas badly hit on Monday. Hundreds of homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Syria war: Russia sends police to southern ‘safe zones’
Russia says it has deployed forces to monitor so-called de-escalation zones in southern Syria. The defence ministry said military police had been sent to Eastern Ghouta on the edge of the capital Damascus, and to an area in the south-west. It is the first time foreign personnel have been despatched to help implement the “safe zones” agreed with Turkey and Iran earlier this year.

Egypt’s El-Sisi calls on Israel not to provoke Muslims
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi addressed Israel in a speech Monday, calling on its residents and leaders to “stop what is happening in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and not to provoke the feelings of Arabs and Muslims.” El-Sisi…said, “The unfortunate events at Al-Aqsa are causing an unnecessary situation. I appeal to public opinion in Israel, the Israeli people and the Israeli leadership—please, this must stop.

Chinese jets intercept U.S. surveillance plane: U.S. officials
Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea at the weekend, with one jet coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of the American aircraft, U.S. officials said on Monday. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said initial reports showed one of the Chinese J-10 aircraft came close enough to the U.S. EP-3 plane on Sunday to cause the American aircraft to change direction.

North Korea identifies Hawaii and Alaska as possible targets for missile launch
The official government newspaper of North Korea boasted on Sunday that Hawaii and Alaska could be possible targets for the nuclear ballistic missile the North Korean government allegedly possesses. According to NK News, Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper run by the Workers’ Party of Korea stated that intercontinental ballistic missile has a range capability up to 6,400 kilometers, which means the missile could travel far enough to hit Hawaii or Alaska.

Former CIA Director Calls For A Coup If Trump Fires Mueller
“I think it’s the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry out some of these orders that again are inconsistent with what this country is all about…. If Mueller is fired, I hope our elected reps will stand up and say enough is enough.”

Proof Positive Obama Administration Stole Dividends from Fannie and Freddie Shareholders
Shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, after years of discouraging litigation, finally have the proof positive they need to demonstrate at court exactly how the Obama administration stole from them billions of dollars of profits earned by the Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs).

“Time Is Running Out” – China Is Planning For A Crisis Along North Korean Border
Despite Chinese officials reassurance that “military means shouldn’t be an option,” WSJ reports that China has been bolstering defenses along its 880-mile frontier with North Korea and realigning forces in surrounding regions to prepare for a potential crisis across their border, including the possibility of a U.S. military strike.

Trump throws wrench in U.N. plan to ‘replace’ U.S. population
In the last year of his presidency, Barack Obama and his administration worked tirelessly with the United Nations to expand the definition of “refugee” to include economic migrants and drastically increase the numbers being resettled in the United States.

Flow of asylum seekers crossing into Canada from U.S. rises …
The number of asylum seekers walking across the U.S. border into Canada rose in June after dropping in the previous two months, according to government figures released on Friday.

NYT Blames Obama Admin For Foiled Attack
The New York Times blamed former Obama administration officials for releasing information that a U.S. general says allowed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi to slip away from American forces.

This Pop Singer and American Witches Want to Hex the President

Last October a group called “Feminists Against Trump” organized a “witch-in” to “cast magical spells of love and feminism to destroy the Great Orange One and his alleged racism, xenophobia and sexism. Now there’s a new spell caster in town who plans to do a mass spell binding against the president. LifeZette has the story:

President Trump can count on many plagues in the six months he’s been in the office, such as the leaks, endless obstructionism, and a mainstream media determined to cast him from the White House. But pop artist Lana Del Rey would like to add to his troubles and has already begun to do so—by casting a spell on him.

“Yeah, I did it, why not?” Del Rey told NME.  “Look, I do a lot of [stuff].”

View article →

A Mystery Investor Has Made A 262 Million Dollar Bet That The Stock Market Will Crash By October

One mystery trader has made an extremely large bet that the stock market is going to crash by October, and if he is right he could potentially make up to 262 million dollars on the deal.  Fortunes were made and lost during the great financial crisis of 2008, and the same thing will happen again the next time we see a major stock market crash.  But will that stock market crash take place before 2017 is over?  Without a doubt, we are in the midst of one of the largest stock market bubbles in U.S. history, and many prominent investors are loudly warning of an imminent stock market collapse.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that this stock market bubble is going to end very badly just like all of the other stock market bubbles throughout history have, but if you could know the precise timing that it will end you could set yourself up financially for the rest of your life. (Read More…)

If America Does Not Turn Back To God, There Isn’t Going To Be An America

I know that politicians aren’t supposed to talk like this, but I don’t care. I am not a politician and I never will be. And I am not running for Congress because I want a career in politics. We have enough career politicians right now, and so we definitely don’t need another one. So I am not going to carefully craft a message that I think that the voters want to hear. Instead, I am just going to tell the truth, and I believe that people all over America are going to stand with me. And the truth is that if America does not turn back to God, there isn’t going to be an America. (Read More…)

Washington D.C. Is Essentially Just A Gigantic Money Machine

If you have ever wondered why our leaders in Washington D.C. seem to act so strangely, the truth is that it almost always comes down to just one thing.  It has been said that “money makes the world go round”, and that is definitely true in Washington.  This year the federal government will spend more than 4 trillion dollars, and that represents well over one-fifth of our national GDP.  With so much money coming in and so much money going out, the stakes are incredibly high, and that is why so much money is poured into political campaigns on the national level. (Read More…)

July 24, 2017
Health system should be based on ‘private, voluntary associations’
ALAN KEYES — The GOP’s purported effort to repeal and replace Obamacare appears to have reached an impasse. The maneuvering to deal with that impasse reveals (that is to say, unveils yet also hides) the fact that that effort is itself questionably sincere. The word “repeal” conveys the sense of calling back what was previously set forth, so that things return, insofar as possible, to what they once were…. (more)

July 24, 2017

NEWSMAX — The parents of Charlie Gard tearfully gave up their legal battle to keep their terminally ill baby alive on Monday, saying his condition had deteriorated too far for any possible recovery, in a case they said had touched the world…. (more)

July 24, 2017

NEWSMAX — Forbes’ opinion editor Avik Roy is shredding the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s evaluation of the Republican healthcare bill. His comments come in a column for Forbes analyzing the CBO reports on the GOP bill…. (more)

July 24, 2017
NEWSMAX — House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said “single payer is on the table” regarding health care legislation as he announced Democrats would roll out a new economic agenda this week…. (more)

July 24, 2017
CHERYL CHUMLEY — Democrats are in a tizzy about their latest and brightest prospect for the 2020 White House – – Kamala Harris, the senator from California who made a name for herself bullying Jeff Sessions during his attorney general confirmation hearings…. (more)

July 24, 2017
GREG COROMBOS — Senate Republicans appear unable to pass a straight repeal of Obamacare or a more comprehensive plan, and one of the most fiscally conservative members of Congress says the GOP either needs to do what it promised or prepare to watch the rest of the Trump agenda wither away…. (more)

July 24, 2017

NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump angrily sidelined the State Department and assigned trusted White House staffers with making the potential case for withholding certification at the next review of the Iran nuclear deal, Foreign Policy reported…. (more)

July 24, 2017
NEWSMAX — A Kansas makeup artist says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy…. (more)

July 24, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The Trump administration is in the beginning stages of forming an adversarial “red team” to play devil’s advocate in a plan to debate the facts behind global warming and take on what skeptics call climate alarmism…. (more)

July 23, 2017
NEWSMAX — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to schedule a vote Tuesday to bring legislation to repeal Obamacare outright to the floor for debate in hopes of forcing Republicans to own their positions…. (more)

July 23, 2017
BOB UNRUH — A team of property rights advocates, lawyers and state lawmakers has joined forces for a nationwide campaign to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court…. (more)

July 23, 2017
BOB UNRUH — There are some 90 million members of China’s Communist Party, and all of them now have been banned from having religious beliefs…. (more)

July 23, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — The police knew there was a problem in the Women’s Medical Society of Philadelphia, but they didn’t realize just what the problem was until they got there…. (more)

July 23, 2017
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — President Donald Trump’s rant against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an interview with the New York Times, is a foolish bit of revisionist history. Sessions erred in the rashness and overbreadth of his recusal from the Russia investigation, but the president has himself to blame for the appointment of a special counsel…. (more)

July 23, 2017
BYRON YORK — The Republican president has a job approval rating around 40 percent. The GOP has an unfavorability rating around 56 percent. And Republicans trail Democrats by nine points in an average of “generic ballot” polls…. (more)

