Daily Archives: December 29, 2017

December 29 He Who Sanctifies

“Both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise.’ And again, ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again, ‘Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me’” (Heb. 2:11–13).


Our holy Christ has made us holy; thus He can now call us His brothers.

From our own perspective and experience, it is difficult to think of ourselves as holy. Sin simply is too much a part of us in this fallen world. In thought and practice we are far from holy, but in Christ we are perfectly “sanctified” or holy.

We may not always act holy, but because of our faith in Christ we are perfectly holy in God’s sight. Though a child does not always act like his father, he is still his son. We are holy in the sense that before God, the righteousness of Christ has been applied and imputed on our behalf through faith. We were made holy through His sacrifice and have become “those who are sanctified.”

“By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). We are as pure as God is pure, as righteous as Christ is righteous, and are therefore entitled to be called His brothers because we now share in His righteousness.

The Sanctifier and the sanctified now have “one Father,” and the Sanctifier “is not ashamed” to call the sanctified His brothers. What an overwhelming truth!

The practical experience of a Christian’s life in this world includes sin, but the positional reality of his or her new nature is holiness. “In Him [we] have been made complete” (Col. 2:10). Yet practically, we have a long way to go. So the overriding purpose of our lives is to become in practice what we are in position. Now that we are Christ’s brothers and God’s children, let that be all the motivation we need to live like it.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank the Lord for His sanctifying work on the cross, which enables you to be holy.

For Further Study: Read Romans 1:16. Based on what God has done for you through Christ, can you wholeheartedly echo Paul’s statement?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 376). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Christian Research Network 2017 Top 10 Articles

The following are Christian Research Network’s 2017 top 10 posts. But before we get to that, we want to thank those of you who use CRN, not just to do Research, but to start your day with our Devotion/teaching, or simply to catch up on the News.  Or you might visit CRN to read an informative Opinion piece so that you’ll be up on what’s affecting/infecting the visible Church. It doesn’t matter what your reason is, we’re grateful!  And because many of you share whatever happens to grab your attention, we know CRN’s on the right track!

From the beginning, the aim of this blog has been to direct readers back to Jesus Christ and His life, death and resurrection for sinners, as revealed in the scriptures. Nothing will change in that regard — but other changes are definitely coming in 2018 — so stay turned!


1.     Insight Into the Lunacy of Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry

2.     Joyce Meyer Teaching the ‘Relationship Over Religion’ Heresy

3.     Saddleback Church Statement Appears to Downplay Role of Alleged Molester Ruben Meulenberg

4.     Saddleback Youth worker Reuben Meulenberg Charged With 5 Felony Counts – Saddleback Remaining Tight Lipped On Staff Issue

5.     Bible Answer Man Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy

6.     The Beth Moore Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Mysticism, and Impasioned Frenzy

7.     Who Cares About Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Slamming Shots With Justin Bieber

8.     The Photo That Lost Radio’s ‘Bible Answer Man’ Thousands of Listeners

9.     Hillsong, Bethel Music and the Great Seduction

10.  5 Most Ridiculous Books to Ever Become Christian Bestsellers

2017 TOP 10 ARTICLES WITH THE MOST HITS — some of these articles were posted several years ago. They’re still relevant today.  

1.     New Bible Translation ‘The Voice’ Causes A Stir

2.     Insight Into the Lunacy of Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry

3.     T.D. Jakes: ‘Believing In God Is Not Enough,’ You Must Believe In Yourself

4.     Joyce Meyer Teaching the ‘Relationship Over Religion’ Heresy

5.     Saddleback Church Statement Appears to Downplay Role of Alleged Molester Ruben Meulenberg

6.     Saddleback Youth worker Reuben Meulenberg Charged With 5 Felony Counts – Saddleback Remaining Tight Lipped On Staff Issue

7.     Days Before Participating in Passion 2013, John Piper Denounces Prosperity Preaching, ‘Playful’ Worship

8.     Blogger’s Lawsuit for Harassment Against Perry Noble and Newspring Church Reaches Settlement 

9.     Bible Answer Man Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy

10.  SOZO – A Dangerous ‘Inner Healing and Deliverance Ministry’


Blogger’s Lawsuit for Harassment Against Perry Noble and Newspring Church Reaches Settlement 

Source: Christian Research Network 2017 Top 10 Articles


The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it: and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face….


If God is the Supreme Good then our highest blessedness on earth must lie in knowing Him as perfectly as possible!

The ultimate end to which redemption leads is the immediate sight of the ever-blessed Godhead. In our present state we cannot with our natural eyes look upon God, for it is written, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exod. 33:20).

When the work of Christ has been completed in His people, however, it will be possible, even natural, for redeemed men to behold their Redeemer. This is stated plainly by the Apostle John: “But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

This rapturous experience has been called the Beatific Vision and will be the culmination of all possible human blessedness. It will bring the glorified saint into a state of perpetual bliss which to taste for even one moment will banish forever from his mind every memory of grief or suffering here below.

I suppose the vast majority of us must wait for the great day of the Lord’s coming to realize the full wonder of the vision of God Most High. In the meantime, we are, I believe, missing a great measure of radiant glory that is ours by blood-covenant and available to us in this present world if we would but believe it and press on in the way of holiness.[1]

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

December 29, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump will undergo a physical in January, his first known medical exam by a government doctor since taking office.

President Donald Trump warned that alleged illicit Chinese oil sales to North Korea may jeopardize a peaceful resolution to the confrontation over Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella dissolved parliament on Thursday, setting the country on the path to a national election on March 4 that could lead to a hung parliament and a period of political turbulence.

Democrat Doug Jones’ historic victory over Republican Roy Moore was declared official Thursday as Alabama election officials certified him the winner of the special Senate election, despite Moore’s last-minute lawsuit claiming voter fraud.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will meet French President Emmanuel Macron next month as Britain gears up for trade talks with the European Union, according to officials from both nations.

The U.S. and Turkey resumed visa services, three months after they were suspended amid an escalating feud between the NATO allies. Turkish assets rallied, pushing the stock market to a record high.

The Trump administration is rolling back offshore drilling rules put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and spewed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

President Donald Trump said he would insist legislation extending deportation protection to those brought to the U.S. illegally as children include funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

President Donald Trump said Friday the U.S. Postal Service should charge Amazon.com Inc. more to deliver packages, the latest in a series of public criticisms of the online retailer and one that sent the company’s stock lower in pre-market trading.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the U.S. tax reform will cut profit this year by about $5 billion, mainly because of a tax targeting earnings held abroad.

New York City’s deadliest residential fire in decades spread through every floor of a Bronx apartment building within a matter of minutes, city officials said, killing 12 people – including four children – and sending other residents scrambling outside into the cold and down fire escapes to safety.

China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Ltd. agreed to buy 50 Airbus SE single-aisle airliners with a combined list price of $5.42 billion to help meet surging air travel demand in an aviation market set to surpass the U.S. as the world’s biggest.

AP Top Stories

Numerous record-low temperatures have been broken from Minnesota to Michigan to New York in the last few days — and the bitter cold isn’t letting up yet. One of those records was set in Flint, Michigan, where temperature hit minus-17 degrees — the coldest temperature ever recorded in the month of December in the city. The city broke records three days in a row this week. One of the coldest actual temperatures measured was in Cotton, Minnesota, where it dropped to minus-41 degrees Thursday morning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said a bomb blast in a St. Petersburg supermarket on Wednesday was an act of terrorism, and that security forces whose lives were threatened by terrorist suspects should shoot to kill if necessary.

The airline passenger who says she was bumped from her seat to make room for a congresswoman is giving her side of the story. Teacher Jean-Marie Simon says she had booked a first class seat on a flight from Houston to Washington, D.C. Her boarding pass read “First Class, Seat 1A.” But when she went to board the United flight, she said an agent told her: “You’ve been wiped from the system, I can’t even find your reservation.” The seat was given to a local congresswoman, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and Simon ended up with a seat in economy.

