Daily Archives: January 3, 2018

January 3 Blessing the God of Blessings

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us . . .” (Eph. 1:3).

✧✧✧

When we bless God, it is with words of praise; when He blesses us, it is with deeds of kindness.

Paul’s brief doxology identifies God the Father as the ultimate recipient and source of blessing—the One to whom blessing is ascribed and the One who bestows blessings on those who love Him.

“Blessed” translates the Greek word eulogeō, from which we get eulogy. To bless or eulogize God is to praise Him for His mighty works and holy character.

That should be the response of your heart and mine, just as it has been the response of believers throughout the ages. The psalmist said, “Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer” (Ps. 66:20); and “Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone works wonders” (Ps. 72:18). Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

When the situation is reversed and God blesses us, it isn’t with praise, for apart from Him there is nothing praiseworthy about us. Instead, He gives us undeserved benefits through His many deeds of kindness. Scripture identifies Him as the source of every good thing (James 1:17), who works all things together for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).

That is but a sampling of the many blessings He lavishes on us in His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s a marvelous cycle: God blesses us with deeds of kindness; we bless Him with words of praise.

Beware of the sin of thanklessness. Recognize God’s blessings in your life, and let them fill your heart and lips with humble, sincere praise.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Identify ten specific blessings God has granted to you in recent days, and praise Him for each one. ✧ Ask Him to make you more aware of and thankful for His goodness in your life. ✧ Always be ready to seek forgiveness when you take His blessings for granted.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 103. ✧ What blessings does David mention? ✧ How do they apply to your life?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 15). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

JANUARY 3 HOLY SPIRIT: GOD IN CONTACT WITH HIS CREATURES

…The Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.

JOHN 15:26

If I read aright the record of Christian experience through the years, those who most enjoyed the power of the Spirit of God have had the least to say about Him by way of attempted definition.

The Bible saints who walked in the Spirit never tried to explain Him. In postbiblical times many who were filled and possessed by the Spirit were by the limitations of their literary gifts prevented from telling us much about Him. They had no gift for self-analysis, but lived from within in uncritical simplicity.

To them the Spirit was One to be loved and fellowshipped the same as the Lord Jesus Himself. They would have been lost completely in any metaphysical discussion of the nature of the Spirit, but they had no trouble in claiming the power of the Spirit for holy living and fruitful service.

This is as it should be. Personal experience must always be first in real life. Knowledge by acquaintance is always better than knowledge by description, and the first does not presuppose the second nor require it.

What we have in the Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit is Deity present among us.

He is not God’s messenger only—He is God!

He is God in contact with His creatures, doing in them and among them a saving and renewing work.[1]


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

January 3, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump is hardening his demands for a deal to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation, a dispute with congressional Democrats that hangs over talks this week to avoid a government shutdown.

Iran’s protests began far from Tehran over the cost of living. Soon demonstrators were calling for the death of the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader. The escalation was swift, as was security forces’ response.

The U.S. military says it has carried out a drone strike in Somalia that killed two al-Shabab extremists and destroyed a vehicle carrying explosives, “preventing it from being used against the people in Mogadishu.”

North Korea contacted authorities in Seoul over a hotline for the first time in about two years, paving the way for a thaw during the Winter Olympics despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s fresh taunts at Kim Jong Un.

A transformative genetic treatment for a rare, inherited form of blindness will come with a price tag of $425,000 per eye, or $850,000 for both, said Spark Therapeutics Inc., the tiny biotechnology company that is bringing the therapy to market.

America’s power grid is starting to show signs of fatigue as the nation grapples with a record-breaking cold snap.

AP Top Stories

A new storm is making its way to the Southeast Wednesday, likely dumping rain, sleet and some snow before moving north. The storm has prompted schools to close in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Meanwhile, the Northeast is bracing for another brutal arctic invasion.

California’s 2017 wildfire season will go down as one of the worst in the state’s history, with a season that lasted longer than normal and featured multiple record-shattering blazes.

A Russian helicopter crashed in Syria on New Year’s Eve killing both pilots following a technical fault, Moscow’s defence ministry said Wednesday.

One U.S. service member was killed and four others wounded during a “combat engagement” in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, the U.S military said in a statement on Tuesday.

India is to buy 131 surface-to-air missiles from Israel in a $70 million deal, the defence ministry announced Tuesday ahead of a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A suicide bomber killed 11 people on Wednesday in an attack on a mosque in northeast Nigeria, the epicenter of the conflict with Islamist insurgency Boko Haram, military officials and an aid worker said.

The Trump administration on Tuesday called for the government of Iran to unblock social media apps, including Instagram.

The French government vowed a crackdown on urban violence Tuesday after shocking video footage emerged of a policewoman being beaten on New Year’s Eve.

