Daily Archives: December 19, 2017

December 19 A Warning to the Intellectually Convinced

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard” (Heb. 2:3).

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Many people know the facts of the gospel but won’t make a commitment to it.

I will never forget a lady who came to my office, confessing that she was a prostitute and was desperate for help. I presented the claims of Christ to her and asked if she wanted to confess Christ as Lord of her life. She said yes and prayed, seemingly inviting Christ into her life.

Then I suggested that we burn her book of contacts. She looked at me incredulously and said, “What do you mean?” “If you want to live for Jesus Christ,” I explained, “and you’ve truly accepted His forgiveness and embraced Him as Lord, then you need to prove it.” “But that book is worth a lot of money,” she said. “I don’t want to burn it.” After putting it back in her purse, she looked me right in the eye and said, “I guess I don’t really want Jesus, do I?”

When it came to counting the cost, she wasn’t ready. I don’t know whatever became of her, but my heart aches for her and others like her.

I’m sure you know people like her. They know and believe that Christ is the Savior, they know they need Him, but they are unwilling to make a commitment to Him. Perhaps they even go to church and hear the Word of God. They are like the proverbial man who says he believes a boat will keep him afloat but never sets foot in one.

Those people are the most tragic of all. They need to be warned—to be given a powerful shove toward Christ. May the Lord use you as His instrument for that purpose in the lives of many who are on the edge of a decision for Christ.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to soften the hearts of people you know who understand the facts of the gospel but haven’t yet made a commitment to it.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 19:16–22. What kinds of questions should you ask of someone who appears eager to become a Christian?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 366). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

DECEMBER 19 LET US NOT SUBSTITUTE ORGANIZATION FOR LIFE

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.

TITUS 1:5

I have been for years much distressed about the tendency to overorganize the Christian community, and I have for that reason had it charged against me that I do not believe in organization. The truth is quite otherwise!

A certain amount of organization is necessary everywhere throughout the created universe and in all human society. Without it there could be no science, no government, no family unit, no art, no music, no literature, no creative activity of any kind.

The man who would oppose all organization in the church must needs be ignorant of the facts of life. Art is organized beauty; music is organized sound; philosophy is organized thought; science is organized knowledge; government is merely society organized.

And what is the true Church of Christ but organized mystery?

The throbbing heart of the Church is life—in the happy phrase of Henry Scougal, “the life of God in the soul of man.” This life, together with the actual presence of Christ within her, constitutes the Church a divine thing, a mystery, a miracle! Yet without substance, form and order this divine life would have no dwelling place, and no way to express itself to the community.

There is real danger in the efforts of some to substitute organization for life, so that while they have a name to live they are spiritually dead. Let us be reminded that there is no such thing as life apart from the medium through which it expresses itself![1]


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

December 19, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

The Trump administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency order that would temporarily stop a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant from having an abortion.

House Republicans on Monday proposed $81 billion in disaster relief for areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires, the largest standalone aid bill in recent years.

Saudi Arabia said its air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen rebels at the royal palace in the capital, Riyadh, an attack that threatens to edge the kingdom and its chief nemesis, Iran, closer to confrontation.

Japan’s cabinet approved the introduction of two Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense batteries, adding to its existing two-layered defense against North Korea’s growing missile and nuclear weapons threat.

The U.S. blamed North Korea for the WannaCry ransomware attack that affected hundreds of thousands of computers globally this year.

The final Republican tax bill set for a House vote Tuesday would add $448 billion to federal deficits over 10 years with economic growth factored in, the right-of-center Tax Foundation said.

Hedge fund professionals are expecting year-end bonuses to climb 39 percent at the end of this year, according to a survey of 500 buy-side investors. That view may be too optimistic, said a partner at the firm that did the polling. Respondents on average said they’re looking for bonuses rising to $562,000 from $405,000 a year earlier.

Groundbreaking on single-family homes proceeded in November at the strongest pace in a decade, driving U.S. housing starts to a faster-than-estimated rate, government figures showed Tuesday.

AP Top Stories

In a break with two decades of military planning, President Donald Trump has eliminated climate change from his administration’s list of threats to national security.

Vladimir Putin is cultivating Donald Trump as if the U.S. president is a Russian asset, according to former intelligence chief James Clapper. “[Putin] knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president,” Clapper said Monday on CNN. Clapper, who served as director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama, called the Russian president a “great case officer.”

Thousands of people packed into a sports stadium in southern China to watch 10 people being sentenced to death – moments before they were taken away and executed. The extraordinary public trial was held for 12 people who were reportedly accused of producing and trafficking drugs, murder and robbery. It is unclear what happened to the other two people.

Myanmar’s army said on Monday that security forces have discovered a mass grave on the edge of a village in Rakhine State, and have launched an investigation.

A South Korean cryptocurrency exchange said on Tuesday it is shutting down and is filing for bankruptcy after it was hacked for the second time this year, highlighting concerns about security as trade in bitcoin and other virtual currencies boom. The exchange, called Youbit, had been hacked once before in April when nearly 4,000 bitcoins were stolen in a cyber-attack that the country’s spy agency linked to North Korea

BBC

A US passenger train that derailed, killing three people, was travelling at 80mph on a curve with a speed limit of 30mph, data from the train’s rear engine indicates.

Hundreds of dead sharks have been found washed up on the shores of Iran’s Shif Island. Some fishermen catch the sharks for their fins, which are believed to have medicinal properties, officials said. After cutting off the fins, they throw the dead sharks in the sea because they fear they will be fined. The sharks end up washing up on the beach

Venezuela has awarded licenses to Russian energy giant Rosneft to develop two offshore gas fields. The deal allows its subsidiary, Grupo Rosneft, to export gas produced at the Patao and Mejillones fields in the Caribbean Sea for the next 30 years.

Gambling losses in Australia are at a record high after punters frittered away almost $18bn in a year, according to data compiled by the Queensland state government this month. More than half was lost on poker or slot machines at pubs and clubs.

China has condemned the “Cold War mentality” of the White House after the publication of a new US national security policy. The document labels China and Russia as “rival powers” and lays out a number of potential threats they pose. The new strategy said Beijing and other governments were determined to challenge American power.

Russia is to withdraw its military officers from a joint Russia-Ukraine center monitoring a fragile truce in the conflict-torn eastern Ukraine. Russia’s foreign ministry accused Ukraine of preventing the officers from carrying out their duties, saying they would leave on Tuesday.

The US has vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

WND

Loneliness can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. In fact, some studies suggest that the impacts of loneliness can be just as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. A recent report showed that 9 million people in the United Kingdom suffer from chronic loneliness.

The opioid epidemic is threatening to trigger a resurgence of HIV in Massachusetts, potentially undoing decades of work that had made the state a national leader in stopping the spread of the virus.

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.


News – 12/19/2017

Trump vetoes the world
Then, of the 14 nations that voted in favor of the resolution, she said this – “What happened today at the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten.” She wasn’t smiling…and neither was she saying, but it’s been noted, that the United States can stop funding the UN. Step two would get it out of New York and into Brussels, which serves as capital to the European Union. From Trump, through Haley at the UN, we find Israel and the United States in the same boat…two liberty-loving countries against the world…and it’s near Biblical.

Fossilized Antarctic Forest Stumps Scientists But Fuels Bible Flood Theories
The recent discovery of fossilized trees in Antarctica leaves researchers with unanswered questions which some Bible scholars think they can answer: a global flood that occurred precisely as described in Genesis.

Nikki Haley Slams UN for Resolution Denouncing Trump’s Jerusalem Proclamation
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, gave a powerful speech, slamming the UN Security Council when she invoked the US veto power to slap down a resolution that would have called for the US to rescind President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (video)

Envoy: Russia Happy to Replace US as Peace Mediator
Russia is ready to take over as an unbiased mediator in the Israeli-PA peace talks, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov said on Monday at a UN Security Council meeting, TASS reported. Safronkov repeated Russia’s readiness to set up a meeting between the two leaders in the conflict: “We are ready to be unbiased mediators,” he said, adding, “Russia maintains trust-based and friendly relations with absolutely all Middle East nations: the Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs. Our ties are not marred by the negative legacy of the past.” Talk about revisionism… Today’s Russia and yesterday’s Soviet Union have been one of the primary drivers of discord and violence in the region since the early 1950s…

Trump Accuser Who Took Mortgage Payoff, Tried To Get Job As Trump’s Makeup Artist
A New York makeup artist who accused Donald Trump of groping her in the 1990’s – and whose mortgage was paid off by a donor arranged by Gloria Allred daughter Lisa Bloom, repeatedly solicited then-candidate Trump to become his campaign makeup artist so she could pitch her new line of men’s cosmetics, according to The Hill’s John Solomon. In an October 1, 2015 email – Trump accuser Jill Harth emailed the President’s New York Company headquarters, writing: “Hi Donald, you are doing a tremendous job of shaking things up in the United States. I am definitely on Team Trump as so many others are.”

2018 Global defense spending to hit post-Cold War high of $1.67 trillion
The annual Jane’s Defense Budgets Report released on Monday is forecasting that global defense spending will increase again in 2018 to hit a post-Cold War record of $1.67 trillion. The Jane’s Report was released by global information analyzer and distributor IHS Markit. According to Jane’s Report, defense spending will grow for the fifth consecutive year, overtaking the previous post-Cold War record of $1.63 trillion from 2010.

Pence delays trip to Israel, Egypt until mid-January
US Vice President Mike Pence has delayed his travel to the region until next month for a second time, citing an upcoming Senate vote on tax reform. Pence is scheduled to visit Israel and Egypt to meet with their political, religious and civic leadership. He plans to focus his meetings on issues such as the nuclear deal brokered with Iran in 2015, Arab-Israeli peace and the persecution of religious minorities, including local Christians.

Clashes as Argentina congress debates pensions
Argentina’s Congress has been debating pension reforms for the second time in a week amid more violent protests in the capital, Buenos Aires. The lower house was due to vote on the bill last Thursday but had to postpone the session because of the disturbances. The government says the reforms will help tackle the large fiscal deficit.

