Daily Archives: December 18, 2017

December 18 Bearing with an Exhortation

“I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation” (Heb. 13:22).

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Invitations to salvation must provide both exhortation and warning.

Hell is undoubtedly full of people who did not actively oppose Jesus Christ but simply drifted into damnation by neglecting to respond to the gospel. These are the kinds of people the writer challenges in Hebrews 2:1–4. They were aware of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, but they weren’t willing to commit their lives to Him. As a result, they were drifting past the call of God into eternal disaster.

The Word of God always demands a response. Any effective teacher of it must do more than just dispense facts; he must warn, exhort, and extend an invitation. He may have impressive knowledge of the truth, but if he doesn’t have a passionate concern for how people react to it, he is not a worthy representative of Jesus Christ.

Jesus had that kind of compassion. Despite the rejection of His own people, He ached for their salvation: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37). You can feel His heart go out to the people.

Paul had similar compassion: “I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of My brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:2–3). A true teacher is interested in more than just academics; he is concerned that people respond rightly to what is taught.

Just as the writer of Hebrews had to warn and exhort his readers, at times it becomes necessary for us to warn those to whom we are witnessing. If you want to see unbelieving friends, relatives, or associates come to Christ, warn them. Let them see the passion in your heart and your love for them. Please don’t allow anyone to slip into eternal destruction without being warned sufficiently.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to give you wisdom regarding when to warn the people to whom you are witnessing.

For Further Study: Read Hebrews 3:7–4:13, 6:4–8, 10:26–31, and 12:25–29, noting the pattern the writer followed in presenting these other warnings.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 365). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

DECEMBER 18 THE SLEEPING CHURCH CANNOT RESIST HER ENEMIES

Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep…let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

ROMANS 13:11, 12

Some day the Church can relax her guard, call her watchmen down from the wall and live in safety and peace—but not yet, not yet!

All that is good in the world stands as a target for all that is evil and manages to stay alive only by constant watchfulness and the providential protection of Almighty God.

The Church lives in a hostile world. Within and around her are enemies that not only could destroy her, but are meant to and will unless she resists force with yet greater force. The Christian would collapse from sheer external pressure were there not within him a counterpressure sufficiently great to prevent it. The power of the Holy Spirit is, therefore, not optional but necessary. Without it the children of God simply cannot live the life of heaven on earth. The hindrances are too many and too effective!

A church is a living organism and is subject to attack from such enemies as prey on living things. The human body can fight its enemies even while it is asleep, but the Church cannot. She must be awake and determined—or she cannot win.

She must recognize her enemies for what they are and she must resist them: Unbelief, Complacency, Self-righteousness, Fear of Man, Love of Luxury, Secret Sympathy with the world, Self-confidence, Pride and Unholy thoughts. These we must resist with every power within us, looking unto Jesus, author and finisher of our faith![1]


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

December 18, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump will declare China a “strategic competitor” to the U.S. in a speech that lays out an official national security strategy heavily influenced by his views on trade and economic relations, senior administration officials said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Donald Trump for the second time in four days, this time to thank the U.S. president for Central Intelligence Agency information that lead to the breakup of a suspected Islamic State cell.

Heading into the 2018 mid-term elections, half of registered U.S. voters said they would prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, the biggest advantage for the party in congressional preference surveys since 2008.

Republican Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer, is back home in Arizona after being treated for a viral infection and will miss the vote on the GOP tax bill.

Two suicide bombers struck a church in Pakistan on Sunday, killing nine people and wounding more than 50 others, authorities said, in the first attack on a church claimed by the country’s Islamic State group affiliate.

AP Top Stories

At least 61 people have been killed in clashes between different ethnic groups in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region, officials said, the latest bout of violence to highlight increasing instability in a province racked by bloody protests in 2015 and 2016.

A North Korean official widely deemed as the nation’s second most powerful figure has been missing for some time, raising speculation that he has been executed.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s vote to repeal net neutrality last week, the French government has spoken up in support of a free and open internet.

A Sydney-based “loyal agent of North Korea” has been charged with trying to sell missile parts and technology on the black market to raise money for Pyongyang in breach of international sanctions, Australian police said on Sunday.

Hundreds of passengers fell sick aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise this week due to a gastrointestinal illness – a common issue that plagues cruise lines due to close living quarters, among other factors.

Residents piled into cars and fled on Saturday, turning downtown Santa Barbara into “a ghost town” as surging winds drove one of the biggest fires in California’s history toward the city and the nearby wealthy enclave of Montecito.

A year after an Islamic jihadist ploughed a truck into a Christmas market crowd, killing 12, Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Monday with the victims’ families for the first time.

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday will be in the heart of official Cairo, meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to affirm the U.S. commitment to his government and using the historic city as a platform for remarks to the Muslim-majority world on the new American policy of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Returning fighters from the vanquished Islamic State group pose a grave danger to Europe and the United States, but the primary extremist threat comes from people living and radicalized inside their country, US terror experts say.

The Israeli military said it attacked a Hamas training compound in Gaza on Monday in response to rocket strikes from the Palestinian enclave, which have surged since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec 6.

The NATO alliance is urging Moscow to return to compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces bilateral U.S.-Russia treaty, which bans land-based missiles that have ranges between 500km and 5,500km.

Americans have long loved the convenience of drive-through service for burgers and coffee. Kroger Co and Walmart Inc are tweaking that formula for groceries. The companies have invested heavily in online systems that allow customers to order ahead from their neighborhood store. Workers pick and pack the products, then run them out to shoppers in the parking lot, the grocery version of carry out pizza.