July 22, 2017
NEWSMAX — Hawaii has begun planning for a potential North Korean nuclear attack through educating the public and dusting off Cold War-era training manuals. Hawaii News Now reports that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is urging residents of the island state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to be prepared if the rogue nation decides to attack the U.S…. (more)

July 22, 2017
GARTH KANT — The new White House communications director’s very first challenge was to communicate that his own hiring had not put the West Wing into turmoil. New York financier Anthony Scaramucci appeared at the White House daily press briefing to try to put to rest widespread reports in the media that his appointment had been strenuously opposed by top presidential aides, especially Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who resigned Friday after just six months on the job…. (more)

July 22, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — In another White House staff shakeup, President Trump appointed friend and New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as his communications director Friday, a move that prompted press secretary Sean Spicer to resign…. (more)

July 22, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump’s decision to put Anthony Scaramucci in charge of the White House communications shop has rocked the West Wing and raised questions about how the shake-up will shape Trump’s messaging machine…. (more)

July 22, 2017
WESLEY PRUDEN — A lot of snakes and scorpions live with the alligators in the swamp, and there are even more dangerous monsters there. No swamp creature is deadlier than a Washington lawyer…. (more)

July 22, 2017

THE INDEPENDENT — A High Court judge has asked people protesting about the Charlie Gard case not to upset other visitors to Great Ormond Street hospital, where the critically ill baby is on life support…. (more)

July 22, 2017
BOB UNRUH — An executive agency of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a report recommending that seminaries include “queer theology” in their courses and that even Sunday schools teach “LGBTI beliefs.”… (more)

July 22, 2017
BOB UNRUH — The left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been in the spotlight recently for its practice of designating conservative non-profits as “hate groups,” has gone on defense. For adhering to a biblical perspective on homosexuality, for one thing. The Family Research Council, wrote Cohen, has a “long track record of using dehumanizing language and outright lies to portray LGBT people as sick, evil, and a danger to children and society. As stated on its website, it opposes the acceptance of homosexuality ‘in the law, in the media, and in the schools.'”… (more)

July 22, 2017
BOB UNRUH — A federal judge who sent Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis to jail for refusing to violate her faith now has awarded nearly $223,000 in state taxpayer funds to American Civil Liberties Union lawyers who sued Davis…. (more)

July 22, 2017
THE LOCAL — An influential German institute has studied thousands of article published by daily newspapers during the refugee crisis. Their conclusion: journalists lost their objectivity and drove a wedge through society. As hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in Germany in 2015 and early 2016, daily newspapers took on the role of “public educators” rather than objective critics of public policy, a team of researchers at the Otto Brenner Institute conclude, according to a report in Die Zeit this week…. (more)

Mid-Day Snapshot

July 25, 2017

Kushner Denies Russian Collusion

Trump’s son-in-law and adviser records all of his meetings with Russians and calls out the media for their delusions.

The Foundation

“It is a happy circumstance in human affairs that evils which are not cured in one way will cure themselves in some other.” —Thomas Jefferson (1791)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: July 25

  • Dollar slumps to 13-month lows before Fed; euro up (Read More)
  • Overwhelming approval likely for Russia bill (Read More)
  • Trump to study tougher Russia sanctions bill: White House (Read More)
  • Unrest bubbles among Trump’s key foreign policy aides (Read More)
  • Abe Overtaken by Rival as Top Choice for Japan Premier in Poll (Read More)
  • More U.S. Cars Are Made in Mexico (Read More)
  • The Chipotle Corporate Sabotage Theory Returns (Read More)
  • McCain to return for pivotal Senate vote on healthcare (Read More)
  • Kushner Faces Hostile Questioning by Dems on House Panel (Read More)
  • Chinese says interception of U.S. plane ‘necessary’ (Read More)
  • Record-Low ECB Rates Are a €1 Trillion Government Windfall (Read More)
  • Dead Bodies Start Piling Up as Fuel Theft Booms in Mexico (Read More)
  • Uber ties up with AXA for drivers’ accident cover in France (Read More)
  • Can John Cryan Save Deutsche Bank From Itself? (Read More)
  • Oil extends gains as Saudi pledges export curbs (Read More)
  • Australia to accept first Central American refugees under U.S. deal (Read More)
  • U.S. judge halts deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals (Read More)
  • Angry Lawmaker Singles Out ‘Female Senators’ Over Health Vote (Read More)
  • Israel removes Jerusalem metal detectors, Palestinians reject new measures (Read More)
  • Saudi Dairy Farm May Use Cow Dung to Meet Power Needs (Read More)

Featured Blogs

Top Headlines – 7/25/2017

Tension rises with Jordan after embassy guard shoots two

Jordan Holds Israeli Diplomat Hostage After Terrorist Attack

Israel and Jordan in diplomatic standoff after embassy deaths

Israel, Jordan said close to resolving crises over embassy deaths, Temple Mount

Netanyahu holds consultations with defense chiefs over Jordan crisis, Temple Mount

After meetings in Israel, Greenblatt heads to Amman in bid to resolve crisis

Amman embassy officer returns to Israel, in end to standoff

UN warns of escalation if no Jerusalem mosque solution by Friday

Israeli Sovereignty Over the Temple Mount Is Crucial for Peace

Turkey won’t let Israel ‘trample on’ holy site

Turkey says Israel violating human rights at al-Aqsa mosque

Jordan’s king asks Netanyahu to remove metal detectors from Temple Mount

Israel Agrees to Remove Metal Detectors at Entrances to Aqsa Mosque Compound

Ministers discuss smart cameras instead of metal detectors on Temple Mount

Terrorist stabs man in Petah Tikva, says he ‘did it for Al-Aqsa’

Defense minister: Arab MKs, PA to blame for terror attacks

MK: Build Synagogue on Temple Mount

Protesters burn Israeli flag in London Temple Mount demonstration

Amid Temple Mount Tensions, Anti-Israel Student Groups in US Celebrate Palestinian Violence Against Jewish State

World Council of Churches Endorses Palestinian Protests Over Temple Mount Security Measures

Macron attempts to broker Libyan peace with meeting of leaders

Hezbollah wages multi-pronged attack on militants at Syrian border

Lebanon’s Hezbollah says Syria border assault ‘nearing end’

Russia deploys military police at ‘safe zone’ in Syria

Trump defends cutting ‘dangerous and wasteful’ aid to Syrian rebels

Yazidi survivor of Islamic State in Knesset: Recognize our genocide

California man accused of trying to open ISIS social media accounts

U.S. judge halts deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals

Videos suggest Russian government may be arming Taliban

At least 8 dead after suicide bombers hit camps in Nigeria

Schaffhausen: Police launch manhunt after chainsaw attacker injures five in Swiss town

Duterte vows end to uprising, ‘jail or hell’ in drug war

For China’s Global Ambitions, ‘Iran Is at the Center of Everything’

John Bolton: Trump Wants to Kill Iran Deal

Ben Stein: Mueller Is ‘Out to Get’ Trump, Wants to ‘Kill’ His Political Career

Trump son-in-law Kushner at Capitol, denies Russia collusion

Jared Kushner’s meetings were both legal and beneficial

Trump speaks to advisers about firing Attorney General Sessions

Scaramucci: If White House Comms Staff Keeps Leaking ‘I’m Going to Fire Everybody’

Poll: Only 1 in 4 sure Trump will serve entire term

‘Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime,’ ICE acting director says

ICE Dir to Sanctuary Cities: ‘We’re Going to Enforce the Law Without Apology’

Father of teen driver who live-streamed fatal crash speaks out: ‘She killed her own sister’

Disney’s Next Movie Could Be Watching You, Too

“Perverse” malware infecting hundreds of Macs remained undetected for years

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: Elon Musk’s doomsday AI predictions are ‘pretty irresponsible’

China and India Locked in ‘Eyeball-to-Eyeball’ Border Standoff

On a disputed South China Sea island, Beijing unveils a high-tech cinema

China Prepares for a Crisis Along North Korea Border

US preps next missile test, from Alaskan island

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits south of the Fiji Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Balleny Islands region

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 32,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 17,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 10,000ft

Homes swept away as floods ravage the Midwest

Hundreds battle wild fires across southern France

Vatican turns off fountains as Rome gasps in drought

Trump calls Obamacare ‘big fat ugly lie,’ demands Senate vote for repeal

Spike in calls to poison control centers over dietary supplements

New U.S. Navy aircraft carrier sets sail with “gender neutral” bathrooms, ditching urinals

Thai transgender boxer winning the fight for acceptance

Planned Parenthood to Toddlers: ‘Your Genitals Don’t Make You a Boy or a Girl’

Canadian polygamous leader found guilty of having 25 wives

Brazilians funneled as “slaves” by US church, ex-members say

Lana Del Rey admits she tried to hex Trump: ‘Why not?’

