Daily Archives: October 20, 2017

October 20, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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BLOOMBERG

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps pledged to enhance the nation’s missile program in defiance of U.S. President Donald Trump, whose hardened stance against the country last week included new sanctions on the security force.

The Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution Thursday that House GOP leaders agreed to accept, a show of unity aimed at speeding consideration of President Donald Trump’s plan to enact tax cuts.

Lebanon’s parliament approved the country’s first budget in more than a decade, restoring control over state finances and easing a long-standing political deadlock that has stifled development.

Pollution in all its forms killed 9 million people in 2015 and, by one measure, led to economic damage of $4.6 trillion, according to a new estimate by researchers who hope to put the health costs of toxic air, water and soil higher on the global agenda.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will deploy the Spanish government’s most wide-ranging constitutional powers for the first time in the country’s history as he seeks to land a decisive blow on the Catalan separatist movement.

A potentially explosive battle is brewing over a seldom-discussed aspect of the looming MiFID II laws, which will force traders of any European asset class to hand over personal identification such as passport numbers to every venue they trade on.

AP Top Stories

Russia remains a greater threat to U.S. security than North Korea or the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) because President Vladimir Putin still views the world in “Cold War terms,” according to an ex-NATO commander.

The national uninsured rate has started climbing back up amid higher costs for health insurance and uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, according to survey findings Gallup released Friday.

As 3,000 more U.S. troops begin to flow into Afghanistan, and others push out of their bases to work more closely with small Afghan units, the Taliban has underscored just how dangerous the country still is. In a predawn attack on Thursday, the group wiped out a small Afghan army base in Kandahar with vehicles packed with explosives, killing 43 of 60 soldiers. The attack came two days after the Taliban drove several captured Humvees into police outposts in Ghazni and Paktia, killing about 40 officers.

Known as the Orionid meteor shower, the celestial event occurs only once a year, and its peak easily makes it one of the most impressive showers on the calendar. This year, the shower lasts from Oct. 2 to Nov. 26. The Orionids will peak from Oct. 20-23 during the late evening and early morning hours.

Southwest Airlines on Wednesday celebrated its first “unmanned” flight on the company’s new fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. The “unmanned” flight was actually staffed with an all-female crew, including two pilots.

Former President George W. Bush critiqued President Donald Trump’s worldview in a speech Thursday, but failed to acknowledge his own part in creating conditions that powered Trump’s rise.

France on Friday called on Iraq’s central government to show restraint after taking control of the last district in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and said Baghdad should take the rights of Kurds fully into account.

Russian television star and journalist Ksenia Sobchak announced Wednesday she will run for president in the country’s 2018 election ― a bid that may spark voter interest but hinder efforts to unseat Vladimir Putin. Known as “the Paris Hilton of Russia,” 35-year-old Sobchak promoted her candidacy in a Russian-language YouTube video.

The United States does not aim to impede European trade and business transactions with Iran despite President Donald Trump’s decision last week to decertify the 2015 nuclear agreement, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Wall Street Journal.

Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip said Thursday “no one” can force it to disarm or recognise Israel, after Washington demanded it meet those conditions as part of a unity government.

The U.S. Air Force is once again pushing for a nuclear-armed cruise missile to “fill the gap” between heavy bombers and ballistic missiles. The W-80 warhead will be the missile’s business end.

U.S. home resales unexpectedly increased in September as the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma began to dissipate, but a persistent dearth of properties for sale continued to weigh on overall activity.

BBC

A suicide bomber has detonated explosives inside a mosque in Kabul, killing many, Afghan officials said. At least 30 bodies have been removed from the scene.

Malaysia is negotiating a “no find-no fee” deal with a US company to renew the search for downed flight MH370.If the deal goes ahead, Ocean Infinity will foot the bill and recoup costs only if it finds the missing plane.

There have been fierce clashes between Kurdish and Iraqi troops north of Kirkuk city, days after the Iraqi army took control of disputed areas.

Australia’s final locally made car left the production line on Friday when Holden stopped manufacturing in the nation. It is considered the end of an era after similar exits by Ford and Toyota, writes the BBC’s Hywel Griffith in Sydney.

WND

The FBI, along with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, recovered 84 children and arrested 120 suspected traffickers as part of a nationwide initiative to clamp down on the sex trafficking of minors.

A new report from the Gatestone Institute documents how Europe is changing its official history to erase the influences of Christianity – and instead add credits to Islam.


The Briefing 10-20-17

Who are the real extremists on the issue of abortion?

Should the Supreme Court hire a team of official social scientists?

What the most recent Nobel Prize in Economics tells us about how sin affects our thinking

The post The Briefing 10-20-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


October 19, 2017
WES VERNON — Months ago, this column, along with others, focused on a super scandal super scandal ignored by the fake news outlets, about the Clintons through their foundation, which was up to its ears in an operation whose effect was to line the Clinton’s pockets, and more importantly, possibly put us on the path to nuclear disaster. Hillary was then in the midst of her doomed presidential campaign…. (more)

October 19, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump said Thursday that “the real Russia story” involves reports that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama allowing Moscow to gain control of much of the U.S. supply of uranium…. (more)


October 19, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump on Thursday fumed about the discredited opposition-research dossier that first linked his campaign to Russia, after executives from the firm that created it invoked the Fifth Amendment right not to testify in Congress’ Russia probe…. (more)

October 19, 2017
CHERYL CHUMLEY — The tables have turned and what was once the media’s favorite message – – President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election – – has now grown silent. Apparently, it’s Bill and Hillary Clinton who’ve been doing the behind-scenes and suspicious dealings with Russia all along. Oh, and perhaps others in the Barack Obama administration, too…. (more)

October 19, 2017
BOB UNRUH — A new undercover video from James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas in a series targeting establishment-media bias features a longtime New York Times employee confessing his coworkers hate Trump “like the plague, dude.”… (more)

October 19, 2017

CNBC — The Internal Revenue Service, in a new policy, says it will block or suspend processing of 2017 income tax returns that do not comply with Obamacare rules requiring filers to disclose their health insurance status…. (more)


October 19, 2017
PAUL BEDARD — A building “pets for vets” campaign to link troubled war veterans with abandoned pets in shelters won a huge White House backing Wednesday when Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, hosted an unprecedented West Wing meeting to get key Cabinet officials on board…. (more)

October 19, 2017

NEW YORK POST — A Mandalay Bay security guard was pressured to give his first interview about the mass shooting in Las Vegas to Ellen DeGeneres because company bigwigs feared a real journalist would have grilled him about the timeline, according to a report…. (more)


October 19, 2017

ART MOORE — During the 2016 election campaign, the accusations of “pay-for-play” surrounding the business deal approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that effectively gave Moscow control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium reserves were dismissed by the Clintons…. (more)


October 19, 2017
CHELSEA SCHILLING — The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in America, is co-sponsoring a “professional development” workshop for K-12 teachers to “Learn about Islam and the Arab World” – – and the district has apparently partnered with an anti-Israel group for lessons on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…. (more)

October 19, 2017
ALICIA POWE — A crusading attorney who already has challenged the bar membership of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Clinton lawyers David E. Kendall, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson now is going after James Comey, the fired FBI director…. (more)

October 19, 2017
JOSEPH FARAH — My good friend and WND colleague Joe Kovacs has followed up his wildly popular and fun book, “Shocked by the Bible,” with a sequel – – “Shocked by the Bible 2,” of course – – that is much more challenging, raising tough questions for most Christians…. (more)

October 19, 2017
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — If you’re going to do Muhammad Ali – -type activism, you’d better have Muhammad Ali – -type talent. That is the ultimate lesson of the Colin Kaepernick saga…. (more)

October 19, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — A solar-paneled barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border is an option the Trump administration could pursue, according to a senior Customs and Border Protection official who has been closely monitoring the construction of prototypes that are meant to inspire a design for President Trump’s border wall…. (more)


October 18, 2017

FOX NEWS — The Mandalay Bay security guard who briefly disappeared from the public eye broke his silence on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Wednesday, describing how he was wounded by the perpetrator of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history…. (more)


October 18, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — With the Islamic State’s two main pillars of its so-called caliphate now in the hands of the U.S.-backed coalition, the terrorist group is looking to decentralize and expand its operations through outposts in Libya, Afghanistan and the Philippines as it attempts to recoup its battlefield losses in Iraq and Syria…. (more)


October 18, 2017
BOB UNRUH — A senior home-page editor for the New York Times blasted President Trump as an “oblivious idiot” and Vice President Pence as “horrible” because of his religious faith, confessing her colleagues hope their reporting will influence people not to vote for them…. (more)

October 18, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The New York Times’ new policy on social media may rid the paper of perceived bias, but critics say it leaves unchecked the actual bias permeating “the Gray Lady’s” reliably liberal pages. From ESPN to CNN, the mainstream media are grappling with how to cover a president who has incorporated criticizing the press into his morning Twitter routine. The ability to hit back on social media has proved too tempting for some journalists to resist…. (more)

October 18, 2017
BYRON YORK — On Oct. 4, the House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm at the center of the Trump dossier affair. On Monday, the company told the House what it can do with its subpoena. Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson and two others will “invoke their constitutional privileges not to testify,” Simpson’s lawyers told the committee in a letter…. (more)

October 16, 2017
Alan Keyes weighs in on ‘show of respect’ for U.S. flag and anthem

ALAN KEYES — In the aftermath of President Trump’s Twitter assault on NFL players who knelt during our national anthem, one commentator wrote that NFL fans were outraged by the players’ action “because they feel you are disrespecting the American flag, the very flag that gives you your liberties. They feel you are spitting on the blood of servicemen who died…protecting your freedom.” Though I fully understand and share the anger many people are feeling, I found this formulation inadequate, even misleading…. (more)


October 16, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — It’s suddenly big news that there are perverts in Hollywood. The really big news is that former President Barack Hussein Obama’s communist and terrorist-support network remains a state secret. Attorney General Jeff Sessions won’t touch it…. (more)

