Daily Archives: December 7, 2017

December 7 The Creator of the World

“In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son … through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:2).

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Christ is the agent through whom God created the world.

John 1:3 testifies, “All things came into being through Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Jesus has the ability to create something out of nothing (cf. Rom. 4:17), and that sets Him apart from mere creatures. Only God can create like that; we can’t. If you could create, you’d live in a different house, drive a different car, and probably have a different job—if you had any job at all. You could just sit in your backyard and make money. Fortunately, God didn’t give depraved men and women the right to be creators.

The ability to create ex nihilo (out of nothing) belongs to God alone, and the fact that Jesus creates like that indicates He is God and establishes His absolute superiority over everything. He created everything material and spiritual. Though man has stained His work with sin, Christ originally made it good, and the very creation itself longs to be restored to what it was in the beginning (Rom. 8:19–21).

The common Greek word for “world” is kosmos, but that’s not the one used in Hebrews 1:2. The word here is aionas, which does not refer to the material world but to “the ages,” as it is often translated. Jesus Christ is responsible for creating not only the physical earth, but also time, space, energy, and matter. The writer of Hebrews does not restrict Christ’s creation to this earth; he shows us that Christ is the Creator of the entire universe and of existence itself. And He made it all without effort.

What about you? If you don’t recognize God as the Creator, you’ll have difficulty explaining how this universe came into being. Where did it all come from? Who conceived it? Who made it? It cannot be an accident. Someone made it, and the Bible tells us who He is: Jesus Christ.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for the wonder of His creation, which we can so easily take for granted.

For Further Study: Read Colossians 1:16–23 to discover the relationship between the creation and your salvation.[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 354). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

December 7, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders are on the brink of achieving their top priority, centerpiece tax legislation, but only after a series of inaccurate claims and broken promises. Lawmakers have made — and then retracted — pledges that their planned overhaul bill wouldn’t raise taxes on any middle-class families. Trump and his top aides have said the changes won’t cut taxes for the highest earners, statements that are demonstrably false.

The Gaza Strip’s militant Hamas rulers called for a new uprising against President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while protesters burned American flags and pictures of the U.S. leader in demonstrations across the West Bank.

Australia legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, paving the way for the first gay weddings to be held early next year and triggering jubilant celebrations at Parliament House.

President Donald Trump called on Saudi Arabia to immediately end a blockade of Yemen that is preventing people in the war-torn country from receiving essential supplies, a rare criticism of a key U.S. ally.

Citigroup Inc. expects to take a noncash charge to earnings of about $20 billion if the U.S. Senate’s version of the tax reform bill is enacted, Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said. The hit to profit would mostly stem from the bank writing down its deferred tax assets in the period the bill is signed.

Bitcoin touched $15,000 for the first time on Thursday, extending its advance this month to more than 50 percent as concerns mounted the cryptocurrency’s rapid rise masks risks.

NiceHash, the marketplace for cloud-based mining of cryptocurrencies, said hackers breached its systems and stole an unknown amount of bitcoin from its virtual wallet. A wallet address circulated by NiceHash users shows that more than $60 million of bitcoins might be affected.

General Electric Co. plans to cut 12,000 jobs in its power business as the company’s new leaders look to slash costs and stabilize the beleaguered manufacturer.

Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. declined to a five-week low, consistent with a resilient labor market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. Jobless claims decreased by 2k to 236k.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is getting Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” which sold last month at a Christie’s auction for $450 million, the most ever paid for a work of art. The New York Times reported that Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud was the buyer, citing documents it reviewed.

AP Top Stories

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 83,000 acres had been charred by fires surrounding Los Angeles to the north and the east.

The most complete skeleton ever found of an australopithecus, a forerunner to modern man, went on display for the first time in Johannesburg on Wednesday following a 20-year process to excavate and assemble the 3.67 million-year-old remains.

Singapore Airlines changed a flight route between South Korea and the US earlier this year over fears about North Korean missile launches in the Asia-Pacific region, it has emerged.

Washington’s first priority in dealing with the war in Ukraine is to reach agreement on a UN peacekeeping force, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday.

A snake measuring more than 17 feet and bagged last week is the longest ever caught in Florida’s Python Elimination Program.

As North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs have become more adventurous, a worrying possibility has begun to emerge. There’s a chance that-at some point-the North Koreans might want to combine the two testing programs, by putting a live nuclear warhead on top of a ballistic missile. That means, assuming all goes as it should, the missile would fly downrange to its appointed target zone, and the warhead would detonate in the atmosphere.

A senior US official has cast doubt on the US team attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea, in comments which were described as “an insult” to Seoul.

BBC

The Chinese government has scaled back its ambitious plans to eradicate coal-fired heating for this winter amid shortage of gas. Beijing had ordered the nation’s northern provinces to convert from coal to cleaner fuel by the end of this year to reduce pollution. However, in many places the transition has not completed or gas supplies proved inadequate. Millions have reportedly been left without proper heating.

A dissident republican leader who plotted a bomb attack during Prince Charles’ visit to Ireland has been jailed for more than 11 years.

An Indian drone has “invaded China’s airspace and crashed” on its territory, Chinese state media said. The Indian army said the drone had been deployed on a training mission and developed a technical problem.

WND

A new survey by insurance firm Aviva found that 72 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds believe the term “snowflake” is unfairly applied to millennials. 74 percent of respondents took it a step farther, arguing that they believe the use of the label could have a negative effect on young people’s mental health.

Researchers recently discovered that menorahs prominently adorned Muslim coins and vessels during the early Islamic period 1,300 years ago. Relics inscribed with the Jewish symbol dating to the Umayyad dynasty during the seventh-eighth centuries were found at various archeological sites in Israel and are now being exhibited to the public.

The Czech Republic on Wednesday evening followed in the footsteps of U.S. President Donald Trump and said it recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.


The Briefing — Thursday, December 7, 2017

1) The significance of the U.S. recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Washington Post (David Nakamura) –
Trump recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel in reversal of longtime U.S. policy

2) How the marriage revolution in Austria reveals the comprehensive confusion of the sexual revolution

CNN (Nadine Schmidt and Hilary Clarke) –
Austrian court rules same-sex couples can marry from 2019

3) If religious liberty is for everyone, that would actually include Christians

WSJ (Luke W. Goodrich) –
Religious Freedom Is for Christians, Too


News – 12/7/2017

‘After Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration, Next Step Is Third Temple’
President Donald Trump’s epic proclamation on Wednesday acknowledging Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people was a major step towards establishing the Third Temple and bringing the Messianic era, said a number of Jewish activists working to rebuild the Holy Temple. “This necessarily had to come from a non-Jew in order to bring them into the process, so they will be able to take their part in the Temple.”

Netanyahu: More countries plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Netanyahu lauded Trump’s decision explaining that he had earned himself “an eternal role” in Jerusalem’s history and the annals of the Jewish people. Israel is talking with more countries about recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday. His announcement comes as the UN Security Council in New York prepares to hold a meeting in New York to discuss US President Donald Trump’s decision Wednesday to officially recognize Jerusalem and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Thousands of Palestinians protest US Jerusalem move
Heeding Palestinian Authority calls for day of protests, Palestinians demonstrate in Jerusalem, major West Bank cities, and the Gaza border, coming out against US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

‘Over 10,000 texts’ between ex-Mueller team officials found, after discovery of anti-Trump messages
Department of Justice officials told Fox News they are in the process of going through the texts so they can hand them over to the House Intelligence Committee. Strzok, who was an FBI counterintelligence agent, had worked on the Mueller probe, but was reassigned to the FBI’s human resources division after the discovery of anti-Trump text messages with Page, with whom he was having an affair. Page was briefly on Mueller’s team, but since has returned to the FBI. The disclosure of those messages revived Republican concerns about the objectivity of Mueller’s probe.

Southern California wildfires force mass evacuations around Los Angeles
The relentless wind-whipped wildfires ravaging Southern California are expected to worsen Thursday, as dangerous winds are forecast to fan the flames in different directions and force new evacuations around the second-largest city in the U.S. Winds on Thursday topped 50 mph already in the greater Los Angeles area, keeping residents across the region wary as more than 200,000 people have been forced from their homes and nearly 200 homes and buildings have been destroyed since the fires broke out late Sunday.

Russia voices ‘serious concern’ at US Jerusalem move
Russia expressed “serious concern” Thursday over United States President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, saying the move threatened security in the region.

Under pressure, Democratic Senator Franken to address calls to step down
Democratic Senator Al Franken will announce his decision to remain in or resign from the U.S. Senate on Thursday after facing intense pressure from members of his own party to step down following allegations of sexual misconduct. Minnesota Public Radio, citing a Democratic official who had spoken to the senator and aides, reported Franken would resign.

Israel boosts troops following Trump announcement, Palestinian rage
Following an assessment by the general staff, the IDF has decided to reinforce troops in the West Bank ahead of expected riots following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s unit, the IDF will be reinforcing its West Bank division with extra battalions and intelligence collection and territorial defense resources.

UN Security Council to meet Friday to discuss Trump’s Jerusalem move
The United Nations Security Council will meet on Friday at the request of eight states on the 15-member body over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, diplomats said on Wednesday. The request for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to publicly brief the Security Council meeting was made by France, Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay, said diplomats.

Australian parliament approves same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage will become legal in Australia after a historic bill was passed in the House of Representatives. An overwhelming majority of MPs voted to change the Marriage Act, eight days after a similarly decisive result in the Senate. The vote set off immediate celebrations in parliament, prompting cheers, applause and even a song.

