Daily Archives: January 2, 2018

January 2 Experiencing God’s Peace

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:2).

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True peace is God’s gift to those who love and obey Him.

Throughout history mankind has sought peace through military alliances, balances of power, and leagues of nations. Yet lasting peace still remains an elusive dream. Even during times of relative peace, nations struggle with internal strife and crime.

The Bible says that man on his own cannot know peace because he is alienated from its source. But we need not despair. True peace is immediately available from God our Father (“the God of peace,” Rom. 15:33) and from the Lord Jesus Christ (the “Prince of Peace,” Isa. 9:6). It’s a gift of God’s grace to those who love and obey Jesus Christ.

The New Testament so clearly teaches the inextricable link between God’s grace and peace that “Grace to you and peace” became a common greeting in the early church. Grace is God’s great kindness toward those who are undeserving of His favor but who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. It is the fountain, and peace is the stream. As recipients of His grace, we have “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1); we are reconciled to Him through faith in His Son, and we will never experience His wrath. We also have the “peace of God” (Phil. 4:7, emphasis added)—the Spirit’s way of assuring us that God is in control even in the midst of difficult circumstances. That’s why Paul calls it the peace that “surpasses all comprehension” (Phil. 4:7).

The world’s peace is relative and fleeting because it is grounded in circumstances. God’s peace is absolute and eternal because it is grounded in His grace.

Does God’s peace reign in your heart, or have you allowed sin or difficult circumstances to diminish your devotion to Christ?

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that you have peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. ✧ Ask the Spirit to reveal any sin that might be hindering God’s peace from ruling in your heart. Be prepared to respond in confession and repentance. ✧ Ask for opportunities to demonstrate God’s peace to others today.

For Further Study: Read Philippians 4:6–7. ✧ What is God’s antidote for anxiety? ✧ How does God’s peace affect a believer’s heart and mind?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 14). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

JANUARY 2 JESUS CHRIST IS ALL THAT THE GODHEAD IS

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:30

I advise you not to listen to those who spend their time demeaning the person of Christ.

I advise you to look beyond the cloudiness of modern terms used by those who themselves are not sure who Jesus Christ was in reality.

You cannot trust the man who can only say, “I believe that God revealed Himself through Christ.” Find out what he really believes about the person of the incarnate Son of God!

You cannot trust the man who will only say that Christ reflected more of God than other men do. Neither can you trust those who teach that Jesus Christ was the supreme religious genius, having the ability to catch and reflect more of God than any other man.

All of these approaches are insults to the Person of Jesus Christ. He was and is and can never cease to be God, and when we find Him and know Him, we are back at the ancient fountain again.

Christ is all that the Godhead is!

This is the wonder, the great miracle—that by one swift, decisive, considered act of faith and prayer, our souls go back to the ancient fountain of our being, and we start over again!

It is in Jesus Christ Himself that we find our source, our satisfaction. I think this is what John Newton perceived in the miracle of the new birth, causing him to sing, “Now rest my long-divided heart, fixed on this blissful center—rest!”[1]


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

January 2, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

The Trump administration’s national security strategy calls for a more aggressive approach toward stopping a North Korean missile strike on the U.S.: knocking the weapons out prior to launch.

The Trump administration is threatening new sanctions on Iran if it doesn’t allow civilian protests, a top aide to the U.S. president said.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said he wants to conclude the government’s planned tax reform this year, targeting income tax cuts for workers with low and medium-sized wages.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial law that abolishes an age limit of 75 for candidates seeking to lead the country, positioning him to potentially extend his three-decade rule.

North Korean hackers are hijacking computers to mine cryptocurrencies as the regime in Pyongyang widens its hunt for cash under tougher international sanctions.

Vice President Mike Pence, who postponed a Middle East trip after Arab leaders denounced the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, will come this month despite speculation that he had delayed it again, an aide said.

Iran’s supreme leader on Tuesday blamed the protests roiling the country on “enemies of Iran” who he said were meddling in its internal affairs, as state television reported that overnight clashes between protesters and security forces killed another nine people.

Bitcoin is losing its luster with some of its earliest and most avid fans — criminals — giving rise to a new breed of virtual currency. Privacy coins such as monero, designed to avoid tracking, have climbed faster over the past two months as law enforcers adopt software tools to monitor people using bitcoin.

Bone-chilling cold gripped much of the U.S. as 2018 began, breaking century-old records and leading to several deaths that authorities attributed to exposure to the dangerously low temperatures.

AP Top Stories

Authorities say a man who shot and killed a Colorado deputy and wounded four others along with two civilians was an attorney and an Iraq war veteran who had posted videos online in recent months criticizing professors and law enforcement officials.

Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador, an embassy spokesman said Tuesday, a rare public rebuke after Donald Trump lashed out at Islamabad with threats to cut aid over “lies” about militancy.

Protests across Iran saw their most violent night as “armed protesters” tried to overrun military bases and police stations before security forces repelled them, killing 10 people, Iranian state television said Monday.

Pope Francis called for people around the world to “embrace” migrants and refugees in his annual World Day for Peace address.

The United States is closer than ever before to war with North Korea, according to Mike Mullen, a retired admiral who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Barack Obama.

Nine inmates were killed and dozens escaped during a New Year’s Day prison riot in a city near Brasilia, the Brazilian capital. Fourteen inmates were also injured in the melee, Reuters reports.

Pakistan’s government plans to seize control of charities and financial assets linked to Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed, who Washington has designated a terrorist, according to officials and documents reviewed by Reuters.

Hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic plastic could be burnt in Britain rather than recycled due to a Chinese import ban, officials have warned. Britain currently ships around two thirds of its used to China for recycling, approximately 500,000 tons each year.

Immigration desk computers at various airports went down for about two hours on Monday, causing long lines for travelers entering the United States after year-end holidays, according to Customs and Border Protection and posts on social media.

BBC

At least 16 people have been killed by gunmen in southern Nigeria after a New Year’s Day church service, police said.

Venezuela is set to raise its minimum wage by 40%, in a move expected to worsen already high levels of inflation.

The bodies of a tourist and his guide have been recovered from South Africa’s Table Mountain following an accident which trapped hundreds of people at the top of the popular attraction.

Egypt’s top imam has endorsed a ban on trading in Bitcoin by declaring it “forbidden” by Islam.

The Nigerian army said more than 700 people held by Boko Haram militants have escaped captivity. There has been no independent verification of the army’s claim.

The Israeli government has issued a notice for thousands of African migrants to leave the country or face imprisonment. The migrants will be given up to $3,500 for leaving within the next 90 days. They will be given the option of going to their home country or third countries. If they do not leave, the Israeli authorities have threatened that they will start jailing them from April.

WND

A remarkable alliance of Israeli orthodox rabbis and Muslim religious leaders in the Middle East is mediating behind the scenes following the anger and violence sparked by President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month.

Harvard biologist and Nobel Prize laureate Jack Szostak now has retracted a major paper that claimed to explain one of the most important questions about the origin of human life. Szostak published a paper claiming he had found a way for ribonucleic acid (RNA) to replicate itself.


The Briefing — Tuesday, January 2, 2018

1) A Catholic Cardinal, a former President of the United States, and an evangelical pastor walk into the op-ed pages of the New York Times

New York Times (Nicholas Kristof) —
Cardinal Tobin, Am I a Christian?

2) Why resolutions fail and why the humanistic worldview crashes upon contact with reality

New York Times (David DeSteno) —
The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions

Wall Street Journal (Daniel Pink) —
How to Be Healthier, Happier and More Productive: It’s All in the Timing


News – 1/2/2018

Iran’s leader says enemies have stirred unrest in country
Iran’s Supreme Leader on Tuesday accused enemies of the Islamic Republic of stirring unrest across the country as a crackdown intensified against anti-government demonstrations… Police have arrested more than 450 protesters in the capital Tehran over the past three days… Protesters also attacked police stations elsewhere in Iran late into the night on Monday, news agency and social media reports said.

Nigerians killed in New Year attack on Rivers church
At least 16 people have been killed by gunmen in southern Nigeria after a New Year’s Day church service, police say. The group had attended a midnight service before they were ambushed in the early hours of Monday, police told the BBC. The incident, which happened in the oil-rich region of Rivers state, has been linked to growing tensions between rival gangs, local reports say.

IDF retaliates to rocket launched at Eshkol
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in open land near a community in the Eshkol Regional Council, catching nearby residents by surprise as no alarm was sounded to warn them ahead of time. Israel Air Force aircrafts attacked a Hamas military compound in the southern Gaza Strip in retaliation.

Trump says U.S. has gotten ‘nothing’ from Pakistan aid
…“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”

Right-wing coalition passes law allowing Jerusalem to be divided
A law ostensibly meant to make it harder to cede parts of Jerusalem to a foreign entity, which has a glaring loophole that allows Jerusalem to be divided, passed in a final vote in the Knesset overnight Monday. The amendment to Basic Law: Jerusalem, requiring a vote of 80 MKs out of 120 to give parts of the capital away, was proposed by Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Shuli Moalem-Refaeli with enthusiastic backing from her party leader Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Western Wall Prayers for Rain Answered
Prayers for rain offered up by thousands of Jews at the Western Wall on Thursday had an effect as desperately needed rain fell, raising the level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) one centimeter. Israel has suffered five dry years in a row, causing the worst drought in 40 years. The country has received just 45 percent of its multiyear average rainfall for September through November, and with only two light rainfalls in December. This dire situation has led to emergency measures, both spiritual and physical. At the behest of Chief Rabbi David Lau three weeks ago, Jews and Christians around the world began adding special prayers for rain.

US Intelligence Reportedly Gives Israel Green Light To Assassinate Iran’s Top General
According to reports circulating widely in Israeli media today, the United States has quietly given Israel the green light to assassinate Iran’s top military officer, Iranian Revolutionary Guards al-Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The leader of Iran’s most elite force also coordinates military activity between the Islamic Republic and Syria, Iraq, Hezbollah, and Hamas – a position he’s filled since 1998 – and as Quds Force commander reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, and oversees Iran’s covert operations in foreign countries.

Malfunctioning Chinese Space Station Expected To Crash To Earth In March
An out-of-control Chinese space station which has lost communication with Earth is expected to come crashing down to Earth sometime in March – only nobody knows exactly where or when the derelict spacecraft will hit, except that it will be between the 43rd parallels. While most of the space station should burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, thousands of pounds of debris is expected to survive reentry, with a 1-in-10,000 chance of hitting a populated area.

Mattis: “War Is Not Over” In Iraq And Syria
Declarations of victory over ISIS by both Iraq and Syria, along with Russia, are not having an impact on US military policy in the region, according to Defense Secretary James Mattis, who insisted on Friday that “the war is not over.” Which isn’t to say that the US is determined to keep fighting a war against ISIS, as such, but rather that there’s definitely going to be a war against somebody in those countries. Mattis in particular has been keen to talk up the idea of an “ISIS 2.0” emerging in areas ISIS has been expelled from.

Remnant TV video production of Trump’s Christmas message has gone viral
This is awesomely inspiring. Gave me goosebumps viewing it. It has received over one-half million views so far. It is much more than the simple version previously posted on LifeSite. Pass it on. The Christmas season is still not over by any means.

