Daily Archives: December 8, 2017

December 8 Christ’s Radiance and Representation

“He is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3).

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Jesus is both God manifest and God in substance.

Just as the rays of the sun give light, warmth, life, and growth to the earth, so Jesus Christ is the glorious light of God shining into the hearts of men and women. As “the radiance of God’s glory,” Jesus expresses God to us. No one can see God in His full glory; no one ever will. The radiance of that glory that reaches us from God appears in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Just as the sun was never without and can never be separated from its brightness, so God was never without and cannot be separated from the glory of Christ. Never was God without Him or He without God, and never in any way can He be separated from God. Yet the brightness of the sun is not the sun, and neither is Jesus’ incarnation glory exactly the same as God in that sense. He is fully and absolutely God, and yet a distinct Person within the Triune Godhead.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). As the radiance of God’s glory, Christ can transmit that light into your life and mine, so we can radiate the glory of God to a dark world.

In using the term “exact representation” to describe Christ’s relationship to God’s nature, the writer employs terminology usually associated with an impression reproduced on a seal by a die or a stamp. Jesus Christ is the reproduction of God—the perfect, personal imprint of God in time and space.

How wonderful to realize that Jesus Christ, who is both the full expression of God and the exact reproduction of God’s nature in human history, can come into our lives and give us light to see and to know God! His light is the source of our spiritual life. And His light gives us purpose, meaning, happiness, peace, joy, fellowship, everything—for all eternity.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that He determined to become a man so we could know what He is like.

For Further Study: Read 2 Corinthians 4:3–6 and note who allows people to see or not see spiritually.[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 355). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

December 8 GOD HAS AN INTEREST IN MAKING US RIGHTEOUS

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the working of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

TITUS 3:5

A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to “accept” Christ without forsaking the world.

But what saith the Holy Ghost? “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4), and “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

This requires no comment, only obedience.

It is an error to assume that we can experience justification without transformation. Justification and regeneration are not the same; they may be thought apart in theology but they can never be experienced apart in fact!

When God declares a man righteous He instantly sets about to make him righteous.

The error today is that we do not expect a converted man to be a transformed man, and as a result of this error our churches are full of substandard Christians. Many of these go on day after day assuming that salvation is possible without repentance and that they can find some value in religion without righteousness. A revival is, among other things, a return to the belief that real faith invariably produces holiness of heart and righteousness of life![1]

 

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

December 8, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

The legal battle over President Donald Trump’s travel ban resumes Friday in Richmond, Virginia, after a pit stop in Seattle, on an inevitable path back to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington.

The U.S. added more jobs than forecast in November and the unemployment rate held at an almost 17-year low, though below-forecast wage gains suggested the labor market still has slack to absorb.

Muslims took to the streets from the West Bank to Jakarta on Friday to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Facing opposition from conservative elements in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party, Japan’s only openly gay lawmaker said it could take a decade for the country to legalize same-sex partnerships.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed U.S. plans to go to the 2018 Winter Olympics shortly after raising questions about whether American athletes would participate in the games in South Korea, where North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have raised security concerns about the event.

President Donald Trump plans to keep pushing his legislative agenda in 2018 by releasing his long-promised infrastructure proposal in early January, a senior administration official said.

Workers at U.S. meat and poultry processing plants are reluctant to tell federal inspectors about injuries or workplace hazards amid concerns that they could lose their jobs, according to a government report.

So many S. Koreans have embraced bitcoin that the prime minister recently warned that cryptocurrencies might corrupt the nation’s youth. The craze has spread so far that, in Korea, bitcoin is trading at a premium of about 23 percent over prevailing international rates.

AP Top Stories

Protests erupt throughout the Mideast in response to President Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Israel’s army launched strikes on two locations inside the Gaza Strip on Thursday, according to Israeli media reports. The attacks targeted Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules Gaza, and used both tank and air power.

The United States has revealed which Russian cruise missile Washington believes is in violation of the landmark 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. The weapon is in fact the Novator 9M729-which carries the NATO designation of SSC-8.

Three people were fatally shot at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico, on Thursday morning, according to police. New Mexico State Police have confirmed two students and the suspected shooter are dead.

Former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr. has been fired for misconduct by Morgan Stanley after facing a human resources investigation into allegations of misconduct, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

More than 180 people, including two Democratic House members, were arrested Wednesday in an act of civil disobedience on the U.S. Capitol steps, while demanding that lawmakers inside the building take swift action to help young undocumented immigrants.

Genes linked to homosexuality have been discovered by scientists in the biggest ever study into the genetic basis for sexual orientation. For the first time, researchers looked at the complete genome – a person’s entire DNA code – for more than 1,000 gay men and compared it to genetic data from a similar number of heterosexual males. They discovered that DNA was different for gay and straight men around the genes SLITRK5 and SLITRK6.

The navy has one submarine that could drop 154 tomahawk missiles on North Korea. The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN) was built to destroy cities and military installations in the event of a nuclear war-or more precisely, to deter adversaries from ever starting one. The Navy first intended to scrap the four oldest of the massive submarines, but instead opted to overhaul and convert them to launch Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (TLAM) at a cost of $700-900 million each. These vessels were redesignated Ohio-class guided-missile submarines (SSGN) and intended to deliver conventional attacks on targets on land. The Ohio and Florida began the nuclear refueling, overhaul and armament upgrade in 2003 and were back in service by 2006, while the Michigan and Florida followed in 2008.

Bitcoin rocketed higher Thursday, crossing the $16,000 mark in less than two days after topping $12,000 for the first time. In trading on the Coinbase exchange, the digital currency rose above $16,900 and was last at $16,748. The price on Coinbase is often at a premium over other exchanges.

BBC

Japan plans to acquire medium-range air-to-surface missiles, expanding its strike capability to North Korea.

“Highly professional” hackers made off with around 4,700 Bitcoin from a leading mining service, a Bitcoin exchange has said. The value of Bitcoin is currently extremely volatile, but at the time of writing, the amount stolen was worth approximately $80m.

An attack believed to have been sparked by a succession feud has left three people dead at a well-known Shinto shrine in Tokyo. The chief priestess was stabbed to death, reportedly by her brother. A bloodied Samurai sword was found at the scene, along with other knives.

WND

The Justice Department has launched a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices and the sale of fetal tissue.

The American Center for Law and Justice, long an advocate for America’s top Middle East ally, is asking the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to fight a plan to turn over $65 million to Palestinians to teach them to fight Israel in the courts.


The Briefing — Friday, December 8, 2017

1) The combustible mix of scandal, moral relativism, and political expediency

New York Times (Yamiche Alcindor) –
John Conyers to Leave Congress Amid Harassment Claims

New York Times (Sheryl Gay Stolberg) –
As Harassment Accusations Multiply, a Question: Who Stays and Who Goes?

2) A new big question in Congress: Who leaves and who stays?

New York Times (Nellie Bowles) –
A Reckoning on Sexual Misconduct? Absolutely. But How Harsh, Women Ask.

3) The odd but interesting timing of Vladimir Putin’s re-election announcement

Washington Post (David Filipov and Andrew Roth) –
Vladimir Putin says he’ll run for reelection. Nobody is surprised.

4) Raising big questions about shame and guilt while raising children

New York Times (Perri Klass) –
A Healthy Dose of Guilt


News – 12/8/2017

This time, Trump is right
The world’s 70-year refusal to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a foolish mistake, the result of diplomatic cowardice and neglect on the part of Israel’s governments. The argument that the US president’s speech harms the peace process is baseless, as there is no peace process going on.

Tillerson hints at deal to resolve Arab-Israeli conflict in one fell swoop, Moscow waits in wings
Rex [Tillerson]… hinted to me that the United States is expecting to strike a ‘deal of the century,’ which would resolve the Palestinian-Israeli problem in one swoop,” Sergey Lavrov said. “We certainly want to understand how they see this happening.”

Israel to build 14,000 new housing units in Jerusalem
Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) is promoting a plan to build 14,000 housing units in Jerusalem, Hahadashot (formerly Channel 2 News) reported on Thursday. The move follows President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. According to the report, the government would promote the construction of 5,000 housing units in Atarot, in addition to a new neighborhood in the area which is being promoted by the Jerusalem municipality.

‘The love is all about Jerusalem,’ Trump says at WH Hanukka party
US President Donald Trump said Jerusalem was in his heart as he hosted the White House’s annual Hanukka party on Wednesday night. “Right now I am thinking about what is going on and the love that is all over Israel and all about Jerusalem,” Trump said. The president spoke just one day after declaring that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the first such US recognition of the city since the country’s establishment in 1948. “I know for a fact there are a lot of happy people in this room,” Trump said as he looked out at the audience.

250 Rabbis Bless Trump With Biblical Joshua’s Strength in Letter of Support
Over two hundred prominent Israeli rabbis sent a letter of gratitude to President Donald Trump, blessing him in the manner that God blessed Joshua as he led the Jews into Israel and stating that Trump’s acknowledgement of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital assures him a permanent place in the annals of Jewish history.

Vladimir Putin officially announces he will seek re-election as Russian president in 2018
Putin confirms worst kept secret in Russia by pursuing another six-year term as Russia’s leader, extending his rule of the country into a third decade. Putin, 65, has been in power, either as president or prime minister, since 2000, longer than veteran Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and outstripped only by dictator Josef Stalin.

No tsunami threat to Guam from earthquake in Micronesia
The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude 6.5 earthquake in Micronesia at 10:22 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8. There is no threat of a tsunami to Guam or the Mariana Islands from the earthquake, Guam Homeland Security said, referring to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. No tsunami threat to Guam from earthquake in Micronesia

Archaeologists Discover Muslim Artifacts Proving Jerusalem’s Jewish Identity
Israeli archaeologists announced to the press a discovery of 1,300-year-old coins from the Islamic Umayyad Dynasty imprinted with an image of the menorah from the Jewish Temple. This new discovery joins a trove of artifacts that show Muslim acknowledgment of Jerusalem’s Jewish identity. Assaf Avraham of Bar-Ilan University, and Peretz Reuven of the Hebrew University made their announcement on Wednesday.

LIVE COVERAGE: Palestinians protest Trump decision in Jerusalem, W. Bank
Israel stepped up security in Jerusalem on Friday ahead of a declared Palestinian “day of rage” in the holy city. Palestinians and Arab nations made their anger and dismay known after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The decision was denounced by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said that the United States had effectively given up its role as arbiter in the peace process in the region.

Thousands protest in Jordan, burn US and Israeli flags
Thousands of protesters have gathered in the Jordanian capital of Amman, one of the largest demonstrations against Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem. The protesters are calling for their government to cut ties with Israel. Local Jordanian media is reporting that protesters in Amman are also burning American and Israeli flags and demand closure of the US embassy in Amman.

Iranians rally against Trump’s Jerusalem move, burn US flags
Hundreds of Iranians took part in rallies across the country on Friday to condemn US President Donald Trump’s decision this week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, state TV reported. Leaders of Iran, where opposition to Israel and support for the Palestinian cause has been central to foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic revolution, have denounced Trump’s move, including his plan to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

China does U-turn on coal ban to avert heating crisis
China’s government has allowed some northern cities to burn coal in a temporary policy U-turn, as the country faces a heating crisis. Beijing had banned the use of coal for heating this winter in an ambitious plan to reduce pollution. Recent winters had seen heavy smog blanket China’s northern region.