China has taken a major step toward cleaning up the new cars sold in the country beginning January 1. As numerous countries debate plans to end sales of fossil-fuel vehicles completely at points in the future, China has now forced the end of production for some 553 models, starting Monday.

California is now the largest state in the nation to have legal and regulated recreational marijuana. And while that alone is a blow to the prohibitionist policies of the failed war on drugs, a lesser-known provision in the state’s new law, along with efforts in a few local jurisdictions, aims to repair some of the damage that the criminalization of marijuana has done to so many communities.

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said over the weekend that she is considering running for Senate. She said she is asking God if she should enter the race.

U.S. manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in three months, as gains in orders and production capped the strongest year for factories since 2004, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday.

China’s central bank told a top-level government internet finance group that the monetary authority can tell local governments to regulate the power usage of bitcoin miners to gradually reduce the scale of their production, a source said.

BBC

In a surprise move, Ethiopia’s prime minister has announced the release of all political prisoners and the closure of a notorious detention center, allegedly used as a torture chamber.

The mayor of New York City has announced plans to install 1,500 steel street barriers to prevent vehicle attacks. Bill de Blasio said the protective barriers were part of a $50m investment in security infrastructure.

Berlin authorities are the target of ridicule and disbelief after nine prisoners escaped or absconded from one prison in the space of five days. Six remain on the run from Plötzensee jail after four separate incidents.

At least 48 people have been killed after a coach plummeted 330ft down a cliff and landed upside down on a beach in Peru, officials said.

A private salvage company has resumed the search for flight MH370, hoping to find the plane that mysteriously disappeared in 2014. US-based Ocean Infinity will not get paid for the search itself but receive millions of dollars if successful.

WND

The University of California-Davis offers a “FREE power nap class” where “trained instructors” teach students strategies to help them avoid falling asleep in class.

Declining numbers of police officers in London have forced the city’s Metropolitan force to give up investigating certain types of crimes, according to The London Times.


The Briefing — Wednesday, January 3, 2018

1) U.S. government runs an operation to investigate U.F.O.s—why do we find the question so interesting?

New York Times (Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal, and Leslie Kean) –
Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program

New York Times (Dennis Overbye) –
U.F.O.s: Is This All There Is?

New York Times (Ross Douthat) –
Flying Saucers and Other Fairy Tales

2) Further evidence of the moral chasm that separates Americans

Washington Post (Quinta Jurecic) –
The Trump administration’s disturbing fight to stop teenagers from getting abortions

Washington Post (Julie Zauzmer) –
In Manassas, a closed abortion clinic made new

3) Why some moral questions can’t be reduced to dollars and cents

Philadelphia Enquirer (Dan White) –
Economics and abortion: It’s more complicated than dollars and cents


News – 1/3/2018

Franklin Graham offers Rosie O’Donnell salvation in Jesus after she condemned Paul Ryan ‘to hell’
Rev. Franklin Graham offered Liberal comedienne and lesbian Rosie O’Donnell a chance to be saved by Jesus Christ after she told Republican Paul Ryan that he would go “to hell” for voting for tax cuts. The outspoken minister then directly appealed to the vulgar actress. “I hope one day you will put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and let him heal your heart, clean up your mouth, and forgive your sins,” the reverend concluded.

Germany to Censor Media in Upcoming Nazi-Style Purge
German government using Hitler-style law to censor news reports. German officials will start censoring Infowars and other media that report on Germany’s migrant crisis which makes Chancellor Merkel look bad. Germany is ramping up enforcement of a Nazi-style censorship law that will pressure Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites to remove content the government considers “hate speech.”

Hawkins: I Bet Freedom-Starved Iranians Wish They Had a Second Amendment
As we watch freedom-starved Iranians stand against an extremist regime bent on retaining power, it is a safe bet that Iran’s rank and file would benefit from a Second Amendment. The power structure in Iran right now is such that the right to keep and bear arms is not guaranteed by law. Additionally, only certain types of guns are allowable for private ownership, and those guns only go to people with special permission to own them.

Probe Uncovers “Laws Broken, False Statements” In FBI Handling of Clinton Emails
In what could be a major black eye for the deep state and yet another nail in the Clinton legacy coffin, The Hill’s John Solomon reports that Republicans on key congressional committees say they have uncovered new irregularities and contradictions inside the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server. “This was an effort to pre-bake the cake, pre-bake the outcome,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a House Judiciary Committee member who attended the McCabe briefing before the holidays. “Hillary Clinton obviously benefited from people taking actions to ensure she wasn’t held accountable.”

A “Bomb Cyclone” Is Set To Detonate Off The East Coast
“This storm developing off the Southeast coast will meet the meteorological criteria of a “bomb” as it rapidly intensifies. The signal for a storm has been evident since last week, but as the track has been fine-tuned, impacts to the I-95 corridor are now expected. Snow, strong winds, and very cold temperatures are expected particularly the further east one heads,” said Ed Vallee, meteorologist at Vallee Weather Consulting LLC.