Iran Protests Turn Deadly: Photos, Video Show Demonstrators Risking Lives to Oppose Extremist Regime
Protesters have been increasingly met with state-sponsored violence in Iran as they take to the streets to voice their opposition to the country’s hard-line Islamic government and its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The bloody demonstrations, the largest to strike Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election, have seen six days of unrest across the country. The number of people killed has now risen to at least 21 after more violence against the extremist government on Monday night.

US Government Preparing for “Black Sky” Doomsday Scenario
An exercise designed to prepare the US for a high-tech end-of-days scenario has just ended in preparation for a threat that is growing as America’s enemies focus on these attacks that could cripple America. Government efforts in this area are increasing and as one expert put it, “It is not a matter of ‘if, but a matter of ‘when’”.

‘Same big pharma that hooked people on opioids now profits again from addicts’ switch to heroin’
The same pharma companies that profited from the opioid epidemic in the US by hooking patients on their drugs are profiting again as their victims migrate to heroin and participate in needle exchange programs, an attorney told RT.

Prophecy 2018—History and Prophecy on a Collision Course
This is the tenth message in a series which began with an article entitled, “Prophecy 2008..” While many of the changes in our world have been negative, such as the same sex marriage ruling of “Obergefell v. Hodges,” and the many destructive policies of the Obama administration, the rest of the world hasn’t done much better than America.

44 Numbers From 2017 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
…As 2018 begins, I think that it would be good to look back and remember some of the most important things that happened over the past 12 months.  The following are 44 numbers from 2017 that are almost too crazy to believe… #1 During Donald Trump’s first year, ISIS lost 98 percent of the territory that it gained while Barack Obama was in the White House.

Zmirak: Pope Francis Should Repent or Else Resign
In his 2018 wish list, John Zmirak, Senior Editor of The Stream and author of the new Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, writes that he hopes Pope Francis “repents or else resigns” this year.

Pope prays for Muslim terrorists after yet another Christian slaughter, says he hopes G-d will ‘convert their hearts’ 
Pope Francis prayed for comfort for the victims of the Islamic States’ Friday attack on an Egyptian church and for terrorists’ conversions, in his penultimate 2017 address.

Undeniable Proof That the UN Is Here to Take Our Guns
I certainly do not have a crystal ball, but I am an historical expert on how tyranny comes to power. I have studied the emergence of every tyrannical government in the 20th Century and they ALL have certain things in common.

THE TRUMP EFFECT: Twenty-three new bills have been introduced in 18 state legislatures this year to ban the practice of Islamic law 
Twenty-three new bills have been introduced in 18 state legislatures this year to ban the practice of Islamic law – critics say the aim is to spread fear about Muslims. Anti-sharia legislation is spreading in state legislatures across the US, as Donald Trump’s hostile stance towards Muslims appears to be emboldening rightwing Islamophobes critics of the Islamization of America.

January 2, 2018
ALAN KEYES — A few days before Christmas, I went to Union Station in Washington, D.C., to sing Christmas carols with a group of folks organized by my friend, Jack Ames, a co-founder of the Defend Life organization. I arrived a little late, to find the group singing in a spot outside the entrance on the west side of the station, near stairs leading down to the Metro. They were gathered ’round a nativity scene, regaling passersby with infectious enthusiasm. I quickly caught their good spirit and joined in…. (more)

January 2, 2018
JOAN SWIRSKY — We’re still weeks away from the day in January last year when Donald J. Trump ascended to the presidency and took his oath of office as the 45th President of the United States of America. Yet, in less than twelve months, he has already had an extraordinary presidency – – more bold, courageous, and revolutionary in many ways than any American president since the Founding Fathers almost two-and-a-half centuries ago…. (more)

January 1, 2018

TIMES OF ISRAEL — U.S. intelligence agencies have given Israel the green light to assassinate the senior Iranian responsible for coordinating military activity on behalf of the Islamic Republic in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida…. (more)


January 1, 2018

WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump tweeted his condolences to the victims of the shooting in Colorado, which took place early Sunday morning and resulted in one officer being killed. The incident took place near an apartment complex south of Denver, according to several news reports. Five officers and two civilians were wounded. One police officer has been confirmed dead…. (more)


January 1, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Which one of the following is true? 1. Massachusetts has passed a law requiring Alcoholics Anonymous to hang posters at their meetings to advertise where to get alcohol…… (more)

January 1, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz says he’s feeling the heat from family and friends over his defense of President Trump amid special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. “It’s caused me to lose seven pounds,” Dershowitz told Politico. “My liberal friends don’t invite me to dinner anymore.”… (more)

January 1, 2018
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — 1) If the FISA Court orders to explore the purported Trump-Russian collusion were predicated on phony Steele/Fusion GPS documents and suppositions that prove largely untrue (Comey himself testified under oath that he could not verify their contents), then are subsequent transcripts of court-approved surveilled conversations somewhat poisoned?… (more)

January 1, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump numbered “the very dishonest Fake News Media” among the compendium of “supporters, enemies, [and] haters” who received his best wishes for the new year…. (more)

January 1, 2018
ROBERT KNIGHT — As we stand on the threshold of a new year, a phrase from Simon and Garfunkel’s song “The Boxer” sums up why America’s division into two warring worldviews seems to be widening. “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” That’s true for most folks, thanks to human nature. However, we’re not on an equal playing field. The whole thing is tilted to the left. Liberal news and entertainment are everywhere, including airport lounges where thousands of travelers each day are afflicted with CNN’s non-stop propaganda…. (more)

January 1, 2018

WASHINGTON TIMES — Climate change got its close-up in 2017. A gaggle of films either name-checked Al Gore’s biggest fear or built their narratives around it. The timing, in theory, couldn’t be better for Hollywood bean counters: Three major hurricanes. Massive fires in the West. Record-setting chills. Media reports routinely connected the disasters with a warming planet. Yet audiences stayed away from films influenced by eco-concerns. Far, far away…. (more)


January 1, 2018

JOSEPH FARAH — The last time the Iranian people rose up to challenge their fanatical mullah rulers was in 2009. You might recall President Barack Obama’s reaction. He sat on his hands. Initially, he offered no protest of the massive government repression. Only when the carnage lasted more than a week did Obama offer a toothless condemnation of the violence. He never addressed the root causes – – Iran’s tyrannical regime that forces all to live under an oppressive code of Shia Islam that would make the Taliban blush…. (more)


December 31, 2017

REUTERS — Iranian protesters attacked police stations late into the night on Monday, news agency and social media reports said, as security forces struggled to contain the boldest challenge to the clerical leadership since unrest in 2009…. (more)


December 31, 2017

NEWSMAX — The group considered the largest of Iranian exile organizations in the world hailed on Saturday President Trump’s strong statement of support for the growing protests against the Islamic regime…. (more)


December 31, 2017

RICH LOWRY — This year’s best movie about a spirited band of resisters fighting an empire of evil isn’t the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise, but Darkest Hour, an extraordinarily deft and moving depiction of the outset of Winston Churchill’s prime ministership during World War II…. (more)


December 30, 2017
LOS ANGELES TIMES — Before President Trump occupied the White House, he was known for bragging about the ratings for his NBC reality show “The Apprentice.” Based on the year-end Nielsen ratings for cable news, Trump can rightfully start boasting again…. (more)

December 30, 2017
State Department forced by court to release FBI evidence
ART MOORE — Documents belonging to former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were discovered on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner’s personal computer during an FBI investigation were released Friday by the State Department, including five that were marked classified…. (more)

December 30, 2017
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — New Year’s Eve gets people thinking about resolutions. Alas, when a year passes, a mothballed prosecutor finds himself thinking about the statute of limitations. As 2018 beckons, it has me thinking about Paul Combetta – – the Platte River Networks technician who used the “BleachBit” program to destroy thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails when they were under congressional subpoena and preservation orders…. (more)

December 30, 2017

NEWSMAX — Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources, providing an economic lifeline to the secretive communist state…. (more)


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)

Mid-Day Snapshot

Jan. 2, 2018

Trump Exposes Significant MSM Bias in First Year

Even after overwhelmingly negative media coverage, his favorability ratings match that of Obama’s first year.

The Foundation

“Newspapers … serve as chimnies to carry off noxious vapors and smoke.” —Thomas Jefferson (1802)


Headlines – 1/2/2018

Emboldened Israeli Right Presses Moves to Doom 2-State Solution

Likud’s top body approves resolution to assert sovereignty over parts of West Bank

In late night vote, Knesset passes law to hinder East Jerusalem withdrawal

Abbas says Likud bid to annex parts of West Bank has US blessing

Abbas on Likud Central Committee annexation decision: ‘Racist and grave’

US: Palestinian envoy returns after consulting Abbas

Trump’s Jerusalem move: Palestinian envoy sent back to Washington

U.S. Affirms Pence Plan to Visit Israel This Month After Delay

INSS says Israeli security is stable despite looming threats

Air force hits Hamas camp in Gaza after rocket fire

Rocket crashes in Eshkol Regional Council, no alarm sounded

Tunisian activists damage Holocaust display, calling it Zionist ‘propaganda’

School kids in Berlin tell German Jew ‘Hitler was good’

Tourism boom leaving Israel short of hotel rooms for all its visitors

Prayers for rain answered in Israel

Torrential downpour leads to floods in multiple regions in Israel

Kuwaiti report: US gives Israel go-ahead to kill powerful Iranian general

Israel assesses Iran protests could come to threaten regime – report

PM: Rouhani claim that Israel behind protests ‘laughable’

Netanyahu wishes success to Iran protesters, denies Israeli involvement

Netanyahu: I wish the Iranian people success in their noble quest for freedom

Kurds in Iran expect U.S., int’l community support against regime

Overall death toll in Iran protests rises to 20

Iran unrest: New protests as Rouhani plays down violence

EU, European powers urges Iran to guarantee right to protest

Iranian Protests Raise Tricky Questions For U.S. And Saudi Policymakers

Trump says Iran ‘failing at every level’

US President Trump says ‘time for change’ in Iran

Former Obama Advisers Tell Trump to ‘Be Quiet’ on Iran Protests

Pence says on Iran protests: ‘US will not repeat shameful past mistake’

Leaked meeting notes show how panicked Iranian regime considered stopping deadly protests: ‘God help us’

Iran’s Theocracy Is on the Brink

‘Life is really difficult’: Tehranis share economic grievances

Israeli Minister: Why does Iran spend billions on overseas wars?

Oil posts strongest year opening since 2014; Iran unrest pushes up crude

Our world: The Iranian explosion of truth – By Caroline B. Glick

Donald Trump Rages Against Iran, Pakistan In First Tweets Of 2018

Trump threatens to cut Pakistan aid over ‘deceit’ in terror fight

Syrian president reshuffles government – state media

Egypt: Gunman attacks liquor store, killing 2 Christians

Gunmen kill 14 churchgoers in Nigeria shooting

Congress heads toward showdown over ‘Dreamers’

Customs outage at US airports stalls passengers for hours, triggering big headaches

Air Force Could Test “Flying Aircraft Carriers” as Early as Next Year

Next-gen robotic technology to refuel, repair satellites, reduce space debris

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits the Southwest Indian Ridge

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Rodopolis, Greece

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Tropical Depression Agaton to unleash flooding, mudslides on Philippines through Tuesday night

Record-shattering cold reaches into Florida

As Flu Spreads, Hospitals Are Restricting Patients

Top Hollywood women launch anti-harassment initiative

PROPHECY WATCH: AI expert explains how robot-human offspring would work

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 05:04 PM PST

PROPHECY WATCH: AI expert explains how robot-human offspring would workCan robots and humans make babies together? This is a serious question inspired by some of the advances already achieved in the 21st century by researchers in cell biology and in a discipline variously known as biorobotics, synthetic biology, or bionanotechnology. Although it had long been a truth universally acknowledged that sexual intercourse was an essential precursor to conception, it was only around 150 years ago that early studies of embryology revealed the reason why,

according to the dogma of the time, intercourse was “essential” in human reproduction. The reason was that only an egg from a female, fertilized by a sperm from a male, can result in a live birth. But thanks to the Nobel prize-winning work of researchers like embryologist John Gurdon and stem cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka, it has become possible during the past few years to create both sperm cells and eggs in the laboratory from skin cells, obviating the need for a human mother or father to kick off the reproductive process. READ MORE

Doctors Take Child Off Life Support And A Miracle Happens!