Brexit: ‘Breakthrough’ deal paves way for future trade talks
PM Theresa May has struck a last-minute deal with the EU in a bid to move Brexit talks on to the next phase. There will be no “hard border” with Ireland; and EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU, will see their rights protected. The so-called “divorce bill” will amount to between £35bn and £40bn, the BBC understands.

California wildfires: Nearly 200,000 flee as new blaze spreads
Nearly 200,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes in California as firefighters battle several raging wildfires. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Diego on Thursday after a new blaze spread from 10 acres to 4,100 acres in just a few hours. Three firefighters have been injured and about 500 buildings destroyed.

More than a quarter of millennials say they would replace a human lover with a DROID
As robots become an ever increasing part of our daily lives, humans could soon find love with the machines, according to a new report. The report suggests that over a quarter of 18-34 year-olds will feel it’s normal to form friendships and even romantic relationships with robots in the future instead of humans.

Trump dangles Middle East peace plan to limit Jerusalem outcry
When President Donald Trump told the Palestinian president of his intention to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he assured him a peace plan being put together would please the Palestinians…an apparent effort to limit fallout…Trump sought to temper the blow from his Jerusalem announcement by stressing that the Palestinians stood to gain from the peace plan that Kushner and U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt were crafting…

EU vows push to make Jerusalem capital for Palestinians too
The EU’s top diplomat pledged on Thursday to reinvigorate diplomacy with Russia, the United States, Jordan and others to ensure Palestinians have a capital in Jerusalem after President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital. The European Union, a member of the Middle East Quartet along with the United States, the United Nations and Russia, believes it has a duty to make its voice heard as the Palestinians’ biggest aid donor and Israel’s top trade partner.

Japan to acquire air-launched missiles able to strike North Korea
Japan is to acquire medium-range, air-launched cruise missiles, capable of striking North Korea, a controversial purchase of what will become the longest-range munitions of a country that has renounced the right to wage war. Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera did not refer to North Korea when announcing the planned acquisition and said the new missiles would be for defence, with Japan still relying on the United States to strike any enemy bases.

Report: Influx of Russian Oil Rescues North Korean Economy from Sanctions
A report from Japan’s Asia Press International (API) identifies “massive amounts” of Russian oil entering North Korea, providing a much-needed lifeline as the rest of the world pressures the rogue regime for its consistent nuclear threats with growing sanctions.

RED ALERT: China Warns Of IMMINENT North Korea Nuclear Attack, Issues ‘Duck And Cover’ Pamphlets To Public
According to Express, a Chinese province bordering the diabolical hermit kingdom is preparing for an all-out nuclear holocaust. The government has started to issue pamphlets to the public which depict cartoons instructing citizens what to do and how to stay alive in the event of a sudden atomic strike. It’s a degree of propaganda we haven’t seen since the end of the Cold War.

Justice Department Launches Investigation Into Planned Parenthood Over Sale of Fetal Tissue
The Justice Department has launched a full investigation into Planned Parenthood over their alleged practices of selling fetal tissue.

Trump’s ‘Deep State Advisor’ Reveals Obama Illegally Spied On Him, Leaked It To Washington Post
President Trump’s ‘deep state advisor,’ Blackwater USA founder Erik Prince, revealed during a November 30th testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee, that the Obama administration spied on him and then leaked details to the Washington Post.

Judge Who Presided Over Michael Flynn’s Case and Resigned Today — IS OBAMA APPOINTEE WHO ALSO SITS ON FISA COURT!
On Thursday evening, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, was recused from former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s criminal case. Emmet G. Sullivan will now oversee over the trial.

ADP Services Reports Largest Number of New Manufacturing Jobs in History – 40,000 New Manufacturing Jobs in November
Payroll company ADP reported the largest monthly increase in manufacturing jobs ever in their history for November!

OOPS: Muslims go nuts as Jewish Menorahs are found on early Islamic coins
Researchers recently discovered that menorahs prominently adorned Muslim coins and vessels during the early Islamic period 1,300 years ago.

In an obvious response to Trump Embassy declaration, ‘Palestinian’ terrorists fire two rockets into southern Israel
Two rockets fired from Gaza Strip hit southern Israel Thursday evening. Warning sirens were sounded in the Shaar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon (Ashkelon Coast) regional councils in the western Negev Thursday evening. Shortly after the sirens were sounded, an IDF spokesperson reported that two rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel.

Siberian Super Volcano Erupts Spewing Scorching Hot Ash 6 Miles Into The Sky
A Siberian super-volcano is worrying scientists after it’s shocking and sudden eruption flung hot ash six miles into the sky. This volcano is one of the most active in Russia.

President Trump Confirms Blooming of Fig Tree
Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is not only the right thing, and the obvious thing, to do, it is a pushback against Islam’s constant attack on our closest ally.

Warning: ‘They Need The Markets To Implode’ To Usher In Cashless System
Market analyst Lynette Zang predicts in the next market meltdown, “real estate, stocks, and bonds will all crash.” When asked when this will happen, Zang says, “Enjoy your Christmas,” but in 2018, all bets are off.

Pope Francis Calls for ‘Offensive’ Lord’s Prayer to Be Scrapped
Pope Francis has called for the Lords’ payer to be scrapped, arguing that the meaning behind the words is “offensive” because the teachings go against the will of the church.

Ahead of Jerusalem Announcement, House Passes Bill Withholding Funding Until Abbas Stops Paying Terrorists
With all eyes on President Trump’s expected Jerusalem policy announcement, the House of Representatives on Tuesday dealt the Palestinian Authority another potential blow by passing legislation withholding funds until the P.A. stops paying terrorists.

Rev. Graham: No President in My Lifetime Has Defended the Christian Faith Like Trump
In reference to remarks made by President Donald Trump at the lighting of the national Christmas tree, Rev. Franklin Graham said no president in his lifetime had taken such a “strong, outspoken stand for the Christian faith” than President Trump and that he needs our prayers.

Universities strive for ‘Christmas’-free campuses
“The holiday season should be considered an opportunity to demonstrate cultural sensitivity and inclusivity.”


46 Earthquakes Have Shaken California Over The Past 24 Hours

It appears that something unusual is happening along the California coastline.  Over the past 24 hours, California has been hit by 46 earthquakes.  That is approximately twice the normal daily number, and much of the shaking has taken place in the southern part of the state.  In recent weeks I have been writing repeatedly about the alarming seismic activity that we have been seeing along the west coast, and many believe that the potential for a megaquake is significantly higher than normal right now.  Unfortunately, most residents of California are not paying any attention to what is going on at all, and so if there is a major event they will be completely blindsided by it. (Read More…)


Bitcoin Bubble: Is Bitcoin Going To $1 Million Or Is it Going To Zero?

The price of Bitcoin continues to rise at an exponential rate, and the financial world is in a complete state of shock.  Just yesterday, I marveled that the price of Bitcoin had surged past the $13,000 mark for the first time ever, but then on Thursday it actually was selling for more than $19,000 at one point.  As I write this, Bitcoin is sitting at $16,877.42, but a few hours from now it could be a couple of thousand dollars higher or lower than that.  Those that got in early on “the Bitcoin revolution” have made extraordinary amounts of money, and many believe that this is just the beginning. (Read More…)


Peter Schiff Warns Of Impending Crash: ‘Everybody Is Going To Get Wiped Out!’

http://www.thedailysheeple.com

This coming crisis will hit everyone in the wallet. Money manager Peter Schiff, who accurately predicted the 2008 financial crisis, can already see the writing on the wall – and he says everyone is going to get wiped out.

Schiff says that this time, gold will explode and the dollar will be wiped out. USA Watch Dog‘s Greg Hunter interviewed Schiff about the impending financial disaster we are facing. Almost ten years after the 2008 meltdown, Schiff had this to say:

“I predicted a lot more than just the stock market going down back then.  I predicted the financial crisis, but more importantly, I predicted what the government would do as a result of the financial crisis and what the consequences of that would be because that’s where we’re headed.  The real crash I wrote about in my most recent book is still coming. . . . This is the third gigantic bubble that the Fed has inflated, and when this one pops, it’s not going to be ‘the third time is a charm.’  It’s going to be ‘three strikes and you’re out.’  I think this bubble is too big to pop.  I think it’s the mother of all bubbles, and when it bursts, there is not a bigger one that the Fed is going to be able to inflate to mask these problems, meaning we can’t kick the can down the road anymore.” Peter Schiff


Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 8, 2017

FBI: Deep State Collusion

It’s not just the obstruction of a pro-Hillary official; it’s undisclosed meetings with the fake dossier creator.

The Foundation

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.” —Thomas Jefferson (1813)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: December 8

  • U.K., EU Reach an Agreement on Brexit Divorce Terms (Read More)
  • What’s in the Brexit divorce deal? (Read More)
  • China exports growth hits 8-month high, imports defy pollution curbs (Read More)
  • The Bitcoin Whales: 1,000 People Who Own 40 Percent of the Market (Read More)
  • Senator’s Shaky Obamacare Deal Poses Tax Challenge (Read More)
  • Oil edges up on Chinese demand, but weekly losses loom (Read More)
  • Stunning Bitcoin Swings Promise Stop-and-Start Futures Sessions (Read More)
  • JPMorgan’s Dimon taking customer pricing hints from Amazon (Read More)
  • In Bel Air, Wildfires Destroy Multimillion-Dollar Homes (Read More)
  • Mueller Makes Sure His Investigation Will Live On Even If He’s Fired  (Read More)

Headlines – 12/8/2017

Hezbollah leader: Trump move ‘a second Balfour Declaration’

PM Netanyahu on American recognition: ‘I told Trump he was making history’

Former US ambassador slams ‘heavy breathing’ over Jerusalem… critics of Jerusalem decision overreacting. ‘This isn’t the second coming of Harry Truman recognizing Israel.’

At White House Hanukkah party, Trump celebrates his Jerusalem decision

Celebrating Hanukkah, Trump lauds ‘enduring bond’ with Israel

Ambassador Nikki Haley says Trump admin. not seeking concessions from Israel after recognition of Jerusalem. ‘This was our decision.’