The United States should take action to reduce demand for the drugs fueling its deadly opioid crisis rather than simply accusing China of being the major source.

The fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is not over, a British general has warned, saying its remaining fighters in Syria have been able to move to areas they are unable to target.

A decision by Japan to deploy a U.S. missile defense system will damage Moscow’s relations with Tokyo and is a breach by Washington of a landmark arms control treaty, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.


Anti-government demonstrators took to the streets of Iran for a second day, with protests being held in a number of cities. The protesters are angered by rising prices and corruption.

Twelve people have died in twin attacks on Coptic Christians in the Helwan area south of Cairo, officials said. Ten people died when gunmen tried to storm a church south of Cairo, but were intercepted by police.

Organizers of Berlin’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are to set up a “safe zone” for women for the first time.

UK stock markets climbed to new highs on the final day of trading for 2017. Both the FTSE 100 index of leading blue chip companies and the FTSE 250 reached new records at the close of trading.

The United Nations says two air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen’s civil war killed at least 68 civilians in a single day this week.


More pregnant women seem to be using pot – sometimes to ease the nausea of morning sickness or heightened anxiety – and a new study suggests that this slight rise in marijuana use is most pronounced among those younger in age.

News – 12/29/2017

Tenth of Tevet: The Seeds of Messiah Planted in the UN Jerusalem Vote
The Tenth of Tevet, a fast day that began Thursday morning, commemorates the beginning of the Greek siege of Jerusalem, an event one rabbi sees mirrored in the hateful United Nations vote last week that attempted to isolate Jerusalem from the world. In the spirit of one of the most venerated sages in Jewish history, this rabbi sees the UN vote as proof that the Third Temple will rise again.

Evolutionary Scientists Retract Groundbreaking Results, Leaving Hole in Theory
“In retrospect, we were totally blinded by our belief [in our findings] … we were not as careful or rigorous as we should have been (and as Tivoli was) in interpreting these experiments,” Szostak told Retraction Watch. Without being able to produce RNA in the laboratory in the absence of the necessary enzymes, the ‘warm little pond’ theory of the origin of life does not work. The chemical processes produced in the lab did not, in fact, produce the building blocks necessary for life.

JPost Exclusive: No route to peace without Trump, Ambassador Friedman says
Friedman dismissed Palestinian threats to bring in a new peace mediator, saying, “There is no path around the United States. Israel has made it clear that they will not engage under the sponsorship of any other nation. You cannot clap with one hand. Moreover, only the United States has the regional credibility to bring forward a historic peace agreement.”

Agriculture minister turns to prayer to help relieve drought
More than 2,000 Jews join Israel’s chief rabbis and Agriculture Minister Ariel at Jerusalem’s Western Wall to pray for rain as the country faces a fourth straight dry winter.

‘DOJ, FBI need to investigate themselves’
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is blasting the Department of Justice and the FBI for their “failure to fully produce” documents related to the so-called “anti-Trump dossier,” saying, in a letter obtained by Fox News, “at this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.” “As a result of the numerous delays and discrepancies that have hampered the process of subpoena compliance, the committee no longer credits the representations made by DOJ and/or the FBI regarding these matters,” Nunes said. He called the Department of Justice’s initial response to the subpoenas “disingenuous at best.”

IDF strikes Hamas targets in Gaza Strip following rocket fire
Three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Friday morning, the IDF said, adding that two of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Israel Police confirmed that a third rocket struck an Israeli community in the Negev region bordering the Gaza Strip, causing damage to a building but no injuries. Police bomb disposal experts are working at the scene.

Gunmen attack Coptic Christian church near Cairo, killing at least nine
Gunmen killed at least nine people including three police in an attack on a Coptic Christian church south of Cairo on Friday, medical and security sources said. The two attackers opened fire at the entrance to the church of Mar Mina in Helwan district, which was being guarded by police in the run-up to Orthodox Christmas celebrations next week, security sources said.

Second senior Shi’ite militia commander visits Israeli-Lebanese border
Just weeks after a top Iraqi Shi’ite commander was filmed in South Lebanon overlooking northern Israel, a senior Syrian Shi’ite militia commander has paid the same visit to the border. Al-Hajj Hamza, the operations commander of Liwa al-Baqir, a Hezbollah-allied Syrian militia trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was seen in pictures published on Twitter on the border with Israel.

North Korea: South seizes ship amid row over illegal oil transfer
South Korea has revealed it seized a Hong Kong-registered ship last month suspected of supplying oil to the North in breach of international sanctions. Officials said the Lighthouse Winmore had secretly transferred 600 tonnes of refined oil to a North Korean ship. A UN Security Council resolution bans ship-to-ship transfers of any goods destined for Pyongyang.

New Year’s Eve party in Berlin to have ‘safe zone’ for women
Organisers of Berlin’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are to set up a “safe zone” for women for the first time. The new security measures planned for the Brandenburg Gate party come amid concerns about sexual assaults. A large number of assaults and robberies targeting women at Cologne’s New Year’s Eve celebrations two years ago horrified Germany.

Egypt attack: Nine dead in gun attack on church near Cairo
Nine people died when gunmen tried to storm a church south of Cairo, but were intercepted by police, officials say. Three of the dead were police who were on duty at Mar Mina church. One attacker was killed and his explosives belt was defused. Another gunman managed to escape.

Israel: Minister leads prayers for rain to end drought
Israel’s Agriculture Minister, Uri Ariel, has joined with the country’s religious leaders in an attempt to use the power of prayer to end a drought. Mr Ariel is an Orthodox Jew and led prayers on Thursday at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Severe drought for four years has left the country’s water supplies at low levels.

China Offers Tax Incentives to Persuade U.S. Companies to Stay
China said on Thursday that it would temporarily exempt foreign companies from paying tax on their earnings, a bid to keep American businesses from taking their profits out of China following Washington’s overhaul of the United States tax code. There is, however, a catch: To be eligible, foreign companies must invest those earnings in sectors encouraged by China’s government…

China Quietly Builds The World’s Largest DNA Database
From kindergartens to high schools, from prisons to anyone who’s simply lost their ID, China is conducting the world’s most aggressive campaign to collect DNA from its population – with or without permission, in what it is calling a “high-tech security blanket” used to better monitor its 1.4 billion citizens, the WSJ reports.

DHS Announces Program to ILLEGALLY Scan Our Faces And They’re Forcing Us To Pay For It
As TSA agents continue to prove their incompetence in the “War on Terror,” the Department of Homeland Security is now allocating $1 billion in taxpayer funding to create a facial recognition program that will illegally scan Americans’ faces.

Burning Man just released their 2018 theme and you won’t guess what it is
Recently we reported that the Google founders chose their CEO by taking him to burning man, a ritualistic new age event of desolation. Burning Man released their plans for 2018, appropriately theming the Black Rock based event “I, Robot.” Here’s what they say about the event, originally posted on burningman.org:

LEAK: President Trump & PM Netanyahu Reach “Secret Pact” To Stop Iran
According to Israel’s top foreign policy reporter Barack Ravid, the United States and Israel have reached a historic agreement to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Top Democrat Activist Sarsour: You Have No Right to Tell Us We Can’t Kill Jews
Top Democrat activist Linda Sarsour took to Facebook recently to defend a Muslim’s right to kill Jews.

Hotels Plan ‘Stealth Pat Down’ of Guests in Wake of Vegas Massacre
Determined to stop the next Mandalay Bay bloodbath, Las Vegas resorts have begun experimenting with a high-tech device that gives each guest a “stealth pat down” electronically without patrons even knowing it. Called Patscan Cognitive Microwave Radar, the new system is already being tested at Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino. Among the concealed hardware confiscated so far: Several folding knives, a machete, and a 9mm pistol.