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 04:56 PM PST

Doctors Take Child Off Life Support And A Miracle Happens!Sarah Rodriguez was emotionally drained as she stood alone inside of a hospital bathroom, desperately pleading with God to heal her infant daughter.  The grieving mother was living out a parent’s worst nightmare: doctors had just recommended she remove her two-week-old baby girl from life support after the child contracted Bacterial Meningitis and Sepsis.  “Basically, they told us that she would not live, and if she did, she would be in a vegetative state,”

Rodriguez, author of the new book “From Depths We Rise,” recently told “The Church Boys” podcast. “A decision had to be made to remove the (ventilator).” The tragic circumstance started when Rodriguez noticed one day that baby Ellis was incredibly lethargic and warm, so she took her to the pediatrician. Doctors — clearly alarmed by the baby’s condition — immediately sent Ellis to the emergency room, and the situation quickly deteriorated. READ MORE

National Biometric Database Expanding Worldwide

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 04:47 PM PST

National Biometric Database Expanding WorldwideRussia is to start a biometric database for financial services starting next summer, the Central Bank of Russia said in a statement.  The system, although not mandatory, will extend access to banking by letting customers open accounts without having to visit a banking branch. This is all in an effort to “digitize” financial services. The regulator noted that data would only be stored with a person’s consent. However, what the biometric database will include is worrying to say the least. The biometric database will incorporate images of faces, voice samples and, eventually, irises and fingerprints.

With constant hacks against corporations including credit agency Equifax here in the U.S., which was threatened in September to pay in Bitcoin or else, putting all of someone’s physical identification in one place is a nightmarish scenario. Especially with the rise of using biometric data (fingerprints and facial recognition) to unlock cell phones. Imagine someone hacks your bank biometric information – they now have your full identity and are free to access your phone and other services that use your fingerprint and face as if they were you. READ MORE

Israeli jets strike Gaza after shelling with ‘Iran-supplied missiles’

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 04:39 PM PST

Israeli jets strike Gaza after shelling with ‘Iran-supplied missiles’Israel conducted airstrikes in Gaza for a second straight day after shells reportedly launched from the area landed in its territory. The IDF blamed Iran for the attack, claiming it supplied the unknown attackers with weapons. The Israeli military said its warplanes targeted a Hamas position in southern Gaza late Saturday in response for the shelling carried out by the yet unidentified militants on Friday. While Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it’s “too early” to name those culpable in the attack, he promptly blamed Tehran for the incident.

“Iran has supplied these missiles to numerous groups,” Lieberman told Israeli media, saying that an initial examination of the shells fired “confirms they are from Iran.” “The Iranian regime continues to risk the safety of the residents of the Gaza Strip and puts them in grave danger. Wherever the Iranian regime operates or is involved, it only wreaks havoc and destruction,” the IDF tweeted after the attack. The IDF also accused Iran of deliberately fomenting the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through its proxies – READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Truck strikes pedestrians and car in San Francisco, Multiple injuries reported

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 04:33 PM PST

DEVELOPING: Truck strikes pedestrians and car in San Francisco, Multiple injuries reportedAccording to reports coming out of California, A truck has plowed into pedestrians and a car in San Francisco, causing a number of injuries. Several medical crews have been dispatched to the scene. At least seven people were injured in the incident, which took place at about 3.30 pm local time.

Two pedestrians suffered serious injuries, according to the San Francisco fire department, while five people who were in the car have minor injuries. The ages of the victims range from pre-teen to elderly. Locals are advised to avoid the area. It is unclear if the crash was intentional. READ MORE

South Korea seizes second ship suspected of illegally bringing oil to North Korea

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 01:57 PM PST

South Korea seizes second ship suspected of illegally bringing oil to North KoreaSouth Korea has seized Another ship suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in violation of international sanctions.  The seizure was the second to be revealed by South Korea within a few days. A South Korean customs official said The Panama-flagged tanker, KOTI, was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, on the west coast. A marine official said the seizure had happened recently. A foreign ministry spokesman confirmed that an investigation was underway.

He said: “The government has been in close consultations with related countries and ministries to thoroughly implement the sanctions by the UN security council.” On Thursday, China blocked a U.S. effort at the United Nations to blacklist six foreign-flagged ships, a U.N. Security Council diplomat said. China’s Foreign Ministry, responding to a question from Reuters on the blocking, said Beijing always fully and strictly implemented Security Council resolutions. READ MORE

Hospitals put on alert over ‘worst flu outbreak’ in 50 years

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 01:52 PM PST

Hospitals put on alert over ‘worst flu outbreak’ in 50 yearsHospitals are bracing themselves for the worst flu epidemic in 50 years with news that the strain sweeping the UK has claimed lives in Ireland. One expert warned this could be the worst winter since the Hong Kong flu epidemic of 1968. Though the number of flu-related deaths in Ireland is under 10, 73 people have been treated in hospital and Irish health experts are urging people to get vaccinated.

UK Government statistics show that 1,111 people were struck down with flu last week – a 156 percent jump on the previous seven days. The sharp rise has been triggered by the unusual case of two aggressive subtypes attacking the population in tandem, according to data from Public Health England. Usually just one subtype, either influenza A or B, attacks during the flu season. But this year Britain has been hit by so-called “Aussie flu” a strain of influenza A which wreaked havoc on hospitals in Australia during their winter. READ MORE

US gives Israel go-ahead to take out powerful Iranian general

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 01:08 PM PST

US gives Israel go-ahead to take out powerful Iranian generalUS intelligence agencies have given Israel the green light to assassinate the senior Iranian responsible for coordinating military activity on behalf of the Islamic Republic in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida.  For the past 20 years or so, Qassem Soleimani has commanded the Quds Force — the branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards responsible for military and clandestine operations outside of the Islamic Republic.

Soleimani is a key figure in efforts to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad and to enable him to retake cities and towns from rebel groups during his country’s ongoing civil war. He is also responsible for providing military aid to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza — both of which are committed to the destruction of Israel — as well as to Shia and Kurdish groups in Iraq. Thursday’s report by al-Jarida, which has been known to publish improbable-sounding stories about Israel, was widely picked up by Israeli media. READ MORE

United States withholds millions from Pakistan…

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 01:00 PM PST

United States withholds millions from Pakistan…The Trump administration has decided to withhold millions in military aid to Pakistan as the president accuses the Muslim-majority nation of harboring terrorists and telling “lies” to the United States. “The United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in [Fiscal Year] 2016 Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan at this time,” a National Security Council official told Fox News on Monday.

The official added, “The president has made clear that the United States expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil, and that Pakistan’s actions in support of the South Asia Strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance.” The Trump administration will continue to “review Pakistan’s level of cooperation,” the official said. READ MORE

California Goes To Pot …

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 12:55 PM PST

California Goes To Pot …Before sunrise on New Year’s Day, cashiers welcomed the first legal sales of recreational marijuana in California, launching a new industry expected to bring in billions of dollars while accepting new regulations and taxes. The day has been long anticipated by cannabis advocates who pushed for voters to pass Proposition 64 in November 2016, largely decriminalizing marijuana and allowing —

starting Monday — for the commercial sale of products to adults 21 or older. In Berkeley, Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Democratic state Sen. Nancy Skinner joined a couple dozen people outside the Berkeley Patients Group for the first sales. “I’m stoked about this historic moment not just for Berkeley but for the state of California,” Arreguin said. “This is a long time coming.” READ MORE

CUP OF TREMBLING: Top 10 Most Insane Anti-Israel Actions Of The United Nations In 2017

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 12:47 PM PST

CUP OF TREMBLING: Top 10 Most Insane Anti-Israel Actions Of The United Nations In 2017If you ever needed more evidence that the warnings of Zechariah the Prophet are evident in our lifetime, just look at the past year of 2017. Last year the UN General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions against Israel and six on the rest of the world, including all rogue, terror-supporting regimes. In this video,

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, presents 10 of the most heinous among them. There were countless other anti-Israel reports and statements produced in 2017 by UN agencies and officials, he says, but here are the ones he chose as the most “insane.” It’s time to hold the UN accountable! CONTINUE

 

Israeli archaeologists find 2,700-year-old ‘governor of Jerusalem’ seal impression

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 12:39 PM PST

Israeli archaeologists find 2,700-year-old ‘governor of Jerusalem’ seal impressionIsraeli archaeologists unveiled on Monday a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression which they said belonged to a biblical governor of Jerusalem. The artifact, inscribed in an ancient Hebrew script as “belonging to the governor of the city”, was likely attached to a shipment or sent as a souvenir on behalf of the governor, the most prominent local position held in Jerusalem at the time, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

The impression, the size of a small coin, depicts two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner and wearing striped garments reaching down to their knees. It was unearthed near the plaza of Judaism’s Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. “It supports the Biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago,” an Antiquities Authority statement quoted excavator Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah as saying. 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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January 2, 2018 : Afternoon Verse Of The Day

43:1 Thus says the Lord emphasizes the Author of the prophecy and the certainty that it will be fulfilled (49:8; 50:1; 56:1). The words created and formed allude to the creation of the human race in Gen. 1; 2. The Hebrew verb translated created means “to fashion anew”—a divine activity, and is the same key word used in Gen. 1:1 (40:26; 41:20; 45:12, 18; 57:19; 65:17, 18). The second verb formed means “to shape,” to fashion as a potter, and is used in Gen. 2:7 of God fashioning the body of the man from the dust of the earth. The use of these verbs here suggests that the Lord’s creation of Israel as a people was as decisive an act as His creation of human beings at the beginning. In the same way, the NT describes Christians as new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10). by your name: The Lord’s use of name demonstrates His intimate relationship with the Israelites. He had revealed His name to the people (Ex. 6:2–8) and declared their name to Pharaoh (Ex. 4:22).[1]


43:1 formed. The only explanation for the ongoing existence of the nation of Israel is God’s sovereign grace, which brought her into existence from nothing (cf. Dt 7:6–11) and sustains her. Since she was God’s creation, she could find comfort in knowing that no one or nothing can destroy her, not even her own wickedness (cf. 43:18–25; Ro 11:1, 2, 25–27). Jacob … Israel. This double designation (cf. Ge 32:28) for God’s chosen nation is used by Isaiah 21 times, 16 of them in chaps. 40–49 (9:8; 10:20; 14:1; 27:6; 29:23; 40:27; 41:8, 14; 42:24; 43:1, 22, 28; 44:1, 21, 23; 45:4; 46:3; 48:1, 12; 49:5, 6). This speaks of the Lord’s special attachment to Abraham’s physical seed. Do not fear. The Lord repeated His word, relieving Israel’s fear (35:4; 41:10, 13, 14; cf. 7:4). redeemed. God’s redemption of His people from exile is not to be complete until His Servant returns to reign over the faithful remnant in the land of Israel who have believed on Jesus Christ (cf. Zec 12:10–13:1; Ro 11:25–27; Rev 11:13). The limited return from Babylon only typified the final return. See note on 43:14.[2]


43:1 Fear not. Knowing what they deserve, the people should fear; but hearing of their Redeemer’s choice and promise, they should not fear. redeemed. See note on 41:14. you are mine. What defines them is not their guilty blindness (42:18–25) but the grace of the One who says, “You are mine” (cf. Ex. 6:7).[3]


43:1 he who created you, Jacob Yahweh is responsible for both Israel’s creation as living beings and their formation as a nation. Isaiah uses creation language to emphasize God’s power as Creator and His special attention to His chosen people.