At East Jerusalem enclave, some Jews happier with Trump than with Netanyahu

After Trump speech, Fatah official says Pence ‘unwanted in Palestine’

Report: US warns Palestinians not to cancel peace talks with VP Pence

Trump dangles Middle East peace plan to limit Jerusalem outcry

‘Who is Trump to determine our future? Jerusalem is Palestinian’

Israel on high alert for ‘day of rage,’ but no Temple Mount restrictions

Nasrallah: Trump humiliated 1.5 billion Muslims

Iraq militia threatens US forces after Trump Jerusalem move

Putin ‘deeply concerned’ over US Jerusalem recognition

Erdogan, Putin say US decision on Jerusalem will have negative impact on region

Erdogan speaks to Pope Francis over US Jerusalem move – Both agree that any attempt to change the city’s status quo should be avoided

9 out of 11 former US envoys to Israel oppose Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

Arabs, Europe, U.N. reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Europe, Arabs to unite against Israel at UN Security Council

EU vows push to make Jerusalem capital for Palestinians too

Israel strikes Gaza militant posts after rockets fired at Israel: army

Iran-sponsored hackers have targeted Israel, Saudis, Turkey since 2014

Russia says ready for talks with US to try to save arms pact

Syria war: UN rebukes Russia and Iran over evacuations

Chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine’ goes public

World leaders to ‘re-legitimize’ Lebanon’s Hariri at Paris talks

In series of tweets, minister says what is happening in Yemen is ‘annihilation’

President Putin to visit Egypt next week to discuss expanding ties

Former Argentine president charged with treason over Iran deal

Report: Influx of Russian Oil Rescues North Korean Economy from Sanctions

Russia chides Tillerson over US rhetoric on North Korea

Tillerson says Ukraine is a sticking point in US-Russia ties

Lavrov: US pressure on Russian diplomats and media is unacceptable

‘Over 10,000 texts’ between ex-Mueller team officials found, after discovery of anti-Trump messages

In year of chaos, Trump’s boost to economy can’t be denied

Millions would lose mortgage, gift write-offs under U.S. tax bill: study

The richest 1 percent now owns more of the country’s wealth since 50 years

Warning: ‘They Need The Markets To Implode’ To Usher In Cashless System

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Fais, Micronesia

6.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Fais, Micronesia

6.2 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Fais, Micronesia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Hihifo, Tonga

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Lautoka, Fiji

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near the Kuril Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Rare snowfall, frigid temperatures in South and East Texas

Nearly 200,000 people flee homes as fifth wildfire erupts in California

Planned Parenthood under investigation by Justice Department over sale of fetal tissue

Genes linked to homosexuality discovered by scientists

Australian prime minister rushes gay marriage into law

Gay marriage becomes law in Australia; weddings start in Jan

Franken takes swipe at Trump as he quits US Senate – notes ‘irony’ that man ‘who bragged on tape’ of assault sits in Oval Office

Commentary: Al Franken isn’t sorry

It’s an ecumenical celebration of winter festivals in Open Holidays

Most Western Europeans No Longer Believe in Heaven and Hell, Survey Finds

Are Earthlings alone? Half of humans believe in alien life

Book Review – Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently About the People and the Land 

Joyce Meyer — A Prisoner of Heresy

When a Church Misses THE Entire Point of Christ’s Incarnation

Died: ‘God’s Smuggler’ and ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’ Coauthor John Sherrill

Prophet Who Says He Visited Heaven After Heart Attack Charged With Running Prostitution Ring

7 Christian Missionaries Arrested After Hindus Accuse Them of ‘Forcible Conversion’ in India

Prophet Who Says He Visited Heaven After Heart Attack Charged With Running Prostitution Ring

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 06:24 PM PST

Prophet Who Says He Visited Heaven After Heart Attack Charged With Running Prostitution RingA 55-year-old self-styled prophet from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, who said he went to heaven one Christmas after a heart attack, was charged Wednesday for using the telephone number of his ministry to run a house of prostitution which he fronted as a massage parlor.  Prosecutors in Tulsa County allege the Rev. Walter Eugene Brazington Jr., of the All Nations Ministry Evangelistic Team attempted to “encourage, induce or persuade women to become inmates of a house of prostitution,” according to

documents cited by the Tulsa World. He was also charged with possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony.  Tiffany Ann Roach, 40, an HIV positive woman who investigators caught negotiating with a client at the prophet’s business, was also arrested. Brazington explained on his ministry’s website that he was directed by the Lord to preach the Gospel during his heavenly visit in 2008. READ MORE

Heavy winds and dry air could extend California wildfire for weeks

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 06:16 PM PST

Heavy winds and dry air could extend California wildfire for weeksGusty Santa Ana winds and bone-dry conditions continued to stoke major wildfires in Southern California on Thursday as Ventura County fire officials said the battle there could last well over a week. “Until the wind stops blowing, there’s really not a lot we can do as far as controlling the perimeter,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said as crews battled the 96,000-acre Thomas fire. “This is a fight we’re going to be fighting probably for a couple of weeks.”

That grim outlook came just hours after authorities said they discovered the body of a woman in a burn area, and after heavy winds prompted residents to flee the coastal community of Faria Beach. As smoke billowed overhead and palm trees burned, a police officer drove through the settlement with a megaphone blaring: “Mandatory evacuation” and “Please go the other way, the road is closed.” In Ojai, 40-mph winds pushed flames to within a mile of the city. READ MORE

US deploys “Nuke Sniffer” as North Korea may be on verge of detonating bomb

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 06:02 PM PST

US deploys “Nuke Sniffer” as North Korea may be on verge of detonating bombNorth Korea may be about to detonate a nuclear bomb as the US has deployed its “nuke sniffer” spy plane. Nuclear explosion tracker Constant Phoenix has gone airborne amid the missile feud between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. War fears loom as 230 US jets and around 12,000 soldiers carry out drills on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has warned the drill puts the world of the brink of

nuclear war, and warned it will not hide from conflict with the US. Constant Phoenix has been deployed in the region multiple times this year to monitor Kim. Dozens of missiles have been fired and a hydrogen bomb detonated by North Korea this year in its worsening feud with Trump.The spy plane often takes to the air when there are growing fears of a nuclear blast – earlier this year flying over Europe to investigate a radiation cloud. READ MORE

Pope desires to change words to the “Lord’s Prayer”

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 05:38 PM PST

Pope desires to change words to the “Lord’s Prayer”Pope Francis has said he wants to change the interpretation of ‘Our Father’, the best-known prayer in Christianity. The Pontiff said the Roman Catholic Church should adopt a better translation of the phrase ‘lead us not into temptation’ in the Italian version of the Lord’s Prayer.  He said the current phrasing, which is the same in English and many other languages, suggests that it is God who has a choice to lead us into temptation or not.

‘That is not a good translation, because it speaks of a God who induces temptation’,’ the pope said in a television interview on Wednesday night.  Francis said the Catholic Church in France had opted for a different phrasing, which worked around this particular issue. The French translation uses the phrase ‘do not let us fall into temptation’ as an alternative, which, the Pope said, implies that the fault would be human. READ MORE

46 Earthquakes Rock California In Past 24 Hours

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 05:32 PM PST

46 Earthquakes Rock California In Past 24 HoursIt appears that something unusual is happening along the California coastline.  Over the past 24 hours, California has been hit by 46 earthquakes.  That is approximately twice the normal daily number, and much of the shaking has taken place in the southern part of the state.  In recent weeks I have been writing repeatedly about the alarming seismic activity that we have been seeing along the west coast, and many believe that the potential for a megaquake is significantly higher than normal right now.  Unfortunately,

most residents of California are not paying any attention to what is going on at all, and so if there is a major event they will be completely blindsided by it.  When a magnitude 4.0 earthquake struck near Julian, California on Wednesday, that immediately got my attention, and that quake was followed very rapidly by several others… The shaking began at 4:33 p.m. on Wednesday when a 4.0 quake occurred nearly 10 miles beneath the earth’s surface, just east of the Earthquake Valley fault, one of the most active systems in Southern California. The temblor had originally been listed at 4.2. READ MORE

Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration ‘Enormous Step Towards Bringing Third Temple’

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 11:10 AM PST

Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration ‘Enormous Step Towards Bringing 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. “What he did last night was an enormous step in bringing the Temple,” Asaf Fried, official spokesman for the United

Temple Movement, an association of organizations working towards making the Third Temple a reality, told Breaking Israel News. He added, “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.” Fried compared Trump’s role to that of Cyrus, the Persian King who ended the Babylonian exile and helped build the Second Jewish Temple. Fried cited Proverbs to emphasize this point. READ MORE

An asteroid big enough to destroy New York just missed Earth and even NASA didn’t notice

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 10:56 AM PST

An asteroid big enough to destroy New York just missed Earth and even NASA didn’t noticeAn asteroid that had the potential to wreak havoc on Earth recently whizzed passed us and space boffins had no idea it was coming.  The asteroid, known as 2017 VL2, shot by Earth on November 9 and experts did not find out about it until a day later. The space rock flew by just 73,000 miles from our planet – which is a third of the distance between Earth and the moon. Experts believe the asteroid is between 16 and 32 meters long, and if it hit Earth, it would have had the potential to flatten a city such as New York.

A recent investigation from Science Alert found that if a 12-meter asteroid were to hit New York it could destroy buildings within six kilometers of the impact. As the 2017 VL2 asteroid is almost three times the size of Science Alert’s hypothetical rock, it could cause three times the damage. Asteroid 2017 VL2 was observed at ATLAS-MLO, Mauna Loa, Hawaii and is only the 48th known asteroid to have flown within one lunar distance – READ MORE

The Virgin Birth Is Not “Fake News”

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 10:37 AM PST

The Virgin Birth Is Not “Fake News”(By J. Lee Grady) My wife and I have four daughters, and I was in the hospital room for each birth. There was a normal amount of blood, but no serious complications. Our oldest took forever to be born. Our second was in such a hurry that we thought she might end up on the floor of a hospital hallway. Our third tied her umbilical cord in knots in the womb. And our youngest calmly slipped out as if to say: “OK, I’m born. What’s next?” I had very little to do in the delivery room. My wife was the hero. She sweated, strained, pushed and gasped for hours. I stroked her arm a few times—and ate some doughnuts.

Normal births are amazing, whether they occur in hospitals or homes or the back seats of taxis. But when I consider the birth of Jesus, I’m in total awe—not just because of Mary and Joseph’s bumpy ride from Nazareth, Mary’s lack of a doctor (and anesthesia!) and the crudeness of the manger, but also because of how Jesus was conceived. Mary was a virgin. Joseph, the “father,” had nothing to do but stand in the background. Secularists and liberal theologians have mocked the virgin birth for centuries. Thomas Jefferson called it a fable, while Episcopal heretic John Shelby Spong called it an “entrance myth.” READ MORE

Nasrallah calls for support of new Palestinian Intifada

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 10:24 AM PST

Nasrallah calls for support of new Palestinian IntifadaIn a speech on Thursday evening Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah waded into the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While supporting a new Palestinian intifada, he condemned the American decision and called on Lebanese not to have dealings with Israel. Nasrallah said that he sought to lay out clearly the dangers of the US decision and what would be the best response. The Hezbollah leader is at the peak of his power in Lebanon, eleven years after the Second Lebanon war.