Facebook Is Now Resorting To FAKE “Fake News” Alerts To Block Any News Articles They Don’t Want You To Know About
The whole concept of fake news is extremely dangerous for a couple of different reasons. Of course, when real fake news is spread via the Internet and the mainstream media (like the idea that Donald Trump and his team colluded with the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign), it puts misinformation into the minds of the public and thus damages our society as a whole.

New Trump EO Targets Lobbyists, Clinton Foundation-Linked Individuals Involved in Human Rights Abuses and Corruption
President Trump quietly signed an Executive Order on December 21st targeting lobbyists and Clinton Foundation-linked individuals involved in human rights abuses and corruption.

Top Execs Continue To Flee Laureate
…The for-profit education company is best known for paying former President Bill Clinton nearly $18 million to serve as the “Honorary Chairman” at Laureate International Universities (LIU), the company’s main corporate entity. LIU also donated up to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to the Clinton Foundation’s website.

UN Bloated Bureaucracy Gets its Wings Clipped
It’s about time that Americans stop paying so much to subsidize the dysfunctional UNRWA, especially while the Palestinians turn around and threaten to use their “weapons in the UN” against the United States

English Bishop Attacks Pro-Trump Christians
The Bishop of Liverpool has attacked Christians who support President Donald J. Trump and “a system which builds walls instead of bridges”.

The Five Biggest Pop Culture Stories of the Year

(LifeZette) From Hollywood scandals with stars like Kevin Spacey to celebs taking their Trump hate too far, it’s been a shocking time

This was the year that never slowed down or quieted down — especially in the world of pop culture.

It’s also hard these days for a news story of almost any kind to pass without a reaction from a celebrity in one way or another.

There are arguably more eyes on the entertainment industry than ever before, and the easier access to content and social media bridges the gap between consumer and creator today — so pop culture stories are more widely spread and consumed by Americans now. View article →

27 Percent of California Youth Are Gender ‘Nonconforming’

(Breitbart) A new study released at UCLA finds 27 percent of California’s young people between the ages of 12 and 17 self-report that others view them as gender ‘nonconforming” at school.

The study – which has a margin of error of about six percent – was based on the inclusion of two questions in the California Health Interview Survey that were asked of 1,594 California young people between the ages of 12 and 17.

First, the young people were asked, “Are you male or female?” and, subsequent to that question, they were asked: View article →

December 29, 2017
Alan Keyes rebuts talker’s take on results of Senate contest in Alabama

ALAN KEYES — Judging by the arguments Michael Savage has had with non-religious, atheistic and even Satanistic callers, I had reached the conclusion that he was someone who believes in God as the ruler of all Creation, as befits his Jewish heritage. I would also have said that he is not ignorant of the fact that Christians believe in Jesus Christ, as the Word made flesh to offer redemption to humanity…. (more)

December 28, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump in October said “perhaps no administration” had done more in its first nine months than his. That was before he succeeded in overhauling the decades-old tax code and repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate…. (more)

December 28, 2017
NATIONAL REVIEW — The Republican tax plan has a lot of moving parts, but its centerpiece is a major long-term cut in corporate taxes. American businesses have been eagerly anticipating these cuts, and 2017’s strong stock performances were driven in part by an expectation in the market that they were coming. Liberal critics are apt to downplay the impact that corporate tax rates have on the competitiveness of American business – – but the news from around the globe suggests that our economic competitors are very aware of the threat that the “Trump tax cuts” will lure more business back to the United States, or stem the departures of existing businesses, unless they take steps to keep up…. (more)

December 28, 2017

WORLDNETDAILY — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is blasting the Department of Justice and the FBI for their “failure to fully produce” documents related to the so-called “anti-Trump dossier,” saying, in a letter obtained by Fox News, “at this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.”… (more)

December 28, 2017

BOB UNRUH — The author of a book alleging “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia admits it’s really unknown whether the Russians exerted inappropriate influence over the candidate. The revelation comes from Luke Harding, a foreign correspondent with the Guardian newspaper of London, who wrote “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win.”… (more)

December 28, 2017

NEW YORK POST — Hell hath no fury like scorned Hillary Clinton supporters. Vanity Fair got pummeled with angry tweets Wednesday after its “Hive” blog published a snarky video it called “Six New Year’s Resolutions for Hillary Clinton.”… (more)

December 28, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Former President Obama may be out of sight, but he isn’t out of mind with respondents of Gallup’s annual “Most Admired Man” poll. The 44th president of the United States has captured Gallup’s “Most Admired Man” title for the 10th year in a row. The consulting company released its results on Wednesday after interviewing a random sample of 1,049 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia…. (more)

December 28, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump highlighted the large amount of land the Islamic State (ISIS) has lost this year in a Wednesday evening tweet. Trump quoted from a recent Washington Examiner story and included a chart that compares the strength of ISIS under his leadership and under former President Barack Obama:… (more)

December 28, 2017
NEWSMAX — A North Korean soldier who defected to the South this year was reportedly found to have antibodies to anthrax – stoking concerns the regime of Kim Jong Un has weaponized the deadly bacteria. According to UPI, South Korean authorities told local news network Channel A the unidentified soldier – one of four who have defected to the South in 2017 – was either exposed to the bacteria or was vaccinated against it…. (more)

December 27, 2017
NEWSMAX — At least four North Korean defectors have shown signs of radiation exposure, South Korean officials said Wednesday, but it is unclear whether the exposure is due to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, The New York Times reported…. (more)

December 27, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Americans count on the justices to be nearly infallible, but the Supreme Court this year has made two embarrassing stumbles by kicking the wrong lawyers out of the high court’s bar. In both cases, the court said, it was a matter of mistaken identity. A lawyer with virtually the same name had gotten into trouble, and the court took action – – only they had the wrong guy…. (more)

December 27, 2017
NEWSMAX — We already know you’re better off financially the later you begin claiming Social Security. Now it seems there’s another reason to hold off on collecting those checks: If you retire early you’re more likely to die early as well…. (more)

December 27, 2017
NEWSMAX — The NFL will cancel the final edition of “NBC Sunday Night Football” for the 2017 season, the first such move since 2006. Sunday is New Year’s Eve, though TVWeb.com noted “the fact that NFL football has taken a big hit in the ratings department this season” was also a factor…. (more)

December 27, 2017
PAUL BEDARD — The media’s coverage of President Trump has been overwhelmingly negative, more than three times more critical than the initial coverage of former President Barack Obama and twice that of former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton…. (more)

December 26, 2017
ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS — Since most people don’t watch CNN (Fox News instead), it came as a shock to find Jake Tapper on our side. Amazing, people said. Tapper roundly supported President Trump and the United States and Israel. Hours after the UN General Assembly voted 128 to 9 in an attempt to isolate the U.S. for declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, Tapper editorialized that they were wrong and we were right. This should not be surprising. But coming as it did from a voice at CNN, surprising and amazing…. (more)

December 26, 2017
WESLEY PRUDEN — “It ain’t braggin,'” said Dizzy Dean, “if you can do it.” Ol’ Diz was the Hall of Fame pitcher, full of Ozarks folk wisdom, and a philosopher to rival Yogi Berra. So who could argue with that? Certainly not Donald Trump, the braggart-in-chief who is beginning to get a little credit for action as well disdain for big words and large boasts. Some big media voices now show signs of tiring of blowing endlessly across the land that the president is a Manhattan hayseed who crashed into big-league politics with the turnip truck, who doesn’t know anything and hasn’t done anything…. (more)

December 26, 2017

PATRICK BUCHANAN — The original question the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign was to answer was a simple one: Did he do it? Did Trump, or officials with his knowledge, collude with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to hack the emails of John Podesta and the DNC, and leak the contents to damage Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump?… (more)