The Pentagon has acknowledged funding a secret multi-million dollar program to investigate sightings of UFOs. The shadowy program ended in 2012, according to the Defense Department, but the New York Times reported that it is still up and running — with officials continuing to study incidents brought to their attention by US military service members while performing their regular duties at the Pentagon.

The Philippine Congress approved a bill that removes a proposed 900 million pesos ($17.87 million) for the police war on drugs, now that police are no longer leading the operation, but which provides them with body cameras to record arrests.

BBC

Passengers at the world’s busiest airport faced a second day of disruption on Monday after a power cut led to hundreds of cancellations. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport lost power on Sunday, affecting tens of thousands of people.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the mystery buyer of a luxury French house, according to reporting by the New York Times. It cost $320m, and Fortune magazine called it the world’s most expensive house.

WND

The prime objective of Iran’s mullah-led regime is to export its Islamic revolution worldwide to build a new Shiite “world order” on the “ruins” of Western civilization, declared a columnist for a daily paper affiliated with the country’s religious leadership.

In excess of 30 priests and seminarians (priest novices) who were singing Christmas carols in a village near Satna Town in Madhya Pradesh were arrested Friday 15th December 2017, after a Hindu nationalist group named Bajrang Dal accused them of forcibly converting Hindus.


News – 12/18/2017

Austria: New Government To Resist “Islamization”
A coalition between the anti-immigration Austrian People’s Party and the anti-establishment Austrian Freedom Party, which will be sworn into office on December 18, is poised to catapult Austria to the vanguard of Western Europe’s resistance to mass migration from the Muslim world. “We have a lot in common [with Israel]. I always say, if one defines the Judeo-Christian West, then Israel represents a kind of border. If Israel fails, Europe fails. And if Europe fails, Israel fails.” — Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Austrian Freedom Party.

The third-largest fire in California’s history could rage into January
“Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority estimated that firefighters won’t have full containment of the blaze until Jan 7.”

New Polish PM sees return to Christian roots as only way to stop Europe’s decline
Mateusz Morawiecki, the new Prime Minister of Poland, spoke about re-Christianizing Europe during the first interview after his nomination. His Law and Justice party has been under constant attack by the EU political elites.

Experts Weigh In On Whether Temple Service Could Be Jump-Started Today
Experts involved in bringing back the Temple service are convinced that should the opportunity to light the menorah and begin sacrifices suddenly present itself, all of the elements would be ready– perhaps even more so than they were for the Maccabees almost 2,000 years ago. “Everything we need is ready,” Rabbi Ariel told Breaking Israel News. “If we were told to begin the Temple service, we could be lighting the menorah and burning sacrifices in four hours.”

Trump: Israel not the root of Middle East’s problems
According to the Associated Press, which obtained a draft of the new national security document, the president is expected to emphasize that Israel is not the cause of the Middle East crisis. Instead, the document singles out Iran and radical Islamic terror groups like ISIS as the root causes of regional strife.

Report: Obama protected Hezbollah to appease Iran
The Obama administration shielded one of the world’s most notorious Islamic terror groups from prosecution, derailing a years-long investigation of the group in an effort to curry favor with Tehran in an effort to secure a nuclear deal with the rogue regime, a new investigative report claims.

Vladimir Putin thanks Donald Trump for CIA tip-off stopping St Petersburg bombings
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called his US counterpart Donald Trump to thank him for a CIA tip-off that helped thwart a series of bombings in St Petersburg. The Kremlin said Mr Putin told Mr Trump during the call on Sunday that the information provided by the CIA was sufficient to track down and detain a group of suspects that was planning to bomb the Kazan Cathedral and other sites in the city.

French cities overwhelmed by refugee flow, govt must step in urgently – mayors
The mayors of seven major French cities say they have been “backed up against a wall” by an unending influx of refugees. Paris must address the strain on the areas, which are struggling to accommodate new arrivals, they wrote.

Palestinians seek new policy after Jerusalem ‘game changer’
Senior Palestinian leaders will meet in Ramallah on Monday evening in order to devise a new strategy for dealing with Israel, the US and the international community, in light of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said on Sunday.

Dozens die in clash between Ethiopian Somalis and Oromos
At least 61 people have been killed in clashes between different ethnic groups in Ethiopia’s Oromia region since Thursday, officials said. It is not clear what caused the latest violence between ethnic Somalis and Oromos. But it comes after soldiers shot dead 16 ethnic Oromos at a protest on Tuesday, reports Reuters news agency.

GOP faces 5-day scramble to pass tax bill, avoid government shutdown
Republicans return to Congress on Monday facing a packed agenda with little time to enact it, as party leaders aim to quickly pass their massive tax plan and then cut a budget deal with Democrats before the end of Friday to avert a government shutdown. Republicans’ tight timing on taxes is self-imposed. GOP lawmakers have for months been racing to meet President Trump’s demand that they send him tax legislation before Christmas…

Palestinians may seek U.N. Assembly support if U.S. vetoes Jerusalem resolution: envoy
The Palestinian leadership may turn to the U.N. General Assembly if Washington vetoes a draft U.N. Security Council resolution to reaffirm Jerusalem’s status as unresolved, after President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize it as Israel’s capital. The Palestinian United Nations envoy raised this option in remarks published in Saudi daily Arab News on Monday…

Poland’s New PM Wants To “Make Europe Christian Again”
My dream is to re-Christianize the EU since unfortunately, in many places, people no longer sing Christmas carols, the churches are empty and are turning into museums, and this is very sad.