He compared Trump’s decision to the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago, accusing Israel of never accepting international law and seeking to “Judaize Jerusalem.” Although at the end of his speech he said he supported a new Palestinian intifada, most of the discussion was focused on practical responses. Nasrallah sought to emphasize that the US had held back Israel in the past, according to a series of translated tweets by David Daoud, a research analyst on Hezbollah at United Against a Nuclear Iran. He accused the US of endings its practice of being a check on Israel’s actions, and accused the US of recognizing both east and west Jerusalem as “belonging to Israel.” READ MORE

Supersonic jets on ‘secret missions’ causing mystery booms across US

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 10:18 AM PST

Supersonic jets on ‘secret missions’ causing mystery booms across USMysterious “booms” that have been shaking US cities may be caused by supersonic aircraft on secret missions.  The loud and unexplained sounds have been heard dozens of times across the country from New Jersey to Colorado for months. In mid-November, shocked residents in Alabama were left so alarmed by the noise they even called the cops to investigate. They dubbed it the “‘Bama Boom”, saying

it was so powerful it actually shook houses and left windows rattling. However, NASA and the US Geological Survey said they had no idea what was causing the booms, saying they could only theorise. But now it is thought supersonic aircraft are most likely responsible after more booms were heard on Wednesday in in Texas. After a number of loud explosions, a Fort Hood spokesman confirmed live-fire exercises and B-1 “Lancer” bombers were responsible. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: At least 3 Dead and 12 injured after shooting at New Mexico school…

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 10:07 AM PST

DEVELOPING: At least 3 Dead and 12 injured after shooting at New Mexico school…At least three people are dead and more than a dozen are injured after a gunman opened fire at a northern New Mexico high school Thursday morning, law enforcement officials said.  San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen told reporters three people believed to be students died Thursday at Aztec High School. He said the shooter also was dead but didn’t say if the suspect was among the three. The school

is located in the Four Corners region and is near the Navajo Nation, about 180 miles north of Albuquerque. “It’s tragic when our children are harmed in violent ways especially on school campuses. We express our condolences to those families who have been harmed,” Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation, said in a press release. READ MORE

Investor warns ‘Gold price will explode & dollar get wiped out’

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 09:54 AM PST

Investor warns ‘Gold price will explode & dollar get wiped out’

Peter Schiff was among the few economists who correctly predicted the financial crisis in 2008. Ten years later, he sees another crisis emerging: a crisis that can crash the stock market and wipe out the US dollar.  “I predicted a lot more than just the stock market going down back then. I predicted the financial crisis, but more importantly, I predicted what the government would do as a result of the financial crisis and what the consequences of that would be because that’s where we’re headed. The real crash I wroteabout in my most recent book is still coming,”Schiff said in an article posted by Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com and quoted by ZeroHedge.   According to Schiff, the US Fed has inflated a gigantic bubble, which is impossible to pop, but when it bursts, the consequences would be very painful for the economy and much bigger than the 2008 meltdown. “I think this bubble is too big to pop. I think it’s the mother of all bubbles, and when it bursts, there is not a bigger one that the Fed is going to be able to inflate to mask these problems, meaning we can’t kick the can down the road anymore. This time, the crisis is going to hit everyone in the wallet,” he said. READ MORE

Rabbis tell Trump: ‘You are fulfilling prophecies’

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 09:45 AM PST

Rabbis tell Trump: ‘You are fulfilling prophecies’Some 250 Israeli rabbis, including Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, sent a thank you letter to US President Donald Trump praising him for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  The letter, intiated by the Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and delivered by Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, told the American president, “You have a rare privilege to be the first

president to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel.”  “We are privileged to be living in a generation that is repeatedly witnessing the words of the prophets coming true,” said the rabbis, “Jews have made aliyah and are continuing to come to the land of Israel from all corners of the world. Israel triumphs over its enemies time after time, the mountains of Israel offer generous bounty and the economy is booming.”  READ MORE

Academic journal warns against Eating meat, Promotes “toxic masculinity”

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 07:21 AM PST

Academic journal warns against Eating meat, Promotes “toxic masculinity”An academic journal has published an article by a Ph.D. candidate at Pennsylvania State University that argues eating meat maintains a society where “hegemonic masculinity” is the norm. Anne DeLessio-Parson, whose article was published in Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, based her research on Argentina’s “meat-centric” culture. “I contend that in such a context, we cannot separate the ways people ‘do vegetarianism’ from how they ‘do gender,’” Anne DeLessio-Parson wrote.

“Doing vegetarianism in interactions drives social change, contributing to the de-linking of meat from gender hegemony and revealing the resisting and reworking of gender in food spaces.” DeLessio-Parson theorizes that being a vegetarian in the South American nation is a political act that contributes to the destabilization of the gender binary, or the view that there are only two sexes, masculine and feminine. READ MORE

First Living Tattoos Created By MIT Scientists

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 06:28 AM PST

First Living Tattoos Created By MIT ScientistsTattoos are all the rage at MIT these days: researchers at the university have recently produced prototypes that point to the future of biotech, from electronic tattoos that serve as interfaces to tattoos that change color based on body chemistry.  The latest? A tattoo made of living ink–genetically programmed cells that activate when exposed to different types of stimuli. While right now that means

they light up when they come in contact with particular molecular compounds, there are exciting potential applications: the tattoos could be designed so that they respond to environmental pollutants or changes in temperature. That means that sometime in the future, we could all be walking around with living, responsive tattoos that tell us when it’s not safe to go outside because air pollution levels are dangerous, or even just act as a temperature gauge right on your body.  READ MORE

Rare Snow Storm To Blanket Texas and Mexico

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 06:19 AM PST

Rare Snow Storm To Blanket Texas and MexicoSnow will blanket parts of northern Mexico through Friday, giving areas south of the border the first snow of the season before some cities in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast. Cold air has already plunged down the Plains, crossing the Rio Grande River into northern Mexico. A reinforcing blast of cold air is just now arriving. As that happens, a potent jet stream disturbance is now pushing over the region,

providing lift and moisture in the atmosphere for precipitation in northern Mexico and West Texas. Up to an inch of snow was measured in grassy areas in Brackettville, Texas, about 115 miles west of San Antonio, Thursday morning. Snow was also seen covering grassy areas in Eagle Pass, Texas, along the Rio Grande Valley between Del Rio and Laredo. READ MORE

Chris Matthews: ‘Crazy’ Evangelicals ‘Don’t Understand’ the Situation in Israel

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 06:12 AM PST

Chris Matthews: ‘Crazy’ Evangelicals ‘Don’t Understand’ the Situation in IsraelWednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” while discussing President Donald Trump’s expected announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, “Hardball” host Chris Matthews said evangelical Christians have “crazy ideas” and “mythical” beliefs about Israel.  Matthews said, “Deaths are coming now because of this. You can just bet the next few weeks we’ll have hell to pay for this totally erratic decision by this president. Every party who has had the White House since 48 has recognized you

have to be careful over there.”  He added, “Don’t think this isn’t related to Alabama next week. It is related. Because it’s the Christian Evangelicals down there with their crazy ideas about Israel which is, I don’t know, mythical. They don’t understand the situation over there, how tricky it is ethnically and tribally. They don’t care because it’s a religious belief. Trump is playing into that this week you watch him.” READ MORE

Arabs, Europe and UN reject Trump recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital…

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 05:58 AM PST

Arabs, Europe and UN reject Trump recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital…Arabs and Muslims across the Middle East on Wednesday condemned the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an incendiary move in a volatile region and Palestinians said Washington was abandoning its leading role as a peace mediator. The European Union and United Nations also voiced alarm at U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

Major U.S. allies came out against Trump’s reversal of decades of U.S. and broad international policy on Jerusalem. France rejected the “unilateral” decision while appealing for calm in the region. Britain said the move would not help peace efforts and Jerusalem should ultimately be shared by Israel and a future Palestinian state. Germany said Jerusalem’s status could only be resolved on the basis of a two-state solution. READ MORE

200,000 Californians flee homes as wind whips wildfires closer to LA

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 05:52 AM PST

200,000 Californians flee homes as wind whips wildfires closer to LAThe 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. “We are in the beginning of a protracted wind event,” Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), told the Los Angeles Times. “There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds.”  READ MORE

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

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 05:43 AM PST

Illinois Boy Who Identifies as Girl Sues to Use Girls’ Locker Room to Change for Gym ClassAn Illinois teenager who was born male but identifies as female has filed a lawsuit against his school district as he claims that he has been prohibited from using the girls’ locker room for gym class. The district says that the legal challenge does not correctly cite the accommodations that have been offered to the student. The 18-year-old, who goes by the name Nova Maday, says that he is unhappy with the outcome of talks with Township High School District 211 and asserts that that he has to use either the

nurse’s office or a separate single-user locker room at Palatine High School to change his clothes. “I just want to be treated like every other girl in our school,” Maday said in a statement after filing suit on Thursday. “Even after the school district agreed to allow another transgender student to use the locker rooms in her school, they have resisted and made things harder for me. I just want to be able to get dressed for P.E. class without having to jump through a bunch of hoops.”  READ MORE

Paula White, Samuel Rodriguez, Mike Huckabee and Jentezen Franklin All Agree On This One Thing

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 05:38 AM PST

Paula White, Samuel Rodriguez, Mike Huckabee and Jentezen Franklin All Agree On This One ThingAfter news broke President Donald Trump would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there, evangelicals rushed to praise him. Here’s a sampling:

Gov. Mike Huckabee, honorary national chairman of My Faith Votes:

For over two decades American presidents have talked the good talk on Israel. But when it’s come to taking action, they’ve hesitated and kicked the can down the road instead of standing with our ally and recognizing its right to call Jerusalem its capital. Today, President Donald Trump did what his predecessors didn’t have the courage to do: recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. In so doing, he set two great examples for us—how to make good on promises and how to treat your friends. There is no brighter beacon of democracy in the Middle East than Israel, and President Trump’s announcement of Jerusalem as its capital reinforces—for the whole world to see—the truth that it has a right to exist. Christians in America should be proud that one of our closest allies, also the ancient homeland of our Judeo-Christian faith, exudes tolerance, steadiness and strength in a region too often marked by all the reliability of deserts full of shifting sand.

Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas:
Jerusalem is and should be recognized as the capital of Israel. It is David’s capital, the site of the first and second temples, the focus of the historians’ accounts, the psalmists’ songs and the prophets’ visions. It is the place where Jesus, a Jew himself, was crucified and where he was resurrected. It is the place where he will set foot again on earth at his second coming.President Donald J. Trump has demonstrated true leadership today by recognizing Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel. President Trump is a modern-day profile in courage, accomplishing what no other president has been willing to do. It took courage for President Harry S. Truman to recognize Israel as a nation in 1948, and it took courage for President Donald J. Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel today. He is a blessing not only to our nation but to Israel as well. Jerusalem has been the object of the affection of both Jews and Christians down through history and the touchstone of prophecy. But most importantly, God gave Jerusalem—and the rest of the Holy Land—to the Jewish people. CONTINUE

WAR DRUMS: China preparing to join forces with North Korea

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 05:34 AM PST

WAR DRUMS: China preparing to join forces with North KoreaChina has started preparing its military to support North Korea if World War 3 breaks out with the US, a military expert revealed. The People’s Liberation Army of China has been conducting military exercises on the Korean border in preparation for war breaking out between the US and North Korea. The fear of

war between the two countries has risen over the past several months after China’s neighbor carried out a number of illegal missile tests and threatened to target the US territory of Guam with a nuclear missile. Following the announcement regarding China’s new military drills, military expert Li Jie has given her verdict as to who the country would side within any future conflict. 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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Friday’s Featured Sermon: “The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 1”

Hebrews 1:1-2

Code: B171208

What do you think about as Christmas approaches? Do you anticipate the gifts you’ve been hoping for—all neatly wrapped under a shiny tree? Maybe you’re excited about time off work and the gathering of family members.

For many of us, it’s the more spiritual traditions that excite us the most: Christmas carols in church, nativity scenes in the neighborhood, and the gospel narratives chronicling the birth of Christ. Christmas certainly should be about celebrating the miracle of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. But our theology of the incarnation needs to go beyond what we learn from the birth scene in Bethlehem.

In his sermon “The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 1,” John MacArthur points us toward the New Testament epistles to consider the significance of Christ’s incarnation.

When the gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ are over, it doesn’t mark the end of the discussion. As you get into the epistles of the New Testament, you find the writers often go back to show the divine perspective. They don’t talk about angels. They don’t talk about shepherds. They don’t talk about wise men. They don’t talk about Joseph. They don’t even talk about Mary. They don’t talk about Bethlehem. They don’t talk about a stable. They don’t talk about a manger or a feed trough. They don’t talk about animals. They don’t talk about a star. They don’t talk about Herod. They don’t talk about the slaughter of the innocents. When the epistles look back to the birth of Jesus Christ, all they ever talk about is Jesus Christ.