Patrick J Buchanan – Are America’s Wars Just and Moral?

Thomas S. Kidd – A Brief History of the Altar Call

Mike Bickle: Speaking Falsely on Behalf of God is Not a Big Deal

Don’t Be Confused by the Crab and the Bears… (or Charisma Magazine’s “Astrology”)

Does the NAR Have a New Prophet?

Todd Bentley Commissions The “Apostolic Puppet Lady!!”

NARpostle Brian Simmons – the ‘William Hung’ of Christianity

Died: Haddon Robinson, Champion of Biblical Preaching

Michelle Lesley – Persecution in the Pew

WOFF – Brazilians funneled as slaves by NC church, ex-members say

The ‘New Breed’ Among Us (Part 2): Matt Sorger

Hillsong, Bethel Music and The Great Seduction

GOD TV, Bethel, Lifestyle Christianity & IAHM endorsing demonic ‘grave-sucking’

The Bible That Oozes Oil- “It’s The Very Presence of God!”

Woodlands (Tx.) pastor resigns after arrest for prostitution

Episcopal panel recommends suspension for L.A. Bishop J. Jon Bruno, return of Newport Beach church to locked-out congregants

Southern Poverty Law Center Defends Attacks on Christians

As Leah Remini’s second season approaches, more Scientology survivors are opening up

After Texas Cut Planned Parenthood Funding, Teen Abortions Fell 28% and Teen Births 24%

Oregon Seizes Children From Parents Who Have Low IQ

Report: Chinese Provinces Seek to Eradicate Sunday Schools, Christian Summer Camps

Christian Student Killed in Spate of Boko Haram Attacks in Northeast Nigeria

The Church and Israel Deception: Two Distinct Peoples of God?

Investigation: Millions of Dollars in Assets Not Reported by IHOP Megachurch

Cindy Jacobs Reveals Powerful One-Word Prophecy: “BASTA!!”

Former church worship director arrested on several sex charges

Israeli Gun Range Offers Tourists a Chance to Shoot Targets Designed to Look Like Palestinians

Congressman In Chicago Church Preaches Trump a ‘Major Criminal’ Who Must Be ‘Eliminated’ From Office

Posted: 25 Jul 2017 06:30 AM PDT

In an indignant sermon before a Chicago church, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) blasted President Trump as “a major criminal” who wants to destroy families and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Baby Moved to Tears as Mom Worships to ‘Good, Good Father’

Posted: 25 Jul 2017 06:17 AM PDT

A heart-warming viral video has been sweeping the internet that shows the power of worship to touch a person’s soul, even a soul that can’t…

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‘I Was Afraid to Touch the Bible’ : One Woman’s Shocking Story of Faith

Posted: 25 Jul 2017 06:11 AM PDT

The little girl had no idea her parents were criminals until the day she found a Bible hidden in the family’s home. “When I was twelve,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

PROPHECY WATCH: Wisconsin Company Becomes First in US to Begin Implanting Chips In Employees

Posted: 25 Jul 2017 06:04 AM PDT

A Wisconsin company is set to become the first in America to give its employees the opportunity to have microchip implants. Three Square Market is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: Hawaii seeks to prepare residents for threat of nuclear missile strike from North Korea

Posted: 25 Jul 2017 05:58 AM PDT

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is kicking off an educational campaign aimed at helping residents and visitors figure out what to do if the state is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF NOAH: Ancient humans had intercourse with non-humans

Posted: 25 Jul 2017 05:51 AM PDT

Humanity has a filthy secret: our ancestors used to have sex with members of other species. That’s the finding in a new piece of research…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

California Imam calls on Allah to annihilate Jews…

Posted: 25 Jul 2017 05:43 AM PDT

In a July 21 lecture posted on the Davis Masjid YouTube channel Muslim preacher Ammar Shahin spoke in English and Arabic about how all Muslims,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

PROPHECY WATCH: Exactly How Many Items Have Been Checked Off on Jesus’ End-Times List?

Posted: 25 Jul 2017 05:38 AM PDT

While prophets including Daniel, Ezekiel, Joel and John foretold of the end of the world, the Son of God Himself gave specific examples of what…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Compromised Churches: It’s Time to Remove People and Clean House

Posted: 25 Jul 2017 05:34 AM PDT

(By John Burton) People are leading ministries and churches all while the Bible instructs us not to even eat with them. It’s time for a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Why The Coming Solar Eclipse Could Paralyze America

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 07:01 PM PDT

This summer’s largest gathering will make Woodstock look like a backyard barbecue and divide the nation into two parties: those who see it, and those…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: Minnesota Adopts ‘Transgender Toolkit’ for Teachers

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 06:45 PM PDT

The Minnesota Department of Education approved a transgender toolkit that lets male students who identify as girls use the girls bathroom. “A policy that requires an individual…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sweden to hold ‘biggest military exercise in decades’ with NATO amid fears over Russia

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 02:39 PM PDT

Sweden is preparing to hold what it calls the “first and largest” exercise of its kind in over 20 years involving all of its military…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Satanic Temple Founder Says Over Half of Members Could Be LGBTQ

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 02:26 PM PDT

The co-founder of the Satanic Temple said that he would “not be surprised” if over half of the group’s members identify as LGBTQ because of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UK May Require Christian Schools to Admit Students of Other Faiths

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 02:21 PM PDT

Politicians in the U.K. are reportedly set to drop plans that would have allowed single-faith schools to remain as they are. Christian schools may soon…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Lana Del Rey admits she used witchcraft against president Trump

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 02:15 PM PDT

Lana Del Rey revealed she tried to hex President Donald Trump earlier this year. “Yeah, I did it. Why not? Look, I do a lot…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China warns India not to ‘push its luck’ amid border stand-off in Himalayas

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 02:11 PM PDT

China has warned India not to “cling to fantasies” amid a tense border stand-off, which also involves Bhutan, involving disputed territory in the Himalayas. Earlier,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Hurricane Hilary likely to become ‘major hurricane’ in Pacific

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 02:08 PM PDT

Hurricane Hilary is “likely to become a major hurricane” by Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Monday. The storm strengthened from a tropical storm…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

FALLING AWAY: U.K. Gov’t Demands”LGBT Theology” in Bible Seminaries

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 12:21 PM PDT

An executive agency of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a report recommending that seminaries include “queer theology” in their courses and that even…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Jennifer Lopez wins praise for using gender-neutral pronouns while praising her non-binary relative

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 12:13 PM PDT

Jennifer Lopez is receiving kudos from fans and members of the non-binary community after using gender-neutral pronouns describing her sister’s child Brendan in an Instagram…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

8 Year-Old girl ‘virtually cured’ of HIV after cocktail of virus-busting drugs as a baby

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 11:58 AM PDT

A little girl in South Africa has been “virtually cured” of HIV after being given a cocktail of drugs as a baby, doctors have revealed….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sex Change Surgeries Could Cost Military Billions

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 11:54 AM PDT

This Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the Make America Secure Appropriations Act. There are billions of dollars in that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mystery Investor Bets $262 Million Stock Market Will Crash in the Next 3 Months

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 11:49 AM PDT

(By Michael Snyder) One mystery trader has made an extremely large bet that the stock market is going to crash by October, and if he…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

16-Year-Old Under Fire for Sharing the Good News About Jesus

Posted: 24 Jul 2017 11:47 AM PDT

A 16-year-old Pakistani Christian boy has been charged with blasphemy for talking with a colleague about his belief in Jesus, the second such incident 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:


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!


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.”


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).


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.


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.


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.”


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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Seeing the Unseen: The Nature of Spiritual Warfare

Did the Lord Jesus teach his followers to “bind” the powers of darkness?  Should the emphasis on spiritual warfare be on prayer-infused power encounters? What exactly does the Bible teach on the nature of spiritual warfare? Well, according to Christian apologist Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason (STR), the Bible has a lot to say about […]

Read more: Seeing the Unseen: The Nature of Spiritual Warfare

The BBC reports on the New Apostolic Reformation

BBC podcastLaura Hubber,  a BBC reporter, recently investigated the New Apostolic Reformation(NAR) movement and particularly how this movement has attracted millennials. Listen to her report, “Bringing Heaven to Earth,” here. Notice that Hubber does not use the term “New Apostolic Reformation” in her report, but this clearly is the movement she describes.

