Daily Archives: December 12, 2017

December 12 Effective Prayers

I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strivetogether with me in prayers to God for me.

Romans 15:30

Paul was confident he would be delivered through the prayers of the saints, no matter what trial he was enduring. He believed in the sovereign will and purpose of God, and knew that He would bring His purposes to pass in concert with the prayers of His children. He also knew that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). Just as the love and prayers of the saints in the first century encouraged Paul greatly, your prayers on behalf of your spiritual leaders will encourage them.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 373). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 12 Parable of the Sower: Worldly Hearers

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.—Matt. 13:22

Few things obstruct the gospel’s reception in someone’s heart more than the general love of the world and wealth. Note these warnings:

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Tim. 6:10)

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:15–16)

The worldly hearer in this parable is oblivious to the deception of money and its inability to give lasting satisfaction. He or she doesn’t notice how worldliness—the worshipful priority of money, possessions, career, and other temporary affairs—can smother the Word. Such a reality shows that the individual has a heart full of sinful weeds that cannot coexist for long with the Word of God. If faith is genuine, it will forsake the world; otherwise, sin will choke out the Word.

Christ’s cleansing is thorough in true conversion. Salvation removes sin’s weeds from the heart and prepares it to receive the seed of the Word. Genuine believers will continually confess sin and allow the Lord to be “faithful and righteous to forgive” (1 John 1:9), freeing them from sin’s domination.

ASK YOURSELF

Does this mean money is a bad thing? Should it be avoided by people who bear the name of Christ? How would you define a proper, biblical perspective on wealth and possessions?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 355). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 12, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump directed NASA on Monday to send American astronauts back to the moon and eventually to Mars, but eliminated his predecessors’ deadlines for such missions.

President Donald Trump said that Monday’s New York City bombing shows the urgency of tightening immigration laws as his spokeswoman argued the administration’s policies would have kept the suspect out of the country.

The Trump administration is preparing to unveil as soon as this week an expansive offshore oil plan that would open the door to selling new drilling rights in Atlantic waters, according to people familiar with the plan.

The U.S. is ramping up pressure on Saudi Arabia to ease its blockade of Yemen amid fears that the crisis is slipping further into catastrophe and people will lose access to clean drinking water, President Donald Trump’s foreign aid chief said in an interview.

A court in Kiev rejected a request by prosecutors to place Mikheil Saakashvili — the ex-Georgian leader-turned Ukrainian opposition politician — under house arrest as he fights accusations he plotted to overthrow the government.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be allowed to run for re-election, Russia’s top envoy for Syria said, dismissing Western efforts to condition reconstruction aid on the departure of a leader blamed for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his citizens.

The U.S. and South Korea are considering delaying joint military drills until after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February in a bid to reduce tensions with North Korea, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

Transgender recruits will be allowed to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, the Pentagon said Monday, as President Donald Trump’s ordered ban suffered more legal setbacks.

Europe’s energy markets were rattled for a second consecutive day after an explosion at a natural gas hub in Austria threatened supplies already pinched from a closed pipeline in the North Sea and a cold snap across the continent.

Optimism among small companies in the U.S. advanced last month to the highest level in more than 34 years as owners became more upbeat about future economic conditions and sales prospects, according to a National Federation of Independent Business survey released Tuesday.

AP Top Stories

The U.S. Education Department under President Donald Trump and Secretary Betsy DeVos has stopped cancelling the student-loan debt of people defrauded by failed for-profit schools and those borrowers face mounting interest and other burdens, its inspector general said.

Eighteen climate scientists from the U.S. and elsewhere hit the jackpot Monday as French President Emmanuel Macron awarded them millions of euros in grants to relocate to France for the rest of Donald Trump’s presidential term.

Suspicions are growing that North Korea has resumed forging $100 dollar bills that are so realistic that they are virtually indistinguishable from genuine currency.

U.S.-backed militias in Syria said they have formed a joint military center with the Iraqi army to protect their common border region after ousting Islamic State militants.

Russia and China are kicking off a series of joint air defense exercises called Aerospace Security-2017, highlighting the growing strategic partnership between the two great powers. In recent years, Russia and China have more or less set aside their differences dating back to the Soviet-era to jointly push back against the American-led liberal institutional world order.

U.S. producer prices rose in November as gasoline prices surged and the cost of other goods increased, leading to the largest annual gain in nearly six years.

Monsanto will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to apply its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use.

BBC

A former US sergeant who defected to North Korea and became Pyongyang’s prisoner for nearly 40 years has died. Charles Jenkins, 77, lived in Japan where he had settled with his family after his 2004 release. He was among four US soldiers who defected in the 1960s and later became North Korean film stars, but was the only one who was released.

France will enforce a ban on children’s mobile phone use at school from 3 September next year, the French education minister said. The minister said pupils’ phones could be kept in lockers during lessons.

The UN has warned of a rise in trafficking of the synthetic opioid tramadol across West Africa, as one official revealed it is being found in the pockets of suicide bombers. Seizures of the drug have skyrocketed since 2013, from 660lb to more than three tons a year, the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said. In September, three million pills in UN-logoed boxes were found in Niger. The opioid is known to be popular with Islamist militants Boko Haram.

More than 170 people have died in the last week in clashes between two sub-clans in South Sudan, an MP has said.

A meeting of experts in Kenya warned last week that marine life is facing “irreparable damage” from the millions of tons of plastic waste which ends up in the oceans each year.

A South African official has told a court he fears donkey meat is being fed to unsuspecting customers after being illegally slaughtered TimesLive reports.

A Japanese businessman diagnosed with terminal cancer invited about 1,000 guests to a huge party to say thank you and goodbye.

WND

Professor Lesley Regan, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), continues to advance her opinion in favor of abortion pills being consumed at home, without medical assistance.


The Briefing —Tuesday, December 12, 2017

1) A special election and a crisis of conscience in Alabama

New York Times (Campbell Robertson and Jonathan Martin) –
Alabama, Despite History of Unruly Politics, Has ‘Never Seen Anything Like This’

2) The crucible of political discourse and the mixed messages of political results

 

3) Abortion and a missed political opportunity

New Yorker (Ben Wallace-Wells) –
Roy Moore and the Invisible Religious Right

4) The urgency of fire as wildfires expand in California

New York Times (Adam Nagourney) –
California Today: A Weekend of Fires


News – 12/12/2017

Messianic Trump-Cyrus Connection Revealed Through Hebrew Numerology, Bible Codes
President Trump is similar to Cyrus in a number of observable ways, rabbis and commentators have noted. Though separated by 2,500 years, both men rule the greatest nation of their respective eras. Cyrus, like Trump, was powerful and rich but not at all devout. And like Cyrus, Trump supports Jewish national aspirations. Now, a Messianic connection has come to light.

North Korean defector describes forced abortion, said bodies fed to dogs in prison
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley held a meeting on the human rights situation in North Korea where one defector spoke about how she was forced to have an abortion following her repatriation from China. The woman, Ji Hyeon-A, describes a harrowing scene of prison dogs eating dead bodies at her prison camp. She pleaded for the world to act.

100,000 Still Stranded Amid California Fires; Giant Thomas Fire Only 20% Contained
In an unexpected run of good fortune, a shift in the powerful winds that have fanned the SoCal wildfires over the past week and a half has pushed the Thomas Fire – the largest of the six uncontained blazes – away from nearby communities while also clearing the air of smoke, improving visibility for the beleaguered firefighters working tirelessly to suppress the flames. Meanwhile, further south, firefighters have managed to achieve upwards of 90% containment for the Rye, Lilac and Creek Fires:

Iron Dome intercepts missile fired from Gaza to Israel
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted at least one rocket fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory Monday night, the IDF’s Spokesperson’s office said in a statement. No one was injured and no damage was caused as a result of the fire and interception. Rocket alarm sirens blared across communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, but the rocket fire appeared to be aimed at the coastal city of Ashkelon, some 20 kilometers away.

IDF demands answers after Palestinian ambulance filmed carting protesters
A senior Israeli commander demanded answers from the Palestinian Red Crescent on Monday after one of its ambulances was captured on video appearing to drop off masked protesters at an active demonstration in Ramallah. The video distributed by the IDF shows masked men disembarking from the ambulance that then continues to the scene of the confrontation, at a demonstration against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Right-wing groups call for international recognition of Temple Mount
Less than a week after the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, leader of the Zionist movement World Betar is calling for international recognition of the Temple Mount, Nablus and Hebron. “After the Trump declaration, the time has come to recognize the heart, the Temple Mount,” said Neria Meir, head of the Betar World leadership.

Catalonia independence: Spain removes art work from Lleida
Police in Spain’s Catalonia region have begun transferring medieval artefacts on Madrid’s orders in an ownership battle with neighbouring Aragon. The operation, which started before dawn on Monday, involves 44 items stored in the Catalan Museum of Lleida but originally from Sijena monastery. Aragon claims they were sold illegally by the monastery’s nuns.

Netanyahu: Iran eyes sending 80,000 Shiite fighters to ME
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday of Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, as his official visit to Paris and Brussels was winding down. “If Iran makes good on its threat, it will do so by utilizing 80,000 Shiite fighters, which will cause religious wars to erupt again,” Netanyahu said in a press briefing before returning to Israel.

Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman: Ultra-Orthodox spiritual leader dies in Israel
The death has been announced in Israel of one of the leading figures in ultra-Orthodox Judaism. Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman – who was widely regarded as “Gadol Hador” or “Leader of the Generation” – died in hospital at the age of 104. Israel’s president said he had “carried the entire weight of the existence of the Jewish people on his shoulders”.

Bucking a trend, these churches figured out how to bring millennials back to worship
…By updating…dress codes and preaching styles, attitudes toward the secular, a willingness to discuss the taboo — and embracing modern music and technology (AD3 preaches not from a Bible but from his iPad), these churches brim with youthful vivacity…Like City of Truth, The Cause strives to free younger people from the rigid rituals and judgment of more traditional churches…“So often people approach topics putting the focus on sin,” Kyle says. “For people to change their life, they need to see that God is good, not that God is a tyrant.

Taxes on Meat Could Join Carbon and Sugar to Help Limit Emissions
Move over, taxes on carbon and sugar: the global levy that may be next is meat. Some investors are betting governments around the world will find a way to start taxing meat production as they aim to improve public health and hit emissions targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Socially focused investors are starting to push companies to diversify into plant protein, or even suggest livestock producers use a “shadow price” of meat…to estimate future costs.

Five years after Sandy Hook, U.S. gun-control advocates switch strategy
Five years after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school, advocates who are disappointed with the failure of efforts to limit access to firearms are changing their strategy. Instead of pressuring lawmakers to push new gun-control measures through the U.S. Congress, volunteers from groups including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are now running for office themselves.

Judge accused of seizing Trump’s authority on transgenders in military
A federal judge – already criticized for acting as the “supreme judicial commander of the military”  by  usurping the president’s authority – doubled down Monday on her ruling allowing transgenders to enlist in the military.

Plasma For Pay: Broke Millennials Sell Blood Just To Survive
There is no doubt, in a period where burdensome student loans and wage stagnation are crushing the hopes of achieving the American dream while living in their parents’ basements, the millennial generation is struggling to survive.

High premiums for Obamacare and no subsidies
As open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage nears the deadline of Dec. 15, and Florida once again leads all states using the federal exchange at healthcare.gov, Heidi and Richard Reiter sit at the kitchen table at their Davie home and struggle to piece together the family’s health insurance for 2018.

Putin Orders Withdrawal Of Russian Troops During Surprise Syria Visit
Drawing a stark contrast between himself and his counterpart in the US, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise appearance at Khmeimim Airbase in Syria – which has traditionally been used by the Russian air force – on Monday morning, where he ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, now that the ISIS insurgency that once controlled roughly one-third of the country’s land area has been effectively dismantled.

AMERICAN BOMBSHELL: ICE confirms that deadly California fires were set by illegal alien arrested & released 5 times by sanctuary city cops…ignoring ICE detainer requests each time
The acting director of ICE has confirmed that not only is the individual responsible for setting many of the fires consuming California an illegal alien, he has been arrested by local Sonoma County police at least five times.

Vatican Echoes Arab League Appeal for Meetings Concerning Jerusalem Status
On Sunday the Vatican issued a communiqué appealing for cooperation with groups like the Arab League that are concerned with the recent decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

[VIDEO] Is The Flu Shot An IQ Test To Eliminate Stupid People?
Is the flu shot a nationwide IQ test or experiment being run by globalists to “thin the herd” and eliminate people who are stupid enough to line up for flu shots?  One YouTube channel has tackled this very issue, and their take on it is extremely unnerving.

Trump’s First Year Debt is One-Third of Obama’s Debt and Most of the Debt is Due to Yellen’s Interest Rate Increases
President Trump held the longest and largest decrease of US Federal Debt in US history at $100 Billion, earlier this year, however, this is now over.  When President Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017 the amount of US Federal Debt owed both externally and internally was over $19 trillion at $19,947,304,555,212. As of last Thursday, December 7th, 2017, the amount of US Debt increased this year by $594 billion or 3 percent.

UK MPs Demand Ban Of Franklin Graham
More than 6,000 people joined members of the British parliament in demanding that American evangelist Franklin Graham be banned from the U.K. over his views on homosexuality and Islam.

Pentagon Defies Commander in Chief Trump – Will Allow Transgenders into Military in January
Let’s face it. We live in a lawless country. Obama caused much more ruin than any of us realized. The Pentagon announced today they will defy their Commander in Chief and allow transgenders into the military.