October 16, 2017
BYRON YORK — President Trump’s most recent high-profile executive actions – – on Obamacare, immigration, and the Iran nuclear deal – – do three big things. First, they push Congress to act, which involves more than just calling the bluff of Republican leaders who talked big during the Obama years but failed to produce once the GOP controlled both Congress and White House…. (more)

October 16, 2017
FOX NEWS — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty Monday at Fort Bragg to charges he endangered comrades by walking away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 – – the court case wrapping up three years after a stunning Rose Garden spectacle in which former President Barack Obama, flanked by Bergdahl’s parents, triumphantly announced the soldier’s release from captivity…. (more)

October 16, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — You’ll have about 10 minutes between finding out a nuclear bomb is heading for Washington on a ballistic missile and the moment it explodes over the city. At least that’s the best guess from experts. And that’s really a best-case scenario if the bomb comes from a North Korean missile. If it’s a Russian or Chinese missile carrying a nuclear bomb? Even less…. (more)


October 16, 2017
ROBERT KNIGHT — Given its prominence in current public discourse, one would think that hate, not love, is a many-splendored thing. The perfectly good word, which oozes out of every media pore, is now so overused that it means next to nothing. Every time you turn around, someone is accused of “hate” merely for expressing disagreement. This is not just a matter of semantics. It’s serious. When you cheapen a word, it discourages honest discussion and leads to more confusion and conflict, which is how the devil likes it. We have it on good authority that the underworld thrives on mayhem…. (more)

MID-DAY SNAPSHOT

OCT. 20, 2017

Kelly ‘Stunned’ by Democrat’s Disrespect for the Sacred

The White House chief of staff sets the record straight on Trump’s phone call to a fallen soldier’s widow.

THE FOUNDATION

“The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families.” —John Adams (1778)

News – 10/20/2017

BREAKING: Russia Issuing ‘CryptoRuble’
A three-judge panel of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the plaintiffs’ legal challenge against the ban may proceed. The plaintiffs say the current law violates the right to engage in consensual sex, as described in a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that revoked criminal laws against gay sexual acts, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Challenge to California’s prostitution ban may proceed, judges rule
A three-judge panel of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the plaintiffs’ legal challenge against the ban may proceed. The plaintiffs say the current law violates the right to engage in consensual sex, as described in a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that revoked criminal laws against gay sexual acts, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Typhoon Lan: Japan braces itself for monster storm as Okinawa forced to rush election
The Category 1 typhoon, located east of the Philippines on Friday morning and moving north, is expected to gain strength as it comes some 200km (125 miles) east of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa by Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. According to the Tropical Storm Risk web site, the typhoon will likely strengthen to category 3,

Hamas to Trump: We want to wipe out Israel, not recognize it
Terror group denounces Trump administration demand that Hamas disarm, recognize Israel. ‘No one can disarm Hamas.’

Freemason secrets revealed touring Manitoba Legislature
Secretive group believes geometry was a sacred science given by God to the builder of Solomon’s temple. We follow him past the security desk to a massive staircase flanked by a pair of giant bronze bison, an emblem for the prairie province. Except these bison towering over us represent protective, horned beasts guarding the entrance to a temple. Wait, what? the Golden Boy on top of the building is actually Hermes, the patron of Freemasons and messenger to the gods.

CIA chief: North Korea ‘on cusp’ of nuclear capability
CIA director Mike Pompeo has warned that North Korea is on the cusp of being able to hit the US with a nuclear missile. He stressed Washington still preferred diplomacy and sanctions but said military force remained an option. North Korea claims it already has the capability to strike the US.

Assisted dying: Australia state lawmakers in 26-hour debate
A landmark assisted dying bill has passed through the lower house of Australia’s second-most populous state after a marathon all-night debate. Lawmakers in Victoria discussed the voluntary euthanasia bill for 26 hours from Thursday morning until it was approved 47-37 in a vote on Friday. It will only become law if it is supported in Victoria’s upper house.

Brexit: EU leaders pave way for future trade talks
EU leaders have agreed to start preparing for trade talks with the UK – as Theresa May admits there is “some way to go” in negotiations. As expected, her 27 EU counterparts agreed at a Brussels summit that not enough progress had been made on other issues to begin formal trade talks now. But by starting internal talks, they are paving the way for them to begin, possibly in December.

Kirkuk province: Iraqi and Kurdish forces in fierce fight
There have been fierce clashes between Kurdish and Iraqi troops north of Kirkuk city, days after the Iraqi army took control of disputed areas. A BBC correspondent at the scene said there had been rocket, artillery and machine-gun fire in Alton Kupri. The district is the last area in Kirkuk province still held by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

Vitriolic protest erupts against Israel at Russian conference
Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese participants at a youth conference in Russia chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to Jews” and set fire to Israel’s flag when they came across members of the Israeli delegation. The Israeli delegation to the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students at the resort city of Sochi is made up of two groups.

Moscow seeks support for Russia-Chinese roadmap on North Korea
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged world powers on Friday to get behind a joint Russian-Chinese roadmap for settling the crisis over North Korea’s weapons program. Speaking at a conference on non-proliferation in Moscow, Lavrov said that the break-up of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program would send an alarming message about international security mechanisms, and could impact the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Russia’s Rosneft to take control of Iraqi Kurdish pipeline amid crisis
Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft (ROSN.MM), has agreed to take control of Iraqi Kurdistan’s main oil pipeline, boosting its investment in the autonomous region to $3.5 billion despite Baghdad’s military action sparked by a Kurdish vote for independence. The move appears to be part of a strategy by President Vladimir Putin to boost Moscow’s Middle Eastern political and economic influence, which was weakened by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Bishops use Pope’s teaching to push homosexuality at 2018 World Meeting of Families
Catholic bishops in Ireland are using Pope Francis teachings on marriage and family to promote homosexual couples as a new form of “family” in the upcoming World Meeting of Families.

Bank Run Imminent: Catalan Separatists Urge Supporters To Pull Cash From ATMs On Friday Morning
“1. Go to 1 of the 5 main banks and take out as much cash as you want. Don’t forget, it’s your money”.

Appeals court in SF allows challenge to state law banning prostitution
Advocates of legalized prostitution took their challenge to California’s 145-year-old ban on commercial sex before a federal appeals court Thursday and appeared to get a hint that they’ll have another chance to show why the law should be cast aside.

Germans Are Going Wild for a Show Set During the Dawn of the Nazis
Sex, crime and Nazis in 1920s Berlin are drawing more viewers at Sky Plc’s German unit than any show except “Game of Thrones.”

Harvey Weinstein doesn’t seem to be taking sex rehab seriously
Harvey Weinstein is already being belligerent at sex-addiction rehab — barking into his banned mobile phone and remaining in denial about his alleged sex attacks, insisting each and every one was consensual, Page Six has exclusively learned.

Air Force punishes colonel who refused to affirm gay marriage, attorney says
The Air Force has punished a highly-decorated and respected colonel after he refused to publicly affirm the same-sex spouse of a retiring subordinate.

Judging by Mueller’s staffing choices, he may not be very interested in justice
Much has been written about the prosecutorial prowess of Robert Mueller’s team assembled to investigate allegations of Russia’s involvement in the Trump campaign. Little has been said of the danger of prosecutorial overreach and the true history of Mueller’s lead prosecutor.

Women’s Blog Reveals the 20 Best Cities to Kill Your Baby in an Abortion
The pro-abortion women’s blog Refinery 29 wants young women to add “easy abortion access” to their list of things to consider before moving to a new city. The blog highlighted a new project by the National Institute for Reproductive Health that ranked cities by their actions “advancing reproductive freedom,” in other words, their willingness to support abortion on demand.


Featured Blogs


Headlines – 10/20/2017

Hamas chief: We won’t discuss recognizing Israel, only wiping it out

Hamas leader in Gaza: We will neither disarm nor recognize Israel

Trump’s Envoy Greenblatt in Egypt to Discuss Palestinian Reconciliation

U.S. Works to Keep Palestinians’ Talks on Track to Aid Peace

US demands Hamas renounce violence, disarm before unity deal

Hamas calls US comments on unity deal ‘blatant interference’

Israel: No peace talks with Palestinian government reliant on Hamas

Fatah vows to thwart any attempt by Hamas to overrun its institutions

Despite unity deal, Jordan won’t let Hamas reopen Amman office – report

Electricity Returns to Palestinian Village, Eight Months After Israel Confiscates Power System

Labor chief: Settlements represent the ‘beautiful face of Zionism’

Netanyahu: Jordan Valley Will Always Remain a Part of Israel

Netanyahu: If we are not in the Jordan Valley, Iran will be

Anti-draft ultra-Orthodox protests shut down Jerusalem in ‘day of rage’; 120 arrested

Arabs demand apology for ‘crime’ of Balfour Declaration

Poll: Half of Israelis say negative feelings toward Arabs will never change

In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise

Netanyahu, Putin talk Syria tensions as Iran threatens from Damascus

IDF attacks Syrian army post in retaliation for errant rocket

France criticizes Russian stance on Syria toxic gas probe

Assad discusses military cooperation with visiting Iranian general

Iran to cooperate with Syria to destroy ‘the Zionist enemy’

Iraq oil ministry warns oil companies against Kurdistan contracts

Russia’s Rosneft to take control of Kurdish oil pipeline amid crisis

Court in Iraq orders arrest of Kurdistan VP Kosrat Rasul

Kurdistan region asks international help to spur dialogue with Baghdad

100,000 Kurds flee Kirkuk since Iraqi army takeover – Kurdish officials

UN says worried by reports of forced diplacement of Kurds in N.Iraq

Kurdish female militia vows to keep fighting Islamic State

Russia says fight against Islamic State in Syria nearing end

ISIS ‘plotting new 9/11’ in Europe, top US official warns in London

Islamic State still a threat, Iran must be countered, top US spy says

Iran guards vow to boost missile program in defiance of US pressure

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say missile program will accelerate despite pressure