Robots and humans CAN make babies creating new hybrid species
Dr David Levy, a world leading artificial intelligence researcher, will explain how the genetic information of cells can be manipulated to create a baby with human and robot DNA in his key note speech at the Third International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots. Speaking at the conference in London on Wednesday, December 20, Dr Levy will explain how advancements in cell biology and bio robotics have led to his extraordinary conclusion.

Palestinians plan UN move to embarrass US over Jerusalem
The Palestinians plan on bringing to a vote at the UN General Assembly on Thursday a draft resolution calling on the US to revoke its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in an effort to embarrass the Trump administration. The same resolution, raised at the UN Security Council by Egypt, was vetoed by the Trump administration on Monday night. It received the support of the remaining 14 members of the council.

WOW! FBI Is Abusing ‘Secrecy Powers,’ Mueller & Rosenstein Hid ‘Explosive Information From Congress For Months’
With each passing day, it’s becoming clear there is more evidence to suggest both former President Barack Obama and failed candidate Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia than President Donald Trump. Yet, that hasn’t stopped both chambers of Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller from investigating ‘RussiaGate.’

Haley Vetoes Jerusalem Resolution; Slams Obama For Not Backing Israel a Year Ago
As U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley on Monday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution seeking to overturn President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, she also sharply criticized the Obama administration’s decision a year ago not to back Israel in the same forum, calling the implications of that move “a stain on America’s conscience.”

FCC Caught Using Dead People’s Social Media Accounts To Spread Propaganda
The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal neutrality and has been using dead people Facebook accounts to spread misinformation and anti-net neutrality propaganda.

PAPER: Obama Colluded With Russia To Free Leading Terrorist Responsible For Murdering Americans
Amid the endless Trump-Russia collusion hysteria propagated by the mainstream media comes a cold, hard truth Democrats surely won’t admit; Former President Obama colluded with Putin, not President Trump. POLITICO‘s Josh Meyer reports that Obama administration worked with Russia to allow a “suspected top Hezbollah operative,” responsible for murdering Americans go free.

PROJECT CASSANDRA: How Obama Protected Islamic Terror Group Hezbollah To Push Through Phony Iran Nuclear Deal
The taskforce, named Project Cassandra, worked for eight years out of a top-secret facility in Virginia with help from 30 American and foreign security agencies, unraveling the global crime syndicate that was funding Hezbollah’s Jihadi operations, the site reports.

Flashback: Antifa Admits Train Track Sabotage Near Tacoma to ‘Stop Fracking
Editor’s Note: This since-deleted article from It’s Going Down, an Antifa affiliate, reveals how leftist activists planned on derailing freight trains near Tacoma, Washington, by pouring concrete on tracks.

Deadly Train Derailment Likely Caused By Object “Placed On The Tracks”
Update: As we mentioned lower in the boss, Monday’s deadly Amtrak train derailment in Washington state appears to have been caused by an object on the railway, according to a government official briefed on the crash.

Donald Trump National Security Strategy
President Donald Trump’s new national security strategy is set to be released on Monday. A copy of the document obtained by The Daily Caller reveals a stark contrast between President Trump’s America First National Security Strategy and former President Barack Obama’s most recent national security strategy in 2015.

Catholic League: ‘Homosexuals Committed Most of the Abuse’
Commenting on an Australian commission report that recommends ending mandatory celibacy of priests in the Catholic Church to apparently curtail sexual abuse, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said this possibly is Australia’s way of saying there are too many homosexuals in the Catholic clergy, and he added that in the United States “homosexuals committed most of the abuse” in the church over the last 50 years.


2017 Has Been The Best Year For The Stock Market EVER

We have never seen a better year for stocks in all of U.S. history.  Just five days after Donald Trump entered the White House, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit the 20,000 mark for the first time ever.  On Monday, the Dow closed at 24,792.20, and there doesn’t seem to be any end to the rally in sight.  Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 5,000 points so far in 2017, and that absolutely shatters all of the old records.  Previously, the most that the Dow had risen in a single year was 3,472 points in 2013. (Read More…)


December 19, 2017
Elites are quashing presumption of innocence, due process
ALAN KEYES — The headline reads, “Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson dies of ‘probably suicide’ in Mt. Washington.” The story at WDRB.com reports: “Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson, who was under investigation for alleged sexual molestation, died from a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the Bullitt County Coroner….”… (more)

December 18, 2017
FOX NEWS — A lawyer for the Trump presidential transition team is accusing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office of inappropriately obtaining transition documents as part of its Russia probe, including confidential attorney-client communications, privileged communications and thousands of emails without their knowledge…. (more)


December 18, 2017
NEWSMAX — Former Rep. Michael Patrick Flanagan says President Donald Trump must clean out the bad elements of the FBI and be “brutal” about doing it. “You have a banana republic secret police whose job is regime preservation, not law and order preservation, and Trump is going to clear it out,” Flanagan, an Illinois Republican who now heads a lobbying and public policy firm in Washington, D.C., told Newsmax TV’s JD Hayworth on Friday…. (more)


December 18, 2017
BYRON YORK — Something is happening in the final days of 2017. People are noticing that Donald Trump has gotten a lot done in his tumultuous first year in the White House…. (more)

December 18, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump said Sunday that Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer, would return to vote for tax reform this week if needed to pass the bill, though the senator’s office later forecasted a January return to Washington. Mr. McCain had been undergoing treatment for a viral infection at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington but Sunday returned to Arizona to spend Christmas with his family, according to the senator’s office…. (more)

December 18, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked President Trump in a phone call Sunday for U.S. intelligence agencies providing a warning that thwarted a major Islamist terrorist plot against a cathedral and other sites in St. Petersburg, Russia. The White House said information that the U.S. provided had enabled Russian authorities to capture the terrorists “just prior to an attack that could have killed large numbers of people.”… (more)

December 18, 2017
POLITICO — In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation…. (more)

December 18, 2017
YONHAP NEWS — 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. The “Warrior Strike” exercise was held at Camp Stanley, located north of Seoul, and other places from Tuesday to Friday, involving hundreds of soldiers from the two sides, they said…. (more)

December 17, 2017
ROBERT KNIGHT — I don’t know how everyone else is doing, but we’re ahead of the game in at least one category: watching Christmas movies. It beats fretting over the latest sex scandal, unconstitutional court rulings or whether Kim Jong-un is having a bad enough day to fire off a nuclear missile…. (more)

December 17, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — With Republicans set to achieve a decades-long policy goal of opening a section of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, environmentalists over the weekend launched a last-ditch effort to halt the initiative, though their efforts almost surely will be in vain…. (more)

December 16, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — A lawyer for President Trump’s transition team said that special counsel Robert Mueller’s obtaining of emails related to the transition was inappropriate, both on Mueller’s behalf and the agency that provided them…. (more)

December 16, 2017
BYRON YORK — Yes, the release of texts sent between top FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page show that both loathed Donald Trump while they were working on investigations involving Trump as a presidential candidate and later as president. Of course, lots of federal employees loathe Trump. It would be hard for all of them to recuse themselves from government matters, although it is probably not a great idea to have them play key roles in high-stakes probes that could have a momentous effect on the presidency…. (more)

December 16, 2017
BOB UNRUH — The FBI’s special investigation of “Russian collusion” with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election has been under fire in recent days over an agent, later dismissed, who apparently repeatedly protected Hillary Clinton from prosecution and in partisan fashion attacked then-candidate Donald Trump…. (more)


December 16, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump has called the wife of John McCain as the Arizona senator is hospitalized for cancer treatments. The White House said Trump called Cindy McCain on Friday to send his best wishes and check on her and her husband…. (more)

December 16, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Parents would get new federal tax breaks for sending their children to private or religious schools or teaching them at home if the final Republican tax overhaul bill becomes law. For that, they can thank Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who offered the original amendment to extend 529 college savings plans to grade school and high school, including costs for homeschooling…. (more)

December 16, 2017
NATIONAL REVIEW — Suppose you always wanted to date tall and good-looking people, and believe yourself to be tall and good-looking too. There’s a club in your city called Lucky’s where all the tall and good-looking people go, so you show up there. But you can’t get in. The bouncer stops you…. (more)


December 16, 2017
CNBC — Facebook just admitted that using Facebook can be bad for you Facebook just admitted that using Facebook can be bad for you 3:48 PM ET Fri, 15 Dec 2017 | 00:45 Facebook admitted on Thursday that using its social network can be bad for you in some instances. Facebook’s director of research David Ginsberg and research scientist Moira Burke published a post in which they addressed questions about the impact Facebook has on our moods, and revealed some compelling information…. (more)


December 16, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The head of Planned Parenthood is not happy with House Speaker Paul Ryan over his call for a higher U.S. birth rate. Cecile Richards took to social media on Friday to blast the idea that male lawmakers should use their bully pulpit to discuss the national birth rate. Mr. Ryan told reporters on Thursday that entitlement programs like Social Security require more bodies than Americans are providing for the accounting to work…. (more)

December 16, 2017
YAHOO NEWS — Pope Francis is criticizing journalists who dredge up old scandals and sensationalize the news, saying it’s a “very serious sin” that hurts all involved. Francis, who plans to dedicate his upcoming annual communications message to “fake news,” told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most “fundamental” to democratic societies…. (more)

December 16, 2017
NEW YORK POST — ‘Our record as journalists in covering this Trump story and the Russian story is pretty good,” legendary reporter Carl Bernstein recently claimed. Pretty good? If there’s a major news story over the past 70 years that the American media have botched more often because of bias and wishful thinking, I’d love to hear about it…. (more)

December 14, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — The Alabama win for Barack Obama’s candidate Doug Jones confirms our thesis that Obama is running the Democratic Party and the anti-Trump resistance. Obama, who recently compared President Trump to Hitler, recorded a robocall in support of the Alabama Democrat, calling him a “fighter for equality, for progress.” His notion of progress means suppressing the white vote and inciting black voters, who now believe by a margin of 72 percent that Trump should be impeached…. (more)

December 14, 2017
BOB UNRUH — Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., used to be a prosecutor. So he’s not entirely new to the concept of evidence, investigations, charges and conflicts of interest. What he apparently doesn’t understand is the FBI’s idea of a “conflict-of-interest-free” special counsel’s office, which employed a key investigator who helped clear a political candidate he supported and later targeted one he vehemently opposed…. (more)

December 14, 2017
NEWSMAX — Attorney and political analyst Alan Dershowitz said Wednesday he would like to see a “non-partisan commission” examine special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and its investigation into claims the Trump campaign colluded with Russia…. (more)

December 14, 2017
GREG COROMBOS — A top lawyer in Texas says the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be nothing more than effort to charge people with crimes unrelated to Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. He also said recent revelations of rampant partisanship on the part of prosecutors on Mueller’s team ought to be the death blow to the probe…. (more)

December 14, 2017
NEWSMAX — Former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly believes the FBI has been compromised and no longer carries the gravitas it once did. “No doubt in my mind, and I’m a big law enforcement guy as you may know . . . I’ve lost faith in the FBI,” O’Reilly told Newsmax TV’s John Bachman on “Newsmax Now.”… (more)


Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 19, 2017

Trump: Strong Economy Equals Strong Security

His national security strategy is a stark reversal and repudiation of Obama’s failed policy.