UNSC Weighing Resolution That Would Reject Trump Recognition Of Jerusalem
The draft, prepared by Egypt, does not refer to either the U.S. or to President Trump. It was circulated between the 15 members of the council and according to Reuters enjoys support, but the U.S., which wields veto power in the council, is likely to shoot it down.

Here’s A Who’s Who Of Deep State Criminals, Corruptors And Elites
Deep State is nothing more than a group of deceiving, criminal and corrupt politicians and government workers who are working to overthrow the US government because of their desire for power and belief that they best can govern this great nation. In reality they are treasonous lunatics aided by the equally corrupt mainstream media (MSM).

#MagicResistance: The Rise of Feminist Witchcraft
From organizing mass hexes to setting up witch-themed Etsy stores, the feminist movement and witchcraft are becoming increasingly entwined.

DACA Amnesty Chain Migration Would Exceed Four Years of U.S. Births
The Democrats’ draft Dream Act amnesty would likely add as many chain-migration foreigners to the United States population as are added by the total number of Americans who are born in four years’ time.

A NEW GERMANY LOW: Cologne to hand out ‘anti-rape’ wristbands for women to wear to stop Muslims from raping and sexually assaulting them
Got news for you, Cologne, they tried passing out anti-rape wristbands in Sweden and not only did they fail to prevent even one rape, the Muslim migrant rapists competed to see who could collect the most wristbands from every girl/woman they sexually attacked.

Swedish government officials decide to put illegal Muslim imgrants into housing with senior citizens…what could possibly go wrong?
Amid rampant housing shortages, Sweden has decided to place newly-arrived Muslim freeloaders, rapists, and jihadists in a retirement home as part of a trial project.

WW3 RED ALERT: India furious as China move military and weaoponry on their joint disputed border
WAR tensions between China and India have once again begun to build after Beijing ordered military forces to occupy the disputed Doklam Plateau region.

Korean, U.S. forces hold drill for removing North Korea’s WMDs
South Korean and U.S. forces conducted a joint training last week for infiltrating North Korea and removing weapons of mass destruction in case of conflict, military sources said.


Computer models of global warming proven wrong

(World) In the midst of gloom-and-doom predictions of rapid climate change, a recent study shows computer models grossly overestimate the rate of global warming. The study, published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, shows real-world climate change over the past 38 years is 0.096 degrees Celsius, about half of what computer models predict. View article →

Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 18, 2017

GOP on Brink of Historic Tax Reform

With all Republicans now on board, the tax cut bill should be on Trump’s desk by week’s end.

The Foundation

“They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose.” —Thomas Jefferson (1791)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: December 18

  • Bitcoin Takes Bigger Wall Street Stage With Smooth CME Debut (Read More)
  • Trump targets China and Russia on national security (Read More)
  • Panthers owner to sell team amid misconduct allegations (Read More)
  • Prosecutors Treat Opioid Overdoses as Homicides, Snagging Friends, Relatives (Read More)
  • U.S. taxpayers rush to claim deductions under threat from tax bill (Read More)
  • This One Weird Tax Trick Could Shrink the Trade Deficit (Read More)
  • Sweeping Rewrite of Tax Code Sets Up Years of Challenges (Read More)
  • Wall Street Bonus Pools Look Shallow in Unexciting Trading Year (Read More)
  • Police search Finnish reporter’s home after security article (Read More)
  • South Africa ANC vote too close to call, markets on edge (Read More)
  • Canadian Billionaire, Wife Died of Neck Compression, Police Find (Read More)
  • Mueller Probe Faces New Challenges (Read More)
  • He Stole $100 Million From His Clients. Now He’s Living in Luxury on the Côte d’Azur (Read More)
  • Death of CSX CEO Harrison Renews Debate on Health Disclosures (Read More)
  • EU launches probe into Ikea tax arrangements (Read More)
  • The Pessimist’s Guide to 2028 (Read More)
  • Homicide team probes ‘suspicious’ deaths of rich Canadian couple (Read More)
  • It Took Five Decades to Build Steinhoff. It Cratered in Two Days (Read More)
  • Replacement Parts: Organs on Demand (Read More)
  • Campbell Soup to buy snacks maker Snyder’s-Lance for $4.87 billion (Read More)
  • Hershey to buy SkinnyPop parent Amplify Snack for $1.6 billion (Read More)
  • Humana in talks to buy Kindred Healthcare with equity firms (Read More)
  • Solar Companies Go Door-to-Door in Battle With Tesla (Read More)
  • US companies set to be big winners from Trump’s tax reform (Read More)

Headlines – 12/18/2017

Security Council to vote tomorrow on annulling US moves on Jerusalem – report

Netanyahu thanks United States for ‘defending Israel’s truth’