German officials: Iran working to build nuclear-armed missiles

Haley to UN Security Council: Don’t turn a blind eye to Iran

France committed to nuclear deal despite Trump decision

Congress, Don’t Tamper With The Iran Deal – Build On It

Argentina Offered to Supply Iran With Nuclear Technology as Part of Cover-Up Pact on 1994 AMIA Bombing, Former Intelligence Agent Testifies

EU leaders to recommit to Iran nuclear deal whatever Trump decides

Moscow tells Tehran Russia remains committed to nuclear deal

Putin says Russia favors a global nuclear ban

CIA head: NKorea months from perfecting nuclear capabilities

Kim Jong Un’s Threats Rattle Japan – but There’s a Line It Won’t Cross

North Korea threatens ‘unimaginable’ strike on United States

Trump White House debates presidential visit to demilitarized zone along North Korean border

Homeland Security sees power grow under Trump

Trump UN envoy: Russia’s election interference is ‘warfare’

CIA corrects director’s Russian election meddling claim

Putin says Trump foes blocking White House’s pro-Russia agenda

Putin says Russia will respond if Russian media under pressure in US

Putin says Trump should be respected

Republicans are freaking out about a new report tying Hillary Clinton to a Russian uranium deal

George W. Bush comes out of retirement to deliver a veiled rebuke of Trump

‘Bigotry seems emboldened’ under Trump, George W. Bush charges

Merkel: EU to cut aid to Turkey over democratic backsliding

Spain to trigger direct rule on Catalonia to crush independence bid

Spain announces takeover of Catalonia autonomous government, shattering 40 years of democracy

EU chief: No role for EU in Catalonia dispute

Could the 1987 stock market crash happen again?

Twitter Fights Are Killing America

Pittsburgh teacher beaten after cellphone dispute at school

Newfound Bus-Size Asteroid Will Zoom Safely By Earth Today

How Scientists Predict If a Spacecraft Will Fall and Kill You

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Naze, Japan

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Merizo Village, Guam

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits the Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits South of Africa

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

M4.2 earthquake shakes near Lincoln, MT

Japan Braces for a Monster Storm With Typhoon Lan Closing In

‘Paolo’ maintains strength, not likely to make Philippine landfall: PAGASA

Thousands still without power in Ireland after freak storm

Puerto Rico still stumbles in the dark a month after Maria

A 5,000-mile-long ‘river in the sky’ is slamming Pacific Northwest with heavy rain and snow

Report: Pollution Kills 3 Times More than AIDS, TB And Malaria Combined

84 Children Rescued, 120 Human Traffickers Arrested Across U.S., FBI Says

Transgender Wyoming woman convicted of sexually assaulting 10-year-old girl in bathroom

Microsoft Israel to Award Scholarships to Transgender Students

Playboy features first transgender ‘playmate’

Australia: Churches Vandalized by Gay Marriage Supporters ahead of Legalization Vote

Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report

Mystery: Video Shows Restaurant Furniture Moving On Its Own

Bethel Church Believes a Different Gospel

Pretending to Accomplish Something at (Yet Another) Useless Rally in Washington D.C.

“Pastor” David Hughes Gives Outrageous Parody Sermon But Everyone Still Believes Him!

Does Museum of the Bible Ignore, Treat Jesus as ‘Afterthought’? VP Responds

Appearances of “Mary”: Is It the “Blessed Mother” or a Demonic Spirit?

Kairos 2017 – Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Leaders Come Together For Unity & Revival

Confusion over Kevin Conner being considered an Apostle (spiritual father)

What Christians Need to Know About Former Adventists

Aspiring pastor stabs wife 123 times, says cough syrup made him do it, police say

‘Traveling Abortionist’ James Pendergraft Pleads Guilty to Illegal Drug Charges

Coming to America? – NHS provokes fury with indefinite surgery ban for smokers and obese

Catholic Sean Hannity to be Featured Speaker at First Baptist Dallas This Sunday

The New Apostolic Reformation and the making of cult leader Brian Tamaki and the Destiny cult

Beware of Joseph Farrah and Joe Kovacs

#MeToo: Beth Moore, Kay Warren Among Thousands Revealing Sex Abuse They Suffered

Sir Isaac Newton predicted when the end of the world will come and we don’t have long left

Believers in conspiracy theories and the paranormal are more likely to see “illusory patterns”

Sneak peek: D.C.’s huge new Museum of the Bible includes lots of tech — but not a lot of Jesus

Chinese House Church Leaders and Toddler Arrested After Singing in Public Park

Disgraced evangelist Jim Bakker warns critics they will face God’s wrath for making fun of him

Israel Is Not As Christian-Friendly As You Think

Wailing at the wrong wall?

Drag Queen Reads to Kids at Michelle Obama Library

‘Transgender’ Activist Reports Christian Printer to Police for Declining to Print Business Cards for Cause

Planned Parenthood Celebrates Its 101st Anniversary and 7 Million Abortions

Visions, dreams, and revelations: Demon possession or genuine prophetic fits?

NARpostle David Cartledge talks about Latter Rain; rewrites Pentecostalism

David Barton and the History of Basketball

Revealing Quotes by Influential Contemplatives

Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill Hybels

Deborah & Peter Green – Religious sect member accused of child rape wants judge to drop bond

Air Force Service Members Accused of Painting Satanic Graffiti on South Carolina Church

World Health Organization: Nearly 56 Million Abortions Per Year Worldwide


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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Seven Symptoms of a Prideful Heart

Pride is universal—something we all deal with, as ancient as Adam and as relevant as the morning news. Yet we don’t always see our own pride, which weaves like weeds around our lives.

Oh, we see it in the obvious ways, but we can be blind to its deceptive, subversive way in our hearts. We know the disease, but we don’t recognize the symptoms. And that’s why we need the insight of our spiritual Great Physician to reveal symptoms of pride and rescue us from it.

Seven Symptoms of a Prideful Heart

Here are seven symptoms of pride I’ve been seeing in God’s Word as his Spirit works in my own life:

1. Fear

Pride is at the root of fear and anxiety, when we refuse to humbly rest in God’s sovereign care. Fear simultaneously reveals our lack of trust and our poisonous self-reliance. We fear because we don’t have faith in the Lord, we are enormously preoccupied with ourselves, and we don’t have control.

When Peter stepped out on the stormy sea to come to Jesus, he was walking in humble faith. But when his gaze shifted to his circumstances and self-preservation, he trusted in himself, became afraid, and began to sink. It was Jesus who saved him, while admonishing him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).

2. Entitlement

Self-sacrifice stems from a humble heart. Entitlement is rooted in a prideful heart. The core of the gospel is that we are not entitled to anything, except just punishment for our sins (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Yet we deceive ourselves into thinking we’re better than we are, so we deserve better than we have. We think we deserve God’s mercy. We think we deserve people’s praise. We think we deserve love, success, comfort, accolades. We certainly don’t think we deserve suffering, heartbreak, or discipline.

But when we do experience these things, we grow bitter, frustrated, and disturbed because we believe we’re entitled to more. We forget that apart from Jesus Christ we are sinners who deserve condemnation.

The disciples wrestled with entitlement many times. On one occasion, they were arguing about who was the greatest. They selfishly thought they deserved honor and glory. But Jesus’ response to them was a rebuke: “Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves” (Luke 22:26).

3. Ingratitude

Our proud hearts say we are good, that we should get what we want, and if we don’t, we’re justified in our ingratitude. If we’re uncomfortable or inconvenienced in any way, we can complain. It’s our right. Humility recognizes that God is good, that he gives us what he knows we need, so we have no reason to be ungrateful. There is nothing we lack (Deuteronomy 2:7; Psalm 34:9).

The Israelites’ grumbled in the wilderness, though God fed, clothed, and led them through it (Exodus 16:2; Deuteronomy 8:2). Their stubborn hearts rejected God’s daily mercies out of a foundation of self-idolization. But God’s Word rebukes our proud grumbling with this command: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:14-15).

4. People-Pleasing

Pride is self-worship and self-preservation at all costs—and people-pleasing is the direct result of pride. Some think people-pleasing is a positive trait because they’re so clearly concerned with serving others. But that belief is nothing more than a sneaky sheepskin we put over a wolfish habit. People-pleasing is all about self-satisfaction—fearing man more than God—and seeking the fleeting happiness that comes from man’s approval.


Jesus’ humility means forgiveness of our pride. That’s the sting and joy of the gospel.
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The apostle Paul knew human approval was a pointless and prideful pursuit. Because of that, he could say, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

5. Prayerlessness

Pride deceives us into thinking we can “do life” on our own—that we’re capable, independent, unstoppable, and self-reliant. We think we don’t need God every hour, that we don’t need his help, grace, mercy, courage, and hope. So, surely, we don’t need to pray.

But a humble heart submits itself to God in prayer because it knows it can do nothing without him.

When God called Jonah to go to Nineveh, Jonah’s response was not to go to God in prayer. Instead, he fled, his heart furiously and arrogantly silent (Jonah 1:3). When God humbled him in the belly of a great fish, Jonah finally cried out in prayer (2:1).

6. Hypocrisy

When you’re proud, you elevate your status, forgetting the mercy God has shown you. You think you’re better and holier than everyone else, and you easily find fault with others. Pride produces a hypocritical spirit.

The Pharisees’ hypocritical pride blinded them to their sin and to God’s mercy—which made them cold-hearted and cruel toward others. Jesus had harsh words for them: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).

7. Rebellion

Rebellion against God manifests itself in resistance toward the Word and the spiritual leaders he has placed in our lives. It is the reflex of a prideful heart. It also shows itself in a lack of submission—wives, to your husbands; children, to your parents; employees, to your bosses; citizens, to your government. Rebellion says, “I know better than you, God,” when you don’t.

We see rebellion in the first people God created: Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Even though they had all they needed for life and joy, out of pride they rebelled against God’s good decree, thinking they knew better than him. And this rebellion brought pain, suffering, and death—for them and for us.