The Foundation

“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” —John Adams (1815)


Headlines – 12/19/2017

US vetos ‘insulting’ UN vote over status of Jerusalem

US outnumbered 14 to 1 as it vetoes UN vote on status of Jerusalem

Despite failing, UN Jerusalem bid paints Israel, US as alone against the world

Palestinians slam ‘unacceptable’ US veto of Jerusalem UN resolution

Palestinians call for emergency meeting of UN General Assembly after US veto

Turkey says shocked by veto of UN resolution on Jerusalem

After UNSC vote, Russia offers to replace US as ‘honest’ Mideast mediator

Erdogan, May say international community should be active in solving Jerusalem issue

Amid Mideast Tension, Pence Again Postpones Planned Trip

Pence requests press conference at Western Wall, denied by Rabbi

Israeli jets ‘target Hamas training compound’ in northern Gaza

SDF accuses Assad of opening Syria to international terrorism

Syria’s Assad calls US-backed militias ‘traitors’

Yemen’s Houthis execute 30 fighters attempting to surrender near Saudi border

Western leaders told to stop ‘stoking the flames of war’ in Yemen

Iran demands right to examine missile parts exhibited by US diplomat

Unveiling security policy, Trump singles out Iran, North Korea as global threats

US blames North Korea for major ransomware attack

Trump Takes Hard Line Against Iran in Speech Unveiling ‘America First’ National Security Strategy

Atlanta Airport Blackout Sends Message to Terrorists: America Is Unprepared

‘Blueprint for Destruction’: Fmr NYPD Detective Says Terrorists Could Take Cues from ATL Airport Outage

Six people reported killed in ‘massive’ Amtrak derailment onto I-5 south of Seattle

Anarchists Bragged in April about Sabotaging Railroad Tracks to Block Fracking

Antifa, Al-Qaeda, or infrastructure: Far-right split on Amtrak derailment cause

Trump unveils national security strategy: ‘America is going to win’

Dow rises 5,000 points in a year for the first time ever

The government admits it studies UFOs. So about those Area 51 conspiracy theories…

On the Trail of a Secret Pentagon U.F.O. Program

Navy pilot describes 2004 encounter with UFO off San Diego coast

Drones becoming greatest threat to planes, says expert

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Nishinoomote, Japan

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 21,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 17,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

A Mysterious Blob of Hot Rock Is Building Up Under America’s Northeast

California fire: Resident says neighborhood looks like war zone

Costi Hinn – Did a False Teacher Heal You?

Bethel’s house of cards; tarot-rists leading people to Baal/Jezebel by practicing occultism in God’s name

Benjamin Corey says Ken Ham Is Ruining Christianity (because he believes the Genesis account of creation is foundational)

R.G. Stair arrested in South Carolina – Popular radio preacher and convicted pedophile is at it again

Dallas Pastor Found Dead in Motel Room

Muslim Choir Praises Allah in Anglican Cathedral

God bless you, Father!’ Parishioners support pastor who reveals he is gay

Pennsylvania ‘Pro-Life’ Bill Would Have Allowed Dismemberment of Unborn if Baby Killed First

Geologist Says Unusual Discovery in Antarctica Confirms Biblical Flood Account

Mysterious Blob of Hot Rock Building Up Under Northeast…

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 02:19 PM PST

Mysterious Blob of Hot Rock Building Up Under Northeast…A vast mass of hot rock is welling up underneath Vermont and extending into other subterranean regions below New England, new research shows. Scientists used a network of thousands of seismic measurement devices in the largest geological study of its kind, detecting the enormous blob upwelling under Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts – and possibly elsewhere.

“The upwelling we detected is like a hot air balloon, and we infer that something is rising up through the deeper part of our planet under New England,” says geophysicist Vadim Levin from Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Since New England doesn’t have any active volcanoes, the huge build-up is thought to be a geologically recent phenomenon, although in this case that means it could have slowly but steadily been growing for tens of millions of years. READ MORE

U.S. vetoes U.N. Jerusalem resolution, designed to reverse Trump recognition

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 12:45 PM PST

U.S. vetoes U.N. Jerusalem resolution, designed to reverse Trump recognitionThe United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution Monday that was proposed by Egypt and called for the reversal of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The U.S. vetoed it in a 14-1 vote, which meant the resolution failed.   The vote was held in response to Mr. Trump’s announcement earlier this month that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  After the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the U.S. does not veto

resolutions lightly and that this was her first veto — that it stood for “American sovereignty” and its role in the Middle East peace process. Haley told the Security Council that she has hope the peace process is not dead. “Our hand remains extended to both parties … We call on all countries that share this commitment to learn the hard lessons of the past and work to bring Israel and the Palestinian people in good faith to the peace table,” she said.  READ MORE

 

Amtrak train derails in Washington state, Multiple fatalities’ reported

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 10:42 AM PST

Amtrak train derails in Washington state, Multiple fatalities’ reportedAn inaugural ride on Amtrak’s new line meant to speed train service in Washington state turned deadly Monday after a train carrying more than 80 people derailed outside of Tacoma — causing several train cars to tumble from an overpass onto an interstate highway, officials said.  “Multiple fatalities” were reported after Amtrak train 501 derailed about 7:30 a.m. along Interstate 5 as it was leaving the new

Tacoma station, Pierce County Sheriff’s Spokesman Ed Troyer said. He did not specify the number of people killed. The train was traveling southbound from Seattle when it derailed. Police previously said several cars were struck by the Amtrak train cars, injuring multiple drivers on the highway. No motorists’ deaths were reported, according to Pierce County officials. READ MORE

Atlanta Airport Blackout Sends Grim Message to Terrorists

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 07:15 AM PST

Atlanta Airport Blackout Sends Grim Message to TerroristsIf a terrorist wanted to find the most vulnerable point in America’s airport network they could not have hoped for a better guide than what just happened at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson.  Just after 1 p.m. Sunday the whole airport, the world’s busiest, went dark. Thousands of flights were disrupted. For many hours nobody in authority attempted to explain—or even seemed able to explain—what had happened.

Just imagine this is a classic plan for phase one of a terrorist attack: Render the target blind. None of the defenses are operational. Thousands of people are trapped in restricted space without directions about how they can find an exit. As chaos spreads nobody knows who turn to for information. The communications blackout is as complete as the power blackout. Given this situation, a small band of suicide bombers could roam freely and commit mayhem and massacre on an unprecedented scale. READ MORE

 

Chick-fil-A steps up and feeds thousands stranded during airport blackout

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 07:11 AM PST

Chick-fil-A steps up and feeds thousands stranded during airport blackoutChick-fil-A, famed for never opening on Sundays and will likely never be, has made an exception.  The fast-food chain is stepping in to feed passengers left affected by the Atlanta airport blackout, according to the City of Atlanta. They’ll be served at the Georgia International Convention Center, where they are able to stay overnight, which is a pretty nice consolation given what some of these people have gone through.  It’s a remarkable aberration from the company’s policy on Sunday trading hours, rooted in founder

Truett Cathy’s devout Christian beliefs. The policy remains the same at the Chick-fil-A in the newly opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Its main tenant, the Atlanta Falcons, will only play one regular season game that doesn’t fall on a Sunday. As of 11:30 p.m. EST, there were 2,000 meals served to passengers, according to Atlanta’s mayor Kasim Reed. See, this is how bad it has to get for Chick-Fil-A to open on a Sunday. READ MORE

Israel bombs Gaza strip in retaliation to ‘red siren’ attack

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 08:13 PM PST

Israel bombs Gaza strip in retaliation to ‘red siren’ attackIsraeli fighter jets are targeting Gaza with bombs in response to an earlier attack on the country.  Red sirens were heard in the Southern town of Negev as thousands rushed for cover from two rockets launched from the Gaza strip. An empty Israeli home was directly hit by one of the rockets. In a statement cited by local media, Head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council Tamir Idan said:

“We expect and demand that the security forces will respond strongly and make it clear to the terrorist that the state of Israel is determined not to allow such firing of rockets to continue.” He added: “We are not prepared that an emergency situation will become our daily routine.” A third rocket is said to have been launched but failed to reach Israel, reports claim. READ MORE

Suicide bombers attack Pakistan church, killing at least 9

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 08:00 PM PST

Suicide bombers attack Pakistan church, killing at least 9Two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan where hundreds of worshippers were attending service ahead of Christmas, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens of others, officials said. One of the suicide bombers was shot dead outside Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, but the other assailant made it to the church’s entrance hall as Sunday services opened, said Sarfaraz Bugti,

home minister for the southwestern Baluchistan province. The gunman — who didn’t gain access to the main building — opened fire at the churchgoers before detonating his explosive vest. “There were nearly 400 people inside the church, but the attackers couldn’t get inside the services,” provincial police chief Moazzam Jah told Reuters. “We killed one of them, and the other one exploded himself after police wounded him,” he said.  READ MORE

Erdogan says Turkey aims to open embassy in East Jerusalem

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 07:55 PM PST

Erdogan says Turkey aims to open embassy in East JerusalemTurkey intends to open an embassy in East Jerusalem, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, days after leading calls at a summit of Muslim leaders for the world to recognize it as the capital of Palestine. It was not clear how he would carry out the move, as Israel controls all of Jerusalem and calls the city its indivisible capital. Palestinians want the capital of a future state they seek to be in East Jerusalem, which Israel took in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognized internationally.