I have redeemed you God already identified Himself as their Redeemer in 41:14. Now, He reminds them of the relationship between Redeemer and redeemed. The exiles have no reason to fear, because salvation is assured.

Compare Exod 6:6–7 where Yahweh similarly promises to redeem Israel and take them as His people.

I have called you by your name Isaiah’s speeches throughout this section emphasize Yahweh’s special choice of Israel (see Isa 41:8–9; 45:3–4).[4]


called … name. The Lord called them to be His people and He knows them by name (v. 3 note; 45:3; 49:1; 62:2; John 10:3; Rev. 2:17). The basic blessing of God’s covenant is expressed in Jer. 30:22, “You shall be my people, and I will be your God.” See also Ex. 6:7; Lev. 11:45; Jer. 11:4.[5]


[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 851). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 43:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (pp. 1317–1318). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 43:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1012). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

Christian couple loses appeal, must pay $135,000 for not affirming same-sex marriage

WINTERY KNIGHT

States with non-discrimination laws States that force Christians to affirm and celebrate LGBT lifestyles

There’s been an update on the persecution of the Christian bakers from Oregon. They appealed their case to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

The Daily Signal has the latest news:

A husband-and-wife baking team must pay a $135,000 fine for declining to make a cake for the wedding of two women, Oregon’s second-highest court has ruled.

A three-judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a decision by a state agency that led to the fine and forced Aaron and Melissa Klein to close their bakery.

The court ruled that baking wedding cakes is not “speech, art, or other expression” protected by the First Amendment. The judges said the state did not “impermissibly burden the Kleins’ right to the free exercise of religion” because it compelled the Christian bakers only to comply with “a neutral law of…

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Copeland affirms ‘little gods’ doctrine: Todd White claiming he is a ‘god’ (New Breed) in human flesh.

Copeland Ministries uploaded an interview on YouTube between Tim Fox and Todd White. In this interview, Todd White recalled his experience ministering to people in a hospital. Remember that Todd White is a ‘little god’, a New Breed:

The ‘New Breed’ Among Us (Part 3): Todd White.

While he later claims he preached ‘the cross’ to them, this was the first thing that came out of his mouth to explain how one is set free from sickness, disease and circumstances:

[Click to Download]

“Look! You have value. You have purpose. You don’t understand what Jesus thinks about you. You’re not the product of your life. And you’re not the identity of who your parents created you to be. Because God says you have the DNA of Abba. If you see it, it’s the Divine Nature of Abba – the DNA – that God wants to be your daddy…

View original post 259 more words

Star Wars Movies Are Fun, Just Remember They Sometimes Contradict a Biblical Worldview

This is loaded with theology, most of it dead wrong. Where is God the Creator and Jesus the Redeemer in this worldview? Or when Yoda says of his coming death, “Soon will I rest, yes, forever sleep. Earned it I have,” how does this stand up against the biblical worldview of Heaven and Hell? Where is the grace of God offering deliverance from Hell only the basis of faith in Christ offered by His redemptive death on our behalf? Our eternal rest, which is conscious, is not granted on the basis of good works, as Yoda affirms: “Earned it I have.” 

With the release of Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, I’ve been asked again about my views on Star Wars. I enjoy science fiction and I do like Star Wars, especially the original three movies. Nanci and I actually attended, in Portland, the first showing of the original Star Wars in late May 1977, over forty years ago (we started our church earlier that same month). The theater was less than half full. We were blown away by the quality, and by the time we brought friends back to see it the following week, the word had spread and lines to buy a ticket were almost out to the street. (Some of you remember!)

That said, it was obvious even then that Star Wars was fun to watch but a very poor place to get your theology! I am not a Star Wars naysayer, and it might seem self-evident that “these movies aren’t based on reality.” But I’ve found that while almost no one ends up believing that the particular aliens onscreen really exist, matters of worldview are much more subtly conveyed. So I encourage parents to talk with their children about this, since many of them don’t yet have the filters in place to screen out what’s false.

Full of Theology

I can hear some people saying, “What are you even talking about? There’s no theology in Star Wars. These are just some fun movies.” Well, yes, they are fun movies, but if you think they don’t contain theology you are, no offense intended, naïve. Here’s just one example from the second of the original Star Wars movies, The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda is mentoring young Luke Skywalker in Star Wars theology:

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life breeds it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the force around you, here between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes, even between land and ship.”

This is loaded with theology, most of it dead wrong. Where is God the Creator and Jesus the Redeemer in this worldview? Or when Yoda says of his coming death, “Soon will I rest, yes, forever sleep. Earned it I have,” how does this stand up against the biblical worldview of Heaven and Hell? Where is the grace of God offering deliverance from Hell only the basis of faith in Christ offered by His redemptive death on our behalf? Our eternal rest, which is conscious, is not granted on the basis of good works, as Yoda affirms: “Earned it I have.” Compare Yoda’s words with Ephesians 2:8–9 and Titus 3:5.

This errant theology is an opportunity to talk with our children and each other about biblical truth. But if this isn’t done, why shouldn’t we expect a child, especially one who watches the movies repeatedly, to absorb and to a degree, at least, to embrace this false theology?

If kids and parents can sit down, like we did with our daughters when they were young, and discuss the theological errors with “the Force,” that can be very good for them (and us). Everyone has a theology or worldview, of course, you do and I do and George Lucas does. His worldview just happens to have a bigger platform and more pervasive presence than most of ours!

The Dangers of Dualism

So what are the errors in the Star Wars theology and worldview I’m referring to? There are elements of Eastern mysticism and New Age, with sprinklings of pantheism, but the most fundamental and pervasive error is dualism (similar to the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism).

When we teach our kids about the world and the course of events, we need to make clear it is not fate, randomness, or nothingness which control these things, nor is it a whimsical pagan god with limited powers, duking it out with competing gods, and only time will tell who wins. There are not two equal opposite forces in the universe, and who will be victorious is not in doubt! The God of the Bible is utterly unique, transcendent, and personal. And this God, the one true God, is not portrayed in the Star Wars Saga (nor in most other movies of any sort being produced today).

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The post Star Wars Movies Are Fun, Just Remember They Sometimes Contradict a Biblical Worldview appeared first on The Aquila Report.

TMS: The Perfect Model of Ministry

Matthew chapter 13 displays two key principles we can learn from the perfect model of ministry, who is Jesus Christ himself. He loves the lost, but never caters to their unbelief. He preaches the truth, but knows people will have different responses.

Love the lost

If you are modeling your ministry after Jesus, you truly love the lost. I don’t think there is any greater lesson that you can learn from the example that Jesus displays in Matthew chapter 13. Let’s begin by setting the context.

The final verses of Matthew chapter four introduce the ministry of Jesus in Galilee. Here we’re told that He was going throughout the land teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every kind of disease. There has never been a person that walked this earth that has had a greater love for people than Jesus Christ.The news about Him spread throughout Syria and the people brought to Him all who were ill and He healed them.

His popularity spread. Why? Because He was really helping people. He cured every sick person brought to Him, no matter the severity of their affliction. Can you imagine the press? Can you imagine the number of people crowding in around Him seeking attention? And yet, He continued to give Himself away. He continued to go to the synagogues, continued to minister, continued to serve, continued to do miracles and continued to preach the gospel of the kingdom. That’s a glorious picture of the sacrificial love that Jesus has for the lost.

There has never been a person that walked this earth that has had a greater love for people than Jesus Christ. If you are going to be one of His disciples, you need to begin to manifest that same kind of love. You are going to have to have that same kind of a sacrificial servant’s heart and concern for lost people that Jesus had.

Don’t cater to unbelief

By the time you get to Matthew 13 though, you can see there’s a little bit of a change. At this point, Jesus has spent about a year ministering in Galilee. He has clearly articulated the revelation of His person as the Messiah.  He’s also made clear what is required to gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven.  He’s proven Himself by countless miracles of all kinds that the power of God is on display in Him and through Him. The change in His ministry practice occurs when the people continue in their unbelief despite the abundance of revelation they’ve been given.

The people are indifferent.  They’re just looking for more wow moments. They are not considering the reality of the power of God that’s on display, nor the significance of the message that Jesus is proclaiming. So, Jesus begins to speak to the people in parables. He pronounces a woe upon them for not responding to the revelation they were given. He doesn’t cater to their lack of faith by making it easier to understand—He makes it harder.

When the disciples ask Jesus why He speaks in parables, He basically says He won’t cater to the people’s unbelief. The disciples were blessed.  Their eyes saw, and their ears heard. The reason Jesus still taught truths about the kingdom in parables, is because even though He wanted it to be harder for the crowds to understand, He still wanted to teach the disciples and those who truly believed. The basic principle on display here is that God loves the lost. He offers salvation to all who will come to Him.  But He never caters to unbelief.

Yes, when you talk about biblical ministry, there needs to be a heart for the lost. It shares the truth.  It begs people to be reconciled to God.  But it does not make concessions that compromise the integrity of the church to cater to people who are not responding to the revelation that they are being given.

Understand people will respond in different ways

This is a fundamental principle of ministry that will strengthen your heart in the hard days when you wonder if you’re even making a difference. Success in ministry boils down to one thing—Faithfulness.There are four different types of responses to the Ministry of the word of God. The examples come from the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-23

  1. The first type of person you can expect to share the gospel with is like the hard road upon which the gospel message, as a seed, lands on and then is eaten by birds. It has no lasting impact. The next day there isn’t any evidence that it was ever there.
  2. The second kind of soil is the seed that was sown on the rocky places. This is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no firm root. The impact is only temporary. When affliction or persecution arises, he falls away.
  3. The third type of soil is the most difficult on a shepherd’s heart. This is the seed that falls among the thorns. It’s the heaviest, because they’re always with you. These are the people that are in your church because they’ve made a profession of faith.  They never defect, and they respond to an extent to admonishment and to instruction.  They will even affirm when confronted that they agree with it. But they just never really come all the way to saving faith.  There’s always something just a little off in the manifestion of real fruit in their Christian life.
  4. The last type of soil is the one we focus on and rejoice in. It’s the seed that was sown on the good soil. This is the man who hears the word, understands it, and brings forth fruit.

Don’t think that your ministry is useless because the only people you’ve led to Christ have abandoned the faith. You should expect to encounter people like this. There is no difference in the seed. There is no difference in the sower. The difference is in the heart that receives it, and you can’t control that. Success in ministry boils down to one thing—Faithfulness.  That’s it. Faithfulness to do God’s work, God’s way, for God’s glory.

