Daily Archives: December 20, 2017

December 20 Throwing out the Anchor

“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1).

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God’s Word is the anchor that will prevent people from drifting past the harbor of salvation.

When English explorer William Edward Parry and his crew were exploring the Arctic Ocean, they needed to go further north to continue their chartings. So they calculated their location by the stars and began a treacherous march.

After many hours they stopped, exhausted. After taking their bearings, they discovered they were now further south than when they’d started! They had been walking on an ice floe that was traveling faster south than they were walking north.

That is similar to the situation that people who continue rejecting Christ find themselves in. Therefore Hebrews 2:1 says, “We must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

Why would anyone knowingly reject Christ? He came into the world as God incarnate, died on a cross to bring us forgiveness for our sins, paid our penalty, showed us divine love, and gives us blessing and joy beyond imagination.

The Greek words translated “pay much closer attention to” and “drift away from” both have a nautical usage. The first means “to tie up a ship,” and the second can be used of a ship that has been carelessly allowed to drift past the harbor because the sailor forgot to attend to the steerage or to chart the wind, tides, and current. Hebrews 2:1 could be translated: “We must diligently anchor our lives to the things we have been taught, lest the ship of life drift past the harbor of salvation and be lost forever.”

Most people don’t deliberately turn their backs on God; they almost imperceptibly slip past the harbor of salvation and are broken on the rocks of destruction. Be sure you warn those you know who might be slipping past that harbor.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to strengthen your resolve when you know you need to confront someone regarding his or her relationship with the Lord.

For Further Study: Memorize Proverbs 4:20–22 as your own reminder of how important it is to hold on to God’s Word.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 367). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

DECEMBER 20 OUR GOAL: DO ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD

…Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 CORINTHIANS 6:20

As Christian believers, we must practice living to the glory of God, actually and determinedly, for Paul’s exhortation to “do all to the glory of God” is more than pious idealism!

It is an integral part of the sacred revelation and is to be accepted as the very Word of Truth. It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God. Lest we should be too timid to include everything, Paul mentions specifically eating and drinking. This humble privilege we share with the beasts that perish. If these lowly animal acts can be so performed as to honor God, then it becomes difficult to conceive of one that cannot.

The New Testament accepts as a matter of course that in His incarnation our Lord took upon Him a real human body, and no effort is made to steer around the downright implications of such a fact.

The Lord Jesus lived in that body here among men and never once performed a non-sacred act! His presence in human flesh sweeps away forever the evil notion that there is about the human body something innately offensive to the Deity.

God created our bodies, and we do not offend Him by placing the responsibility where it belongs. He is not ashamed of the work of His own hands![1]


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

December 20, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

Drilling for crude in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may be just the start as President Donald Trump seeks to revive Alaska’s beleaguered oil industry. Republicans in Congress handed the industry a long-sought victory on Tuesday, approving exploration in the vast Arctic preserve as part of their tax overhaul. The legislation would lift an almost 40-year old ban on prospecting for oil and natural gas in the refuge’s coastal plain, where endangered polar bears, caribou and other species roam.

Legislation to extend a major U.S. surveillance program that’s about to expire was being hashed out by Senate and House leaders, and details could be presented by Tuesday night, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on alleged corruption showed no signs of letting up, with more people being questioned and banks freezing more accounts.

North Korea has begun tests to load anthrax onto intercontinental ballistic missiles, Japan’s Asahi newspaper reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified person connected to South Korea’s intelligence services.

Coinbase Inc., one of the most popular U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges, is investigating allegations of insider trading on its platform in the hours before the company announced it would enable purchases of the bitcoin spinoff known as bitcoin cash.

Nikki Haley has a warning for her fellow UN ambassadors ahead of a key vote on Jerusalem this week: Donald Trump is watching.

President Donald Trump’s approval ratings hit a historic low on Tuesday. According to the latest CNN poll, Trump’s overall approval stands at 35 percent — marking the 45th commander in chief’s lowest return to date in a CNN dataset. Inversely, some 59 percent said they disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job as president.

AP Top Stories

Elon Musk’s electric truck isn’t expected to hit the road until 2019 at the earliest, but the company’s promise of between 300 to 500 miles of range per charge has professionals excited. While a number of companies have publicly announced their order numbers, some are holding off for real-world validation. The team confirmed “over 250” units from public order announcements.

The United States has called on the U.N. Security Council to blacklist 10 ships for circumventing sanctions on North Korea, documents showed on Tuesday, while South Korea’s President suggested curtailing military exercises with Washington to ease tensions ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics.

The Asiatic cheetah could be headed one step closer to extinction after critical U.N. funding earmarked to protect the world’s “second-rarest cat” will dry up later this month. Today, fewer than 50 individuals are believed to remain in the wild ― all of them in Iran – and that number continues to plummet each year.

The U.S. has given China a draft resolution for tougher U.N. sanctions on North Korea and is hoping for a quick vote on it by the U.N. Security Council, a Western diplomat said on Tuesday.

Boeing has taken the wraps off its design for an uncrewed aircraft system for refueling United States Navy jets from aircraft carriers mid-flight, and it looks giant. Unveiled on Tuesday, the company is submitting the drone to the Navy as part of the MQ-25 competition, in which multiple defense contractors are building their own version of the refueling drone.

Militants stormed an intelligence agency training center in Kabul on Monday in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group, triggering an intense gun battle with Afghan police.

South Korean officials said on Wednesday a proposed delay in military drills with the United States was aimed at ensuring a peaceful 2018 Winter Olympics, not ending the North Korean missile crisis, as relations with China suffered new setbacks.

The former head of the Pentagon’s secret UFO-hunting bureau has said he believes “we may not be alone”. Luis Elizondo’s admission came after declassified footage showed US fighter pilots reacting with astonishment as they observed an unknown aerial object off California in 2014.

The U.S. government lifted a 2014 temporary ban on funding research involving the flu and other pathogens in which scientists deliberately make them more transmissible or more deadly.

Americans purchased homes at the fastest pace in nearly 11 years, as sales climbed 5.6 percent in November.

Bitcoin fell Tuesday after Coinbase, the leading platform for buying and selling bitcoin in the United States, said Tuesday it was rolling out support for bitcoin cash. “Sends and receives are available immediately. Buys and sells will be available to all customers once there is sufficient liquidity on GDAX.

BBC

The US Senate has approved the most sweeping overhaul of the US tax system in more than three decades.

China’s giant pandas are a top tourist draw, a tool for soft diplomacy – and now, a source of tissue paper. The national panda reserve in Sichuan province has signed a deal with a paper company to recycle the animals’ feces.

More than 100 new species have been discovered in the ecologically diverse region of the Mekong River which stretches from the Tibetan plateau to the South China Sea, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

WND

On CNN’s New Day Sunday, the show devoted a four-minute segment to the new children’s book, Santa’s Husband, which portrays Santa Claus as a gay man who gets married to another man.

All whites are privileged and must be carefully trained in how to end their privilege. Disagree? Well, that’s just another form of privilege – all the more reason for you to be re-educated. So says the political correct University of Michigan.


News – 12/20/2017

Woman, 26, Has Baby Born From Record Breaking 24-Year-Old Frozen Embryo
A Tennessee couple has welcomed a baby girl who grew from the longest-frozen embryo to ever result in a birth. Benjamin and Tina Gibson’s daughter, Emma Wren, weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces when she came into the world on November 25. Prior to being transferred into Tina’s uterus at the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville earlier this year, the embryo Emma grew from had been cryo-preserved for more than 24 years, according to a news release.

FBI’s McCabe grilled nearly 8 hours amid anti-Trump bias allegations
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testified behind closed doors for nearly eight hours Tuesday on Capitol Hill, amid calls for his firing over allegations of conflicts of interest and anti-Trump political prejudice at the law enforcement bureau. “I’ll be a little bit surprised if (McCabe is) still an employee of the FBI this time next week,” U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., a member of the House panel, told Fox News several days ago.

No Peace Possible Without Third Temple in Jerusalem
It really doesn’t matter what the world thinks of the Jewish and Israeli rights to Jerusalem. The last and possibly only time Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem was after King Solomon built the very first Holy Temple. And maybe only when we build the Third Temple will we again get the acceptance that will bring the Moshiach.

Report: US President Trump to visit Britain in February
President Donald Trump plans to visit Britain in February to open the new US embassy in London but will not meet Queen Elizabeth, the Daily Mail newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Israeli Politicians Demand Obama Forfeit Nobel Peace Prize After Hezbollah Report
A damning report released Sunday by Politico chronicles how the Obama administration undid years of investigations into the terrorist organization Hezbollah in order to appease Iran and pave the way for the Iran deal. The report alleges that the Obama administration let terrorists walk free and halted law enforcement efforts against Hezbollah to help cement the former president’s foreign policy achievement.

Stromboli ERUPTS: Volcano in Italy in HUGE eruption sending lava shooting into sky
Experts have recorded high levels of seismic activity at the Stromboli volcano in the Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily. The flurry of eruptions comes after a major explosion at the volcano on December 1, according to the Catania section of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, which monitors Stromboli. It is accompanied by a sharp increase in infrasonic pressure.

Volcano erupts in Indonesia’s North Sumatra
The Sinabung volcano in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province erupted on Monday, spewing hot clouds, an official monitoring the volcano said. Head of Sinabung volcano monitoring post Armen Putra said the latest eruption took place on 13:02 p.m. Western Indonesian Time (WIB), coupled with 303 seconds of tremors around the area. “Hot clouds were seen rising 2,500 meters to the east-southeast and 3,500 meters to the south,” Armed said.

Day of rage sweeps West Bank ahead of UN Jerusalem vote
Anger and violence continues to grip West Bank and Gaza border region as Palestinians vent ahead of UN General Assembly vote on Jerusalem to pressure President Trump into withdrawing Washington’s recognition of city as Israel’s capital; Molotov Cocktails, rocks, hurled at Border Police.