Russia election: Putin to run again for president
Russia’s Vladimir Putin has said he will seek another term as president in next year’s election. He made the announcement in a speech to workers at a car factory in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod. “I will put forward my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian federation,” he said. Mr Putin has been in power since 2000, either as president or prime minister. If he wins the March election he will be eligible to serve until 2024.

California fire burns Bel-Air mansions as spread continues
Residents of Los Angeles’ wealthy Bel-Air neighbourhood have found their homes under threat after another wildfire erupted in California. The so-called Skirball Fire destroyed several homes in the exclusive area, quickly spreading over 150 acres. It is the latest eruption of wildfire in the state, which has already seen widespread destruction from a series of uncontrolled blazes.

US House votes to expand concealed carry gun rights
The House of Representatives has voted to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons between states, accomplishing a decades-long firearms lobby goal. The Republican-controlled chamber passed the bill by 231-198, in their first major gun legislation since a 2012 Connecticut school massacre. Republicans said the bill would allow gun owners to travel without having to worry about conflicting state laws.

North Korea says U.S. threats make war unavoidable as China urges calm
Two American B-1B heavy bombers joined large-scale combat drills over South Korea on Thursday amid warnings from North Korea that the exercises and U.S. threats have made the outbreak of war “an established fact”. The annual U.S.-South Korean “Vigilant Ace” exercises…come a week after North Korea tested its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to date which it says can reach the mainland United States.

Netanyahu sees ‘many’ nations following US move on Jerusalem
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday Israel is holding initial talks with other friendly nations in an effort to get them to follow US President Donald Trump’s lead in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “I would like to announce that we are already in contact with other countries which will issue a similar recognition,” Netanyahu said in a speech at the Foreign Ministry without naming any of these countries.

REPORT: Barack Obama Blocked Deportation of 550,000 Illegal Aliens
U.S. immigration officials have revealed that their current backlog of deportations is 550,000 after illegal aliens were granted temporary amnesty by former President Obama.

LOL: Prince Charles declares “let’s remember Mohammed on Christmas”
Is Prince Charles willfully blind? Or evil?  While speaking on the British radio show “Thought for the Day,” the future King of Britain, Prince Charles, said that Christians should be more mindful of Islam and Muhammad during the holidays.

Study: 80% Of Babies In The US Are Born Addicted to ‘Big Pharma’ Painkillers
Shocking new figures have revealed 80% of newborn babies born in the US are dependent on ‘Big Pharma sponsored’ painkillers, with the first days of their life consisting of intense drug withdrawals.

Jennifer Lawrence: ‘Our Lord Satan Will Destroy Donald Trump’
…As the group laughed in agreement, she continued with the rant: “And what’s with all this nativity, Jesus bullsh*t in the White House all of a sudden?”That’s not our Lord.”Trump is not one of us.”I’m looking forward to watching Satan destroy that guy.”

Tidalgate: Climate Alarmists Caught Faking Sea Level Rise
Alarmist scientists have been caught red-handed tampering with raw data in order to exaggerate sea level rise.

Update: House Rejects Dem Vote On Trump Impeachment
Update: The House of Representatives has just rejected the Democrats’ resolution to impeach President Trump in a staggering 364-58 vote. The original article detailing the upcoming vote appears below.

Obama thanks himself in speech in which he takes credit for economic growth under Trump
Former President Barack Obama thanked himself in a speech Tuesday in which he took credit for American economic growth occurring under Republican President Donald Trump. Obama told an adoring crowd at a Chicago climate summit that despite “resistance at every step of the way,” his administration’s efforts to fight climate change resulted in a better economy.

Halal Slaughtermen Charged With ‘Systematic’ Animal Abuse
…The case was based on “significant and systemic” breaches of animal welfare rules, alleged Howard Shaw for the prosecution, the Northern Echo reports. Animal activists looked on from the public gallery in horror as the extensive list of cruelty charges were read out. The men worked at the Bowood Yorkshire Lamb slaughterhouse, which was secretly filmed by the animal rights group Animal Aid last year.

The Deep State Plot to Conquer America Is On Full Display
In the previous parts of this series, it was established that the Bundy’s judge, Gloria Navarro, was running interfernce for Obama and protecting Harry Reid. Her illegal conduct and unconstitutional behavior in the trial, served to direct attention away from the use of rancher’s land, like the Bundy land, in which uranium was being extracted and sold to the Russians in the now labeled “Uranium One” scandal in which the Clinton Foundation was profiteering from treason against the people of the United States. History will judge the Uranium One scandal to be the biggest scandal in the history of the United States.

Pope Francis Forced To Handover Pedophile Priests In Child Abuse Crackdown
Pope Francis has been forced to hand over all the remaining ‘pedophile priests’ in the Vatican to the police as part of a “major crackdown” on the child abuse epidemic in the Catholic church.

Nun Broke Child’s Arm for Reporting Sexual Abuse by Pedophile Priest
An 8-year-old child had her arm broken by a nun in a violent attack after trying to report that she was being sexually abused by a Catholic priest, a court has heard.

Bishop Slams Migrant Dinghy Nativity
…Vecchi did not take issue with the inclusion of a boat or other symbols of the migrant crisis, but said that replacing the manger with a migrant dinghy robbed the nativity of the focus on the universality of Christ’s salvation.

Will GOP Congress Fund ‘Humanized Mice’ Made From Aborted-Baby Organs?
…A chart in the summary indicated this mouse was constructed with “(h)uman fetal liver and thymus (20-24 g.w.).” In other words, it was “humanized” with organs taken from babies five to six months after conception. “A single donor (one baby) provides sufficient tissue to implant 50-60 mice,” said the summary.

Sweden: Migration responsible for 300% increase in HIV cases
The number of HIV-related illness in Sweden has grown from 1,684 in 2006 to 6,273 in 2016. That’s an increase of almost 300%. According to Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Authority, this can be explained by migrant flows from countries where HIV is a major problem. “There are more and more people living with HIV, because you no longer die of AIDS,” he said.

Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 7, 2017

National Reciprocity: Apocalypse Now?

The House passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which Pelosi warns will cost lives.

The Foundation

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” —Cesare Beccaria


ZeroHedge Frontrunning: December 7

  • Hamas calls for Palestinian uprising (Read More)
  • Arabs, Europe, U.N. reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital (Read More)
  • Trump Jr. Refuses to Discuss Father-Son Talk With Investigators (Read More)
  • L.A. Fires Halt Filming, Menace Crops, Send Edison Plunging  (Read More)
  • North Korea says U.S. threats make war unavoidable as China urges calm (Read More)
  • Goldman, BlackRock, and Blackstone: Will They Still Rule Wall Street in 10 Years? (Read More)
  • Bitcoin Soars Through $15,000, Up More Than 50% This Month  (Read More)
  • Uber paid 20-year-old Florida man to keep data breach secret (Read More)
  • Family Businesses Worry the Tax Overhaul Will Hurt Them (Read More)
  • Trump’s Middle-Class Tax Pledges Go Unfulfilled in Senate Bill (Read More)
  • China’s Sinopec sues Venezuela in sign of fraying relations (Read More)
  • Wall Street Tells Frackers to Focus on Profits, Not Output (Read More)
  • Kaspersky to Close Washington Office But Expand Non-State Sales (Read More)
  • Commodities Crumble Again on China Alarm Bells (Read More)
  • German SPD leader takes aim at U.S. tech giants (Read More)
  • They Gave Her a $3.8 Million Bonus—and Then the Boot (Read More)
  • Tillerson holds tough line on Russia sanctions over Ukraine (Read More)

Headlines – 12/7/2017

Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, starts embassy move

After Jerusalem recognition, Trump signs waiver delaying embassy move

Text of Trump’s official proclamation of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

Push by evangelicals helped set stage for Trump decision on Jerusalem

Christian Leaders Warned Trump Against Recognizing Jerusalem As Israeli Capital

Pope Francis Implores Trump To Respect ‘Status Quo’ On Jerusalem

If I recognize thee, O Jerusalem: What Trump’s move means for the region

Trump Move on Jerusalem Stings Shekel on Concerns About Regional Violence

Mexico says will keep its embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv

Czech Republic recognizes pre-1967 Jerusalem as capital of Israel – Moving embassy from Tel Aviv will only be done after negotiations with regional and global powers

Netanyahu sees ‘many’ nations following US move on Jerusalem

Jerusalem for Dummies: Why the World Doesn’t Recognize It as Israel’s Capital

The Conflict in Jerusalem Is Distinctly Modern. Here’s the History.