The Humble Servant

Yet there is hope for the proud heart in the incarnation of humility, Jesus Christ. Immanuel—God with us—condescended to live among us, die for us, and raise us to new life. He never owned a shred of sinful pride—no fear, entitlement, ingratitude, people-pleasing, prayerlessness, hypocrisy, or rebellion.

Philippians 2:4-6 says,

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Jesus is God, his equal, and yet emptied himself of all he deserved to save us from our pride. He who was entitled to the highest honor forfeited it for our redemption.

It’s because of Jesus’ humility that we can be forgiven of our pride. That’s both the sting and joy of the gospel. It deals with our pride by destroying it, reminding us that life is not about us, and that we deserve only the wrath of God for our sin. Jesus Christ also deals with our pride by taking the just punishment for it upon himself at the cross, that we might be renewed in the image of our Creator (Colossians 3:10) and made humble like our Savior.

Being humbled is not smooth or painless, but it’s our rescue.

Jesus is our rescue from pride.

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A subtle and dangerous shift in Christianity

When I penned this piece in 2010, my aim was to inform professing Christians, who had convinced themselves that it’s okay to practice “Christian yoga,” that it is not okay at all.  At that point yoga, which has its roots in Hinduism, had taken the Christian community by storm, as you will see in my piece, Christian Yoga? C’mon!  But the important thing for readers to understand is that pagan practices such as yoga cannot be christianized, nor should God’s people adopt a pagan practice and attach a Christian title to it acceptable to the Christian community. When God says no, He means No! (2 Cor 6:14)

By Marsha West

Seems everyone’s practicing yoga meditation these days. Physicians recommend it to their patients which means it’s beneficial…right? Meditation is said to relieve stress, anxiety, hypertension, acne and post-nasal drip, so go for it! Just tighten those abdominal muscles, inhale deeply and chant Maaaaaaaaa all in one breath and your concerns will drift away like a feather floating on the wind…

But what if you’re a Christian? Should you practice the same sorts of things as Buddhist, Hindu’s and New Agers?

Listen to what the Bible says:

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate thereon day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (Josh.1:8).

Firstly, meditating day and night does not mean to stay awake for 24 hours a day. Secondly, Christian meditation is very different from Eastern meditation. Followers of Jesus Christ are not to sit in the lotus pose in an altered state of consciousness seeking the “God within” like pagans do. The Bible teaches that when Christians meditate our minds are to be fully engaged. We are never to go into a trance-state.

What does meditation involve? “The word ‘meditation’ in Hebrew means basically to speak or to mutter. When this is done in the heart it is called musing or meditation. So meditating on the Word of God day and night means to speak to yourself the Word of God day and night and to speak to yourself about it.”

Before you dive into God’s Word take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind and to reveal truth to you. As you read, stop to ponder what God has spoken through the words on the page. Always, always, always consider the context. In Charles Spurgeon’s sermon “Pray Without Ceasing,” he says there are four important questions to be asked:

What do these words imply? Secondly, What do they actually mean? Thirdly, How shall we obey them? And, fourthly, Why should WE especially obey them?

Sometimes you need to read a passage over and over…reflect on it…analyze it…and listen while the Holy Spirit speaks truth to you. A word of warning: Listening to God does not require that you “empty” your mind. This meditative practice, called Lectio divina a.k.a. spiritual formation…the silence…best known as contemplative (centering) prayer (CP) is a growing trend in evangelical churches despite the fact that this sort of prayer ritual comes from teaching associated with Catholic mystics such as Meister Eckhart, Ignatius of Loyola, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila. CP was reintroduced by Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Henri Nouwen, William Meninger, Basil Pennington and other mystics.

Many in the Emergent Church movement (ECM) are advancing Roman Catholic mysticism as well. Yet they insist on being seen as mainline evangelicals. ECM has not only introduced aberrant teaching into our churches, it undermines the authority of Scripture. Gary Gilley laments that there has been a shift from infallible scriptures to “psychological and sociological experts, opinions of the masses, trends of the moment and the philosophy of pragmatism. This shift has been subtle, which has made it all the more dangerous. Few have bothered to deny the Bible itself, they just misquote it, abuse its meaning, force their opinion on it, and if necessary mistranslate it to give the appearance that the Scriptures are backing their claims. The affect of all of this scriptural manipulation is to both erode the authority of God’s Word and to give the appearance that what Scripture has to say isn’t really important. It is only a short step from here to a Christian community that no longer has much use for the Bible.” (This is eerily similar to the way liberals/progressives treat the U.S. Constitution.)

The Body of Christ needs to know who these apostates are. Rick Warren for one. Warren has been promoting CP in his books for years. Other important figures are Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola, Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Richard Rohr, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Dan Kimball and Shane Claiborne. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Listen to why it can be dangerous:

It has the potential to become, and often does become, a pursuit of mystical experience where the goal is to empty and free the mind and empower oneself. The Christian… uses the Scriptures to pursue the knowledge of God, wisdom, and holiness through the objective meaning of the text with the aim of transforming the mind according to truth. God said His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), not for lack of mystical, personal encounters with Him.

One should also consider that emptying or freeing the mind can put a person in contact with demons:

[T]he dangers inherent in opening our minds and listening for voices should be obvious. The contemplative pray-ers are so eager to hear something — anything — that they can lose the objectivity needed to discern between God’s voice, their own thoughts, and the infiltration of demons into their minds.

Contemplative prayer is almost identical to how the Zen Buddhists meditate. Following is part of the meditation process, “Just be still and know“:

Sit in the lotus pose (cross legged) keeping your spine straight… put your hands on each other in your lap… Now look at your left hand…just look. Aware of the left part of your body… look at the left hand in an empty manner. Just look. Don’t let any thought pop up in your mind…look blankly on your left hand and try to feel the left portion of your body…feel the left part…feel…This very process will activate your right brain. When the right brain activates, it results in disappearance of thoughts. Your thought will start disappearing…[ Slowly after a few sessions of practicing this meditation, you will be able to instantly achieve this state of disappearance of thoughts]

In Buddhism repeating a single word is known as a mantra. Many Buddhists simply murmur ommmm repeatedly. When Christians practice CP a word or phrase from the Bible is repeated. Many believers, especially young people, have been conned into believing that saying “I love Jesus” over and over will get them in contact with God. The fact of the matter is this approach to drawing close to God is unbiblical. Thus it should be eliminated from the serious Christian’s approach to and understanding of meditation and prayer.

With these practices and beliefs comes a “virtual encyclopedia of theological error,” says Gary Gilley. Many change agents in the Church are “Progressive Christians” now morphing into “social justice Christians” (SJC). Social justice is doublespeak for socialism. Spreading the social justice gospel is not the good news the Bible speaks of. SJCs want to mold America into a socialist saturated nanny state. Their aim is to redistribute the wealth. Before you buy into the SJC hype, check your history books. In every country socialism has been tried it has failed. Socialism takes away people’s freedoms and ultimately leads to tyranny. So why on earth does America want to copy it?

SJCs are bent on reinventing, or as Dan Kimball puts it re-imagining” traditional Christianity. Progressives are pushing pluralism. Because….when the Church becomes ecumenical and includes aspects of other religions it will blend nicely into their perception of how the 21st Century is going to be.

Authentic Christianity will never blend in! Christianity stands alone. All other religions are based on works righteousness (if you’re a good person you will ultimately be rewarded). The Bible is very clear that “there is no one righteous, no not one” (Rom 3:10). We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Sin separates us from a holy God. Christians believe Christ died for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. We believe we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ’s righteousness alone. True Christians are willing to die for the Truth. Are counterfeit Christians willing to die for their truth?

So, where was I?…Oh yes.

Progressive Christians are introducing theological error into the Church faster than a starving cheetah chasing down a gazelle. In “How to Practice Meditative Prayer” Acts 29 Pastor, Winfield Bevins, explains:

In Hebrew thought, to meditate upon the Scriptures is to quietly repeat them, giving oneself entirely to God, and abandoning outside distractions. The two main things that we are told to meditate on are God’s word and God’s goodness. Paul tells us, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Paul was not talking about prayer when he said “think about these things.” He was saying that we should let our minds dwell on pure thoughts because what we allow into our minds shapes our actions. Paul finishes his thought in verse 9:

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Do what you have seen me do, says Paul. This is not about finding a quiet place to sit crossed legged and prayerfully meditate — he was telling them to imitate what they have seen in him! According to Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary:

In these things he proposes himself to them for an example (v. 9): Those things which you have learned, and received, and heard and seen in me, do. … What they saw in him was the same thing with what they heard from him. He could propose himself as well as his doctrine to their imitation. It gives a great force to what we say to others when we can appeal to what they have seen in us. And this is the way to have the God of peace with us-to keep close to our duty to him. The Lord is with us while we are with him.

Many Christians lead busy lives so they put off spending time with God. In fact, data shows that most believers spend very little time in their Bibles, even though there’s a whole lot of prayin’ goin’ on! People running hither and yon bombard the Lord with bullet prayers. Now, don’t get me wrong. Praying umpteen times a day is what believers should do — we are commanded to pray without ceasing. (1 Thes. 5:17) We are also commanded to abide in Christ:

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).

If followers of Jesus Christ are to bring forth good fruit they must stay attached to the Vine. The fruit believers bear when they’re not abiding in Christ may look ripe and juicy on the outside. But it is rotten fruit!

There is a story in Luke 10:38-42 of two sisters, Mary and Martha, who thought differently about how to serve their Master. When Jesus came to their home Martha stayed in the kitchen preparing food for their guests. She had her own ideas on how to serve Christ. Martha became vexed that Mary was not helping with the meal. Instead she sat at the feet of Jesus to hear his word. Martha actually went to Him to complain. Instead of taking her side, Christ publicly rebuked her:

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things…

In his commentary Matthew Henry explains the situation:

He repeated her name, Martha, Martha; he speaks as one in earnest, and deeply concerned for her welfare. Those that are entangled in the cares of this life are not easily disentangled. To them we must call again and again, O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord.