176 nations at UN call for Palestinian statehood
The General Assembly voted 176-7 on Tuesday to affirm the Palestinian right to self-determination, one day after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to renew his quest for state membership in the international body. The vote is nonbinding and has no impact beyond underscoring international support for Palestinian statehood among most of the UN’s 193 members.

PA looks to Russia, China to upstage United States
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dispatched delegations to Moscow and Beijing on Tuesday, as part of efforts to find new sponsorship for the peace process, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. The move came as Ahmad Majdalani, a PLO executive committee member who is leading the delegation to China, ruled out any Palestinian officials meeting with US peace process envoy Jason Greenblatt during his upcoming visit to the region.

Turkish foreign minister to attend UN meeting on Jerusalem
Turkey’s foreign minister said he will travel to New York with his Palestinian counterpart for Thursday’s UN General Assembly meeting on the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to try to stop America making “an unacceptable” move. President Donald Trump reversed decades of US policy with his decision this month, and generated outrage from Palestinians and the Arab world and concern among Washington’s Western allies.

China condemns US ‘Cold War mentality’ on national security
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.

EU says Brexit transition to end by 31 December 2020
A “transition period” after the UK leaves the EU will not continue beyond 31 December 2020, Brussels says. The UK has said the temporary arrangements should last for about two years after Brexit in March 2019. Terms of the transition period, which the UK calls an implementation phase, have yet to be negotiated between the two sides.

Islamic instant divorce ‘not legal’ under EU law, says ECJ
A Syrian-born man who divorced his wife in a Sharia court has been told by Europe’s top court that the divorce is not legally valid in Germany, where the former couple now live. The European Court of Justice said EU countries need not legally recognise divorces not granted by a state court. Some Muslims believe a men can end their marriage instantly by saying “talaq” (I divorce you) three times.

Trump’s tax bill: US Senate passes reform legislation
The US Senate has approved the most sweeping overhaul of the US tax system in more than three decades. Republicans say the tax cuts for corporations, small businesses and individuals will boost economic growth. Democrats, who all voted against it, say it is designed to benefit the ultra-rich at the expense of the national deficit.

Saudi Arabia to Freeze More Bank Accounts in Crackdown
Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on alleged corruption showed no signs of letting up, with more people being questioned and banks freezing more accounts, according to people familiar with the situation. Almost seven weeks after the purge started, authorities are detaining new suspects and releasing some of those held, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Missile attack escalates tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran
Tensions are escalating between Saudi Arabia and Iran following a missile attack on the Saudi capital Riyadh. Saudi air defences intercepted the ballistic missile in the skies over the city in an incident that is jangling nerves across the region. The attack comes the week after the Trump administration presented evidence it says shows Iran supplied another missile launched at Riyadh’s international airport last month.

Kim Jong-un is testing new warheads loaded with ANTHRAX
North Korea is conducting biological weapons experiments to test the possibility of loading anthrax-laden warheads on its intercontinental ballistic missiles…Japan’s Asahi newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing an unidentified person connected to South Korean intelligence, that North Korea was conducting biological weapons experiments to test the possibility of loading anthrax-laden warheads on its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

WAR GAMES Russia ‘secretly practised full-scale invasion of Europe
RUSSIA has practised a full-scale mock invasion of the West that includes capturing Baltic states, bombing Germany and invading neutral countries, it has been revealed. The terrifying war drills were carried out in September and featured troops, artillery, tanks, missile attacks and naval and air force raids.

UK government refuses to say whether proclaiming divinity of Christ is a hate crime
The question was: “Will they confirm unequivocally that a Christian who says that Jesus is the only son of the one true God cannot be arrested for hate crime or any other offence, however much it may offend a Muslim or anyone of any other religion?”

Obama-Feds Spend $3 Million Studying How to Make Americans Eat Less, Use Less Energy, For Climate Change
The National Science Foundation is spending roughly $3 million on a study that seeks to make Americans consume less food, water, and energy to become more like the Netherlands.

THE REAL IRON DOME: Scientists have proven that G-d is protecting Israel
During the first Gulf War, Iraq attacked Israel and launched 39 missiles into Israel. The missiles landed in densely parts of Israel. Yet the casualties were low! Why were they so low?

REPORT: Rancher Target Of Aggressive Raid
An investigation into the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) handling of the 2014 Nevada standoff with rancher Cliven Bundy revealed “incredible bias,” widespread misconduct and likely illegal actions by the BLM.

Jedi Mind Trick: The Disturbing, Destabilizing Abnormal Is Now Normal
Disturbing, destabilizing abnormalities are now accepted as normal life in America. Forgive me for wondering if the populace of America hasn’t fallen for a Jedi mind trick:

Commissioner in Talks With UN to Put Troops on the Streets of Chicago 
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin is in talks with United Nations officials to explore the possibility of putting UN troops on the streets of Chicago to address the city’s horrendous gun violence problem.

In Dramatic Reversal, China Gives Up On Deleveraging Pledge
“Let’s face it, it’s not realistic to reduce leverage when the whole economy relies on banks for financing.”


41 Million Americans Are Living In Poverty This Christmas

Even though the stock market continues to set new record high after new record high, poverty is exploding all over America.  It is being reported that 41 million people are living in poverty at this moment, and 9 million of them do not receive a single penny of income from anyone.  Once you have been unemployed for long enough, you don’t qualify for unemployment payments any longer, and once you are on the street there is nowhere for other governments programs to send a check to.  I have previously discussed the rising epidemic of homelessness in our nation, but most people don’t want to think about that sort of a thing these days.  Even though New York City has the most homeless since the Great Depression, and even though homelessness in Los Angeles is at an all-time record high, most people want to pretend that everything is just fine. (Read More…)

Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 20, 2017

Taxes and the Vindictive Nature of the Left

The Washington Post argues that the GOP’s tax plan is “regressive” because the wealthy benefit more.

The Foundation

“A rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive.” —Thomas Jefferson (1823)


Headlines – 12/20/2017

UN will hold rare emergency session on Trump’s Jerusalem recognition, says Palestinian official

UN General Assembly to vote Thursday to rescind US Jerusalem recognition

Palestinians plan UN move to embarrass US over Jerusalem

US says it will be ‘taking names’ of countries that oppose Jerusalem move at UN

FM instructs Israeli diplomats to fight upcoming UN resolution

Abbas sends envoys to China, Russia to seek replacement for US in peace process

Abbas flying to Saudi Arabia to meet king and crown prince

Trump and UK’s May discuss Jerusalem, agree on importance of US-led peace effort

The US Embassy Move to Jerusalem vs. The “Peace Process”

The Conflict over Jerusalem Is ALL Obama’s Fault

Caroline Glick: The international community and the liberal media

As Christmas nears in Bethlehem, Trump’s Jerusalem shift looms large

Trump to present new doctrine that says Israel not the cause of Mideast problems

Jordan Valley to more than double in size

Hanukkah menorahs lit at sites of terrorist attacks around world

After synagogues targeted, Trudeau says ‘no place’ for anti-Semitism in Canada

Obama undermined probe of Hezbollah drug empire in pursuit of Iran nuclear deal, ex-US officials allege

Israeli Politicians Demand Obama Forfeit Nobel Peace Prize After Hezbollah Report

President Macron and King Abdullah of Jordan discuss Israel-Palestine, Syria in Paris

Macron slams Assad for comments on France supporting terror

9,000-plus died in battle with Islamic State group for Mosul

Turkey’s ‘Iron Lady’ says she’s ready to challenge Erdogan

Arab coalition spokesperson: Iran-made missiles are a serious threat in region

Saudi Arabia shoots down Houthi missile aimed at Riyadh palace

Yemen rebel missile fired at Riyadh ‘bears hallmarks’ of Iran

US urges UN to punish Iran, but Russia says no to sanctions

China says Trump’s new security policy shows ‘Cold War mentality’

2018 Global defense spending to hit post-Cold War high of $1.67 trillion

South Korea asks U.S. to delay joint military drills until after the Winter Olympics

North Korea weapons ‘sprint’ revives specter of nuclear exchange

North Korea testing biological warheads for its missiles

North Korea Begins Tests to Load Anthrax Onto ICBMs

US blames North Korea for major ransomware attack

Handcuffed by sanctions, North Korea seeks cash via cyber theft

US short of options to punish NKorea for serious cyberattack

Massive leak exposes data on 123 million US households

Facebook Sends Israeli Teen Cash Reward After He Stumbles on Major Security Breach

Facebook Wants Your Face and You’ll Probably Let Them Have It

Facebook’s facial recognition now looks for you in photos you’re not tagged in

Bitcoin falls almost 20 percent from recent peak to 1-week low after reaching a record high of $19,666

This Time Is Different? Berkshire Hathaway Hits New Record High Despite Bubble Fears

Airport outage: Delta CEO to seek repayment for lost revenue

Former Navy pilot: UFO ‘something I had never seen in my life’

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Pangai, Tonga

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Zhamog, China

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near West Chile Rise

Bezymianny volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 50,000ft

Popcateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 23,500ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Sinabung volcnao in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,500ft

Deadly Tropical Storm Kai-tak to threaten southern Vietnam, Malay Peninsula with heavy rain this week

Climate change driving record snows in Alaskan mountains – study

The Thomas fire is now the second largest in modern California history

Scientists hope to inject robo-cat with AI to help seniors

NIH lifts limits on making deadly new viruses in the lab

Woman, 26, Has Baby Born From Record Breaking 24-Year-Old Frozen Embryo

Pennsylvania Gov. Vetoes 20-Week Abortion Ban

Homeland Security releases illegal immigrant who lied about age so she can get abortion

Assisted Suicide Laws Are Creating A ‘Duty-To-Die’ Medical Culture

Drug and Alcohol Deaths at U.S. Workplaces Soar

Congress Discloses 3 More Sexual-Harassment Settlements

Cardinal Bernard Law, symbol of church sex abuse scandal, dead at 86

Catholic League: ‘Homosexuals Committed Most of the Abuse’

Mike Ratliff – Works Righteousness is Mans Default Religion

Televangelist Ernest Angley’s church accused of taking life savings from woman with dementia

Pastor Exposes Southern Baptist Deep State; Ed Stetzer Loses It

Vatican Tries to Reign In Trafficking of Saints’ Body Parts

Judge Orders Trump Admin to Allow Two More Illegal Immigrant Teens to Obtain an Abortion

City Fines Pro-Life Pregnancy Center $2,000 Fro Not Posting Pro-Abortion Notice on Its Door

ISIS claims it has hacked US Army and St Dept, Sending assassins to employees’ homes

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 01:10 PM PST

ISIS claims it has hacked US Army and St Dept, Sending assassins to employees’ homesISIS has claimed it has hacked the US Army and State Department and is sending assassins to employees’ homes in a gruesome new propaganda video.  The video released by ISIS hacking group Islamic Ghosts of the Caliphate also declares: ‘Muslims will return to being masters of the world and kings of the earth.