Stop worrying about what the temporal visible results are. Yes, it’s heart breaking. Yes, ministry is going to be characterized by fixing love on people that aren’t going to love you or Christ and they’re going to disappoint you. But, instead of being disappointed, you’re going to have to grieve for them and keep finding a sense of joy and purpose and satisfaction from preaching God’s word.  You were faithful.  God is pleased with you.  Like Jesus who wept over Jerusalem because they wouldn’t receive the offer, you too can weep.  But, just like Jesus, you can be sure the Father is pleased with your faithfulness to preach, to appeal, and to invite them into the kingdom.

Our perfect model of ministry teaches us to love the lost in a sacrificial way, but never cater to their unbelief. We must keep doing the work of God for His glory regardless of how it plays out.

The post The Perfect Model of Ministry appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

JANUARY 2 IN THE BEGINNING

In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.

John 1:1

None of us can approach a consideration of the eternal nature and Person of Jesus Christ without sensing and confessing our human inadequacy in the face of the divine revelation.

John, in his Gospel, provides a beautiful portrait of the eternal Christ, starting with those stark, incredible words: “In the beginning!” My brethren, that is where we start with the understanding and the revelation of Christianity!

Many others have made a variety of claims, but only our Christ is the Christ of God. Certainly it was not Buddha and not Mohammed; not Joseph Smith, not Mrs. Eddy and not Father Divine! All of these and countless others like them had beginnings—but they all had their endings too.

What an incredible difference! Our Christian life commences with the eternal Son of God. This is our Lord Jesus Christ: the Word who was with the Father in the beginning; the Word who was God; and the Word who is God! This is the only one who can assure us: “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Loving Heavenly Father, help me to live each day this year as a humble, grateful child of the eternal God.[1]


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

January 2 Jesus’ Purposeful Baptism

Then Jesus arrived … coming to John, to be baptized by him.—Matt. 3:13 a, b

In the original text of this passage, the wording “to be baptized” emphasizes purpose in this momentous appearance by the Lord Jesus. But it was extremely difficult for John the Baptist to understand why the God-Man would need to be baptized.

John’s baptism was for the confession of sin and repentance (3:2, 6, 11), but Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) had no need for such a baptism. It is hard to see why One who would take away sin would need to submit Himself to a ceremony that symbolizes death to sin and rising to spiritual life.

Because John knew so well that Jesus was the sinless Messiah, come to fulfill God’s redemptive purpose, he “tried to prevent Him” (Matt. 3:14). The Greek pronouns in John’s statement “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” are all in the emphatic position, underscoring his strong bewilderment over the situation. This was not a direct refusal, as Peter might have given (cf. Matt. 16:22), but the Baptist no doubt misunderstood Jesus’ request, thinking He could not possibly intend to undergo baptism.

All sinners need the repentance that baptism symbolizes, but many, such as the Jewish teachers and leaders of Jesus’ day, do not seek true repentance. Jesus, on the other hand, purposed to receive John’s baptism to show His complete obedience to God’s will.

ASK YOURSELF

The same Jesus who walked with such resolve and determination throughout His own earthly life has a distinct and daily purpose for yours. What pieces of this plan are becoming clearer to you? Pray that He will continue to reveal … and that you will continue to follow.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 10). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 2 A Slave for Christ

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ.

1 Corinthians 4:1

The apostle Paul was a “servant” of Christ. It was a role he chose out of love, not fear.

There were perhaps millions of slaves in the Roman Empire. For the most part, they were treated not as persons but as objects. If a master wanted to kill a slave, he could do so without fear of punishment. Though it was a negative term to the Romans, the word slave meant dignity, honor, and respect to the Hebrews, and the Greeks considered it a term of humility. As a servant of Christ, then, Paul paradoxically finds himself both exalted and debased. This is the ambivalence every representative of Jesus Christ must face.

When I think of the honor I’ve been given to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am sometimes overwhelmed. There is no higher calling in life than to proclaim the gospel from the pulpit and to be able to teach the Word of God under the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet there is also a paradox that requires a minister of Christ to realize he does not deserve to minister. He must have the proper perspective of being an unworthy slave who has the incomprehensible privilege of proclaiming the gospel.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 13). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

A Weak Man’s Strong Tribute, Part 2

By James Boice on Jan 02, 2018 12:00 am

The composition begins with the word “blessed”. There are two ways the blessing can be taken. It can be understood as an encouragement to show compassion for the weak or as an objective statement implying that the speaker is one who did so and was therefore cared for by God.1 No doubt it is both. As the rest of the psalm will make clear, David was in the position of being a weak person due to his illness, and he wanted people to show mercy to himself and those like him, which his enemies were not doing.

Read more…

January 2, 2018 : Morning Verse Of The Day

12 A second early christological motif in Peter’s proclamation is that of “God’s Salvation.” In the longer Isaiah scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls, “God’s Salvation” and “Salvation” appear as Jewish designations for the expected Davidic Messiah (cf. 1QIsa 51:4–5, which uses the third person masculine suffix and pronoun in connection with the expression “my Salvation”). Likewise, “Salvation” is used as a messianic title in other Qumran texts (cf. CD 9:43, 54; 1QH 7.18–19; 4Q174 on 2 Sa 7:14 and in connection with Am 9:11), in various intertestamental writings (cf. Jub. 31:19; also T. Dan 5:10; T. Naph. 8:3; T. Gad 8:1; T. Jos. 19:11, though the provenance of the Greek version of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is debated), and in the rabbinic materials (cf. b. Ber. 56b–57a).

Luke has already stressed this early christological motif in Zechariah’s hymn of praise (Lk 1:69, “a horn of salvation”), in Simeon’s prayer (Lk 2:30, “your salvation”), and in introducing the ministry of John the Baptist (Lk 3:6, “God’s salvation”). Now in addressing the Sanhedrin, to whom such a messianic designation was doubtless well known, Peter proclaims, “Salvation is found in no one else [i.e., than in “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead” (v. 10)], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (v. 12). There was nothing of compromise or accommodation in Peter’s preaching. As this magnificent declaration shows, he was wholly committed to the uniqueness of Jesus as the only Savior. Peter and the other apostles never watered down the fact that apart from Jesus there is no salvation for anyone.[1]


4:12 / The Christian use of Psalm 118:22 had been suggested by Jesus himself, who had quoted it in answer to much the same question as that put to the apostles on this occasion (v. 7; cf. Luke 20:1–18). In Jesus’ case, he had gone on to speak in terms of Isaiah 8:14f. and Daniel 2:35, of the stone as destroying those who rejected it. Here Peter points to the other side of that coin by presenting the stone as the source of salvation. It is worth noticing that in 1 Peter 2:6f. he mentions both sides (cf. also Rom. 9:33; Eph. 2:20) and the connecting link in his thought there, as perhaps here between verses 11 and 12, is Isaiah 28:16, which appears to have been interpreted of the Messiah in the Aramaic versions of the Old Testament, or targums. Peter was thinking now, not simply of the miracle of the lame man, but of what that miracle signified—generally, the whole salvation of humanity, to which “the name” was as essential as it had been in this particular case of healing (see note on 2:38 for “the name”). In Jewish thought the Messiah was never essential to the kingdom, which could be spoken of as coming either with or without him. But the Christians had learned that their Messiah was indispensable. One preposition is used twice in this verse (Gk. en, translated variously “through” and “by” but most characteristically meaning “in”). It gives the sense that Christ is both the agent and, as it were, the location of our salvation; he brought it about and only in him can we find it (cf. John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5f.). The use of the word “must” (see disc. on 1:16), together with the statement that God has given this name, reminds us that this is his appointed way of salvation. There is no other way. For the Christian message as the announcement of salvation (see 13:26, 47; 16:17).[2]


12. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

We make these observations:

  • Salvation proclaimed. “Salvation is found in no one else.” This text is among the well-known and cherished passages in Acts. Peter challenges his immediate audience but at the same time speaks to all people who seek salvation. He addresses learned and influential men in the Sanhedrin whose work consisted of showing the people of Israel the way of salvation. They did so by telling the Jews to perform works that would earn them salvation. But Peter preaches that salvation can be obtained in no way other than through the name of Jesus Christ. The salvation he preaches comprises both physical and spiritual healing.19 They see the evidence of physical healing in the man who used to be a cripple. But they must understand that spiritual well-being includes forgiveness of sin and a restored relationship with God. No one in Peter’s audience is able to point to any person who grants salvation, because everyone needs salvation himself. Hence, they should realize that they can have peace with God only through Jesus Christ.
  • Name given. “There is no other name under heaven given among men.” The name Jesus reveals the task of the Savior, because the name means “he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). That is, he heals people physically from the effect of sin, but more than that, he removes sin itself so that people can stand before the judgment seat of God as if they had never sinned at all. Jesus makes them spiritually whole by restoring them in true relation to God the Father. Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). No person but Jesus has the ability to provide remission of sin. “Through his name everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins” (10:43).

Peter resorts not to an overstatement but rather to a descriptive idiom when he says that there is no other name under heaven than the name Jesus. Nowhere in the entire world is man able to find another name (i.e., person) that offers the salvation Jesus provides. Religions other than Christianity fail because they stress salvation by works and not by grace. The name Jesus has been given to men by God himself to show that salvation has its origin in God.

  • Believers saved. “[No other name] by which we must be saved.” The Greek text is specific. It does not say that we can be saved, for this would indicate that man has inherent ability to achieve salvation. Nor does it say that we may be saved, for then the clause would convey uncertainty. The text is definite. It says: “by which we must be saved.” The word must reveals a divine necessity which God has established, according to his plan and decree, to save us through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, this word signifies that man is under moral obligation to respond to the call to believe in Jesus Christ and thus gain salvation. He has no recourse to salvation other than through the Son of God.[3]

4:12. The word salvation goes back to Psalm 118 which Peter had just quoted, for it is a prominent theme there. Verses 22–29 in that psalm anticipate millennial deliverance. In Acts 4:12 Peter was speaking not only of individual justification, but also of national salvation, predicted in Psalm 118.