FIGURES. George Soros-Funded Group Behind Effort to Parade Out Trump’s Accusers
Brave New Films hosted the fake news conference Monday morning where debunked accusers were paraded out rehashing accusations against President Trump. Who are Brave New Films’ donors? George Soros, naturally.

Mormon Church gives $5 million to help resettle refugees in U.S.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has donated $5 million worth of aid to the nine federal refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S., according to the Deseret News.

NHS Gives 10 Year-Olds Gender Survey
Britain’s major health organization is now asking pre-teens in schools across England to take a survey asking whether they feel comfortable with their biological identity.


Bitcoin Futures Begin Trading – Let The Madness Commence!

One of the things that I love about Bitcoin is that the fun never seems to end.  On Sunday, Bitcoin futures began trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange for the first time ever, and within minutes the CBOE’s website crashed.  What a perfect metaphor.  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are completely and utterly disrupting the global financial system, and the financial establishment is still groping for a cohesive response to this growing phenomenon. (Read More…)


The Left Is Trying To Use The #MeToo Movement As A Weapon To Destroy Donald Trump

The left is willing to use any means necessary to get rid of Donald Trump, and so it should be no surprise that they are now using the #metoo movement as a weapon in their crusade against him.  Personally, I have been a big fan of the #metoo movement, and I have been thrilled to see so many sexual predators exposed in recent months.  I applauded the exposure of Hollywood giants such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, and I believe that the resignations of Al Franken and John Conyers will be followed by many others as the truth about what has been happening on Capitol Hill continues to come out. (Read More…)


Palm Springs Becomes First City Council in Nation to Be All Homosexual, Bisexual or Transgender

Christian News reports:

The City of Palm Springs, California has sworn in a man who identifies as a woman, as well as a woman who identifies as bisexual, making its city council all-“LGBT” as its other three members identify as homosexual.

Lisa Middleton, a man who identifies as a woman (pictured), and Christy Holstege, an attorney who identifies as bisexual, were both sworn in on Wednesday after being elected last month.

They join Mayor Robert Moon and Councilman Geoff Kors, who both are “married” to men, and Councilman J.R. Roberts, who likewise identifies as homosexual.

View article →


America’s malls are rotting away

CNN Money

The worst is yet to come for American shopping malls.

As Macy’s, JCPenney, Sears and other major department stores close their doors, the malls that housed those stores are facing a serious crisis.

View Article

Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 12, 2017

This ‘Lone Wolf’ Jihadi Is a Chain Migrant

The terrorist immigrated to the U.S. via chain migration seven years ago. Time for change.

The Foundation

“The policy or advantage of [immigration] taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them.” —George Washington (1794)

December 12, 2017
Embassy move will help ‘end the reign of Islamist terror’
ALAN KEYES — In 1995, The United States Congress passed (by a vote of 374-37 in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 93-5 in the U.S. Senate) the bill entitled the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. Its stated purpose was “to provide for the relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem.” So, why is the United States Embassy to Israel still physically located in Tel Aviv?… (more)

December 12, 2017
JOAN SWIRSKY — It’s become de rigeur for public figures and media personalities to repeat the tired mantra: Always believe the women. This refers, of course, to any accusation of sexual harassment, no matter how far in the past it took place and even if it was interpreted at the time as innocent flirting…. (more)

December 12, 2017
AL.COM — In a poll released less than 24 hours before the polls open on Tuesday, Alabama Senate Republican nominee Roy Moore has taken his biggest lead in weeks. In the Emerson College poll, Moore has seized a 9-point lead over Democrat Doug Jones in polling done in recent days…. (more)

December 12, 2017
CHELSEA SCHILLING — “Impeach him!” some Democrats cry, as they accuse the U.S. president of “colluding” with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election. Americans can’t escape the apparent feeding frenzy: Every day, headlines screech with new plot twists in the alleged Trump-Russia saga…. (more)

December 12, 2017
BOB UNRUH — A federal judge – – already criticized for acting as the “supreme judicial commander of the military” by usurping the president’s authority – – doubled down Monday on her ruling allowing transgenders to enlist in the military…. (more)

December 12, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — California Gov. Jerry Brown and former Vice President Al Gore lead the list of those blaming climate change for Southern California’s devastating wildfires, calling them “the new normal,” but others insist the science just isn’t there. That includes climate scientists such as University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass, who moved to extinguish the “now normal” narrative by arguing that the data “strongly suggests there is no credible evidence” that global warming is fueling this fall’s California coastal wildfires, and that claims to the contrary are “baseless, if not outright wrong.”… (more)

December 12, 2017
AL.COM — North Korea’s political prisons are just as bad as – and perhaps even worse than – the Nazi concentration camps of the Holocaust, a renowned judge and Auschwitz survivor has concluded after hearing from former North Korean prisoners and guards…. (more)

December 11, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — A terrorist set off a bomb in New York’s subway Monday morning, and the worst thing he did was blow up his own crotch. That may be why you don’t see the cries and arguments that you usually see in the wake of terrorist attacks. There have been no loud calls for new security measures, no angry attacks on the intelligence community, no bills proposing more surveillance, no new legislation to curb immigration, and no new country we’re supposed to invade…. (more)

December 11, 2017
PAUL BREMMER — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has donated $5 million worth of aid to the nine federal refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S., according to the Deseret News. The donation comprises $1.2 million in cash and $3.8 million in commodities to be used during 2018, and it marks the second straight year the church has made such a donation…. (more)

December 11, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — A Nevada federal judge raised the possibility of a mistrial Monday in the 2014 standoff at the Bundy ranch, citing the failure of prosecutors to provide the defense in a timely fashion with a slew of documents. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro also dismissed the jurors, who had returned Monday to the Las Vegas courthouse for the first time since Nov. 29, and told them to return Dec. 20…. (more)

December 10, 2017
ALICIA POWE — The Central Intelligence Agency knows the identities of the people who leaked DNC emails to the whistleblower organization WikiLeaks during the heat of the 2016 presidential campaign, a former CIA officer contends…. (more)

December 10, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump continues to push back at the hostile news media with great vigor, prompting his critics to squawk and chafe – – but to no avail. The presidential tweet has become a strategic fixture in the war between White House and press corps, and an effective one at that…. (more)

December 10, 2017
ROBERT KNIGHT — Faced with plummeting attendance and TV ratings over its boneheaded unwillingness to require its millionaire players to at least stand during the national anthem, the National Football League brain trust has come up with another beauty: Let’s throw millions of dollars at left wing political causes…. (more)

December 10, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, warned Saturday that climate change could bring more wildfires to the state as firefighters continue battling at least six blazes that have spread throughout Southern California…. (more)


December 10, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth” has ended up on the shortlist for Oscar consideration despite questions about its credibility raised by challenges to some of its climate-change claims. “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” was among the 15 films included by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on its list of those still in the hunt for 2017 Best Documentary, which will be pared down to five finalists when the nominees are announced Jan. 23…. (more)

December 10, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — FBI Director Christopher Wray rebuffed requests from Republican lawmakers Thursday for information about a key agent accused of political bias against President Trump and the role the man played in exonerating Hillary Clinton of criminal wrongdoing and in starting surveillance of Trump campaign officials…. (more)

December 10, 2017
BOB UNRUH — Responding to an expert for the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee who recently advocated killing unborn children who have Down syndrome, a young woman with the condition fired back. “You sir, do not speak for my community,” Charlotte Fien said a video on the website for the European Center for Law and Justice, a non-governmental organization that has special consultative status before the United Nations…. (more)

December 10, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — A Korean War veteran who spent 16 months on the front lines told reporters on Friday that God was with him when two men broke into his home. Don Lutz of Ellport, Pennsylvania, woke up to the sound of strangers barreling their way into his kitchen early Friday, but only one of invaders left alive. The former power-lifter and gymnast, just three months shy of his 85th birthday, grabbed his Taurus M380 revolver and fired a round that went through the chest of one assailant…. (more)

December 9, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — One of the women accusing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct when he was a prosecutor and she was a teen admitted to fabricating part of the evidence she’s provided to back her story, ABC News reported Friday. Beverly Young Nelson had offered her yearbook up as proof she and Mr. Moore interacted decades ago, but on Friday she admitted to adding to the signature in her yearbook…. (more)

December 9, 2017
BRYAN FISCHER — Contrary to popular perception, Al Franken did not resign yesterday. He only announced his intent to resign on a future date uncertain. Here’s what he said: [T]oday I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as member of the United States Senate. I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of … sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party…. (more)

December 9, 2017
LLOYD MARCUS — After spending the last four months moving from Florida and settling into our new home in West Virginia, Mary and I are on the road again. We are flying to campaign for Judge Moore in the Alabama U.S. Senate race. Moore’s Democrat opponent, Doug Jones, is a horrible, deceitful man. Jones supports slaughtering babies even up to the point of birth. He supports Planned Parenthood trafficking baby body parts for profit…. (more)

December 9, 2017
DAILY CALLER — Like a headless turkey running around in circles, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s anti-Trump investigation is dead, even if he does not yet realize it. While his investigation stumbles onward, with life support provided by the biased media, from a legal perspective the viability of any criminal case that Mueller could possibly bring has been effectively gutted thanks to the news (suppressed for months by Mueller’s team) that the FBI’s “key agent” in both the Russia investigation and the Clinton email probe was an ardent Hillary supporter with an anti-Trump bias…. (more)

December 9, 2017

YOUTUBE — Sean Hannity and Ben Shapiro break down why the news surrounding the actions and biases of FBI agent Peter Strzok, a former member of the Mueller investigative team, is so crucial…. (more)


December 8, 2017
WES VERNON — The fate of this nation, as some of us see it, now depends (some would say perilously so) on the outcome of the vote in several states in upcoming elections. The makeup of the next Congress, plus governorships and legislatures on state levels, will be determined in the years ahead. Much of this drama has erupted largely through the banana republic-like tactics of an angry effort to gin up a revolutionary-appearing attempt to foment a “silent coup,” whose endgame is to bring down a duly-elected President of the United States…. (more)

December 7, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — Rush Limbaugh has interviewed former prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy about how Robert S. Mueller’s Russia-gate investigation has turned out so badly for President Trump and his associates. That’s funny. Back in May, McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, wrote an article for National Review appearing under the headline, “Robert Mueller: A Solid Choice for Trump-Russia Investigation ‘Special Counsel.'”… (more)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: December 12

  • Parties Make Final Push Ahead of Dramatic Alabama Senate Race (Read More)
  • Oil hits two-and-a-half year high on pipeline shutdown, stocks take breather (Read More)
  • Alabama drama nears an explosive end (Read More)
  • Moore, Jones Expose Rural-Urban Divide That Defines Alabama Race (Read More)
  • The Force Behind Bitcoin’s Meteoric Rise: Millions of Asian Investors (Read More)
  • Austrian Explosion Rattles Europe’s Gas Market (Read More)
  • Scant oversight on building adds to hurricane costs (Read More)
  • Optimism Among U.S. Small Businesses Jumps to Highest Since 1983 (Read More)
  • As Fed Deliberates, Amazon Is Making Its Job More Difficult (Read More)
  • Trump’s push to cut federal jobs has modest impact, mostly in defense (Read More)
  • Westfield Agrees to European Takeover Valued at $16 Billion (Read More)
  • Risks lurk as yen keeps BOJ from faster tapering despite stronger economy (Read More)
  • A Manager of $42 Billion Fears Bubble in World’s Biggest Stocks (Read More)
  • Japan air force drills with U.S. bombers, stealth fighters near Korean peninsula (Read More)
  • What Hedge Funds Will Do After the Hedge Fund Model Dies (Read More)
  • Be careful, murdered Iranian activist’s daughter tells European exiles (Read More)
  • Audi CEO drops plan to sell motorcycle brand Ducati (Read More)
  • Trump May Actually Be Right About the Trade Deficit With Canada (Read More)
  • PepsiCo makes biggest public pre-order of Tesla Semis: 100 trucks (Read More)
  • Lockheed’s Littoral Ships Running 11 Months Late, U.S. Navy Says (Read More)
  • Musk’s SpaceX Doubles Down on Method for Cheaper Rocket Launches (Read More)
  • Macron seeks climate action after U.S. withdrawal from Paris accord (Read More)

Headlines – 12/12/2017

Putin: US move on Jerusalem may ‘finish prospects’ for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Abbas, Sisi agree to continue consultations and coordination

Palestinian official urges Istanbul summit: Recognize Jerusalem as our capital

E.U. Leaders Reject Netanyahu on Jerusalem Recognition

Netanyahu tells EU to stop ‘spoiling’ the Palestinians

Skeptical Netanyahu to EU on Palestinian state: Would it be Costa Rica or Yemen?

Hezbollah Leader Calls for Arab Countries to Stop Seeking New Ties With Israel

Netanyahu Blasts Erdogan: I Won’t Be Lectured on Morality by a Leader Who Bombs Kurds

Poll: 45% of Israelis believe its democracy in ‘danger’

IDF responds to Gaza rockets with attacks on Hamas targets

Netanyahu: Iran eyes sending 80,000 Shiite fighters to ME

Congress ignores Trump’s deadline on Iran nuclear deal

Whirlwind Putin Tour Highlights Moscow’s New Reach in Mideast

Syrian opposition urges Russia to rescue UN peace talks

On Russia’s Syria pullout claims, Pentagon voices skepticism

Return of defeated ISIS fighters ‘real threat’ to Russia

NYC blast suspect Akayed Ullah aimed to avenge Muslim deaths, sources say

NYC Terror Suspect Is Fourth Bangladeshi National Accused of Terrorism in Last Decade

New Times Square Threat: ISIS Backers ‘Recognize Explosives as the Capital’ of U.S.