‘The Islamic State did not start the war against you and you will pay a great price as your sons will return to you as amputees or in coffins.   As scenes of war, bombings and terror attacks flash up, the voice continues: ‘You will pay a price as you walk along your streets fearing Muslims. We will attack your homeland – you will not even feel secure in your bedrooms.’  READ MORE

 

 

Baby Born From Record Breaking 24-Year-Old Frozen Embryo…

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 12:59 PM PST

Baby Born From Record Breaking 24-Year-Old Frozen Embryo…A Tennessee couple has welcomed a baby girl who grew from the longest-frozen embryo to ever result in a birth.  Benjamin and Tina Gibson’s daughter, Emma Wren, weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces when she came into the world on November 25. Prior to being transferred into Tina’s uterus at the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville earlier this year, the embryo Emma grew from had been cryo-preserved for more than 24 years, according to a news release.

And, according to research staff at the University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library, that makes her the all-time record holder for the longest-frozen embryo to result in birth. The National Embryo Donation Center says it has helped produce more pregnancies through embryo adoption, nearly 700, than any other organization or clinic. Interestingly, Emma’s embryo was frozen on Oct. 14, 1992, when Tina was just a year-and-a-half old. READ MORE

Japan could be struck by Mega-Quake and Tsunami within next 30 years

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 09:54 AM PST

Japan could be struck by Mega-Quake and Tsunami within next 30 yearsA major earthquake that would trigger a giant destructive tsunami could hit the Japanese coast in the next 30 years, a Tokyo research panel has warned in its latest report, citing a high degree of possibility in projections.   The Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion said there is a chance of a devastating earthquake with a magnitude exceeding 8.8 striking off the eastern coast of Hokkaido island, projecting the possibility to be between 7 and 40 percent. “I hope disaster preparations are

reviewed based on the possibility that a super-gigantic quake, like the one that struck the Tohoku region, could also strike Hokkaido,” Asahi Shimbun quoted a seismology professor at the University of Tokyo, Naoshi Hirata, who headed the panel, as saying. In March 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s main island of Honshu, becoming the most powerful quake recorded in the country. Subsequent tsunami waves reached up to 40 meters (130ft) in height and crashed some 10km (6 miles) inland. READ MORE

Pakistan considers dumping dollar for yuan in trade with China

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 09:47 AM PST

Pakistan considers dumping dollar for yuan in trade with ChinaThe government of Pakistan is considering a proposal to start using the Chinese yuan in trade with China, according to the Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, as quoted by Pakistan’s English-language daily Dawn. “We are examining the use of yuan instead of the US dollar for trade between the two countries,” the minister told the media after the official launch of the Long Term Plan (LTP) for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  Bilateral trade between Pakistan and China was worth $13.8 billion in 2015

to 2016, a decade after the countries signed a free trade agreement. Pakistan will continue to use the rupee domestically, according to Iqbal. The LTP includes cooperation between the countries in energy, information network infrastructure, road and rail connections, trade and industrial parks, tourism, agriculture, and poverty alleviation. The plan will be implemented in three phases, the first ending in 2020, followed by another in 2025, with completion in 2030. READ MORE

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: In 2018, we will see a black hole for the first time ever

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 09:43 AM PST

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: In 2018, we will see a black hole for the first time everWe’re about to see — for the very first time — the event horizon of a black hole, proving beyond any last vestige of doubt that Einstein’s interstellar monsters are real. And here’s what it will look like.  While astronomers have long seen the fallout of the presence of black holes on the stars and gas clouds around them, none have ever actually stared directly into its abyss. But they’re hoping to, soon.  What we’re

expecting to see in 2018 is the silhouette of the disc of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy, burned starkly against a background of superheated plasma being tossed about its enormous maw. “One of the really nice things about this is taking an image of black hole event horizon has been beyond our reach for so long that it’s been a pleasant surprise to build upon these existing technologies and capture an image so soon,” says Monash University astrophysicist Professor Michael Brown. READ MORE

Thousands Of People All Over The World Are Converting To ‘Jediism’

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 07:10 AM PST

Thousands Of People All Over The World Are Converting To ‘Jediism’(By Michael Snyder) Yes, there are actually people out there that want to be a Jedi so badly that they have made “Jediism” their official religion.  As you will see below, a new documentary entitled “American Jedi” has just been released that examines this phenomenon, and when I first heard about this I decided that I wanted to learn more.  So I did some research, and I discovered that there is actually an official website for “the Temple of the Jedi Order” that bills itself as the “international church of Jediism”.  And even though this

“faith” is entirely based on fictitious characters, the IRS actually granted tax exempt status to the Temple of the Jedi Order in 2015.  I was seven years old when Star Wars first came out, and it definitely had a major impact on me.  But even as a child, I understood that it was just a movie. Unfortunately, there are some people out there that are so drawn to “the Jedi Order” that they actually want to make it a religious faith.  The following comes from the Huffington PostREAD MORE

Does the Book of Daniel Hold the Key to the Exact Year Jesus Was Born?

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 07:04 AM PST

Does the Book of Daniel Hold the Key to the Exact Year Jesus Was Born?(By Ron Allen) Most Christians don’t know that Christmas was set on Dec. 25, the ancient Roman winter solstice date, to displace a pagan holiday celebrating the birth of a pagan false “seed of woman” god. While the winter solstice is an important element in the celestial signs of Christ’s Advent, careful study of the Scriptures, history and astronomy prove that He could not have been born on Dec. 25.   The Bible does not tell us when Jesus was born. However, the search for His birthdate can begin with strong scriptural evidence about the year of His birth.

We know from Luke 3:23 that Jesus was about 30 when He began His ministry. The prophet Daniel tells us the year of Christ’s anointing would come in 69 7s, or 483 years, after the decree which sent Ezra to Jerusalem in 458 BC. (Dan. 9:25) Doing the math, and remembering that there is no year “0”, Daniel’s prophecy says Jesus would begin His ministry in A.D. 26. This year is backed up by two dates from Scripture. John the Baptist began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius, A.D. 25 (Luke 3:1), and Jesus cleared the temple the first time 46 years after Herod began renovating it (John 2:20) in 20 B.C. (according to Josephus), or A.D. 27. Thus many Bible scholars believe that A.D. 26 is the year Jesus began his ministry. If He was 30 years old, remembering again that there is no year 0, He would have been born in 5 B.C. READ MORE

Saudi Arabia threatens invasion of Iran in shock propaganda as MidEast on brink of war

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 06:58 AM PST

Saudi Arabia threatens invasion of Iran in shock propaganda as MidEast on brink of warSaudi Arabia has threatened invasion of Iran in a bizarre propaganda film showing a full-scale military conquest of the Islamic Republic.   State-media published a short film depicting a war between the two countries, showing Saudi forces storming the Iranian capital Tehran. This extreme threat comes amid renewed tensions between the two states amid growing fears of war in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a power struggle in the region, each seeking to be the dominant power. Pro-government newspapers shared the short film as the “operational reality” of Saudi armed forces. Iran has been accused of aiding rebel groups who have attacked the kingdom, and is expanding its influences throughout the Middle East. READ MORE

Space agency breaks silence on claim it is ‘hiding the truth’

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 06:44 AM PST

Space agency breaks silence on claim it is ‘hiding the truth’NASA has finally addressed the long-running conspiracy theory that it has found alien life but the evidence is kept hidden from the public. For years so-called alien truth seekers have made staggering claims that evidence of aliens has been found on the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in the solar system. However, they claim NASA, at the request of the US Government, keeps it hushed up amid fears over the

impact the public knowledge would have on religion and the rule of law, possibly leading to anarchy. NASA, which is at the centre of many conspiracy theories, including claims Apollo Moon landings were faked, usually avoids responding to them, amid fears it may just fuel further similar claims. However, a top scientist at the agency has now addressed the furore head on. READ MORE

Ex-New Age Expert Exposes the Occult Themes Hidden in the Super Bowl

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 06:26 AM PST

Ex-New Age Expert Exposes the Occult Themes Hidden in the Super BowlATTENTION: The following article was originally posted in February 2017

Steven Bancarz used to be enamored with the occult. He actively participated in astral projection, Christ-consciousness and more.  But now he’s out to expose the New Age and the presence of the occult in seemingly mundane events, like the Super Bowl. Sunday night, the internet was abuzz with talk of Lady Gaga’s halftime show. While many people praised the performance, Bancarz saw something malicious beneath the surface.

He posted his analysis on Facebook: Pentagrams lining the stage at the Superbowl halftime show. Cross-dressing men with makeup dancing on stage. Flames, black clothing, 666 hand signs over the eyes. Typical halftime show. I have an honest question for non-Christian truthers and political conspiracy activists who are Facebook friends with me and are reading this status. Because I am confused and want to know what your worldview is. READ MORE

Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Lifted…What could go wrong?