NAR leaders she addresses include Bill Johnson (Bethel Church in Redding, California), Che Ahn (Harvest International Ministry), and Lou Engle (The Call).

One thing from Hubber’s report that struck me is the reasons the young people she interviewed said they were drawn to NAR. Multiple individuals said they had a hunger to experience “more” than they were experiencing in mainstream churches–including a hunger to see the occurrence of miracles and supernatural phenomena. In my own research of NAR, I’ve found this desire to experience “more”–and specifically the miraculous–to be a major attraction to NAR.

If you’ve ever been a part of NAR, what attracted you?


Holly Pivec is the co-author of New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

Source: The BBC reports on the New Apostolic Reformation

Postmodern Christianity’s End Game?

Do you consider yourself a Progressive Christian?  If so, you probably will bristle to hear this, but you are part of an incredibly dangerous movement: Postmodernity. Quite frankly, Postmodernity is the yeast that has taken the Church away from the truth and toward a more tolerant, sin-affirming direction that is muddied with mushy theology. Progressive […]

Read moret Postmodern Christianity’s End Game?

Barna Update | Two-Thirds of Christians Face Doubt

Experiencing spiritual doubt can be lonely, but according to a new study from Barna, it’s much more common than you think. Most Christians have experienced a time of spiritual doubt when they questioned what they believed about their religion or God. But just how pervasive is it?

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July 25, 2017: Verse of the day


6 [7] The nation is addressed straightforwardly and emphatically. (Note the use of the personal pronoun “you” [NRSV, ESV].) The demand for “love” and “justice” echoes earlier passages (2:19; 4:1). A surprising twist concerns Israel’s “turn/return” (šûb)—Hosea’s term for repentance—to Yahweh. Its present impossibility has been patently obvious (5:4; 6:1; 7:10, 16; 11:7), but still there was hope of future penitence (3:5; 14:1–2). What is new is that this summons is coupled with the promise of divine assistance, which will enable Israel to do what it cannot (and will not) do on its own. Many English versions translate the preposition be as “to” (“to God” in NASB, NRSV, NIV), but it is more properly taken as beth instrumenti: Israel can return “with the help of” God (NJB, NEB, ESV; cf. GKC §119o, W–O §11.2.5d). With his help, fickle Israel can be changed into a steadfast people, willing to wait on him. This wording may be a reminder of the words spoken to Jacob in Genesis 28:15; if so, it brings literary closure to this Jacob series.[1]

12:6 return. Like Jacob, who returned to Bethel to fulfill his vow (Gen. 35:1–15), Israel must return to the Lord.[2]

12:6 In the true prophetic tradition Hosea calls his people to return (repent). God does not judge only to destroy, but also to call His people to repentance, which ultimately leads to deliverance and restoration.[3]

[1] Carroll R., M. D. (2008). Hosea. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, p. 292). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1252). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ho 12:6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

A Plea to Preachers

There is a center to the Bible and its message of grace. It is found in Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected. Grace, therefore, must be preached in a way that is centered and focused on Jesus Christ Himself. We must never offer the benefits of the gospel without the Benefactor Himself. For many preachers, however, it is much easier to deal with the pragmatic things, to answer “how to” questions, and even to expose and denounce sin than it is to give an adequate explanation of the source of the forgiveness, acceptance, and power we need.

It is a disheartening fact that evangelical Christians, who write vast numbers of Christian books, preach abundant sermons, sponsor numerous conferences and seminars, and broadcast myriad TV and radio programs actually write few books, preach few sermons, sponsor few conferences or seminars, and devote few programs to the theme of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We give our best and most creative energies to teaching God’s people almost everything except the person and work of our Lord and Savior. This should cause us considerable alarm, for there is reason to fear that our failure here has reached epidemic proportions. We need to return to a true preaching to the heart, rooted in the principle of grace and focused on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This excerpt is taken from Sinclair Ferguson’s contribution in Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching.

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Female Pastors- False Teachers or Just Sinning?

Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley responds to the following email:

Pastrix Paula White is one example of a woman who holds the position of pastor which goes against the clear teaching in Scripture that a woman is not to exercise authority over a man.  1 Tim 2:11-12

Is a woman who is in the position of pastor to be considered a false teacher or merely disobedient to The Word of God? Some churches in my area place pastors’ wives in the position of “co-pastor.” Would she have to be teaching some false doctrine to be considered a false teacher or does the fact that she is in the position in the first place make her a false teacher?

I love it when I hear from women – like the reader who sent in this question – who are thinking deeply and seriously about the things of God. It brings me so much joy to see God working in the hearts and minds of Christian women.

Before we start parsing these ideas out, let’s bottom line this thing. Scripture is both explicitly and implicitly clear that women are not to serve as pastors. Regardless of whether we call what she’s doing sin or false teaching, it is definitely unbiblical for a church to install a woman in the position of pastor, and for the woman to accept the position. So the bottom line is, it’s wrong and nobody should be attending such a church.

Now, onward and upward with the parsing…

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Source: Female Pastors- False Teachers or Just Sinning?

Peter: What’s in a Name?

Luke 6:14

Code: B170724

Sanctification is never linear. The Christian life always undulates on the way to greater Christlikeness. We may bear the fruit of the Spirit in increasing measure, but the flesh of our former life still rears its ugly head from time to time. And that biblical reality plays out vividly in the lives of the apostles, most notably Peter.

We have four lists of the twelve apostles in the New Testament: Matthew 10:2–4Mark 3:16–19Luke 6:13–16, and Acts 1:13. In all four biblical lists, the same twelve men are named, and the order in which they are given is strikingly similar. None more so than the first name in all four lists—the man who became the spokesman and the overall leader of the group—“Simon, whom [Jesus] also named Peter” (Luke 6:14).

It is significant that the Lord gave him another name. Jesus didn’t merely give him a new name to replace the old one. He “also” named him Peter. This disciple was known sometimes as Simon, sometimes as Peter, and sometimes as Simon Peter.

“Peter” was a sort of nickname. It means “Rock” (petros is the Greek word for “a piece of rock, a stone”). The nickname was significant, and the Lord had a specific reason for choosing it.

By nature Simon was brash, vacillating, undependable and outspoken—with a habit of revving his mouth while his brain was in neutral. I have often referred to him as the apostle with the foot-shaped mouth. He tended to make great promises he couldn’t follow through with. He was one of those people who appears to lunge wholeheartedly into something but then bails out before finishing. He was usually the first one in; and too often, he was the first one out.

When Jesus met him, Peter fit James’s description of a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). Jesus changed Simon’s name, it appears, because He wanted the nickname to be a perpetual reminder to him about who he should be. And from that point on, whatever Jesus called him sent him a subtle message. If He called him Simon, He was signaling him that he was acting like his old self. If He called him Rock, He was commending him for acting the way he ought to be acting. From then on, the Lord could gently chide or commend him just by using one name or the other.

After Christ’s first encounter with Simon Peter, we find two distinct contexts in which the name Simon is regularly applied to him. One is a secular context. When Scripture refers to his house, for example, it’s usually “the house of Simon” (Mark 1:29Luke 4:38Acts 10:17). When it speaks of his mother-in-law, it does so in similar terms: “Simon’s mother-in-law” (Mark 1:30Luke 4:38). Luke 5, describing the fishing business, mentions “one of the ships, which was Simon’s” (Luke 5:3)—and Luke says James and John were “partners with Simon” (Luke 5:10). All of those expressions refer to Simon by his given name in purely secular contexts. When he is called Simon in such a context, the use of his old name usually has nothing to do with his spirituality or his character. That is just the normal way of signifying what pertained to him as a natural man—his work, his home, or his family life. These are called “Simon’s” things.

The second category of references where he is called Simon is seen whenever Peter was displaying the characteristics of his unregenerate self—when he was sinning in word, attitude, or action. Whenever he begins to act like his old self, Jesus and the gospel writers revert to calling him Simon. In Luke 5:5, for example, Luke writes, “Simon answered and said, ‘Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.’” That is young Simon the fisherman speaking. He is skeptical and reluctant. But as he obeys and his eyes are opened to who Jesus really is, Luke begins to refer to him by his new name. Verse 8 says, “When Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, ‘Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!’”