Geologists See 2018 As Year Of Monster Quakes
Geophysicists who studied seismic activity over the past 117 years report 2018 could be shaping up as a year of monster earthquakes – especially around the equator. Why? The signal that causes the alarm from a historical pattern, they say, is the slowing of the Earth’s rotation.

Nikki Haley Says Palestinians Could Lose US Aid if They Reject Negotiations With Israel
Haley told reporters at the U.N. on Tuesday that the U.S. remains committed to the peace process, but implied that America would cut off aid to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) if the Palestinians refuse to participate in negotiations.

Trump: My nuclear button is bigger than Kim’s
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” tweeted Trump.

Putin’s Titanic has hit a fatal Middle East iceberg
In 1912, imagine buying a super-expensive ticket on the unsinkable Titanic only to find out halfway across the Atlantic Ocean that not only is the Titanic sinking, but you are going to die drowning in the frigid waters. It’s 2018 and that’s exactly how Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Foreign Minister Lavrov are feeling at this exact moment about their buy into Iranian debt and Iranian “hegemony.” Iran’s genocidal Islamo-Fascist Regime is slowing or at the least, going up in flames. The problem for Putin is that Putin has put all his Middle East eggs in the Shiite Ayatollah’s basket, and that basket has just crashed to the ground.

UNESCO Produces Lion Idol, Consort of Goddess of Adultery
A UNESCO funded project reproduced a statue of a lion, the third project of its kind the organization has supported, leading at least one rabbi to conclude that the real goal of the political organization is to promote an agenda that has always stood as Israel’s nemesis: idolatry. Early pagans believed the lion was the consort of the goddess al-Lat. It has been conjectured that al-Lat was the pre-Islamic consort of the Arabian god Allah.

‘Frozen America’: 92% of Country Below Freezing
With temperatures dropping 15 to 25 degrees below average in vast areas of the US breaking century-old records, citizens and authorities are taking unusual measures to stay warm and to keep facilities running.

Planned Parenthood: We Did 321,384 Abortions; Got $543.7 Million in Tax Dollars
Planned Parenthood says its affiliates did 321,384 abortions in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2016, according to its newly released 2016-2017 annual report.

Boom! US To Withhold Funding From Palestinians Until They Agree To Join Peace Negotiations
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nicki Haley held a press conference on Tuesday regarding the Iranian democracy protests. Haley also touched on the North Korean threat and the Trump administration decision to withhold funding to Pakistan.

Germany To Censor Media In Upcoming Nazi-Style Purge
German officials will start censoring Infowars and other media that report on Germany’s migrant crisis which makes Chancellor Merkel look bad. Germany is ramping up enforcement of a Nazi-style censorship law that will pressure Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites to remove content the government considers “hate speech.”

Baltimore Sets New Per-Capita Homicide Record
Population shrinks while murder rate explodes in Democrat stronghold

Turkish State Institution Says Girls Can Marry & Get Pregnant Aged 9
Turkey’s top state religious institution has issued a new fatwa on marriage announcing that girls can get married and become pregnant as young as 9 years old.

PHOTOS=> Sanctuary State Signs Pop Up on California Highways for the New Year: “Felons, Illegals and MS13 Welcome!”
Anonymous Street artists moved out to highways once again to ring in the new year by posting messages to the “Welcome to California” highway signs.

Tables turn: Now FBI probed for election interferenceWhat began as an investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election has now become a probe into how federal law enforcement conspired to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.

Bone-Chilling Cold Grips Wide Swath of US, at Least 2 DeathsBone-chilling cold gripped much of the U.S. as 2018 began, breaking century-old records and leading to at least three deaths attributed to exposure to the dangerously low temperatures.

Pope Francis: Opponents of Mass Migration Sow ‘Violence, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia’
In his new message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis has denounced those who question the wisdom of mass migration, accusing them of demagoguery and promoting xenophobia.

Pakistan Summons US Envoy, Calls Emergency Meetings After Trump’s ‘No More’ Tweet
Islamabad called an emergency cabinet meeting to establish the “difference between facts and fiction,” and summoned the US ambassador after Trump targeted Pakistan in his first tweet in 2018, accusing it of “lies and deceit.”

Trump Accuses Obama Administration of Helping Fund Iran’s ‘Terrorism,’ Praises Protests
“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets.’ The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!” Trump tweeted early Tuesday.


Planned Parenthood: We Did 321,384 Abortions; Got $543.7 Million in Tax Dollars

(Terrence P. Jeffrey – CNS News) Planned Parenthood says its affiliates did 321,384 abortions in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2016, according to its newly released 2016-2017 annual report.