The Muslim nation summit was a response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. His move broke with decades of U.S. policy and international consensus that the city’s status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Erdogan said in a speech to members of his AK Party in the southern province of Karaman that Turkey’s consulate general in Jerusalem was already represented by an ambassador. READ MORE

College Professor Says “Jingle Bells” is Racist

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 07:09 PM PST

College Professor Says “Jingle Bells” is RacistIt’s that time of year, and what would we do without progressive academics being Debbie Downers during all the holiday cheer?  Take Boston University’s theater professor Kyna Hamill, who says the timeless Christmas tune “Jingle Bells” has a “problematic history” because it was “originally performed to make fun of African Americans.” “The legacy of ‘Jingle Bells’ is one where its blackface and racist origins have been subtly and systematically removed from its history,” Hamill told Fox News. The

professor wrote a research paper titled “’The story I must tell’: ‘Jingle Bells’ in the Minstrel Repertoire” in which she says Although ‘One Horse Open Sleigh,’ for most of its singers and listeners, may have eluded its racialized past and taken its place in the seemingly unproblematic romanticization of a normal ‘white’ Christmas, attention to the circumstances of its performance history enables reflection on its problematic role in the construction of blackness and whiteness in the United States. READ MORE

Iran seeks ‘new world order’ on ‘ruins’ of West

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 07:00 PM PST

Iran seeks ‘new world order’ on ‘ruins’ of WestThe 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, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin..  “Iran will, in the future, become one of the poles of the world,” wrote Abdollah Motevalian in a recent column in the daily newspaper Javan.  The paper is “affiliated with the country’s ideological camp,” according to the Middle

East Media Research Institute, which monitors and analyzes media in the region.  The writer cited a list of principles that provide the foundation for the Islamic revolution’s objectives.  “Identifying the enemy; believing in the need for fighting the enemy; a revolutionary discourse; a fighting strategy; persistence in fighting, with no hiatus; jihadi spirit; a plan for the fighting; tirelessness; making it a people’s war and leveraging all the human potential in the country.” READ MORE

 

Feds Shut Down Christian Health-Care Provider

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 06:48 PM PST

Feds Shut Down Christian Health-Care ProviderThe mission of the health non-profit Daniel Chapter One was simple. Using biblical principles, Jim and Patricia Feijo created a series of products enthusiastically endorsed by customers who claimed it soothed their ailments.  Yet that was enough for the Food and Drug Administration and the Internal Revenue Service to launch an aggressive raid, complete with screaming and drawn guns, to shut down the ministry. On March 31, 2015, the United States government closed the 30-year ministry of Daniel Chapter One,

claiming it might violate a governmental order – without any customer complaints or any evidence of harm.  The consequences could be dire. As Jim Feijo noted, the rationale behind the government’s action could open practically every American to the charge of “practicing medicine” for sharing or utilizing folk remedies, with fines and punishments to follow.  Now, Patricia Feijo is sharing her story in the new book “Called To Stand,” from World Ahead Press.  She recently discussed her family’s experiences and their implications for all Americans in a conversation with Rabbi Eric Walker on “Revealing The Truth.”  READ MORE

 

 

California wildfire continues to grow as strong shifting winds bring new dangers…

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 06:00 PM PST

California wildfire continues to grow as strong shifting winds bring new dangers…The massive Thomas fire continued to grow Sunday even after an epic battle to protect homes along the Santa Barbara County coast Saturday proved successful despite intense winds. The third-largest wildfire in modern California history was burning a massive swath from Santa Barbara to Ventura, fueled by intense Santa Ana winds, with gusts topping 70 mph early Sunday in some valley and mountain areas.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory in the region. As of Sunday morning, the fire was at 269,000 acres and 40% contained. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said 18,000 structures were threatened. Fire crews were expected to shift their focus from Santa Barbara to Ventura County, where the northern edge of the fire was moving east and red flag conditions were expected to remain in place until Sunday night, officials said. Winds could gust up to 55 mph. READ MORE

Bitcoin Is Now Worth More Than Wal-Mart (The Entire Company)

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 05:54 PM PST

Bitcoin Is Now Worth More Than Wal-Mart (The Entire Company)Would you rather own 100% of Wal-Mart or every Bitcoin in existence?  At one point such a question would have been completely absurd, but now things have changed.  As I write this article, Wal-Mart has a market cap of 287.68 billion dollars.  Wal-Mart is the king of the retail industry in America, and nobody else is even close.  Bitcoin, on the other hand, is an entirely digital creation that did not even exist until 2009.  No government or central bank in the entire world recognizes it as a legitimate currency, and there are very, very few retail establishments that are willing to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.  And yet at this moment, Bitcoin has a market cap of 310 billion dollars.

When the year began, Bitcoin had just crossed the $1,000 threshold, and now it is selling for more than $18,000.  Of course other cryptocurrencies have been rising at an even faster pace.  We have never seen anything quite like this before, and some are warning that this is a giant bubble that is about to burst… Axel Weber, the board chairman of big bank UBS, has warned of a possible Bitcoin currency crash. With increasing numbers of small investors jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, it is time for regulators to intervene, he says. Bitcoin has surged from $1,000 (CHF990) at the start of the year to above $16,000. READ MORE

UN Security Council to vote on outlawing Trump’s Jerusalem decision

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 05:46 PM PST

UN Security Council to vote on outlawing Trump’s Jerusalem decisionThe UN Security Council is expected to vote Monday on a resolution confirming the international status of Jerusalem and outlawing any changes to it – which implies the recent US move to recognize it as the capital of Israel.  The text of the document, drafted by Egypt, which was seen by Reuters, says that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” It does not specifically mention the US or its recent

decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, but it implies a call on Washington to withdraw it. The text also mentions “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”  The one-page resolution that was circulated to the members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Saturday also urges all countries to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem in yet another apparent message to US President Donald Trump. After he took office, the new president’s administration signaled that it could move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but had not fulfilled this promise to date.  READ MORE

South Korea experiences earliest ice formation on the Han River in 71 years

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 02:06 PM PST

South Korea experiences earliest ice formation on the Han River in 71 yearsKim In-sik, head of the Seoul Weather Station, stood on the Han River Bridge and looked down on the river for about two and a half hours since 5 a.m. He slapped his lap. At the dawn’s light, it was definitely ice on the shining surface of the river. After two nights amid severe cold weather, the day set a record for the earliest ice formation on the Han River since 1946. A five-day cold spell has led to ice formation on the Han River one month earlier than expected. The Korea Meteorological Administration said that the

earliest ice formation of this winter was observed at the Han River Bridge at the dawn of Friday. The ice was formed between second and fourth piers on the Noryangjin side. This has been the first ice formation on the Han River before December 15 in 71 years since December 12, 1946. Freezing of the Han River occurred 29 days earlier than the usual (January 13) and even 42 days earlier than last year (January 26). The biggest attributing factor is the unusual cold wave that hit the Korean Peninsula in the middle of December.  READ MORE

Queensland, Australia Experiences Coldest Summer in 100 Years

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 01:57 PM PST

Queensland, Australia Experiences Coldest Summer in 100 YearsWhile sweat and Queensland summer go hand-in-hard, people in the state’s west are reaching for cardigans as overnight December temperatures break record lows.   From Birdsville to the Gulf of Carpentaria, temperatures dropped to 11 degrees Celsius below average – a phenomenon forecasters describe as “very unusual”. “I’ve been forecasting for a few decades now and I can’t really remember anything quite this spectacular as far as dry and cool at this time of year,” said Bureau of Meteorology forecaster David Bernard.

“It’s the sort of thing we often see in winter which usually leads to really cold winter nights, but we don’t often see it in December.”  Mount Isa had its lowest overnight December temperate ever on record at 12 degrees Celsius – 11C degrees below average.  “Burketown yesterday had a minimum of 17.7C which was the lowest they’d seen up there since 1920, but that was eclipsed today with 16C, and that’s the coldest December morning since 1907,” Mr Bernard said.  “Richmond yesterday was 11.8C which was the lowest there in December since 1909.”  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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Bethel’s house of cards; tarot-rists leading people to Baal/Jezebel by practicing occultism in God’s name.

After reading this article, people should now know to avoid Bethel, Redding in California and Christalignment because of their engagement in witchcraft and demonic practices. We advise readers to prayerfully consider what you are about to read as we lift the lid of what is lurking beneath the occultic Christalignment ‘ministry’. We are aware that the content in this article is not suitable to some readers who are young in the faith.


If the people of Bethel really read their bibles, they would notice that Jesus was very judgmental at times. Consider these words of Jesus to one of the churches in Revelation:

“But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.Revelation 2:20

In the bible, idolatry is often connected to ‘spiritual…

View original post 1,859 more words

The Life & Teaching of Social Justice Jesus

Following is a satirical piece written in 2008 by the late Ken Silva:

Apprising Ministries gave you a description of this social justice “Jesus,” whose roots are firmly within spiritually bankrupt liberal theology, years ago in Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up? 