We see Jesus calling him Simon in reference to the key failures in his career. In Luke 22:31, foretelling Peter’s betrayal, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.” Later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Peter should have been watching and praying with Christ, he fell asleep. Mark writes, “[Jesus] came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak’” (Mark 14:37–38). Thus usually when Peter needed rebuke or admonishment, Jesus referred to him as Simon. It must have reached the point where whenever the Lord said “Simon,” Peter cringed. He must have been thinking, Please call me Rock! And the Lord might have replied, “I’ll call you Rock when you act like a rock.”

It is obvious from the gospel narratives that the apostle John knew Peter very, very well. They were lifelong friends, business associates, and neighbors. Interestingly, in the gospel of John, John refers to his friend fifteen times as “Simon Peter.” Apparently John couldn’t make up his mind which name to use, because he saw both sides of Peter constantly. So he simply put both names together. In fact, “Simon Peter” is what Peter calls himself in the address of his second epistle: “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). In effect, he took Jesus’ nickname for him and made it his surname (cf. Acts 10:32).

After the resurrection, Jesus instructed His disciples to return to Galilee, where He planned to appear to them (Matthew 28:7). Impatient Simon apparently got tired of waiting, so he announced that he was going back to fishing (John 21:3). As usual, the other disciples dutifully followed their leader. They got into the boat, fished all night, and caught nothing.

But Jesus met them on the shore the following morning, where He had prepared breakfast for them. The main purpose of the breakfast meeting seemed to be the restoration of Peter (who, of course, had sinned egregiously by denying Christ with curses on the night the Lord was betrayed). Three times Jesus addressed him as Simon and asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” (John 21:15–17). Three times, Peter affirmed his love.

That was the last time Jesus ever had to call him Simon. A few weeks later, on Pentecost, Peter and the rest of the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit. It was Peter, the Rock, who stood up and preached that day.

Peter was exactly like most Christians—both carnal and spiritual. He succumbed to the habits of the flesh sometimes; he functioned in the Spirit other times. He was sinful sometimes, but other times he acted the way a righteous man ought to act. This vacillating man—sometimes Simon, sometimes Peter—was the leader of the twelve.

We know Simon Peter was the leader of the apostles—and not only from the fact that his name heads every list of the twelve. We also have the explicit statement of Matthew 10:2: “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter.” The word translated “first” in that verse is the Greek term protos. It doesn’t refer to the first in a list; it speaks of the chief, the leader of the group. Peter’s leadership is further evident in the way he normally acts as spokesman for the whole group. He is always in the foreground, taking the lead. He seems to have had a naturally dominant personality, and the Lord put it to good use among the twelve.

It was, after all, the Lord who chose him to be the leader. Peter was formed and equipped by God’s sovereign design to be the leader. Moreover, Christ Himself shaped and trained Peter to be the leader. Therefore when we look at Peter, we see how God builds a leader.

Peter’s name is mentioned in the gospels more than any other name except Jesus. No one speaks as often as Peter, and no one is spoken to by the Lord as often as Peter. No disciple is so frequently rebuked by the Lord as Peter; and no disciple ever rebukes the Lord except Peter (Matthew 16:22). No one else confessed Christ more boldly or acknowledged His lordship more explicitly; yet no other disciple ever verbally denied Christ as forcefully or as publicly as Peter did. No one is praised and blessed by Christ the way Peter was; yet Peter was also the only one Christ ever addressed as Satan. The Lord had harsher things to say to Peter than He ever said to any of the others.

All of that contributed to making him the leader Christ wanted him to be. God took a common man with an ambivalent, vacillating, impulsive, unsubmissive personality and shaped him into a rocklike leader—the greatest preacher among the apostles and in every sense the dominant figure in the first twelve chapters of Acts, where the church was born.

We see in Peter’s life three key elements that go into the making of a true leader. And we’ll consider the first of those—the right raw material—next time.


(Adapted from Twelve Ordinary Men.)


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Trump Taps New Communications Director Who Advocated for ‘Gay Rights Movement,’ ‘Pro-Choice’ Cause

Christian News reports:

President Donald Trump has appointed Anthony Scaramucci to be the new White House Communications Director—a man who has publicly stated his support for same-sex “marriage” and abortion rights.

“Republicans should support gay marriage,” he tweeted in 2012, again writing later that year in response to a follower, “I am not a partisan. For gay marriage, against the death penalty, and pro-choice. I am for social inclusion, fiscal responsibility.”

Just in November, Scaramucci wrote, “I support the gay rights movement and I am an active proponent of equality.”

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Source: Trump Taps New Communications Director Who Advocated for ‘Gay Rights Movement,’ ‘Pro-Choice’ Cause

Civilized life is coming a part at the seams

There is no question that society is smack dab in the middle of a tug of war between conservatives and liberals — the sacred vs. the secular. In this provocative piece over at truthXchange titled “Sacred Canopy” Peter Jones makes the case that sexual freedom is utterly destroying human freedom, and it all started back in the sixties with the sexual revolution…that ultimately led to the disintegration of biblical morality. Dr. Jones writes:

The ripping away of the “sacred canopy” is what has happened to Western culture during my lifetime. “Canopy” is an image used by the sociologist Peter Berger to describe a culture’s “state of predictable order,” an order assumed by all, that makes human culture work. Thus we all get along. [Berger, Peter L. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. Garden City: Doubleday, 1967]. This “ordered structure” is what we have called for a long time Western Civilization or Christendom. Today civilized life is coming apart at the seams.

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The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 13 – The Discerning Heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 5:11-14 (NASB)

A couple of decades ago, I was sent to training by the bank I was working for. It was a Microsoft NT Networking class. The teacher was great. I learned many new skills and honed old ones. I became part of the network…

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July 24, 2017: Verse of the day


And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow; and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. And the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” (28:2–7)

No sooner had the women reached the tomb than they found the stone had been moved aside by a severe earthquake. This was the second supernaturally caused earthquake in connection with Jesus’ death and burial, the first one having occurred at the moment of His death (Matt. 27:51).

God caused an earthquake on Mount Sinai just before He revealed the law to Moses (Ex. 19:18) and on Mount Horeb when He revealed Himself to Elijah (1 Kings 19:11). In the end times He will also send numerous earthquakes (Joel 2:10; Matt. 24:7; Rev. 6:12; 8:5; 11:13–19). Now, within three days, He caused two earthquakes just outside Jerusalem.

This earthquake had occurred when an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, causing the earth around the grave to tremble violently The angel had come to open the secured and sealed grave, and when he arrived he rolled away the stone and sat upon it. Although it had probably taken several strong men some time to put the stone in place, the angel removed it in an instant.

The angel did not move the stone in order to let Jesus out of the tomb, as many Easter stories and paintings suggest. If Jesus had the power to raise Himself from the dead, which He did (John 10:18), He certainly had the relatively minor power required to escape a sealed grave. As He demonstrated during several postresurrection appearances, just as He was no longer bound by death, He was no longer bound by the limitations of the physical world or of time (see Luke 24:31; John 20:26). In His glorified form He could escape a closed grave just as easily as He could enter a closed room. In comparing the gospel accounts, it becomes clear that Jesus had already left the tomb when the stone was rolled away The angel moved the stone not to let Jesus out but to let the women and the apostles in.

From John’s gospel it seems that Mary Magdalene apparently left the garden as soon as she “saw the stone already taken away from the tomb” (20:1). Before the angel appeared, “she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him’ ” (v. 2). Obviously she had missed the angel’s announcement of Jesus’ resurrection. She was so overwrought at discovering the tomb empty that she ran frantically to the two most prominent disciples, Peter and John, to tell them what she thought was terrible news. It did not occur to her that Jesus might be risen as He had predicted, and she assumed that someone had stolen the body and hidden it. It is obvious that Peter and John did not consider the possibility of resurrection either, and they immediately ran to the tomb to find out what they could (John 20:3–4).

Meanwhile the angel had manifested himself to those who were near the tomb, and his appearance was like lightning. The description suggests that God transmitted some of His own Shekinah glory to the angel, just as He had transmitted a measure of it to Moses on Sinai when the covenant was renewed (Ex. 34:29). In a similar way, the angel’s glistening garment that was as white as snow suggests God’s purity and holiness. The angel bore the very imprimatur of the character of God in order to make clear to the observers not only that he was a supernatural messenger but that he was an agent of God and not Satan.

The guards were so awestruck that at first they shook for fear of him. Shook translates a Greek term that has the same root as “earthquake” in verse 2, indicating that the soldiers experienced personal earthquakes of both mind and body. But after a brief moment of shaking, they then became like dead men, paralyzed with fear. The idea seems to be that they not only became rigid but unconscious, completely traumatized by what they saw.