The gospel accounts of Christ’s birth certainly provide important information. But it is in the epistles where we learn about Christ’s eternal origins. They reveal what Jesus accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection. And they display Christ’s triumphant superiority over everything else in the universe. It is after the gospels that we gain the fullest understanding of Christ’s incarnation.

“The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 1” explores one of the most profound passages from an epistle concerning the arrival of Jesus in human form.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Hebrews 1:1–3)

John’s sermon focuses on that divine perspective of the incarnation. He works through the text to reveal the preparation of Christ prior to His taking on flesh and blood, the presentation of Christ to the world He created, and the preeminence of Christ over all that He has created.

If we are to properly understand Christmas, we need to comprehend the incarnation from God’s perspective. We need to grasp His sovereign purposes in entering humanity. To that end, John’s message unveils the heavenly side of the Christmas story. Moreover, it arms us with a bigger story to share and proclaim this time of year.

Click here to listen to “The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 1.”

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B171208
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Albert Mohler Blog: “Far as the Curse is Found”

This essay is the text of the commencement address preached by President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. at the December 8, 2017 commencement ceremony at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Isaac Watts led in the development of hymns in the English tradition, drawing many of his hymn texts directly from the Psalms. “Joy to the World” is based upon Psalm 98, which declares creation’s joy when the Lord comes to rule and to judge. When we sing “Joy to the World, the Lord is Come,” it applies when we talk about Bethlehem and when we rejoice in the gift of the infant Christ. But the song also reminds us that Christmas isn’t over; the promises of Christmas are not yet fulfilled. Earth will fully receive her King when Christ comes again, to reign and to rule.”

Click Here to Read More

 

Key Connections (December 8, 2017)

6 Things Christ Accomplished by His Death (Servants of Grace, Matt Perman)

The reality of substitution is at the heart of the atonement. Christ accomplished all of the above benefits for us by dying in our place – that is, by dying instead of us. We deserved to die, instead, He took our sin upon Him and paid the penalty Himself.

Teaching Your Children the Virtue of Waiting (The Good Book Blog, Scott James)

As your children excitedly wait for Christmas morning, look for opportunities to talk with them about what it was like to faithfully wait for Jesus’s birth all those years ago. Our anticipation of Christmas only lasts a month or so, but during this time we can lead our kids to better appreciate what it means to trust God as we wait, knowing he always keeps his promises.

Stop Apologizing for God (Desiring God, Tony Reinke)

God is not a kitten. He’s a tiger. He’s good, but he’s not tame. He is the God we find in Ezekiel. If we choose to live in denial, our worship will weaken, our standards of purity will diminish, our mission will skid to a halt, our message will be hollowed out, and our part in God’s global work will become more and more trivial.

Featured Sermon: Giving Thanks for Salvation (Grace to You, Cameron Buettel)

But true Christian gratitude is never rooted in temporal circumstances. Our thankfulness must rest in eternal realities. That’s why John MacArthur chose to focus on the glorious truths of salvation in his Thanksgiving sermon “Giving Thanks for Salvation.” We should never stop meditating on the glorious truths of redemption. The gospel is a message for believers as well as unbelievers—it calls sinners to repentance and saints to remembrance.

Three Ways Your Faith is Tested When God Says “No” (Unlocking the Bible, Colin Smith)

Brother, sister, for all eternity, who you are and what you will be will rest on Jesus Christ and all that he has done for you. That’s grace—and understanding grace takes the sting out of disappointment! When you know what it cost the Savior for your name to be written in heaven, for your sins to be forgiven, and for your eternal future to be secured, you will find great joy in what he has done for you, irrespective of what you may or may not get to do for him.

The post Key Connections (December 8, 2017) appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

DBG Weekend Spotlight (12-8-17)

In this session from the 2010 Ligonier West Coast Conference, Christless Christianity, John MacArthur exposed the ministry teaching and methods of Joel Osteen.

Announcing a New Series of Booklets — Tim Challies announces a new series of booklets.

Warning: Christmas Is Coming! — “Your family is about to be attacked by a holiday season.

You Are Never More Justified Than the Moment You First Believed — “In this brief clip from his teaching series The Whole Christ, Sinclair Ferguson explains that our sanctification does not add to our justification.”

An Update on Dr. Sproul’s Health — Dr. Sproul is hospitalized and you can keep up with his condition over at Ligonier’s website.  Please take time to pray for him.

Immutability and Reformed Theology — Kevin DeYoung will challenge you to think regarding God’s immutability in this article.  He writes, “This means that we should not write off all the “relenting” language as simply “anthropomorphic.” While there is “some truth in that description” as it describes things from an atemporal perspective, the anthropomorphic label is not helpful in describing God as an actor in history.”

Benny Hinn Suddenly Realizes God Might Be Real — From the Babylon Bee.

Churchill Film ‘Darkest Hour’ Offers Compelling Vision of Leadership — Owen Strachan provides a helpful review of the new film on Churchill.

$5 Friday: Jesus, the Trinity, & Holiness — Some good books because it’s Friday!

Bethlehem’s Supernatural Star — “Over and over the Bible baffles our curiosity about just how certain things happened. How did this “star” get the magi from the east to Jerusalem?”

 

The post DBG Weekend Spotlight (12-8-17) appeared first on Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace.

This ‘n’ That for 12/08/2017

  • Michelle Lesley helps us sort out and articulate the primary problems with so many women’s ministries today.
  • Last week, we talked about the Advent season, and mentioned some things we can do to keep our eyes,  minds, and hearts fixed on Christ during this busy time of year. Christina Fox offerssome practical, simple, biblical ideas with the same goal.
  • Newer forms and formulations of contraception still carry a risk of breast cancer, especially as women age (age is a risk factor anyway). This is significant since birth control is widely distributed and heavily promoted. While risk of breast cancer increases with age, women who are on hormonal contraception longer are also at increased risk. On the flip side, birth control has been seen to decrease risk of other dangerous cancers in women. Use of hormonal contraception is a personal choice, but it helps to have all the facts while you make your decision.
  • To Santa Claus or not to Santa Claus? Here’s why one family chose not, and here are some ways to keep it biblical if you choose to include Santa Claus in your Christmas tradition.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Tis the season for my favorite Tim Hawkins bit. “I think the shepherd boy’s been in the field a little too long!”
  • Theology books are on sale! Just remember, though—reading about theology and doctrine isn’t the same as living it out. Reading about sanctification won’t sanctify you. Reading about holiness won’t make you holy. Head knowledge is nice, but it can’t save you and isn’t necessarily a fruit of salvation.
  • I pretty much need every single one of these.
  • A look at how God’s grace is evident in Jesus’ genealogy.
Here’s a side to the Christmas story that isn’t often told: Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant’s head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear. Jesus was born to die. — John MacArthur

Weekly Watchman for 12/08/2017

Listener Questions and Comments

Today we answer your questions to the best of our ability and read your comments from this week. The topics we address today include:

The deception of Liberal Christianity.

Why truth and doctrine is divisive.

What is Calvinism?

A Muslim perspective on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The lack of strong, bible-based leadership in some churches.

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

Is the Church prepared to address potential sexual harassment charges?

Why so many pastors refuse to talk about abortion/life in a mother’s womb.

Is President Trump really a born-again believer?

The takeover of American Churches by progressive ideology.

Merry Christmas!

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 5:8-9

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How SCOTUS Works, & the Significance of Standing With Israel

Over the past several decades, most presidential candidates declared they believe Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel and that they would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem if elected. History has proven this to be political rhetoric to capture more votes as no past president has followed through on the promise – Until now. Yesterday, President Trump kept his campaign promise–a rarity for candidates these days–and proclaimed the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and would begin plans to move our embassy there. Whatever you think of President, Trump it is certainly refreshing to see a candidate actually follow through on a campaign promise.

Other than Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, world leaders are reacting with anger, claiming this will set the “peace process” back. This is the same ‘peace process” that has produced zero results for many decades. This morning we will discuss the potential effects of this courageous move by a controversial president.

In our first segment, we check in with Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Council and hear some fascinating insights on how the Supreme Court works, as well as her thoughts on the opening arguments in the Jack Phillips’ religious freedom case. Is religious freedom hanging in the balance and could it come down to one man’s vote?

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Protecting Children, Ministry Leaders, & Christian Business Owners

We face an enemy who is crafty, experienced, and evil; Satan is ‘the father of lies.’ Ever since his unsuccessful rebellion against God at the beginning of time he has honed his craft, finding innovative ways to attack the children of God in hopes of discrediting the gospel message.

Today, Christians face increasing discrimination and ridicule in our nation. Fueled by Hollywood, media, public education, and a progressive government, we are seeing the rights of religious expression and worship attacked on several fronts. Cities and states are passing laws forcing Christian churches and organizations to choose to either approve of and support immoral, unbiblical values or risk being shut down.

But the enemy we face is clever and devious and never puts all his eggs in one basket. He is also stirring up problems within Christian churches and ministries by attacking our compassion for others. Churches and ministries are committed to ministering to anyone seeking help or hope. But the enemy has sent “spies” into our camp attempting to undermine our work. We are seeing frivolous lawsuits aimed at discrediting and even shutting down faithful warriors for Christ in order to intimidate the church.

In our second segment, we share the sad story surrounding Ravi Zacharias, a respected Christian leader dedicated to sharing the gospel and loving others, who was falsely accused of sexual improprieties even though it appears he did everything he could to be above reproach.

In segment three, we touch on the opening arguments of the Supreme Court case involving Christian artist and bakery chop owner, Jack Phillips, who is simply asking not to be forced to take part in gay marriages.

In our first segment we check in with Tina Griffin of Counter Culture Mom to discuss how we protect our children against the horrible influences of movies and video games. We also discuss the increased sensitivity to sexual harassment in our nation and the downside of ‘guilty until proven innocent.’

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The Advent Season

We are three weeks away from the celebration of Jesus Christ, our messiah, being born as a human, living as one of us yet remaining sinless, and dying on a cross for our sins. Yet the sole focus of the Christmas season seems to be on the birth of Christ, not including his life, death, burial, resurrection and promise that He would return one day to judge all men by His Word. Are we in essence “misrepresenting” Him when we fail to communicate the full gospel and reason for His first and second coming during the Christmas season.

Dave Wager of Silver Birch Ranch joins us to discuss this and also how pastors, churches and ministries should react to the increase in charges of sexual harassment bombarding our institutions. Should this cause us to look at how we counsel and disciple people?

Read more


Ignorance of Scripture & History = Communism in America

Although Donald Trump won the last presidential election, polls show that a major factor was the distrust and dislike of Hillary Clinton, and that if Senator Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee, we might now be saying “President Sanders” instead of “President Trump.” Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist and proponent of classical Communism, could have easily become the president of the United States and ushered in with him a Congress who thinks the same way. Just twenty years ago an avowed Communist running for President would have been ignored and laughed off the stage. But according to recent polling of Democrat voters, Sanders is again their top choice to run against President Trump in 2020.

How can our young people and many in the Democrat Party ignore history and support the brutality of godless Communism over the model of our democratic Republic [under God] and capitalism? To answer that question, you start by looking at how history is taught in our public education system, and also how the professing Christian Church in America has given a platform to people like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne and others who profess to be Christians yet pervert the writings of God’s Word to support their humanist agenda. Their teaching is blatant apostasy.