I am the Jesus of today’s liberal theology of inclusive, politically correct, universalism. I am only a human man—arguably the best example of a man and the greatest teacher to yet live. However, I was not born of a virgin; nor did I actually rise from the dead. Unfortunately as a mere Jewish Rabbi, I attracted such devoted followers that even after my death they wanted to keep my spirit alive so to speak. And so they went and built this elaborate theology around me, which is largely based on the writings of that rascal Paul. Sadly, they ended up making me into a god.

But I never I made any such outlandish claims. I teach that the most important thing we can do is to love one another. You see, that’s all that matters because we are the brotherhood of man. No one should ever criticize what another person honestly believes about God. After-all, all of humanity is actually already all God’s children. And even though we may take different paths of religion in this life, as all religions please God if they are sincere, in the end—as in Love Wins a la Rob Bell—we’ll all be with God because everyone is eventually going to be saved. Mankind is just too good to be condemned and God is too good to condemn him.

As long as you love one another it really doesn’t matter to God what you believe about him. He’s just delighted if you believe in him. And so, as the old pop hymn goes, “don’t worry; be happy.” You need to feel good about yourself. In fact, every religion reserves a place for me. The fact is, I’m the most popular Jesus because I’m not going to make any demands of you. The only choice believing in me requires is that if you’re going to follow my teachings you will have to look at the Bible as being the same as all the other religious literature. You don’t really need to be any more concerned with the Bible than you would be with any other book of man’s religious teachings.

Although it most likely does teach some actual truth about God, the Bible isn’t any more important than any of the other holy books of any of the other cultures. I teach that all of them contain a way to God and that all religions eventually lead back to him; so, I’m not exactly clear on why I had to go to the cross. Perhaps the best guess is that I was the man God used to show his empathy toward mankind and to enter himself into our sufferings through the injustice shown to me.

If this is the kind of mythology you’re being taught about Jesus, then you need to run from those teaching this skubalon to you and return to the only Jesus Who actually exists.

The historic Person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as revealed in the infallible and inerrant Word of God, the Bible:

I am the Jesus of the historic, orthodox Christian Church, which I purchased with My Own blood. I Am the one true and eternal God incarnate—God the Son—second Person of the blessed and Holy Trinity. I am the very Creator of the entire universe and the only Savior of hopelessly lost mankind. There is never a time in which I did not exist as I am the spotless  Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

And in the fullness of time I was born of the Virgin Mary and clothed with human flesh—truly God and truly man. Then while on My planet I lived the sinless life necessary for you to come and be in the Presence of God the Father. In My Father’s will, and for His glory, I willingly sacrificed My perfect life for yours.

I shed My blood on the Cross as an offering for the sins of all who are literally new creations regenerated by God the Holy Spirit who believe in me. On the Cross I bore the wrath of Almighty God that you actually deserve and as I died in your place I said: “It is finished.” All is done, so there’s nothing left for anyone else to do.

I was buried, but on the third day, I rose again from the dead in the same Body so that you could know that God the Father accepted my sacrifice and that I am the One I claim to be. Now you can trust in Me because by My resurrection you know that I am able to save all those who by God’s grace alone, place their faith alone, in Me alone.

I say that, “In all the universe there is only one God; you are not Him, nor will you ever be.”

Original title: Social Justice Jesus: Great Commission of Coexistence

Source:

31 questions to ask for a more Christ-centered 2018

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.

1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

In addition to these ten questions, here are twenty-one more to help you “Consider your ways.” Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month.

11. What’s the most important decision you need to make this year?

12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way you could simplify in that area?

13. What’s the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?

14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?

15. Who is the person you most want to encourage this year?

16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?

17. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?

18. What’s one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?

19. What’s one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?

20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?

21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?

22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?

23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?

24. What’s the most important trip you want to take this year?

25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?

26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?

27. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?

28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?

29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?

30. What’s the most important new item you want to buy this year?

31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn’t considered the question.

If you’ve found these questions helpful, you might want to put them someplace—in your phone, day planner, calendar, bulletin board, etc.—where you can review them more frequently than once a year.

So let’s evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical diligence, remembering that, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage” (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let’s also remember our dependence on our King who said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

The post 31 questions to ask for a more Christ-centered 2018 appeared first on Southern Equip.

December 19, 2017 Birth Announcement, Part 2

By James Boice on Dec 19, 2017 12:00 am

There is something else that’s significant about this prophecy. Isaiah writes that it’s a shoot that will come up from the stump of Jesse, and it’s a branch that’s going to spring from its roots. What enters your mind when you think of a stump or roots? Well, obviously you think of a tree that’s been cut down. A stump is a tree that has been cleared away at ground level, and there’s nothing left but roots underneath that stump. It is from this stump and from those roots that the Messiah (called the Branch) is going to appear.

Read more…

December 19, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jas 5:16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


Prayer and Fellowship

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. (5:16a)

Therefore marks a transition in the flow of thought. Turning his attention from the sins of those believers who have been defeated in the spiritual battle, James addressed the congregation as a whole, exhorting believers to continually confess their sins to one another and not wait until those sins dragged them into the depths of utter spiritual defeat. The inspired writer was well aware that sin is most dangerous to an isolated believer. Sin seeks to remain private and secret, but God wants it exposed and dealt with in the loving fellowship of other believers. Therefore James called for mutual honesty and mutual confession as believers pray for one another.

Maintaining open, sharing, and praying relationships with other Christians will help keep believers from bottoming out in their spiritual lives. Such relationships help give the spiritual strength that provides victory over sin. And they also provide godly pressure to confess and forsake sins before they become overwhelming to the point of total spiritual defeat.

The purpose for the mutual prayer that James called for is that believers may be healed.Iaomai (healed) does not necessarily refer to physical healing. In Matthew 13:15 it symbolized God’s withheld forgiveness of Israel’s sins (cf. John 12:40; Acts 28:27). The writer of Hebrews also used it metaphorically to speak of spiritual restoration (Heb. 12:12–13), while Peter used it to describe the healing from sin Christ purchased for believers on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). James uses it to refer to God’s forgiveness, making the repentant believer spiritually whole again.[1]


5:16 confess your sins. Though confession to a priest is not required by Scripture, confession to God and to one another is. Overreaction against the Roman Catholic sacrament of penance may lead to a neglect of authentic godly confession.


righteous person. A godly person who prays in faith is a just or righteous person.[2]5:16confess your sins to one another While James instructs his audience to confess their sins to each other, few nt texts attest to a standard practice of public confession.

James probably is referring to the act of confessing to the offended party, which would fit with the letter’s emphasis on fellowship in the congregation (see Matt 5:23–24). Confessions could also include public acknowledgment of sin in cases where the whole church has been violated.

so that you may be healed This could refer to physical healing or the restoration of the congregation’s spiritual health.

a righteous person Refers to a person who is committed to doing the will of God and to cultivating right relationship with Him.[3]


5:16confess your sins to one another. Sometimes confession in the community is needed before healing can take place, since sin may be the cause of the illness (cf. 1 Cor. 11:29–30). Pray for one another is directed to all the readers of James’s letter and indicates that he did not expect prayer for healing to be limited to the elders (James 5:14). The righteous will have great power in prayer, as God grants their requests.[4]


5:16 confess your sins. Mutual honesty, openness, and sharing of needs will enable believers to uphold each other in the spiritual struggle. effective prayer … can accomplish much. The energetic, passionate prayers of godly people have the power to accomplish much. Cf. Nu 11:2.[5]


5:16a Confess your trespassesto one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. A casual reading of this statement might give the impression that we are to tell other people all about our secret sins. But that is not at all the thought! Primarily James means that when we sin against someone else, we should be prompt to confess this sin to the person we have wronged.

Also we should pray for one another. Instead of holding grudges and allowing resentments to build up, we should maintain ourselves in fellowship with others through confession and prayer.

Physical healing is linked with spiritual restoration. Notice how James links together confession, prayer, and healing. It is a clear intimation of the vital connection between the physical and the spiritual. Man is a tripartite being—spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23). What affects one part of him affects all. In the OT, the priest was also the physician. It was he who diagnosed leprosy, and it was he who pronounced it cured, for instance. By thus combining the offices of priest and doctor in one person, the Lord indicated the close tie between the spirit and the body.

The field of psychosomatic medicine recognizes this link and searches for personal problems that might be causing physical troubles. But modern medicine does not have the remedy for sin. Deliverance from the guilt, defilement, power, and penalty of sin can come only on the basis of the blood of Christ, and through confession Godward and manward. More often than we are willing to admit, illnesses are caused by sin—such sins as gluttony, worry, anger, an unforgiving spirit, intemperance, jealousy, selfishness, and pride. Sin in the life brings sickness and sometimes death (1 Cor. 11:30). We should confess and forsake sin as soon as we are aware it has come into our lives. All sins should be confessed to God. In addition, sins against other people should be confessed to them as well. It is vital for our spiritual health and good for our physical health.

5:16b–18 Tremendous power is made available through a good man’s earnest prayer. Do you remember Elijah? He was a man like us, but he prayed earnestly that it should not rain. In fact, not a drop fell on the land for three and a half years. Then he prayed again; the heavens gave the rain, and the earth sprouted with vegetation as usual (JBP).

This incident is recorded in 1 Kings 17:1–19:10. Ahab was king of Israel at the time. Through his wife Jezebel, he be came a worshiper of Baal, and led the people into this vile form of idolatry. “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (16:33). It was a direct result of sin that drought came upon Israel for three and a half years.

Then Elijah had the famous contest with the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel. When the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the altar, and the water, the people were convinced, and they turned back to the Lord. Elijah prayed again and the drought ended. The example of Elijah is given as an encouragement to us to pray for those who have sinned and wandered away from fellowship with God. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much or, as someone has paraphrased it: “The prayer of a man whose heart is right with God works wonders.” Lest we be tempted to think of him as belonging to a higher creation than ourselves, James reminds us that Elijah was a man with the same kind of frail flesh. He was a mere man, subject to the same weaknesses and infirmities as other men.[6]


Power of Prayer

5:16

Confession of sin and praying for one another are vital ingredients of the healing ministry in the Christian community. When sin is removed, the power of prayer becomes evident in its amazing effectiveness.