Knesset speaker asks dozens of countries to recognize Jerusalem

Erdogan says Turkey aims to open embassy in east Jerusalem

The issue of Palestine is the issue of the Islamic world

Palestinians won’t meet with Kushner, Greenblatt or any US officials on peace

Palestinian protesters set fire to placards of US vice president in Bethlehem

EU report on settlements: 8000 new homes advanced in first half of 2017

Gaza rocket smashes into Israeli town near border, damaging home

IDF strikes Hamas targets after Gaza rocket hits Israeli town

Germany uses EU funds to finance extremist Iranian regime-controlled group

Iran’s state TV shows researcher confessing to nuclear related espionage

Amb. Nikki Haley accuses Iran of violating nuclear agreement

Obama said to have derailed campaign against Hezbollah to clinch Iran nuke deal

Top Iran official says ‘weak and insignificant’ Saudis, Israelis are no threat

Viral Saudi video clip shows kingdom conquering Tehran

Saudi Arabia told by UK minister to stop blocking Yemen aid

Erdogan says Turkey will clear border of Syrian Kurds

War against ISIS in Syria will be won by February, says France’s Macron

Macron: Talk to Assad now, he will answer for crimes later

British embassy worker found dead, believed strangled, in Beirut

Egypt raises security level to maximum alert in preparation for Coptic holidays

Gunmen assassinate mayor of Libya’s biggest port city

U.N.’s Zeid toughens warning of ‘genocide’ in Myanmar

Putin thanks Trump by phone for info that thwarted terror attack, WH confirms

Trump: “My people are very upset” about Mueller obtaining emails

Mueller team denies accusations it ‘unlawfully’ obtained Trump transition emails

Eric Holder calls for protests if Trump fires Mueller

Trump: I’m not considering firing special counsel Mueller

GOP faces 5-day scramble to pass tax bill, avoid government shutdown

Netanyahu: Cryptocurrencies spell end of banks

Digital police state shackles Chinese minority

Surveillance cams, face scans help China make thousands vanish

Wisconsin, the Surveillance State

Chaos, confusion as massive power outage hits Atlanta’s airport

Atlanta airport loses power, trapping travelers in planes and terminals

Power Failure at Atlanta Airport Snarls Air Traffic Nationwide

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Fais, Micronesia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Fais, Micronesia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Arawa, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Loreto, Philippines

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 18,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Nevados De Chillan volcano in Chile erupts to 13,000ft

Massive mudslide in Chile kills 5, with 15 missing

Tropical Storm Kai-tak overwhelms the Philippines with severe flooding

Tropical Storm Urduja kills 27 in Philippines

Thomas fire continues to grow as strong, shifting winds bring new dangers

Uptick in HIV among injecting drug users raises fears of a resurgent epidemic

Paranoia grips Capitol Hill as sexual harassment scandal spreads

The 97 Men (and One Woman) Taken Down by the #MeToo Movement

Texas man admits to beheading wife in front of children, storing head in freezer

R.Scott Clark – On Distinguishing The Jerusalem That Is Below From That Which Is Above

The ‘Christian’ Tarot card controversy at Bethel Redding

Jen Hodge – the truth is not in her; lying to Kris Vallotton and misleading Christians

“Knighting” in the New Apostolic Reformation Part II

Circle Making and “Prayer Circles” Versus The Straight Line of Truth

Celebs To Star In Christmas Show To Benefit Planned Parenthood

Biblical City of Corinth Uncovered in New Underwater Excavations

Deadly attack on Methodist church in Pakistan

The North Korean Revival of 1907

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

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 12:30 PM PST

Palm Springs Becomes First City Council in Nation to Be All Homosexual, Bisexual or TransgenderThe 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. Holstege and Middleton won with 30 percent of the vote, as compared to the 13 percent received by the nearest candidate. They replace Ginny Foat and Chris Mills, who decided not to run for reelection, according to CBS News. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Power outage cripples Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 12:18 PM PST

DEVELOPING: Power outage cripples Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airportA power outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world’s busiest airport, is leaving thousands of passengers stranded and planes grounded.  Georgia Power has confirmed they have crews in the field working to determine the cause of the problem. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a ground stop for flights to Atlanta, meaning that planes are being held at their departure

airports, according to a tweet on Hartsfield-Jackson’s verified Twitter account. The airport also posted a statement on Twitter saying, “A power outage has impacted several areas in the airport. #ATL officials are working to remedy the situation. Additional updates to come.” Brittny Dettro said she was waiting to board a flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee when the power went out in Terminal B early Sunday afternoon. She shot this image at 1:10 p.m. ET.  READ MORE

Growing Number Of Americans Ditching Jesus During Christmas

Posted: 16 Dec 2017 07:04 PM PST

Growing Number Of Americans Ditching Jesus During ChristmasIf there ever was a “war on Christmas” in America, Santa may have won.  Nine in 10 U.S. adults celebrate the holiday, according to the Pew Research Center. However, that celebration is shifting in a secular direction. And a growing number of Christians discount key elements of the biblical Nativity story. Just three years ago, 51% of U.S. adults said Christmas for them is more a religious holiday than a cultural one.

But that has slipped to 46% in the new Pew survey, released Tuesday. Neither does this trend trouble most people. Only 32% say it “bothers” them even somewhat. President Trump’s demand that Americans all say “Merry Christmas,” which drew cheers at his rallies, now draws shrugs from most U.S. adults: 52% say it doesn’t matter how they are greeted in stores and businesses, and 32% say they prefer to hear “Merry Christmas.”  READ MORE

Atheist Group Opposes Politician Bell-Ringing for the Salvation Army

Posted: 16 Dec 2017 06:53 PM PST

Atheist Group Opposes Politician Bell-Ringing for the Salvation ArmyAtheists have reportedly set their sights on a Connecticut lawmaker, taking aim at his decision to volunteer as a Salvation Army bellringer and claiming that his actions violate the separation of church and state.  State Sen. George Logan, a Republican, recently found himself drawing the ire of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist activist group, over his decision to volunteer as a bellringer outside of a Walmart in Naugatuck, Connecticut. Why, you ask? The Salvation Army is a Christian organization and,

thus, the FFRF took issue, writing a letter to Logan that encouraged him to “consider supporting only secular charities in the future,” The Connecticut Post reported.  According to the activist group, Logan should do this so that he can “ensure that representatives do not give the appearance of promoting an overtly Christian mission.” Additionally, the atheist group said that such an action would “prevent citizens from feeling ostracized by their elected representatives because of their religious beliefs or sexual preference.” READ MORE