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 06:19 AM PST

Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Lifted…What could go wrong?More than 3 years after imposing a moratorium on U.S. funding for certain studies with dangerous viruses, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today lifted this so-called “pause” and announced a new plan for reviewing such research. But federal officials haven’t decided the fate of a handful of studies on influenza and the MERS virus that were put on hold in October 2014.  Two investigators whose controversial research on the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus are among 11 studies on hold welcomed the end of the pause.

“This NIH decision allows us to move forward,” said virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, by email.  NIH officials believe that the pending studies are probably outdated and that scientists will want to submit new proposals. The new process, says NIH director Francis Collins, “will help to facilitate the safe, secure, and responsible conduct of this type of research.” Critics of the studies, meanwhile, are withholding judgment until they see how the review process plays out. READ MORE

Leading AI expert claims Robots and humans can make babies creating new hybrid species

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 06:09 AM PST

Leading AI expert claims Robots and humans can make babies creating new hybrid speciesHumans and robots can make babies together using genetic engineering to create a new hybrid species from skin cells, a leading AI expert will announce in a groundbreaking speech.  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 keynote 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. Ahead of his speech, Daily Star Online can exclusively reveal extracts of his radical research paper, titled “Can Robots and Babies Make Humans Together?” In his conclusions, Dr. Levy, author of Love and Sex with Robots, will argue that “it is possible” for humans and robots to make babies given “recent progress in stem cell research and artificial chromosomes”. READ MORE

Missile intercepted over Saudi Arabia capital seconds before striking royal palace

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 05:59 AM PST

Missile intercepted over Saudi Arabia capital seconds before striking royal palaceA missile fired at Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh was shot down moments before it hit a royal palace today. Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired towards the city, Saudi-owned channel al-Arabiya reported in a news flash quoting a Saudi-led military coalition official.  The coalition is battling the armed Houthi movement in neighboring Yemen. A ballistic missile was launched at the Saudi capital,

a Houthi spokesman said. Mohammed Abdussalam said on Twitter that a Volcano 2-H ballistic missile was fired towards al-Yamama royal palace. Bloomberg reporter Vivian Nereim tweeted: “Loud boom heard in central Riyadh – big enough that we felt it shake our tower.” The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information tweeted: “Coalition forces confirm intercepting an Iranian-Houthi missile targeting south of Riyadh. “There are no reported casualties at this time. READ MORE

Why Some Believers Experience More Spiritual Warfare Than Others

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 05:55 AM PST

Why Some Believers Experience More Spiritual Warfare Than Others(By Joseph Mattera) There are some believers who falsely believe that if they have a lot of faith they will not undergo any suffering, severe tests or satanic attacks. Nothing could be further from the truth! Actually, the opposite is true.  For example, in the book of Job chapters 1 and 2, God actually asks Satan if he considered His servant Job. Hence, God brought Job to Satan’s attention, not because Job was in sin, but because Job was the greatest servant of God on the earth at that time (read Job 1:6-12; 2:3-6).  Furthermore, Acts 19:15 illustrates how Paul the apostle was not only known in heaven, but also in hell! He had their attention!

First Peter 5:8-9 teaches that Satan roams the earth seeking someone to devour, which also goes along with the Job narrative (Job 1:7). When we read the context of all these passages, especially in regards to the satanic focus on both Paul and Job, we can come to the conclusion that the devil’s main focus is to thwart, divert, distract and disarm the servants of God who are promoting the rule of God on the earth as it is in heaven. Heaven is the only realm in the universe where everything is perfectly aligned under King Jesus, since the devil was displaced from there (Rev. 12:7-12). CONTINUE

You’ve got friends in High Places!

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 07:26 PM PST

You’ve got friends in High Places!(By Ricky Scaparo) In this message, we will show you how the Angels of the Lord have been assigned to your life to bring protection, blessing, breakthroughs, and favor in your life!

Defector warns North Korea ready to send “suicide bomber army” with “nuclear backpacks” across the world

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 06:09 PM PST

Defector warns North Korea ready to send “suicide bomber army” with “nuclear backpacks” across the worldNorth Korea is ready to send a “suicide bomber army” equipped with “nuclear backpacks” across the world, a defector has warned.   North Korea has a secret army of brainwashed “robots” who “live and die” for despot Kim Jong-un, the London-based defector revealed. Joo-il Kim exclusively told Express.co.uk North Korea was not militarily strong enough to bomb their rivals in the traditional sense

but were ready to “infiltrate the free world” with a crack squad of suicide bombers. Mr Kim, who lives in New Malden, south London along with a hundreds-strong population of other North Korean defectors, explained the group of specially-selected killers were the hermit state’s biggest asset. He said: “The top level leaders won’t wage war. They know they can’t win the war. READ MORE

26 dead, 23 missing, 15k+ stranded and 90k evacuated as cyclone strikes the Philippines

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 05:53 PM PST

26 dead, 23 missing, 15k+ stranded and 90k evacuated as cyclone strikes the PhilippinesFloods and landslides triggered by slow-moving Tropical Cyclone “Kai-Tak,” locally known as Urduja, killed at least 26 people and left another 23 missing in the Philippines, authorities said Sunday, December 17, 2017. More floods and landslides are possible in the days ahead. Tropical Depression “Urduja” formed December 12 near Palau and stalled with its center just off the coast of Sorsogon –

Northern Samar area before it strengthened into a tropical storm December 14, the 26th named storm of the 2017 Pacific typhoon season. However, as is often the case with such storms in this region, Urduja was already causing floods and landslides even before it reached tropical storm status. The prime factor for the deluge it caused was its slow-moving nature. READ MORE

Twitter rolls out new ‘hate-speech’ guidelines

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 05:36 PM PST

Twitter rolls out new ‘hate-speech’ guidelinesThe day has finally come. Twitter rolled out new guidelines Monday for “hate speech,” and many Trump supporters think they will be the first to go.  According to the new rules on “abuse and hateful conduct,” users may not “promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

Users also are prohibited from using “hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header,” and there is to be no targeted harassment toward a “protected” category. What counts as “hateful” is up for debate, and the groups Twitter is relying on to make that determination have a strong left-wing bias. In 2016, Twitter unveiled a “Trust & Safety Council” consisting of 40 “organizations and experts,” many of which are frequent critics of conservatives and Christians. READ MORE

 

RUMORS OF WAR: Israel Warns Hamas Of Coming Destruction In Next Few Months

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 05:10 PM PST

RUMORS OF WAR: Israel Warns Hamas Of Coming Destruction In Next Few MonthsIsraeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Tel Aviv will no longer allow a game of “ping-pong” rocket exchanges to take place with Hamas.  “In the next few months all existing tunnels will be blown up and destroyed” by new technologies invented by Israel, Lieberman said during an interview with RTVI, adding that Israel is aiming to put an end to the “ping-pong” of rocket exchanges.  His comments

come amid increased tensions between Israel and Palestinians – who are supported by Hamas – after US President Donald Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. According to Lieberman, Hamas is solely responsible for the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and argues that a large-scale attack from Hamas is inevitable, stating that “should Hamas be faced with the alternative of losing power or attacking Israel, without a doubt, Hamas will choose another conflict with Israel.” READ MORE

5 Terrible Reasons Intercessors Don’t Attend Prayer Meetings

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 05:01 PM PST

5 Terrible Reasons Intercessors Don’t Attend Prayer Meetings(By John Burton) God is raising up passionate people of fervent and strategic prayer. Why aren’t they flocking to church prayer meetings?  I’m a prayer freak. I met God in the prayer room and I’ve experienced the shock and awe of his glory there many times over the last 27 years. I can’t separate the ideas of salvation, being a Christian and knowing God from a vibrant life of burning prayer. For me, if there’s no unction to pray, everything else is weakened, compromised and at risk. The thought that someone wouldn’t want to pray

causes me to scream inside. The wonders of God are revealed in very unique ways in the prayer room. If God is awakening people to the power of prayer, why aren’t the prayer rooms full? If there is a growing remnant of people who yearn to encounter God and to contend for the passions of his heart night and day, why do pastors have such a hard time compelling them to come together for corporate intercession? It’s a great question. I believe I have a handful of answers. READ MORE

Ancient Biblical city ‘destroyed by earthquake 1,400 years ago’ found intact underwater

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 03:21 PM PST

Ancient Biblical city ‘destroyed by earthquake 1,400 years ago’ found intact underwaterArchaeologists have uncovered “mind-blowing” architecture almost perfectly intact from the ancient Biblical city of Corinth – despite being wiped out by a devastating earthquake 1,400 years ago.  The Greek city, which was rebuilt in 44BC by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, holds major significance for Christians. Jesus’s disciple Paul is said to have visited there and wrote two letters about his time in Corinth – featured in the New Testament. Just days ago, another group of archaeologists in Italy were

amazed to discover the historic resort of Baiae in perfect condition. And new underwater excavations of Corinth’s harbor at the port of Lechaion have discovered wooden foundations preserved so well that they look new. Roman artifacts including fishing lines and hooks, wooden pulleys and ceramics from Tunisia and Turkey were also found. Experts also think they have found an ancient lighthouse – depicted on coins from that time – and another monument. READ MORE

RUMORS OF WAR: China Must Prepare for Imminent War With North Korea

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 03:09 PM PST

RUMORS OF WAR: China Must Prepare for Imminent War With North KoreaIt isn’t only the United States that could soon see itself engaged in a deadly conflict with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. China also is at risk of an imminent war with North Korea, warned some of China’s most prestigious national security experts at a conference in Beijing this week. “Conditions on the peninsula now make for the biggest risk of a war in decades,” said Shi Yinhong, director of the Center on American Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing and an adviser to the State Council of China on diplomacy issues since February 2011, during the conference. “North Korea is a time bomb. We can

only delay the explosion, hoping that by delaying it, a time will come to remove the detonator,” he said, reported the South China Morning Post Saturday. Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Region, an important military region, warned that a war could begin as soon as March, when South Korea and the United States are slated to hold annual military drills. “It is a highly dangerous period,” Wang said during the conference. “Northeast China should mobilize defenses for war.”  READ MORE

Justin Bieber Whiteboards Jesus Message to his 95M Followers on Instagram

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 02:54 PM PST

Justin Bieber Whiteboards Jesus Message to his 95M Followers on InstagramSinger-songwriter Justin Bieber recently posted a personal note about Jesus Christ to the 95 million followers of his Instagram account. The 23-year-old performer hand wrote a message in black marker on a white dry erase board and then posted an image of the board for all of his social media followers to see. The note read:

“Do you feel you have exhausted all options? Do you feel helpless? Do you feel like you are never good enough? What if I told you that there’s a God
that’s willing to meet you WHEREVER you’re at! What if I told you he could take away your pain, shame, guilt, and fears. #JESUS.