Tied to this modern Communist movement, which has been repackaged as “compassionate,” are the increasing attacks on the religious freedoms of Christians in America. This morning, we focus on this unholy matrimony that is threatening our freedoms and prosperity as a nation. Due to our education system, many have fallen for the propaganda of rewritten American history. And under the guise of “social justice,” many within the church have turned away from the gospel and truth of the Bible, seeking the ways of fallen man to find peace, prosperity, and unity.

Read more

December 8, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Lord Alone Will Judge Each Believer

But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God. (14:10–12)

The fourth reason Paul gives for every Christian’s accepting every other Christian is that the Lord alone will judge each believer. If each believer belongs to the Lord alone, and if “Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (vv. 8–9), Paul asks, why do you (the weak, see (v. 3b) judge your brother? Or you again, why do you (the strong, see v. 3a) regard your brother with contempt?

It is a terrible thing for men “to play God,” as it is often phrased. It is particularly inexcusable for God’s own people to intimate that presumption by judging and despising each other.

The work of Christians is to serve the Lord, not to usurp His lordship by self-righteously judging fellow believers. Our concern, rather, should be for being judged ourselves by the Lord, For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

When we, along with all other believers, stand before the Lord on His judgment seat, His divine bēma, “each man’s work will become evident, for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:13–15).

As cited earlier, the apostle said of himself,

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. But to me it is a very small thing that I should be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the  Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (1 Cor. 4:1–5)

Reinforcing his argument for believer’s judgment with a quotation from Isaiah 45:23, Paul reminds his readers that it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God” (cf. Phil. 2:10–11).

Our responsibility is not to judge, to despise, to criticize, or in any way to belittle our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will not be called on by our Lord to give an account of the sins and shortcomings of others, but rather each one of us shall give account of himself to God.[1]


Answerable to God

Romans 14:10–12

You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:

“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,

‘Every knee will bow before me;

every tongue will confess to God.’ ”

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

In the fourteenth chapter of Romans Paul has been explaining why Christians must not be judgmental where the conduct of other believers is concerned, and one of the reasons he has given is that none of us exists in isolation. We belong to each other and need each other. Moreover, being Christians, we belong to God. So we must not spend our time putting the other Christian down but rather we must accept as brothers and sisters those who are also trying to serve the Lord as best they know how and try earnestly to build up those other persons.

Paul argued that “none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone” (Rom. 14:7). In the last study I cited John Donne’s “No Man Is an Island” to make that point.

But there is one situation in which a man or woman is isolated, and that is when he or she stands before the judgment seat of God, as we each must do. On that day there will be no pleading someone else’s responsibility for what we have done or blaming another person for our faults or taking another’s credit for our own. As Paul writes to the Corinthians, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). If nothing else is able to get us thinking about our conduct rather than someone else’s, it should be this extremely serious, awesome, and inescapable moment of personal accountability.

Christians Must Give an Accounting

Our text is referring to Christians when it says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat” (v. 10). It is true that unbelievers will also be judged at the final judgment, but that is not what Paul is writing about here. In this chapter he is reminding his readers that Christians will also be judged, since all must appear before God and give an accounting.

I am sure this does not seem right to many Christians, because they understand rightly that because they have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior they have passed from a state of being under judgment or condemnation to one of being justified before God. Even more, they remember how Jesus said, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned [the King James Version said, ‘shall not come into condemnation’]; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). If that is true, how can a Christian possibly be judged? Or to think about Paul’s words in Romans 14, how can the apostle say, speaking specifically of Christians, “We will all stand before God’s judgment seat”?

The answer, of course, is that there are various judgments spoken of in the Bible and that the word judge is used in various ways.

Whenever we speak of the judgments mentioned in the Bible we are moving into the area of Bible prophecy, and this is an area in which Christians have very different views. (It is another area in which we need to be unusually understanding and accepting of one another.) However, as I read the Bible it seems to me that at least seven different judgments are mentioned: (1) a judgment of believers at the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10–12; 1 Cor. 3:11–15; 2 Cor. 5:10); (2) a series of judgments on the earth (Rev. 6–11, 15–16); (3) a judgment of the beast and the false prophet, at which time the devil will be imprisoned (Rev. 19:20; 20:1–3); (4) a judgment of the Gentile nations (Ps. 2); (5) a judgment of Israel (Ezek. 20:32–38); (6) the final judgment of Satan (Rev. 20:1–10); and (7) the final judgment of unbelievers at the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11–15).

All these judgments except the first are judicial judgments: They involve God’s punishments of individuals or nations for those peoples’ specific sins. The punishments involve spiritual or eternal death and hell suffering. The first of these judgments stands apart from the rest, because it is a judgment of believers, which means that it is not for sin and does not involve spiritual death or suffering. Nevertheless, it is still a real judgment in which the followers of Christ are to give an accounting for what they have done in this life and are either rewarded or disapproved by God on that basis.

It helps to get a picture of what this involves by realizing that the phrases in Romans 14:10 rendered “God’s judgment seat” and in 2 Corinthians 5:10 rendered “the judgment seat of Christ” each contain the Greek word bêma, which refers not to the judge’s seat in a court of law but to the bench upon which the referees or judges sat at an athletic contest. It was the place from which those who did well in the contest and triumphed were rewarded with a laurel wreath and from which those who broke the rules were disqualified or disapproved.

This was a well-known concept for the ancient Greeks and Romans, and Paul drew on it more than once in his writings. Thus, although Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10 are the only two verses in which the word bêma actually is used, we find Paul alluding to this idea elsewhere as well:

  1. 1 Corinthians 9:25–27. “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
  2. Philippians 3:12–14. “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
  3. 2 Timothy 4:7–8. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

The man who wrote Romans 8:38–39 (“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”) is not worrying about his eternal salvation. He is not afraid that he may be sent to hell. But he is aware that he is going to have to give an account to God of every word he has spoken and everything he has done. And he is taking that moment of personal accountability very, very seriously.

You Must Give an Accounting

We can see how seriously he takes this by the way he writes about it in Romans 14:10–12. Notice three things. First, he emphasizes the word you by putting it in an emphatic position and repeating it twice. This is more obvious in the Greek text than in the English translations, but the New International Version tries to capture the idea by asking in verse 10, “You, then, why do you judge your brother?” Paul is referring both to the one whom he called weak earlier and to the one he called strong. That is, he is writing to you, whoever you may be.

Second, Paul brings in a quotation from the Old Testament, which he often does when he comes to the end of an argument:

It is written:

“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,

‘Every knee will bow before me;

every tongue will confess to God.’ ”

This quotation is taken somewhat loosely from Isaiah 49:23 (see Isa. 49:18), and it is a solemn reminder of how God has said that every person who has ever lived will appear before him for judgment. So we must not think that just because we are Christians, somehow we are going to get off without an accounting.

Third, Paul repeats his point in different words but with emphasis in verse 12: “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” This includes you and me.

Accountable for All Things

But for what will we be held accountable? This is a serious and very practical matter, so let’s look at some of the verses that tell exactly what we are accountable for.

  1. We are accountable for every word we have spoken. There are many verses in the Bible that tell us this. For example, Jesus spoke about how words come from the heart, a good heart producing good words and a bad heart producing bad words. He said, “I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36–37). In the letter to the Ephesians Paul wrote, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs” (Eph. 4:29) and “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:4).

This does not mean that a Christian can never laugh or tell jokes. We do not have to be serious all the time. But it does mean that there should be a certain gravity about us as befits those who are aware of the gospel of the grace of God and of the fact that many are perishing because they will not turn from their sins and believe on Jesus Christ. And even if we laugh and tell jokes, which we will at times, we will not be telling dirty jokes. On the contrary, we will try to edify others even by our humor.

We will pay attention to the words we hear and read too. Donald Grey Barnhouse had some useful thoughts on this in his study of Romans:

I think it is fair and logical to conclude that if the believer must account for every careless word, this applies not only to what he says, but to what he allows himself to hear and read. If you spend several hours a week watching television, you can be almost certain that the thing has mastery over you; but if you watch it only occasionally and in order to relax after a long period of work or study, that is a different matter. I know people who are better acquainted with the comic strips than they are with the Bible. They say that they are too busy for Bible study, but they have at least fifteen minutes a day for the comics and another fifteen to listen to news broadcasts. I read some magazines from back to front, just to laugh at the cartoons, and throw them down without reading any of their articles or stories. However, I am not your judge, and you may not be mine. We are each answerable to the Lord.

There is a positive side to this, however. Although our idle words will be condemned, our public confessions of Jesus Christ and words that are spoken in praise of God to bring him glory will also be remembered forever. For the text in Matthew also says, “By your words you will be acquitted” (Matt. 12:37).

I have always been encouraged by what is said concerning the people of God who lived in the time of Malachi: “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name” (Mal. 3:16). This means that God hears our good, faithful, and true words too, and that he remembers them forever. I believe that no word spoken for Jesus or in Jesus’ name will ever be wasted or fail of its reward.

  1. We are accountable for the talents that have been given to us. We should remember the parable Jesus told in various forms in which a king or owner of an estate left cities to be managed by his servants or gave varying numbers of talents to them, returning later to demand an accounting. In one of these, he dismissed the manager, saying, “What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer” (Luke 16:2). In another he condemned the faithless steward for being “wicked” and “lazy” (Matt. 25:26) but praised the faithful servants, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matt. 25:21, 23).

Have you ever taken stock of the talents God has given you? I do not mean just your particularly strong points or strong skills, but everything you are. Have you ever done a complete inventory of who you are so that you may give it all to God for his service and glory?

I am a fifty-five-year-old white male whom God called to the ministry at an early age so I would be able to direct every stage of my education to that end. I was raised in a Christian home, taught the Bible from childhood onward, was influenced by strong men and women of God, and was placed in Philadelphia in a strong city church to teach the Bible to the people God sends to serve there. We are called to model city ministry at Tenth Presbyterian Church, and we have done it. Everything that is good in me has come from God, and my responsibility is to take those good gifts and offer them up to God in his service, making them count for him in every way I can.

That is my inventory. It is that for which I must give an accounting. Your case is different. You have an entirely different background and entirely different training. You may have been called to be a teacher or a doctor or a secretary or the CEO of some company. You may be black or white or some other color. You may have a high IQ or a low IQ. Whatever you have, it has been given to you by God, and you are responsible to God for how you use it. Are you using it for him? If you do not know the answer to that question, you need to sit down quietly, take personal inventory, and ask God to show you what you can do that will make a difference for him in this life and for eternity.

  1. We are accountable for how we use our money. Nothing in life so mirrors our values and priorities as what we do with our money, which is why someone has said, “Let me look at your checkbook, and I will tell you what you are.” What you do with your money tells volumes about you.

This is why the Bible has so much to say about money. It is why Jesus spoke about it. Jesus said:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.… No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.

Matthew 6:19–21, 24

What would I discover if I were to examine your checkbook? You would have payments on the house, checks for the heating and electricity, money for food, hospital and doctors’ bills, perhaps education bills—and taxes, of course, lots of taxes. But what beyond that? Would I find more money being spent on a second home, a luxury car, the country club, or entertainment than for Christian work? What percentage of your income would I find given to the support of your local church? Or to missions? Or to help people you know who are in serious financial need? If you give anything to your church or charitable causes, you probably consider yourself to be very generous, a great philanthropist. But would that judgment hold up to a really objective scrutiny? Would God be satisfied with your priorities?