Erdogan warns Muslims may lose Mecca if they fail to hold on to Jerusalem

Posted: 16 Dec 2017 06:39 PM PST

Erdogan warns Muslims may lose Mecca if they fail to hold on to JerusalemMuslims may lose Mecca and other holy sites if the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital isn’t reversed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned. “If we lose Jerusalem then we won’t be able to protect Medina. If we lose Medina – we will lose Mecca and Kaaba,” Erdogan said in a speech at an award ceremony in Istanbul. Erdogan has been one of the most vocal critics of President Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Turkish president has

slammed other nations for their “weak” response to the US move. On Saturday, Erdogan urged the UN Security Council to annul Trump’s decision. If the UNSC fails to act on the issue, Turkey will do everything necessary within legal frameworks to fight the US recognition, he promised. “If the [UN Security Council] will not, we will approach relevant authorities within a legal framework,” Erdogan said. “Turkey will not stop defending Palestine or Jerusalem just because Israel wants it to.” READ MORE

Pentagon secretly set up program to investigate UFOs

Posted: 16 Dec 2017 06:24 PM PST

Pentagon secretly set up program to investigate UFOsThe Defense Department secretly set up a program ten years ago to investigate unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, at the urging of then-Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to new reports. Both The New York Times and the website Politico published stories Saturday revealing the existence of the Pentagon’s now-defunct Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The New York Times said the UFO program began in 2007, while Politico reported in began in 2009.

According to the reports, Reid, a Nevada Democrat, helped steer money under the program to a donor’s aerospace research company. A Pentagon spokesman said the UFO program ended in 2012, though The New York Times said the Defense Department still investigates potential episodes of unidentified flying objects. “The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 timeframe,” 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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John MacArthur on Fighting the Temptations of Christmas

Code: B171218

One of the most common complaints about Christmas is the rampaging materialism that dominates the holiday. Both in the church and in the world, people rightly complain about how the holiday has become an excuse for self-indulgence.

But just as troubling to others is how political the holiday has become in recent years. The Christmas season routinely ramps up the skirmishes in the culture wars, as talk of “taking back” the holiday and its traditions dominate the airwaves.

But is that where the focus of the church should be at this time of the year? Is Christmas a key battleground that believers need to win back from society? We recently asked John MacArthur those questions; here’s what he had to say:

Rather than fighting to gain ground on a hell-bent society, God’s people need to fix their eyes on Christ and keep Him and the salvation He brings at the focus of their Christmas celebrations. That means pushing aside a lot of the noise and distractions that encroach as Christmas draws near.

We asked John for some encouragement in that struggle that most Christians face at this time of year. Here’s what he said:

While we don’t often think of it in those terms, the Christmas season is fraught with a wide array of temptations. May God grant each of us the grace and the discipline to fight those temptations in the days ahead, and celebrate the birth of His Son in ways that adorn His gospel.

 


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December 18, 2017 Birth Announcement, Part 1

By James Boice on Dec 18, 2017 12:00 am

We are used to getting birth announcements. They usually come on little white cards, sometimes with a picture of a stork on them, often with a little pink or blue bow attached, and other very nice little things. Well, there are many birth announcements of the coming of Christ, but there are two interesting things about them. First of all, the birth announcements that concern Jesus Christ were made hundreds of years before he was born. Secondly, they don’t merely announce his birth; they provide details concerning his life, his ancestry, the nature of his person, his place of birth and actually the time in which he was going to come into the world. Now, there has never been a child that has had birth announcements like that.

Read more…

December 18, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 12:15). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


rejoice with those who rejoice (12:15a)

In a much more positive vein, Paul next counsels us to rejoice with those who rejoice. At first thought, that principle would seem easy to follow. But when another person’s blessing and happiness is at our expense, or when their favored circumstances or notable accomplishments make ours seem barren and dull, the flesh does not lead us to rejoice but tempts us to resent.

The person “who rejoices at calamity” displeases God and “will not go unpunished” (Prov. 17:5). But it is distinctively Christian to rejoice in the blessings, honor, and welfare of others—especially fellow believers—no matter what may be our personal circumstances. As always, Paul followed his own counsel. Just as he had formerly told the Corinthian believers that “if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:26), he later assured them, “My joy would be the joy of you all” (2 Cor. 2:3).[1]


15 One charge follows another without any apparent connection as Paul next calls on his readers to share one another’s joys and sorrows. This is not merely a matter of empathy with others; rather, it presupposes the unity of the members of the body of Christ. As Paul expressed the point in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored [lit., “glorified”], every part rejoices with it.”[2]


12:15. Identity with others in their joys and sorrows is evidence of love flowing from one who is a living sacrifice. These are admonitions that Paul had made in his lengthy writing on body dynamics in 1 Corinthians 12 (cf. v. 26). He also touches the subject in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 and Galatians 6:2.[3]


15. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.