In the same report, Planned Parenthood says its affiliates received $543.7 million in payments from government—“Government Health Services Reimbursements & Grants,” the report calls them—in the year that ended on June 30, 2017. View article →


President Trump Is Right: Huma Abedin, Crooked Hillary And James Comey All Belong In Prison

If you mishandle classified documents, you go to prison.  That is how the law is written, and that is how the law is supposed to work.  But up until now top members of the Democratic Party have been immune from prosecution for mishandling classified documents even though evidence that they are guilty is publicly available for everyone to see.  On Friday, we learned that there were classified documents among the 2,800 work-related emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.  Huma Abedin regularly forwarded documents to her husband’s laptop, and every time she sent a classified document to his laptop it was a violation of federal law. (Read More…)

Mid-Day Snapshot

Jan. 3, 2018

Leftists Beclown Themselves on Iran

They are “justifying and excusing Islamic fascism in a broader and confused attempt at signaling tolerance.”

The Foundation

“The fundamental source of all your errors, sophisms and false reasonings is a total ignorance of the natural rights of mankind. Were you once to become acquainted with these, you could never entertain a thought, that all men are not, by nature, entitled to a parity of privileges.” —Alexander Hamilton (1775)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: January 3

  • North Korea reopens border hotline with the South (Read More)
  • North Korea warned against new missile test (Read More)
  • MiFID II’s First Day Comes Off Without Glitches, Regulator Says (Read More)
  • No Idea What MiFID Stands For? Here’s What You Need to Know (Read More)
  • As Trump Weighs New Tariffs, Imports of Washers and Solar Panels Jump (Read More)
  • Oil hits new two-and-a-half year highs as higher output looms (Read More)
  • Iran stages pro-government rallies after sixth day of protests (Read More
  • AMD Soars After Rival Intel Reveals Processor Flaw (Read More)
  • Bitcoin Loses Some Dazzle as Second-Tier Crypto Coins Catch Up (Read More)
  • The New Floor for Bond Underwriting Fees: $1 (Read More)
  • The Tax Law Hits Manhattan Home Sales (Read More)
  • Trump Tower meeting with Russians ‘treasonous’, Bannon says in explosive book (Read More)
  • Israel says Iran recruited Palestinian militants via South Africa (Read More)
  • Hungary, Poland want a strong say in Europe’s future: PM Orban (Read More)
  • Dominion Energy to buy Scana Corp in $14.6 billion deal (Read More)
  • Pershing Square, Valeant to appear in court on insider trading suit settlement (Read More)
  • Bonus or No, Don’t Get Your Hopes Up for a Raise (Read More)

Headlines – 1/3/2018

Palestinians: Law making Jerusalem division harder is a ‘declaration of war’

Jordan warns Israel of consequences of Unified Jerusalem vote

Jordan: Israel denying the region peace

Trump threatens to cut off US aid to Palestinians over Jerusalem dispute

Trump threatens to cut US aid to Palestinians to force peace talks

Trump threatens aid to Palestinians, appears to contradict himself on Jerusalem – claimed to have taken Jerusalem off the negotiating table

Netanyahu Allies Rethink Remapping of Jerusalem

2,700-Year-Old Jewish Seal Found in Jerusalem – History, too, recognizes the city as the Jewish capital

U.S. State Dept. ‘hasn’t changed’ position regarding status of West Bank as occupied territory

Eisenkot: Hamas stokes West Bank attacks to preserve Gaza calm

IDF chief: All of Israel’s fronts are highly volatile

Palestinian terror chief in Lebanon camp says he’s moved to Syria

Plague hits Palestinian sheep in the northern Jordan Valley

Israel: African migrants told to leave or face imprisonment

India shoots down $500m missile deal with Israel ahead of Netanyahu visit

Police probing possible corruption at Israeli Prime Minister’s Office

Among Netanyahu’s reasons for backing Iran protests: aligning with Trump

Netanyahu: Iranian Regime Tries Desperately to Sow Hate Between Iranians & Israelis

Israeli Intel Minister: Iran Working to Upgrade Hamas Terror Capabilities

Young, working-class and fed up: Iran’s deadly protests driven by a new crop of dissenters

Russia says ‘external interference’ fueling Iran protests

Security chief blames Saudi Arabia for Iran unrest

Ex-Iranian president, seen by some as moderate, condemns violence and US

Over 450 Protesters Arrested In Tehran During Crackdown On Anti-Government Demonstrations

EU deplores ‘unacceptable loss of life’ in Iran protests

US envoy calls for emergency UN session on Iran protests

Iranian protesters win bipartisan support in U.S. Congress

US demands Iran stop blocking social media

Trump denounces ‘brutal and corrupt’ Iranian regime

US stops short of calling for Iran regime change

Iran protests: US brands Tehran’s accusations ‘nonsense’

Trump Tweets Support For Iranians While Banning Them From The U.S.