16a. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

In this text we note three essential verbs: confess, pray, and heal.

  • “Confess.” James says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other.” With the adverb therefore, he links this sentence to the preceding verse where he writes of sickness, sin, and forgiveness. James uses the adverb to refer to the previous verse, to provide a basis for the succeeding sentence, and to stress the necessity of confessing sin.

Unconfessed sin blocks the pathway of prayer to God and at the same time is a formidable obstacle in interpersonal relations. That means, confess your sins not only to God but also to the persons who have been injured by your sins. Ask them for forgiveness!

“Confession cleanses the soul.” That is a time-worn saying which does not lose its validity. Confession is a mark of repentance and a plea for forgiveness on the part of the sinner. When the sinner confesses his sin and asks for and receives remission, he experiences freedom from the burden of guilt.

To whom do we confess our sins? The text says “to each other.” James does not specify the church or the elders; rather, he speaks of mutual confession on a one-to-one basis within a circle of believers. He does not rule out that members of the church ought to confide in the pastor and elders (v. 14). Some sins concern all believers in the church and thus these sins ought to be confessed publicly. Other sins are private and need not be made known except to persons who are directly involved. Discretion and limitation, therefore, must guide the sinner who wishes to confess his personal sins. Curtis Vaughan makes this telling observation:

But whereas the Roman Catholics have interpreted confession too narrowly, many of us may be tempted to interpret it too broadly. Confession of all our sins to all the brethren is not necessarily enjoined by James’ statement. Confession is “the vomit of the soul” and can, if too generally and too indiscriminately made, do more harm than good.

  • “Pray.” The beauty of Christian fellowship comes to expression in the practice of mutual prayer after sins have been confessed and forgiven. The offender and the offended pray on behalf of each other; together they find spiritual strength and comfort in the Lord. In their prayers they visibly and audibly demonstrate reciprocity. The forgiven sinner prays for the spiritual welfare of his fellow believer, who in turn commends him to the mercies of God.
  • “Be healed.” James states the purpose for confessing sin and praying for each other by saying, “so that you may be healed.” He is purposely vague in this statement; that is, he fails to mention whether he means physical or spiritual healing, actual or possible healing, individual or corporate healing. What is certain, however, is that when believers confess their sins to each other and pray for one another, a healing process takes place. And that can be applied to any situation.

16b. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Who is this righteous man? We are inclined to look to spiritual giants, to the heroes of the faith, and to men and women of God. In our opinion they are the people who through prayer are able to move mountains. But James mentions no names, except that of Elijah with the qualification that he is “just like us” (v. 17). He means to say that any believer whose sins have been forgiven and who prays in faith is righteous. When he prays, his prayers are “powerful and effective.”

Both prayer and the answer to prayer are powerful and effective. The one does not cancel the other. That is, prayer offered in faith by a forgiven believer is a powerful and effective means to approach the throne of God. And, God “rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6), for his answers to prayer are indeed powerful and effective.[7]


Prayer in Confession of Sin (v. 16a)

5:16a. Because God hears the prayers of penitent people and forgives sin, Christians should confess their sins to one another and pray for one another. The mention of “healing” at the conclusion of this verse makes it likely that the sins to be confessed are those which have caused illness. The healing shows the purpose of the mutual confession and prayer.

Since the intent of the confession of sins is to experience physical healing, it seems best to refer the command to the confession of sins which may hinder healing. The confessor of sins is seeking healing by the act of admitting sins.

Two interesting observations come from this verse. First, the entire church is to be involved in this praying. It is not confined to the elders. Second, the power to heal appears in the act of praying, not in the elder or other one praying.

Confess means “to say the same thing.” It suggests that in confessing, we must identify the sin by its true name and call it what it is. We must acknowledge and repent of specific sins, not merely offer a general confession of guilt.

Placed so close to the discussion of prayer for the sick, this verse likely has its primary application in confession of sin by people who are sick. However, the application is easily extended to confession of sin in any of life’s situations.

This confession of sin seeks to secure faithful prayer support for stumbling Christians from trusted spiritual friends. It is not urging a careless confession to just anybody. Such a type of confession might cause more harm than good. It is confession to dedicated, trusted prayer warriors who will intercede for you with God.

Roman Catholics have used this verse to justify confession of sins to a priest. It is important to note that this verse discusses confession and intercession among Christians and not between a believer and a priest.[8]


The friends at prayer: a spirit of reconciliation (5:16a)

We come away from verses 14–15 with at least this clear in our minds, that prayer is a very powerful thing. It would seem that James intended that we should, for this is the thought which he carries over into the section now before us for study. If we isolate some keywords we shall see the line he is taking: … the prayer of faith will save thesick … (15). Therefore … pray for one another, that you may be healed (16). Prayer is not the prerogative of elders, nor is it confined to the sick-room. Rather it is the privilege of all believers, and something in which they should rejoice to share fellowship in order that one or the other, or both, may recover from the weaknesses and diseases of the past, and enter into a new spiritual health. If the sick can call the elders to pray, and God has pledged himself to respond so generously to their prayer, then surely we should be enthusiastic to lay hold of prayer in all situations in life. There (14–15) the matter was sickness; here (16a) it is sin which, in line with Scripture, James views as a sickness of the soul which needs to be healed. In this too we can involve ourselves in a fellowship of prayer and, as a result, look for the healing touch of God.

Has James some specific situation in mind? It would seem so. He says Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another. It is surely often the case that a Christian who is burdened by some sin will seek out a close friend and confide the problem, so that in prayer together they may bear one another’s burdens, and pray through to the place of deliverance, cleansing and healing. But this is not what James is speaking of here, and the wording he uses will not allow this interpretation. When the verb translated ‘confess’ is used other than of the confession of sin, it never means ‘admit sorrowfully’, as it would have to do in order to justify the thought of confiding sin to a friend. It can mean ‘to affirm’, but only in the sense of ‘acclaim’—as of affirming loyalty to God or acclaiming him16—but the sense ‘affirm to each other that you are sinners’ is impossible in the light of the way the word is used in the New Testament. The passage therefore is not speaking of the gathering of groups, or the holding of a meeting in which believers tell one another about their sins, nor can such practices be justified on the ground of James 5:16. For it does not say (even) ‘Confess your sins to God in each other’s presence’, but Confess your sins to one another.

The biblical position regarding confessing sin can be summed up in this way. ‘Confession must be made to the person against whom we have sinned, and from whom we need and desire to receive forgiveness.… There is “secret confession” to God because there are “secret sins” (Ps. 90:8) committed against God alone. Next, there is “private confession”, because some of our sins are committed against man as well as God, a private individual, or two or three such, and must be confessed to the offended party. Thirdly, there is “public confession”, because some sins are committed against a group … a community or the whole local congregation, and must therefore be confessed publicly.’ It is in this area of confession that James is moving. We have offended against a brother or sister and we must go to such a one privately and confess in what way we have done wrong, ask to be forgiven, and join in prayer for healing, ‘because the biblical principle is consistently that “confession” is due to the party who has been offended’.18 The believers whom James brings before us have not met to engage in mutual confession of secret sins—for the ‘confession’ of such is owed to God alone. Rather it is because the one has sinned against the other and is seeking opportunity, in private fellowship, to put things right, or because each has offended the other and they are ready to confess and be reconciled.

As we have seen throughout his letter, James is deeply concerned about fellowship. It is the soil in which a harvest of righteousness comes to full fruition (3:18). Breaches in fellowship are as grievous as war and murder (4:1ff.). It is more than suitable that he who has warned us so plainly about the dangers and causes of broken fellowship should come, before the end of his letter, to teach us the way of healing what has been broken. He looks for three things. First, he looks for a spirit of penitence. However hard and costly it may be, we simply must be prepared to go to the one we have wronged and confess our fault and put things right. Indeed, if we take the teaching of our Lord Jesus seriously (Mt. 5:23), we must be moved not only by our sense that we have wronged a brother or sister, but by our awareness that he or she thinks we have committed a hurtful sin. Some find it harder than others, and none find it easy to say ‘I am sorry’. But it is a biblical command that we should do so, and the cause of fellowship must be dearer to us than the humbling of our pride. Secondly, James looks for a spirit of reconciliation. If we should be, perchance, on the receiving end of someone else’s confession of sin, then we must be prompt and unhesitating in our welcome to the brother or sister who comes seeking to put things right. For if, on the one side, pride battles hard against confessing sin, pride battles equally hard against the simple reaching out of a forgiving hand. Sometimes too it is not just pride which holds back from forgiveness, but also fear: fear of trusting oneself to someone who has, possibly, been grievously treacherous or cruelly hurtful. Yet James covers all situations with his assumption that the overtures of the one who would confess are met by the welcome of the one who has been wronged. Rarely, of course, are things nicely clear-cut, and the platitude is true that there are usually faults on both sides. We should then covet nothing more than to get in first with our confession, and to outdo our brother or sister only in this, that we are warmer and more overflowing in reconciliation. Thirdly, James looks for a spirit of prayer, leading to healing. The two who were but recently far apart come into the close unity and harmony of the place of prayer. Mutual concern is expressed and hallowed in the presence of God; the breach is healed. Where spirits have been bruised, or where either has inflicted on the other a blow which has resulted in spiritual decline, then in answer to prayer God will grant restoration to spiritual health. Corporate prayer expresses this determination not only to come together after separation, but to undo the damage to the individual and the fellowship.[9]


5:16 / James summarizes his teaching on healing in two sentences. First, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. Confession of sin is important for healing. Pastors experienced in the Christian healing ministry repeatedly witness to times when the confession of a resentment, a grudge, or an unforgiven injury has lead to physical healing with or without further prayer. But James is generalizing beyond the individual healing situation, for now it is not “to the elders” but to each other that confession is made. The picture is that of a church gathering and the confession of sin to the assembled group. The mutual public confession (supplemented by private confession where public confession would not be appropriate) lays the basis for public prayer, in which people freed from all grudges and resentments, and reconciled through confession and forgiveness, pray for healing for each other. In this kind of atmosphere, the services of the elders at the bedside will rarely be needed.