Syrian president says Jerusalem to be Palestinian capital

Erekat: No Palestinian state without Jerusalem

Abbas: Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the State of Palestine

While endorsing Israeli Jerusalem, Trump doesn’t rule out any of Abbas’s demands

Netanyahu says Trump ‘bound himself forever’ with Jerusalem’s history

PM, ahead of US Jerusalem move, hails ‘important expression’ of Israeli identity

Netanyahu calls Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital ‘an important step towards peace’

Trump’s Move Frees Palestinians to Focus on Peace, Not Jerusalem

Abbas says Trump’s Jerusalem decision ends historic US role as peace broker

Arab, Muslim leaders slam Trump for destroying peace efforts

In battle against Jerusalem recognition, Palestinians united by Al-Aqsa

As Palestinians fume over Trump’s acknowledgement of Israeli capital, Ramallah encourages teachers and pupils to rally in protest

Palestinians switch off Christmas lights in Bethlehem in anti-Trump protest

Abbas warns of ‘wars without end’ following US Jerusalem declaration

Hamas says Trump’s Jerusalem decision ‘opens the gates of hell’

Hamas head urges new intifada as Palestinians rage against Trump move

Tunisian labor union says Jerusalem decision a ‘declaration of war,’ calls for protests

Prince Hassan of Jordan: Donald Trump’s Jerusalem Move Plays Politics With International Law – and Our Lives

Jordan’s king warns: ‘denying Islamic rights in Jerusalem will lead to violence’

Iraq demands that US backtrack about Jerusalem

Turkey’s Erdogan: Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem Throws Region Into ‘Ring of Fire’

Saudi Arabia describes Jerusalem decision as irresponsible and unjustified

Iran ‘will not tolerate’ Trump Jerusalem ‘violation’: Rouhani

Iran warns of ‘intifada’ against Israel

Pro-Iran Iraqi militia says Jerusalem decision could make US troops a target

Pro-Hezbollah newspaper declares ‘Death to America’

Trump move on Jerusalem highlights Arab divisions

Palestinian, Muslim Rage Over Trump Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital Will Be Short-Lived, Senior Former White House Official Predicts

Trump suggests previous presidents lacked courage for Jerusalem policy shift

State, Defense and CIA chiefs all opposed Jerusalem declaration, CNN says

US asks Israel to ‘restrain’ response to Jerusalem announcement

Global leaders regret, reject Trump recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Following Trump’s declaration, EU doubles down on Jerusalem policy

Secretary-General takes swipe at Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as UN calls for emergency meeting

Turkey’s Erdogan says US decision on Jerusalem disregards United Nations

Turkish FM: Announcing Jerusalem is Israel’s capital doesn’t make it so

IDF deploying reinforcements in West Bank after Trump Jerusalem speech

IDF Launches Surprise Military Drill in Northern Israel

U.S. Says 2,000 Troops Are in Syria, a Fourfold Increase

France says Syrian government obstructing peace talks

UN urges ‘humanitarian pause’ for Yemen

Trump asks Saudis to lift blockade of Yemen for humanitarian aid

Vandal who left bacon inside mosque gets 15 years in prison

Chinese air force holds drills in ‘new routes and areas’ near Korean peninsula

Impressive photos of the US and South Korea’s massive air drills that should have North Korea on edge

F-35s could assist in intercepting North Korean ICBMs, experiment shows: report

North Korea says U.S. threats make war unavoidable on Korean peninsula

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he’ll seek re-election

House rejects Trump impeachment resolution after Dem Rep. Al Green forces vote

Trump: Government shutdown ‘could happen’ Saturday

Socialism, Capitalism Seen in New Light by Younger Americans

California Bill in the Works to Banish Gasoline Cars by 2040

5.5 magnitude earthquake htis near Luwuk, Indonesia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Khuzdar, Pakistan

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Thang, India

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Pipalkoti, India

Seismologists worried by tremors in DR Congo

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 17,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

California faces worst-ever Santa Ana wind risk

Wildfires are turning Southern California into embers and ash

California Fires Enter the Heart of Los Angeles

Southern California wildfires force mass evacuations in Los Angeles

Genetic tool that can doom a species under UN review

Flu cases double last year’s total, CDC says

New 3D Printed Organ Models Don’t Just Look Like Real Organs, They Feel and React Like Them Too

Will GOP Congress Fund ‘Humanized Mice’ Made From Aborted-Baby Organs?

Sweden: Migration responsible for 300% increase in HIV cases

World AIDS chief warns of risk for Africa’s child brides

Same-sex marriage legalised in Australia as Parliament passes historic law

Clerk Kim Davis denied his right to marry another man. Now he’s going to run for her office.

Seven female Democratic senators call on Al Franken to resign over sexual misconduct accusations

A Democratic Chorus Rises in the Senate: ‘Franken Should Resign’

Michelle Lesley – A Pox Upon Our House: Three Chronic Diseases Plaguing Women’s Ministry

Mike Gendron – Guarding the Gospel With Discernment

Infallible prophets? – A Look at the CGI Apostolic Network

Catholic Idolatry Alert: St. Francis Xavier’s forearm set for cross-country tour, will get its own seat on Air Canada

Evangelical vs. Born Again: A Survey of What Americans Say and Believe Beyond Politics

Bill Lenz, Pastor Who Dedicated Ministry to Suicide Prevention, Takes Own Life

Award-Winning Actors to Star in Film Based on Life of Controversial Bishop Carlton Pearson

Illinois Boy Who Identifies as Girl Sues to Use Girls’ Locker Room to Change for Gym Class

Rallying Cry of Jerusalem May Have Lost Force in Arab World
Very good analysis of the new realities in the Middle East

PROPHETIC UPDATE: Trump declares Jerusalem as the Capitol of Israel!

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 07:18 PM PST

PROPHETIC UPDATE: Trump declares Jerusalem as the Capitol of Israel!(By Ricky Scaparo) In this message, we update you on the latest developments regarding the recent recognition of Jerusalem as the Capitol of Israel from US President Trump.

Hamas warns Trump has opened ‘the gates of hell’ and calls for ‘day of rage’

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 07:09 PM PST

Hamas warns Trump has opened ‘the gates of hell’ and calls for ‘day of rage’Hamas has said US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to move the US embassy there, “opens the gates of hell”.  “Trump’s decision on Jerusalem will not succeed in changing the fact that Jerusalem is an Arab Muslim land,” a spokesperson for the militant group running Gaza noted.

The group has also repeatedly called for a Palestinian “day of rage” on 8 December as well. “The youth and the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank need to respond with all means available to the US decision that harms our Jerusalem,” the statement read. Hamas called the decision about the city – home to holy sites for Jews, Muslims, and Christians – “a red line”. The statement was unequivocal: “The resistance will not allow any desecration of it.” READ MORE

Trump And Israel Are Linked By The Number 7 Over And Over Again

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 06:57 PM PST

Trump And Israel Are Linked By The Number 7 Over And Over Again(By Michael Snyder) On Wednesday, President Trump announced that the United States is formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy to the holy city.  This move sent shockwaves around the world, and it is likely that we could see widespread violence erupt in the Middle East.  But what most people don’t realize is that the timing of this announcement was extremely significant.  As you will see below, this came on the exact date on the Hebrew calendar when the Partition Plan for Palestine was adopted 70 years ago, and it is yet another example of how Trump

and Israel are linked by the number “7” over and over again.  Let’s take this one step at a time.  The modern state of Israel was born on May 14th, 1948 and U.S. President Harry Truman formally recognized the new nation on that same day.So 2018 is Israel’s 70th birthday, and many believe that it was not a coincidence that Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel just  prior to this very important anniversary.  In fact, the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem should be ready to open by the time May 14th rolls around. MORE

North Korea warns U.S. threats make war “unavoidable” on Korean peninsula

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 06:52 PM PST

North Korea warns U.S. threats make war “unavoidable” on Korean peninsulaLarge military drills being carried out by the United States and South Korea and U.S. threats of a preemptive war against Pyongyang have made the outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula “an established fact”, North Korea’s foreign ministry said.  A spokesman for the North’s foreign ministry also blamed “confrontational warmongering” remarks by U.S. officials for pushing the peninsula to the brink of war.

“The remaining question now is: when will the war break out?” the spokesman said late on Wednesday in a statement carried by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency. “We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it,” he said. Tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen markedly in recent months after North Korea’s latest missile and nuclear tests, conducted in defiance of international pressure and United Nations resolutions. READ MORE

U.S. Troops Put On High Alert After President Trump’s Embassy Announcement

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 12:29 PM PST

U.S. Troops Put On High Alert After President Trump’s Embassy AnnouncementThe U.S. military is on high alert and has deployed additional troops throughout the Middle East ahead of President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital and ordering the U.S. Embassy to relocate there from Tel Aviv. Pentagon officials tell CBN News the official word is, “The United States military is always postured to handle any threat, in

particular to our embassy’s in the middle east.” U.S. Central Command is responsible for American military activities throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. It tells CBN News, a “contingency plan is in place.” Sources say members of the U.S. Marine Corps, Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams, or FAST Companies, are in place around U.S. embassy’s in the middle east to provide additional security at American embassies. READ MORE

‘Biblical Timing of Absolute Precision:’ John Hagee Praises Trump’s Jerusalem Decision

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 12:16 PM PST

‘Biblical Timing of Absolute Precision:’ John Hagee Praises Trump’s Jerusalem DecisionBefore President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the U.S. Embassy in Israel would be moving there, pastor and New York Times best-selling author John Hagee joined CBN News’ Faith Nation program today for analysis on the Jewish State. He discussed why Israel is important to Christians, as well as what’s behind the Trump administration’s support of the Holy Land. Hagee is the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel. “What President Trump is

doing is one of the most courageous political things that’s been done in Washington in a long time,” Hagee, who is also the senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, told CBN News.”Many presidents have promised to move the embassy and declare Jerusalem as the eternal capital, but they have promised without performing,” he continued. READ MORE

HOUSE DIVIDED: 58 House Dems Vote To Impeach Trump…

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 12:11 PM PST

HOUSE DIVIDED: 58 House Dems Vote To Impeach Trump…The House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to impeach President Trump after a liberal Texas congressman forced a vote on his effort.  Democratic Rep. Al Green, who has repeatedly called for the president’s removal, introduced two articles of impeachment against Trump on Wednesday.  But lawmakers immediately voted to effectively kill his resolution, with 364 voting to table it and 58 Democrats voting to move ahead.  In a dramatic speech on the floor ahead of the vote, Green

called Trump “unfit” for office and accused him of “high misdemeanors.” The symbolic vote had been expected to fail in the Republican-controlled House. It put some lawmakers in competitive districts in a tough spot by forcing them on the record about impeachment. Lawmakers did not actually vote on the actual articles of impeachment, but on a procedural measure that would have led to a vote on them. “As I have said before, this is not about Democrats, it is about democracy,” Green wrote in a memo to his colleagues. “It is not about Republicans, it is about the fate of our Republic. READ MORE

HISTORY MADE! President Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to move embassy from Tel Aviv

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 11:15 AM PST

HISTORY MADE! President Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to move embassy from Tel AvivPresident Trump on Wednesday formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying it’s time to “acknowledge the obvious” as he ordered the State Department to begin moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the president said during a speech in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. The move fulfills a campaign promise made to religious conservatives. But it could also inflame tensions across the Middle East.