December 26, 2017
LEO HOHMANN — Morgan Evenson was walking home in downtown Minneapolis about 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 when a black man got out of his car, chased her down, tackled and stabbed her repeatedly. The feisty 26-year-old frantically fought back, kicking, scratching and screaming for help. At some point, neighbors heard her screams and came to help. Her attacker – – described as a Somali man in his early 20s, about 5-foot-7 with a slight build and wearing grey stone-washed jeans – – ran away…. (more)

December 26, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — Oregon pro-life activists are asking for more transparency and oversight after the government admitted to wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and impermissibly financing abortions with federal money. Lois Anderson, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, said there is a “lax” attitude in the state when it comes to “following laws related to abortion.”… (more)

December 25, 2017
ALAN KEYES — “Thus, the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all his work which He, God, created and made.” (Genesis 2: 1-3)… (more)

December 25, 2017

NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump is sending Christmas greetings to U.S. troops stationed around the world. From the Florida estate where Trump is spending the holidays, he spoke by video hook-up on Christmas Eve to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, stationed in Qatar, Kuwait and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba…. (more)

December 25, 2017

NEWSMAX — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Christians around the world a “Merry Christmas.” His comments came in a video posted on his Twitter account. The video showed Netanyahu speaking on Christmas eve from Jerusalem…. (more)

December 25, 2017
THE HILL — President Trump and first lady Melania Trump attended mass Sunday night in Florida on the eve of Christmas. The first couple attended mass at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, arriving after the service had already started, according to a White House pool report…. (more)

December 25, 2017
NEWSMAX — Throughout the 65-year-reign of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II, her annual Christmas Day broadcast in recent years has focused less on her dedication to a life of service and has become more a declaration of her Christian faith…. (more)

December 25, 2017
‘That’s where his allegiance lies. Always has. Always will’
WORLDNETDAILY — Actor James Woods tweeted the once unmentionable over the weekend about Barack Obama. “He is a Muslim,” wrote Woods. “He can deny it, his apologists in the media can refute it, and his enablers can promote a narrative that he is a Christian. It’s a pack of lies. Obama is a Muslim and that is where his allegiance lies. Always has. Always will.”… (more)

Headlines – 12/29/2017

Report: Israeli Deal With EU Recognizes ‘Palestine,’ Allows PA Projects in Jerusalem

The Full List: The International Treaties Abbas Seeks to Join to Protest Trump’s Jerusalem Move

Assessing the Islamic World’s Ho-Hum Response to Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration

US envoy blasts Palestinians’ ‘anti-Semitic’ reaction to Trump’s Jerusalem move

An unlikely negotiator for peace, Jason Greenblatt is pushing ahead by listening up

Tillerson omits Jerusalem from year-end foreign policy review

Hamas member to Trump: Palestine will be your graveyard

With an eye to Trump and Netanyahu, Israeli university takes on ‘fake news’

Israel: Minister leads prayers for rain to end drought

Thousands pray at Western Wall for rain to break drought

Israel banking on ‘digital shekel’ cryptocurrency?

NBA apologizes after ‘occupied Palestine’ listed on official website

Lebanese foreign minister criticized for saying: ‘We are not against Israel living in security’

Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister: I don’t deny Israel’s right to exist

Report: US, Israel sign secret pact to tackle Iran nuclear and missile threat

How Trump could kill the Iran nuclear deal in January

Anti-government protests break out in Iran over economic woes

Protesters in Iran raise slogans against Rouhani, Supreme Leader

Tehran Police Say Women Will No Longer Be Arrested For Violating ‘Islamic’ Dress Code

Egypt, a powder-keg waiting to explode

Egypt, Sudan relations at a new low over Erdogan’s visit

A Daring Assassination Attempt Shows ISIS in Sinai Has the Ultimate Weapon: Intel

Suicide Bombers Kill Over 40 at Shi’ite Center in Afghanistan; ISIS Claims Responsibility

Saudi-led airstrikes kill 68 civilians in one day of Yemen’s ‘absurd’ war

Saudi-Led Airstrikes Kill 109 Civilians In Yemen In 10 Days

U.N. says ‘massive’ rights abuses in southern Philippines could intensify under martial law

Unicef says scale of attacks on children in conflicts is shocking

Hotels Plan ‘Stealth Pat Down’ of Guests in Wake of Vegas Massacre

New York police poised to thwart New Year’s Eve suicide bombers

New Year’s Eve in Times Square to have unprecedented security, NYPD says

South Korea seizes ship it claims transferred oil to North Korea

Trump says China ‘Caught red handed’ allowing oil into North Korea

China says no sanction-breaking oil sales to N.Korea

Russia says Tokyo’s deployment of US missiles a blow to relations

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Sarangani, Philippines

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Shizunai, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Monywa, Burma

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 24,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

‘Bundle Up!’: Trump Mocks Paris Climate Accord as His Hometown Freezes

Cold snap shows U.S. could use a bit of ‘good old global warming,’ Trump says

Who Is Ben Barres? Transgender Scientist Who Helped Untangle How the Brain Works Dies at 63

China Quietly Builds The World’s Largest DNA Database

DEVELOPING: Kim Jong-un preparing another missile launch

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 06:36 PM PST

DEVELOPING: Kim Jong-un preparing another missile launchNorth Korea is planning yet another missile test, according to senior US officials, amid World War 3 scares.  The senior official from Donald Trump’s White House administration claimed “preliminary signs” shown, which could mean Kim Jong-un is plotting to launch another missile. They also said Donald Trump is planning to be “more discreet” when talking publicly about US military exercises with

South Korea and Japan. The US has held several exercises with its allies on North Korea’s border, as a show of strength to despot leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea replied by suggesting Donald Trump and his US forces are only increasing the possibility of World War 3.  READ MORE

New synagogue opens under Temple Mount

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 06:24 PM PST

New synagogue opens under Temple MountWhile there may not be a Third Temple at which Israeli Jews can worship atop the Jerusalem Temple Mount, there is a brand-new synagogue under the foundation of the holy site – and it’s open for prayer.   The new center of worship is the result of 12 years of construction at a cost of $50 million, and it is located directly under the Western Wall, where Jews have gathered for centuries to pray at the retaining wall for the Temple Mount.

“The unique design of the prayer hall combines rare art and unique lighting, creating a wonderful contrast between ancient and modern,” said a statement by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. In a related development, Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev has suggested the government allocate another $50 million to explore the foundations Temple beneath Muslim Al-Aqsa Mosque. In the new synagogue, the bimah, or altar, and seating are made of wood. The synagogue features dozens of elegant benches, arranged in separate men’s and women’s sections. READ MORE


Judge Sides With Humanists Challenging Prayer at Graduation, Ceremony at Chapel

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 06:05 PM PST

Judge Sides With Humanists Challenging Prayer at Graduation, Ceremony at ChapelA federal judge in South Carolina says that a school district’s continuing practice of including invocations and religious speech at public school graduations is a “cultural residue” left over from historical practices, and that its allowances are wrongly “continuing to color and confuse the application” of its recently revised policies intended to establish neutrality toward religion. “As the court remarked in its prior order, ‘because of the historical inclusion of prayer and religious speech at

graduations, in this school district and State, it is conceivable that the cultural residue of prior practices might continue to color and confuse the application of, even now, constitutionally neutral practices,’” wrote U.S. District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks, appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama, on Dec. 12. “Based on the evidence submitted by AHA, it appears that the historical practices of the school district are, in fact, continuing to color and confuse the application of what appears to be a constitutionally neutral prayer policy, but what, in practice, may not be,” she wrote.  READ MORE

Oregon Court Rules Against Bakery Owners Who Refused to Make Wedding Cake for Same-Sex Couple

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 05:59 PM PST

Oregon Court Rules Against Bakery Owners Who Refused to Make Wedding Cake for Same-Sex CoupleIn March, Faithwire covered the plight of Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Oregon, who were forced to pay $135,000 after declining to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. On Thursday, the Oregon Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the ruling—and $135,000 fine—that the bakery owners discriminated against the couple by refusing to make them a cake, violating Oregon law. As Faithwire reported, the Kleins’ woes began in 2013 when they declined to bake a cake for