Jesus continues:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Again, Matthew Henry:

“She had justly given the preference to that which best deserved it; for one thing is needful, this one thing that she has done, to give up herself to the guidance of Christ, and receive the law from his mouth. Note, Serious godliness is a needful thing, it is the one thing needful; for nothing without this will do us any real good in this world, and nothing but this will go with us into another world.”

Certainly there is nothing wrong with cooking for guests. But what we need to remember is that we are children of God before we are servants of God. Like Mary, we must sit at our Lord’s feet. Martha was so busy serving Jesus that she had no time to spend with Him! Have I hit a nerve?

Prayer is intended as praise, confession, thanksgiving, and asking for others. (Phil 4:4-7) In prayer we find God’s love and we will experience peace. Moreover, through prayer we are conformed to God’s will. Prayer is not meant to be an esoteric experience, like the contemplatives would have us believe. The Bible does not teach that God’s people are to go into a self-induced altered-state of consciousness to commune with Him. Again, meditating day and night does not mean we are to look for the “God within,” as Eastern mystics and occultist do. For the Christian to be involved in any sort of pagan practice is strictly forbidden by God! This is because God opposes paganism’s polytheism and blatant immorality. There is no getting around the fact that polytheism and immorality are the pagan way.

The Christian who truly wants to please God will do as the psalmist suggests:

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Explore the Emergent/Emerging/Emergence Church Movement

Explore “Christian” Yoga

Explore Contemplative Prayer

Source: A subtle and dangerous shift in Christianity

3 Lessons from the Life of John Bunyan

I read The Pilgrim’s Progress, like many of you, when I was a kid. In high school, I rejoined Christian on his journey through a Brit Lit class. When I discovered Reformed theology in my college years, I was reintroduced to John Bunyan through those little Puritan Paper books. In youth ministry, I’ve returned over and over to The Pilgrim’s Progress as a discipleship tool. It just seems to always have been around.

Teaching through the book of Hebrews recently brought The Pilgrim’s Progress back into my mind. The book of Hebrews is a book about perseverance. It employs the language of pilgrimage in a way that you don’t see anywhere else in the Scripture. Peter in his Epistle also talks about sojourners and aliens, describing Christians as people who don’t fit in. He looks at believers as those who are on a journey, those who need to be warned about dangers, those who need to ultimately remember the significance of persevering.

So, as I preached through Hebrews, I just kept bringing out illustrations from The Pilgrim’s Progress. I would get blank stares from the college students (which I’m totally used to). I asked them one Sunday, “How many of you have read The Pilgrim’s Progress?” Either they weren’t listening when I asked them, or the statistics frightened me a bit. It had to be less than 10%. I think in prior generations it wouldn’t have been that way, but the book is increasingly less well-known.

This is unusual in history because The Pilgrim’s Progress, written by John Bunyan, was a 17th-Century English novel and allegory that had, to say the least, a formative effect on Christianity in the English-speaking world. It’s been through 1,300 different editions and translated into 200 languages. Next to the Bible, it’s the second best-selling English book of all time. It was lauded by great Christian leaders, like Spurgeon who said he would read it once a year as a habit. I think The Pilgrim’s Progress is how Bunyan is best known, and rightfully so. Some have considered it the first English novel. It is a classic in the true definition of the word.

This summer I went on a rampage of sorts. A Christian rampage. My strong desire was to make sure that more people, especially Millennials, would read this powerful old book and learn lessons from the life of John Bunyan. I held a summer book club for college students where we weekly worked our way through big chunks of The Pilgrim’s Progress, digesting and applying it as we went. I was eager for these young Christians to be helped by this resource of antiquity, to read this storied allegory. Granted, they might read it on their phone, but still, they would read it. And through that study we all became more acquainted with the godly man behind The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan.

Maybe you’ve dismissed The Pilgrim’s Progress as a childhood book or a heavy-handed allegory, and you’ve moved on to more Pulitzer-worthy readings. Or maybe you don’t have a taste for fiction because you’re a warrior for the truth. I want you to be reintroduced to the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan, and to his extraordinary influential work. Bunyan’s life and words hold great treasure for those who are willing to journey with him. I’ve learned several lessons from this great man of God, and I want to share a few of them with you.

3 Lessons from the Life of John Bunyan

Centrality of Salvation

When you read Bunyan, you go away mindful that the predominant concern of his existence on this planet was the salvation of souls. He lived for the sake of the souls of the people in his congregation and longed to see them find Christ, to live in holiness, and to walk in obedience. John Bunyan breathed the gospel.

This is a helpful lesson for all of us, especially when we consider Bunyan’s many hardships. He was imprisoned for almost a third of his life, forcing him to leave his already poor family with almost nothing, including his blind daughter. He would find himself in and out of churches, constantly fighting one spiritual battle or another. And He did all of it for the salvation of those around him, for the sake of the gospel.

We’re interested in a thousand things that aren’t the gospel of Jesus Christ. A thousand political things, or a thousand preferential things, or a thousand things that you post about on Facebook. Reading Bunyan, you can’t get through a page without him talking about the gospel. In Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan writes:

“Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called Salvation. Up this way, therefore, did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.

He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.”

Bunyan pictures Christian’s journey in this culminating moment of forgiveness and satisfaction of the wrath of God at the cross. It’s an exceptional example to all of us to be mindful of the priority of salvation in our thinking, in our conversations, in what consumes us. If you find yourself more concerned with temporal things – and we all get sucked into them – I wonder if you’re feeding them instead of feeding your soul on that main priority, the truth of salvation.

Significance of Suffering

Bunyan knew extraordinary suffering. You see that in The Pilgrim’s Progress because of all that Christian goes through. It’s reflective of Bunyan’s understanding of suffering in the Christian life. It’s why George Whitfield said that The Pilgrim’s Progress “smells of the prison.” But Bunyan always saw God’s hand in his suffering.

This is instructive to all of us who will, according to Jesus, suffer in this world. We will get sick, be persecuted, and eventually we will die. In this life, we will go through spiritual difficulties that will stretch and challenge our faith. Bunyan saw them all as coming directly from the hand of God, that’s why it’s so significant to learn suffering from a man like Bunyan. Listen to what he writes.

“Since the rod is God’s as well as the child, let us not look upon our troubles as if they came from and were managed only by hell. It is true a persecutor has a black mark upon him, but yet the Scriptures say that all the ways of the persecutor are God’s… We should not be afraid of men, as if they were let loose to do to us, and with us, what they will. God’s bridle is upon them, God’s hook is in their nose. Yea, and God has determined the bounds of their rage, and if he lets them drive his church into the sea of troubles, it shall be up to the neck, and so far it may go, and not be drowned. I say, the Lord has hold of them, and orders them. Nor do they at any time come out against his people but by his license and commission how far to go and where to stop.”

The suffering Bunyan knew wasn’t just random. He preached these things to his church who knew that the confiscation of their property was an imminent threat and the loss of their life and freedom was ever before them.

That’s a powerful lesson for people who cannot handle anything but extraordinary comfort. Our own hearts can be brought to complaining, grumbling, and dissatisfaction 10,000 times a day.

To see what God did in Bunyan’s life through his intense and painful experiences is a reminder that suffering is not the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is to be without faith in Christ. So, Bunyan would remind us that suffering is not outside of God’s will for his children. When it comes we must embrace it as from His hand and see that He’s going to use it to cause us to hold fast to Him.

Priority of Progress

One of the great lessons I learned in studying through the book of Hebrews is that the sentence that we like to use, “once saved always saved” is completely true, totally unbiblical and absolutely unhelpful. The Bible never says it, though the concept is theologically true. God will finish his work in the elect no doubt about it, but the Bible never employs that kind of language when it talks about perseverance.

I don’t think the doctrine of perseverance is rightly understood by many Christians today. The fruits of perseverance are things like obedience to God’s will, being a part of the church, availing yourself of prayer, desiring to be in fellowship with God’s people, longing for God’s glory, longing for heaven, love for the church and for brothers and sisters in Christ. You see all those things lacking in Christians today. Instead of bearing the fruit of grace in their lives, people are saying things like “once saved always saved.”

When the puritans talked about the doctrines of perseverance, they employed a far more Biblical understanding than the cheap version you hear given today. “Once saved always saved” is such a trite phrase. It doesn’t warn Christians like the Bible repeatedly warns Christians to persevere unto the end. The Pilgrim’s Progress makes no sense if you don’t have room for a call and a warning about perseverance. There’s a balance in sanctification and in perseverance between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, and Bunyan got it. He said,

“This is Christ, who continually with the oil of his grace, maintains the work already began in the heart. You see, a prevailing view of God’s grace does understand that ultimately we persevere because Jesus is working in us, but it doesn’t do so without extraordinary effort and a mindfulness of the consequences of apostasy.”

We ought to be making measurable progress in our pursuit of Christ, in our sanctification, with a Biblical understanding of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. We must take a hold of the means of grace, and obey God from the heart.

I recommend to you that reading Bunyan is worth it. Every Christian in centuries before our own, if they had books, they had a copy of the Bible and they had a copy of The Pilgrim’s Progress, and there’s a reason for thatIt’s a book that can help you hold onto these three realities like Bunyan did: the priority of salvation, the endurance of suffering as a good soldier of Jesus, and the priority of perseverance in the Christian life.

Read more about the life of John Bunyan: John Bunyan, Joy, and Suffering

The post 3 Lessons from the Life of John Bunyan appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

Co-ed Pastors, Male and Female, to Succeed Bill Hybels

Not surprisingly Willow Creek has selected two people, male and a female, to replace celebrity pastor Bill Hybels. In her piece for Christianity Today Astray, Kate Shellnutt failed to mention that the Bible restricts women from having spiritual authority over men. Speaking on behalf of God, the Apostle Paul proclaims “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” (1 Tim 2:11-12)  Clearly, women are not to have spiritual authority over men. Why? Paul continues: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve;  and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” (vs 13 & 14.)  Women have been given many gifts including the gift of hospitality, evangelism, mercy, helps, teaching — but they are not to teach men.