New York bombing suspect said to claim he was angry at Israel over Gaza

Trump says New York attack highlights need for immigration reform

They made her put out her cigarette. She then threatened to kill everyone on the plane.

White House clashes with reporters over ‘fake news’

Former Facebook exec: Social media is ripping apart society

Kim Jong Un’s Brutal Regime in North Korea Is Worse Than Nazi Concentration Camps, Human Rights Leader Says

North Korean defector describes forced abortion, said bodies fed to dogs in prison

Why North Korea’s nuclear test is still producing aftershocks

Funny North Korean Dictator Kim Claims to Be Able to Control Weather

Trump to send astronauts back to the moon — and eventually Mars

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Kerman, Iran

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Sola, Vanuatu

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Iquique, Chile

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Halabjah, Iraq

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 17,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Massive Thomas Fire grows to 5th largest in California history

Ash falls like snow as celebrities flee California community

Supreme Court declines to settle gay rights employment discrimination

Pentagon says transgender people can enlist starting in January, after court order

Women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct seek congressional probe

New York Catholic Archdiocese Pays $40 Million to Sexual Abuse Victims

Peter Walker – Jerusalem: at the centre of God’s plans? 

The folly of Jennifer Eivaz – New Apostolic Reformation false prophetess

How are we to regard Michael Brown, Todd White and other NAR leaders?

James White’s Mere Christianity Checklist and Shady Litmus Test for Brotherhood

Charismatics now using Christian tarot cards

Bucking a trend, these churches figured out how to bring millennials back to worship

Ron Carpenter to Step Down From Redemption Church Greenville, Move Megachurch Headquarters to Calif

‘I Forgive You, and Pray You Repent and Accept Jesus,’ Mom Says to Ex-Cop Who Killed Her Son

Bible Translation Workshops Hit by Demonic Attacks as Pioneering Method Sees Unprecedented Success

A hipster holy family? Out-of-the-ordinary Nativities on display at Belleville cathedral

Atheist Flag to Be Raised Over New Hampshire Ten Commandments Monument

Palm Springs Becomes First City Council in Nation to Be All Homosexual, Bisexual or Transgender

Is humanity being groomed for the coming “Image of the Beast”?

Posted: 12 Dec 2017 05:37 AM PST

Is humanity being groomed for the coming “Image of the Beast”?(By Ricky Scaparo) In this special segment, we will show you technology is paving the way for the coming “Image of the Beast” mentioned in the book of Revelation. We will also reveal to you the preview of this event from the Book of Daniel and what al this means for you and me. For the entire message watch the video below:

Artificial Intelligence machine can identify 2 Billion people in seconds

Posted: 12 Dec 2017 05:09 AM PST

Artificial Intelligence machine can identify 2 Billion people in secondsA leading tech company has developed an Artificial Intelligence machine that can identify two billion people in a matter of seconds.  Yitu Technology has made an AI algorithm that can connect to millions of surveillance cameras and instantly recognize people.  The company – based in Shanghai, China – developed Dragonfly Eye to scan through millions of photographs that have been logged in the country’s national database.

This means it has a collection of 1.8 billion photos on file, including visitors to the country and those taken at ports and airports. It may also have access to the photos of every one of Hong Kong’s identity card holders, although Yitu has refused to confirm this. The cutting-edge technology is now being used track down criminals, with the early stages of use showing it has been a hugely successful. READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: ‘Global War’ on followers of Jesus Increasing– including in America!

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 08:00 PM PST

PROPHECY WATCH: ‘Global War’ on followers of Jesus Increasing– including in America!The story of Jesus Christ raising Lazarus from the dead is one of the most dramatic in the New Testament. Yet, almost as amazing as bringing a man back to life after four days in the grave is the authorities’ reaction to this astonishing miracle: It made them want to kill Jesus. This cosmic irony – of genuine godliness inspiring loathing and violence – has been reflected throughout the world ever since. Christianity inspired hostility from the beginning; not only was Jesus crucified, but 11 of the 12 apostles

were martyred. Today, sincere followers of Jesus Christ are under attack everywhere, not only in lands dominated by religions and governments hostile to Christianity, but increasingly in those parts of the world historically home to, and founded by, Christians. Think of it. The most transcendent way of life a man or woman can embrace on this earth – one that commands not only that you love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself, but that you love your enemies, “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you” – is cursed, hated and persecuted. READ MORE

 

Interstellar ‘comet’ is being investigated for signs of extraterrestrial technology

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 07:48 PM PST

Interstellar ‘comet’ is being investigated for signs of extraterrestrial technologyAstronomers are set to scan an ‘alien’ comet for signs of extraterrestrial technology. The cigar-shaped asteroid, named ‘Oumuamua by its discoverers, sailed past Earth last month and is the first interstellar object seen in the solar system. A team of alien-hunting scientists, led by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, will scan the comet this week before it sails beyond the reach of Earth’s telescopes. They say they are looking for radio signals, claiming the mysterious visitor could be an alien spaceship.Milner, the

business mogul behind Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million (£75m) search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, received an email about the object last week from one of his chief scientists, the Atlantic reports.  ‘The more I study this object, the more unusual it appears, making me wonder whether it might be an artificially made probe which was sent by an alien civilisation,’ Professor Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department and one of Milner’s advisers on Breakthrough Listen, wrote in the email. READ MORE

 

The Jezebel Seduction Is Alive and Well

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 07:43 PM PST

The Jezebel Seduction Is Alive and Well(By Shane Idleman) In Revelation 2:20, Jesus addresses the church in Thyatira, “… I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality…” Who was Jezebel? In short, she enticed Israel to worship false gods. Psalm 106:35-37 gives us a glimpse into the debauchery, “but they mixed among the nations and learned their deeds; they served their idols, which were a snare to them. Yes, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.”

Before we judge, do we not sacrifice our children and unborn on the altar of convenience and pleasure? What do we allow into our homes through the internet and television? What do we allow in our churches as we continue to embrace sexual activity outside the boundaries of marriage between a man and a woman? The Jezebel seduction is alive and well. The power of the Jezebel seduction is only as strong as her fuel source. She is alive and well in those who continue to fuel her desires. The more you feed her the stronger she will become. READ MORE

CA wildfires larger than Boston and NY combined have destroyed 1,000 structures

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 05:13 PM PST

CA wildfires larger than Boston and NY combined have destroyed 1,000 structuresOne week after the Thomas Fire exploded from a brush fire to a raging inferno, hundreds of firefighters are still struggling to contain it.  The blaze is larger than all of New York City and was only 15% contained as of Monday, according to the fire protection agency CAL FIRE.  But it’s only one of six major wildfires torching the state, which have destroyed more than 1,000 structures.  As the flames move on to

new neighborhoods, some evacuated residents have returned to find no home standing. David Karian used a hand rake to sift through the charred rubble of his elderly parents’ home in Ventura. 7 images show why the Southern California wildfires are so dangerous“There’s not much, but if there’s a few things that will help them have some connection to the past, then that what I’m trying to do,” he said. “That’s what it is … memories of a lot of years.”  READ MORE

ISIS warns NY Attack linked to recognition of Israel, Makes Threat To Times Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 05:08 PM PST

ISIS warns NY Attack linked to recognition of Israel, Makes Threat To Times SquareISIS supporters online linked today’s Port Authority Bus Terminal explosion in New York to last week’s administration recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a new propaganda poster.  The poster also revives ISIS backers’ holiday threats against Times Square, showing a hand holding an explosive device photoshopped over an image of the busy Broadway block.  “The recognition of your dog ‘Trump’

Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, will make us recognize explosives as the capital of your country,” the message on the poster said. ISIS supporters also cheered news of the attack on their Telegram channels. ISIS’ official Amaq news agency had not yet issued any claim for the attack, in which three commuters suffered minor injuries as a bomber partially detonated his explosives. READ MORE

US Military Training Drills Take Place Over DC

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 05:02 PM PST

US Military Training Drills Take Place Over DCA training exercise involving several military aircraft will take place early Tuesday over the D.C. region, authorities said. The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its Continental U.S. NORAD Region will be conducting the exercise, called Falcon Virgo 18-03. It will include an F-16 fighter, a C-21 transport plane and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, which will fly over the D.C. region from about midnight until 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, officials said.

In the event of bad weather, the drill will be moved to Wednesday morning. Continued bad weather will postpone the exercise or it will be canceled, officials said. The exercise involves training flights, officials said, with the cooperation of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center and the Office of National Capital Region Coordination. READ MORE

CUP OF TREMBLING: Iran Warns “Trump’s Jerusalem Move Will Hasten Israel’s Destruction”

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 04:58 PM PST

CUP OF TREMBLING: Iran Warns “Trump’s Jerusalem Move Will Hasten Israel’s Destruction”Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will hasten the country’s destruction, Iran’s defense minister said on Monday, while a top Revolutionary Guards commander phoned two Palestinian armed groups and pledged support for them. 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 last week’s announcement by the US president, including a plan to move the US embassy to

the city.  The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. “(Trump’s) step will hasten the destruction of the Zionist regime and will double the unity of Muslims,” Iran’s defense minister, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, said on Monday, according to state media. The army’s chief of staff, General Mohammad Baqeri, said Trump’s “foolish move” could be seen as the beginning of a new intifada, or Palestinian uprising. READ MORE

 

Pentagon announces that transgenders will be able to enlist in military beginning January 1st

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 12:56 PM PST

Pentagon announces that transgenders will be able to enlist in military beginning January 1stThe Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite President Donald Trump’s opposition. The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue, and the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump’s demand to ban transgender individuals from the military. Two federal courts already have ruled against the ban. Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental

conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services. Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, says the enlistment of transgender recruits will start Jan. 1 and go on amid the legal battles. The Defense Department also is studying the issue. Eastburn told The Associated Press on Monday that the new guidelines mean the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition and those who underwent reconstruction. READ MORE

European Court to Decide if Islamic Sharia Law Can Override a Nation’s Civil Law

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 12:50 PM PST

European Court to Decide if Islamic Sharia Law Can Override a Nation’s Civil LawCan Islamic religious sharia law override a country’s domestic law in Europe? That’s a question the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights is weighing.  The Court heard a case this week that involves applying sharia law to a disagreement between citizens of Greece who are Muslims.  Christian Concern, a non-profit organization based in London, intervened in the case “because of the

importance of the case in European law and its implications for countries across Europe, including the UK,” according to a news release from the organization.”We intervened in the case in order to make clear that sharia law is fundamentally incompatible with human rights,” wrote Tim Dieppe, head of public policy of Christian Concern, on the organization’s website. “We hope and pray that the judges will see this and act accordingly.”  READ MORE

U.S., Israel and Saudis working ‘hand in hand’ on new “peace deal”

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 12:46 PM PST

U.S., Israel and Saudis working ‘hand in hand’ on new “peace deal”A much-overlooked motive for President Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is to jump-start the Middle East peace process, and do it on terms more favorable to Israel, experts on the Middle East tell WND.  As the world will soon find out, Arab leaders in Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan who would have normally balked at such a deal, are now eager to see it consummated. A key line in President Trump’s speech announcing his change of longstanding U.S. policy toward Jerusalem

was this: “It is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.” The call for younger voices to be heard was a direct jab at Mahmoud Abbas, the entrenched, corrupt 82-year-old Palestinian leader. Abbas’s days may be numbered, says Dr. Mark Christian, a former Islamic imam who converted to Christianity and founded the Omaha, Nebraska-based Global Faith Institute. He says back-channel peace negotiations have been going on for months. READ MORE

 

Why humans will happily follow a robot messiah

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 10:46 AM PST

Why humans will happily follow a robot messiahA religion based on a robot god will succeed because humans tend to ‘worship supreme understanding’, experts have claimed.  One researcher has said the same drive that compels people to believe in higher beings and follow religions will also work for so-called AI ‘Godheads’. Others have commented that, like religion, people will eventually rely on a ‘robot messiah’ to solve society’s problems. Last month, former Uber and Google engineer Anthony Levandowski formed the first church to follow an artificially intelligent being.

The religion, known as ‘Way of the Future’, claims our species can better itself by following the instructions of a robot that is ‘a billion times smarter than humans’.  Now AI expert and lawyer John Mitchell has said humans have a tendency to ‘worship supreme understanding’, and that this also applies to AI. ‘We [believe] there must be some higher power that causes lightning, sunsets, and crashing waves – or at least speaks to the bottom of our beings, rather than ignore them as ho-hum background,’ he told Fox News. READ MORE

 

What You Need to Know About the Number of the Beast

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 10:23 AM PST

What You Need to Know About the Number of the Beast(By Michael S. Heiser) If there’s one part of the Bible virtually everyone has heard of, it’s 666—the “number of the beast.” And if there’s one thing no one can agree upon, it’s what that number stands for. We find the number in Revelation 13:18, “Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast. It is the number of a man. His number is six hundred and sixty-six.” The wording here is important: John tells readers that the number needs to be “calculated,” which means there must be a hidden meaning behind it. But how do we calculate it? One option for solving this biblical riddle is gematria, the idea that numbers have symbolic meaning.