Second, the prayer of a righteous [person] is powerful and effective. The righteous person is not sinlessly perfect, but is the person who has confessed any known sin and who adheres to the moral standards of the Christian community. With a clear conscience and in unity with God, this person prays a prayer that is powerful and effective. The Greek adds a difficult expression that probably means “when it reaches God and he answers it” (lit. “when it works”). Prayer is not itself powerful; it is not magic. But its power is unlimited in that the child of God calls on a Father of unlimited goodness and ability.[10]


16 Clearly building on the thought of the previous verse, with its mention of sins, prayer, and healing, the author transitions to exhort those in the Christian communities to mutual confession of sins and prayer. The use of “Therefore” (oun) followed by two present imperative verbs facilitates the transition. The first exhortation is to “confess your sins to each other.” Ropes, 309, understands the confession to be by the sick persons, who then are prayed for by the well, resulting in physical healing, but James seems to move from the specific situation of a seriously sick person in v. 15 to the general principle concerning the need for mutual confession and prayer in v. 16. On this interpretation, it is difficult to see the confession as preventative (as with Davids, 195), since the healing follows sickness in the verse, but the connection between sin in a community and physical illness seems clear nonetheless. Confession, a public acknowledgment of one’s guilt, may be by an individual or as a community, and in many cases in biblical literature, confession is connected to physical healing or some general form of salvation (Davids, 195–96; Johnson, 334). Johnson especially has shown the connection between physical healing and social restoration. This dynamic is prominent in the ministry of Jesus (e.g., Lk 5:17; 6:18–19) and reiterated in Acts (4:22, 30; 28:27; see Johnson, 335). Thus James, dealing with communities in which there was a good bit of social strife, points to vital Christian remedies for fractured relationships—open confession of sin and mutual prayer, which are actions that promote transparency, support, and unity. Consequently, the exhortations to confession and prayer are followed by “so that” (hopōs), a marker showing the purpose for something, and that purpose in the present case is expressed as “you may be healed.” The healing in mind is physical but points to a deeper spiritual healing of sin and broken relationships.

Whereas the first part of v. 16 consists of exhortations, the second makes a theological assertion concerning the effectiveness of prayer. In this case, the NASB reflects more accurately than the NIV the structure of the Greek text: “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” First, the prayer under discussion is that of a righteous person. In 1:5–8 and 4:3–4, James has already noted that a sinful lifestyle hinders prayer, and he now expresses the flip side of that fact. In 5:17–18, he follows by offering Elijah as a prime example of such a person. Second, the prayer is “effective” (energeō, GK 1919), expressed with an adjectival participle meaning “to work,” “to be active,” or “to be operative.” Thus the prayer in mind is prayer put into action, or made operative. Finally, this prayer is able to “accomplish much.” James uses a verb (ischyō, GK 2710) that connotes having the resources or power to bring something about, and what prayer is able to accomplish is “much.”[11]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 279–280). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1807). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jas 5:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2399). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jas 5:16). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2244). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 178–179). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 349). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[9] Motyer, J. A. (1985). The message of James: the tests of faith (pp. 200–203). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[10] Davids, P. H. (2011). James (pp. 124–125). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[11] 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. 271–272). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


DECEMBER 19 REVIVAL—AND RENEWAL

Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

I hope some of you will agree with me that it is of far greater importance that we have better Christians than that we have more of them!

If we have any spiritual concerns, our most pressing obligation is to do all in our power to obtain a revival that will result in a reformed, revitalized, purified church.

Each generation of Christians is the seed of the next, and degenerate seed is sure to produce a degenerate harvest—not a little better than but worse than the seed from which it sprang. Thus the direction will be down until vigorous, effective means are taken to improve the seed.

Why is it easier to talk about revival than to experience it? Because followers of Christ must become personally and vitally involved in the death and resurrection of Christ. And this requires repentance, prayer, watchfulness, self-denial, detachment from the world, humility, obedience and cross carrying!

Father God, I pray for Your Spirit to send “fresh fire” to revitalize the church in the United States. We have become weakened seed that must be reinvigorated for the next generation of Christians to be strong and healthy.[1]


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

December 19 Parable of the Hidden Treasure

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.—Matt. 13:44

Palestine was a battleground for centuries; therefore families would commonly bury clothing, food, household valuables, money, and jewelry to protect them from plundering enemy soldiers. Josephus, the Jewish historian, wrote, “The gold and the silver and the rest of that most precious furniture which the Jews had and which the owners treasured underground was done to withstand the fortunes of war.” When the owners of such treasures died or departed the country, the valuables would be forever lost unless someone accidentally discovered them.

Given that history, this parable’s hidden treasure was probably long forgotten until the man found it as he passed through the field. The man was so joyful at his find that he was willing to sacrifice everything in order to possess it, the metaphor for God’s kingdom. That is the point of Jesus’ parable, not the ethics of what the man did, as some Christians wrongly suppose. Such observers think the man was unethical not to have told the field’s owner about the treasure, since it rightfully belonged to him.

But the man was not unethical. First, he obviously knew the owner was not aware of the treasure or he would have first offered it to him. Second, rabbinic law said finders could keep what they found. Third, had the man been dishonest, he would have gone off with the treasure without any thought of buying the field. But he realized that a field with treasure—the kingdom—was so valuable that he sold all else to obtain it. Nothing is more important for us than possessing that treasure also.

ASK YOURSELF

What treasures of the kingdom have you stumbled upon recently? When you see them, what are you motivated to forsake in order to more fully and consistently experience the power, joy, and freedom of living in pure fellowship with God?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 362). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 19 A Message of Grace

You shall call His name JESUS. For He will save His people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21

You may skip the genealogy when you read the Christmas story aloud. But don’t overlook its message of grace, which after all is the heart of the Christmas story: God in His mercy doing for sinners what they cannot do for themselves—mending broken lives and restoring shattered hopes. That’s why He came—to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).

Here’s the best part: the same grace that was evident in the genealogy is active today, and the same Jesus is saving His people from their sins. No sin, no matter how heinous, puts sinners beyond His reach. “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25, kjv).[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 380). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

DECEMBER 19 THE REVERENTIAL FEAR OF GOD

Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

—Psalm 2:11

When we come into this sweet relationship, we are beginning to learn astonished reverence, breathless adoration, awesome fascination, lofty admiration of the attributes of God and something of the breathless silence that we know when God is near.

You may never have realized it before, but all of those elements in our perception and consciousness of the divine Presence add up to what the Bible calls “the fear of God.” …

The fear of God is that “astonished reverence” of which the great Faber wrote. I would say that it may grade anywhere from its basic element—the terror of the guilty soul before a holy God—to the fascinated rapture of the worshiping saint. There are very few unqualified things in our lives, but I believe that the reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state and the most purifying emotion the human soul can know. WHT030-031

Lord, teach me today something of that astonished reverence, that combination of frightening and wonderful feelings that make up true knowledge of You. Amen.[1]


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

December 19 Christ’s New Name

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

Philippians 2:9

✧✧✧

God exalted Christ by giving Him a new name.

In today’s verse a question that arises is, What is the name that is above every name? To be consistent with Scripture, it has to be a name that goes beyond merely distinguishing one person from another. It has to be a name that describes Christ’s nature—revealing something of His inner being. Only such a name would cause Him to be clearly ranked above all others. Paul wasn’t referring to a comparative name, but a superlative name—one that would set Christ above and beyond all comparison.

Change of name in Scripture indicates the commencement of a unique relationship. When God established His covenant with Abram, He changed his name to “Abraham” (Gen. 17:5). When God entered into a unique relationship with Jacob, He gave Him the name “Israel” (Gen. 32:22–32). In the New Testament, Jesus called a man named Simon to follow Him, then gave him a new name: Peter (Matt. 16:18). Those names were given to mark a definite stage in a person’s life. God has done that throughout redemptive history. Philippians 2:9 affirms that God gave Christ a name. He already had many names—Jesus, Christ, Son of Man, Son of God, Messiah—but He received a new name.

Some assume that the new name is Jesus because verse 10 says, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” But that wasn’t a new name; it was bestowed at birth (see Matt. 1:21). Nor is the name Jesus above every other name (there have been a lot of people named Jesus). The only name mentioned in Philippians 2:9–11 that is above every name is Lord. In verse 11 Paul says, “Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” That is the only name God gave Christ that is above every name. Whoever is Lord is in control.