Here’s the story:

Since “no one person can replace” Willow Creek Community Church founder Bill Hybels, the influential megachurch has named two people: its current executive pastor Heather Larson and teaching pastor Steve Carter.

Hybels announced on Saturday that the pair will succeed him as lead pastors when he steps down in October 2018.

The historic transition will make Willow Creek one of the largest churches in America with a woman in the lead pastor position, as well as the only major evangelical megachurch with male-female lead pastors who aren’t married.

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Source: Co-ed Pastors, Male and Female, to Succeed Bill Hybels

Is It Really God Speaking to You?

This is why that voice in your head needs to be submitted to God’s Word and not just assumed it is God. God could very well be using your conscience. It is not wise to go against your conscience. But our conscience must be recalibrated to the word of God. It is also possible that your conscience could be way off and causing you to submit to laws which are opposed to the gospel or giving you permission to do things that God never said is appropriate.

“I’ve prayed about this and I really feel like God told me that it would be okay.”

Those were the words that I heard when a young lady informed me that she was leaving her husband in order to live with another dude. She was happier with the other guy. She knew that God didn’t want her to be unhappy and so as she prayed that voice in her head confirmed that she had permission from the Almighty.

Don’t write me off as crazy, but I think she probably did hear a sort of “voice” in her mind that she attributed to God. And I don’t believe it was necessarily demonic. In fact I believe it is a voice that many of us hear on a daily basis. I believe many well-meaning believers attribute this voice to God.

That voice is your conscience.

I was with a guy who told me that as he was praying “God told him” that he was being inconsistent in a particular behavior. As he played out the conversation with “God” it was interesting how much the Lord sounded like the man who was telling me the story. Your conscience is “your consciousness of what you believe is right and wrong.” (Naselli, 41) It is that internal voice that you hear that tells you whether things are right or wrong.

But here is the problem with equating the voice of your conscience to the voice of God. Your conscience can be wrong. In fact it can be seared (1 Timothy 4:2) and guilty (Hebrews 10:22). Your conscience can make you think that right is wrong and that wrong is right.

This is why that voice in your head needs to be submitted to God’s Word and not just assumed it is God. God could very well be using your conscience. It is not wise to go against your conscience. But our conscience must be recalibrated to the word of God. It is also possible that your conscience could be way off and causing you to submit to laws which are opposed to the gospel or giving you permission to do things that God never said is appropriate.

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The post Is It Really God Speaking to You? appeared first on The Aquila Report.

Survey Finds Most American Christians Are Actually Heretics

Why does it matter that we’ve become a nation of doctrinal dunces? What harm is there in flunking Christianity 101? Well, for Christians, the answer is obvious. If we really believe what we profess—that the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important fact of history and eternity—then we’d better improve our grade. Knowing who the God we claim to worship is can no longer be a third priority if we want the world to take us seriously as his followers.

Evangelical writer Eric Metaxas remarked on BreakPoint last week that if Americans took a theology exam, their only hope of passing would be if God graded on a curve. He’s right. In knowing both the content of the Bible and the doctrinal foundations of Christianity, we Americans aren’t just at the bottom of our class. We are, as Ross Douthat argues in his book, “Bad Religion,” a nation of heretics.

A survey of 3,000 people conducted by LifeWay Research and commissioned by Ligonier Ministries found that although Americans still overwhelmingly identify as “Christian,” startling percentages of the nation embrace ancient errors condemned by all major Christian traditions. These are not minor points of doctrine, but core ideas that define Christianity itself. The really sad part? Even when we’re denying the divinity of Christ, we can’t keep our story straight. Americans talking about theology sound about as competent as country singers rapping.

We’re an Embarrassment to Heretics Everywhere

Seven out of ten respondents in LifeWay’s survey affirmed the doctrine of the Trinity—that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three Persons but one God, and six in ten agreed that Jesus is both human and divine. Their orthodoxy—and consistency—ended there. More than half went on to indicate that Jesus is “the first and greatest being created by God,” a heresy known as Arianism, which the Council of Nicaea condemned in 325 A.D.

Of course, most of these accidental blasphemers aren’t preparing to revise the resulting Nicene Creed and preach a creaturely Christ. Rather, bizarre contradictions like this illustrate how many Americans don’t understand or even care what the Trinity means (although they say they believe in it, likely out of habits learned growing up in church).

The responses to other questions were no less heterodox or headache-inducing. Seventy percent of participants—who ranged across socioeconomic and racial backgrounds—agreed there’s only one true God. Yet sixty-four percent also thought this God accepts the worship of all religions, including those that believe in many gods.

Two-thirds admitted that everyone sins a little bit, but still insisted that most people are good by nature, which directly contradicts scripture (See “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”). Over half said it’s fair for God to exercise his wrath against sin, but seemed to waffle about which sins deserved wrath (not theirs!). Seventy-four percent said the “smallest sins” don’t warrant eternal damnation, in contrast to Jesus’ brother, who when writing at the Holy Spirit’s inspiration taught that even one infraction of God’s law is enough to sink someone. But really, what did he know?

A full 60 percent agreed that “everyone eventually goes to heaven,” but half of those surveyed also checked the box saying that “only those who believe in Jesus will be saved.” So either these folks are saying everyone will eventually believe in Jesus, or they hired a monkey to take the survey for them.

Evangelicals Didn’t Even Study for This Test

It’s one thing for Americans in general to lack basic theological knowledge. After all, many of the 75 percent of the country who call themselves Christians don’t take their faith that seriously, and the rest are either members of other religions, or have no religion. But what about those who wear their Christianity on their sleeve? Surely such a group—evangelicals, for instance—would perform much better.

That’s what the folks at LifeWay thought, too. In a similar project conducted two years ago, researchers asked participants to self-identify, resulting in an inflated number of professing “evangelicals. Not surprisingly, this group Christmas-treed the survey, espousing all kinds of unorthodox views.

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The post Survey Finds Most American Christians Are Actually Heretics appeared first on The Aquila Report.

An Open Letter to those Suffering with Depression

Recovery took longer than I expected or wanted and I was surprised at how many different components were involved in my healing. But have hope: if you are patient and use all the different means God has provided, you will most likely be among the 95% of people who do get better. You’ve already taken the first and most important step: you’ve admitted you have a serious problem and you’ve begun to reach out for help. 

The female version of Reset (RHB) is just about to be published. It’s my wife’s first book and is called Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Overwhelming Demands (RHB). In it, Shona tells about her own battles with depression and anxiety and shares many of the lessons God has graciously taught her along the way. Here’s an open letter she wrote to those suffering with depression.


My dear friend,

I’m so sorry to hear that you are suffering with serious depression. Although you feel hopeless and helpless, I want to assure you right up front that there is hope and there is help. I’ve been there myself and I’ve felt the same despair and darkness that you feel. But God, in his great mercy, brought me out of it and I trust and pray he will also bring you into the light.

Recovery took longer than I expected or wanted and I was surprised at how many different components were involved in my healing. But have hope: if you are patient and use all the different means God has provided, you will most likely be among the 95% of people who do get better.

You’ve already taken the first and most important step: you’ve admitted you have a serious problem and you’ve begun to reach out for help. That’s huge. If you checked out the symptoms of depression on WebMD, you were no doubt helped to see how many of these symptoms you have and that you’ve already had some of them for a worryingly long time.

The next step is to share this with three people: a close family member (like your spouse, if you’re married), your pastor, and your doctor. You will need family support throughout, and the earlier you involve them the better, as they will have a lot to learn in the next few months. They may not understand initially, but encourage them to support you as you talk to your pastor and doctor.

Your pastor is key as he will help you to discern whether there are any spiritual causes behind your depression. Even if there isn’t a spiritual cause (and there often isn’t) there will be spiritual consequences and you will need your pastor’s prayers and guidance throughout. I’d caution you against announcing this as a prayer need in your church. Not everyone understands depression, and some people might say some cruel and hurtful things about you and even to you. It’s better just to share this with people you can be sure will sympathize with and pray for you.

When you visit the doctor, tell him everything—don’t hold back, don’t minimize, don’t play it down. Just explain exactly how you are feeling. You may get quite emotional opening up for the first time like this, but the doctor is very used to this and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed.

You can expect your doctor to help clarify whether you have the symptoms of depression. He should also be able to do some initial examination of possible physical causes. He may order some medical tests, and he may ask you about your family history and about your life over the past 6–18 months. He’s simply trying to figure what might be some of the contributing factors to this depression. He’s also working on possible cures which, depending on the seriousness of your condition, may include medication or some counseling.

If he does prescribe medication, be patient with it and give it a few weeks to really begin to work. Ask God to bless his provision of these medications, and that he would direct them to the right places in your body. Also, don’t think that all you need to do is pop a pill. I’ve never seen anyone cured by just taking meds. They can work very well, however, if taken as part of a holistic package of care.

Regarding counseling, your pastor should be able to give you basic advice and biblical counsel, but you may also wish to consider a Christian counselor, especially one who has some expertise in CBT (cognitive behavior therapy). That will help you to retrain your mind and thinking patterns for long-term recovery. But keep your pastor involved and informed throughout.

Read the rest of this post containing six pieces of practical advice at Crossway’s blog.

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article first appeared on his blog, Head Heart Hand, and is used with permission.

The post An Open Letter to those Suffering with Depression appeared first on The Aquila Report.

Four Hindrances to Prayer

God can seem far away when I pray.

It can feel like I’m beating my head against a wall. My prayers feel repetitive, self-indulgent, short, and they seemingly go unanswered.

When things are good, or when I have plenty, or even when I’m distracted, God gets too little of my time. When I do pray, my prayers are often filled with a wish list of things I want. Instead of being a time of communion with my Savior, prayer becomes a means to an end, and that end is self.

Four Hindrances to Prayer

I’m sure these are common problems for many believers: that praying is difficult and self-centered, and that our prayers seem hindered. Let’s look at the latter difficulty: What does Scripture say about what can hinder our prayers?