France calls for Iranian restraint as top diplomat cancels trip

Rouhani calls on Macron to act over anti-Iran ‘terrorists’ in France

Yemeni FM: ‘We wish Iranian protesters success in achieving freedom’

Syria backs Iran against ‘conspiracy’ protests

Iran deal deadlines loom as Trump weighs sanctions

Egypt’s Sisi extends state of emergency for another three months

Dreaded, sadistic ISIS executioner reportedly captured in Iraq; could be executed himself

Egypt’s grand mufti says bitcoin ‘forbidden’ by Islam

Police Kill Christians in Churches in DR Congo as Demonstrators Protest President’s Rule

‘Worrying’ clampdown on human rights: UN condemns Saudi Arabia

White House says to announce actions on Pakistan within days

Tensions Rise Between Pakistan And U.S. After President Trump’s Tweet

Nikki Haley: ‘We will never accept a nuclear North Korea’

Trump to N. Korea: My nuclear button is ‘much bigger’ than Kim’s

Haley warns North Korea against another missile test

S. Korea offers to talk with North on Olympics cooperation

China will strictly implement UN resolutions on North Korea

Expect 2018 to be a year of living dangerously as global tensions rise

NYC to install hundreds of barriers to protect pedestrians from vehicle attacks

Congressional investigators find irregularities in FBI’s handling of Clinton email case

Hostility between Trump and media only intensifies during first year

Who will the ‘retail apocalypse’ claim in 2018?

Asia shares eye all-time top amid global growth cheer

A Cashless Society is Coming – Confirming What the Bible Prophesied 2,000 Years Ago

Israel to Launch First Ever Autonomous Nanosatellites on Formation Flying

Massive and Potentially Dangerous Asteroid Will Approach Earth Tonight

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits South of the Fiji Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Rodopolis, Greece

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near El Affroun, Algeria

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Isangel, Vanuatu

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

Madagascar on alert for Tropical Cyclone 3S this week

UK weather latest: Storm Eleanor cuts power to thousands of homes as 80mph winds buffet Britain

‘Bomb cyclone’ to blast East Coast before polar vortex uncorks tremendous cold late this week

Report: Scientists Find Alzheimer’s Treatment While Trying To Cure Diabetes

New ‘SofTouch’ Abortions Kill Unborn Babies In Only Minutes

Scientists Get Closer to Replicating Human Sperm

Scientists are genetically engineering immune systems to attack and destroy HIV

Two People Detained In Egypt’s Anti-Gay Crackdown Are Freed On Bail

New York gym offering naked workout classes just in time for those fitness resolutions

DEVELOPING: Deadly Bone-Chilling Cold Grips Wide Swath of USA…

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 03:46 PM PST

DEVELOPING: Deadly Bone-Chilling Cold Grips Wide Swath of USA…Bitterly cold temperatures gripped much of the nation on Tuesday, testing the mettle of even winter-wise northerners and delivering a shock to those accustomed to far milder weather in the South.  The cold has been blamed for at least a dozen deaths, prompted officials to open warming centers in the Deep South and triggering pleas from government officials to check on neighbors, especially those who are elderly, sick or who live alone. In St. Louis, where the temperature dipped 30 degrees below normal,

Mayor Lyda Krewson warned it was “dangerously cold.”  “It’s important that people look out for anyone in need of shelter,” she said. The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories and freeze warnings covering a vast area, from South Texas to Canada and from Montana through Maine. The arctic blast was blamed for freezing a water tower in Iowa, halting a ferry service in New York and even trapping a swan in a Virginia pond. READ MORE

Scientists Find Alzheimer’s Treatment While Trying To Cure Diabetes

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 03:42 PM PST

Scientists Find Alzheimer’s Treatment While Trying To Cure DiabetesAlthough their goal was to cure diabetes, scientists may have stumbled onto a new medication to help treat the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.  According to a press release from researchers at Lancaster University, a new drug being tested for diabetes patients was found to have “significantly reversed memory loss” in test subjects and is now being examined as a possible treatment for neurodegenerative disorders.

The medication, known as a triple receptor drug — or “triple agonist” — reportedly works in multiple ways to protect the brain against degeneration and promote growth. Researchers say that a study of mice being given the drug found that the animals had an increased ability to learn and retain memories. “These very promising outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of these novel multiple receptor drugs that originally were developed to treat type 2 diabetes,” Professor Christian Holscher said in the release. READ MORE

Trump threatens to cut off aid to Palestinian Authority…

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 03:33 PM PST

Trump threatens to cut off aid to Palestinian Authority…Acknowledging his push to broker peace in the Middle East has stalled, President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to threaten to cut off U.S. aid money to the Palestinian Authority, saying they were no longer willing to negotiate. Trump, in a pair of tweets, said the U.S. pays “the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue … peace treaty with Israel.”