Beiber also added a personal note to his post. “Jesus is changing me from the inside out every day! AND I MISSPELLED GUILT and exhausted.” A user kindly pointed out to the singer he also misspelled “God.” with a lowercase “g.” READ MORE

Geologist Says Unusual Discovery in Antarctica Confirms Biblical Flood Account

Posted: 18 Dec 2017 02:33 PM PST

Geologist Says Unusual Discovery in Antarctica Confirms Biblical Flood AccountA Christian geologist with a leading creation science organization says the recent discovery of fossilized tree stumps in Antarctica confirms the Bible’s account of the Great Flood in Genesis.  Writing on the Institute for Creation Research’s (ICR) website, Dr. Tim Clarey describes the recent discovery of of the well-preserved stumps. “The trees were found in Antarctica’s Transantarctic Mountains and include a mix of evergreens, deciduous trees, and gingkoes,” he says. “This discovery should be no surprise to

those who take Genesis as literal history.” University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee geologists Erik Gulbranson and John Isbell found the fossilized trees while conducting research on the ice-covered continent. In total, they collected fragments from 13 trees.  “People have known about the fossils in Antarctica since the 1910-12 Robert Falcon Scott expedition,” Gulbranson said. “However, most of Antarctica is still unexplored. Sometimes, you might be the first person to ever climb a particular mountain.”  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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The Fullness of Time

Galatians 4:4-5

Code: B171220

The first Christmas was perfectly timed. Galatians 4:4-5 says, “When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law.” What was “the fullness of time”? God’s sovereign timing. He ordered world events so everything was ready for Christ’s coming and the subsequent outreach of the apostles.

Looking back at the early church, we are amazed at how quickly the gospel spread in less than a century. The sovereign hand of God is clearly evident. Christ’s advent could not have been timed more propitiously.

Politically, the Roman Empire was at its height. Rome had given the world good roads, a relatively fair system of government, and most important, peace. For the first time in history, people could travel with relative ease almost anywhere in the empire—and the apostles could carry the gospel message to the uttermost parts of the world.

Culturally, the world was becoming more unified. More people than ever were being educated, and most of them knew Greek or Latin. Even the common people usually spoke Koine Greek, the dialect that the New Testament was written in.

Spiritually, the world was diverse, but open. Greek and Roman polytheism were gradually being replaced by rational and secular philosophies, or by emperor worship. Among the Jews, a renewed interest in the Scriptures was leading to revival on the one hand—typified by the ministry of John the Baptist—and a strong pharisaic movement on the other. Christ could not have arrived on the scene at a more opportune time. It was the perfect time, sovereignly determined by God—“the fullness of time.”

(Adapted from The Miracle of Christmas.)

 


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A Crowded Inn – A Jewish Handmaiden – And the Birth of God’s Messiah

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Catholics have sought to deify the mother of Jesus for centuries. She is called “Queen of Heaven” “Mother of God”  “Co-Redemtrix” “Sinless Virgin” and so many other names which do not in any way describe this Jewish handmaiden.

When a Catholic visits a priest for confession, that person is told to recite prayers to Mary.  Surely she will get these prayers to her son, right?  Wrong. The confession and prayers should be taken boldly to the throne of Christ. We have access to the Lord of Glory!  Why go to His mother; especially when she is dead?

Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  And having come in, the angel…

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December 20, 2017 Birth Announcement, Part 3

By James Boice on Dec 20, 2017 12:00 am

The third Old Testament prophecy comes from Isaiah 7:14, from which we learn that a particular sign will be given to Ahaz king of Judah: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This prophecy seems to have had a specific meaning in its own day concerning the future judgment of the nation. Nevertheless, it is an extraordinary text, because it does say that a virgin would conceive and bear a son, who is to be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.”

Read more…

December 20, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Sympathy

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. (13:3)

Sympathy is closely related to sustained love. It is easier to help others when we ourselves have needed help. It is easier to appreciate hunger when we have been hungry, loneliness when we have been lonely, and persecution when we have been persecuted. It is not that a Christian must experience starvation or extreme loneliness or imprisonment in order to be sympathetic to those who are experiencing these things. The point is that we should do our best to identify with those in need, to try to put ourselves in their places. We know that if we were starving, we would want someone to feed us, and that if we were imprisoned, we would want to be visited. We should do for them what we would want done for us were we in prison with them. It is the principle of Jesus’ golden rule: “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).

Among other things, Hebrews 13:3 is a warning against spiritualizing the Christian life. The Bible does not teach, as do some eastern religions, that the person in touch with God transcends physical pain, hardships, and other such realities. Our true home is heaven, but we are still in the body. We still get hungry, we still get lonely, and we still hurt, physically and psychologically. Our own hungers and hurts should make us more sensitive to those of others. Instead of seeing our own troubles as an excuse for not helping, we should see them as an incentive for being more helpful. Our own troubles should make us more sensitive, hospitable, and loving, not less. One of the surest cures for self-pity is loving service.

Tertullian, an early Christian apologist, wrote, “If there happen to be any in the mines, banished to the islands, or shut up in prisons, the Christians become carriers of their confession.” Aristodes, the pagan orator, said of the Christians, “If they hear that any one of their number is in prison or in distress for the sake of their Christ’s name, they all render aid in his necessity, and if they can, they redeem him, to set him free.” In other words, if he was in jail, they would pay his fine or redemption price. The Apostolic Confession said, “If any Christian is condemned for Christ’s sake to the mines by the ungodly, do not overlook him, but from the proceeds of your toil and sweat, send him something to support himself, and to reward the soldier of Christ. All money accruing from honest labor do you appoint and apportion to the redeeming of the saints, ransoming thereby slaves and captives and prisoners, people who are sore abused, and condemned by tyrants.” Some early Christians sold themselves into slavery to get money to free a fellow believer.

We can show sympathy in at least three important ways. For one thing, we can simply “be there” when others are in trouble. Sometimes the mere presence of a friend is the best encouragement and strength.

Another way to show sympathy is by giving direct help. Paul thanked the Philippians for sharing with him in his affliction by giving him money to carry on his ministry in other places (Phil. 4:14–16). By supporting him financially, they also encouraged him spiritually.

A third way to show sympathy is through prayer. Again Paul’s ministry gives us an example. His closing words to the Colossians, “Remember my imprisonment” (Col. 4:18), were an appeal for prayer. They could not visit him, and money would have been no help at that time. But by remembering him in prayer they could support him powerfully.

Bearing each other’s burdens fulfills Christ’s law (Gal. 6:2), which is love. If “we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15), how much more should we sympathize with others, especially fellow Christians, who are in need? Following Jesus’ example, who did not come to be ministered to but to minister, we should lose ourselves in the sustained, sympathetic, and loving care of others.[1]


3 In 10:34 we heard of how the readers have a record already of “suffering along with” (TNIV) prisoners. They are to continue in this good work, identifying with the prisoners’ experience. Similarly, they are to identify with those who are “mistreated,” the reference probably being again to the sort of persecution we heard of in 10:32–34. Following on the very practical emphasis of v. 2, the “remembering” is surely to be understood in terms of active help, not just sympathy.

The last clause is literally “as being also yourselves in the body.” This could mean merely that they sympathize as fellow human beings, but in that case the “as” would not correspond to the one in the previous clause, “as if you were their fellow prisoners,” since the latter involves imaginative identification, whereas “being in the body” is a fact for the readers as well as the victims, not a matter of mental projection. The NIV has therefore taken “mistreated” to be elliptically understood also in the “as if” clause, making it a parallel imaginative identification to that with the prisoners: they may not themselves be suffering mistreatment “in the body” currently, but they know what it is like.[2]


13:3 / The remembering of prisoners and empathy with those who suffer had already been admirably displayed by the readers in the past (10:33f.; cf. 6:10). They are called to exhibit these Christian virtues (cf. Matt. 25:36) again as present or imminent circumstances may warrant. niv’s as if you yourselves were suffering is literally “as you yourselves being in a body.” Barclay’s paraphrase brings the point out clearly, “for you have not yet left this life, and the same fate can happen to you.” This identification with those who suffer is again a common nt motif (e.g., 1 Cor. 12:26; Rom. 12:15).[3]


Love’s practical responsibility (13:3)

What about those who, robbed of their freedom, cannot visit our homes, but long for us to visit them? The readers must think of the prisoners and feel for them sympathetically as though they were in prison alongside them. This means that they think carefully about the kind of help they would like if they were prisoners; a personal visit, some warm encouragement, a sustaining prayer, some useful provisions. It is most likely that those who are in prison were there because of their faith, but of that we cannot be certain. The reference to compassionate responsibility for those who are ill-treated does sound as though some believers had been physically assaulted. These too must be helped in love by those who can feel for those in trouble, remembering that they share the same human frailty and limitations.