1. Ignoring God’s Word

If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. (Proverbs 28:9)

If someone, even a professed believer, refuses to hear and heed God’s discipline and guidance, their prayers become detestable to the Lord.

This includes a rejection of the Bible’s authority as God’s revealed Word. If you reject God’s primary communication about Jesus and his work, how can you know him? You don’t love the real Jesus; you love a made-up Jesus. This fabricated Jesus doesn’t even exist, so he obviously can’t answer prayers.

2. Loving Sin

Psalm 66 points out another issue that restricts the reception of our prayers: “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18).

Our prayers won’t be heard if we “cherish iniquity,” holding unrepentantly to some sin. This does not include a believer struggling with a recurring sin who regularly and humbly repents, but this is anyone who willfully harbors sin and refuses to repent.

3. Desiring Wrongly

You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:2-3)

James makes two points here.

The first is that we don’t ask God for his help. I’ve fallen into this many times, either when I think my prayers are insignificant or selfish, or when I try to do things in my own power.

James’ second point speaks to our motivations. He writes this after saying that we’re too often ruled by our desires, and just as our unchecked passions may lead to quarreling and sin, they can inhibit our relationship with God, including his response to our prayers.

4. Doubting God

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:5-7)

God wants to give his children good things. Since he gave us his Son, the greatest gift of love and goodness and mercy, can we then believe he would withhold any of his love and goodness from us (Romans 8:32)?


Knowing and loving Jesus will change how, why, and what we ask of him.
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It may seem that evil in the world and the unending worries of life are too overwhelming to address in prayer. We would be constantly asking for help, and God would get sick of us, we think—

Or we get overwhelmed by our sin. We know the things we’ve done, we know how unlovable we are. God may have given us his Son, but we certainly don’t deserve any more than that, we think…

Both of these are examples of how doubt can creep into our prayer life. Doubt lies to us that God’s love, patience, and power have limits. James states clearly that actively doubting God’s graciousness and providence can impede our prayers.

Prayer That Delights God

In order to avoid blockades to prayer, it helps to know prayer’s purpose. Wonderfully, Jesus explains:

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:7-10)

To abide in Christ’s love, we follow his commands, which means knowing Scripture, “the word of Christ” (Colossians 3:16). As we increase in the knowledge of Jesus, we will also increase in love for him, which drives us to our knees in repentance. When you know Jesus and what he has done for you, it becomes progressively easier to turn from the ugliness of sin to the beauty of the Savior.

As we come to know and love Jesus, our prayers will be increasingly transformed. This will change how, why, and what we ask of him. We will love what he loves, hate what he hates, and desire what he desires. We will learn to submit to his timing in answering because we are learning to trust him more.

A Praying Faith

As our Father, God delights to give good gifts to his children (Luke 11:5-13). Knowing we ask according to his will, we can have faith that he will answer us, even when his answer doesn’t align with our understanding or timetable. When doubt still comes, we reject it and turn to our forgiving and compassionate God who will bolster our faith. We come to God humbly in prayer through Jesus, who opened the way for us to do so by removing all blockades to communion with God when he defeated sin and death.

Yes, we will still struggle with the flesh and the world; therefore our requests may be tainted, and our ability to notice God’s answers may be clouded. So we cling to Psalm 37:4: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Jesus has changed those who love him, delighting us in himself. Even when we don’t know how to ask or receive, he sees what we truly want—to know him, love him, and bear fruit for him—and knows how and when to provide and answer.

[Photo Credit: Lightstock]

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The post Four Hindrances to Prayer appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Appearances of ‘Mary’: Is It the ‘Blessed Mother’ or a Demonic Spirit?

“I assure you that this apparition of “Mary” is NOT the Mary that the Bible tells us about,” says the blogger who posted this piece over at Soul Refuge. “It is a demonic counterfeit and a camouflage which is meant for the destruction of the soul. I know that because it was the Spirit of truth who brought me out of that very darkness, and He showed me the truth which is found in the scriptures (the Bible).”

In this piece some of the messages from the “Mary” of Medugorje are examined:

A woman named Maryann once commented on my own personal testimony and she testified of how she also left the Catholic church as a teen, after she questioned the teachings of the church. Maryann’s mom told her that she was an atheist when she heard her daughter say that she believed the apparitions (appearances) of Mary were Satanic. I was not surprised at all by the reaction that Maryann received from her mom. Why? Because I know that we are involved in some serious spiritual warfare, and I know because I was once on the other side of the fence. I was also a staunch defender of the Marian apparitions at Medugorje, Yugoslavia, previous to my becoming born again of the Spirit. After my conversion, it was the Spirit of truth (Holy Spirit) who opened my eyes to the gross deception of the “Marian apparitions” as well as the entire Roman Catholic system.

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See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism

Source: Appearances of ‘Mary’: Is It the ‘Blessed Mother’ or a Demonic Spirit?

Bethel Church Believes a Different Gospel

From Berean Research:

Bethel Church’s senior pastor is “Super Apostle” Bill Johnson, which is a big red flag right there. In a recent blog post, Pastor Gabriel Hughes dealt with an exposé on Bethel Church written by journalist Molly Hensley-Clancy. Hughes thought Hensley-Clancy’s piece was excellent “but the story lacks an important consideration, which even reputable media outlets miss when covering a story like this. That crucial examination is this: theology.”  Bethel’s theology is far different than most Bible-believing churches.  And because of this there are spiritual concerns we should be aware of, says Hughes. “Is it really all that bad if they are lying about their miracles and glory clouds?” he asks.

Yes.

People who attend Bethel learn about a different Jesus than the Jesus of the Bible. And when the gospel is mentioned, it is an altogether different gospel they’re talking about.

Now listen as Pastor Hughes examines Bethel’s theology. He writes:

Last week, a reporter at BuzzFeed posted an in-depth article after going undercover during prophecy week at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. The school is one of the darling ministries of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, which also includes the music of Jesus Culture and their healing ministry Bethel Sozo. Any look into Bethel is bound to uncover some strange things, and the author certainly did. But despite an excellent exposé, she overlooked something crucial.

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Source: Bethel Church Believes a Different Gospel

Weekly Watchman for 10/20/2017

Willow Creek Pastor Bill Hybels to Retire; Names Successor

Founding and Senior Pastor Bill Hybels has announced his retirement effective October, 2018. He will remain as “founding pastor” and oversee the expansion of Willow Creek’s Association that provides services and resources to churches and also the Willow Creek Leadership Summit.

Hybels and Willow Creek are no strangers to controversy. The WC Leadership Summit has elevated people like Bill Clinton, Rob Bell and several corporation executives as “leaders to emulate” even though many of them are not even Christians and support homosexual marriage and abortion. Some people believe this is incorporating the ways of the world into the church.

His wife Lynne openly opposes the nation of Israel through “Christ at the Checkpoint,” criticizing Israel while giving a pass to the terrorist organizations who kill in the name of Allah. In typical controversial fashion, Hybels is going out with a bang: he has named Heather Larsen his successor to the lead pastor position having the title of Executive Pastor.

Many of you have weighed in on this so we discuss it in the first segment today and then get to more listener questions and comments.

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The Real Inconvenient Truth

The liberal, utopian mindset is an interesting thing. No matter the facts that might get in the way of their arguments, they charge forward convinced that they are the enlightened geniuses who have everything figured out. If for some reason stupid, backwards thinking conservatives would just get with the program and blindly follow them; then we could unite, solve the world’s problems and achieve the utopian dream.

The basis of this is not necessarily liberalism; it is the belief in humanism: man’s nature is good and if we just collectively become one, we can solve any problem and accomplish anything. (Does the Tower of Babel ring a bell?) Sadly, this same humanism is actually infecting the professing Christian Church–but we’ll discuss that another day.

A cornerstone of the progressive movement toward a one world government is the alarmism and desperation we hear from the Left over climate change. Al Gore and others have made millions stirring up panic by claiming we are on the verge of world wide catastrophe if we don’t stop using fossil fuels as energy. But is their theory based on scientific fact? Or is it just a scare tactic meant to manipulate and control people – and make them big money?

This morning we are joined by Dr. Roy Spencer who was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA. His latest book is titled An Inconvenient Deception: how Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy. Dr. Spencer is a preeminent expert on the field of Climate Science and he joins us to separate fact from fiction and manipulation over the topic of climate change.

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Trafficking and Profiting from Hate

We have reached a time in America where speaking the truth, no matter how gently done, is called hateful. If you speak out against the facts in the Quran, you hate Muslims. Speak about God’s definition of marriage, and you hate homosexuals. Share what the Bible says about gender being assigned at birth and permanent – even though secular science confirms this truth – and you hate transgenders. Speak up and defend life, and you hate women.

There is big money and power in screaming “hate speech” every time the progressive agenda is challenged or the Bible is referenced out loud. Today, we look at a thought provoking commentary on how the business of hate is consuming our nation.

In our first segment, we check in with Pastor Randy White and continue our discussion on how the Old Testament of the Bible is increasingly overlooked or discarded, even by many professing Christians. Is our growing ignorance of God’s wisdom and proclamations of the Old Testament causing problems in our spiritual growth as Christians and effectiveness as a church?

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Fearing God. Exactly What Does that Mean?

Proverbs 9:10 states: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” But what exactly does the Bible mean when it says we are to fear God? Does it mean that even as His adopted children we expect Him to punish us every time we disobey Him? Or that the moment we disobey Him, He will rescind His promise to those who confess, repent and place our complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ?

Dave Wager of Silver Birch Ranch and Nicolet Bible Institute joins us to discuss what a healthy and accurate fear of God looks like, and why “the fear of the Lord” is seen as an antiquated belief even among professing Christians.

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Gospel Opportunities, Halloween, and Good News in the NFL?