“We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” he wrote. Trump infuriated many in the Middle East when he announced late last year that the U.S. would consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move its embassy there. READ MORE

Experts warn that powerful earthquakes will strike the Earth in 2018 as planet’s rotation temporarily slows

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 11:55 AM PST

Experts warn that powerful earthquakes will strike the Earth in 2018 as planet’s rotation temporarily slowsThe world is entering a period of higher seismic activity this year that will bring more earthquakes with it, scientists have predicted.  While that’s undoubtedly bad news for those living within affected areas, the ability to accurately predict when and where earthquakes will occur is growing all the time. This

prediction comes from the fact that the Earth is currently experiencing a periodic slowdown of its rotation. Historically, these slowdowns have coincided with peak times for earthquakes and seismic activity. “So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes [in 2017]. We could easily have 20-a-year starting in 2018,” said Dr Roger Bilham from the University of Colorado.  READ MORE

Scientists Warns Earth Approaching Mini Ice Age

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 11:41 AM PST

Scientists Warns Earth Approaching Mini Ice AgeAn Ice Age is potentially coming and scientists have claimed it could reverse damage from global warming.  Earth could be plunged into a mini Ice Age in the next few decades, but there is good news – it could override the damage done by global warming. By 2030 comes about, the temperatures on Earth could be so low that the River Thames freezes over during winter, much like in the last little ice age which spanned from the 13th to 17th century.

Maths professor Valentina Zharkova at Northumbria University said the Ice Age could help offset the damage of global warming. She said: “I hope global warming will be overridden by this effect, giving humankind and the Earth 30 years to sort out our pollution.” The sun follows cycles of roughly 11 years where it reaches a solar maximum and then a solar minimum. During the former, the Sun gives off more heat, and less in the latter due to a decrease in magnetic waves. READ MORE

32,000+ Millennials Are Ascending on Atlanta and Washington D.C. to Worship Jesus

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 11:28 AM PST

32,000+ Millennials Are Ascending on Atlanta and Washington D.C. to Worship JesusTens of thousands of college students and young adults are assembling this week in Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., for Passion 2018, an annual Christian conference. And the photos emerging from the event are already pretty astounding. More than 32,000 Millennials are gathering at three separate locations from Jan. 1-3 —

Philips Arena and Infinite Energy Center in Atlanta, and The Anthem in Washington, D.C. The speaker lineup includes Pastor Louie Giglio, founder of Passion, as well as Levi Lusko, Christine Caine, John Piper and scores of others. Music will be performed by Andy Mineo, KB, Matt Redman, Crowder and the Passion Band, among others. READ MORE

Very bright slow-moving fireball over the United Kingdom, Over 800 reports

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 11:22 AM PST

Very bright slow-moving fireball over the United Kingdom, Over 800 reportsA very large, slow-moving fireball meteor was observed over the United Kingdom at 17:33 UTC on December 31, 2017. The International Meteor Organization (IMO) received over 400 reports within 2 hours and the count now stands at 801. The event was as seen from northern Scotland to southern England, UK.  The object was green and red in color and was traveling east to west from the North Sea toward Sunderland and Carlisle for more than 10 seconds. 11 people reported delayed sound associated

with the event, 11 a concurrent sound and 255 reported fragmentation. “The object fragmented in smaller parts at the end of its luminous path, before vanishing,” IMO’s Karl Antier said. “Rough automatic analysis of the reports received until now show the meteor started being luminous 80 km (50 miles) offshore Hartlepool, and traveled from east to the west to disappear 100 km (62 miles) onshore and 20 km (12 miles) South of England/Scotland border, halfway between Penrith and Carlisle (Cumbrie county).  READ MORE

Storm Carmen leaves one dead, 65,000 without power ahead of Eleanor, France

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 11:15 AM PST

Storm Carmen leaves one dead, 65,000 without power ahead of Eleanor, FranceStorm Carmen hit western parts of France on Monday, January 1, 2018, bringing heavy rain and wind gusts up to 130 km/h (81 mph). At least one person has been killed and 65,000 customers left without power in the third and strongest storm to hit France this winter. The fourth named storm – Eleanor – is expected to hit the country with strength comparable to Carmen today and tomorrow. Orange Alerts are in effect across 21 departments today and tomorrow. There was no major damage reported by Monday afternoon, according to local media reports.