While some have called gematria a tool for speculation, it actually derives from an ancient convention in languages like Greek and Hebrew where letters of the alphabet are used to represent numbers. But gematria is not limited to just Revelation; the New Testament contains several other symbolic figures. The 153 fish of John 21:11could be interpreted as ancient symbolism for the church, the body of Christ and the Old Testament sons of God as analogous to believers in the church. The Greek word for “dove,” like the dove that descends on Jesus at His baptism, has a numerical value equivalent to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, thus symbolizing the Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8). CONTINUE

Largest Christian Music Fest Founder Charged With Child Molestation

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 10:17 AM PST

Largest Christian Music Fest Founder Charged With Child MolestationThe founder of Creation Festival—the nation’s largest Christian music festival—has been “indefinitely suspended” from the ministry and his position as pastor of his New Jersey church after he was arrested on charges of child molestation.  Harry L. Thomas, 74, was charged Wednesday (Dec. 6) with sexually assaulting four minors “over a lengthy period of time ending two years ago,” according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

The charges include one count of aggravated sexual assault, three counts of sexual assault and four counts of endangering the welfare of children. Those alleged assaults occurred over a 16-year period between 1999 and 2015 in Medford Township, N.J., where Thomas lives, according to the prosecutor’s office. His church—Come Alive New Testament Church, which has been described as charismatic—also is in Medford Township. READ MORE

NYC Bombing Witness: ‘If I Didn’t Believe in God, I Believe in God Today’

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 10:14 AM PST

NYC Bombing Witness: ‘If I Didn’t Believe in God, I Believe in God Today’A woman who was in the passageway near the Port Authority Bus Terminal saw the explosion and thought of her maker.  “If I didn’t believe in God, I believe in God today,” says Christina Bathea, 29. As she was headed to Manhattan, she says she heard a bang and saw smoke.

According to Reuters: A man with a bomb-like device strapped to his body set off an explosion at one of New York’s busiest commuter hubs at rush hour on Monday, injuring himself and three others in what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called an attempted terrorist attack. The suspect in the incident at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, a block from Times Square, was identified as Akayed Ullah, the New York Police Department commissioner said. The suspect had burns and lacerations while three other people, including a police officer, had minor injuries. 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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COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).


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The Cripplegate: Why Seminary? Exhibit C: John MacArthur

“‎Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; the cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” – Mark Twain

In Exhibit A: Joel Osteen, we embarked on a discussion about the value of seminary for those aspiring to the preaching ministry. We witnessed Larry King pull an Emperor’s New Clothes routine on Osteen by pointing out to the world that the pastor of USA’s largest church had no theological training.

King then proceeded to expose what that looks like in practice: A series of questions any pastor should be equipped to answer was met with Osteen’s sheepish and increasingly predictable refrain of, “I don’t know.” We then turned our attention to Exhibit B, another “untrained” megachurch pastor of yesteryear, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Spurgeon’s studies, though informal, were nonetheless rigorous, comprehensive, and effective. Of course, having a photographic memory must have proven useful.

There is one more witness I’d like to call to the stand in making my case, namely Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr.

John MacArthur is the preaching pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles.

I encountered Iain Murray’s biography of MacArthur and I was struck with how seminary altered the course of this man’s life. MacArthur described himself as a sports-crazed college student and confessed: “I never let books get in the way of my education.”

After a dramatic car accident he acquiesced to a perceived call to pursue the ministry. He studied at Talbot Theological Seminary in California under the renowned Rabbi-turned-Christian-scholar, Dr. Charles Feinberg. It was at seminary that the reluctant student fell in love with theology, the original languages, writing, and preaching. And a good thing he did.

When he pursued a doctoral degree at another institution he was told that his previous seminary had given him “too much Bible.” He was instructed to read his way through a formidable list of “dead German liberals” which put him off the idea of further formal studies.

This is where MacArthur’s path and Spurgeon’s meet up again. As with the 19th Century preacher, MacArthur continued his own education driven by a voracious curiosity and insatiable desire to understand the Bible more deeply.

Without the meandering guidance of (spiritually and otherwise) deceased liberal scholars, MacArthur’s theological understanding continued to deepen and sharpen on the lodestone of self-preparation. He credits expository preaching as being the fuel for this fire of learning– to produce two fresh messages weekly forces you to drink deeply yourself.

A publishing deal with Moody ensured that he would need to be thorough and fresh in order to fill their vision of a commentary set based on verse by verse preaching of the entire New Testament, a herculean feat completed in 2011.

So, though seminary set the course of his life, it was his own commitment to self-study that ensured the theological astuteness and piercing discernment (or dizernment, his idiosyncratic pronunciation) for which he would become legendary.

MacArthur’s confidence in the veracity of God’s word begets confidence in proclaiming it, as was evident in his interview with Larry King.

Here are some excerpts from MacArthur’s counterpart to Osteen’s Larry King Live interview:

KING: John MacArthur, what happens when you die?

MACARTHUR: Well, when you die, you go to one of two places. According to Scripture. You go out of the presence of God forever, or you go into the presence of God forever.

KING: Depending?

MACARTHUR: Depending upon your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which is, according to the Bible, the only way to enter heaven.

KING: So therefore a Jew or a Muslim or a Buddhist will not go to heaven?

MACARTHUR: Christian theology and the Scripture says that only through faith in Jesus Christ.

KING: And you — when we say what happened, what happens? Do you go somewhere as a body?

MACARTHUR: No, your body stays. We go to the funeral. We see the body. It goes into the grave. It decays. Your spirit immediately goes either in the presence of God or out, waiting the final resurrection. There will be a resurrection of all bodies in the end, a resurrection unto life or a resurrection unto damnation.

KING: It is, John MacArthur, is it not, a guess on your — an educated guess based on your Scriptures, your reading, your faith, but you don’t know, you don’t know know, do you? How can you know?

MACARTHUR: Because the Bible says so.

KING: But you believe the Bible?

MACARTHUR: Well, I believe the Bible, but I believe the Bible can be defended. I believe through the centuries the Bible has stood the test of intense scrutiny, and it is the real and true revelation of God, and it speaks truly about life and death. And someone has been there and come back, and that’s Jesus Christ.

KING: How come only one?

MACARTHUR: How come only one what?

KING: Person ever come back?

MACARTHUR: Well, that’s because the design of leaving this world is to go into the eternal world. The only person who came from the eternal world into this world is Jesus Christ.

There have been a few others, by the way. In fact in the Old Testament, the prophets raised a few from the dead. In the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles raised a few from the dead. And at the death of Christ on the cross, the graves were open and some were raised. And that’s indicative of the fact that there will be an actual physical resurrection to join with the spirits that are with God at death.

[Find the rest at http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0504/14/lkl.01.html]

Quite a marked difference to what we saw of Osteen’s “I don’t know” stock answers under Exhibit A.

If you watch the video of this interview you are struck with how unhesitant MacArthur is. He gets a question. He answers it. Bam. No apology, no stammering, no ifs and buts. I love it. That confidence comes from years of deep study in the Scriptures. It’s not about your opinion; you know what God says.

Aspiring seminoids should be encouraged. If you are unable to get to seminary, do the next best thing. Get a reading list of what is covered in that seminary. Plow through it with relentless commitment. Take a course in Greek at a local university.

And fill your time with the pursuit of biblical knowledge and understanding. Forget the dead Germans and be content to have God’s approval instead of man’s. You don’t need a degree, just faithfulness with what has been entrusted to you.

I rest my case.

Source: Why Seminary? Exhibit C: John MacArthur

Modern Day Witchcraft: Dancing With the Devil Has Gone Mainstream

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

I’m a child of the 50’s and 60’s.  The 60’s was certainly a crazy time – people marching against the U.S. being involved in any conflicts; and drugs became as common as cigarettes – especially with kids from wealthy families.

Rock N Roll

A rebellion seemed to have been born out of the music we listened to and adored. I think of the Beatles and how their music evolved into total rebellion and even encouraged young minds to experiment with drugs.

For those who remember those times, I’m sure that you saw a stark difference between “Meet the Beatles” album and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.”  Their first album seemed rather innocent, but Sgt. Pepper’s was filled with rebellion and encouraged kids to take drugs. One song “She’s Leaving Home” even encouraged  “misunderstood” children to run away.

Music is powerful, isn’t it?

I believe that the evil one used…

View original post 3,831 more words

CultureWatch: Compromised Churches Denying the Uniqueness of Christ

The uniqueness of Jesus Christ is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. His origins, his birth, his actions, his teachings, his death and resurrection, and his eternal status all set him apart from every other religious figure that ever lived.

Jesus is unique. Jesus is God, Jesus is saviour. Jesus is king. Moses is not. Buddha is not. Muhammad is not. There is only one true God, one true religion, and one true way to God. This is basic Christian teaching, and it has been so for 2000 years.

Let me spell this out in more detail: Unlike so many other religious leaders, Jesus made his own identity the focal point of his teaching. Who He was, not just what he said, was the essential thing. He didn’t say I am God’s messenger, or I can point the way to God.

He said I am God! He claimed to be far more than just a teacher or a prophet. He didn’t claim to just point to the truth. He claimed to be the truth. He didn’t just point the way to salvation. He claimed to be the only source of salvation. And he is the only religious leader to come back from the grave.

But plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing are trying to deny all this, water all this down, and elevate false prophets and false religions to a place of theological equivalence with Christ and Christianity. And the interfaith movement is a primary place in which we see this occurring.

The idea that Christ is simply on a par with other religious leaders and that Christianity is not really superior to any other religion is a basic part of so much of the interfaith movement. In the interests of just getting along, truth claims are downplayed and superficial similarities are played up.

That is not how any Christian pastor or leader should operate. We need to stand for biblical truth at all costs. Seeking to live harmoniously with others in a very disharmonised world is commendable, but this should never come at the expense of biblical truth.

But we see the war on Christian truth occurring all the time sadly. I have often documented how the biblical faith gets slammed as clueless Christian leaders recklessly join in with interfaith endeavours. We had another doozy of an example of this happening just the other day. Consider this recent religious news item:

A Church of England church in London has come under fire for holding a joint birthday celebration for Jesus and Mohammed. The “Milad, Advent and Christmas Celebration” took place on Sunday at All Saints Church in Kingston upon Thames. In a promotional flier, the church said the service was “Marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed and looking forward to the birthday of Jesus”. The hour-long service included time for Islamic prayer and was followed by the cutting of a birthday cake.

The piece continues:

The church organised the event alongside the Kingston Inter Faith Forum and the South London Inter Faith Group. Earlier this year, a passage from the Koran denying that Jesus is the Son of God was read during a service at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow. The passage claims that Mary was “ashamed” after giving birth and that Jesus spoke to her from his crib. At the time, the Revd Dr Gavin Ashenden, then chaplain to the Queen, referred to the reading as “blasphemy”, saying: “There are other and considerably better ways to build ‘bridges of understanding’”.

Wow, what madness. Here we have the founder of a political ideology responsible for the death of more Christians than any other person in human history being celebrated right along with Jesus Christ. And this Kingston church wants to honour the guy!

As commentator Archbishop Cranmer put it: “Every time a church accords Mohammed the epithet ‘Prophet’, they are rejecting the crucifixion, denying the resurrection of Christ, and refuting that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, for Mohammed denied all of these foundational tenets of the Christian faith.”

Does the good Rev from Kingston actually read his Bible? Had he simply read 1 John 2:22-23 he would have known not to proceed with this idolatrous powwow: “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

And if that is not clear enough, the Rev should go on and read 1 John 4:1-3:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

If one religion celebrates and affirms the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and another says such a concept is utterly blasphemous, then they are clearly not on the same page, and no Christian church should be celebrating the birth of Muhammad along with the birth of Jesus.

One might as well celebrate the birthdays of Churchill and Stalin in a combined service. While the differences between the English leader and the Communist murderer are massive, even those differences pale in significance when we compare (or rather, contrast) Jesus with Muhammad.

I have written on this often. In one piece I discussed the clear theological differences when it comes to Christ. In Christianity we have this:

Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity, God’s final and perfect word to man. He came not just as God’s messenger, but as God incarnate, as Saviour and Lord. He is eternal and without sin, (and, since the incarnation) fully God and fully man, two complete natures in one person. He died on the cross for man’s sin and rose again on the third day, ascending to heaven. As predicted in the Old Testament, He will one day come again as Israel’s Messiah to set up His kingdom on earth and to subdue His enemies. Jesus Christ is the culminating thought of the Old Testament and the chief subject of the New Testament. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords to whom every knee will one day bow.

But in Islam we find this:

Isa, or Jesus, is revered as a Prophet but His divinity is vigorously denied. He was a mere man, only a messenger of Allah created by God. He was born of the virgin Mary, performed miracles, and yet disclaimed divine honours. Since it was unjust for the innocent and sinless Christ to die a criminal’s death, an “appearance” or a substitute was crucified on the cross, while Christ ascended to heaven where He now occupies an inferior station. One day He will return as one of Muhammad’s caliphs to help establish Islam as the world’s one true religion. On the side of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem it says in Arabic, “God has no son”. Contrast this with Matthew 3:17: “This is my Son, whom I love”.

And consider the differences when it comes to violence. As I wrote in an earlier piece, the two are complete opposites:

In sum, we find in the life, teachings and example of Muhammad nothing at all comparable to that of Jesus Christ. The two men could not be further apart in these areas. Claims that the two are both great religious leaders who share much in common are obviously quite wide of the mark.
On the one hand we have Jesus Christ who was the Prince of Peace who told us to love and forgive our enemies. On the other hand we have Muhammad who was a military leader who told us to kill and take revenge on our enemies. Muhammad preached “Death to the infidels!” while Jesus prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. The disciples of Muhammad killed for the faith while the disciples of Jesus were killed for their faith. The two could not be any more different.