Earlier I mentioned Donald Grey Barnhouse. In his study he refers to a cartoon in which a farmer is sitting at a table with nine giant potatoes in front of him and a tenth potato, his tithe to God, sitting off by itself. The isolated potato is marked “The Lord’s portion,” and the caption expresses the words of the farmer who is saying, “I don’t see how any fellow could be mean enough to give less.”

True enough. The caption is meant to commend the farmer as a man with a surrendered heart. But I find myself thinking, “Nine for me and one for God? Is even that a strong enough priority? When we have been given so much and have such abundance, is that all we can do, should do, or would do if we really loved the Lord with all our hearts and minds and souls and were aware that one day we will have to give an accounting of how we have spent our money?”

  1. We are accountable for how we have used our time. Finally, you will have to give an accounting for your time. How are you using your time? Do you waste long hours watching television? Or if you work all the time, are you working for yourself only, or do you work for others and share your time with your family, or with others you could help? Do you invest some of your time in Bible study, witnessing, or some type of Christian work?

What You Do Now Counts

Let’s close by returning to the points Paul is making.

  1. Stop judging your neighbor. Most of us are guilty of this, and it is one of the most harmful things that takes place in Christian churches. We think that because there are standards to be maintained we must be snooping out the shortcomings of others. We are not called to do this. If you are worried about standards, make sure you live up to them yourself. Or let the people God has appointed to deal with them—the elders in a local church—do the shepherding work.
  2. Take inventory of your own actions and behavior. Unless you are perfect or nearly perfect, which I doubt you are, that will be enough to keep you busy for a very long time, and we will all be better off. Besides, you will help others better that way, because people are always helped more by a loving example of what should be done than by moral nitpicking or outright condemnation.
  3. Do what you can to build up the body. Being judgmental tears down. Modeling builds up, and that is what we most need. And remember that it is spiritual work that will last. Most of what you have been spending your time on will pass with the passing of this world and be gone forever.

Accountability is always a sobering message. But it is also encouraging, because it means that what you do really counts.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Ro 14:10). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The New Humanity (Vol. 4, pp. 1755–1762). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 8 MORE THAN PARDON

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.

2 Corinthians 7:10

 

It is a fact that the New Testament message of good news, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:4) embraces a great deal more than an offer of free pardon.

Surely it is a message of pardon—and for that may God be praised—but it is also a message of repentance!

It is a message of atonement—but it is also a message of temperance and righteousness and godliness in this present world!

It tells us that we must accept a Savior—but it tells us also that we must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts!

The gospel message includes the idea of amendment—of separation from the world, of cross carrying and loyalty to the kingdom of God even unto death!

These are all corollaries of the gospel and not the gospel itself; but they are part and parcel of the total message which we are commissioned to declare. No man has authority to divide the truth and preach only a part of it. To do so is to weaken it and render it without effect!

 

Lord, I pray for You to anoint every believer with a “holy boldness” to proclaim Your gospel and all of its implications. It may not be an attractive message, but it will be the Truth for those with ears to hear.[1]

 

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

December 8 Parable of the Sower: Main Elements

Hear then the parable of the sower … —Matt. 13:18

The Bible is God’s written Word, but His Son is the Living Word who gives Scripture life. Christ told the Jewish leaders, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me” (John 5:39).

This parable centers on proclaiming the gospel and, perhaps more important, concerns the “heart soils” on which that truth, in seed form, falls as the sower preaches. Our Lord goes on to describe four such soils, representing four different hearts that hear the gospel.

Although every human heart is essentially hostile toward God (Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:15–16), every one has the potential for redemption. If a heart does not respond savingly, it is because of its own sin and refusal to believe. Jesus declares, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).

In a general sense, any of us who preaches or testifies to the gospel is a sower of God’s Word. This parable thus reminds us of the need to be faithful in truly presenting the gospel, given the wonderful results that can occur. As William Arnot wrote: “As every leaf of the forest and every ripple on the lake, which itself receives a sunbeam on its breast, may throw the sunbeam off again, and so spread the light around; in like manner, everyone, old or young, who receives Christ into his heart may and will publish with his life and lips that blessed name.”

ASK YOURSELF

 

How have you experienced one or more of the various soils’ responses to your sharing of gospel truth? What have you learned about the reasons why various people respond to Christ’s message of salvation in different ways?[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 351). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 8 The Blessing of Supporters

Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill.

Philippians 1:15

 

It hurts to think of so dear a saint as Paul enduring opposition to the point of reporting, “At my first defense [the first trial in Rome] no one stood with me, but all forsook me” (2 Tim. 4:16). When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he was so bereft of friends that he said of Timothy, “I have no one like–minded” (Phil. 2:20).

But Paul also wrote that some were preaching Christ “from goodwill” according to today’s verse, which denotes satisfaction and contentedness. Paul’s supporters were content with what God was doing in their own lives and in Paul’s life. They were sympathetic toward him and grateful for his ministry.

There are also people like that today—what a blessing, encouragement, and source of joy they are! I thank God for filling my life with people like that.[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 369). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 8, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

1 While those in the ark may have been safe, they had not yet been saved. The author does not finish the story of the flood until Noah and his family are safely on dry ground (v. 14) and have offered a sacrifice. Those safe in the ark have to wait (“a hundred and fifty days,” 7:24) for God to send deliverance. The same author passes over the four hundred years that Israel waited in Egypt (Ex 1:7; 2:24b) and then the forty years of waiting in the wilderness (Nu 14:33–34) in order to focus on the moment of God’s deliverance. That moment comes after four hundred years, when “God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The story of Noah and the flood passes over the “hundred and fifty days” of waiting in the ark and proceeds immediately to the moment that “God remembered Noah and all … that were with him in the ark.”

The description of God’s rescue of Noah fore shadows God’s deliverance in the Exodus. “God remembered [wayyizkōr ʾelōhîm] his covenant” (Ex 2:24) and sent “a strong east wind” (berûaḥ qādîm ʿazzâ) to dry up the waters before his people so that they “went through … on dry ground [bayyabbāšâ]” (Ex 14:21–22); so also in the story of the flood, “God remembered” (wayyizkōr ʾelōhîm) those in the ark and sent a “wind” (rûaḥ ʿal-hāʾāreṣ) over the waters so that his people might come out on “dry ground” (yābešâ hāʾāreṣ, vv. 1, 14).

Such verbal, thematic, and structural parallels are not coincidental. The author of Genesis, who frequently seizes on wordplays (e.g., 11:9) and turns of phrase within narratives (e.g., 21:6), most certainly saw the parallels suggested by these narratives and deliberately highlights their similarities. God’s past redemptive works prefigure his redemptive work in the present and the future.[1]


1 “God remembered Noah.” Similarly, God “remembered” Abraham after the destruction of Sodom (19:29); he “remembered” Rachel (30:22), and he “remembered” his covenant made in 9:15, 16, etc. Man is bidden not simply to “remember” the past but the future (e.g., Isa 47:7; Eccl 11:8), which suggests that the word is more equivalent to “think about” than to a concept of recall. However, since its usual reference is to the past, “remember” suits most passages. When God remembers, he acts, e.g., saving Lot, giving Rachel children, bringing Israel out of slavery (Exod 2:24; 6:5). This is the first time God is said to have remembered someone, and this passage is a paradigm of what that means in practice; cf. H. Eising, TDOT 4:64–82. Note God’s concern for the animals as well as Noah (cf. Jon 4:11; Matt 6:26; 10:29). “A wind”: cf. the wind of God at creation which hovered over the waters, Gen 1:2.[2]


8:1 But God remembered Noah. God’s covenant with Noah brought provision and protection in the midst of severe judgment. The remnant was preserved and God initiated steps toward reestablishing the created order on earth. the waters subsided. God used the wind to dry the ground; evaporation returned water to the atmosphere.[3]


8:1 God remembered Noah. This marks the turning point in the flood story. When the Bible says that God “remembers” someone or his covenant with someone, it indicates that he is about to take action for that person’s welfare (cf. 9:15; 19:29; 30:22; Ex. 2:24; 32:13; Ps. 25:6–7; 74:2). All life on the land having been destroyed, God now proceeds to renew everything, echoing what he did in Genesis 1. God made a wind blow over the earth. The Hebrew word for wind, ruakh, is also sometimes translated “Spirit” (e.g., 1:2; 6:3). While the context normally enables the reader to distinguish ruakh meaning “wind” from ruakh meaning “Spirit,” the present verse intentionally echoes 1:2.[4]


8:1 God remembered The Hebrew verb used here, zakhar, is often translated “remember,” but in reference to God, it conveys “thought about” or “turned attention to” (compare 19:29; 30:22). God’s purpose for the flood is accomplished, so He turns His attention back to Noah and the ark.[5]


8:1 God remembered Noah. The Hebrew expression indicates action based on a previous commitment (9:15; 19:29; 30:22; Ex. 2:24; 6:5; Luke 1:72, 73), not merely mental recall.[6]


[1] Sailhamer, J. H. (2008). Genesis. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis–Leviticus (Revised Edition) (Vol. 1, pp. 126–127). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Wenham, G. J. (1998). Genesis 1–15 (Vol. 1, p. 184). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ge 8:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 64). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 8:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 21). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

December 8 THE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

—Matthew 22:37

In worship several elements may be distinguished, among them love, admiration, wonder and adoration. Though they may not be experienced in that order, a little thought will reveal those elements as being present wherever true worship is found.

Both the Old and the New Testaments teach that the essence of true worship is the love of God. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). Our Lord declared this to be the sum of the Law and the Prophets….

It is quite impossible to worship God without loving Him. Scripture and reason agree to declare this. And God is never satisfied with anything less than all: “all thy heart… all thy soul… all thy mind.” This may not at first be possible, but deeper experience with God will prepare us for it, and the inward operations of the Holy Spirit will enable us after a while to offer Him such a poured-out fullness of love. TIC126

Lord, weed out of my life any conflicting interests, that I might indeed love You with all my heart, soul and mind. Amen. [1]

 

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

December 8 Christ’s Identification with Sinners

“… Made in the likeness of men.”

Philippians 2:7

✧✧✧

Christ was fully God and fully man.

In his Systematic Theology theologian Charles Hodge wrote, “The Scriptures teach that Christ had a complete human nature. That is, He had a true body and a rational soul. By a true body is meant a material body which in everything essential was like the bodies of ordinary men…. It is no less plain that Christ had a rational soul. He thought, reasoned, and felt.”

Hodge’s assessment is correct, for Christ was given all the essential attri–butes of humanity. He was more than God in a body. He became the God–man, being fully God and fully man. Like a man, Jesus was born and increased in wisdom and physical maturity (Luke 2:52). Hebrews 2:14 says, “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same.” Christ had the same flesh and blood that we have. When He came into the world, He came in normal human flesh that experienced all the effects of the Fall. He knew sorrow, suffering, pain, thirst, hunger, and death. He felt all effects of the Fall without ever knowing or experiencing the sin of the Fall.

Hebrews 2:17 points out how Christ’s humanity has a direct bearing on your life: Jesus “had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest.” For Christ to feel what you feel, He needed to be made like you. He experienced all the tests and temptations you do, but He never gave in to sin. That’s why He is such a faithful and understanding High Priest. Be encouraged, for we “do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank Christ for being your faithful High Priest.