However, French power grid company Enedis said some 65,000 of its customers in Brittany, Pays-de-la-Loire, and Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the country’s west were left without power. According to RFI, one man was killed when a tree hit his car in Saint-Jean-de-Port in French Basque Country. With Carmen now away, Meteo France placed 21 departments on Orange Alert as the country braces for yet another strong storm – Eleanor. In addition, the Finistere coastline is on alert for particularly intense waves which may breach beach walls and other coastline barriers, and cause flooding. READ MORE

 

Planned Parenthood Announces ‘My Body, My Choice’ License Plates to Counter ‘Choose Life’ Plates

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 11:06 AM PST

Planned Parenthood Announces ‘My Body, My Choice’ License Plates to Counter ‘Choose Life’ PlatesPlanned Parenthood of the Heartland has announced that its proposed “My Body, My Choice” license plates are now available for purchase by Nebraska residents after it submitted more than the 250 applications required by the state to request the production of certain specialty plates. The plates, which include the Planned Parenthood logo, are posted on the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles website among other specialty plates and cost $70.

Planned Parenthood issued a statement on Dec. 28 in which it said it was “proudly” unveiling the new plates. “‘My Body, My Choice’ license plates are an opportunity for Nebraskans to voice their own opinion on issues of women’s health—opinions that don’t necessarily reflect the opinion of the governor, lieutenant governor and some senators,” said Meg Mikolajczyk, associate general counsel and senior public affairs manager. READ MORE

UNESCO Produces Lion Idol, Consort of Goddess of Adultery

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 11:02 AM PST

UNESCO Produces Lion Idol, Consort of Goddess of AdulteryA UNESCO funded project reproduced a statue of a lion, the third project of its kind the organization has supported, leading at least one rabbi to conclude that the real goal of the political organization is to promote an agenda that has always stood as Israel’s nemesis: idolatry.  The Lion of al-Lāt is an ancient statue, almost 11 feet tall and weighing 15 tons, which stood in the temple of pre-Islamic goddess al-Lāt in Palmyra, Syria. In June 2015 the statue was severely damaged, along with many other artifacts at the historic site,

by the Islamic State (ISIS) after it captured Palmyra. The statue was eventually removed to the National Museum of Damascus where it underwent reconstruction. Part of the reconstruction of the lion statue was performed using high-intensity laser projection equipment adapted for large-scale 3-D printing in stone by the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) in Oxford. Much of the Lion project was underwritten by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) through its Heritage Emergency Fund and by the European Union. READ MORE

 

How the Signs in the Sky Confirm Scripture’s End-Times Roadmap

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:55 AM PST

How the Signs in the Sky Confirm Scripture’s End-Times Roadmap(By Ron Allen) The New Year is a good time for most of us to look ahead. The stars of the zodiacal constellation Aries (The Ram), which are visible overhead in the evening, give a useful roadmap to the future. Aries itself is a picture of a slain lamb, as attested by the name of its two distinctive stars El Nath (Wounded) and Sheratan (Bruised). However, this is not a picture of defeat, but of victory. This is the Lamb of Revelation 6, found worthy to open the seals of the future. Aries represents the promised victory of Christ. The defeated enemies of Christ are shown in the constellations Cetus (The Sea Monster) and Perseus (The Breaker).

Cetus is a picture of the seven-headed beast of Revelation 13 and 17, representing the nations which have fought against God. The feet of Cetus are in the constellation Eridanus (The River of Fire), a fate promised to God’s enemies in Revelation 21. The future of the leaders of the national rebellion against God and the Anti-Christ himself is shown in the constellation Perseus (The Breaker). Perseus is pictured as a man, symbolic of Christ, carrying the severed head of the evil one, as represented by the star Algol (Evil Spirit). As God has promised to destroy His enemies, so He has promised to restore His chosen people Israel. The nation has suffered much for its rejection of Christ, as pictured in the constellation Andromeda (The Chained Woman). CONTINUE


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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LifeWay Releases Fitbit For Tracking Spiritual Health

NASHVILLE, TN—According to a LifeWay press release, the Christian retail giant has teamed up with Fitbit in order to release a new spiritual health tracker, a wrist-worn device that keeps track of all your spiritual activity. From raising hands in church and turning pages in your Bible to folding your hands to pray and serving […]

. . . finish reading LifeWay Releases Fitbit For Tracking Spiritual Health.

A Weak Man’s Strong Tribute, Part 3

By James Boice on Jan 03, 2018 12:00 am

His enemies were hoping for his death (v.4). It is hard for us to imagine such ill will on the part of anyone toward David, because we have such a good impression of him from the account of his life given in the Old Testament. But David did have enemies. At the beginning of his reign he had enemies from the family and house of King Saul, his predecessor. Later, even his own son Absalom turned against him, and when Absalom did that there were many in the palace and army who followed him.