Rachel Cryer-Bowman and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, citing their Christian stance on same-sex nuptials. After a complaint was waged by the couple, the state stepped in and awarded the massive sum of money, claiming the Kleins were guilty of discrimination. Refusing to backdown from their faith and belief that the ruling violated their own religious liberty, the Kleins pushed back against the state’s decision, officially filing an appeals case last year.  READ MORE

Shocked Mother Finds Christmas Doll Swearing at Child

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 05:53 PM PST

Shocked Mother Finds Christmas Doll Swearing at ChildA shocked mother was forced to take her daughter’s favourite Christmas present away from her after it appeared to repeat explicit insults.  Siobhan Fox, 30, filmed the My Little Baby Born Walks Doll, which she believes sounds like it is saying “you b****, you b****” rather than the “mama” and “papa” she and husband Daniel had expected. The mum told Sun Online: “My daughter is two-and-a-half-years-old, she

wanted it because her friend has one, it was on the top of her list. “My husband got it out for her and put the batteries in – I was not in the room. “My daughter had it off my husband and it just caught his ear. It’s meant to say ‘mama, dada’ – it’s totally not. “He called me in and said ‘look what do you think to this’, I got it straight away.” Siobhan and husband Daniel, 30, had to remove the doll from the tot because little Darcey repeats everything she hears. READ MORE

Iran Recognizes Jerusalem As Palestinian Capital City in Response to Trump Declaration

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 06:53 AM PST

Iran Recognizes Jerusalem As Palestinian Capital City in Response to Trump DeclarationIn a symbolic pushback to President Donald Trump’s declaration on the status of Jerusalem, Iranian lawmakers on Wednesday voted to recognize the contested city as the capital of the Palestinians. The Iranian parliament voted in favor of a bill that recognized the city as the Palestinian capital, or the capital of the “State of Palestine,” the entity recognized by the United Nations as a member state. Of 290 lawmakers, 207 voted in favor of the bill.

Ali Larijani, speaker of the Parliament of Iran, said that the bill’s timing was “important,” given Trump’s December 6 announcement that he had ordered the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, upending decades of U.S. foreign policy in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “It comes in response to the recent U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in hopes of dealing a blow to Muslims,” he said, according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu. READ MORE


Evangelicals Fear Knowledge, Don’t Want to Become Pharisees

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 06:43 AM PST

Evangelicals Fear Knowledge, Don’t Want to Become PhariseesMost American Christians today cannot respond to any question deeper than “Does God love everyone?” as they think such discourse should be reserved for theological universities, argues Colorado-based Ethan Renoe, who identifies himself as “an artist, traveler, and the Lord often speaks to me in poems.” There is a fear in evangelical Christianity of knowledge, Renoe claims in an article on his website, proposing two reasons behind that fear.

“People are scared that if they come to know too much, they’ll be like the Pharisees and will just become haughty and judgmental to others, thus weakening their love for God; or they’re afraid that they’ll learn too much and go off the deep end of liberalism and swim in the risky waters of universalism and other heresies.” Renoe, who graduated from the Moody Bible Institute, says he has found that the more he learns about God, His Word, and “theology which describes Him, the more I can love and worship Him, because now there is that much more to adore and be amazed by.” READ MORE

Universal Basic Income Picking Up Traction

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 05:28 AM PST

Universal Basic Income Picking Up TractionImagine receiving a pile of cash each month from the government, no strings attached.  The concept sounds radical, but it’s an economic theory gaining traction from Silicon Valley to the Nordics, called universal basic income. Free money experiments are underway in a handful of countries as governments face evolving workforces and strained welfare systems.

The International Monetary Fund defines universal basic income as “a cash transfer of an equal amount to all individuals in a country.” Universal basic income differs from other government transfers, like tax refunds or welfare payments, in that every individual receives the same amount. Recipients can spend the money however they like, and they aren’t required to report how they spend it. MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: Turkey’s Erdogan has eye on becoming global caliph

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 05:04 AM PST

PROPHECY WATCH: Turkey’s Erdogan has eye on becoming global caliphThere are increasing signs that Turkey’s dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, aims to turn his nation into the dominant component of a new Islamic caliphate, controlling, even more, territory than the Ottoman Empire.  Islam expert and author Joel Richardson wrote shortly after Turkey’s controversial election in which Erdogan was given virtually unrestricted power that analysts in recent years tried “to shout down warnings that Erdogan has a desire to return to the Ottoman era.”

“Today those same critics are taking a fresh look at the man they once made excuses for and even championed,” he wrote. On the day Erdogan won the referendum allowing him to rewrite the Turkish constitution, effectively ending the secular democratic Republic of Turkey as envisioned by Ataturk, he made “a very symbolic statement,” Richardson wrote. “Not only did he specifically avoid visiting the tomb of Ataturk (who turned Turkey into a secular government), but instead, he visited the tomb of Sultan Selim I.” READ MORE


New Research Suggests Christmas Story of Visit by Wise Men Was ‘Historically True’

Posted: 28 Dec 2017 05:00 AM PST

New Research Suggests Christmas Story of Visit by Wise Men Was ‘Historically True’Despite attempts by a modern biblical scholarship to debunk the gospel account of three magi visiting the newborn Jesus in Bethlehem, the stories were “historically true” according to extensive research by author Dwight Longenecker. In his new book, Mystery of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men, Longenecker, a scholar and Catholic priest, states that an impartial study of the relevant data “shows beyond a reasonable doubt” that the Magi of Matthew’s gospel were historical figures.

For many years, Longenecker writes, skeptical scholars have rejected the possibility that the infancy stories about Jesus could be historical for a number of reasons, such as the fact that they contain supernatural elements. “The first problem with this is that the skeptic simply assumes supernatural experiences are impossible, therefore any story that contains supernatural elements must be a fanciful invention,” he notes. READ MORE

Weekly Watchman for 12/29/2017

Looking Back on 2017 and Ahead to 2018

Our final show of 2017 features a look at an article by Jan Markell of Olive Tree Views on the Top Bible Prophecy Stories of 2017. All signs seem to indicate we drawing nearer to the time the Lord will take His Church home as the stage appears set for Jesus’s return to judge the world. We also look to 2018 and discuss some of the challenges and opportunities committed Christians will face.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

The Changing Face of America

Prior to becoming president, Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform the United States.” Whatever you think of the former president, he was true to his word and his administration sure did incite change on this nation. As a result, in just eight short years, today’s American culture, values, and public opinion have declined dramatically. Our great grandparents would hardly recognize the country they loved.

Is it even possible to reverse the “fundamental transformation” or is it permanent? Can our nation and church return to its traditional Judeo-Christian values that served us well for nearly 200 years?

Today’s guest has some interesting insights on these and other issues. Alex Nitzberg is a columnist and host of The Alex Nitzberg Show. He has studied American history and current trends in our nation, and joins us to discuss where we are headed and the influence the U.N. and LGBTQ movements have had on America.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

You Wonder Why Young People Believe What They Do

The next time you are tempted to throw up your hands in frustration over something young people say or do, remember the years of conditioning and indoctrination they have generally gone through. Anti-Christian peers and social media also influence today’s youth, but the education system is one of the biggest factors in producing a godless worldview.

Let’s not forget the hyper progressive “higher education” universities in America that are blatantly hostile to the Bible and Christianity for the most part and yet claim tolerance. Perhaps the article we cover in the second and third segments will give you some insight into the values and beliefs of professors and teachers across the country. The article, “Crazy College Courses and the Religion of Sex,” is by author Frank Turek, showing the wide range of bizarre course titles available to students, may help you understand why young people believe what they do.