One way of proving to ourselves that our hearts are in the right place is to identify with other persons, so that we not only weep with those who weep but even rejoice with those who rejoice; and this not only with fellow-believers but with all those with whom we enter into a relationship of relative closeness, be they believers or unbelievers. If we truly love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27), this should be possible. But never will it be possible for us truly to identify with the other person, whether believer or unbeliever, unless by God’s sovereign grace the truth of Christ’s taking upon himself our guilt and misery is by the Holy Spirit deeply impressed upon our heart and mind. The result will certainly be the advancement of the glory of God (Matt. 5:16), the entrance into our heart of the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7), and perhaps even the winning of the neighbor for Christ (1 Peter 3:1).

The opposite of rejoicing is being filled with envy (Titus 3:3); and over against weeping stands gloating (over). Note sad result (Prov. 17:5).[4]


12:15 Empathy is the capacity for sharing vicariously the feelings and emotions of others. Our tendency is to be jealous when others rejoice, and to pass by when they mourn. God’s way is to enter into the joys and sorrows of those around us.[5]


12:15 Rejoice … weep. To be glad in the blessings, honor, and welfare of others—no matter what one’s own situation (cf. 1Co 12:26; 2Co 2:3), and to be sensitive or compassionate to the hardships and sorrows of others (Col 3:12; Jas 5:11; cf. Lk 19:41–44; Jn 11:35).[6]


12:15 See Luke 6:31. The genuine unity of the body of Christ is especially evident in the empathy of its members in moments of high joy or deep sorrow.[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 2, p. 197). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] 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, p. 191). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, p. 376). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, pp. 417–418). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1731). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ro 12:15). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1635). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.


DECEMBER 18 GIVE GOD THE CONTROL

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

Psalm 119:35

I know that I am being repetitious—but this needs to be said again and again: Our Lord will not save those whom He cannot command!

The lifetime God has given us down here is a lifetime of decisions. Each person makes his own decisions as to the eternal world he is going to inhabit. We must decide to take Jesus for what He is—the anointed Savior and Lord who is King of kings and Lord of all lords! He would not be who He is if He saved us and called us without the understanding that He can also guide us and control our lives.

The root of sin is rebellion against God, and hell is the Alcatraz for the unconstituted rebels who refuse to surrender to the will of God.

There are many arguments about the reality of hell. A man might endure fire and brimstone and worms—but the essence of hell and judgment for a moral creature is to know and be conscious that he is where he is because he is a rebel!

Hell will be the eternal domain of all the disobedient rebels who have said, “I owe God nothing!”

Dear Lord, the grim reality of hell is rarely preached in our churches anymore. Is it any wonder that the consequences of sin are no longer feared? I pray that our churches will not shrink from telling the world the whole truth of the Bible.[1]


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

December 18 Parable of the Leaven, Part 2

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”—Matt. 13:33

In order for it to have the positive influence we referred to yesterday, the leaven of God’s kingdom must be hid. And that does not mean hiding to be invisible but hiding to penetrate deeply, completely permeating the world as leaven thoroughly permeates bread dough. Believers are not to be of the world, but they must be in the world to reach and change it with the gospel (cf. Mark 16:15; John 17:14–16, 18).

When we faithfully serve as the moral and spiritual leaven of the kingdom, our influence in the world will be both positive and pervasive. And for this to happen, we don’t have to be powerful national leaders, wealthy entrepreneurs, or popular sports figures—just obedient servants of Jesus Christ.

Evangelism and other aspects of kingdom ministry often seem to have little immediate effect. As the church grows bigger, the world’s population grows at a much faster rate, and the church remains a remnant by comparison. But the Lord continues to add to His kingdom by reaching millions through radio, television, publications, and the Internet—means that were largely unavailable or untapped just a century ago.

The leavening work of the kingdom may seem invisible or ineffective to you—“a day of small things”—but that does not mean the Lord is not at work. Jesus’ purpose in this parable and the previous one on the mustard seed was to assure the apostles as well as believers of every era that the kingdom would not fail but ultimately prosper and triumph (cf. Matt. 16:18).

ASK YOURSELF

Is God calling you or your church to infiltrate a certain segment of culture or an area of your community with the transforming agent of gospel influence? As He leads, begin dreaming about how you might do that—and what He might do as a result.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 361). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 18 Christ’s Grace to Sinners

For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

Matthew 9:13

Jesus’ ancestry may surprise you. His genealogy includes some names you might be shocked to find in the royal line of the King of Kings. Four women in particular stand out. Not only is it unusual to find women listed in a Hebrew genealogy, but these women are particularly noteworthy because they contrast so dramatically with the absolute purity and righteousness of God’s Anointed One. All of them were outcasts, yet they made it into Jesus’ family album. They are a strong assurance of God’s grace to sinners like us.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 379). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 18, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ho 2:19–20). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


2:19, 20 I will betroth you. Repeated 3 times, the term emphasizes the intensity of God’s restoring love for the nation. In that day, Israel will no longer be thought of as a prostitute. Israel brings nothing to the marriage; God makes all the promises and provides all the dowry. These verses are recited by every orthodox Jew as he places the phylacteries on his hand and forehead (cf. Dt 11:18). The regeneration/conversion of the nation is much like that of an individual (cf. 2Co 5:16–19).[1]


2:19 Recovery is described as a renewed betrothal. The betrothal, a marriage agreement, is established by the payment of a bride price to the bride’s father (2 Sam. 3:14), a practice still found in the Arab world. The bride price paid is righteousness, justice, steadfast love, and mercy. These attributes come only from the Lord (Ex. 34:6–7) and are precisely what Israel desperately lacks. This is in harmony with the divine initiative represented by the many “I wills” in Hosea.[2]


2:19 The four virtues listed in this verse, combined with the faithfulness mentioned in Hos 2:20, form the essence of Yahweh’s character. Biblical writers frequently mention these virtues together (Exod 34:6; Pss 33:5; 86:15; 89:14; Jer 9:24).