“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” Trump said. “It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.” Trump acknowledged the opposition from other countries in the Middle East to his decision, saying Vice President Mike Pence will be “traveling to the region” in the coming days. “There will of course be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement,” Trump said. “But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and place far greater in understanding and cooperation.” READ MORE

Unrelenting California wildfire threatens thousands of homes

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 07:43 AM PST

Unrelenting California wildfire threatens thousands of homesAn unrelenting wildfire fanned by hot, dry Santa Ana winds threatened more than 12,000 homes in and around Ventura, California, on Wednesday, forcing thousands of people to race for safety.  The fire, dubbed the Thomas Fire, raged in the foothills above and in the city of Ventura some 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles, fire officials said late on Tuesday, a day after it began. It had charred more than 50,000

acres, they said. “We are still in the middle of an aggressive and active firefight on the ground,” said Robert Welsbie, spokesman for the Ventura Fire Department. “If the winds pick up, we will face quite a challenge.” The fire, which was zero percent contained, was being whipped by unpredictable Santa Ana winds, which blow in from the California desert. Wind gusts were forecast to top out at 70 miles per hour (115 km per hour) on Wednesday and remain strong through the week. READ MORE

MYSTERY? Double Sonic Boom heard over Area 51…

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 07:11 AM PST

MYSTERY? Double Sonic Boom heard over Area 51…UFO hunters believe footage of a double sonic boom being heard over Area 51 is proof that the US government is hiding something within the classified location.  In the clip, F-22 fighter jets can be seen flying over the infamous airspace. The stealth planes leave strange trails as they cut through the Nevada skies at speeds of up to 1,500mph. Then, as one accelerates away, a frighteningly loud double booming sound can be heard. The video was posted on YouTube channel UFO Seekers on Sunday and has racked

up over 40,000 hits already. One viewer suggested that these fighter jets are a distraction from the real testing within the site. And they even added that the boom may not have come from the planes. They said “I think the regular fighter jets, F22’s etc, were there as a distraction, to cover for the real testing of experimental hypersonic aircraft. “The burst of flame you captured is possible evidence of some type of Scram/Ram Jet type technology, maybe the cause of the double sonic boom?” READ MORE

Upcoming Cycle of New Year Supermoons Ends With Super Blue Blood Moon

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 05:06 AM PST

Upcoming Cycle of New Year Supermoons Ends With Super Blue Blood MoonA series of three supermoons began on Sunday and will end with a super Blue Blood Moon on January 31, giving what one rabbi explained is a triple-dose of divine judgement to “the haters of Israel” as the secular New Year comes in.  A supermoon occurs when the moon is at the part of its elliptical orbit that brings it closer to Earth, appearing up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than when it is viewed at its furthest point. On Sunday, December 2nd, a supermoon was visible over the United States, and two more supermoons are expected over the course of the beginning of the new year.  The upcoming

supermoon on the night of January 1st will mark when the moon at its closest point this year and will be the largest of the three supermoons.  The final supermoon of the trio will arrive on January 31. It is also a ‘Blue Moon’, so called because it is the second full moon in a single calendar month. On average, Blue Moons happen every two and a half years. That supermoon will also feature a total lunar eclipse, with totality viewable during moonset from western North America across the Pacific to Eastern Asia.  The moon’s appearance will change during the eclipse, gradually getting darker and taking on a rusty or blood red color, making the astronomical spectacle a super Blue ‘Blood Moon.’  READ MORE

 

Turkey Calls For Emergency Summit Meeting After Israel Announcement

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 04:57 AM PST

Turkey Calls For Emergency Summit Meeting After Israel AnnouncementTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling a summit of the main pan-Islamic body in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the expected US move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, his spokesman said on Wednesday. “In the face of developments that arouse sensitivity over the status of Jerusalem, Mr President is calling a leaders’ summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in order to display joint action among Islamic countries,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told

reporters in Ankara. He said the summit meeting would take place on December 13. There was no immediate confirmation from Muslim leaders if they would come. Turkey currently holds the chairmanship of the OIC. The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — expected to be announced by President Donald Trump later Wednesday — would be a “grave mistake” against international agreements, Kalin warned. READ MORE

Potential War With North Korea Could Result In “Astronomical Loss Of Life”

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 04:52 AM PST

Potential War With North Korea Could Result In “Astronomical Loss Of Life”Buried somewhere between the latest Washington sex scandals and stern-faced journalists asking about Russian “collusion” in last year’s election is the very real possibility that the U.S. could be heading toward war with a nuclear-armed North Korea. It’s the war nobody seems to want to talk about, let alone fight. But there may not be any viable options to avoid getting into a real live shooting war with North Korea and its brassy, baby-faced dictator. With each new ballistic test, Kim Jong-Un seems to gain a level of credibility to back up his seemingly insane threats against a world superpower no longer headed not by the appeasement-driven Barack Obama but a far more unpredictable Donald Trump. On Nov. 28

the communist state successfully tested a long-range missile launch that could reach any point within the continental United States, including Washington, D.C. Japan announced it will be upgrading its missile defense systems in 2018 to compensate for North Korea’s improved missile technology. Nikkei Asian Review reported that many analysts believe Japan’s current system could have trouble dealing with high-powered missiles launched at a more lofted trajectory, a method that sacrifices range for height and a speedy descent. READ MORE

POWDER KEG – US Recognition Of Jerusalem Is ‘Declaring War”

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 04:41 AM PST

POWDER KEG – US Recognition Of Jerusalem Is ‘Declaring War”US President Donald Trump would effectively be making a declaration of war if he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestinians’ chief representative to Britain said on Wednesday. “If he says what he is intending to say about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, it means a kiss of death to the two-state solution,” Manuel Hassassian said in a BBC radio interview. “He is declaring war in the Middle

East, he is declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims (and) hundreds of millions of Christians that are not going to accept the holy shrines to be totally under the hegemony of Israel,” Hassassian added. Senior US officials said on Tuesday that Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday and set in motion the relocation of the US embassy to the city. READ MORE

Netanyahu Warns ‘We Have To Act Now Against Iran’!

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 04:37 AM PST

Netanyahu Warns ‘We Have To Act Now Against Iran’!Israel won’t allow Iran to establish a military base in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he called on the world to halt Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, nuclear power and its support of global terrorism.  “We have to act now against Iran,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday afternoon at the

Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference. These comments come the same week that Israeli forces allegedly executed two air strikes against Syria, including one on an Iranian military base and the other on a Syrian military research center.  “We will not let them establish themselves in Syria,” Netanyahu said. “We mean what we say and we say what we mean,” he added.  READ MORE

Rabbi Warns Rare 9-Hour Rainbow in Taiwan ‘Sign of Our Dangerous Times’

Posted: 05 Dec 2017 07:35 PM PST

Rabbi Warns Rare 9-Hour Rainbow in Taiwan ‘Sign of Our Dangerous Times’A new record was set last Thursday when two scientists in Taiwan recorded a rainbow that lasted an incredible nine hours.  Chou Kun-hsuan and Liu Ching-huang, both professors in the Department of Atmospheric Science at the Chinese Culture University, were observing a rainbow for their studies last week when gradually, they realized that something very unusual was going on. Rainbows typically last much less than an hour, so they were shocked when the colorful phenomenon they were watching so carefully failed to dissipate. According to Chou, the rainbow started at 6:57 AM and lasted until 3:55 PM,

or 8 hours and 58 minutes. If confirmed, this will shatter the previous record set in Wetherby in Yorkshire, United Kingdom on March 14, 1994, which was recorded as lasting from 9 AM to 3 PM, or 6 hours. Rainbows are a powerful symbol in the Torah, the postdiluvian sign of God’s promise to Noah that He would never again destroy the world through flooding. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between Hashem and all living creatures, all flesh that is on earth. Genesis 9:16. READ MORE

 

Imports From China Hit Record High As U.S. Trade Deficit Continues To Explode

Posted: 05 Dec 2017 07:23 PM PST

Imports From China Hit Record High As U.S. Trade Deficit Continues To Explode(By Michael Snyder) It should upset you that virtually everything stocking the shelves of our major retailers seems to have been made somewhere else.  As a nation, we are consuming far more wealth than we are producing, and that is a recipe for national economic suicide.  This week we learned that imports from China hit an all-time record high in October, and that was one of the primary reasons why our trade deficit hit a staggering 48.7 billion dollars during that month.  Year after year we buy far more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us, and this is systematically impoverishing us.  Let me put this another way.