In our first segment we check in with Brad Dacus of The Pacific Justice Institute to look at the increasing legal and social war against committed Christians in America. Not surprisingly, religious freedom cases are increasing.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

Desperate for God and His Truth – in India

We take so much for granted where our faith and freedoms are concerned. Too many Christians in America have lost the desire for spiritual things while it is evident so many people in other countries hunger for God’s Word and the truth. There are striking similarities between the lukewarm church in Laodicea from the book of Revelation and the comfortable, complacent church in  the United States.

We receive another first-hand account of the state of the church today with our guest, teacher and missionary, Elijah Abraham, who just returned from India where he taught and helped equip pastors there.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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:


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!


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.”


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).


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.


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.


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.”


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?

Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).

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Lakewood Church IPO Set For Early Next Year

HOUSTON, TX—America’s largest church has filed for an initial public offering which will take place early next year, Lakewood executives as well as a spokesman for the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed Thursday. The church will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker FAVR. Boasting $80 million in annual revenue from its heavily-trafficked retail operation […]

. . . finish reading Lakewood Church IPO Set For Early Next Year.

The Top 10 Cold-Case Christianity Videos from 2017

This week, we’ve been continuing our annual tradition of posting the most popular resources from the past year. In 2017, our resources were accessed nearly 1,300,000 times by people looking for answers to their questions about the case for Christianity and God’s existence. While they were here, they watched thousands of videos, and many of these videos became popular and were shared across a variety of social media platforms. Here, then, are the most popular videos posted in 2017:

#10. The Question Every Skeptical Naturalist Ought to Ask
J. Warner Wallace is interviewed about the presupposition of naturalism and the limit it places on investigating the evidence in the universe.

#9. What Is the Relationship Between Science and Religious Belief?
Are science and faith hopelessly opposed to one another? Can the scientific method assist believers in determining if God exists?

#8. Why We Know the Story of Jesus Isn’t a Legend
How can we be sure that the story of Jesus wasn’t changed over time?

#7. Why It Took Me A While to Take Christianity Seriously
Warner Wallace is interviewed by Brittany Valadez about his life prior to becoming a Christian and the reason why he was skeptical about Christianity.

#6. How Can We Share the Gospel with People Who Don’t Seem Willing to Listen?
How are we to engage people who are even opposed to the claims of Christianity?

#5. Why Are So Many Young People Leaving the Church?
Warner Wallace discusses the reason so many young Christians take a break from the Church in their college years.

#4. Why Christians Need to Test Themselves to Make Sure They Are Ready to Answer the Tough Questions
How can we prepare ourselves to answer these objections and help our kids be more confident as Christians?

#3. I’m a Christian Because…
Why are you a Christian? Would your answer persuade others to seek the truth?

#2. Does an Extraordinary Claim Like the Existence of God Require Extraordinary Evidence?
Shouldn’t Christians be able to provide extraordinary evidence to support the extraordinary claim that God exists?

And here it is, the most popular video posted in 2017:

#1. How God Uses Evil to Develop Our Character
What kind of world would God have to create to develop the kind of character most of us would recognize as virtuous?

These ten videos, all posted in 2017, became the most viewed and most shared videos on our website. I hope you got a chance to view them as well, but if you didn’t, here is your opportunity. Thanks so much for making Cold-Case Christianity a part of your Christian experience. We hope we’ve helped you to become a better Christian Case Maker.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case DetectiveChristian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case ChristianityCold-Case Christianity for KidsGod’s Crime SceneGod’s Crime Scene for Kids, and Forensic Faith.

Source: The Top 10 Cold-Case Christianity Videos from 2017

December 29, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Purpose: to Glorify God

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (5:16)

The word (kalos) for good that Jesus uses here does not so much emphasize quality-though that obviously is important-as it does attractiveness, beautiful appearance. Letting our light shine before men allows them to see our good works, the beauty the Lord has worked in us. To see good works by us is to see Christ in us. That is why Jesus says, let your light shine. It is not something we create or make up, but something we allow the Lord to do through us. It is God’s light; our choice is whether to hide it or let it shine.

The purpose of letting our light shine and reveal our good works is not to bring attention or praise to ourselves but to God. Our intent should be that, in what we are and in what we do, others may see God in order that they may glorify [our] Father who is in heaven. Jesus’ speaking of the Father emphasizes God’s tenderness and intimacy, and speaking of His being in heaven emphasizes His majesty and holiness, as He is pictured dwelling in the splendor of His eternal holy home. Our good works are to magnify God’s grace and power. This is the supreme calling of life: glorifying God. Everything we do is to cause others to give praise to the God who is the source of all that is good. The way we live should lead those around us to glorify (doxazō, from which we get doxology) the heavenly Father.

When what we do causes people to be attracted to us rather than to God, to see our human character rather than His divine character, we can be sure that what they see is not His light.

It is said of Robert Murray McCheyne, a godly Scottish minister of the last century, that his face carried such a hallowed expression that people were known to fall on their knees and accept Jesus Christ as Savior when they looked at him. Others were so attracted by the self-giving beauty and holiness of his life that they found his Master irresistible.

It was also said of the French pietist Francois Fenelon that his communion with God was such that his face shined with divine radiance. A religious skeptic who was compelled to spend the night in an inn with Fenelon, hurried away the next morning, saying, “If I spend another night with that man I’ll be a Christian in spite of myself.”

That is the kind of salt and light God wants His kingdom people to be.[1]

16 Jesus drives the metaphor home. What his disciples must show is their “good works,” i.e., all righteousness, everything they are and do that reflects the mind and will of God. And people must see this light. It may provoke persecution (vv. 10–12), but that is no reason for hiding the light others may see and by which they may come to glorify the Father—the disciples’ only motive (cf. 2 Co 4:6; 1 Pe 2:12). Witness includes not just words but deeds; as Stier (Words of the Lord Jesus) remarks, “The good word without the good walk is of no avail.”

Thus the kingdom norms (vv. 3–12) so work out in the lives of the kingdom’s heirs as to produce the kingdom witness (vv. 13–16). If salt (v. 13) exercises the negative function of delaying decay and warns disciples of the danger of compromise and conformity to the world, then light (vv. 14–16) speaks positively of illuminating a sin-darkened world and warns against a withdrawal from the world that does not lead others to glorify the Father in heaven. “Flight into the invisible is a denial of the call. A community of Jesus which seeks to hide itself has ceased to follow him” (Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, 106).[2]

5:16 Let your light so shine: Whereas salt passively affects its environment for good, light must be properly placed so as to best glorify the Father. As Jesus was “the light of the world” … “As long as I am in the world” (John 9:5), the believer now takes that place as the only “light of the world” to glorify the Father. The believer does not have inherent light; we have reflective light. As we behold the glory of the Lord, we reflect it. Therefore, we need to make sure that nothing comes between us and the Lord’s light (2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 2:14–16).[3]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 246–247). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 170). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1148). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.


They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.

Isaiah 35:2

Think with me about beauty—and about this matchless One who is the Lord of all beauty, our Savior!

God has surely deposited something within our human beings that is capable of understanding and appreciating beauty—the love of harmonious forms, appreciation of colors and beautiful sounds.

Brother, these are only the external counterparts of a deeper and more enduring beauty—that which we call moral beauty. It has been the uniqueness and the perfection of Christ’s moral beauty that have charmed even those who claimed to be His enemies throughout the centuries of history.

We do not have any record of Hitler saying anything against the moral perfection of Jesus. One of the great philosophers, Nietzsche, objected to Paul’s theology of justification by faith, but he was strangely moved within himself by the perfection of moral beauty found in the life and character of Jesus, the Christ.

We should thank God for the promise of heaven being the place of supreme beauty—and the One who is all-beautiful is there!