 

in righteousness and in justice The central ethical principles of the ot. See note on Isa 5:7.

mercy Compare Lam 3:32.

2:20 you will know Yahweh In the book of Jeremiah, the imagery of restoration is developed further (compare Jer 31:31–34).[3]


2:19 betroth. Betrothal was the final step in the courtship process and involved paying a bride-price to the bride’s father. Here the qualities of righteousness, justice, love, mercy, and faithfulness are a sort of bride-price that guarantees the permanence of the relationship.

righteousness. God’s righteousness is expressed both in His fairness and in the salvation He bestows on His people (10:12; Amos 5:7).

justice. This term can denote the legal decisions and relationships by which justice and fairness are established and restored (5:11; 6:5; 10:4; Amos 5:15, 24; Mic. 6:8).

steadfast love. See note Ex. 15:13.

mercy. The term can refer to compassion, heartfelt sensitivity, and love (1:6; Gen. 43:14; Deut. 13:17; 2 Sam. 24:14).

2:20 faithfulness. This quality includes dependability, truthfulness, and steadfastness in relationships (Ps. 88:11; 89:1, 2, 5, 8, 24; 92:2; 98:3). Christ, by His active obedience, provided these covenant virtues for His people. By the Holy Spirit He inscribes His own nature on their hearts (2 Cor. 3:3).

know. The essence of the new covenant relationship involves knowing the Lord intimately (Jer. 31:34). Today Christ mediates this new covenant and renders the old covenant relationship obsolete (Heb. 8:7–13).[4]


2:19, 20 Israel will one day be restored as a forgiven wife. Note the threefold affirmation of “I will betroth you,” and also the fact that the remarriage is to be indissoluble (cf. 2:2, note).[5]


2:19, 20 betroth: Betrothal was a binding commitment, the last step before the wedding and consummation. forever: The Lord emphasized that the new marriage between Himself and Israel would be permanent. Lovingkindness means “devotion, commitment.” you shall know: Israel would respond positively to the Lord’s love and acknowledge that He is her husband and benefactor (contrast vv. 8, 13; see Jer. 31:34).[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ho 2:19). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1626). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ho 2:19–20). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1241). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[5] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ho 2:19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1028). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

DECEMBER 18 ADORATION FOR ONLY ONE

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

—Mark 12:30

The admonition to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart… and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37) can mean only one thing. It means to adore Him.

I use the word “adore” sparingly, for it is a precious word. I love babies and I love people, but I cannot say I adore them. Adoration I keep for the only One who deserves it. In no other presence and before no other being can I kneel in reverent fear and wonder and yearning and feel the sense of possessiveness that cries, “Mine, mine!” …

Consecration is not difficult for the person who has met God. Where there is genuine adoration and fascination, God’s child wants nothing more than the opportunity to pour out his or her love at the Savior’s feet. WHT088-089

Father, may I indeed sense that genuine adoration and fascination that leads me to pour out my heart in love for You. Amen.[1]


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

December 18 The Privileges of Christ’s Exaltation

“God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”

Philippians 2:9

✧✧✧

Christ is exalted as Prophet, Priest, and King.

Jesus’ exaltation was the reversal of His humble incarnation. He who was poor became rich; He who was rejected became accepted; He who had learned obedience returned to a position of power that calls all others to obey Him. Commentator William Hendricksen wrote, “As king, having by his death, resurrection, and ascension achieved and displayed his triumph over his enemies, he now holds in his hands the reins of the universe, and rules all things in the interest of his church (Eph. 1:22–23). As prophet he through his Spirit leads his own in all the truth. And as priest (High–priest according to the order of Melchizedek) he, on the basis of his accomplished atonement, not only intercedes but actually lives forever to make intercession for those who “draw near to God through him.” And God was the source of Jesus’ exaltation.

In Philippians 2:9 the apostle Paul says that God “bestowed on Him the name.” The Greek word translated “bestowed” means “to give graciously” or “wholeheartedly.” Christ so fully and completely accomplished God’s plan of redemption that God wholeheartedly and graciously poured out on Christ the gifts of exaltation. Though He could not be made more than God, He now enjoys all the privileges of God as well as all the privileges of the God–man, which He now is.

Puritan minister Thomas Watson wrote in his Body of Divinity, “Christ’s exaltation is our exaltation…. As sure as Christ is exalted far above all heavens, so sure will he instate believers in all that glory with which his human nature is adorned. John xvii 22.” Be encouraged, for one day Christ will also exalt you!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: First Corinthians 15:24–26 shows that God has exalted Christ as Sovereign over everything. In keeping with that theme, use Psalm 99 as the basis of your own prayer to praise Christ as Ruler over all.