That is why most of the interfaith initiatives should be avoided like the plague. They simply play down such differences because just getting along is seen as being more important. But Christian leaders must never be ashamed of biblical truth, and they must never shy away from affirming the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/london-church-celebrates-birthday-mohammed/
https://billmuehlenberg.com/2013/03/18/islam-and-christianity-major-differences/
http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/11/21/jesus-muhammad-and-violence/

Source: Compromised Churches Denying the Uniqueness of Christ

10 Ways to Keep Christ the Center of Christmas

While things like gift-giving, cookie-baking (and eating!), and spending time with loved ones can be great and memorable things, Christians should seek to make Christ the focal point of Christmas. It is after all, Christmas!

How can we keep our focus on the Savior?

Here are 10 ways to keep Christ at the center of your Christmas celebration:

1. Read the Bible story with your family.

This is a simple way to start and the best way to remember what brought our Savior into the world. Read portions or all of the following biblical passages documenting the original Christmas:

  • Matthew 1:18-2:23
  • Luke 2:1-20

2. Walk through Old Testament prophecies about the birth of Christ.

There are hundreds of Old Testament prophecies documenting the coming of the Messiah. Several of these deal directly with the birth of Christ. Reading through the Old Testament prophecies about Christmas and seeing the New Testament fulfillment in Christ is a powerful way to build your faith and focus on Christ.

3. Use an advent calendar with Scripture in it.

The advent season looks forward to the coming of Christ at Christmas (advent comes from a word meaning ‘coming’) and is a time of preparation for Christmas. It also looks forward to the Second Coming of Christ.

Using an advent calendar with Scripture will provide you with a daily reminder from Scripture and help you renew your mind as Christmas day approaches.

4. Watch a Christ-focused movie.

Sadly, many “Christmas” movies do not even mention the name of Jesus. Those movies fall way short of the true meaning of Christmas.

Watching a Christ-centered movie can entertain you, provide positive family memories, and build your faith as you ponder the work of our Savior. Some recommended movies to watch at Christmastime include: The Gospel of John, The Star of Bethlehem, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Nativity Story, and the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas.

 5. Call out wrong messages about Christmas.

Holiday movies tell us there are several meanings to Christmas: giving to others, spending time with people you love, getting good gifts, and that you can be a hero if you have “the Christmas spirit.”

All of these things fall short of the true and amazing meaning of Christmas: God sent his Son into the world, in the form of a baby, to perfectly fulfill God’s law and eventually serve as the sacrifice for the sins, saving whoever would put their faith in him (John 3:16).

6. Listen to Christ-exalting Christmas music.

So much Christmas music is meaningless fluff, lacking any mention to Christ and lacking substance. Read the words from one of the most popular Christmas songs of all-time, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas:

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas / Just like the ones I used to know / Where the tree tops glisten / And children listen / To hear sleigh bells in the snow…

Although it is a catchy song, it does a better job glorifying snow than Christ. Christ has given us so much, why would we not sing about him at Christmas time? Through him we have the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7), a new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), the Holy Spirit living in us (Romans 8:11), an eternal inheritance in heaven with Christ (1 Peter 1:4). Snow isn’t bad, but Christ is so much better!

Here are some lyrics from a great Christ-exalting Christmas song called “Mary Did You Know” by Mark Lowry:

Mary did you know that your baby boy would some day walk on water? / Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters? /  Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? / This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.”

Or if you are into classical music, Handel’s “Messiah” is one of the most glorious pieces of music ever written or played—and is about Christ!

7. Remember the dangers of materialism. 

Don’t let yourself or your children get sucked into the materialistic trap that exists at Christmas. If you are a parent, it is especially important that you make sure your kids understand at an early age that Christmas is not about getting presents and having more possessions.

Some practical steps for teaching and learning a biblical perspective on gifts and earthly possessions are:

  1. Walk through Scriptures dealing with possessions. Matthew 6:19-34 and James 4:1-12 are good places to start.
  2. Go to a garbage dump and look at all of the old things that might have been highly-coveted at one time.
  3. Focus on giving at Christmas time. Jesus is the ultimate example—sacrificially giving Himself to pay the price for our sins.
  4. Make your Christmas list be a list of things you are thankful for, not a list of things you want.
  5. Pray that God would change your focus.

8. Give Christ-centered gifts.

Giving gifts that will build faith is an excellent way to celebrate Christ at Christmas. The Unlocking the Bible Store has several items that would make excellent gifts:

Writing a Christmas Bible verse on a Christmas card is a great way to point back to the Savior as well!

9. Make the highlight of your Christmas serving others.

Christ, himself, did not come to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45). Christmas can be a very self-centered time, and serving others provides you an opportunity to think about and meet the needs of others. Serving can happen in your church, a homeless shelter, giving a gift to the child of a prisoner, and many other ways.

Regina commented on our Facebook page on a way her family serves others during Christmas time:

We pool our Christmas money together and instead of buying gifts, we decided together on a relief organization to send it to. Our kids ask us every year what organization we can give to. We all enjoy it!

10. Share Christ with others. 

The Christmas season may be the best time to invite people to church and strike up spiritual conversations. The topic of Christmas and Jesus Christ will come up often. Take advantage of that and share the life giving truth of the gospel! Take advantage of the fact that people are not satisfied with candy canes and mistletoe and that they long for something deeper and satisfying and that Jesus Christ will satisfy all of their thirsts and longings of this life, and the life to come.

If you send out a Christmas card or letter, you have a great opportunity to share the real meaning of Christmas and the source of true Christmas cheer, Jesus Christ.

[Photo Credit: Unsplash]

RELATED POSTS:

The post 10 Ways to Keep Christ the Center of Christmas appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Christalignment: Our Cards lead the way….into the world of the occult

Christalignment, which has no connection whatsoever to the Lord Jesus Christ, uses “destiny cards” (tarot cards), some with Bible themes, to practice the prophetic. For those who are interested in a reading:

Team members can be booked individually for deep consultations, healing, spiritual readings, & spirit cleansing.

According to these frauds, the artists who design the cards are prophetic:

That means that as intuitive readers themselves and artists able to connect with spirit [demons] their art work carries meaning and power to change lives. Each painting has been done through connection to the third heaven realm.

The third heaven is the dwelling place of God.

More…

Our unique Love Destiny cards, which we have developed, are so accurate, that even if your life circumstances change dramatically, on your return to do them again years later, you will find the results identical, such is their accuracy.They are able to give profound insight into relationships, career and spiritual life.

Sadly, there are many people, including professing Christians, who actually buy into fortune telling. Using cards to tell one’s future is no different than gazing into a crystal ball or doing a teacup reading (looking at shapes formed by tea leaves after a cup of tea has been consumed) to see what the future holds.

What does the LORD say about this sort of thing:

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). (emphases added)

A video is provided at the end that shows a woman explaining to a potential client what he can expect during a reading. View article →

Be sure to check out Berean Research’s White Paper on Occult-Sorcery

Source: Christalignment: Our Cards lead the way….into the world of the occult

Colleges push hard for Christ-free Christmases

College administrators around the country, it seems, are rushing to acquiesce to even the most minor of voices on campuses to make sure the “C” word — that’s “C” for Christmas, shhh! — doesn’t cause angst in some offended student’s ears.

Basically, they’re driving hard to drive out the reason for the season, Jesus Christ.

The overriding message?

Don’t be religious.

Read more

Modern Day Witches Call Theirs ‘A Beautiful Way Of Life’

CBS2 was invited into the Church of the Eternal Circle, a Wiccan church in the state of New York. Witches are all about charms, potions, spells and magic. According to one of the witches “magic is simply the belief that you can make anything happen.” “My thoughts can heal,” sang the church’s high priestess. In other words, positive confession. Some witches actually wear black hooded robes. Brooms are used, not for flying, only for sweeping the circle and clearing the energy. Included in CBS2’s report is a video of the service.

At a time when participation in traditional religions is declining among Americans, the practice of witchcraft is said to be on the rise.

CBS2’s Ali Bauman went inside the secret world of modern-day witches to explore why so many say they’re falling under its spell.

“I am the high priestess,” Lisa Stewart said.

“To be a witch is incredibly relevant in today’s society,” Anton Stewart explained.

Nestled in the heart of the Hudson Valley is the Church of the Eternal Circle, the only legally recognized Wiccan Church in the state of New York.

“We follow the tradition of the craft of the wise — witchcraft — and we are witches,” Stewart said.

For the first time, members invited CBS2 to attend their services.

View article →

Source: Modern Day Witches Call Theirs ‘A Beautiful Way Of Life’

December 12, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (7:25)

Here is one of the most beautiful verses in Scripture. Like John 3:16, it contains the whole essence of the gospel. Salvation is the main theme of the entire Bible. Salvation is what the text is all about.

Jesus’ priesthood not only is eternal and unalterable, but is also unlimited in its scope. He saves forever (panteles). Although the meaning in the context of 7:25 can be that of eternal, the basic idea of the word is that of completeness or perfection. The King James translation (“to the uttermost”) is therefore accurate and significant. Jesus’ priesthood is no halfway measure, as were the old sacrifices that only symbolized removal of sin. The symbol was important for that covenant. It was God-given and God-required, but still was only a symbol. But Jesus Christ is able to save both eternally and completely.

We can learn some things about God from nature. Paul recognizes that God’s “eternal power and divine nature,” that is, His greatness and His glory, are evident for every person to see (Rom. 1:18–20). We call such evidence natural revelation. But it is limited revelation. The birds can suggest to us God’s beauty, but they do not sing redemption’s song. The ocean and its pounding waves can suggest God’s greatness and His dependability, but they do not proclaim the gospel. The stars declare the glory of God, but not the way to get to Him. Natural revelation, like the Old Testament sacrifices, is God-given. It is the nature He Himself has made that proclaims His greatness and glory. But we can only learn about salvation from special revelation, from His written Word, the Bible. When people say they can find God on the beach or on the golf course or at the lake, it is a very superficial claim. In nature, we cannot possibly see clearly God’s judgment on sin or His goodness or His grace or His redemption or His Son. In nature we cannot see the need for salvation or the way to salvation. These are only seen with spiritual eyes, through the revelation of His Word.

Within the few words of Hebrews 7:25 we can see salvation’s basis, its nature, its power, its objects, and its security.

the basis of salvation

Hence, of course, refers to what has just been said—namely, that Jesus’ priesthood is permanent, eternal. He can save forever because He exists and ministers forever. The basis of salvation is Jesus Christ’s divine eternality.

the power of salvation

The power of salvation is Christ’s ability—He is able. Other priests were never able to save, not even partially or temporarily. The old sacrifices partially and temporarily covered sin, but they did not even partially or temporarily remove sin. They did not to any degree or for any length of time bring deliverance from sin. But Jesus Christ is able, perfectly able.

A friend of mine had a little boy who, at the age of four, was found to have leukemia. One of our own sons was the same age. When I visited the stricken boy in the hospital, I felt particularly heartbroken and helpless. I had the strongest desire to make him well. I would have done anything in my power to bring that little fellow back to perfect health. I was completely willing, but I was not able to. I did not have the power.

Many, perhaps most, of the priests of the Old Covenant were willing to cleanse the people of sin; but they could not, no matter how strongly they desired it. But our great High Priest is not only willing, He is also able—absolutely able. Praise God for Christ, who is able!

Evangelicals are often criticized for claiming that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. The reason we make this claim is that this is what the Bible teaches. Jesus Himself said “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus not only is able to save, but He is the only One able to save. He is the only One who has the power of salvation (Acts 4:12).

the nature of salvation

The nature of salvation is bringing men near to God. By delivering from sin, it qualifies believers to come to God. Deliverance from sin has all three of the major tenses—past, present, and future. In the past tense, we have been freed from sin’s guilt. In the present tense, we are freed from sin’s power. In the future tense, we shall be freed from sin’s presence. So we can say, “I have been saved,” “I am saved” (or “I am being saved”), and “I shall be saved.” All these statements are true; all are scriptural. Together they represent the full, complete nature of our salvation.

the objects of salvation

The objects of Christ’s eternal salvation, of course, are those who come to Him to be saved, those who draw near to God through Him. There are no restrictions but this, no other qualification but faith in God’s Son. “The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37). There is no other way but Jesus, but this way is open to every person who puts his trust in Him. The other side of this truth is that Jesus can save only those who come to Him in faith. He is able to save all, but not all will be saved, because not all will believe.

We are tempted to think that when we have presented the gospel, presented the truth of salvation, that our obligation is over. But there must be a response to the gospel for it to be able to save. Parents need continually to remember this fact when teaching their children the things of God. We cannot make them believe or make them obey, but our responsibility is not over until we have urged them as strongly as we know how to trust in the Savior of whom they have heard.

the security of salvation

He always lives to make intercession for us. The security of our salvation is Jesus’ perpetual intercession for us. We can no more keep ourselves saved than we can save ourselves in the first place. But just as Jesus has power to save us, He has power to keep us. Constantly, eternally, perpetually Jesus Christ intercedes for us before His Father. Whenever we sin He says to the Father, “Put that on My account. My sacrifice has already paid for it.” Through Jesus Christ, we are able to “stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24). In His Son we are now blameless in the Father’s sight. When we are glorified we will be blameless in His presence.[1]


25 It is Jesus’ eternity that makes him the perfect Savior. “Completely” translates the phrase eis to panteles, which can be taken either of degree (“wholly, totally”) or of time (“forever”). In this discussion of mortality and immortality, the latter sense would clearly be appropriate, but since a “total” salvation must be one that is “for all time,” the two senses are not in competition. The nature of that salvation is succinctly summed up in the phrase “come to God through him.” The Christian privilege of entering the presence of God, for which Paul uses the evocative term prosagōgē, “access” (Ro 5:2; Eph 2:18; 3:12), is expressed equally powerfully by our author with the simple term “to come to” God, which recurs in 4:16; 10:1, 22; 11:6 and will be vividly illustrated by the imagery of “coming to” the two mountains in 12:18, 22 (cf. “draw near to God,” v. 19). But just as the OT priests acted as intermediaries for the people, so we too need the services of a priest to introduce us to the divine presence; we come to God “through him.”