Thank You, Lord, for Your beauty that is reflected in the lives of Your servants who have left the comfort of their own home and culture to serve You in distant lands. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings” (Isaiah 52:7).[1]

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

December 29 Perils of the Dragnet, Part 1

… and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.—Matt. 13:50

The doctrine of hell is undoubtedly the most difficult one for Christians to accept emotionally. Yet Scripture mentions it too often for us to deny or ignore it. Jesus gives several warnings of it in the Sermon on the Mount. “It is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matt. 5:29; cf. 5:22; see also Matt. 11:23; 23:33; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:9–10; John 15:6).

God’s Word teaches us some basic truths about hell—what this parable calls “the furnace of fire”—that aid us in partially grasping its terror. First, it is a place of constant torment and pain. Jesus called its torment darkness (Matt. 22:13), which means no light penetrates and nothing is visible. Our Lord also called the torment a fire that never goes out (Mark 9:43), from which the damned find no relief.

Second, hell includes the torment of both body and soul. Contrary to some teachings, neither is annihilated at death and never will be. Just as believers’ souls will receive resurrected bodies to enjoy heaven forever, unbelievers’ souls will receive resurrected bodies to experience hell forever (cf. Matt. 10:28; John 5:29; Acts 24:15). Jesus further called hell a place “where their worm does not die” (Mark 9:44). Once the bodies of deceased believers are consumed by worms, no more harm can be done to them. But the resurrected bodies of unbelievers will never be consumed. Such sobering reminders ought to prompt us to pray for the lost with greater urgency.


We do try to avoid thinking of things so gruesome and unending. Even though we don’t treat it as a myth or analogy, we still bristle at the thought of it. But how does a proper understanding of the truth of hell benefit you in your own worship and in your interactions with others?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 372). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 29 Choosing Between Heaven and Earth

What I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard–pressed between the two.

Philippians 1:23

Every Christian ought to feel the strain of desiring to be with Christ, yet also longing to build His church. If the Lord said to me, “You have five minutes to choose between being in heaven or on earth,” I would have a difficult time making that decision. And I would want to be sure I was choosing for the right reasons. I’d have to ask myself, can I glorify Christ more in heaven or on earth?

Paul found it an impossible choice. Nevertheless, most people would choose to stay on earth. When asked why they would, most would give some selfish reason, such as, “We’re getting a new house,” or “I don’t want to leave my kids.” For Paul, nothing really mattered except glorifying Christ. When faced with the most basic of life’s issues—whether it would be better to live or die—his response was, “I would be thrilled to glorify Christ in heaven or on earth. Given the choice, I can’t choose.” Because glorifying Christ was Paul’s motivation, where he glorified Christ was not the issue. That ought to be true for you as well.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 390). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 29, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”
16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” 17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Da 6:14–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

6:16 May your God … deliver you. Against his own will Darius was forced to comply with the decree. Nevertheless, he is confident that Daniel’s God will intervene on behalf of His faithful servant.[1]

6:16 Your God … will deliver you: A remarkable statement of faith (see also 3:17, 18), especially from a heathen king.[2]

6:14–17 Darius labored till sunset to free Daniel, but the decree was unalterable, so he was compelled to have Daniel cast … into the den of lions. Nevertheless, this pagan king encouraged Daniel that the God whom Daniel served continually would deliver him. It is beautiful to see how even unbelievers will sometimes pick up on the faith and morals of consistent believers whom they observe at close hand. Only too often Christians fail their unsaved friends and relatives by not having as high standards of faith and practice as the world expects from God’s people.[3]

[1] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1223). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[2] The Open Bible: New King James Version. (1998). (electronic ed., Da 6:16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1082). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.


Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.

—John 17:24

Gerhard Tersteegen wrote a song.

Midst the darkness, storm and sorrow,

One bright gleam I see.

Well I know that blest tomorrow,

Christ will come for me.

And then he writes six stanzas and the last four lines are these:

He and I in that bright glory,

One deep joy shall share.

Mine to be forever with Him,

And His that I am there.

Did you ever stop to think that God is going to be as pleased to have you with Him in heaven as you are to be there? The goodness and mercy of God, the loving kindness of the Lord—it’s wonderful! He can bring us into such a relationship with Him that He can please us without spoiling us. He pleases us, and He’s pleased when we’re pleased. And when we’re pleased with him, He’s pleased….

Thank God, thank God! Let us praise the lovingkindness of God forever, for of His goodness there is no end. Amen! AOG056-057

How amazing to know that You take delight in me, Lord! I delight in my communion with You. Amen.[1]

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

December 29 Christ Is the Creator

“In [Christ] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”

Colossians 1:16


Christ created everyone and everything.

The sheer size of the universe is staggering. The sun, for example, could hold 1.3 million planets the size of Earth inside it. The galaxy to which our sun belongs, the Milky Way, contains hundreds of billions of stars. And astronomers estimate there are millions, or even billions, of galaxies.

Who created this awesome universe? According to the false teachers at Colosse, it was not Christ. They viewed Him as the first and most important of the emanations from God; they were convinced it had to be a lesser being who eventually created the material universe. Believing matter to be evil, they argued that neither the good God nor a good emanation would have created the universe.

But the apostle Paul rejected that blasphemy, insisting that Christ made all things, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible. When he mentions thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities (v. 16), he is referring to the various ranks of angels. Far from being an angel, as the false teachers taught, Christ created the angels (cf. Eph. 1:21). Jesus’ relation to the unseen world, like His relation to the visible world, proves He is God, the Creator of the universe.

Man is certainly interested in knowing about the universe that Christ created. That is evident, for example, by his exploration of space. Manned space capsules photographing the earth rising over the lunar horizon and satellites beaming pictures to us of planets at the outer edges of our solar system leave us in awe and wonder. Even more amazing is, not that man has gone into space, but that God came to Earth. In Christ, the invisible God who created everything and everyone became visible to man. How sad that while man looks into space, He refuses to look at the One who came to Earth.


Suggestions for Prayer: Worship Christ for His awesome work of creation.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 19:1–6. What testimony does this passage give of the Creator?[1]

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

December 28 Daily Help

NOTHING can satisfy the entire man but the Lord’s love, and the Lord’s own self. To embrace our Lord Jesus, to dwell in His love, and be fully assured of union with Him—this is all in all. Dear reader, you need not try other forms of life in order to see whether they are better than the Christian’s: if you roam the world around, you will see no sights like a sight of the Saviour’s face; if you could have all the comforts of life, if you lost your Saviour, you would be wretched; but if you win Christ, you would find it a paradise; should you live in obscurity, or die with famine, you will yet be satisfied with favor, and full of the goodness of the Lord.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 366). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 28, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

Encourage in Love

And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near. (10:24–25)

The third mark of a positive response to the gospel is love. The particular expression of love mentioned here is fellowship love. The Jewish readers were having a hard time breaking with the Old Covenant, with the Temple and the sacrifices. They were still holding on to the legalism and ritual and ceremony, the outward things of Judaism. So the writer is telling them that one of the best ways to hold fast to the things of God—the real things of God that are found only in the New Covenant of Jesus Christ—is to be in the fellowship of His people, where they could love and be loved, serve and be served. There is no better place to come all the way to faith in Christ, or to hope continually in Him, than the church, His Body.

The day drawing near could refer to the imminent destruction of the Temple, which brought all the sacrifices and rituals to a close. The Old Covenant simply could not function without the Temple, which, when the book of Hebrews was written, was about to be destroyed by Titus. But I believe the primary reference is to the coming of the Lord, which makes the passage apply to all of us. The only place where we can remain steadfast until He returns is with His people. We need each other. We need to be in fellowship with each other, as we mutually strengthen each other and encourage each other.