The amount of money that leaves our country each month is far greater than the amount of money that comes into it.  When you grasp this concept, it becomes easy to understand why major exporting nations such as China have become so wealthy, and why we are drowning in debt. Sadly, most Americans don’t understand the trade deficit, and so they don’t understand how important news like this really is.  The following comes from Bloomberg… The U.S. trade deficit widened in October to a nine-month high on record imports that reflect steady domestic demand, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday. CONTINUE

WAR DRUMS: U.S. B-1B bombers to fly over Korea in joint exercise

Posted: 05 Dec 2017 07:10 PM PST

WAR DRUMS: U.S. B-1B bombers to fly over Korea in joint exerciseThe United States will deploy B-1B Lancer strategic bomber aircraft to Korea on Wednesday as part of a combined air combat training, a defense source said. The long-range, multi-mission supersonic bombers, based in Guam, plan to conduct bombing drills together with South Korea’s fighter jets. The

source would not specify the number of B-1Bs to come here and the exact schedule of their sortie. The U.S. usually sends two B-1Bs to the peninsula either in the wake of North Korea’s provocations in a show of force or on routine flight training missions. A pair of B-1Bs have deployed to South Korea in early November days ahead of President Donald Trump’s regional trip. READ MORE

United States Faces Nightmare Flu Season..Vaccine Only 10% Effective

Posted: 05 Dec 2017 07:02 PM PST

United States Faces Nightmare Flu Season..Vaccine Only 10% Effective

America is set to endure one of the most perilous flu seasons in years – with doctors warning it could be similar to the deadly 2014 outbreak.   It is becoming increasingly clear that the US will be hit by a particular strain of influenza called H3N2, the same strain which has just wreaked havoc in Australia, and was responsible for the four most deadly flu seasons in the last 10 years.  Early assessments suggest

the current vaccine – which was produced in spring after scientists made an educated guess at what strain to expect – will be just 10 percent effective.  While some seasons don’t kick off until February, we are already seeing a surge in people hospitalized with influenza-like symptoms – at a rate even faster and earlier than we saw in 2014.  ‘I’m anticipating this being a bad flu year,’ infectious diseases specialist Dr Pritish Tosh, of the Mayo Clinic, told Daily Mail Online.  READ MORE

 

Islamist suicide plot to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May foiled

Posted: 05 Dec 2017 06:54 PM PST

Islamist suicide plot to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May foiledA terror plot to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May has been foiled, Sky sources have confirmed. Sky’s Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt said: “It’s the latest in a number of terror plots that police and MI5 believe they’ve foiled this year. “I understand that the head of MI5, Andrew Parker, briefed Cabinet ministers today, such is the seriousness of what they believed they have uncovered. “It is in essence an

extreme Islamist suicide plot against Downing Street. Essentially police believe that the plan was to launch some sort of improvised explosive device at Downing Street and in the ensuing chaos attack and kill Theresa May, the Prime Minister. “This is something which has been pursued over several weeks at least by Scotland Yard, MI5 and West Midlands Police. “It came to a head last week with the arrest of two men, by armed police, who were charged with preparing acts of terrorism.” FULL REPORT

BREAKING NEWS: Trump to forge ahead with relocating US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Posted: 05 Dec 2017 06:34 PM PST

BREAKING NEWS: Trump to forge ahead with relocating US Embassy in Israel to JerusalemPresident Trump on Wednesday will order the State Department to begin moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, senior administration officials said, a move that fulfills a campaign promise made to religious conservatives but one that could inflame tensions across the Middle East. In his announcement, Trump will say that the U.S. government recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. One official described it as an “honest” acknowledgment of a “seven-decade-old fact.” “While

President Trump recognizes that the status of Jerusalem is a highly sensitive issue, he does not think it will be resolved by ignoring the simple truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, its Supreme Court, the prime minister and is such the capital of Israel,” one official said. The U.S. would be the first country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, which is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. Other countries who have diplomatic relations with Israel keep their embassies in Tel Aviv. READ MORE

Trump’s Jerusalem endorsement may include two-state support

Posted: 05 Dec 2017 06:28 PM PST

Trump’s Jerusalem endorsement may include two-state supportEndorsement of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could follow US President Donald Trump pending announcement that he is relocating the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, three US officials said in a late night briefing to the media on Tuesday.  They spoke in advance of Trump’s expected Wednesday afternoon speech, in which he plans to overturn almost 70

years of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.  “US policy is going, to be honest about the fact, a seven-decade-old fact, that Jerusalem is [Israel’s] capital and bring US policy fundamentally in-line with that fact,” the officials said. To underscore that new policy understanding Trump will also direct the State Department to create a plan relocate the embassy to a site in Jerusalem, the officials said, adding that it could take at least four years to execute the move. READ MORE


What is The Gospel?


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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A Pox Upon Our House: Three Chronic Diseases Plaguing Women’s Ministry

Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley examines women’s ministries. According to Lesley, women’s groups aren’t nearly as effective as they could be for a umber of reasons. For example, because many women hardly ever read and study their bibles they’re biblically illiterate. In other words, they know not what they believe and why they believe it; thus, they get caught up in fads and false teaching — and that’s a fact.

Lesley not only tells us what the problems plaguing women’s ministries are, she’s written a prescription for the cure. And by the way, men’s ministries aren’t immune to some of the ills that plague women’s ministries. Men are also susceptible to fads and false teaching.

“What’s the number one problem in women’s ministry today?”

It’s a question I was recently asked in an interview; one I can’t get off my mind. There are many good and wonderful things I see trending in women’s ministry, which are creating an increasing number of biblically strong, godly Christian women. But those women are still a tiny minority – a remnant, you might say – in contemporary evangelicalism. The problems, on the other hand? Overwhelming. Discouraging. Pervasive.

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Source: A Pox Upon Our House: Three Chronic Diseases Plaguing Women’s Ministry

December 7 HOPE: THE ATMOSPHERE OF THE ENTIRE BIBLE

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.

HEBREWS 6:19

In the New Testament, the word “hope” becomes one of the great words that Christ gave us. It was a word often used before but it has received new and wonderful meaning because the Saviour took it into His mouth.

Hope is the music, the drift and direction of the whole Bible. It sets the heartbeat and atmosphere of the Bible, meaning as it does desirable expectation and pleasurable anticipation!

Human hopes will fail and throw us down. But the Christian’s hope is alive. The old English word “lively” meant what the word “living” means now; the word coming from God Himself for it is the strongest word in the Bible for life. It is the word used of God Himself when it says He is the Living God. So it is that God takes a Christian’s hope and touches it with Himself and imparts His own “livingness” to the hope of the believer. The true Christian hope is a valid hope! We have been born of God. There has been a new creation. No emptiness there, no vanity, no dreams that can’t come true. We have no great place of beauty in this world—Taj Mahal, Buckingham Palace or the White House—that can compare with the glory that belongs to the true child of God who has known the major miracle, who has been changed by an inward operation of supernatural grace unto an inheritance, a living hope!

Your expectation should rise and you should challenge God, and begin to dream high dreams of faith and spiritual anticipation. Remember, you cannot out-hope the living God![1]

 

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

Inside America’s Largest Religious Revival You Know Nothing About

The religion Heather Smith is talking about has become mainstream.  According to Smith “youngsters apparently love this imparted faith enough that they simply cannot help trying to absorb everything about it that they can, and they especially find pleasure in learning of the great heroes of…the past, whom they inevitably long to emulate.”

Studies show that there’s been a steady decline of religion in America. Smith reveals which religion is alive and well in her piece over at The Federalist:

For decades, demographic studies have indicated the steady decline of religion in America, but new measures suggest that, on the contrary, at least one religion in America is alive and well, thriving in every community, and claiming devoted adherents in nearly every household.

This new religious revival has remained under the radar in large part because its adherents do not claim any religious attachment to this social institution, but by every measure of behaviors typically associated with religion, it is deceitful to label it as anything less. Although it shies away from adopting an overarching organization or name for itself, for the purposes of this study, it will be considered under the name Athletica.

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Source: Inside America’s Largest Religious Revival You Know Nothing About

Evangelical vs. Born Again: A Survey of What Americans Say and Believe

For all the handwringing over what the term evangelical means in the political moment of Donald Trump and Roy Moore, only 1 in 100 Americans would take on the term if it had nothing to do with politics.

Meanwhile, the label is primarily a political identity for only about 1 in 10 self-identified evangelicals.

Overall, 1 in 4 Americans today consider themselves to be evangelicals. But less than half actually hold evangelical beliefs.

And when defined by beliefs and not by identity, evangelicals are less white (58% vs. 70%), more black (23% vs. 14%), and more likely to worship weekly (73% vs. 61%). However, they are not more likely to be Republican or Democrat.

These are among the findings of a groundbreaking survey of Americans with evangelical beliefs, released today by LifeWay Research.

Most surveys of religion and politics ask Americans a combined question—“Are you evangelical or born again?”—in order to create their “evangelical” category. LifeWay instead asked about the two self-identities separately, in order to study differences between the two groups. Then researchers compared respondents’ self-identities to their theological beliefs.

“There’s a gap between who evangelicals say they are and what they believe,” Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, told Facts & Trends.