The women were also frightened, but, unlike the soldiers, they received comfort from God’s messenger. Aware of their fright, the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid.” Perhaps a better translation than answered would be “explained,” because the women, too terrified to speak, had not asked a question.

The soldiers had good reason to be afraid. Not only was the angel’s appearance terrifying in itself but, because they had been charged with protecting the grave, an empty tomb could spell their death. The women, however, had no reason to fear, and the angel’s first words were meant to give them comfort and assurance.

They had not come expecting to find Jesus raised, but in His gracious mercy God overlooked their weak faith and their lack of understanding. Acknowledging their great love, God responded with great love. “I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified;” the angel said to them; “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.”

Has risen translates a Greek aorist passive and can also be rendered, “has been raised.” Jesus Himself had power to give up His life and to take it up again (John 10:18). But Scripture makes clear that He also was raised by the power of the Father (Rom. 6:4; Gal. 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:3) and of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11). The entire Trinity participated in the resurrection of Jesus.

The angel gently reminded the women that Jesus’ resurrection should not surprise them, because it happened just as He said. Luke reports that they then “remembered His words” (24:8).

Next the angel invited the women to come, see the place where He was lying. At this point the women went into the tomb and observed that it was indeed empty. The angel joined them in the tomb and reiterated the same basic message, saying, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him” (Mark 16:6). Perhaps the message was repeated because the women found it so hard to believe, despite the fact that they now remembered Jesus’ predictions that He would rise on the third day.

When Peter and John entered the tomb a short while later, they “beheld the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself” (John 20:6–7). The burial clothes were just as they were when Joseph and Nicodemus laid the body to rest, except for the face-cloth, which was set to one side. Jesus did not have to be unwrapped any more than He had to have the stone removed. At one moment He was encased in the linen, and the next He was free, leaving the wrappings unchanged.

While the women were in the tomb, another angel joined the first, “one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying” (John 20:12). Their positions are reminiscent of the two golden cherubim who were on either side of the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25:18). The two angels in the garden were posted at either end of the tomb of Jesus, who, by the sacrifice He had just made of His own life, became the true and eternal Mercy Seat for sinful mankind.

The two angels gave still another reminder to the women. “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” they asked. “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of the sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:5–7). For a third time the women were told the glorious truth of Jesus’ resurrection, a truth whose fulfillment they should have been eagerly expecting.

One of the angels then said, “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead.” The women’s fascination must quickly turn to proclamation. They did not have time to revel in the marvelous reality of the good news but were to go immediately and announce it to the cowering disciples, who were still hiding in Jerusalem.

It would seem more than justified for the Lord to have allowed the disciples to suffer in fear, despair, and agony for a week or so before telling them the good news. They had stubbornly refused to believe that Jesus would die and be raised, although He had told them of His death and resurrection many times. But in His gracious mercy God sent the women to tell the disciples as soon as possible, so they would not have to experience another moment of misery and grief. He did not rebuke them for their lack of faith and for their cowardice but rather sent them messengers with a gracious word of hope and comfort.

One wonders why God chose to reveal the truth of the resurrection first to those women rather than to the disciples. One commentator suggests that it was because God chooses the weak to confound the strong. Another suggests the women were rewarded for their faithful service to the Lord in Galilee. Another holds that, because death came by a woman in a garden, so new life was first announced to a woman in a garden. Others propose that it was because the deepest sorrow deserves the deepest joy or that supreme love deserves supreme privilege.

But Scripture offers no such explanations. It seems obvious that the women were the first to hear the angelic announcement of the resurrection simply because they were there. Had the disciples been there, they, too, would have heard the good news directly from the angel rather than indirectly from the women.

This is analogous to the reality that the closer a believer stays to the Lord and to His work, the more he is going to witness and experience the Lord’s power. Those who are there when the Lord’s people gather for worship and prayer, who are there when His Word is being taught, who are there when the lost are being won to Christ, who are there when others are being served in His name, who are regular in their times of private prayer-those are the ones who will most often experience first-hand the work of God.

The angel’s further instruction to the women was to tell Jesus’ disciples that “He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” Earlier in the week Jesus had told the eleven remaining disciples, “After I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee” (Matt. 26:32). Being both Jewish and Gentile, Galilee represented the world at large. It was there that Jesus began His ministry, in “Galilee of the Gentiles,” where “the people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light” (Matt. 4:15–16). It would also be in Galilee that the disciples would receive the Great Commission from the Lord to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19).

It was not that Jesus would first appear to the disciples in Galilee, because He manifested Himself to them several times before that. He appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34), to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:15; cf. Mark 16:12), to ten of the disciples as they were assembled on resurrection evening (John 20:19), to all eleven disciples eight days later (John 20:26), and to seven of the disciples as they were fishing in the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1).

But Jesus’ supreme appearance to the disciples was to be in Galilee, where He “appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time” (1 Cor. 15:6) and where He would commission the eleven to apostolic ministry.[1]

5–7 The angel speaks (lit., “answered”; see comments at 11:25) words that allay the women’s fears (cf. Mk 16:5–7; Lk 24:4–8). The empty tomb by itself is capable of several explanations (cf. Jn 20:10–15). This explanatory word of revelation narrows the potential interpretations down to one: Jesus has risen from the dead (v. 6), a truth to be confirmed by personal appearances. In Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark, the fact of Jesus’ resurrection, announced by the angel, is also tied into Jesus’ promises “as he said” (cf. 16:21; 17:23; 20:18–19). This is one of several significant “minor agreements” of Matthew and Luke against Mark in the resurrection narratives. The women are invited to see the place where Jesus lay and commanded to go “quickly” (v. 7, a happy touch) to give his disciples the joyous message. Unlike Mark, Matthew does not explicitly mention Peter.

Jesus had promised to go ahead of his disciples into Galilee (see comments at 26:32); the angel now reminds them of this (v. 7). The present tense proagei (“is going ahead,” GK 4575) cannot mean that Jesus is already on his way, because (1) v. 10 places him still in Jerusalem, and (2) a verb like “go ahead,” if pressed to mean Jesus was actually traveling, “would also seem to presuppose that the disciples also were on the way to Galilee” (Stonehouse, Witness of Matthew, 173). The verb is not a progressive present but a vivid future. As he promised, Jesus will arrive in Galilee before they do and meet them there, contrary to their expectation (see comments at 26:32; 28:10).[2]

28:5–7. When the two women arrived, they were also terrified by the appearance of the brilliant being sitting on the stone. The angel said, Do not be afraid. Matthew used a construction that usually implies a command to stop doing something that was already being done. The women were to stop being afraid.

The angel next gave the reason they need not fear: I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. Jesus will forever be known as the crucified one (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23; 2:2; Gal. 3:1). The salvation he wrought through his death, the victory he won, and the obedience he displayed will stand for eternity.

The news the angel brought them was also reason to stop fearing and start rejoicing: He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.

As proof of the angel’s startling announcement, he invited them to look into the open, empty tomb: Come and see the place where he lay. Matthew used the Greek imperfect tense to show that he had been lying there for some time. In Matthew’s abbreviated account, he did not record whether the women actually looked into the tomb, but we can be sure they did. This strengthened their faith and prepared them to serve as eyewitnesses to the disciples.

Once they had become convinced by their own observation that Jesus was gone, the angel gave them these instructions: Go quickly and tell his disciples: He has risen from the dead. These two women were given the honor of taking the news to the disciples. As it turned out, this was a difficult job. Some of the disciples doubted (28:17).

Jesus had gone elsewhere and would be waiting for them. He had gone ahead into Galilee. There you will see him. This was God’s gentle reminder of the instructions Jesus had given the disciples less than three days before (26:32). They would not find Jesus lingering around the place of his burial. There was no use looking for him in Judea. The king was in sovereign control as he had always been.[3]

The story of the guard will be continued at verse 11. For the present Matthew returns to the women: 5, 6. The angel, answering, said to the women, Don’t you be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. Luke 24:2 and John 20:12 speak of “two” angels; Matthew and Mark, of only one. Why this difference? Some answer, “Although two angels were actually present, one alone was the speaker.” But this will hardly do, for according to Luke both of the “two men in dazzling apparel” addressed the women. So do also the two “angels” in John’s account. The reason for the difference has not been revealed to us. There is, of course, no contradiction, for neither Matthew nor Mark states that there was only one angel.