Let us exalt Christ our Lord by offering Him praise and living a holy life.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank Christ for being Lord of the universe as well as Lord of your life.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 2. What are the key aspects? ✧ Is everyone happy about Christ’s position?[1]


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

December 18 Daily Help

O Christian, do you doubt as to whether God will fulfil his promise? Shall the munitions of rock be carried by storm? Shall the storehouses of heaven fail? Do you think that your heavenly Father, though he knoweth that you have need of food and raiment, will yet forget you? When not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered, will you mistrust and doubt him? Full many there be who have been tried till at last they have been driven to exercise faith in God, and the moment of their faith has been the instant of their deliverance.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 356). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 18, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 11:5–6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


5 As in the days of Elijah, so now in Paul’s own time the vast majority of Israel had resisted God. This majority had resisted the gospel, and, in spite of their claim of loyalty to God and the law, they rejected the climactic revelation in his Son. Those who had turned to Christ were only “a remnant.” But the matter of numbers is not crucial. What is of the greatest importance is the very existence of the remnant itself. The faithfulness of God rests squarely on this remnant of Jews who have believed the gospel, this remnant, as Paul puts it, “chosen by grace.” The remnant is of such great importance because it is, as Stuhlmacher, 163, points out, “a sign of hope which God has established for all Israel.”[1]


11:5–6 / Verse 5 contemporizes the Elijah story and shifts the focus to the present. This is less apparent, however, in the niv than in the Greek. As God had preserved a faithful minority in Elijah’s day, so he had preserved a minority of Jews who believed in Jesus Christ as a remnant chosen by grace (v. 5). This is the only place in the nt where the word remnant (Gk. leimma) occurs, although it is quite close in meaning to the word “chosen” (Gk. eklogē, vv. 5, 7). The idea of the remnant was first presented in 9:27, though in different terminology. The word for remnant (leimma, v. 5) may have been suggested in Paul’s mind by the word for “reserved” (Gk. kataleipō) in verse 4 above, of which it is a cognate. It is not a remnant of virtue or good works or merit, but a remnant chosen by grace. Israel and the church rightly understand their election only when they understand it as an action of God’s free grace, not as an achievement of their works. Had the Jewish Christians become a remnant because of their works, they would have had no significance for greater Israel, for Israel itself “pursued a law of righteousness” (9:31). But since the remnant had been preserved by grace, it became a pledge of God’s continuing favor towards Israel as a whole. The remnant of grace, in other words, affirms that Israel was called into existence by grace (9:8–11) and awaits a future consummation of grace (11:28–32).[2]


11:5–6. Just as God preserved a remnant of faithful believers in Israel during Elijah’s day (as he had done throughout the nation’s history; the example with Elijah is cited by Paul as a clear example), so God is preserving a remnant in the nation of Israel even as Paul writes. He had already explained earlier in Romans that election in Israel was based neither on heritage (both Ishmael and Isaac were descendants of Abraham, but only Isaac received the promise; Rom. 9:6–9) nor on merit (while Jacob and Esau were in the womb, before either had done anything good or bad, Jacob was chosen over Esau; Rom. 9:10–13).

Heritage and merit (works) were the two most lofty ideals among religious Jews—the fact that they were descendants of Abraham and zealously kept God’s law. As we have seen already, even Paul the Pharisee had placed great confidence in his heritage and merit before God (Phil. 3:4–6). But as God chose in Israel in the Old Testament, so he chooses today—by his “mercy” (Rom. 9:14–16) and grace. In other words, it is God’s plan that is being worked out in the nation of Israel. He is the one who is ordaining, working out, and ensuring the completion of his plan (see his sovereignty at work in Rom. 8:28–30 on an individual basis).

While there was an election of the nation of Israel as a whole (Amos 3:2), there has constantly been at work a separation, another election, within the nation, by which believers were being separated from unbelievers. In the Old Testament, it did not “depend on man’s desire or effort [whether good or bad], but on God’s mercy” (Rom. 9:16). In the New Testament, God is continuing his acts of separation/preservation by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works.

Paul never lets up on his preaching of the grace of God. Of the 119 mentions of grace in Acts to Revelation, 86 of them occur in Paul’s epistles, with 21 of them in Romans. Perhaps nothing arrested Paul as much as the idea that his salvation was by grace (Eph. 2:8)—totally a gift from God. This was so contrary to everything he had learned and practiced up to that point in his life, and yet he found that it was consistent with how God had always acted, even in the “age of law,” the Old Testament. To trace Paul’s mention of grace in salvation in Romans is to easily understand his mention of it in Romans 11:5–6:

  • Romans 1:5: Paul, a Jew, has received grace from God personally.
  • Romans 4:16: The promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring (Jew and Gentile alike).
  • Romans 5:2: Those who have received salvation stand in grace.
  • Romans 5:15, 17: It was God’s grace that overcame the sin of Adam and provided redemption for the human race through Christ.
  • Romans 5:20: No human sin is so grievous that it has not been overcome by God’s grace.
  • Romans 5:21: God’s grace is the controlling element in salvation history. Grace, not sin, is reigning and will ultimately reign.

It is Paul’s emphasis on grace that reminds us that salvation is of God. Human beings, being dead in sin, can do nothing to initiate and produce their own salvation. If a remnant is going to be preserved in Israel, it is going to be by God’s gracebecause he has a divine and appointed purpose for Israel to play in the salvation history of the whole world. It is this realization that Paul wants his readers to understand. Neither in Abraham’s day, nor Isaac’s, nor Jacob’s, nor Elijah’s, nor Paul’s, nor in ours, was there any reason for God to choose to continue saving some in Israel—except for his grace.

Remember from whence we have come since Genesis 12:1–3 when God’s promises first were given to Abraham. Following the Flood, and the Tower of Babel, seventy “nations” (people groups) had populated the earth. God, because of mercy and grace, wants to take salvation to them all. He chose one man, Abram, and began building a “seventy-first” nation, one that would serve as the light of salvation to the rest who were in darkness (the Gentiles). Though the new nation (Israel) had failed by Paul’s time to fulfill God’s missionary mandate for them, God’s promises to them stood and stand today. In calling out a new people, a spiritual people (the church), made up of both Jews and Gentiles, God continues in the modern day his missionary task of reaching the world with the salvation message.

But, by his grace, his promises to Israel stand, and because of his love for the nation and its fathers (see below in Romans 11:28), he preserves a remnant of believers by which the nation is kept “alive” until the day when “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26). This, in a nutshell, is the story Paul is telling to the church in Rome (and to us). Understanding this, it is almost superfluous to say that if by grace, then it is no longer by works. Salvation is God’s idea and he is working it out according to his plan, which is always by grace.[3]


5. So, too, at the present time a remnant has come into being, chosen by grace.

As it was then, says Paul, so it is now. God did not then, does not now, and will completely reject Israel. He is not “through with the Jews.” Was it not he himself who had caused them to be an ore-bearing vein? Was it not he too, who, by means of his sovereign grace, had seen to it that also at the present time a remnant of Israel had come into being, a remnant’s “chosen by grace”? Cf. 9:11; 11:28.

The doctrine of the salvation of the remnant is taught throughout Scripture:

At the time of Noah the many perished, the few were saved (Gen. 6:1–8; Luke 17:26, 27; 1 Peter 3:20).

The same thing happened in the days of Lot (Gen. 19:29; Luke 17:28, 29).

Elijah too, as we have just now been told, was acquainted with the idea of the saved remnant, though he did not realize that it amounted to no less than seven thousand.

Previously (Rom. 9:27; cf. Isa. 10:22 f.) the apostle has reminded us of the remnant in the days of Isaiah.

It does not surprise us therefore that also “at the present time,” that is, in the apostle’s own day, there was a saved remnant, and that Paul belonged to it. In Romans the remnant doctrine is either taught or implied also in the following passages: 9:6 f.; 9:18a; 10:4, 11, 16; 11:14, 24, 25.

Further substantiation of the doctrine that salvation is for the elect remnant can be found in such Old Testament passages as Isa. 1:9 (=Rom. 9:29); 11:11, 16; 46:3; 53:1; Jer. 23:3; 31:7; Joel 2:32; Amos 5:15; Mic. 2:12; 4:5–7; 7:18; Zeph. 3:13, to mention but a few. Was not a son of Isaiah named Shear Jashub, meaning A remnant shall return?

As to the New Testament, it may or may not be significant that in the parable of The Sower (or The Four Kinds of Soil)—see Matt. 13:1–9, 18–23; Mark 4:1–9, 13–20; Luke 8:4–15—it is only the final kind of soil that yields a good crop. But even if no conclusion can be drawn from this parable as to the proportion of saved to unsaved among those who hear the gospel, we have the Master’s clear statement,

“For many are called, but few chosen” (Matt. 22:14). Cf. Luke 12:32.

The view of some—and among them those whose writings we regard highly—that a day is coming when this rule will no longer apply, in fact that the very principle of the remnant implies that one day the nation of Israel as a whole will be saved, seems rather strange. Are those who favor this opinion guilty of reading the words of Rom. 11:26 (“And so all Israel shall be saved”), as they interpret it, into 11:5?[4]


11:5 a remnant. Although the nation had rejected Jesus, thousands of individual Jews had come to faith in Him (cf. Ac 2:41; 4:4; 6:1). God’s gracious choice. God did not choose this remnant because of its foreseen faith, good works, spiritual worthiness, or racial descent, but solely because of His grace (cf. Dt 7:7, 8; Eph 2:8, 9; 2Ti 1:9).

11:6 by grace … no longer … of works. Human effort and God’s grace are mutually exclusive ways to salvation (cf. 3:21–31; 4:1–11; 9:11; Gal 2:16, 21; 3:11, 12, 18; Tit 3:5).[5]


[1] 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. 168). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Edwards, J. R. (2011). Romans (p. 262). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 335–336). 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. 362–363). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ro 11:5–6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.


December 18: Into the Family

Jeremiah 33:1–34:22; Romans 8:1–17; Proverbs 22:1–16

As people once bound to sin and destined for death, our ability to approach God personally—to call Him our Father—should astound us. Yet we sometimes forget to pray. We can take it for granted that He looks out for our every need.

The concept of approaching God as Father would have been a radical concept for the Roman community. In his letter to the church there, Paul discusses how our former lives without God were nothing but slavery to sin and death, the wages of sin. Christ’s work has set us free from this trajectory: “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself confirms to our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer together with him so that we may also be glorified together with him” (Rom 8:15–17).

Paul’s audience would have used the term “Abba! Father!” only within immediate family relationships. To call God “our Father” would have been a shocking paradigm shift—especially for Jewish believers. However, Christ’s sacrifice made this relationship possible. He paid our debt and repaired the rift. Because of His work, and because we share in His Spirit, we also share in His relationship with the Father. We can call out to God, just as Jesus did. And the Father cares for us, just as He cares for His Son.

We may forget our intimate relationship with God, yet the Spirit continues to work within us to bring our lives into accordance with this relationship with the Father. Pray for insight and gratitude for your new position because of Christ. When you call on God, relate to Him as a child would to a loving father—bringing all to Him and knowing He understands you and knows what is best for you.

Do you neglect prayer? Pray that the Spirit would work to bring you a childlike faith and trust in God.

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.