Among the survey’s findings:

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December 7, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

23 Taking his rightful place among such giants of intercession as Moses (Ex 32:30–32), Daniel (Da 9:4–20), Paul (Ro 1:9–10; Col 1:9; 2 Th 3:10; 2 Ti 1:3), and Jesus (Isa 53:12; Ro 8:34; Heb 7:25), Samuel declares his unwillingness to sin against God (cf. Saul’s command in 14:33–34) by failing to pray for Israel (cf. also v. 19; 7:5, 8–9; 8:6; 15:11; Jer 15:1). To help the people live a life pleasing to God, Samuel promises to “teach” (the Heb. root is yrh, the same as in tôrâ, “instruction, law”) them “the way that is good and right” (cf. also 1 Ki 8:36 = 2 Ch 6:27; Pss 25:8; 32:8; Pr 4:11).[1]


12:23 Praying (intercession) and instruction are two of Samuel’s major roles as the prophet of the Lord, even after the inauguration of kingship.[2]


12:23 ceasing to pray for you Part of Samuel’s role as prophet and priest was to pray for the nation.[3]


12:23 pray for you … instruct you. Samuel’s responsibilities in the kingdom will include intercession and instruction (12:1 note; for other duties of Samuel see 10:8).[4]


12:23 Samuel was clearly in sorrow because of the people’s insistence upon a king. To his credit, Samuel allowed neither personal hurt nor the knowledge of Israel’s future sorrow to deter him from two overwhelming spiritual tasks: (1) a continued life of intercession, since failure to pray for God’s people is sin against God; and (2) the teaching of a good and right way. Those two tasks continue to be the spiritual tasks of God’s shepherds in any era.[5]


[1] Youngblood, R. F. (2009). 1, 2 Samuel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, p. 130). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 510). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Sa 12:23). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 395). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[5] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., 1 Sa 12:23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

December 7 WHERE IS THE RADIANCE?

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.

1 John 5:10

 

I keep looking, but with little success, for a distinguishing radiance in life and testimony among our evangelical Christians.

Instead of an inner witness, too many professing Christians are depending upon logical conclusions drawn from Bible texts. They have no witness of an encounter with God, no awareness of inner change!

I believe that where there is a divine act within the soul, there will be a corresponding awareness. This act of God is its own evidence: It addresses itself directly to the spiritual consciousness.

Thankfully, there are elements that are always the same among men and women who have had a personal meeting with God.

There is the compelling sense of God Himself—of His Person and of His Presence. From there on, the permanent results will be evident in the life and walk of the person touched as long as he or she lives!

 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Your Church will go out into the lost world exhibiting a “distinguishing radiance in life and testimony.” As a result, may many lost souls be attracted to You, Lord Jesus.[1]

 

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

December 7 Parables Reveal

But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.—Matt. 13:16–17

As believers, we can understand God’s profoundest revelation, whether parables or other teachings, because biblical writers have recorded them and the Spirit has illumined them for us (cf. 1 Cor. 2:9–10). When Christ finished explaining some parables to the apostles and asked if they understood them, they could honestly answer “Yes” (Matt. 13:51). That’s not because they were more intelligent than the educated yet unbelieving Jewish leaders, but because the apostles’ eyes and ears were opened to God’s truth by way of their belief.

In part, our Lord’s ministry was to provide understanding of His Word to His followers (see Mark 4:34). Right to the end of His time on earth, Jesus “explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27; cf. v. 45).

Not even the most faithful Old Testament believers had the insights to revelation that the disciples and every believer since have had.

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. (1 Peter 1:10–12)

ASK YOURSELF

 

The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Ps. 119:18). Make this your heartfelt prayer today, knowing that God will delight in answering you.[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 350). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 7: Distress in the Ministry

Some indeed preach Christ… from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains.

Philippians 1:15–16

 

I am often asked, “What has been the most discouraging thing in your ministry?” As far as I can remember, my answer has remained consistent over the years.

There are two issues that deeply distress me. One is seeing those who ought to be the most mature in the faith—the ones who know the Word of God well, have experienced the blessings of spiritual growth and fellowship, and have seen God’s power demonstrated time and again—turn their backs on the faith and embrace sin. That’s much more discouraging than when a new, untrained Christian falls into sin through ignorance.

The second is being falsely accused by fellow preachers of the gospel. Some men seem to desire to discredit the ministry of others. As a result, they falsely accuse other ministers, not because they have valid reasons, but simply for the satisfaction of discrediting them.

As you live a godly life, expect that your service to God will be attacked. But don’t let that affect your joy.[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 368). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 7, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

34:26 My hill. A reference to Jerusalem and Zion in particular, where the Jews will come to worship the Lord. showers of blessing. Cf. the “times of refreshing” in Ac 3:19, 20, when the curses of Dt 28:15–68 are lifted.[1]


34:26 a blessing. Agricultural prosperity is a common theme in Old Testament portrayals of the blessed future of God’s people (vv. 25–29)[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Eze 34:26). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1189). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

December 7: A CONSISTENT STATE OF MIND

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

—Psalm 34:1

Worship must always come from an inward attitude. It embodies a number of factors, including the mental, spiritual and emotional. You may not at times worship with the same degree of wonder and love that you do at other times, but the attitude and the state of mind are consistent if you are worshiping the Lord.

A husband and father may not appear to love and cherish his family with the same intensity when he is discouraged, when he is tired from long hours in business or when events have made him feel depressed.

He may not outwardly show as much love toward his family, but it is there, nonetheless, for it is not a feeling only. It is an attitude and a state of mind. It is a sustained act, subject to varying degrees of intensity and perfection. WHT083

Whether I feel like it or not, whether I see Your hand in my circumstances or not, whatever enters my life today, “I will bless the LORD at all times” (Psalm 34:1). Amen. [1]

 

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

December 7: Christ as a Servant

“Taking the form of a bond–servant.”

Philippians 2:7

✧✧✧

Christ submitted Himself to the Father’s will.

When Christ emptied Himself, He not only gave up His privileges but also became a servant. First, He was a servant by nature. Paul used the Greek word morphe (“form”) again to indicate that Christ’s servanthood was not merely external but His essence. It was not like a cloak that could be put on and taken off. Christ was truly a servant. The only other New Testament use of morphe is in Mark 16:12. There Jesus appears in a resurrection morphe—a form fully expressing the nature of a resurrection body. In Philippians 2 Christ is shown as a true bond–servant, doing the will of the Father. He submitted to the Father and to the needs of men as well. Jesus was everything that Isaiah 52:13–14 depicted—a Messiah who was a servant.

Second, Christ was a servant by position. As God, Christ owns everything. But when He came into this world, He borrowed everything: a place to be born, a place to lay His head, a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee and preach from, an animal to ride into the city when He was triumphantly welcomed as King of kings and Lord of lords, and a tomb to be buried in. The only Person ever to live on this earth who had the right to all its pleasures instead wound up with nothing and became a servant. Although He was the rightful heir to David’s throne and God in human flesh, He had no advantages or privileges in this world. He owned little but served everyone.

Christ, the perfect servant, said to His disciples, “Whoever wishes to become first among you shall be your slave” (Matt. 20:27). What about you? Are you seeking greatness by wanting others to serve you, or are you being truly great by serving God and others? Make it your ambition to be a true servant.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you be like Christ—a true servant of God.

For Further Study: What can you learn from Luke 2:41–52 about Christ’s submission and humility?[1]

 

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

December 6: Daily Help

WE shall never sing Gloria in excelsis except we pray to God Dc profundis: out of the depths must we cry, or we shall never behold glory in the highest. Prayer should be perfumed with love, saturated with love—love to our fellow-saints, and love to Christ. A man prevails in prayer only as he believes. The Holy Spirit is the author of faith, and strengthens it so that we pray believing God’s promise. Oh that this blessed combination of excellent graces, priceless, and sweet as the spices of the merchant, might be fragrant within us because the Holy Ghost is in our hearts! Most blessed Comforter, exert thy mighty power within us, helping our infirmities in prayer.[1][1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 344). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 6, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

4–5 Verse 4, known by Jews as the Shema, is “as close as early Judaism came to the formulation of a creed” (Block, 195). The call for Israel to “hear,” a common form of address in Deuteronomy (5:1; 6:3; 9:1; 20:3; 27:9), draws attention to the rest of the Hebrew line, which focuses on God himself as the object of Israel’s allegiance. Scholars have often debated whether v. 4 teaches the singularity (one as opposed to many) or unity (internal consistency) of Yahweh or his uniqueness (incomparability) or exclusivity (the only one for Israel). A key interpretive problem is the unparalleled nature of this line in Hebrew. After the summons, “Hear, O Israel,” four Hebrew words occur without any verbs. Although verbless clauses occur throughout the Hebrew Bible, the construction found here has no counterpart.

Space precludes giving attention to many of these details, but certain key affirmations deserve mention. Regardless of where one places a form of the verb “to be,” at least three truths arise from the divine names used in these verses. (1) This God is Yahweh, the faithful, covenant-making, and covenant-keeping God. He is God, the sovereign Creator. (2) He is also “our God,” the God who entered into an intimate and special covenantal relationship with his nation, Israel. (3) Although the OT makes it clear that Israel’s God is singular, in stark contrast to the pagan gods, another idea seems prominent in this context (cf. 4:35, 39; 5:7) and in this verse. One of the realities that sets Israel apart from the world is the exclusive relationship they have with this remarkable God. He is Yahweh alone! Not only is he incomparable, but he is the only God for the Israelites and they are the people on whom he has set his love. Yahweh and only Yahweh is to be the object of Israel’s wholehearted and undivided loyalty. A potential translation of v. 4 is, “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone!”