The rulers were thus put on the defense! They had rejected the only Savior of Israel and they were preventing the completion of God’s building. Thus no other way of salvation is available to people (cf. John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5).[4]

4:12 no other name. This refers to the exclusivism of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. There are only two religious paths: the broad way of works salvation leading to eternal death, and the narrow way of faith in Jesus, leading to eternal life (Mt 7:13, 14; cf. Jn 10:7, 8; 14:6). Sadly, the Sanhedrin and its followers were on the first path.[5] 4:12 Peter’s statement that there was salvation in no other name was an implicit invitation to the Sanhedrin to place their faith in Jesus. It was Jesus’ name that brought physical deliverance to the lame man (3:1–10)—the same powerful and exclusive name that brings eternal salvation to all who call upon him. Peter emphasizes this by saying that it is the only name under heaven (that is, throughout the whole earth) by which a person can be saved. Further, there is no other name among men (that is, in all of human society) that saves. On Christ as the exclusive way of salvation, see also Matt. 11:27; John 3:18; 14:6; 1 John 5:12. This verse also suggests that salvation comes only through conscious faith in Jesus.[6]


4:12 salvation in no one else Salvation refers to deliverance from God’s wrath and to enjoyment of His favor. This is only given through faith in Jesus, who grants new life to all who follow him and embrace the message of His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 3:19–21).[7]


4:12 no other name. Just as the name of Jesus had been the only hope for physical healing of the man crippled from birth, so also the name of Jesus is the only hope for the spiritual healing of mankind. This exclusive and total reliance upon Christ for salvation is the clear teaching of both Jesus and the New Testament generally (John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5). See theological note “Salvation” at 2 Cor. 6:5.[8]


4:12 The statement that there is no salvation “in any other” reveals the exclusive nature of the theology of the early church. There was, and there is, “no other name” through which men can be saved than the name of Jesus. Yahweh does not operate with two standards or avenues for salvation, one for the Jews and one for the believers in Christ. Only faith in Jesus of Nazareth saves Jew or Gentile (Rom. 4:16ff.). Two standards would require two scarlet threads instead of the one made crimson by the blood of Christ. In an era of religious pluralism, this verse indicts the modern spirit and requires a reassessment of dangerous trends which undermine the basis for global evangelism.[9]


[1] Longenecker, R. N. (2007). Acts. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 774–775). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Williams, D. J. (2011). Acts (pp. 82–83). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 17, pp. 155–156). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] Toussaint, S. D. (1985). Acts. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 363). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ac 4:12). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2088). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ac 4:12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[8] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1565). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[9] 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., Ac 4:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

JANUARY 2 OH!

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

— Jeremiah 1:6

In theology there is no “Oh!” and this is a significant if not an ominous thing. Theology seeks to reduce what may be known of God to intellectual terms, and as long as the intellect can comprehend, it can find words to express itself. When God Himself appears before the mind—awesome, vast and incomprehensible—then the mind sinks into silence and the heart cries out “O Lord God!” There is the difference between theological knowledge and spiritual experience, the difference between knowing God by hearsay and knowing Him by acquaintance. And the difference is not verbal merely; it is real and serious and vital.

We Christians should watch lest we lose the “Oh!” from our hearts….

When we become too glib in prayer we are most surely talking to ourselves. When the calm listing of requests and the courteous giving of proper thanks take the place of the burdened prayer that finds utterance difficult, we should beware the next step, for our direction is surely down whether we know it or not. BAM085-087

Lord, don’t ever let me lose the “Oh!” from my heart. May I truly experience You so that my knowledge of You will inspire my cries of admiration. Amen.[1]


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

January 2 Becoming What You Are

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”

Ephesians 4:1

✧✧✧

The Christian life is simply becoming what Christ has already made you.

Suppose immediately after you were saved, the Lord stamped your forehead with the words, “Watch me. I’m a child of God.” How would that affect your lifestyle?

We may not have a physical mark like that, but we do bear the name of Christ in this world. When we first put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we became part of His family (Gal. 4:1–7). He “freely bestowed” His grace on us (Eph. 1:6). He “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (1:3). And we have a rich, glorious inheritance in heaven (1:18). As God’s children, we indeed have many rights, honors, and privileges, but He expects us to behave like His children. Just as a child honors his father by obeying him, we honor God by walking worthy of Him. Our actions must be actions He would approve. Our desires must be His desires. Our goals and objectives must be His goals and objectives.

One of my seminary professors once told me that the whole Christian life is simply becoming what you are. Because you are a child of God, you need to act like a child of God. In fact, the root of the Greek word translated “worthy” in Ephesians 4:1 speaks of equalization and balance. There ought to be perfect harmony between who you are and how you live. We lapse in our commitment to Christ when we fail to live that way.

Remember, though, that our obedience to God must not be a conformity to rules and regulations out of fear or legalistic pride. It is instead a conformity to righteousness out of gratitude and a deep love for Christ. Our desire to be worthy children is a result of understanding and appreciating all He has done for us.

Philippians 1:27 says, “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” In other words, match your conduct to the gospel. The exalted reality of the gospel demands an exalted lifestyle.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you act like His child.

For Further Study: Read 1 John 2:6. Christ is our supreme example of the worthy walk. ✧ Find examples in the Gospels where He demonstrates His commitment to the Father. ✧ How can you follow His example today?[1]


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

January 1 Daily Help

WE will be glad and rejoice in Thee. We will not open the gates of the year to the dolorous notes of the sackbut, but to the sweet strains of the harp of joy. “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise unto the rock of our salvation.” What heavens are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, ay, and every drop of their fulness in Him! Since, O sweet Lord Jesus, Thou art the present portion of Thy people, favor us this year with such a sense of Thy preciousness, that from its first to its last day, we may be glad and rejoice in Thee.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 5). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

January 1, 2018 : Evening Verse Of The Day

Happy Are the Hungry

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (5:6)

This beatitude speaks of strong desire, of driving pursuit, of a passionate force inside the soul. It has to do with ambition-ambition of the right sort-whose object is to honor, obey, and glorify God by partaking of His righteousness. This holy ambition is in great contrast to the common ambitions of men to gratify their own lusts, accomplish their own goals, and satisfy their own egos.

As no other creature, Lucifer basked in the splendor and radiance of God’s glory. The name Lucifer means “star of the morning” or, more literally, “the bright one.” But he was not satisfied with living in God’s glory, and he said in his heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13–14). His ambition was not to reflect God’s glory but to usurp God’s sovereign power-while forsaking righteousness. Therefore when Satan declared his intention to make himself like the Most High, the Most High responded by declaring to His adversary, “You will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit” (v. 15).

As king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar ruled over the greatest of all world empires. One day as he walked on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, “the king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?”’ (Dan. 4:29–30). Nebuchadnezzar lusted after praise just as Lucifer lusted after power. God’s reaction was immediate: “While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes’ ” (vv. 31–32).

Jesus told a parable about a rich farmer whose crops were so abundant that he did not have enough space to store them. After planning to tear down his old barns and build bigger ones, he said, “ ‘I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16–21).

Lucifer hungered for power; Nebuchadnezzar hungered for praise; and the rich fool hungered for pleasure. Because they hungered for wrong things and rejected God’s good things, they forfeited both.

Jesus declares that the deepest desire of every person ought to be to hunger and thirst for righteousness. That is the Spirit-prompted desire that will lead a person to salvation and keep him strong and faithful once he is in the kingdom. It is also the only ambition that, when fulfilled, brings enduring happiness.

The American Declaration of Independence asserts that citizens have the right to the pursuit of happiness. The founding fathers did not presume to guarantee that all who pursue it would find it, because that is beyond the power of any government to provide. Each person is free to seek whatever kind of happiness he wants in the way he wants within the law. Sadly, most US citizens, like most people throughout all of history, have chosen to pursue the wrong kind of happiness in ways that provide no kind of happiness.

Jesus says that the way to happiness, the way to being truly blessed, is the way of spiritual hunger and thirst.

The Necessity for Spiritual Hunger

Hunger and thirst represent the necessities of physical life. Jesus’ analogy demonstrates that righteousness is required for spiritual life just as food and water are required for physical life. Righteousness is not an optional spiritual supplement but a spiritual necessity. We can no more live spiritually without righteousness than we can live physically without food and water.

Since the great famine in Egypt during the time of Joseph, and probably long before then, the world has been periodically plagued by famines. Rome experienced a famine in 436 b.c., which was so severe that thousands of people threw themselves into the Tiber River to drown rather than starve to death. Famine struck England in a.d. 1005, and all of Europe suffered great famines in 879, 1016, and 1162. In our own century, despite the advances in agriculture, many parts of the world still experience periodic famines. In recent years Africa has seen some of the most devastating famines in the world’s history. In the last 100 years tens of millions throughout the world have died from starvation or from the many diseases that accompany severe malnutrition.

A starving person has a single, all-consuming passion for food and water. Nothing else has the slightest attraction or appeal; nothing else can even get his attention.

Those who are without God’s righteousness are starved for spiritual life. But tragically they do not have the natural desire for spiritual life that they do for physical. The tendency of fallen mankind is to turn to itself and to the world for meaning and life, just as “ ‘a dog returns to its own vomit,’ and ‘a sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire’ ” (2 Pet. 2:22; cf. Prov. 26:11).

The heart of every person in the world was created with a sense of inner emptiness and need. Yet apart from God’s revelation men do not recognize what the need is or know what will satisfy it. Like the prodigal son, they will eat pigs’ food, because they have nothing else. “Why,” God asks, “do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?” (Isa. 55:2). The reason is that men have forsaken God, “the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13). Though God has created men with a need for Himself, they try to satisfy that need through lifeless gods of their own making.

Again like the prodigal son, men are prone to take good things God has given-such as possessions, health, freedom, opportunities, and knowledge-and spend them on pleasure, power, popularity, fame, and every other form of self-satisfaction. But unlike the prodigal, they are often content to stay in the far country, away from God and away from His blessings.

People are warned not to “love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17).

Seeking satisfaction only in God and in His provision is a mark of those who come into His kingdom. Those who belong to the King hunger and thirst for the King’s righteousness. They desire sin to be replaced with virtue and disobedience to be replaced by obedience. They are eager to serve the Word and will of God.

Jesus’ call to spiritual hunger and thirst also follows logically in the progression of the Beatitudes. The first three are essentially negative, commands to forsake evil things that are barriers to the kingdom. In poverty of spirit we turn away from self-seeking; in mourning we turn away from self-satisfaction; and in meekness we turn away from self-serving.

The first three beatitudes are also costly and painful. Becoming poor in spirit involves death to self. Mourning over sin involves facing up to our sinfulness. Becoming meek involves surrendering our power to God’s control.

The fourth beatitude is more positive and is a consequence of the other three. When we put aside self, sins, and power and turn to the Lord, we are given a great desire for righteousness. The more we put aside what we have, the more we long for what God has.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “This Beatitude again follows logically from the previous ones; it is a statement to which all the others lead. It is the logical conclusion to which they come, and it is something for which we should all be profoundly thankful and grateful to God. I do not know of a better test that anyone can apply to himself or herself in this whole matter of the Christian profession than a verse like this. If this verse is to you one of the most blessed statements of the whole of Scripture, you can be quite certain you are a Christian. If it is not, then you had better examine the foundations again” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971], 1:73–74).

The person who has no hunger and thirst for righteousness has no part in God’s kingdom. To have God’s life within us through the new birth in Jesus Christ is to desire more of His likeness within us by growing in righteousness. This is readily clear from David’s confession in Psalm 119:97, “O how I love Thy law.” Paul echoes David’s passion for righteousness in Romans 7:22, where he testifies, “I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man.” The true believer desires to obey, even though he struggles with unredeemed flesh (cf. Rom. 8:23).

The Meaning of Spiritual Hunger

Most of us have never faced life-threatening hunger and thirst. We think of hunger as missing a meal or two in a row, and of thirst as having to wait an hour on a hot day to get a cold drink. But the hunger and thirst of which Jesus speaks here is of a much more intense sort.

During the liberation of Palestine in World War I, a combined force of British, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers was closely pursuing the Turks as they retreated from the desert. As the allied troops moved northward past Beersheba they began to outdistance their water-carrying camel train. When the water ran out, their mouths got dry, their heads ached, and they became dizzy and faint. Eyes became bloodshot, lips swelled and turned purple, and mirages became common. They knew that if they did not make the wells of Sheriah by nightfall, thousands of them would die-as hundreds already had done. Literally fighting for their lives, they managed to drive the Turks from Sheriah.