For Further Study: What human characteristics did Christ show in the following verses: Matthew 4:2; 9:36; 23:37; John 4:6–7; 11:34–35; 19:30?[1]

 

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

December 7 Daily Help

And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.”—Jer. 15:21.

NOTE the glorious personality of the promise—I will, I will. The Lord Jehovah himself interposes to deliver and redeem his people. He pledges himself personally to rescue them. His own arm shall do it, that he may have the glory. Neither our strength nor our weakness is taken into the account, but the lone I, like the sun in the heavens, shines out resplendent in all-sufficiency. Why then do we calculate our forces, and consult with flesh and blood to our grievous wounding? Peace, ye unbelieving thoughts, be still, and know that the Lord reigneth.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 345). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 7, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

8 Micah now asks and answers the question, “What does the Lord require of you?” He does so in a verse justly regarded as one of the memorable and timeless expressions of OT ethical religion (cf. Jas 1:27). It is a heart’s response to God demonstrated in the basic elements of true religion, as shown to Israel in the social concerns reflected in the Mosaic legislation.

God has told his people what is good. The Mosaic law differentiates between good and bad and reflects God’s will in many areas of their religious and social lives. It indicates what God requires (dāraš, “seeks”) of them. They are to act justly (lit., “do justice,” mišpāṭ). The word “justly” here has the sense of “true religion,” that is, the ethical response to God that has a manifestation in social concerns as well (cf. Note on 3:8). “To love mercy” is freely and willingly to show kindness to others (cf. Notes below). The expression “to walk humbly with your God” means to live in conscious fellowship with God by exercising a spirit of humility before him. These great words recall similar words of our Lord in Matthew 23:23.

The prophet is not suggesting that sacrifice is completely ineffectual and that simply a proper attitude of heart toward God will suffice. In the preceding verse he painted a caricature—a purposefully exaggerated picture—of the sacrificial system to indicate that God has no interest in the multiplication of empty religious acts. Jeremiah 7:22–23 is often appealed to as evidence that the prophets rejected the Levitical system; yet Jeremiah promised that the offerings would be acceptable if the people were obedient (Jer 17:24–26). A similar attitude toward sacrifice is expressed in Psalm 51:16–17, but the succeeding verses show the author to be indicating that the Levitical sacrifices are acceptable to God only when accompanied by a proper attitude of heart toward him (51:18–19).

The ethical requirements of v. 8 do not comprise the way of salvation. Forgiveness of sin was received through the sacrifices. The standards of this verse are for those who are members of the covenantal community and delineate the areas of ethical response that God wants to see in those who share the covenantal obligations.[1]


6:8 / Yahweh’s answer to such blasphemy is spoken through Micah. God has showed Israel what is good, verse 8. Through all the long centuries of Israel’s prophetic and cultic activity, carried by story in its oral traditions and set down in its written narratives, God’s will has been shown to his people and made very clear (cf. Luke 16:31; John 5:45–47). That will is what is good, and it is good because it is the will of Yahweh, the Lord and redeemer of Israel’s life. There is no other good outside of God, no virtue, no ideology, no civil, political or religious scheme that can qualify unless it accords with God’s desire for human life. Thus, the Israelite speaker is addressed here as ʾādām, man, mortal, creature before the creator and subject totally to the creator’s definitions of good. God has created human life on this earth, and as its creator, God alone can say what and how it should be lived.

But the Lord is a “gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Jonah 4:2 rsv; cf. Exod. 34:6; Num 14:18; Ps. 86:5, 15; Joel 2:13; Mic. 7:18), and so once more God spells out the “good” requirements for his impatient and exasperated people’s communion with him, verse 8, telling them that this is what he is “seeking” or “looking for” (Hb. dôrēš, require niv). God wants them to “do mišpāṭ,” which the niv has translated as act justly. The phrase can indicate the performance of justice within a court of law, and certainly that meaning is included here, in accord with Micah’s earlier statements (cf. 2:2, 9; 3:1–3, 10–11). But in this generalized setting, the phrase means to set up every area of Israel’s life in accord with God’s will, and not according to human advantage, comfort, or desire. The “just” society is one in which God’s order for human life is established.

The second requirement then follows naturally—“to love ḥesed,” which the niv translates to love mercy. It is possible to translate the Hebrew noun with “mercy,” but ḥesed’s meaning goes far beyond that. Ḥesed is “covenant love,” being bound together in solidarity with both God and human beings, so that community is established between poor and rich, weak and strong, female and male, slave and free, alien and Israelite (cf. Gal. 3:28), and all care for one another in mutual respect and protection and sharing. Ḥesed binds people together as one in the bundle of life, so that God is not worshiped and obeyed apart from concern for one’s fellow human being (cf. Matt. 5:23–24; Gal. 5:14; 6:2). That is the community solidarity that Israel is to “love”—the verb is ʾāhab, which is used of the deepest love of a wife for her husband or of a child for his or her parent.

The third “good” that God expects from the Israelites in his covenant relation with them is to walk humbly with your God. “To walk with God” means to live with God in constant communion. Here, the nature of that walk is characterized by the hiphil infinitive absolute, haṣnēaʿ, which is translated as the adverb “humbly” in the English. More is involved in the word’s meaning than simply our thoughts of “modest,” “lowly,” or “self—effacing,” as in Isa. 57:15 or 66:2, though certainly that meaning is included here over against Israel’s exasperated blasphemy against its God. It has had the audacity to quarrel and become impatient with this Lord of its life! But the meaning of “humbly” here can also be “attentive,” “paying attention to,” “watching” Yahweh during their journey together. Walking humbly with God is living from God’s word and not one’s own, paying attention to God’s will and not following one’s own desires, turning one’s eyes to God as a servant turns his or her eyes to the master (cf. Ps. 123:2) for guidance, approbation, and correction. It is such a humble walk with God that makes it possible to act justly and to love ḥesed, and thus this requirement sums up the other two. Israel is put in its place here and shown to be lacking. These are the things it should have done but has not done. It stands indicted at the bar of God and can make no further reply.

This instruction is aimed entirely at Israel in this passage, and man is not to be taken in a general sense to include all of humanity, as many have interpreted it. These are requirements laid upon those who stand in covenant with the Lord witnessed to in Old Testament and New. Thus, they are just as surely requirements laid upon the church of Jesus Christ, the people of the new covenant in him.[2]


6:8 Micah’s terse response (v. 8) indicated they should have known the answer to the rhetorical question. Spiritual blindness had led them to offer everything except the one thing He wanted—a spiritual commitment of the heart from which right behavior would ensue (cf. Dt 10:12–19; Mt 22:37–39). This theme is often represented in the OT (cf. 1Sa 15:22; Is 1:11–20; Jer 7:21–23; Hos 6:6; Am 5:15).[3]


6:8 The Lord desires the primary forms of love—justice (do justice), mercy (love kindness), and faithfulness (walk humbly)—as the expressed response of his people to his redemptive acts (Matt. 23:23; cf. Deut. 10:12–13; 1 Sam. 15:22; Isa. 1:11–17; Hos. 6:6). On the meaning of “justice,” see notes on Isa. 42:1; Jer. 22:3; Amos 5:7. your God. The complement to “my people” (Mic. 6:3, 5).

6:8 Sacrifices cannot replace the need for justice and kindness. The focus on real righteousness anticipates Jesus’ teaching (Matt. 5:23–24; 9:13; 15:10–20) and is fulfilled in Jesus’ own righteousness (Acts 3:14; Rom. 8:1–4).[4]


6:8 does Yahweh ask from you This verse gives the answer to the question the prophet asked in Micah 6:6–7. What God requires is heartfelt love and obedience.

to do justice A proper relationship with God also involves a proper relationship with one’s neighbor. See 3:1; Isa 5:7 and note.

kindness The Hebrew word here often occurs in reference to Yahweh’s covenant with Israel (see Deut 7:9, 12; 1 Kgs 8:23; Neh 1:5).

humbly This Hebrew word occurs only here in the ot. It traditionally has been understood as referring to humility, but it also can indicate carefulness or thoughtfulness.[5]


6:8 Those who believe themselves to be God’s people and who rely on the sacrifice for sin which God has provided (Heb. 10:12) have sometimes assumed that because their sins are dealt with, it does not matter how they live (Rom. 6:1). The Bible emphasizes that those who would live in fellowship with a holy God as His people must live in a way which reflects the holiness of God (cf. Lev. 20:7; 1 Pet. 1:16; 1 John 1:5). “Mercy” (hesed, Heb.) is a rich word which includes the idea of faithful love in action (cf. Jer. 2:2, note). Walking with God implies a manner of life characterized by gratefulness and obedience to God (cf. Is. 38:15). “Humbly” stresses that man must remember that he is man, and God is God. The proud man will find that God resists him (1 Pet. 5:5; cf. Prov. 11:2; Matt. 23:23; James 4:6–10).[6]


6:8 This verse speaks about the underlying attitudes that must accompany all true worship. what does the Lord require of you: The idea here is that God seeks certain characteristics of true worship from His people. do justly … love mercy … walk humbly: These phrases summarize biblical piety in true worship. The majority of the people of Israel had violated each of these standards repeatedly. The rulers did not know justice (3:1), had no interest in mercy (3:2, 3), and demonstrated no humility (3:11). with your God: It is the Lord who ultimately gives a person strength, courage, and ability to exercise the virtues of godly living.[7]


[1] McComiskey, T. E., & Longman, T. I. (2008). Micah. In D. E. Garland (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, p. 540). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Achtemeier, E. (2012). Minor Prophets I. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 352–354). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Mic 6:8). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1705). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Mic 6:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[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., Mic 6:8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 1078–1079). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

December 7: Relationship Will Change Us

Jeremiah 12:1–13:27; Philemon 1:8–25; Proverbs 14:15–35

Although God has granted us complete access to Him through Christ, we struggle at times to live this reality (John 17:15–17). The stale or frightening depictions of God in stained glass and Renaissance paintings have convinced us that He is distant, quick to anger, or disinterested. Nothing could be further from the truth; the Psalms remind us that He is caring, close, and listening (e.g., Pss 22; 23; 26), and He yearns for a relationship with us.

Sometimes it helps to hear the words of others who have struggled with the same thing. Jeremiah provides us with such an example. He remarks, “You will be in the right, O Yahweh, when I complain to you. Even so, let me speak my claims with you. Why does the way of the wicked succeed? All those who deal treacherously with treachery are at ease” (Jer 12:1). Jeremiah knows that Yahweh is right in all He does, but this does not prevent him from freely expressing his concerns.

If we really look into our hearts, we may find that fear is preventing us from entering into an intimate relationship with Him. We’re afraid of what He will say; we’re concerned that He may rebuke us. Indeed, this is what He does when Jeremiah speaks to Him: “If you run with foot soldiers and they have made you weary, then how will you compete with horses? If you have fallen in a peaceful land, then how will you do in the thickets of the Jordan? For even your relatives, and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you, even they call loudly after you. You must not trust in them, though they speak kindly to you” (Jer 12:5–6). Yet within this rebuke, we also find advice—and the advice is comforting. By openly communicating his concerns to God, Jeremiah now knows what he must do. He knows how he must act.

There is joy to be found in knowing that we have a God who listens—a God who is not offended when we speak to Him but is eager for our company. What are we afraid of? After all, He already knows what’s on our minds. We need to grasp the idea that God is all about relationship.

What would change about your life if you went deeper into your relationship with Christ? What should you be asking God right now?

John D. Barry[1]

 

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