In v. 5 Moses develops the essence of covenantal allegiance, i.e., loyalty or obedience. He demands that Israel “love” Yahweh with their entire being. In covenantal settings, “love” connotes a commitment that “seeks the well-being and the pleasure of one’s covenant partner, often without regard for oneself” (Block, 201). Love described the loyalty rendered by a vassal on behalf of his suzerain (Els, NIDOTTE, 1:278, 287–88). Moses correlates this duty to “love” Yahweh with the demand that God’s covenantal nation fear him (10:12), walk in his ways (10:12; 11:22; 19:9; 30:16), serve him (10:12; 11:13), keep his commands (10:13; 11:22; 19:9; 30:16), hold fast to him (11:22; 30:20), and listen to or obey his voice (11:13; 30:20).

The second part of v. 5 delineates the extent or intensity of the love God demands his people to have for him: “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Moses does not mention these three nouns primarily as attributes of human personality but to demonstrate the far-reaching nature of this demanded commitment. The heart often signifies the seat of a person’s intellect, emotion, and will (4:29; 10:12; 11:13; 26:16). The soul designates one’s entire being or person (Ps 103:1). The word translated “strength” or “might” usually signifies the adverbial idea of “very” or “much” and only here and one other place (2 Ki 23:25) connotes “might.”

Moses piles up relatively synonymous terms to emphasize the totality of this allegiance. The task of expressing this love for Yahweh (in loyalty) encompasses one’s entire person. These three phrases do not express three precise modes of expressing love or refer to three distinct spheres of life. They combine together to serve as an intense affirmation of absolute commitment. In summary, vv. 4 and 5 make a statement about God as well as demanding absolute commitment to God.

Reflection

Jesus taught that the truths contained in these two verses constitute the foremost or central demand of the OT law (Mt 22:37–38; Mk 12:29–30; Lk 10:27). Minor differences between the gospel quotations and Deuteronomy include Matthew’s replacing “might” with “mind,” while Mark and Luke include both (with “mind” and “strength” in different order). Regardless, the NT writers do not subtract anything from the meaning of the passage in Deuteronomy. As with Moses, Christ sought to emphasize the life-invasive extent of this commitment to allegiance.[1]


6:4–5 / Just as the Decalogue is both statement (Deut. 5:6) and command (5:7ff.), so this most fundamental of Israel’s “credal” traditions, the “Shema” (Deut. 6:4–5), is both an affirmation about God and a call for commitment to God. Its Jewish name, “Shema,” is the first Hebrew word of the summons, Hear, O Israel, a favorite form of address in Deuteronomy (cf. 5:1; 6:3; 9:1; 20:3; 27:9) that is similar to the Wisdom tradition’s portrayal of parents calling a child’s attention to their teaching for the child’s own good (cf. Prov. 1:8). It is also a constant reminder that Israel was a people summoned by God to hear God’s word. They were not merely spectators at a divine “show,” but the recipients of divine revelation in words. They were to hear the truth and to respond to it. Even at a formal level, therefore, these two verses expose the falseness of the view that religious truth and revelation are “personal, not propositional”—i.e., the view that God does not reveal timeless truths propositionally, but simply acts in love and leaves to each individual his or her own interpretative conclusions as we respond in personal relationship to him and one another. Such reductionist views of revelation ignore the reality that truth in human experience is both propositional and personal and deny the biblical emphasis on both. Deuteronomy 6:4–5 is one whole sentence; nothing could be more “propositional” than 6:4 and nothing more “personal” than 6:5.

The Lord our God, the Lord is one. The niv is most probably correct in its translation of verse 4 (see the niv’s footnotes and the additional notes for other possible renderings stemming from the absence of an explicit “is” in the Hb.). In the first half of the declaration, the Hebrew word “our God” is a qualifier, functioning like a relative clause: “Yahweh, who is our God, this Yahweh is one.” But what does this mean?

An exegetical understanding would be that the second two Hebrew words mean “Yahweh is one,” rather than “Yahweh alone.” The uniqueness and incomparability of Yahweh are a major affirmation of the context, as we have already seen (Deut. 3:24; 4:35, 39; cf. 32:39; Exod. 15:11; Ps. 18:31), and there is doubtless a lingering flavor of that uniqueness in this text (note how Mark 12:32 adds the uniqueness formula to the great commandment). A problem with this contextual approach is that the verbal forms that usually express the uniqueness and incomparability of Yahweh are quite different from the expression in verse 4, which seems to suggest the oneness or singularity of Yahweh. There are various suggestions as to how this is to be understood.

One possibility is that there is a polemical intent to define God as wholly different from the multitude of gods that surround Israel, perhaps especially from the multiple manifestations and forms of Baal in the Canaanite cults. Yahweh is not the brand name of a cosmic corporation. He is one God, our God, and Yahweh is his personal name. On this understanding, the emphasis lies on Yahweh’s singularity.

Another possible understanding is that the oneness of Yahweh implies a unity of will and purpose. Yahweh is not inwardly divided, despite the fact that in the ot text Yahweh sometimes appears to act in contradiction to the declared purposes and character of God (e.g., Moses’ intercession in Exod. 32–34; Num. 14; cf. Deut. 9:7–29; Ps. 73; Job; Hos. 11). But, whatever the appearances, at the deepest level Yahweh is one, consistent, faithful, and true within. The idea here would be the same as when we say of a particular individual, “There is only one John.” We imply he is not two-faced or inconsistent; you can rely on John to be the same whatever happens. Likewise, to say “Yahweh is one” is to affirm unchangeableness and consistency. There is no divine schizophrenia. The harmony of God’s purpose for the world and its people is grounded in the ultimate unity of God’s own being. On this understanding, the emphasis lies on Yahweh’s integrity.

Whether, then, we read the verse in terms of Yahweh’s incomparability (from the context, but not the text itself), his singularity (explicit, and probably the most likely meaning), or his integrity (implied, but not directly stated), it is clearly a most important text in relation to Israel’s monotheism. It is beside the point to insist that the verse is not explicitly monotheistic in the philosophical sense of categorically denying the existence of other deities than Yahweh. The incontrovertible emphasis was that Yahweh (alone) was God in covenant relationship with Israel; that Yahweh had done what no other god had done or could do; that Yahweh was one, not many.

Whether the full implications of all this were understood from the start may be impossible to verify, but such convictions certainly generated a hope that was missiological, universal, and unquestionably monotheistic. The Deuteronomistic historian records prayers of both David and Solomon that express the wider vision and hope of other peoples coming to recognize what Israel already knew regarding Yahweh (2 Sam. 7:22–26; 1 Kgs. 8:60; cf. 1 Kgs. 8:41–43, and the reflection of Deut. 6:5 in 1 Kgs. 8:61). And the only clear quotation of Deuteronomy 6:4 in the rest of the ot is both eschatological and clearly monotheistic: “The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name” (lit. “Yahweh will be one and his name will be one,” Zech. 14:9).

Finally, it is worth repeating the point made in relation to Deuteronomy 4:35, 39. The declaration at the heart of the Shema, and especially in its eschatological form in the text just cited (Zech. 14:9), is made about Yahweh in particular, not just about deity in general. That is why a preoccupation with abstract monotheism can lead us to overlook the primary challenge of the text. It is not being said simply that there is ultimately only one divine reality. Such a claim would certainly not be unique among the religions and philosophies of humankind. Nor is the eschatological hope of Zechariah merely that some day all human beings will profess monotheism of some sort per se. A philosophical monotheism that leaves the divine reality unnamed and characterless is alien (both unknown and hostile) to the ot faith. It is vital to see that, in ot terms, it is Yahweh who defines what monotheism means, not a concept of monotheism that defines how Yahweh should be understood.

This has very serious implications for the so-called “theocentric” theory of religious pluralism, according to which the ultimate divine reality at the center of the religious universe cannot be definitively or absolutely named in terms of any of the great divine names of human religions, including Yahweh or Jesus Christ or Allah or Brahman, etc. These are described as penultimate “personae” or “impersonae”—masks of human creation that attempt to express the inexpressible “noumenon” of the divine reality. The “theos” at the center thus becomes abstract, impersonal, and finally ineffable (nothing at all can be said about him/her/it). But the sharp precision of the Shema cannot be evaporated into a philosophical abstraction or relegated to a penultimate level of truth. Its majestic declaration of a monotheism defined by the history-laden, character-rich, covenant-related, dynamic personhood of “Yahweh our God,” shows that the abstract and definitionally undefinable “being” of religious pluralism is really a monism without meaning or message.

“And you shall love the Lord your God.” Statement and response is the typical form of Deuteronomic exhortation, characteristic indeed of the biblical faith. “We love, because he first loved us,” is a nt text that could as easily have been at home in Deuteronomy. So here in verse 5, the affirmation about Yahweh is followed by the claim upon Israel’s total allegiance. The two halves of the Shema thus mirror the opening of the Decalogue, with the declaratory preface followed by the exclusive claims of the first two commandments (5:6–10).

The command to love God is one of Deuteronomy’s favorite ways of expressing the response God expects from the people (10:12; 11:1, 13, 22; 13:3; 19:9; 30:6, 16, 20). It features also in the covenant renewal texts, Josh. 22:5; 23:11, which draw so much on the Deuteronomic model. In the context of a broken covenant, it is found in the prayers of Daniel (Dan. 9:4) and Nehemiah (1:5), drawing, perhaps on the worship of the Psalms as well as Deuteronomy (Pss. 31:23; 97:10; 145:20). A very early poetic use in the context of the early wars of Israel in Canaan is in Judges 5:31.