This letter’s concluding exhortations, for all their disjointed appearance, have a marked contemporary relevance. In an age like ours where political persecution is a sad feature in several nations and where thousands of people are devoting their energies to the battle for human rights, this letter’s insistence that we ‘remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners’ (niv) is a salutary and necessary reminder of our spiritual, social and political responsibilites. In the Lausanne Covenant evangelical Christians all over the world have give expression to their concern about prisoners of conscience. They have not only promised to pray for the leaders of the nations, but have also appealed to such leaders to ‘guarantee freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom to practice and propagate religion in accordance with the will of God and as set forth in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. The Covenant goes on to express ‘deep concern for all who have been unjustly imprisoned, and especially for our brethren who are suffering for their testimony to the Lord Jesus. We promise to pray and work for their freedom.’ Such expressions need to be not only embodied within an important covenant, but manifest also in practical concern and appropriate political action. Andrei Sakharov estimated that of the 10,000 prisoners of conscience in the USSR, about 2,000 are religious prisoners. If such believers belong to our family, we shall surely want to feel for their needs, pray intelligently for their spiritual support and campaign strennously and sensitively for their release. Many Christians give time to meaningful intercession for prisoners of conscience with the aid of a prayer booklet which provides photographs, maps, terms of punishment and other important details of many people who share our faith but not our freedom.5We also need to be reminded that some of our own neighbours may be suffering from other forms of ‘imprisonment’, less stark but no less distressing. Many elderly people are desperately ‘cut off’. A recent report publishes the words of an eighty-one-year-old widow:

I am still terribly lonely. It’s the evenings. The club closes at 4.30 p.m. and there’s nothing but long, empty hours until bed-time … I’ve heard so many old people say ‘There’s nothing for us now’. You’ve got to eat to sort of keep alive. But there’s nothing. The time is so long … the evenings … the weekends. I’ve heard several people say ‘I don’t care how soon the end comes for me’ … I know lots of people. But that isn’t the same as a close friend.

Some patients in geriatric units would welcome regular visits from a Christian. Are not such ‘isolated’ people in greater need of the good news of Christ at the end of their lives than others who may often hear of him through everyday contacts with believers? But shut-in people will hear only if they are remembered and visited by Christians who discern this neglected area of work as their opportunity for pastoral service and compassionate witness.[4]


13:3. This verse changes the focus to those imprisoned and abused for their faith (cf. 10:34). Imprisoned believers could easily be forgotten and neglected. We need to identify and help those imprisoned and mistreated for their Christian commitment. Such help could involve bringing food, providing warm clothing for life in damp, moldy cells, and making personal visits of encouragement. One day we could face the same experiences of suffering. Thus, we need to focus on the sufferers as if we ourselves were the victims of suffering.[5]


13:3 The third exhortation concerns care for imprisoned believers. This almost certainly means those who were jailed because of their testimony for Christ. They would need food, warm clothing, reading matter, and encouragement. The temptation would be for other believers to shield themselves from association with prisoners and thus from the danger of guilt by association. They should remember that in visiting prisoners, they were visiting Christ.

Compassion should also be shown for the mistreated; again this doubtless means persecuted Christians. The readers should resist any tendency to shield themselves from the danger that such compassion might involve. For ourselves, we can broaden the application of the verse to include sympathy for all suffering saints. We should remember that we are in the body also and therefore subject to similar afflictions.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 427–428). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 184). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 235). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Brown, R. (1988). The message of Hebrews: Christ above all (pp. 250–252). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[5] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 236). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2208). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.


DECEMBER 20 DO YOU LOVE BEAUTY?

There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination.

Revelation 21:27

When we look closely at this world system and society, we see the terrible and ugly scars of sin. Sin has obscenely scarred and defaced this world, taking away its harmony and symmetry and beauty.

That is the negative picture. Thank God for the positive promise and prospect that heaven is the place of all loveliness, all harmony and beauty.

These are not idle words. If you love beautiful things, you had better stay out of hell, for hell will be the quintessence of all that is morally ugly and obscene. Hell will be the ugliest place in all of creation!

It is a fact that earth lies between all that is ugly in hell and all that is beautiful in heaven. As long as we are living here, we will have to consider the extreme—much that is good and much that is bad!

As believers, we are held firm in the knowledge that the eternal Son came to save us and deliver us to a beautiful heaven and everlasting fellowship with God!

Dear Lord, thank You for the glimpses of Your grace and beauty that You show us in Your creation—a colorful rainbow, a beautiful sunset, a field of wildflowers. They all remind us of the beauty in store for those who have received eternal life.[1]


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

December 20 Parable of the Pearl of Great Value

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.—Matt. 13:45–46

Pearls were the most highly valued gems in the ancient world, often purchased as investments, much like diamonds or precious metals are today. With pearls, a person could keep and conceal a great amount of wealth in a small space. The Jewish Talmud said the pearl was beyond the value of any set price, and that some ancients actually worshiped it.

Elsewhere the New Testament uses the pearl as a representation of something of immense value and worthy of protection. When the Lord warns believers not to throw pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6), He underscores the priceless value of the gospel and its corresponding truths, which unbelievers despise as worthless. The apostle John envisions the New Jerusalem as a glorious city with twelve gates of pearl, and more precisely “each one of the gates was a single pearl” (Rev. 21:21).

In this parable the merchant obviously considered the valuable pearl so precious and worth more than all his other pearls combined, because he no doubt included them in the sale of all his possessions, which he did to buy the one pearl. Jesus again illustrates the immense value of the kingdom of heaven and clearly implies that the merchant’s transaction was one involving his salvation. Purchasing the great pearl—the kingdom—represents obtaining God’s saving knowledge through trust in His Son, the Lord Jesus, and experiencing all the blessings which that relationship brings. It is another example of the greatest transaction any of us can make.

ASK YOURSELF

It’s really all about one thing, isn’t it—giving our hearts to Christ without limitation or restriction. Consider today how the rest of your life is lining up under the one priority of walking boldly with Jesus.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 363). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 20 The Christmas Tree

The glory of Lebanon will come to you.

Isaiah 60:13

Christmas trees seem to have their origins in the ancient celebrations of Saturnalia. The Romans decorated their temples with greenery and candles. Roman soldiers conquering the British Isles found Druids who worshiped mistletoe and Saxons who used holly and ivy in religious ceremonies. All those things found their way into Christmas customs.

Interestingly, however, the first person to have lighted a Christmas tree may have been Martin Luther, father of the Reformation. He introduced the practice of putting candles on trees to celebrate Christmas, citing Isaiah 60:13 as biblical authority for the practice: “The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the box tree, and the cypress together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I shall make the place of My feet glorious.”[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 381). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 20, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

God of the Covenant

Genesis 6:18

But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

In the middle of the verses covered by our last study a term was introduced that is so important in biblical theology that we must pause to look at it. It is the term covenant. It occurs here for the first time in the Bible. After this it is used frequently. In all, it is found 253 times in the Old Testament and twenty times in the New Testament. Many of these references are to the ark of the covenant that stood at the heart of Israel’s worship. Other texts speak of specific covenants established by God with such persons as Abraham, Moses, and David. Our text speaks of God’s covenant with Noah: “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.”

What is a covenant? A covenant is a promise. It has been defined more elaborately, of course—and rightly so. The great Princeton theologian Charles Hodge defines it as “a promise suspended upon a condition, and attached to disobedience a certain penalty.” O. Palmer Robertson calls it “a bond in blood sovereignly administered.”2 These definitions are right, but basically a covenant is a promise of God to people with whom he is dealing in a special way.

Many Covenants

When we say that Genesis 6:18 is the first verse in the Bible to contain the word “covenant” we do not mean thereby that it is the first place in the Bible where the idea of a covenant occurs. Charles Hodge, whom we have just mentioned (like many Reformed theologians before and after him), finds the essential doctrines of salvation in a contrast between two main covenants, entitled the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. In this system the covenant of works is seen to have been established by God with Adam, the conditions being that if Adam obeyed God in the matter of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and thus continued in holiness, he would continue to enjoy that life that flows from God’s favor. But if he disobeyed by eating of the tree and thus lost that holiness, he would die. This covenant was established with Adam on behalf of all his descendants with the result that, when Adam exploited his option by sinning, the punishment of death passed not merely to him but to the entire human race.

In contrast to this covenant, Hodge and other Reformed theologians speak of a covenant of grace being established by God the Father with the Lord Jesus Christ according to which, on condition of Christ’s perfect obedience both in life and unto death, God would save an innumerable company from among Adam’s fallen family. Hodge distinguishes a covenant of redemption, established between the Father and the Son, and a covenant of grace, established between God and his people; but these are essentially part of one thing. The real contrast is between the covenant of works, through which no one will be saved and in accordance with which all are rather condemned, and the covenant of grace, through which those who are united to Christ are delivered.

In Robertson’s treatment the matter is more carefully subdivided. He distinguishes between an initial covenant of creation and a subsequent covenant of redemption, the essential distinction Hodge makes in his discussion of the covenants of works and grace. But Robertson further subdivides the covenant of redemption into specific covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Christ. These are called covenants of commencement, preservation, promise, law, kingdom, and consummation respectively.

Whatever way we treat the covenants, the point is clear. God is not introducing a new way of dealing with people at this point of the Genesis account but is merely making explicit what has already been implicit in his dealings with Adam and the other antediluvian figures. In particular, God had already revealed the basic ingredient of the new covenant of redemption (or grace), for in his judgment on the serpent he had promised a deliverer to come: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen. 3:15). The patriarchs of this period, including Noah, lived by faith in that promise. So when God now establishes a further, explicit covenant with Noah, we are to understand it as an elaboration of principles that had already been revealed.