Some years ago, a young man sat next to me on a plane and we struck up a conversation. When he discovered I was a minister, he said, “I used to belong to a church, but it seems to me that a person’s relationship to Christ ought to be personal, not institutional. What do you think?” After thanking the Lord silently for providing such an open opportunity for witness, I said, “I certainly agree with you.” He then asked if I knew how he could have a personal relationship with Christ—to which I also answered in the affirmative. I thought to myself, “He certainly seems to feel his need for Christ,” and so I asked if he had studied the truth of the gospel and the evidence for Christ’s claims. He replied, “Yes, but I just don’t know how to get to Him.” “Are you ready to commit yourself to Him?” I asked. He said that he was, and as we prayed together he made the commitment. The next Sunday he was in our morning worship service, and afterward asked me if our church had anything going on during the week that he could become involved in. This young man gave every evidence of being a true believer. He felt his need, he studied the evidence, he made a commitment to Jesus Christ, and was showing every desire to hold fast to Christ and to have fellowship with His people.

The writer is saying very simply, “The door is open, the way is made available to enter into God’s presence. Come in and stay and fellowship with His people, and enjoy God’s company forever.”[1]

10:24–25 / The third exhortation in this section directs the readers to be concerned with the welfare of others in the community of faith. There is a need to spur (or “stimulate”) one another on toward the basic Christian conduct of love (cf. 13:1) and good deeds. It is worth noting that we have encountered the three great virtues of faith (v. 22), hope (v. 23), and love in three successive verses (cf. 1 Cor. 13:13). The mutual encouragement that our author has in mind can occur, of course, only in the context of Christian fellowship. But some, perhaps even in this community, had been neglecting to come together. The avoidance of public meetings on the part of Jewish Christians may have been caused by the understandable desire to escape persecution, whether from the Romans or from the non-Christian Jewish community. Perhaps in the light of past experiences (see vv. 32–34) as well as threats concerning the imminent future (12:4), it was deemed wise to avoid attracting attention. Despite the twofold let us (both are added by niv) in verse 25, no new exhortations are present; rather, the material in this verse supports the exhortation of verse 24. The way in which the readers can manifest their concern for one another is through active participation in fellowship, on the one hand, and through mutual encouragement, on the other. Christians need each other, and especially in trying circumstances. The whole matter, moreover, is to take on a special urgency with the increasing sense of the imminence of the eschaton, as you see the Day approaching (cf. the quotation of Hab. 2:3 in v. 37).[2]

10:25. To spur other believers forward in the Christian life, followers of Christ must meet together. Some of the readers of Hebrews were neglecting to meet together for worship, and this limited their ability to give and receive encouragement toward good works.

Christians who meet together with the aim of promoting godliness and love for one another can be remarkably successful in their ventures. Regular fellowship with believers is an essential ingredient in Christian growth. The readers of Hebrews knew that the Day of Christ’s return was drawing near. The closeness of this day compelled them to stimulate one another in an outburst of energy and concern.

Persecution may have led some believers to drop out of the fellowship. The remedy they needed was to begin meeting again. The verses following in 26–31 showed the final outcome of neglecting to meet with other believers. Such careless living could produce a contempt for Jesus and a renunciation of Christianity.[3]

25. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

One of the first indications of a lack of love toward God and the neighbor is for a Christian to stay away from the worship services. He forsakes the communal obligations of attending these meetings and displays the symptoms of selfishness and self-centeredness.

Apparently some members of the Hebrew congregation to whom the epistle originally was addressed showed a disregard for attending the religious services. They did so willfully by deserting the “communion of the saints.” From sources dating from the first century of the Christian era, we learn that a lack of interest in the worship services was rather common. The Didache, a church manual of religious instruction from the latter part of the first century, gives this exhortation: “But be frequently gathered together seeking the things which are profitable for your souls.”

In an earlier chapter the author of Hebrews warns the readers not to follow the example of the disobedient Israelites in the desert, and not to turn away from the living God (3:12). The author exhorts the readers to “encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (3:13). He realizes that among some of the members spiritual zeal has declined. Therefore once more he says, “But let us encourage one another” (10:25). Not only the writer of this epistle but also all the members of the church have the communal task of encouraging one another daily. Together we bear the responsibility, for we are the body of Christ.

As Christians we must look to the future, that is, to the day when Jesus returns. The closer we come to that day, the more active we should be in spurring one another on in showing love and doing deeds acceptable to God. We would have appreciated more information about “the Day,” but the author is as brief as other writers of the New Testament who mention it (see, for example, Matt. 25:13; 1 Cor. 3:13; 1 Thess. 5:4). Says Philip Edgcumbe Hughes: “When spoken of in this absolute manner, ‘the Day’ can mean only the last day, that ultimate eschatological day, which is the day of reckoning and judgment, known as the Day of the Lord.”[4]

10:25 Then we should continue to meet together and not desert the local fellowship, as some do. This may be considered as a general exhortation for all believers to be faithful in their church attendance. Without question we find strength, comfort, nourishment, and joy in collective worship and service.

It may also be looked on as a special encouragement for Christians going through times of persecution. There is always the temptation to isolate oneself in order to avoid arrest, reproach, and suffering, and thus to be a secret disciple.

But basically the verse is a warning against apostasy. To forsake the local assembly here means to turn one’s back on Christianity and revert to Judaism. Some were doing this when this Letter was written. There was need to exhort one another, especially in view of the nearness of Christ’s Return. When He comes, the persecuted, ostracized, despised believers will be seen to be on the winning side. Until then, there is need for steadfastness.[5]

10:24, 25 Consider means “to observe,” “to contemplate,” or “to have an intelligent insight into.” Note that love and good works need to be stirred up; they do not just occur. The Greek word translated stir up has come into English as paroxysm, which means a “convulsion.” In this context the Greek word speaks forcefully of the tremendous impact believers can have on each other. That is why the author exhorts the Hebrews to gather together. Evidently some believers had stopped attending the worship services of the church, perhaps because they feared persecution. The author does not use the usual Greek word for church, perhaps because the term had come to mean the spiritual, invisible body of believers. Instead he uses a compound form of the word synagogue, which specifically means the local, physical gathering of believers (Ps. 40:9, 10; 42:4). Exhorting means coming alongside and inspiring another with the truth. The local assembly is where the gospel message is preached, but also where the Word of God is applied to the circumstances of our lives. Approaching may also be translated “at hand” (Rom. 13:12; Phil. 4:5; James 5:8; 1 Pet. 4:7; Rev. 1:3). Knowing that Christ’s return is imminent, the believers were to encourage each other even more to remain faithful to Him (3:13).[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 267–268). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (pp. 165–166). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 187). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 290–291). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2192). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1652). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

December 28: Unity

Jeremiah 52:1–34; Romans 14:13–15:7; Proverbs 29:1–27

Paul calls us to refrain from judging others (Rom 14:3). That’s easy enough to do when the people in our communities are the people we’d want to have over for dinner. What happens when those in our community don’t value (or disvalue) the things we value (or disvalue)?

“Now may the God of patient endurance and of encouragement grant you to be in agreement with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that with one mind you may glorify with one mouth the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore accept one another, just as Christ also has accepted you, to the glory of God” (Rom 15:5–7).

In this portion of his letter, Paul asks the Roman believers to stretch themselves. For the Roman believers, judgment might have centered on the issue of eating the meat of unclean animals or the observance of Jewish holidays. Paul asks them to withhold judgment of one another because only God has that right (Rom 14:10). He also asks them not to “be a cause for stumbling or a temptation” for people who genuinely struggle with things from which others feel free.

It’s easy to be in agreement when we’re in community with people of similar personalities, hobbies, and backgrounds. But when we need to be in agreement with someone who disagrees with the way we work out our faith, we feel inconvenienced. Here, Paul states that we not only need to be mindful; we need to be accepting. We can do so for one reason: “Christ also has accepted you” (Rom 15:7). We were reconciled to God while we were still His enemies (Rom 5:10). The great Peacemaker calls us to seek relationship with others because of His work. And His love puts our inconvenience in a whole new light.

How are you seeking unity in Christ with those who don’t reflect the things you do (or don’t) value?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]

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