As the argument develops, it will become clear that the primary sense in which we come to God “through Jesus” is that he has offered on our behalf the perfect sacrifice. But the priests in the OT had also another function, not so often mentioned—the role of intercession for the people before God (perhaps best exemplified by Moses, Ex 32:11–14, 30–32, but also symbolized in the high priest’s “bearing the names of the sons of Israel over his heart … as a continuing memorial before the Lord,” Ex 28:29), and that role too is fulfilled by our high priest. Whereas his sacrifice was offered once for all, his intercession continues, and that is why we need a high priest who “always lives.” While he was on earth, Jesus prayed for his people (Lk 22:32; Jn 17), and Paul speaks in Romans 8 not only of the Spirit pleading on our behalf but also of Jesus interceding for us at God’s right hand (Ro 8:26, 34; cf. also 1 Jn 2:1). The theme may not be frequently mentioned, but it is a vital source of pastoral assurance and one without which the process of our salvation would be incomplete (cf. 9:24).[2]


7:25 / Because Jesus’ priestly work is not hindered by death, he is able to save completely (or “for all time,” rsv; cf. nasb) those who come to God through him. In view here is the quality of the salvation. By its very nature, what Jesus offers is an “eternal salvation” (cf. 5:9; 9:12; 10:14; 13:20) and a perfect or “complete” salvation, unlike the temporary and the incomplete work of the levitical priests. Because is added by niv, being inferred from the participial clause translated he always lives. The priestly work of Christ depends directly on “the power of an indestructible life” (7:16), and it is that same kind of permanence that determines the character of the salvation experienced by its recipients. They are sustained by the continual intercession of Jesus on their behalf. On this point the author is in agreement with Paul (Rom. 8:34; cf. 1 John 2:1).[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 199–201). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 100). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 110). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

DECEMBER 12 MORE THAN A NAME

Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

2 Timothy 2:19

There have always been professing Christians who argue and insist: “I am all right—I worship in the name of Jesus.” They seem to believe that worship of God is based on a formula. They seem to think there is a kind of magic in saying the name of Jesus!

Study the Bible carefully with the help of the Holy Spirit and you will find that the name and the nature of Jesus are one. It is not enough to know how to spell Jesus’ name!

If we have come to be like Him in nature, if we have come to the place of being able to ask in accordance with His will, He will give us the good things we desire and need.

We worship God as the result of a new birth from above in which God has been pleased to give us more than a name.

He has given us a nature transformed, and Peter expresses that truth in this way: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4).

Lord, I pray that the Body of Christ will see itself as the Apostle Peter has described believers: “partakers of the divine nature.” Perhaps if we see ourselves with that perspective, we will arise to the expectations Jesus has for us as His disciples.[1]


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

December 12 LOSING GOD AMID THE WONDERS OF HIS WORD

…To be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

ROMANS 8:29

The doctrine of justification by faith—a biblical truth, and a blessed relief from sterile legalism and unavailing self-effort—has in our time fallen into evil company and been interpreted by many in such a manner as actually to bar men and women from the knowledge of God.

The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be “received” without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is “saved” but he is not hungry or thirsty after God!

The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of this world; we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word! We have almost forgotten that God is a Person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can.

God is a Person and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality.

Religion, so far as it is genuine, is in essence the response of created personalities to the Creating Personality, God, so “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”[1]


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

December 12 A More Excellent Name

“He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did [God] ever say, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’? And again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’?” (Heb. 1:4–5).

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Jesus is better than the angels because Christ was more than a messenger—He was a Son.

In our culture, the names we pick for our children don’t have much connection with the child’s character. But in the Bible, God chose specific names that related to some character quality of the individuals who bore them.

The writer of Hebrews was well aware of that when He asked this rhetorical question: “To which of the angels did [God] ever say, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’? And again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’?”—quoting Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14. Of course, the answer is, no angel.

The title Son refers to Jesus Christ in His incarnation. Though His sonship was anticipated in the Old Testament (Prov. 30:4), He did not become a Son until He was begotten into time. Prior to that, He was eternal God with God. Presenting Jesus as the Son is God’s analogy to help us understand the relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity.

Christ became a Son in two different ways. First, He was not a Son until He came into the world through the virgin birth (Luke 1:35; 3:22). But second, His Sonship came to full bloom in His resurrection (Rom. 1:3–4).

The Old Testament prophesied that Christ would come as a Son. In the New Testament He came as a Son in His virgin birth and was declared to be the Son by His resurrection from the dead. Don’t ever get trapped into the heresy of those who claim that Jesus Christ is eternally subservient to God. For a temporary period of time, He set aside what was rightfully His and humbled Himself to become a Son for our sakes.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for His amazing plan to redeem man through the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity. Praise Him that He became man to redeem you.

For Further Study: Read Acts 13:33 and Romans 1:3–4, noting the reason Christ can be considered God’s Son.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 359). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

December 12, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

Whereas the first kind of individualist says, “They don’t need me,” the second says, “I don’t need them.” That attitude is wrong enough in the world, because God has made all of His creation interrelated, especially mankind, whom He has made in His own image. The attitude is much worse in the church, whose members have a common Savior and Lord and a common spiritual body. No eye in the church has a right to say to a hand, “I have no need of you,” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” That attitude was common in the Corinthian assembly. A few prominent and gifted members acted as if they were self-sufficient, as if they could carry on their ministries and daily Christian living completely by themselves or with only a few select friends. They overestimated their own importance and underestimated that of other believers. Disobeying the principles of Matthew 18:10 and Romans 14:1–15:7, these people were disdaining those they saw as weak and less significant.[1]


21 With this statement, the apostle seems to be getting closer to the difficult issue being faced in Corinth. As we have seen on several occasions in this letter, pride was indeed a problem among the Corinthians (cf. 1:29; 3:3–4; 4:18–19; 5:1, 6; 11:18–22). The apostle needs to get across that all of the members in Corinth need each other, and no one is dispensable.[2]


12:21 / Notice that in this imaginary dialogue, the head is but a part—though prominent—of the body. The head is not identified in any special fashion with Christ himself. Compare the similar images and uses of this metaphor in Rom. 12:3–8; Eph. 1:15–23; 2:15–16; 4:3–4, 11–12, 15–16, 25; 5:23, 29–30; Col. 1:18, 24; 2:9–10, 19; 3:15. The images are distinct in their various locations: 1 Cor. and Rom. understand that the church is the body of Christ, whereas Eph. and Col. present a development of that basic image so that Christ is the head of his body, which is the church. Distinctions exist and developments have occurred, so readers should perceive and take into account the nuances of the metaphors of the body, no matter who wrote the canonical letters attributed to Paul.[3]


21. The eye is not able to say to the hand, “I have no need of you.” Or again, the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Once more Paul personifies members of the human body. The eye is speaking to the hand and the head addresses the feet. The message is that the eye and the head respectively want to be independent of the other parts of the body. They do not want to admit that their existence is based on the interdependent relations with other physical members. What would the eye achieve without the use of the hand? And what would the head do for lack of mobility? The picture that Paul draws portrays the absurdity of independence. The individual parts of the body all aid each other in the total functioning of the whole.

Notice that Paul uses the singular term eye not to call attention to the physical part of the human anatomy but to a person’s competence to see. The word hand also appears in the singular to express a person’s ability of touching, taking, holding, and giving objects. We always refer to dexerity by using the singular, for instance, sleight of hand. The word head must be understood as the collective part of the body that incorporates all the senses and the working of the mind.

What is Paul trying to say to his readers? This is the lesson: A member in the Corinthian church who had received the gift of healing, for example, should not feel self-sufficient and say to the other members, “I have no need of you.” This air of superiority flies in the face of Paul’s teaching on servanthood (9:19; 2 Cor. 4:5; Gal. 5:13). The person who has the gift of healing needs the supportive ministry of those who have received the rest of the spiritual gifts. In brief, within the church all the members need one another with all their expertise and ability for mutual edification. The revered Augustine aptly said:

God is not greater if you reverence him,

but you are greater if you serve him.[4]


12:21 Just as it is folly for one person to envy another’s gift, so it is equally foolish for anyone to depreciate another’s gift or feel that he doesn’t need the others. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” The eye can see things to be done, but it can’t do them. It depends on the hand for that. Again, the head might know that it is necessary to go to a certain place, but it depends on the feet to take it there.[5]


12:21 no need. While some in Corinth were bemoaning the fact that they did not have the showy gifts (see note on vv. 14–20), those who did were belittling those with the more quiet and less prominent gifts. The “eye” and the “head,” which are highly visible and the focus of all who engage each other, represent the people with public gifts. They so overestimated their own importance that they disdained those whom they perceived as less gifted and less significant. They were apparently indifferent (“I have no need”) and self-sufficient.[6]


12:21 This probably reflects Paul’s assessment of how those Corinthians with the gift of tongues (and perhaps other more spectacular or “showy” gifts) were treating those with other gifts.[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 319–320). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 368). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (p. 269). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, pp. 435–436). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1793). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Co 12:21). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2210). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

December 12: Forgiven and Forgiving

Jeremiah 23:1–24:10; Romans 3:21–31; Proverbs 18:1–24

Idioms are often unhelpful because their overuse has robbed them of meaning. But the idiom “putting up walls” has a twist in Proverbs: “A brother who is offended is worse than a city of strength, and quarrels are like the bars of a fortification” (Prov 18:19).

The writer of this proverb gives us imagery that helps us understand how people react to offenses. Regardless of whether we intend to, we can raise a great structure, like a “city of strength,” in the gulf between ourselves and others. Such barriers make it difficult to reach those we have offended, which may suit us perfectly. But we’re called to live differently.

None of us can live perfectly in this life, so conflict is inevitable. If we have the insight to see that “we all fall short of the glory of God”—and more specifically, how we have fallen—we’ll see we have no right to hold a grudge (Rom 3:23). When rifts develop in relationships, we need to own our sin and bring it to God. His forgiveness and His reconciling work make it possible for us to be vulnerable with others and seek their forgiveness—even if they have also offended us.

When we choose to humbly admit our failings, we break down “the bars of a fortification” and create space for reconciliation. We might be spurned, or we might be forgiven. The other person may take responsibility for their fault, or they may not. But either way, we rest secure in God’s forgiveness.

Have you offended someone? Have you neglected to confess your sin and seek forgiveness? Reconciliation is a picture of what God has done for us—He has returned us to Himself. Be like the peacemaker: Seek and offer forgiveness.

Have you offended someone without asking forgiveness? If so, how can you step forward to confess your offense to God and the offended person?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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

December 12 Exaltation Follows Humility

“Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:9–11

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God will exalt the humble.

Having plumbed the depths of Christ’s humiliation (Phil. 2:5–8), Paul now soars to the heights of His exaltation (vv. 9–11). Like Paul, the apostle Peter affirmed that the great theme of Old Testament prophecy was the sufferings of Christ and the glory to follow (1 Peter 1:11). Regarding Christ, the writer of Hebrews says that “for the joy set before Him [He] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). Christ understood His sufferings in light of His exaltation.

Paul’s purpose in Philippians 2 was not simply to detail the humiliation and exaltation of Christ but to use those truths as a practical illustration. He was calling for unity produced by humility (vv. 2–4), with Christ as the preeminent example of humility (vv. 5–11). But beyond the humiliation of Christ, Paul also affirms that He was exalted. The implication is that when we willingly humble ourselves as Christ did, God will lift us up. As James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

It is true that the man who humbles himself is the one whom God exalts, and the man who exalts himself is the one whom God will humiliate. In the divine economy, it is by giving that one receives, by serving that one is served, by losing one’s life that one finds life, and by dying to self that one lives. These principles follow one another as surely as night follows day.

Like Christ, you will be exalted in Heaven one day. Meditate on that truth, and be encouraged by it as you go through your earthly trials.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for the exaltation that awaits you in Heaven.

For Further Study: Read the following verses: Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14; 1 Peter 5:6. What principle do they all teach?[1]


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

December 11 Daily Help

IT was a divine song, which Habakkuk sang, when in the night he said, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” No man can make a song in the night of himself; he may attempt it, but he will find that a song in the night must be divinely inspired. O thou chief musician, let us not remain songless because affliction is upon us, tune thou our lips to the melody of thanksgiving.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 349). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 11, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 10:14–15). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


God’s Beautiful People

Romans 10:15

… As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

The kind of work I do does not bring me into contact with the world’s beautiful people very often. But I have been with them just enough to know that there really are “beautiful people,” and my friends in California, who have far more opportunity to mingle with celebrities than I do, confirm it.

Some years ago a friend of mine from Philadelphia was hosting the then well-known singing star and actor, Pat Boone, and his wife. He called our home to ask if he could bring them by, since they were going to be filming something that evening and needed a place to rest for a few hours in the late afternoon. They were with us from about three in the afternoon until six. Mr. and Mrs. Boone really were beautiful. They had flawless features, perfect skin, immaculate grooming, and were meticulously dressed. They were obviously made (or remade) for the camera. And not only that. They smelled good. They seemed to be unlike other people. They were so perfect that I could only relate them to the poem about Richard Cory, who “glittered when he walked.”

We are surrounded by a cult of beauty in our day, of course. Ever since the fall of the human race, people have valued beauty too much, usually neglecting the more important inner beauty of the soul. But at no time in history has physical beauty been at a higher premium than today. Movies and television are largely responsible, since they have created an entertainment- and beauty-directed age.