“Don’t you—very emphatic in the original—be afraid,” says the angel. In other words, “Don’t you be like others who were scattered in every direction, and some of whom you may even have met.” Why do not these women need to be afraid? Why must they stop their weeping and rejoice instead? The angel answers, “for I know that you are looking for Jesus the crucified.” In other words, “You have no reason to fear, for you are the loyal friends of Jesus. Yes, you have remained loyal to him even though the world despised and crucified him. It was to show that loyalty that you came here this morning.”

We might have expected a different message, for example, a stern rebuke, in view of the fact that these women showed by their action that they had not taken seriously enough Jesus’ prediction of rising on the third day. But no, all this is passed by—though not completely. A mercifully veiled rebuke—better, a gentle admonition, a loving reminder—comes at the very end of the angel’s message: He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. “Just as he said.” The angel does not even say, “just as he said again and again and again.” See above p. 9. It is as if the angel is saying, “In view of your marvelous courage and loyalty, your lack of sufficient faith is hereby forgiven.” Moreover, it must be borne in mind that the heavenly messenger did not create this message. It was given to him, as a comparison between verses 5 and 10 clearly shows. Reassuringly, the angel adds, Come, see the place where he lay. According to Mark 16:5, by this time the women were already inside the tomb. But the angel bids them come even closer, so that they may see whatever there is to be seen; for example, not only the empty tomb—“He is not here”—but also “the linen bandages lying there, and the sweatband not lying with the linen bandages but folded up in a place by itself” (John 20:7). They must convince themselves that everything is orderly in this tomb. No disciple has been here to remove the body, nor has an enemy pillaged the tomb. In either case the bandages would no longer have been present. The women—just like Peter and John that same morning—must see that the Lord, restored from death to life, had himself removed the bandages and the sweatband, had provided for himself a garment such as is worn by the living, had calmly and majestically put everything in its place in the tomb, and had then departed from the tomb gloriously alive.

For the church to believe that Jesus rose from the dead is fine, but it is not enough. It should also consider what kind of Savior it was who rose from the dead. Is he still the same loving Redeemer who before he died healed the sick, cleansed the leper, raised the dead, comforted the mourning, pardoned and died for the sinner who accepts him by a living faith? Careful study of the resurrection account answers this question with a thunderous affirmative.

As if to make this even clearer, the angel continues, 7. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, He has been raised from the dead, and look, he is going ahead of you into Galilee; there you shall see him. The marvelous message must be imparted. It must be proclaimed everywhere by those who at one time were, and soon will again be, The Twelve. Therefore they themselves must hear the glad news. They must get to know that Christ’s repeated prediction, “I am going to rise again on the third day” has now become a fact. Not only that, but for further confirmation of their faith, they must be told that the promise of Matt. 26:32, “But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee” is also going to be fulfilled. It is there, in the very region (4:15, 16) where death and darkness once ruled supreme, but where the Light of the world had performed most of his work, that he again will meet with his disciples. Galilee! That region of rejection, but also of acceptance; of hardship, but also of joy; of unbelief, but also of faith, must rejoice once more. See further on 26:32. Now I have told you, the angel adds, as if to say, “Now you have heard the glad tidings, and know what to do. So now it is your responsibility.”

Objection: “But Jesus’ first appearance to his disciples did not occur in Galilee but in Jerusalem. These men did not have to wait until they had arrived at last in Galilee, but were going to see the risen Savior this very evening.” Answer: this simply shows that God—or if one prefers, that the risen Savior—is even better than his promises.

But what about Peter, who had bragged in such unrestrained language about his loyalty, but had broken his promises so shamefully, must he also be told? “Yes,” says “the young man,” that is, the angel, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter” (Mark 16:7).[4]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 28:1–2). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] 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. 658). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 479–480). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 990–992). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 12 – The Disciple’s Heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “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. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will…

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The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 11 – The Assured Heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36 (NASB) 

24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24 (NASB)

When I was a teenager in the Youth Group at the Baptist church our family attended in Oklahoma, I remember hearing several of the leaders say things like, “You can know for certain you’re saved if you know that you know that you know…” I guess they went on to infinity with it. I never really grasped what they were saying at that time. However after God had mercy on me in 1986, I had a sense of…

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July 23, 2017: Verse of the day


The Best News Ever Heard

John 20:18

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

The story of Christ’s appearance to Mary Magdalene and his commissioning her to tell the disciples of his resurrection concludes with the statement that she did what he told her to do. This is deceptively simple because it is actually a record of the first announcement of the best news this world has ever heard. It was an announcement of the Lord’s resurrection.

When World War II ended, the joyful news was flashed around the globe, and at once people everywhere were ecstatic. I was just a lad at the time. My father had been in the service for some years, and the family was then stationed at a large military base in the southern United States. We were far from the action. But even now I can recall the yelling and shouting that occurred when news came of the war’s end. The ending of World War II was great news. Yet, great as that news was, it did not compare with the truly stupendous news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This message was better then, and it is even better today.

Unshakable Evidence

Let me ask a very simple question and then give a few plain answers. Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ the best news the world has ever heard? The answers are: because it is true, because it came after an apparent defeat, because of all that it proves, and finally because it demands a lifesaving response from each of us.

First, Jesus’ resurrection is good news because it is true. It is always possible to have reports of events that sound like good news but later prove to be disappointments because the facts of the reports are wrong or the events did not actually happen. Referring again to World War II, this very thing occurred several times before the war really ended. False reports of the war’s end spread; they were eventually proved false and so were terribly disappointing. The same was true of reports of a near end to the war in Vietnam. This was not the case with news of Jesus’ resurrection.

We do not have space in one message to go into the evidences for the resurrection of Jesus Christ at length, but we can suggest a few of them. The first great evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the evidence of the narratives themselves. These stand up to the most stringent of critical scrutinies. To begin with, they are apparently four independent accounts. They were obviously not made up in collusion; for if they were, they would not possess the number of apparent contradictions they contain: the number of angels at the tomb, the number of women who went to the garden, the time of their arrival, and other things. These accounts can be harmonized, but the point is this: had the writers gotten together to make up a story, the apparent discrepancies would have been eliminated. On the other hand, it is also apparent that they did not make up the stories separately, for if they had done this, there would never have been the large measure of agreement they possess. The setting and the characters are the same, and the sequence of events makes sense. What does this mean? Just this: If the accounts were not made up in collusion and if they were not made up separately, the only remaining possibility is that they were not made up at all. That is, they are four true, independent accounts by those who knew the facts they wrote.

Next there is the evidence of the empty tomb, coupled with the evidence of the moved stone and the undisturbed graveclothes. How are we to account for these things? Some have imagined that either the Roman or Jewish authorities moved the body. But they had no reason to do this, especially since it would have involved violating the officially sealed tomb; and, had this occurred, it is inconceivable that the true circumstances would not have been revealed later after the disciples had appeared in Jerusalem, proclaiming their belief in Jesus’ resurrection. It would have been easy for Jesus’ enemies to produce a body had there been one. On the other hand, the friends of Christ did not steal the body of Jesus, for they would hardly have been willing to die (as most of them later did) for a deception.

It is possible to add the changed character of these men as an evidence, for whatever happened turned them from disillusioned cowards into mighty proclaimers of the Christian message.

Then, too, we must add the fact that Jesus appeared, not just to one or two women in a garden under somewhat eerie circumstances, but to a wide variety of people in numerous circumstances. Paul lists many such appearances, noting that one time Jesus appeared to a group of five hundred believers (1 Cor. 15:6).

Again, one of the great evidences of the resurrection is the unexpected and unnatural change of the day of worship from Saturday, the Jewish day of worship, to Sunday in Christian services. Nothing but the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday explains it.

What are we to say of these evidences? Matthew Arnold, not overstating the case, once said, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the best attested fact in history.” Lawyers in particular have seen this truth. Some of the best books on the resurrection have been written by lawyers, some of whom originally set out to disprove it. I am thinking of men like Frank Morison, Gilbert West, J. N. D. Anderson, and others. Sir Edward Clark, another English jurist, once wrote, “As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidences for the first Easter day. To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling. … As a lawyer I accept it unreservedly as the testimony of men to facts that they were able to substantiate.”

This is the first reason why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is good news. It is good news, not merely because it is a nice story which gives us an opportunity for a holiday once a year, but because it is true. As truth it is one of the most stupendous and important facts of history.

Wellington Defeated

Second, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is good news because it came after an apparent defeat. A victory is always good news, but news of victory after news that a battle has apparently been lost is even better.