As water was distributed from the great stone cisterns, the more able-bodied were required to stand at attention and wait for the wounded and those who would take guard duty to drink first It was four hours before the last man had his drink. During that time the men stood no more than twenty feet from thousands of gallons of water, to drink of which had been their consuming passion for many agonizing days. It is said that one of the officers who was present reported, “I believe that we all learned our first real Bible lesson on the march from Beersheba to Sheriah Wells. If such were our thirst for God, for righteousness and for His will in our lives, a consuming, all-embracing, preoccupying desire, how rich in the fruit of the Spirit would we be?” (E.M. Blaiklock, “Water,” Eternity (August 1966), p. 27).

That is the kind of hunger and thirst of which Jesus speaks in this beatitude. The strongest and deepest impulses in the natural realm are used to represent the depth of desire the called of God and redeemed have for righteousness. The present participle is used in each case and signifies continuous longing, continuous seeking. Those who truly come to Jesus Christ come hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and those who are in Him continue to know that deep longing for holiness.

The parallel passage in Luke says, “Blessed are you who hunger now” (6:21). Desire for righteousness is to characterize our life now and in the rest of our earthly existence.

When Moses was in the wilderness, God appeared to him in a burning bush. When he went back to Egypt to deliver his people, he saw God’s might and power in the miracles and the ten plagues. He saw God part the Dead Sea and swallow up their Egyptian pursuers. He saw God’s glory in the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire which led Israel in the wilderness. He built a Tabernacle for God and saw the Lord’s glory shining over the Holy of Holies. Over and over Moses had sought and had seen God’s glory. “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11). But Moses was never satisfied and always wanted to see more. He continued to plead, “I pray Thee, show Thy glory” (v. 18).

Moses never had enough of the Lord. Yet from that dissatisfaction came satisfaction. Because of his continual longing for God, Moses found favor in His sight (v. 17), and God promised him, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you” (v. 19).

David declared, “O God, Thou art my God,” but continued, “I shall seek Thee earnestly; my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Ps. 63:1).

Paul had great visions of God and great revelations from God, yet he was not satisfied. He had given up his own righteousness “derived from the law” and was growing in “the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” But still he longed to “know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:9–10). Peter expressed his own great desire and hunger when he counseled those to whom he wrote to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).

John Darby wrote, “To be hungry is not enough; I must be really starving to know what is in God’s heart toward me. When the prodigal son was hungry, he went to feed on the husks, but when he was starving, he turned to his father.” That is the hunger of which the fourth beatitude speaks, the hunger for righteousness that only the Father can satisfy.

Several years ago someone told me of a friend who had begun coming to a Bible study but soon gave it up, explaining that she wanted to be religious but did not want to make the commitment that Scripture demands. She had little hunger for the things of God. She wanted to pick and choose, to nibble at whatever suited her fancy-because basically she was satisfied with the way she was. In her own eyes she had enough, and thereby became one of the self-adjudged rich whom the Lord sends away empty-handed. It is only the hungry that He fills with good things (Luke 1:53).

The Object of Spiritual Hunger

As with the other beatitudes, the goal of hungering and thirsting for righteousness is twofold. For the unbeliever the goal is salvation; for the believer it is sanctification.

For Salvation

When a person initially hungers and thirsts for righteousness he seeks salvation, the righteousness that comes when one turns from sin to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ. In poverty of spirit he sees his sin; in mourning he laments and turns from his sin; in meekness he submits his own sinful way and power to God; and in hunger and thirst he seeks God’s righteousness in Christ to replace his sin.

In many Old Testament passages righteousness is used as a synonym for salvation. “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth,” the Lord said through Isaiah (51:5). Daniel wrote of the time when “those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).

When a person abandons all hope of saving himself, all confidence in self-righteousness, and begins to hunger for the salvation that brings God’s righteousness and the obedience that God requires, he will be blessed, be made divinely happy.

The Jews’ greatest obstacle to receiving the gospel was their self-righteousness, their confidence in their own purity and holiness, which they imagined was created by good works. Because they were God’s chosen race, and as keepers of the law-or, more often, keepers of men’s interpretations of the law-they felt heaven was assured.

The Messiah told them, however, that the only way to salvation was by hungering and thirsting for God’s righteousness to replace their own self-righteousness, which was really unrighteousness.

For Sanctification

For believers, the object of hungering and thirsting is to grow in the righteousness received from trusting in Christ. That growth is sanctification, which more than anything else is the mark of a Christian.

No believer “arrives” in his spiritual life until he reaches heaven, and to claim perfection of any sort before then is the ultimate presumption. Children of the kingdom never stop needing or hungering for more of God’s righteousness and holiness to be manifest in them through their obedience. Paul prayed for believers in Philippi that their love might “abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:9–10).

In the Greek language, verbs such as hunger and thirst normally have objects that are in the partitive genitive, a case that indicates incompleteness, or partialness. A literal English rendering would be: “I hunger for of food” or “I thirst for of water.” The idea is that a person only hungers for some food and some water, not for all the food and water in the world.

But Jesus does not here use the partitive genitive but the accusative, and righteousness is therefore the unqualified and unlimited object of hunger and thirst. The Lord identifies those who desire all the righteousness there is (cf. Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:15–16).

Jesus also uses the definite article (tēn), indicating that He is not speaking of just any righteousness, but the righteousness, the only true righteousness-that which comes from God and, in fact, is God’s very own righteousness which He has in Himself.

It becomes obvious, then, that we cannot possibly have our longing for godliness satisfied in this life, so we are left to continually hunger and thirst until the day we are clothed entirely in Christ’s righteousness.

The Result of Spiritual Hunger

The result of hungering and thirsting for righteousness is being satisfied. Chortazō was frequently used of the feeding of animals until they wanted nothing more. They were allowed to eat until they were completely satisfied.

Jesus’ divine pronouncement is that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be given total satisfaction. The giving of satisfaction is God’s work, as the future passive tense indicates: they shall be satisfied. Our part is to seek; His part is to satisfy.

Again there is a marvelous paradox, because though saints continually seek God’s righteousness, always wanting more and never getting all, they nevertheless will be satisfied. We may eat steak or our favorite pie until we can eat no more, yet our taste for those things continues and even increases. It is the very satisfaction that makes us want more. We want to eat more of those things because they are so satisfying. The person who genuinely hungers and thirsts for God’s righteousness finds it so satisfying that he wants more and more.

God’s satisfying those who seek and love Him is a repeated theme in the Psalms. “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good” (Ps. 107:9). “The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing” (34:10). The best-loved of all psalms begins, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” and later declares, “Thou dost prepare a table before me … my cup overflows” (23:1, 5).

Predicting the great blessings of Christ’s millennial kingdom, Jeremiah assured Israel that in that day, “ ‘My people shall be satisfied with My goodness,’ declares the Lord” (Jer. 31:14). Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar that “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14). To the crowds near Capernaum, many of whom had been among the five thousand He fed with the five barley loaves and the two fish, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

The Testing Of Spiritual Hunger

There are several marks of genuine hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. First is dissatisfaction with self. The person who is pleased with his own righteousness will see no need for God’s. The great Puritan Thomas Watson wrote, “He has most need of righteousness that least wants it,” No matter how rich his spiritual experience or how advanced his spiritual maturity, the hungering Christian will always say, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

Second is freedom from dependence on external things for satisfaction. A hungry man cannot be satisfied by an arrangement of lovely flowers, or beautiful music, or pleasant conversation. All of those things are good, but they have no ability to satisfy hunger. Neither can anything but God’s own righteousness satisfy the person who has true spiritual hunger and thirst.

Third is craving for the Word of God, the basic spiritual food lie provides His children. A hungry man does not have to be begged to eat. Jeremiah rejoiced, “Thy words were found and I ate them, and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jer. 15:16). The more we seek God’s righteousness, the more we will want to devour Scripture. Feeding on God’s Word increases our appetite for it.

Fourth is the pleasantness of the things of God. “To a famished man any bitter thing is sweet” (Prov. 27:7). The believer who seeks God’s righteousness above all other things will find fulfillment and satisfaction even in those things that humanly are disastrous. Thomas Watson comments that “the one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness can feed on the myrrh of the gospel as well as the honey.” Even the Lord’s reproofs and discipline bring satisfaction, because they are signs of our Father’s love. “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6).

A final mark of true spiritual hunger is unconditionality. When our spiritual hunger and thirst are genuine they will make no conditions; they will seek and accept God’s righteousness in whatever way He chooses to provide it and will obey His commands no matter how demanding they may be. The least of God’s righteousness is more valuable than the greatest of anything we possess in ourselves or that the world can offer. The rich young ruler wanted only the part of God’s kingdom that fit his own plans and desires, and he was therefore unfit for the kingdom. He thirsted more for other things than for the things of God. His conditions for God’s blessings barred him from them.

The spiritually hungry do not ask for Christ and economic success, Christ and personal satisfaction, Christ and popularity, or Christ and anything else. They want only Christ and what God in His wisdom and love sovereignly provides through Christ-whatever that may or may not be.

The spiritually hungry cry, “My soul is crushed with longing after Thine ordinances at all times” (Ps. 119:20), and they confess, “At night my soul longs for Thee, indeed, my spirit within me seeks Thee diligently” (Isa. 26:9).[1]


Guaranteed Satisfaction

Matthew 5:6

Ever since famine drove Joseph’s brothers to Egypt in the second millennium b.c. (and probably also before that time) crop failures, and consequent hunger and starvation, have been a chronic problem of mankind. Drought, wars, and plant disease have swept through history, leaving behind a trail of misery and death. Often little could be done to stop them.

Famine came to Rome in 436 b.c., causing thousands of people to throw themselves into the Tiber River and end their lives. Famine struck England in 1005. All Europe suffered in 879, 1016, and 1162. Even in the nineteenth century, with its great advances in technology and commerce, hunger stalked many countries—Russia, China, India, Ireland—and many died. Today, in India, thousands die of malnutrition and its accompanying diseases, and hundreds more perish in the nations of Latin America and the other emerging nations. Hunger, like war and pestilence, has always been a bellicose neighbor to large sectors of the human race.

Unfortunately, the physical hunger of some men is only a pale reflection of a far more serious hunger that affects all mankind. It is a spiritual hunger, which is satisfied only by God through the Lord Jesus Christ. St. Augustine spoke of this hunger when he wrote, “Thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee” (Confessions, I, 1). Jesus showed how this hunger could be satisfied. He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matt. 5:6). This statement of Jesus Christ’s is the fourth beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount. It is God’s answer to man’s spiritual longing.

God’s Answer

This beatitude follows in a very definite order upon the first three of Christ’s beatitudes, and there is a sense in which it stands at the heart of this short compendium of Christ’s teachings.

The first three verses of the Sermon on the Mount have all pointed to man’s need and have shown the type of approach that is necessary if a man is to be made spiritually happy by God. First, the man who comes to God must be “poor in spirit.” He must recognize that he is spiritually bankrupt in God’s sight and that he has no claim upon him. Second, he must “mourn.” This does not refer simply to the kind of sorrow experienced for the sick or dying. It is sorrow for sin. And it implies that the one who sorrows must come to God for comfort. Third, the man who would experience God’s salvation must also be “meek.” This refers to his taking a lowly place before God in order that he might receive God’s salvation. These beatitudes have all expressed man’s need. Now in the fourth beatitude there comes a solution: if a man will hunger and thirst after righteousness, God will fill him with righteousness and will declare him righteous. That man will be justified before God, and he will embark upon the blessed and effective life outlined in the remainder of Christ’s sermon.