How different when we turn to our text! Though speaking of beauty, it is clearly speaking of a nonphysical kind of beauty when it says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom. 10:15).

Inner Beauty and Outer Beauty

A good place to start in trying to understand this text is by admitting that it is not a very attractive statement for most of us, and the reason is clear. We usually look at the outward appearance of things, including people, and we make our judgments on that basis. Moreover, we do not think of feet as beautiful. Regardless of what follows, when the text says, “How beautiful are the feet …” the idea seems quaint at best and probably even a bit repulsive. It becomes even more so when we remember that the feet of an ancient traveler would be dusty and smelly from the unsurfaced and unsanitary roads.

How strange that we think like this. We should know better. One of the things our grandparents used to say to us was: “Beauty is as beauty does.” But instead of thinking about actions, we think of beauty in terms of a perfect figure or a flawless face.

About thirty-five years ago, when I was in high school, I met another “beautiful person,” Eddie Fisher, one of the singing idols of the fifties. It happened behind the scenes at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. I suppose it was because of that meeting that I have always had more than a usual interest in Eddie Fisher’s life and career. He was married to Debbie Reynolds, dumped her to marry Elizabeth Taylor, and then was dumped by Taylor when she had her affair with Richard Burton on the set of the blockbuster movie Cleopatra. That was the way Eddie Fisher’s life went, and it was rather sad. Yet I was pleased to read just a year or so ago that in an interview with a reporter, Eddie Fisher summed up his experience of America’s cult of beauty by saying rather wisely, “I have learned that a pretty face is just a pretty face.” It took him a lifetime to learn it.

What does the Bible say about beauty? You know the answer. In ancient Israel the people favored King Saul because of his large stature and good looks, but God rejected Saul and chose David, explaining, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7b).

Similarly, the apostle Peter wrote to Christian women, saying, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful …” (1 Peter 3:3–5).

The Beauty of God and God’s Works

I do not mean to say by this that beauty is undesirable in itself. The Bible says that God is beautiful. In fact, several chapters before the one in Isaiah from which Paul gets the quotation he uses in Romans 10:15, Isaiah tells the people, “Your eyes will see the king in his beauty” (Isa. 33:17), meaning that they would see God.

This was David’s great desire, too:

One thing I ask of the Lord,

this is what I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord

and to seek him in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

God’s creation is also beautiful, and so are the laws that govern it. In fact, when we conform to those laws, we can end up producing something beautiful ourselves.

There is an illustration of this truth in something Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983), the world-renowned architect and engineer, once said. A student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology asked Fuller whether he took aesthetic factors into account when he was tackling a technical problem. “No,” he replied. “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” I doubt Fuller was thinking of God when he said that, but he was nevertheless unwittingly testifying from his own area of expertise that God, God’s laws, and God’s creation really are beautiful.

Each of the wives of the patriarchs is said to have been beautiful: Sarah (Gen. 12:11, 14), Rebekah (Gen. 24:16; 26:7), and Rachel (Gen. 29:17).

Job’s daughters were beautiful (Job 42:15).

In proportion to its length, the book of the Bible that uses the word beautiful more than any other is Song of Songs. There the husband rightly expresses delight in the beauty of his bride and the bride in the beauty of her husband. This teaches that there is a place for beauty in our lives and a proper appreciation of beauty among Christians.

Yet that is not the whole story. It is true that Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel were beautiful, but their beauty was a danger that led to the compromising behavior of at least two of their husbands, Abraham and Isaac. Bathsheba was beautiful, but her beauty contributed to the fall of King David. In the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar is represented by a beautiful tree, but it was cut down (Dan. 4). Proverbs warns that “beauty is fleeting” (Prov. 31:30), and James says that the beauty of the rich and influential person will inevitably “fade away” (James 1:11).

Most significant of all, we remember Isaiah’s description of the earthly appearance of Jesus Christ who, he wrote, “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, / nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2). If even Jesus Christ was not physically attractive, we should know that beauty is at best a matter of indifference and at times even a snare.

Beauty is as Beauty Does

All that prepares us to turn back to our text in Romans. For when we are able to get the idea of mere physical beauty out of our heads, at least for a while, we can begin to understand what the text is saying. The first thing we notice is that the kind of beauty we find here is not descriptive beauty but functional beauty. In other words, it is the kind of definition our grandparents were speaking of when they said, “Beauty is as beauty does.” They meant that true beauty is measured by gracious acts or by the gracious and faithful performance of one’s duties.

The former Surgeon General of the United States, C. Everett Koop, has published a book of memoirs that contains an illustration of what I am talking about. At one point in his book, Koop expresses appreciation for the outstanding nurses he worked with during his days as Surgeon-in-Chief of the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Working with a nurse who knows the way you think and can anticipate your moves and needs is one of the most satisfying things about surgery, according to Koop’s testimony. He felt this deeply. So he tells how each Christmas he would hang a long sign over the door to the operating room that said, “Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world.” A few years later, when the Intensive Care Unit had developed to a outstanding degree, he did the same thing there. Now there were two signs at Christmas that read: “Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world.”

Koop wrote, “The nurses knew I wasn’t talking about superficial physical attraction; they knew that I appreciated the beauty of all the things they did to make possible our success in the operating room [and ICU].”

Romans 10:15 is also a functional definition, which means that the beauty it describes is that of someone who is doing something. And that is the second thing to notice: what the beautiful person is doing is bringing the Good News of the gospel to other people.

I said a few paragraphs back that the quotation is taken from Isaiah—Isaiah 52:7 to be exact, though there is a very similar text in Nahum 1:15. In Isaiah’s setting, the passage is speaking of consolation for Israel during the years of Babylonian captivity, picturing a runner appearing on the hills to announce the fall of the people’s enemies and the triumph of God’s king. The image is the same as that of the well-known story of the Greek runner who made his way from the battlefields of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians in 490 b.c. The route was generally uphill for a total distance of more than twenty-six miles, and as soon as he arrived in the city and had gasped the word “Victory!” the runner fell dead from his efforts. It was in honor of this welcome messenger that the marathon race was run in ancient Greece and is still run today in many parts of the world.

But, like many Bible texts, there is even more to it than this. For as even the rabbis recognized, the messenger is the herald of the Messiah, which is appropriate since the next chapter (the continuation of the announcement) introduces us to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. The salvation of the people from earthly enemies was undoubtedly good news, but a message of deliverance from sin is greater still. John Murray says, “As the prophecy found its climactic fulfillment in the Messiah himself, so it continues to be exemplified in the messengers whom he has appointed to be his ambassadors (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20).”

Paul is right on target when he says that the messengers of the cross are beautiful. They are beautiful because they are bearers of the gospel, which is the most beautiful message in the world.

The Elephantiasis Convert

Donald Grey Barnhouse, one of my predecessors at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, heard a story from a missionary in western Africa that is a moving illustration of what I have been writing. It was about a man who had the disease known as elephantiasis. In this disease the skin becomes thick and hard, and the limbs of the victim become enormously enlarged, much like the leg of an elephant, hence the name elephantiasis. The leg from the knee down to the foot can become as large as twelve to fifteen inches in diameter, and of course it is quite restricting and often painful. I have known at least one American who has this affliction.

But here is the story as Barnhouse tells it:

This poor victim of elephantiasis became a radiant Christian and could do nothing other than tell people of the grace of God which he had shown in sending his Son Jesus Christ to die for them. He lived in an African village and determined that every soul in the village should hear the good news of salvation. It was extremely difficult for him to walk with the monstrous legs which bore him about, but he thought nothing of the pain and toiled on from hut to hut to tell those who dwelt there about the Savior who had come into his life. Each evening he would return to his own hut where he was maintained by the kindness of his relatives. At the end of several months he was able to tell the missionary that he had visited every hut in the village and that he was now starting to take the gospel message to a village that was about two miles away.

Each morning he would start out painfully, walk the two miles to that village, go from hut to hut with the gospel, and return the two miles before sundown to his own hut. Finally, there came the day when he had visited every hut in the neighboring village. His work being done in these two villages, he remained at home for some weeks but began to be more and more restless.

He spoke to the pastor and to the missionary, who was a medical doctor, about a village that lay ten or twelve miles through the jungle, and asked if the gospel were being taken to that village. As a boy, before he had been afflicted, he had traveled the jungle path to that village, and he remembered that it was a large village and that there were many people there, and he knew that they needed the good tidings of the Savior. He was advised not to think of going to that village, but day after day the burden grew upon him. One day his family came to the missionary and said that the man had disappeared before dawn and they had heard him go but supposed that it was but for a moment. He did not return, and the family was concerned about him.

Afterwards, the full story became known. He had started down the path toward the distant village. Step after weary step he dragged his leathery legs and gigantic feet along the path that led to his goal. The people of the village later told how he had come to them when it was already noon; his feet were further swollen, bruised and bleeding. He had been forced to stop and rest again and again, and it was already past mid-day when he came. They offered him food, but before he would eat he began to tell the people about Jesus. Up and down the village he went, even to the very last hut, telling them that the God of all creation was Love and that he had sent his only Son to die that their sins might be removed. He told how the Lord Jesus had been raised from the dead and had come into his heart, bringing such joy and peace.

There was no shelter for him in that village; and even though the sun was low he started on his way down the jungle path toward home. The darkness of Africa is a terrible darkness, and the night can bring forth many creatures from the jungle. The sun went down and the poor man dragged himself along the path in the darkness guided by some insight which kept him from going astray. He told his pastor later that his fear of the night and the animals which might come upon him was more than balanced by the joy that he had in his heart as he realized that he had told a whole village about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Toward midnight the missionary doctor was awakened by a noise on his front porch. He listened, but all seemed still. Somehow he could not go back to sleep, and he went to the door with a light to see what had caused the noise. He recognized at once that the poor neighbor had returned to the village from his long trip, and had come with his wounded and bleeding leg-stumps to the door of the dispensary. The missionary called his helpers and they lifted the man, almost unconscious, and put him on one of the beds in the little hospital. The doctor said that he had seldom seen such a frightful sight as he looked upon those bleeding feet which had come back from such an errand of love and mercy. Unashamedly the doctor told how he had bent over those feet to minister to them, and as he cleaned and dressed them, he told how his own tears had fallen with the ointment upon them. The doctor ended the story by saying, “In all my life I do not know when my heart was more drawn out to another Christian believer. All I could think of was the verse in the Word of God, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings, that publish peace.’ ”

Here was a man who had been sent by God to tell the story of what Christ had done for him, and although he had to do it at the cost of such personal agony, yet he had not flinched but had gone through to the end to tell needy men the good news of salvation for their souls.

Beautiful Bilney

That is a very moving story, of course, as I said when I introduced it. But it is not unusual. For centuries, ever since the days of Jesus Christ, God’s beautiful people have strategized and sacrificed and gone out of their way to bring the gospel to those they know need it.

Do you know how the gospel came to Hugh Latimer (1400–1555), that great bishop who became one of the brightest lights of the Protestant Reformation in England? Hugh Latimer was a “beautiful” man, strikingly good-looking and brilliant. But he did not know Christ, and he was using his learning to oppose the teachings of the Reformers, especially that of Melanchthon, Martin Luther’s co-worker and friend. Latimer was at Cambridge at this time, and there was at Cambridge a little monk whose name was Thomas Bilney. No one paid much attention to Bilney. But Bilney had discovered the gospel, and he wanted the great Hugh Latimer to come to Christ, too. “What a tremendous influence he would have, if only he would discover the gospel of God’s grace in Christ,” Bilney thought.

So he hit on a plan. One day after Latimer had been preaching, Bilney caught his arm as he was coming out of the church and asked if he would hear his confession. That was a prescribed duty of a priest. So Hugh Latimer listened to Bilney, and the little monk who had found Christ “confessed” the gospel, sharing how it had changed his life. Latimer later said that he was converted by Bilney’s gospel “confession.” As for Latimer, he became a great reformer in England and is best known for his encouragement of Nicholas Ridley as they were being led to the stake in Oxford at the height of the English persecutions in 1555: “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as (I trust) shall never be put out.”

Bilney was not a beautiful person as we generally think of beauty. But he was the bearer of the gospel to Hugh Latimer, and that means that he was beautiful in the sight of God, just as are all those are who obeying the Lord Jesus Christ in carrying out the Great Commission.

May I suggest that you start thinking of beauty the way God does. What you think is beautiful now is going to be a thing of the past in just a few short years. Those you think beautiful now will no longer be beautiful in physical terms. But the beauty of the bearers of the gospel will last forever. What is more, they will go on getting more and more beautiful, as they use not only this life but eternity to praise the Lord Jesus Christ more fully.

Beauty really is as beauty does.

I invite you to value others not by their outward appearance, but by their service to Jesus Christ and the gospel. And I invite you to become one of God’s beautiful people yourself. Our text tells you how.[1]


To further explain the universal extent, or parameters, of God’s saving grace, the apostle asks rhetorically, How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?

With simple, progressive logic Paul establishes that only those who call upon the name of the Lord can be saved, only those who have believed in Him can call upon Him, only those who have heard of Him can believe in Him, only those who have a preacher can rightly hear of Him, and finally, no preacher can preach the true gospel who has not been sent by God. Viewed from the other direction, Paul is saying that if God did not send preachers no one could hear, if no one could hear no one could believe, if no one could believe no one could call on the Lord, and if no one could call on Him no one could be saved.