Let me illustrate this by the way in which news of the Battle of Waterloo first came to England. There were no telegrams or radio sets in those days, but everyone knew that a great battle was pending and they were anxious to hear what would happen when Wellington, the British general, faced Napoleon. A signalman was placed on the top of Winchester Cathedral with instructions to keep his eye on the sea. When he received a message, he was to pass the message on to another man on a hill. That man was to pass it to another. And so it was to go until news of the battle was finally relayed to London and then across England. At length a ship was sighted through thick fog on the English Channel. The signalman on board sent the first word—“Wellington.” The next word was “defeated.” Then fog prevented the ship from being seen. “Wellington defeated!” The message was sent across England, and gloom descended over the countryside. After two or three hours the fog lifted, and the signal came again: “Wellington defeated the enemy!” Then England rejoiced.

In the same way, Jesus’ death plunged his friends into sadness. It was an apparent defeat. But on the third day he rose again in victory. When Jesus died men might have cried, “Christ is defeated, wrong has triumphed, sin has won.” But after three days the fog lifted and the full message came through to the world: “Jesus is risen; he has defeated the enemy.”

Essential Doctrines

Third, the resurrection is good news because of all that it proves. What does it prove? The answer is: It proves all that needs to be proved. It proves the essential doctrines of Christianity.

In the first place, it proves that there is a God and that the God of the Bible is the true God. Reuben A. Torrey, who often spoke and wrote well on these themes, put it this way: “Every effect must have an adequate cause … and the only cause adequate to account for the resurrection of Christ is God, the God of the Bible. While here on earth, as everyone who has carefully read the story of his life knows, our Lord Jesus went up and down the land proclaiming God, the God of the Bible, ‘the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ as he loved to call him, the God of the Old Testament as well as the New. He said that men would put him to death, that they would put him to death by crucifixion, and he gave many details as to what the manner of his death would be. He further said that after his body had been in the grave three days and three nights, God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of the Bible, the God of the Old Testament as well as the God of the New Testament, would raise him from the dead. This was a great claim to make. It was an apparently impossible claim. For centuries men had come and men had gone, men had lived and men had died, and so far as human knowledge founded upon definite observation and experience was concerned, that was the end of them. But this man Jesus does not hesitate to claim that his experience will be directly contrary to the uniform experience of long, long centuries. …

“That was certainly an acid test of the existence of the God he preached, and his God stood the test. He did exactly the apparently impossible thing that our Lord Jesus said he would do. … The fact that Jesus was thus miraculously and marvelously raised makes it certain that the God who did it really exists and that the God he preached is the true God.”

Second, the resurrection proves Jesus’ deity. When Jesus lived on earth, he claimed to be equal to God and that God, this God, would raise him from the dead three days after his execution by the Roman authorities. If he was wrong in this, his claim was either the raving of a deranged man or blasphemy. If he was right, the resurrection would be God’s way of substantiating the claim. Did he substantiate it? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Yes, he did! So the resurrection is God’s seal on Christ’s claim to divinity. This is why Paul, who knew that Jesus had been raised, writes that Jesus was “declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). This is good news! If Jesus is God, then God is like Jesus. It means that God is not distant, arbitrary, or unreal. He is a God who loves us and who came to earth to give himself a ransom for our sins.

Then, too, the resurrection proves that all who believe in Jesus Christ are justified before God. Paul teaches this in Romans also, for he states that Jesus “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). How does this happen? Jesus had claimed that his death would atone for man’s sin. He said that he had come “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). He died as he said. But the question still remained: Can it be true that the death of this one man is acceptable to God on behalf of others? Suppose he had sinned? In that case, he would have been dying for his own sin rather than the sins of others. Did he sin? Or was his atonement accepted? Three days pass. Christ rises. Thus, his claim is established. God has shown by the resurrection that Christ was sinless and that he has accepted his atonement.

Torrey said this: “When Jesus died, he died as my representative, and I died in him; when he arose, he rose as my representative, and I arose in him; when he ascended up on high and took his place at the right hand of the Father in the glory, he ascended as my representative and I ascended in him, and today I am seated in Christ with God in the heavenlies. I look at the cross of Christ, and I know that atonement has been made for my sins; I look at the open sepulcher and the risen and ascended Lord, and I know the atonement has been accepted. There no longer remains a single sin on me, no matter how many or how great my sins may have been.”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ also proves that the believer in Christ can have a supernatural victory over sin in this life, for Jesus lives to provide supernatural power to do it. This is an argument developed in the sixth chapter of Romans. In the opening verses of that chapter Paul writes, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Rom. 6:4). This means that by faith all who believe in Christ are united to Christ so that his power becomes available to them. We may be weak and utterly helpless, unable to resist temptation for a single minute. But he is strong, and he lives to give help and deliverance. Victory is never a question of our strength, but of his power. His power is what we need.

Torrey, whom I have just quoted, tells a story that illustrates this point. He tells of four men who were once climbing the most difficult face of the Matterhorn. There was a guide, a tourist, a second guide, and a second tourist, all roped together. As they went over a particularly difficult place, the lower tourist lost his footing and went over the side. The sudden pull on the rope carried the lower guide with him, and he carried the other tourist along also. Three men were dangling over the cliff. But the guide who was in the lead, feeling the first pull upon the rope, drove his ax into the ice, braced his feet, and held fast. The first tourist then regained his footing, the guide regained his, and the lower tourist followed. They then went on and up in safety.

So it is in this life. As the human race ascended the icy cliffs of life, the first Adam lost his footing and tumbled headlong over the abyss. He pulled the next man after him, and the next and the next until the whole race hung in deadly peril. But the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, kept his footing. He stood fast. Thus, all who are united to him by a living faith are secure and can regain the path.

Finally, Jesus’ resurrection is evidence for our own resurrection and of a life with Jesus in glory beyond the grave. Jesus said when he was here on earth, “I am going … to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2–3). He is preparing that place now. Can we trust him? Was he telling the truth? The resurrection vindicates these claims.

Come and Learn

I have given three good reasons why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the best news this world has ever heard: (1) because it is true, (2) because it came after an apparent defeat, and (3) because of what it proves. But there is a fourth reason also. Jesus’ resurrection is good news because it demands a life-saving response in faith from each of us. Have you responded in faith to this One who died for you and rose again on that far-off first Easter morning?

This is worth asking, because we recall that according to Mark’s Gospel those to whom Mary first gave this report did not respond positively. They did not believe her: “When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it” (16:11). It was only after Christ’s further appearances and a further proclamation of the message that they came to him.

There is some news that is restricted by its very nature. It applies to one or two individuals but not to everyone. A promotion is good news to the man who receives it but not to the two or three others who failed to get the job. The results of an election are good news to the winning party but not to the losing party. Even so generally applicable a report as a reduction of federal taxes is good only to those who pay taxes or who live in the country where the reduction is to take place. Almost all human news is so restricted. But the news of the resurrection is for all. What is your relationship to the risen Lord? Have you heard the good news? Have you believed it? Have you trusted in him? This is the heart of Christianity. It is not to be found in the liturgies of the churches, nor in the specific formulations of Christian theology, important as they may be. Christianity is Christ, the risen Christ. He died and rose again for you. Won’t you come to him?[1]

18. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord, and (she told them) that he had said these things to her.

Where the Lord went after appearing to Mary has not been recorded. Moreover, it is even a question whether, had it been recorded, we would have been able to grasp it, for it must be borne in mind that the period of his day-by-day visible association with his disciples is over. He simply appears, now to this one, then to that one; and we must not ask, “Where was he in the time which intervened between any two appearances?” We know very little about the character of the resurrection-body and about its coming and going.

With Mary the case is different. We learn that she did as she had been told. Mary must have been a deeply emotional woman. In a way, she reminds us of Peter. One moment you see her weeping profusely. Her whole heart is in these tears, so much so that even the presence of angels hardly registers. But the next moment—the moment of joyful recognition, when the resurrected Lord pronounced her name—all has changed. “Rabboni,” she exclaims; and, arrived in the company of the disciples, she can hardly wait to shout, “I have seen the Lord.” (For Lord see on 20:2, 13). No longer was she thinking about a corpse now. No, this was the living Lord, gloriously risen from the grave!—Mary conveyed her message, word for word, exactly as the Lord had told her to do. And these words must have been like apples of gold in a framework of silver.[2]

[1] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 1581–1586). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Vol. 2, pp. 456–457). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.