Does this verse touch your heart as an expression of all that is most precious in the Christian gospel? Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes of this verse, “This beatitude again follows logically from the previous ones; it is a statement to which all the others lead. It is the logical conclusion to which they come, and it is something for which we should all be profoundly thankful and grateful to God. I do not know of a better test that anyone can apply to himself or herself in this whole matter of the Christian profession than a verse like this. If this verse is to you one of the most blessed statements of the whole of Scripture, you can be quite certain you are a Christian; if it is not, then you had better examine the foundations again.” The verse is precious because it offers the solution to man’s great need by pointing to the offer of God’s greater remedy in Christ.

True Righteousness

The verse is most specific about how one can obtain this happiness, but the reason why so many people are unhappy spiritually is that they will not accept God’s remedy. What must man do? First, he must desire righteousness. Second, he must desire a perfect (and, therefore, a divine) righteousness. Third, he must desire it intensely. That is, he must desire it enough to abandon all hope of achieving salvation by his own efforts, and cling instead to the efforts made for him by God. Each of these points is suggested explicitly in the beatitude.

In the first place, the man who would be happy must come to God seeking righteousness. So many come seeking anything and everything else. Some seek happiness itself. But the verse says that the happy people are those who seek, not happiness primarily, but holiness before God. Some people seek happiness through other things, such as fortune or fame. Some seek it through sex and marriage. The Bible teaches that happiness comes only through righteousness.

A moment’s reflection will show why this must be so. God is the source of all good things: fortune, fame, sex, success, happiness, and other things besides. James says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). But God is also holy, and, because he is, he can have no dealings with those who are not holy. Men are sinners. Sin breaks the fellowship that should exist between men and God; it makes all who are sinners God’s enemies. The only way that man can enter again into fellowship with God and find the happiness and blessing he longs for is to possess a righteousness and holiness that will commend him to God.

Can this be done? Not by man, certainly. But God can and will do it. The heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that in him God has obtained our redemption and provided all who believe in Christ with that righteousness. The Bible says that Jesus Christ “has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). And those who hunger and thirst after his righteousness shall be filled.

Moreover, Christians must hunger and thirst after righteousness. For that which enters into their becoming a Christian must also characterize their life. Dr. Lloyd-Jones writes, “There are large numbers of people in the Christian Church who seem to spend the whole of their life seeking something which they can never find, seeking for some kind of happiness and blessedness. They go around from meeting to meeting, and convention to convention, always hoping they are going to get this wonderful thing, this experience that is going to fill them with joy, and flood them with some ecstacy. They see that other people have had it, but they themselves do not seem to get it. … Now that is not surprising. We are not meant to hunger and thirst after experiences; we are not meant to hunger and thirst after blessedness. If we want to be truly happy and blessed we must hunger and thirst after righteousness. We must not put blessedness or happiness or experience in the first place.”

What is the case in your life? Do you put righteousness first or do you seek after something else, even something quite good in itself? Do not forget that righteousness must come first. Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).

A Perfect Righteousness

The second point of the fourth beatitude is that the one who would know true happiness must desire not merely righteousness but perfect righteousness, and this means desiring the righteousness of God. It is necessary that we see this and see it clearly, for you and I are always ready to settle for something less than God requires, and if it were possible, we should always rush to substitute some of our own goodness for God’s.

In order to understand how this point emerges from the text it is necessary to point out a fact of Greek grammar. In the Greek language it is a rule of good grammar that verbs of hungering and thirsting are followed by nouns in the genitive case. This is the case that is expressed by the proposition “of” in English. An example of a genitive would be the last words in the phrases “peace of mind,” “love of God,” “object of faith,” and so on. The Greek would express a feeling of hunger by saying something like this: “I am hungry for of food” or “I am thirsty for of water.”

This particular use of the genitive case has an unusual characteristic on the basis of which it is called a partitive genitive. This means that it has reference only to a part of the object that occurs in the sentence. Thus, when the Greek would say, “I am hungry for of food,” he would be saying that he was hungry only for part of the food in the world, not all of it. And similarly, when he would say that he would like some water, the genitive would indicate that he did not want all the water the world has to offer, but only some of it. In more modern times the same grammatical structure appears in French. When seated at the table, you would never say, “Passez le pain, s’il vous plait”—that would mean pass all the bread there is. Instead to say, “Passez du pain,” for that means, “I would like some of the bread, please.”

The significance of this point for interpreting the fourth beatitude lies in the fact that the normal Greek usage is entirely abandoned in this verse. Instead of the word “righteousness” occurring in the genitive, as it should, it occurs in the accusative. And the meaning is that the one who hungers and thirsts as Christ intends him to hunger and thirst must hunger, not after a partial or imperfect righteousness (either his own or God’s), but after the whole thing. He must long for a perfect righteousness, and this means, therefore, a righteousness equal to and identical with God’s.

Of course, this is exactly what most people will not do. Most men and women have a desire for some degree of righteousness. Their self-esteem demands at least that. Thieves will have some code of honor among themselves, however debased. A murderer will strive for some small spark of nobility. A good man will take great pride in his philanthropy or good deeds. But the problem comes from the fact that few (and none unless God has prodded them) seek for the perfect goodness which comes only from him. If I were to rephrase the verse in order to recapture this flavor of the language, I would say, “O how happy is the man who knows enough not to be satisfied with any partial goodness with which to please God, who is not satisfied with any human goodness. He alone is happy who seeks for the divine righteousness, because God will certainly provide it.”

Hunger and Thirst

The third point of advice in Christ’s statement about how to discover God’s righteousness is that a man must desire it intensely. In Christ’s words, he must “hunger and thirst for righteousness” if he is to be filled. How quickly these words pierce to the spiritual heart of a man! And how quickly do they separate real spiritual hunger from mere sentimentality and vaguely religious feeling!

Since there is almost nothing in our experience today to suggest the force of Christ’s words, we must put ourselves in the shoes of his listeners if we are to fully understand them. Today almost none of us knows hunger. And few of us have ever known more than a momentary thirst. But it was not that way for Christ’s contemporaries. In the ancient world men often knew hunger. Wages were low, if they existed at all. Unless men were of the aristocracy they seldom grew fat on the fruit of honest labor. Many starved. Moreover, in a desert country where the sun was scorching and sand and wind storms were frequent, thirst was man’s constant companion. To such a world hunger meant the hunger of a starving man, and thirst, that of a man who would die without water.

It was against this background that Christ’s words were spoken. And they were, in effect, “So you think that you would like to be pleasing to God, that you would like to taste of his goodness. Well, how much do you want it? Do you want it as much as a starving man wants food or a parched man wants water? You must want it that desperately in order to be filled. For it is only when you are really desperate that you will turn to me and away from your own attempts to earn that goodness.”

Several years ago an article appeared in Eternity magazine by Dr. E. M. Blaiklock on the significance of water in the Bible, part of which is quite relevant here. The article was one in a series of articles on Bible imagery, and in one part of it Dr. Blaiklock referred by way of illustration to a book by Major V. Gilbert called The Last Crusade, an account of part of the British liberation of Palestine in World War I. Dr. Blaiklock wrote of the book: “Driving up from Beersheba, a combined force of British, Australians and New Zealanders were pressing on the rear of the Turkish retreat over arid desert. The attack out-distanced its water-carrying camel train. Water bottles were empty. The sun blazed pitilessly out of a sky where the vultures wheeled expectantly.

“ ‘Our heads ached,’ writes Gilbert, ‘and our eyes became bloodshot and dim in the blinding glare. … Our tongues began to swell … our lips turned a purplish black and burst …’ Those who dropped out of the column were never seen again, but the desperate force battled on to Sheria. There were wells at Sheria, and had they been unable to take the place by nightfall, thousands were doomed to die of thirst. ‘We fought that day,’ writes Gilbert, ‘as men fight for their lives. … We entered Sheria station on the heels of the retreating Turks. The first objects which met our view were the great stone cisterns full of cold, clear, drinking water. In the still night air the sound of water running into the tanks could be distinctly heard, maddening in its nearness; yet not a man murmured when orders were given for the battalions to fall in, two deep, facing the cisterns.’

“He describes the stern priorities: the wounded, those on guard duty, then company by company. It took four hours before the last man had his drink of water, and in all that time they had been standing 20 feet from a low stone wall, on the other side of which were thousands of gallons of water.

“ ‘I believe,’ Major Gilbert concludes, ‘that we all learned our first real Bible lesson on that march from Beersheba to Sheria wells.’ If such were our thirst for God, for righteousness, for His will in our life, a consuming, all-embracing, preoccupying desire, how rich in the fruits of the Spirit would we be.”

Christ, Our Satisfaction

The conclusion of this study is that where there is this desire for righteousness there will be filling. And the filling will be Christ himself.

In this first sermon, given early in his three-year ministry, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; for they will be filled,” but he did not elaborate further on the filling. Later, when his teachings began to make their impact on the small circle of his listeners, he did. He said to the woman of Samaria, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. … Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:10, 13–14). To the disciples who had witnessed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves in Galilee he added, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

Have you drunk deeply at that spring and fed on that bread? Or are you still feeding on things that do not satisfy? When the prodigal son left home he expected to find complete satisfaction. He wanted to live; and life to him meant money, clothes, food, companionship, and gay times. Instead of these things he found poverty, rags, hunger, loneliness, and misery. When he was hungry he turned to feeding swine. It was only when he was finally starving that he turned back to his father. In his father’s company he found all he had thought to find in the world. His father clothed him, fed him, welcomed him, and rejoiced in his return.

How sad if you should turn from the One who guarantees satisfaction in life to things that will never satisfy for long! How blessed for you to return to the Father through the way in which he has told you to come, through the Lord Jesus Christ![2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 177–185). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2002). The Sermon on the Mount: an expositional commentary (pp. 37–42). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

January 1: Beginnings

Genesis 1–2; Matthew 1–2; Ecclesiastes 1:1–5

In the beginning, God subdues the greatest symbol of chaos in the ancient world: the waters. He also creates light—something that the ancients thought ruled everything. Even darkness, which they deeply feared, is now ruled by Him.

The ancients were in the middle, asking, “God, where are you in the midst of this chaotic world?” He answers them with a story about beginnings. In this story, we find that God establishes order in a chaotic world. He rules other gods. He rules the light. He rules the night. It’s as if God said, “Why are you afraid? I’m here. I’m working it out.”

Matthew 1–2 gives us another beginning—a child born in humble circumstances. But it’s through this child, Jesus, that the world itself was first created. And that’s not all: in Him and through Him everything is brought together. Chaos is made orderly: “Because all things in the heavens and on earth were created by him … and he himself is before all things, and in him all things are held together” (Col 1:16–17). If we want to truly understand our origins, we need this frame of reference.

Like the ancients, we too are in the middle. We worry that evil and chaos will reign, but we must let Christ take control. He can bring order to our unruly lives. We need a new beginning. In Genesis, God wants us to see Him taking back what He created—and that includes us.

What chaos do you fear? We often feel in the middle, but our beginnings suggest that Christ is holding everything together. What areas of your life need God’s order? Where do you need Christ to step in and hold together?

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.