For Further Study: According to Romans 14:9, why did Christ humble Himself? ✧ What has the Father given to the Son as part of His exaltation (John 5:22)?[1]


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

December 17 Daily Help

OUR Lord would have all his people rich in high and happy thoughts concerning his blessed person. As a help to high thoughts of Christ, remember the estimation that Christ is had in beyond the skies. Think how God esteems the only begotten, his unspeakable gift to us. Consider what the angels think of him, as they count it their highest honor to veil their faces at his feet. Think of the mighty love which drew him from his throne to die upon the cross! See him risen, crowned, glorified! Bow before him as the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, for only thus will your love to him be what it should.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 355). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 17, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

22 In 1:22–25 James comes to the heart of a major problem among those he addresses (see 2:14–26) and a point eminently relevant to the church of any age. There are, of course, various ways a person can interact with the word of God. Yet here James asserts that listening to the word without actively applying it to life is deficient interaction. Thus he exhorts his readers to become doers of the word, not only hearers. His concern is strikingly similar to Paul’s concern in Romans 2:13: “it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified” (NASB). The point is clear. If one merely listens to the word taught and takes no action to incorporate it into the patterns of life, this does not constitute true receptiveness. God’s word should change behavior, not just stimulate the mind. The concept of doing the word is Semitic and anticipates the discussion of “faith and works” in 2:14–26.

In fact, those who hear the word without acting on it “deceive themselves” (paralogizomenoi [GK 4165] heautous). The word translated “deceive” can carry the meaning “cheat” or “defraud,” but based on the analogy to which we will turn momentarily (1:23–24), deception, or the idea of misleading, clearly is in view. Paul uses this term in Colossians 2:4 of being deceived by persuasive arguments. So the sense of James’s assertion is comparable to one saying, “If you think it is OK to listen to the word without acting on it, you are fooling yourself![1]


1:22 / The topic of accepting or obeying the word shifts James from the idea of speech to that of charitable action. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves refers to the person who is self-congratulatory about knowledge of scripture or mastery of the apostolic traditions about Jesus. It is not that such persons failed to learn the word of the apostolic teaching. They may be learned in scripture and accurate “scribes” of the teaching of Jesus. But they are merely listening. No matter how extensive one’s scriptural knowledge, how amazing one’s memory, it is self-deception if that is all there is.

Do what it says is the critical point. It is not what one knows, but what one does that counts. True knowledge is the prelude to action, and it is the obedience to the word that counts in the end.[2]


1:22. James’s command is literally to “keep on becoming doers of God’s Word.” He insisted on an obedience which lasts. This does not minimize the importance of hearing God’s Word. It does emphasize strongly the need for acting. Too often Christians view a sermon as an interesting moral or theological lecture. We need to do something other than sitting and listening. Jesus pronounced a blessing only on those “who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28).

The command to listen to God’s Word describes someone who attends a lecture. The hearer could nod agreeably to the message but do nothing as a result. God wants a listener to become a disciple, an obedient follower of Jesus. One who hears the message without doing anything is self-deceived. Such a listener has made a false estimate of the situation. Jesus warned against this error (Matt. 7:21–27).[3]


1:22 It is not enough to receive the implanted word; we must obey it. There is no virtue in possessing the Bible or even in reading it as literature. There must be a deep desire to hear God speaking to us and an unquestioning willingness to do whatever He says. We must translate the Bible into action. The word must become flesh in our lives. There should never be a time when we go to the Scriptures without allowing them to change our lives for the better. To profess great love for God’s word or even to pose as a Bible student is a form of self-deception unless our increasing knowledge of the word is producing increasing likeness to the Lord Jesus. To go on gaining an intellectual knowledge of the Bible without obeying it can be a trap instead of a blessing. If we continually learn what we ought to do, but do not do it, we become depressed, frustrated, and callous. “Impression without expression leads to depression.” Also we become more responsible to God. The ideal combination is to read the word and obey it implicitly.[4]


1:22 prove yourselves doers. The fact that James calls professing believers to be “doers,” rather than simply to do, emphasizes that their entire personality should be characterized in that way. See notes on Mt 7:21–28. delude. Lit. “reason beside or alongside” (as in “beside oneself”). This word was used in mathematics to refer to a miscalculation. Professing Christians who are content with only hearing the Word have made a serious spiritual miscalculation.[5]


1:22 Being doers of the word, and not hearers only is the only proper response to the Word of God (not only the gospel but the entirety of Scripture), allowing it to take root in one’s life (cf. v. 21).[6]


[1] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 226–227). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Davids, P. H. (2011). James (p. 41). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, pp. 265–266). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2223). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jas 1:22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2392). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

December 17: Land and Deeds

Jeremiah 32:1–44; Romans 7:7–25; Proverbs 21:13–31

Those of us who have purchased a home know the frightening feeling of closing day—“Am I signing my life away? Am I binding myself to this building forever?” Imagine, on top of those feelings, knowing that the place you’re buying is about to be overrun by a foreign nation and may no longer belong to you. That’s what the prophet Jeremiah experienced.

Yahweh tells Jeremiah that his cousin will arrive with an offer to purchase a field. So when Jeremiah’s cousin shows up, Jeremiah views it as Yahweh’s will that he purchase the land, and he does (Jer 32:1–12). Meanwhile, Jeremiah knows that the Babylonians are coming and that they will overrun the land of God’s people, including the land that he has just purchased. This is not a reckless act; this is a moment of faith. Jeremiah seizes the opportunity to proclaim Yahweh’s faithfulness.

Turning to his assistant, Baruch, Jeremiah remarks in front of everyone witnessing the purchase, “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Take these deeds, this deed of the purchase, the sealed one, and this opened deed, and you must put them in an earthenware jar so that they may be kept preserved many days.’ For thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Houses and fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land’ ” (Jer 32:14–15).

Each of us has moments when we must do what no one else will do—and that includes saying what others are not willing to say. What “land” is God asking you to buy, and what is He asking you to proclaim about it?

What deed is God asking you to do today? What are you to say about Yahweh’s faithfulness, and how are you to act upon it?

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.