The capstone of Paul’s argument in this passage is that a clear message which gives understanding of the truth must precede saving faith. He reminds his Jewish readers that God called Abraham and His descendants in order that “the whole earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3) and that He called those descendants (Israel) to be His witnesses before the whole earth, as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:5–6). Just as He did in the Old Testament, God stills sends His preachers to witness to the farthest corners of the earth.[2]


14–15 Now the apostle turns parenthetically to emphasize the importance of those who proclaim the good news of the gospel, and thus by implication the importance of his apostolic ministry. A series of logically connected questions makes the point. A first question is implicit, though not stated, from the fundamental point made in the preceding verse, namely, “How shall they be saved if they cannot call on the name of the Lord?” Paul begins with the next question, in order: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?” Then the sequence follows: “How can they believe … [if] they have not heard?” “How can they hear without someone preaching to them?” and finally, “How can they preach unless they are sent?” Is this last question possibly a veiled indication that Paul needs the support of the Romans for his planned evangelistic work in Spain?

Faith, in fact, depends on knowledge. One must hear the gospel before one can be expected either to receive it or reject it. The choice of words is suggestive. To “hear” the message was the one vehicle open to people in that day. The NT had not yet been written so as to be available to the reader, though a few churches had received letters from Paul. There was no visual depiction of the Savior and his mission. The message had to be communicated by word of mouth to the hearing of others. This was as true in the days of the apostles as in the time of the prophets, as a look at the concordance will show.

“Someone preaching,” of course, refers to anyone who proclaims the gospel or witnesses to its truth. Christians are saved to serve, and a paramount element in that service is to bear witness to the saving power of Christ. To be “sent” (v. 15) suggests at least two things: that one operates under a higher authority and that one’s message does not originate with oneself but is given by the sending authority. The prophets were those who were sent in these two respects. So was Jesus (cf. Jn 3:34; 7:16). So are Christians in their witness-bearing capacity. The apostles received their commission from the risen Lord as he in turn had been sent by the Father (Jn 20:21). In addressing the Roman church, Paul was careful to state at the very beginning that he was called and set apart for the ministering of the gospel (Ro 1:1).

Is the apostolate alone in view here as representing Christ and his gospel? This is unlikely, judging from what Paul says later about the widespread proclamation of the gospel to the Jews (vv. 17–18). The task was too big for a handful of preachers (in this connection, see Ac 8:4; 11:19–20). It is not clear from vv. 14–15 whether the sending that is in view here is intended to include the sending out of missionaries by a sponsoring group of believers, as in Acts 13:3. But even if this is not included, it is obviously an integral part of the entire process of the communication of the gospel. In the case of the church at Antioch, the divine and human aspects of the sending were closely bound together (Ac 13:2–3).

Once again, Paul corroborates his statement with words from the prophets, this time Isaiah (52:7), heralding the favor of the Lord to the city of Jerusalem that had lain desolate during the Babylonian captivity (v. 15). The tidings are good; the proclamation is one of peace. Paul changes the wording somewhat—the single announcer in Isaiah becomes a company in line with the “they” in his own depiction of gospel messengers in the same verse. If the message to returning Israel in the former days was good news, how much more the promise of eternal salvation in God’s Son![3]


The necessity of evangelism (14–15)

In order to demonstrate the indispensable necessity of evangelism, Paul asks four consecutive questions.

First, if, in order to be saved, sinners must call on the name of the Lord (13), How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? (14a). For calling on his name presupposes that they know and believe his name (i.e. that he died, was raised and is Lord). This is the only occasion in his letters on which Paul uses the term ‘believe in (eis)’, which is the regular expression in John’s writings for saving faith. Here, however, since saving faith is presented as ‘calling on’ Christ’s name, the kind of ‘belief’ Paul has in mind must be the prior stage of believing the facts about Jesus which are included in his ‘name’.

Secondly, how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? (14b). Just as believing is logically prior to calling, so hearing is logically prior to believing. What kind of hearing, however? ‘In accordance with normal grammatical usage’, the phrase the one of whom (hou) should be translated ‘the one whom’ and so means ‘the speaker rather than the message’. In other words, they will not believe Christ until they have heard him speaking through his messengers or ambassadors.23

Thirdly, how can they hear without someone preaching (kēryssō, to ‘herald’) to them? (14c). In ancient times, before the development of the mass media of communication, the role of the herald was vital. The major means of transmitting news was his public proclamations in the city square or the marketplace. There could be no hearers without heralds.

Fourthly, how can they preach unless they are sent? (15a). It is not clear from the text what kind of ‘sending’ Paul has in mind. Because he uses the verb apostellō, commentators have tended to assume that he has himself in mind as an apostle (see 1:1, 5; 11:13), together with his fellow apostles, for they had been directly commissioned by Christ.25 There were also ‘apostles of the churches’, however, sent out as missionaries. The latter is a broader concept, for, although the apostles of Christ were appointed by him and required no endorsement by the church, the churches sent out only those whom Christ had chosen to send.27 The need for heralds is now confirmed from Scripture: As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ (15b). If those who proclaimed the good news of release from Babylonian exile were thus celebrated, how much more welcome the heralds of the gospel of Christ should be!

The essence of Paul’s argument is seen if we put his six verbs in the opposite order: Christ sends heralds; heralds preach; people hear; hearers believe; believers call; and those who call are saved. And the relentless logic of Paul’s case for evangelism is felt most forcibly when the stages are stated negatively and each is seen to be essential to the next. Thus, unless some people are commissioned for the task, there will be no gospel preachers; unless the gospel is preached, sinners will not hear Christ’s message and voice; unless they hear him, they will not believe the truths of his death and resurrection; unless they believe these truths, they will not call on him; and unless they call on his name, they will not be saved. Since Paul began this chapter by expressing his longing that the Israelites will be saved (1), he must surely have had them specially in mind when developing his evangelistic strategy in these verses. His next paragraph confirms this.[4]


10:15. Preaching requires sending. And how can they preach unless they are sent? Even when his servants were unwilling (e.g., Jonah), God has been sending the message of salvation to the ends of the earth from the beginning. Paul, a “sent one” (apostle, apostolos), was sent to the Gentiles, and he needed the church at Rome to help him. But he also wanted them to be available for God to send them. There were many, many Jews in Rome who were still stumbling over the stone in the path of salvation. How would they ever call on the name of the Lord unless someone is sent? Paul wants the church at Rome to get in step with those who have borne good news to Israel before, most specifically those who brought the good news of their deliverance from captivity in Assyria:

Original Context

“Good news” in its earliest contexts was that of victory in battle. In Isaiah it is deliverance from captivity in Assyria (cf. Isa. 52:4, 11–12), a type of the coming deliverance from sin.

 

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

 

Romans 10:15

And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

 

Paul’s Application

Just as the “good news” was delivered to Israel in the Old Testament, so it still must be delivered in Paul’s day. It is a different gospel—a better one—of permanent deliverance from captivity to sin.

 

Six key terms, taken in reverse order, summarize God’s plan for taking the good news of the gospel to those in need: send, preach, hear, believe, call, saved.[5]


14, 15a. How, then, can they call on one in whom they have no faith? And how can they have faith in one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can people preach unless they have been commissioned?

A few points should be noted:

  • In this series of questions what is the subject? To whom is Paul referring? The apostle writes: they … they … they … they … they … they … they; though, for the sake of variation and clarity, one of these they’s can be changed to the people (or something similar).

To whom, then, is Paul referring? The usual answer is: to Israel. Some translations even insert the word “Israel” in places where the original does not have it. Now it must be admitted that to a considerable extent this answer is correct. See, first of all, what has been said in the introduction to this section (p. 348). Examine also the following passages: 9:3–5, 27, 31–33; 10:1–3, 19, 21; 11:1 f. On the basis of all this the conclusion “the reference is to Israel” cannot be escaped.

But is this a complete answer? Not every commentator is of that opinion. And rightly so. Does not the fact that in this section (10:14–21) Paul does not even mention Israel until he reaches the very close (verses 19–21) prove that he wants every hearer or reader to wrestle with these questions in his own heart and conscience?

  • We have here a series of questions. The Old Testament also contains groups of questions (Job 38:2–39:27; 41:1–7; Isa. 40:12–14, 21). However, the present series is different. It is a kind of chain in which each link bears a close relationship to its immediate neighbor(s).

Is this chain similar, then, to the one found in Rom. 5:3b–5, and to the one described in 8:29, 30? No, the difference is that in the latter two instances the chain is progressive: its links follow one another in historical, cause and effect, manner. The sequence may be compared to the series 1, 2, 3, etc. Here, in Rom. 10:14, 15a, and also in 10:17, the chain is regressive. It proceeds from effect to cause, and is comparable to the series 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Calling upon Christ in prayer is mentioned first though in reality, of course, it follows having faith in him, which, however, is the second link in this chain. Having faith in Christ results from hearing him, the third link as here arranged. This hearing implies that there must have been a preacher, the fourth link, who addressed the people. He did this because even earlier someone, the fifth link, had authorized him to bring the message.

  • What may have been the reason for Paul’s decision to arrange these links in this regressive order?

To answer this question we should bear in mind that the apostle was not only a fully inspired, very learned, deep-thinking theologian; he was also a very practical, warm-hearted Christian friend. As such he may well have had a twofold purpose in mind for writing as he did.

First of all, he is thinking of the audience, the one in Rome, to be sure, but, along the line of the centuries to follow, any audience, including also today’s. For the audience, then, and for every person in that audience, the apostle has so arranged the series that the reference to God—or, if one prefers, to Jesus Christ—who commissioned the preacher, would be mentioned last of all, in order that all the emphasis might fall upon him! Every person in the audience must be made aware of the fact that when he rejects the preacher who, as a faithful minister of the word, with insight and enthusiasm presents the glad and glorious tidings of salvation in Christ, then he is rejecting Jesus Christ himself! In addressing the seventy (or seventy-two) missionaries Jesus said, “He who listens to you listens to me, but he who rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).

Secondly, Paul is thinking of the preacher. The climactic reference to the duly commissioned preacher contains a lesson for him also. Any preacher better be sure that he has actually been called of God to do this kind of work. To arrive at a true answer to this question he should turn to Jer. 23:21, 22. If this preacher is earnestly and prayerfully trying to do that which is mentioned in the twenty-second verse, he will find it much easier to arrive at a positive and encouraging answer to the question with reference to the genuine character of his ordination.

For the preacher Rom. 10:14, 15a contains still another lesson. Just what is meant by preaching? As the footnote (p. 348) shows, preaching is actually heralding, proclaiming. Genuine preaching, therefore, means that the sermon is lively, not dry; timely, not stale. It is the earnest proclamation of the great news initiated by God. It must never be allowed to deteriorate into an abstract speculation on views merely excogitated by man!

That there could be no doubt about the fact that the people—here especially Israel, as has been shown—have actually heard the gospel, and that it has been proclaimed to them by divinely authorized ambassadors, is indicated in verse

15b. As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

This passage is quoted from Isa. 52:7 where the prophet describes the exuberance with which the exiles welcome the news of their imminent release from captivity. This news was regarded by them as being very wonderful not just because they could now return to their homeland but also, and probably especially, because for them it meant that God’s favor was still resting on them, and that not this or that earthly power but God—their own God—was still reigning. See the Isaiah context, and add Ps. 93:1; Rev. 19:6. Moreover, can there be anything more spiritually exhilarating and invigorating than the message of God’s ambassadors, as reported, for example in 2 Cor. 5:20, 21?

How beautiful are those feet! As over the mountains those messengers approached with their electrifying news, how dust-covered and dirty these feet must have been! Yet also, how beautiful … for they were the feet of those who brought the long-awaited marvelous news![6]


[1] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: God and History (Vol. 3, pp. 1245–1252). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans. Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 163–164). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Stott, J. R. W. (2001). The message of Romans: God’s good news for the world (pp. 285–287). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[5] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 314–315). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, pp. 348–351). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

December 11: Faithful Decision-Making

Jeremiah 21:1–22:30; Romans 3:1–20; Proverbs 17:1–28

“I asked God, and He didn’t answer me.” When I hear people say this, I’m often tempted to reply, “Haven’t you read the prophets?” Because sometimes what people are really saying is, “I asked God to do something for me, and He didn’t answer in the way I expected, so He must not be listening or He must not care.” Yet the prophets repeatedly tell us the opposite. God is not human, so He does not make decisions like a human. Instead, He sees all possible outcomes and knows the best route. We simply struggle to understand the wisdom of His decisions.

One particular event in the book of Jeremiah illustrates this point. When King Zedekiah (the last king of Judah) asks Jeremiah to intercede with Yahweh on behalf of Jerusalem against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Jeremiah gives an unexpected reply: Yahweh has refused to do so. He will not intercede for His own people. Rather, He will make Nebuchadnezzar’s task easier (Jer 21:1–7).

Before we view Yahweh as harsh and unforgiving, let’s recall that this occurs after God’s people have been rebelling against Him for hundreds of years. Even so, in Jer 21:8–10, God’s people are given a choice: They can remain in Jerusalem and die—for Yahweh has deemed that the city must fall—or they can enter what appears to be death but is actually life. Yahweh sets up a faith choice for them: “He who goes out and goes over to the Chaldeans who are laying siege to you will live, and his life will be to him as booty” (Jer 21:9).

Even in the midst of unbearable circumstances, Yahweh offers a way of grace. Even when everything seems to fail, we can decide to choose faith. This story mirrors what we experience on our deathbed. It also mirrors the decision we face every day of our lives: Will we listen to the voices of the world, or will we listen to the prophets who proclaim honest indignation and faithful decision-making? Will we stay in the city, or will we go where God calls us—no matter how difficult it may seem or how improbable?

Where is God calling you? What must you walk away from? What faith decision is before you?

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.