For Deuteronomy, the command to love is so often linked with the command to obey, in a sort of prose parallelism, that the two terms are virtually synonymous (though they should not be simply identified; “love” clearly has a distinctive range of affective meaning not entirely equivalent to the practical sense of “obey”). The simple fact that Deuteronomy’s love is one that can be commanded shows that it is not merely an emotion. It is also a commitment to Yahweh, which generates corresponding action in line with his word. “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

This committed, covenantal response to Yahweh was to be total: with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. The wholeness, or oneness, of Yahweh (v. 4) is to be met with a response involving the wholeness of the human person (v. 5). The expression “heart and soul” is another characteristic Deuteronomic phrase (seen in 4:29; 10:12; 11:13; 13:3; 26:16; 30:2, 6, 10). The heart (lēbāb) in Hebrew was not so much the seat of emotions and feelings—as it is in English metaphors—as the seat of the intellect, will, and intention. You think in your heart, and your heart shapes your character, choices, and decisions. It is also the center of the human being as a moral agent (cf. also its prominence in Proverbs). It is understandable, therefore, that the gospel version of the great commandment adds the word “mind” (dianoia) to the list. Dianoia (understanding, intelligence) is the word the lxx uses to translate lēbāb, in this text and most others.

Soul is more often than not a misleading translation of Hebrew nepeš, since it has connotations in English that are simply not present in Hebrew. Nepeš means the life of each individual, and applies to animals as much as humans (cf. Gen. 1:20, 24; 2:7; Lev. 17:11, 14). In the legal texts it is frequently used in the sense of “a person, an individual, anyone,” or in the sense of “a life” that can be taken or lost. But most often it is used to express the whole inner self, with all the emotions, desires, and personal characteristics that make each human being unique. “Bless the Lord, O my nepeš,” sings the Psalmist, who then amplifies his meaning, “and all that is within me bless his holy name” (Ps. 103:1 rsv).

To love God, then, with all your heart and with all your soul, means with your whole self, including your rationality, mental capacity, moral choices and will, inner feelings and desires, and the deepest roots of your life. To this profound pair, the Shema adds a third, remarkable item: (lit.) “and with all your very-muchness” (meʾōd). This word is everywhere else used adverbially, meaning “greatly,” “exceedingly.” Here it is almost uniquely used as a noun in its own right and is open to various translations, of which strength is the most common. However, the earliest Jewish versions (including the Targum) translated it as “your substance” or “your possessions”—an acceptable possibility that has some support in Proverbs 3:9 and may lie behind some of Jesus’ parables and conversations (such as Matt. 6:19–24; Luke 12:13–21). It may even be that this third word is simply intensifying the other two as a climax. “Love the Lord your God with total commitment (heart), with your total self (soul), to total excess!” Loving God should be “over the top!” Such commitment characterized Josiah in his reforming zeal after the discovery of the Book of the Law of the Lord. Josiah alone in the Deuteronomistic History is credited with explicitly measuring up to the second verse of the Shema (2 Kgs. 23:25).[2]


6:4 Hear, O Israel. This verse is called the Shema from the Hebrew word for “Hear.” The Lord our God, the Lord is one (see ESV footnote). The Lord alone is Israel’s God, “the only one.” It is a statement of exclusivity, not of the internal unity of God. This point arises from the argument of ch. 4 and the first commandment. While Deuteronomy does not argue theoretically for monotheism, it requires Israel to observe a practical monotheism (cf. 4:35). This stands in sharp contrast to the polytheistic Canaanites.

6:5 love. See 4:37. all. That the Lord alone is Israel’s God leads to the demand for Israel’s exclusive and total devotion to him. heart … soul … might. All Israelites in their total being are to love the Lord; “this is the great and first commandment” (Matt. 22:38). In Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27, Jesus also includes “mind.” In early Hebrew, “heart” included what we call the “mind”. “Might” indicates energy and ability.

6:5 Love for God is the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:37–38). One’s relation to God himself is central to life, and true love for God and reconciliation to God are possible only in Christ (John 14:6; Rom. 5:1–10).[3]


6:4 Hear, Israel The affirmation of loyalty to Yahweh in this verse is traditionally called the “Shema” from this opening call to attention, which in Hebrew is shema’ yisra’el. The Shema represents the greatest commandment of Judaism and Christianity, as it represents God’s expectation that God’s people will remain wholly loyal to him.

Yahweh our God, Yahweh is unique The four Hebrew words used here represent the core confession of belief in Yahweh as the one true God. However, the syntactic relationship of these four Hebrew words—yhwh elohenu yhwh echad—presents a complicated translation issue. These four words can be understood as a single clause or as two separate clauses.

6:5 you shall love The command is not a demand to manufacture false emotion but to cultivate a disposition (see Lev 19:17–18).

with all of your heart and with all of your soul The Hebrew terms levav (often translated “heart”) and nephesh (often translated “soul”) do not refer to separate components of the human person. Rather, the terms overlap in meaning, conveying the internal life, dispositions, emotions, and intellect.

might The Hebrew word here is not a noun but an adverb meaning “exceedingly.” This description of love of Yahweh thus implies totality: as Yahweh is undivided unity and alone worthy of worship, so the Israelites must have undivided loyalty to Him.[4]


6:4 Hear, O Israel. Often called the Shema, from the initial Hebrew word meaning “Hear,” this verse became the great confession of Israel’s monotheistic faith, and is recited morning and evening by Jews (cf. Mark 12:29). See note 5:1.

The Lord … Lord is one. Though the Hebrew may be translated several ways (text note), it is best to understand the verse as affirming both God’s uniqueness and unity or singularity—the only God is “one” (Mark 12:29). As the Old Testament implies and the New Testament explicitly teaches, however, there is differentiation of Persons within the unity of the Godhead. See “One and Three: The Trinity” at Is. 44:6.

6:5 all your might. The Hebrew expresses totality. For this reason the New Testament sometimes renders it with “mind and strength” (Mark 12:30). This is the language of devotion. God does not demand mere outward obedience to a law, but the heartfelt love and commitment of the whole person (Prov. 23:26).[5]


6:4 These words are a concise statement of the fundamental monotheistic dogma of the O.T. In Egypt the Israelites discovered the uniqueness of their God (cf. Ex. 15:11) in contrast to the fickleness of the Egyptian gods. The nature of polytheism is such that no god is omnipotent, and there can be no single “will of god.” So the good intentions of one god may be overturned by the ill intentions of another. In God’s covenant relationship with His people, He revealed to them His unity. He made promises from which He never varied, nor could anyone revoke the commitment of Yahweh. The Jewish confession of faith given in this verse is called the shema˓ (Heb.), after its first word, meaning “Hear!” The verb indicates hearing with intent to obey. This exhortation to all Israel is the basic confession of monotheism: God is one. However, the Hebrew word for “one” emphasizes unity rather than singularity (cf. Gen. 2:24). The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (or “triunity”—cf. 1 Pet. 1:2, note) affirms the unity of the Godhead, while at the same time affirming that God eternally exists in three Persons, having three centers of consciousness but one harmonious divine will. This verse is one which the Jews write upon their phylacteries (see 6:8, note) because of its awesome expression of divine truth. The words are also used both morning and evening to begin their daily liturgy.

6:5 The principle of love is a major theme in Deuteronomy. In Luke 10:27 Jesus stressed love as the essence of pure religion, and elsewhere He referred to it as a kind of “eleventh commandment” (Matt. 22:34–40; John 13:34; cf. Rom. 13:10).[6]


[1] Grisanti, M. A. (2012). Deuteronomy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Numbers–Ruth (Revised Edition) (Vol. 2, pp. 555–556). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Wright, C. J. H. (2012). Deuteronomy. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 95–99). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 341). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Dt 6:4–5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 254). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[6] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Dt 6:4–5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

December 6: The Easy Way

Jeremiah 10:1–11:23; Philemon 1:1–7; Proverbs 14:1–14

There is a certain amount of freedom in being foolish. Foolish people don’t stop to reflect on their actions. Characteristically unimaginative, foolish people don’t stop to consider how their words and actions affect others. The scary effect of foolishness is that it’s contagious: “Leave the presence of a foolish man, for you will not come to know words of knowledge. The wisdom of the clever is understanding his ways, but the folly of fools is deceit” (Prov 14:7).

There is an ease in self-deception because it’s our natural state. “There is a way that seems upright to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov 14:12). But the right way is not simply a more reflective, thoughtful life. We need a new way of life that can only be brought about in Christ—the one who reversed the power of death. Following the right way doesn’t mean relying on our own ability to be righteous through thoughtful actions. Rather, it means understanding our need for His righteousness. It’s God’s work in us, recreating us. It’s His Spirit, directing our ways and making us new in Him.

The fool does have influence, but a life transformed has far-reaching influence because it’s not our own work—it’s God’s. This is the calling of which Paul reminds Philemon. Paul tells Philemon that he has “great joy and encouragement” because of Philemon’s love. Because of his love, “the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you brother” (Phlm 7). For this reason, Paul also holds Philemon to a high standard. Because of his great influence, he needs to be intentional about how he treats Onesimus, the redeemed slave who had wronged him.

Pray for a transformed life, and pray for the work of the Spirit in your life, dividing the light from the darkness and the foolish, deceitful parts from the wise. He will help you understand His ways if you ask Him. He will make the darkness evident, and He will show you the way of wisdom—a life that reflects Christ.

How are you praying for the Spirit’s ongoing work in your life, dividing the foolish ways from the wise?

Rebecca Van Noord[1][1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.