Promise to Preserve

The promise of God to Noah is of quite broad extent and will be considered more fully when we get to the later passages that deal with it. This is the first; but there are four blocks of material in all (the latter three run together): Genesis 6:18; 8:20–22; 9:1–7; and 9:8–17. The later passages deal with God’s promise never again to curse the ground for man’s sin, the institution of capital punishment, and the specific reiteration of the covenant made with Noah and his family in which the sign of the covenant, the rainbow, is given. This last passage is really the fulfillment of the promise in our text: “Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ ”

Since this is the first explicit mention of a covenant in Scripture we should expect to find the essential features of God’s covenants made clear. This is exactly what we do find. There are several elements.

The first important feature of the covenants established by God is precisely that: they are established by God and not by man. This means—to use the technical word—that they are unilateral. Each of the covenants has the nature of an agreement; we must recognize this. But we must also recognize that they are not established in the way similar agreements might be reached between human beings. If people enter into an agreement to sell and buy a house, for example, the parties involved first have to sit down and agree to the terms. How much will be paid for the house? What will the payment cover—fixtures? appliances? carpeting? drapes? When will the house be available? When must the money be paid? Since both parties must agree to the answers to those and similar questions, in deciding these matters a certain amount of bargaining may take place. There can be trade-offs, compromises. Or the agreement can fall through. This is true of nearly any human agreement. But at this point the covenants established by God are quite different. God does not bargain. He does not compromise on terms. On the contrary, he merely announces what those terms are. This is what we mean when we say that the covenants of God are unilateral.

What were the terms of the covenant established with Noah? Essentially there were two. First, God established the means by which those who were to be saved from the flood should be saved, namely, the ark. Second, God determined who should be saved by that means, namely, Noah and his sons, his wife and his sons’ wives—eight persons. Noah did not debate these arrangements. He was not given the opportunity to do so.

The world does not like this kind of dealing, of course. The world is opposed to God’s will, and the establishing of his will in this way seems to it to be arbitrary, autocratic, and insufferable. This is not the way God’s people view the unilateral nature of God’s promises. They rejoice, knowing that if God makes the terms, then the terms will be perfect. If we get into the action, we are certain to mess things up. Again, when God establishes a covenant, it is never to discourage us but to encourage us to do good works. In Noah’s case, the promises of God were an incentive for him to keep working during the many long years the ark was being built.

Calvin, who undoubtedly sympathized with Noah in this respect due to his own long years of turmoil and service on behalf of the Reformation, wrote of the value of such promises: “Since the construction of the ark was very difficult, and innumerable obstacles might perpetually arise to break off the work when begun, God confirms his servant by a superadded promise. Thus was Noah encouraged to obey God. … Let us therefore know, that the promises of God alone, are they which quicken us, and inspire each of our members with vigor to yield obedience to God: but that without these promises, we not only lie torpid in indolence, but are almost lifeless, so that neither hands nor feet can do their duty. And hence, as often as we become languid, or more remiss than we ought to be, in good works, let the promises of God recur to us, to correct our tardiness.”

The second feature of God’s covenants is that they are eternal. That is, God does not begin to do something in one way and then suddenly change his mind and begin to do something else or do it in a different way. He knows his plan from the beginning, announces it clearly, and then does exactly what he has promised. This aspect of the covenant is particularly emphasized in Noah’s case. It is emphasized in regard to God’s promise never again to curse the ground and destroy its creatures: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Gen. 8:22). It is emphasized by the giving of the rainbow as a sign: “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth” (Gen. 9:12–16).

I am impressed at this point with how different God’s promises are from human promises. We say, “An honest man’s word is as good as his bond,” but we know either that this is not true or that no one living is truly honest. People do break promises. When the Roman author Syrus Pubilius wrote, “Never promise more than you can perform,” he was recognizing that people often do promise more than they perform and that their promises are therefore often quite worthless. George Chapman said, “Promise is most given when the least is said.” Thomas Fuller observed, “A man apt to promise is apt to forget.” William Hazlitt said cynically, “Some persons make promises for the pleasure of breaking them.”

How different is God! At the time of the dedication of the Jewish temple, King Solomon blessed the people, saying, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses” (1 Kings 8:56). We say, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 1:20).

This leads us to note that there are indeed many biblical promises, each of which is in a sense God’s covenant with those who believe these promises and act on them. There are promises for every circumstance of life.

When I first went to France during my high school years I stayed in the home of a lovely French woman who told a story from her youth. She had been led to Christ by Donald Grey Barnhouse during his early ministry in France and through her friendship with him was introduced to what the Barnhouse family called a promise box. It was a small box containing about two hundred tiny rolls of paper on which promises from the Bible had been written. The Barnhouses used to take one out whenever they needed a special word of comfort. This appealed to their young French friend. So she made a promise box herself, writing out all these same promises in French.

The time came when World War II swept over the European continent and France was particularly affected. The people struggled to live. At times, particularly toward the end of the war, food ran short, and the time came when this woman had no food for her family except a mass of potato peelings from a restaurant. Her children were emaciated. They were crying for food. She was desperate. In this tragic moment she remembered the promise box and turned to it, praying, “Lord, O Lord, I have such great need. Is there a promise here that is really for me? Show me, O Lord, what promise I can have in this time of famine, nakedness, peril and sword.” She was crying by this time, and as she reached for the promise box, blinded by tears, she accidentally knocked it over and all the promises came showering down upon her, into her lap and tumbling to the floor. Not a promise was left in the box. She knew in a moment of great joy that the promises of God were beyond counting, that they were all for her and that they were indeed “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus.

The final important feature of God’s covenants is that they are established by grace. That is, there is nothing in us to merit them—nothing in Adam, nothing in Noah or Abraham or Moses or David. The only merit anywhere is the merit of Christ, and it is on the basis of his work alone that the benefits of the covenants become ours. It is good that this is the case. If the covenant depended on our works or performance, we would be certain to fail and lose the benefits.

A New Covenant

We must say at this point that there are covenants in the Old Testament, like that made by God with Adam, which are conditional and therefore depend on the obedience of men and women for their fulfillment. The great covenant of Deuteronomy is an example. It was given to the people for the experiencing of God’s blessing in the Promised Land. If they obeyed the Lord and carefully followed all his commands, the result would be peace, prosperity, and blessing. If they disobeyed, there would be judgment (Deuteronomy 27–29). The people did disobey, as we know, and the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities were the result. These covenants showed that it was necessary for the promise of salvation to be on a different footing and prepared the way for the new covenant—the culmination of all the covenants—in Jesus Christ. Jeremiah expressed the need for the new covenant clearly.

“The time is coming,” declares the Lord,

“when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt,

because they broke my covenant,

though I was a husband to them,”

declares the Lord.

“This is the covenant I will make with

the house of Israel

after that time,” declares the Lord.

“I will put my law in their minds

and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest,”

declares the Lord.

“For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.”

Jeremiah 31:31–34

The author of Hebrews says that this covenant has been established with us through the work of Christ (Heb. 8:1–13; 10:1–18).

And so have all covenants! So has the covenant with Noah. That is why Peter can write as he does in his first letter, saying enigmatically, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (1 Peter 3:18–22). Peter means that we are saved by our identification with Jesus Christ, just as Noah and his family were saved by being in the ark during the time of the great flood.

This is the only way of salvation for anyone, and we must stand there or fail to stand. Edward Mote’s great hymn puts it well.

His oath, his covenant, his blood

Support me in the whelming flood;

When all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.[1]


[1] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (pp. 333–339). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

DECEMBER 20 THE ART OF TRUE WORSHIP

For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us.

—2 Corinthians 5:13-14

It remains only to be said that worship as we have described it here is almost (though, thank God, not quite) a forgotten art in our day. For whatever we can say of modern Bible-believing Christians, it can hardly be denied that we are not remarkable for our spirit of worship. The gospel as preached by good men in our times may save souls, but it does not create worshipers.

Our meetings are characterized by cordiality, humor, affability, zeal and high animal spirits; but hardly anywhere do we find gatherings marked by the overshadowing presence of God. We manage to get along on correct doctrine, fast tunes, pleasing personalities and religious amusements.

How few, how pitifully few are the enraptured souls who languish for love of Christ….

If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to recapture the spirit of worship. We shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus. We shall need to put away our phobias and our prejudices against the deeper life and seek again to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He alone can raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship. TIC130-131

Father, help me to recapture the spirit of worship, that passion for Christ of which Paul speaks, through a fresh revelation of Your awesome presence. Amen. [1]


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

December 20 The Authority of Christ’s Name

“God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Philippians 2:9–11

✧✧✧

Christ’s name shows Him to be sovereign ruler.

The name “Lord” is a New Testament synonym for Old Testament descriptions of Yahweh (the Old Testament name of God), which show God as sovereign ruler. It signifies rulership based on power and authority. Though it was always evident that Christ was the living Lord, it was in His exaltation that He was formally given the name Lord—a title that is His as the God–man. On earth He was known by many names, but now He bears the name that is above every name: Lord.

Philippians 2:10 doesn’t say at the name Jesus every knee should bow, but at the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus immediately bestowed by the Father was “Lord.” It is not the name Jesus that makes people bow—that’s the name of His incarnation—but the name Lord.

That the name mentioned in verse 9 is Lord is confirmed by Paul’s allusion to Isaiah 45:21–23, which says, “Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” God said through Isaiah that He is sovereign—the Lord of all. That is what Paul was referring to when he said that every knee would bow and every tongue confess (or admit) that Jesus Christ is Lord. Only God is Lord.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: In his prayer in Ephesians 1:17–23 Paul mentions that Christ’s name is above all other names (vv. 20–21). Use his prayer as a model when you pray for other believers.