The first century Christian Church was well aware of what God wanted them to do and why they were still in this world. They knew for a fact Jesus was alive and they believed the return of Christ was imminent. They also knew it was their responsibility to share the gospel with as many people as possible in the hope they would repent and accept forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ. And while many were wrong about the timing of His return, their passion for the gospel led many into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.

Here’s a heart check for us: how is our level of passion and commitment for the gospel? Do we understand the true purpose God has us in this world? Or is it more about finding God’s “special purpose” for our lives these days? If we truly believe what the Bible teaches, that people who do not surrender to God and submit themselves to the lordship of Jesus Christ will spend eternity separated from Him in hell, then why are we so timid about sharing the good news with our family, friends and neighbors?

Jay Seegert of The Starting Point Project joins us to discuss why Christians seem afraid or are hesitant to share the Gospel. We also look at #GreenBayPacker’s quarterback, #AaronRodger’s broken collarbone from a spiritual perspective, knowing God allows things to happen in our lives to bring us back to Him.

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Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Strange Fire Revisited”

Code: B171020

“The charismatic movement is not faith. It is doubt looking for proof.” Those potent words come from John MacArthur in a new interview titled “Strange Fire Revisited.”

It has been four years since the Strange Fire conference, and the publication of John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire. He and Phil Johnson recently sat down for a frank discussion about the history of the charismatic movement, its current state, and the ongoing impact of Strange Fire. This is a candid and eye-opening conversation, as John delves into what first motivated him to scrutinize the charismatic movement decades ago, and discusses the important distinction between charismatics and Reformed non-cessationists.

Here are a few quotes to illustrate the wide-ranging nature of the interview, and the various topics they tackle.

On why this is still a pressing and pertinent issue, John said:

I’m confident that will continue to be an issue; it does not go away. In fact, it seems that it morphs into an even more extreme version as time goes on. The thing that is so sad to me, Phil, is the people who proclaim themselves as teachers and representatives of God are unwilling to do even what the Bereans did, and that is to compare the things they say with Scripture in an honest way. And that, to me, is evidence that there is no righteous intent behind this. This is part of the adversary’s strategy.

On whether the movement is home to genuine believers:

I think Christians will find their way out, sooner rather than later. It’s a great place for non-Christians to belong. I think a true believer, with a real hunger for the Word of God, and a genuine love for God, and a believer that is under the influence of the Holy Spirit has to be led out of the aberrant aspects of that movement. You can’t be a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led true believer, and be at home with the outrageous misrepresentations of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit that exist in that movement.

On the enduring allure of the charismatic movement:

The charismatic movement is not faith. It is doubt looking for proof. They’re people living in doubt. I think they’re deeply fearful in many cases—deeply worried and deeply traumatized by their spiritual condition. And they don’t know what it is to have the love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control that comes as the fruit of the Spirit. And they’re reaching out for something external to validate themselves spiritually, so they know they’re okay. And then you have now, of course, a whole generation who just want an experience.

“Strange Fire Revisited” is a powerful, thought-provoking conversation that you don’t want to miss. It’s a unique look at the heart of a godly shepherd who has been faithfully fending off spiritual wolves for several decades. And it’s a call to God’s people to carry on the fight for the purity of the church and the authority of Scripture.

Click here to listen to “Strange Fire Revisited.”

 


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October 20, 2017 – This ‘n’ That

  • Are you a gospel hoarder? I loved this article, and it went well with this sermon on Jonah 4.
  • Let’s take some time to consider our daily gifts.
  • I bet you had no idea the danger bananas were in.
  • If you are a woman, I can’t commend this article to you enough. I also heartily second the book recommendation in the article. I’m currently reading the same book and it’s marvelous.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Bethel Church is an abomination.
  • Continuing John MacArthur’s teaching through Philemon:

Source: This ‘n’ That

October 20, 2017: Verse of the day

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The Restoration of Israel

    Thus says the Lord:

“In a time of favor I have answered you;

in a day of salvation I have helped you;

I will keep you and give you

as a covenant to the people,

to establish the land,

to apportion the desolate heritages,

    saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’

to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’

They shall feed along the ways;

on all bare heights shall be their pasture;

10    they shall not hunger or thirst,

neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,

for he who has pity on them will lead them,

and by springs of water will guide them.

11    And I will make all my mountains a road,

and my highways shall be raised up.

12    Behold, these shall come from afar,

and behold, these from the north and from the west,

and these from the land of Syene.”

13    Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;

break forth, O mountains, into singing!

For the Lord has comforted his people

and will have compassion on his afflicted. [1]


8–12 Although the opening words of v. 8 certainly appear to mark a new beginning, almost a fresh oracle, they present a contrast with v. 7. So often in the NT, especially in Acts, it is said that the Christ, rejected and crucified by men, was raised and thus vindicated by God (e.g., Ac 2:23–24). The favor of God to the unique Servant is, of course, merited, but the quotation of v. 8 in 2 Corinthians 6:2 shows that in Christ we share not only his service (see comment on v. 6) but also his acceptance (cf. Eph 1:6, KJV).

The background to the expression “the time of my favor” (v. 8) is probably the day of Jubilee in Leviticus 25:8–55 (cf. 61:1–2 and comments; for the covenantal reference, see comment on 42:6). The context here suggests that part of the Servant’s work is to establish the aspects of the Abrahamic and possibly the Mosaic covenants that related to the land of Canaan. Children and a land were major blessings of the covenant with Abraham (Ge 12:2–3); the first is mentioned in Isaiah 48:19 and the second here. The Servant will be a kind of second Joshua (the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek “Jesus”). The land will be repeopled by freed captives (v. 9a).

The new conditions of the people are beautifully described in vv. 9b–12. They are first pictured like sheep finding abundant pasture in a formerly barren land (the “desolate inheritances” of v. 8). In this land they will find food, water, and shelter (v. 10). They will be guided by a compassionate shepherd (cf. Ps 23). These verses are echoed and applied to Christ in Revelation 7:16–17. The pastoral imagery is then replaced by assurances of suitable road conditions (v. 11) and of a return from every quarter (v. 12), already familiar to us from 35:8; 40:3–4; 42:16; 43:5–7. [2]


A time for favor (49:8–13)

The Lord will hear the Servant’s prayers, help him, keep him and give him as a covenant (49:8). How do you give somebody as a covenant? A covenant is basically a solemn agreement involving promises and conditions, so if you can find one person who will fulfil all the conditions and deliver all the promises, you have found a covenant personified. We are told about some of the promises that the Servant will deliver: freedom in place of imprisonment; light in place of darkness; food for the hungry; water for the thirsty; protection; guidance; and a way home for exiles. He is a bringer of comfort and a shower of compassion.[3]


49:7–13 / Verses 7–13 continue the theme of servanthood, rejection, vindication, and the faithfulness of God, but take it in a new/old direction. Talk of transferring the vocation of servant from people to prophet could be dangerous. It could suggest megalomania on the part of prophet (I once heard the principal of a Jewish seminary say that he was inclined to call in the psychoanalyst when a student talked of feeling called by God to be a rabbi). More importantly, it could suggest that Yahweh has forgotten the undertaking to persist with Jacob-Israel as servant notwithstanding its unreliability. Verses 7–13 begin with the recollection that Yahweh is still Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, an important reminder for God, prophet, and people. These verses address one despised and abhorred, the servant of rulers. This is presumably the Judean community itself. For while we have had no indication that the prophet was treated thus, this description does correspond to the community’s self-perception (see, e.g., 41:8–20). It may well indicate the way it described itself when it prayed (so Westermann, Isaiah 40–66, p. 214). The last phrase is the most painful. Far from functioning as servant of Yahweh, the community is merely servant of heathen overlords. The initial promise of restoration here, then, corresponds to the promise to the community in 45:14–17.

Yahweh goes on to promise that the servant of rulers will become a covenant for the people (v. 8). The phrase recurs from 42:6, where it described the role of Yahweh’s servant and accompanied the phrase “a light for the Gentiles.” That last phrase has just reappeared in 49:6. In other words, we again find the double description of the servant from 42:6 here—divided between verses 6 and 8. The total effect is to reaffirm that Yahweh is indeed still committed to the community’s fulfilling the servant role, through the prophet’s ministry. It is destined not to be the servant of rulers forever, but to be the servant of Yahweh.

It is by restoring the land and freeing the captives that Yahweh will make the community a covenant for the people and a light for the nations (vv. 8b–9a). The logic is parallel to that in verses 5–6, though the content of the promise is also significantly different. There Yahweh will make the prophet a light for the nations by restoring Jacob-Israel to God. Here Yahweh will make the community a covenant for the people by restoring Jacob-Israel’s land and restoring the people itself to its freedom. All these tasks will play a part in the fulfillment of Yahweh’s purpose. Not surprisingly, all correspond to God’s promise to Abraham, which involved land, people, relationship, and being a blessing. And Yahweh promises that the released people will be well-provisioned on their journey back for the reallocation of their inheritance (vv. 9b–11).

We have presupposed throughout the study of chapters 40–49 that the prophet’s special focus is the Babylonian community, but periodically we are reminded not to make this too exclusive a focus. The prophet has a worldwide perspective and from time to time reaffirms that. Judeans had been transported to or had taken refuge in other parts of the world that surrounded their own land, especially Egypt, and the return of Judeans from Babylon is but one aspect of Yahweh’s restoring the community as a whole to their homeland (vv. 12–13)—in order to restore the land (v. 8), whether or not they felt homesick.[4]


49:8–13 God answered Christ’s prayer by raising Him from the dead, then assigning Him to bring Israel back to the land. The Servant of Jehovah will summon the people to return to the land, and provide ideal travel conditions along the way. They will come from all over the world, from as far away as Sinim (possibly China). It will be a glad day for the world when Israel experiences His comfort and compassion in this way.[5]


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 49:8–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] Grogan, G. W. (2008). Isaiah. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, pp. 778–779). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Thomson, A. (2012). Opening Up Isaiah (p. 128). Leominster: Day One.

[4] Goldingay, J. (2012). Isaiah. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 283–285). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 975–976). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.