For Further Study: Read the following verses: Luke 2:11; John 13:13; Acts 10:36; Romans 14:9–11; 1 Corinthians 8:6. What do they say about Jesus’ lordship?[1]


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

December 19 Daily Help

ARE you willing, dear reader, to receive Christ? then there is no difficulty in the way; Christ will be your guest; his own power is working with you, making you willing. What an honor to entertain the Son of God! The heaven of heavens cannot contain him, and yet he condescends to find a house within our hearts! We are not worthy that he should come under our roof, but what an unutterable privilege when he condescends to enter! for then he makes a feast, and causes us to feast with him upon royal dainties; we sit at a banquet where he gives immortality to those who feed thereon. Blessed among the sons of Adam is he who entertains the Lord.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 357). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 19, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

2:14 natural man. This refers to the unconverted, who lack supernatural life and wisdom. spiritually appraised. Through illumination of the Word, the Holy Spirit provides His saints the capacity to discern divine truth (see Ps 119:18), which the spiritually dead are unable to comprehend (cf. Jn 5:37–39; see notes on 1Jn 2:20, 27). The doctrine of illumination does not mean we know everything (cf. Dt 29:29), that we do not need teachers (cf. Eph 4:11, 12), or that understanding does not require hard work (cf. 2Ti 2:15).[1]


2:14 Before a man is drawn by God to conversion through the Spirit, he is unable to receive or properly understand God’s message (cf. John 6:44; Rom. 8:5–8). This explains why the gospel appears foolish to the unbeliever. Groping in spiritual blindness makes him unable to comprehend the truths which belong to the spiritual realm.[2]


2:14 Not only is the gospel divine in its revelation and divine in its inspiration, but now we learn that it can only be received by the power of the Spirit of God. Unaided, the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness to him. He cannot possibly understand them because they can only be spiritually understood.

The colorful Vance Havner advises:

The wise Christian wastes no time trying to explain God’s program to unregenerate men; it would be casting pearls before swine. He might as well try to describe a sunset to a blind man or discuss nuclear physics with a monument in the city park. The natural man cannot receive such things. One might as well try to catch sunbeams with a fishhook as to lay hold of God’s revelation unassisted by the Holy Spirit. Unless one is born of the Spirit and taught by Him, all this is utterly foreign to him. Being a Ph. D. does not help, for in this realm it could mean ‘Phenomenal Dud!’[3]


14. The unspiritual man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he is unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

  • “The unspiritual man.” The Greek word which I have translated “unspiritual” occurs here and in four other places in the New Testament. The translation declares what the man is not, namely, spiritual. This is exactly what Paul means by contrasting an unspiritual person with a spiritual person. “The former is animate man, filled with soul in the sense of life-force, the natural man, in contrast to the spiritual man.”47 The natural man belongs to the world, while the spiritual man belongs to God. The one is an unbeliever and the other a believer; the one lacks the Spirit while the other has the Spirit; the one follows natural instincts (Jude 19), the other follows the Lord.
  • “[The unspiritual man] does not accept the things of the Spirit of God.” Although the verb to accept is synonymous with to receive (see v. 12), the difference is noteworthy. The first verb, which is active, refers to the object that is accepted. The second verb, which is passive, describes the manner in which the object is received. Here the translation to not accept is the same as to reject. The unspiritual man repudiates the things of the Spirit of God because he does not understand them nor does he desire them. He accepts only the things of the world.
  • “For they are foolishness to him.” The spiritual things relate to sin, guilt, forgiveness, redemption, salvation, righteousness, and eternal life. To the unspiritual person, these things are meaningless, irrelevant, and even foolish. They have no place in a life that is limited to the present world.
  • “And he is unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” Paul speaks about an inability that is caused by the absence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the unbeliever. Granted the unbeliever can excel the Christian in various ways: intellectually, educationally, philosophically, or even morally. He may be a worthy citizen and a leader in society who shuns the sensuous excesses that characterize other people. Yet, the non-Christian is unable to understand spiritual matters. He lacks the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to enlighten his understanding.

Paul states that the unbeliever is unable to comprehend spiritual truths “because they are spiritually discerned.” The verb discerned is significant. First, it points to a continual process of evaluating the spiritual context in which we live. Next, the passive voice denotes that the believer guided by the Holy Spirit is able to test the spirits to ascertain whether they come from God (compare 1 John 4:1). Submissive to God, the Christian should judge all things spiritually.

The agnostic or atheist is unable to judge spiritually because he himself is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). With respect to spiritual matters, he is like a man who flips the switch during an electrical power failure and receives no light. Worse, he has no idea what caused the failure and is unable to predict the duration of the blackout. He is powerless to alter the situation but must wait until the electrical supply is restored. Similarly, unless the Spirit’s power enters his life and enlightens him spiritually, he remains in spiritual darkness. The Holy Spirit enables man to see clearly the path that leads to life and to evaluate accurately the circumstances in which he finds himself.[4]


2:14. The Spirit’s role in bringing the message of the gospel raised an important issue for Paul. People without the Spirit are not able to accept the things that come from the Spirit. Only those who are under the influence of the Holy Spirit can receive Christian instruction with open hearts. The Christian message appears to be foolishness to people without the Spirit. They cannot understand the teachings of the Spirit.

Of course, Paul did not mean that unbelievers have absolutely no understanding of the Christian gospel and instruction. It is evident that unbelievers can exceed the abilities of believers in many ways. In fact, Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seeds indicates that unspiritual people can even grasp the gospel of Christ to varying degrees (Matt. 13:3–7). Indeed, Paul himself occasionally affirmed that unbelievers understand some truths (Rom. 2:14–15).

Paul meant that unbelievers cannot lay hold of or deeply appropriate the Christian message. People without the Spirit are impaired in their ability to understand and accept the instructions of the Spirit because their orientation in life is so contrary to the Spirit.

The teachings of the Spirit are foolish and cannot be understood because they are spiritually discerned. People without the Spirit cannot grasp the revelation of God’s wisdom because they hold to wrong standards of judgment. They employ the standards of human wisdom to judge the truth claims of Christ. The revelation of the Spirit, however, is properly evaluated only by the Spirit’s work in the heart and mind of a person.

Paul laid out this perspective on unbelievers to prepare his Corinthian readers for a point he was about to make. They had the Spirit in their lives because they were believers, but they still had to evaluate whether or not they depended on the Spirit. They had to reassess their own habit of turning from the Spirit to the false wisdom of the world.[5]


2:14 / With the words of this verse Paul returns to an argument he initiated in 1:18. The thrust of the argument is negative and echoes similar elements already encountered in 2:6, 8–9, 12–13. Along with presenting the positive case that God’s wisdom revealed by the Spirit is nothing other than Christ crucified, Paul vigorously denounces human wisdom as an inadequate avenue to understanding God. Mere reason does not bring humanity into a true relationship with God and the transforming power of God’s work. Indeed, without the Spirit humanity resists or rejects as foolishness the revelations of the Spirit (the things that come from the Spirit of God). The Spirit alone provides perception that enlightens and transforms humanity by bringing the human into a divinely initiated relationship with God. And, finally, it is important to notice that, while Paul’s language in this verse refers to the individual, the context of his comments in this section clearly indicates that he is thinking of the common human experiences of belief and disbelief. His concern is with a corporate, not a private, spiritual awakening.[6]


14 The “natural” (NASB) or unspiritual person (NIV, “the man without the Spirit”), however, who did not accept the apostle’s message and thus does not have the Spirit of God, cannot “accept the things that come from the Spirit, … and he cannot understand them.” In fact, to the natural person these spiritual things are “foolishness” (mōria, GK 3702, the same word used in 1:18, 21, 23; see comments there), and he or she has no ability to discern (anakrinō, GK 373) their spiritual meaning. The core teaching, of course, that such a person finds unacceptable is that of the cross of Christ (1:23–24; 2:2). In other words, the essential difference between one who understands the deep things of God and one who does not is how a person reacts to the message of the crucifixion of Jesus. This message is, and always must remain, at the center of the Christian message.[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Co 2:14). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., 1 Co 2:14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1753). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, pp. 91–92). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, pp. 37–38). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (pp. 61–62). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[7] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 280). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


December 19: The Rechabite Saga

Jeremiah 35:1–36:32; Romans 8:18–39; Proverbs 22:17–23:18

We’re often slow to learn and quick to speak. We think we know God’s ways, but He can easily prove us wrong. Many of us have made this mistake: We think we’re living righteously, and then God slams us for our actions. He quickly deconstructs our worldview, calling into question our ethics, our way of being, our lifestyles. Why? Because even if we don’t think we’re breaking any rules, we might be living by our own choices rather than Yahweh’s will—and that is disobedience. The story of the Rechabites demonstrates this point.

Yahweh had requested that the Rechabites shun alcohol and live in tents, so they did. They obeyed this request until Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah, which they inhabited with the rest of God’s people. Then Yahweh sent them one final test: He asked His prophet, Jeremiah, to prompt them to drink wine. They resisted—and passed the test (Jer 35:1–11).

The Rechabites’ obedience stands as a model that shows the actions of the rest of God’s people reprehensible by comparison. Yahweh remarks to Jeremiah, “Go and say to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘Can you not learn a lesson to listen to my words?’ declares Yahweh. ‘The words of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, that he commanded his descendants to not drink, have been carried out, and they have not drunk until this day, for they have obeyed the command of their ancestor. But I have spoken to you over and over again, and you have not listened to me’ ” (Jer 35:13–14). God’s people had disobeyed Him by seeking other gods and committing other sins, but this line hints at the deeper problem: They had not carried out Yahweh’s basic commandment to listen to His will.

God’s people thought they were in the right. They believed they were behaving correctly. But in reality, they had disobeyed His basic commandments and then disobeyed His very will. Are you, like God’s people, living in disillusionment, failing to acknowledge that you’re living outside of God’s will?

Ask yourself: “Am I really on the right track? Is this really God’s will, or is it the manifestation of a false belief about my obedience that I’m creating?”

John D. Barry[1]


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