Read more…

January 3, 2018 : Afternoon Verse Of The Day

4 The Lord hears particularly the prayers of those whom he has “chosen” (cf. Dt 7:6–7; 14:2) and whom he has brought “near” to enjoy his presence. Who are they? They could be God’s priests (Nu 16:5; Jer 30:21), but equally well they could be his covenantal people, to whom he granted the status of a royal priesthood (Ex 19:6). The Lord has promised to reward those who are especially devoted to him (cf. Pss 15; 24:3–4; Isa 33:15–16). Whoever is loyal to the Lord is blessed (cf. 1:1) with “good things” (cf. 23:6). God’s gifts include spiritual benefits (forgiveness of sins, v. 3) and the joys of life (vv. 9–13). The elect enjoy God’s goodness in this life and in the life to come (cf. 1 Ti 4:8; see Reflections, p. 931, The Ark of the Covenant and the Temple; see also C. S. Lewis’s intriguing essay “The Fair Beauty of the Lord” [in Reflections on the Psalms], 44–53.)[1]


65:4 / Those you choose and bring near to live in your courts: Parallel to this expression is the speaking we, who “are satisfied” (lit.) with the good things of your house. This would suggest that those chosen to live at the temple are not a special class of Levites but simply those who have been admitted to Yahweh’s temple through the entrance procedure (described in Pss. 15 and 24 and by 5:7). The “living in your courts” is not Hb. yšb, “to dwell (permanently),” but škn, “to tent.” “Tenting” at Yahweh’s “tabernacle” is the privilege of all who are admitted through the entry liturgy (note škn is used in 15:1), not merely of the Levitical personnel.[2]


65:4 Again we are aware that the first part of the verse speaks of the Messiah Jesus, whereas the second part is the language of redeemed Israel. God’s blessed Son is the One whom God chose, as we read in Isaiah 42:1: “… My elect One in whom My soul delights.” Also He is the One whom God caused to approach Him—a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. He shall dwell in the courts of the Lord, in the place of special nearness to Him.

Then the remnant expresses its confidence of complete satisfaction with the goodness of God’s house, that is, His holy temple. This reference to the temple causes some to question the Davidic authorship of the Psalm since the temple was not built until after David’s death. However the difficulty vanishes when we realize that the word temple was sometimes used to describe the tabernacle before Solomon’s temple was erected (1 Sam. 1:9; 3:3; 2 Sam. 22:7).[3]


65:4shall be satisfied: In other psalms, David expresses his desire to live in the presence of God (27:4, 5). The fulfillment of this desire in David’s day came through the sacrificial services of worship in Israel.[4]


65:4 Salvation means enjoying the presence of God. It is accomplished through Christ, the unique one whom God chooses to come near as our representative (Luke 9:35; Heb. 10:19–22) and through whom we can come near and be blessed (Eph. 1:3–14).[5]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 498). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Hubbard, R. L. J., & Johnston, R. K. (2012). Foreword. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Psalms (p. 270). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 646). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 690). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1014). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

JANUARY 3 MAN HAS LOST GOD

Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

Psalm 104:29

The average person in the world today, without faith and without God and without hope, is engaged in a desperate personal search and struggle throughout his lifetime. He does not really know what he is doing here. He does not know where he is going.

The sad commentary is that everything he is doing is being done on borrowed time, borrowed money and borrowed strength—and he already knows that in the end he will surely die! It boils down to the bewildered confession of many humans that they have lost God somewhere along the way.

Man, made more like God than any other creature, has become less like God than any other creature. Created to reflect the glory of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave—reflecting only his own sinfulness.

Certainly it is a tragedy above all tragedies in this world that love has gone from man’s heart. Beyond that, light has gone from his mind. Having lost God, he blindly stumbled on through this dark world to find only a grave at the end!

Dear Lord, thank You for the hope that I have found in Christ. And thank You for giving meaning and purpose to my life. Help me to glorify You today.[1]


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

January 3 Testimony to Jesus’ Sinlessness

John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”—Matt. 3:14

John the Baptist’s initial reluctance to baptize Jesus is a testimony to Jesus’ sinlessness—and John’s awareness of his own sinfulness.

In effect, John said to Jesus, “I’m a sinner, just like everyone else I baptize, so why should You, the sinless Son of God, want me to baptize You?” In an indirect yet definite fashion, John agreed with the later description of Christ by the writer of Hebrews, “One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (4:15).

Jesus Himself testified to His perfect righteousness and His reason for wanting to be baptized, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Jesus’ words did not deny His superiority to John the Baptist or His sinlessness. “Permit it at this time” is an idiomatic expression meaning that Christ’s baptism, though seemingly not appropriate or necessary, was actually appropriate for this special time.

The Lord understood John’s strong hesitation, and knew it came from deep spiritual commitment and sincerity. Thus He gave John divine permission to do what he was otherwise reluctant to do, so he could perfectly fulfill the Father’s plan.

ASK YOURSELF

How do you think you would have reacted to Jesus’ request for baptism? How do you react today when you’re in His presence, in awe of His holiness and purity? Pray for the spiritual understanding to know that by His grace, He has washed this same righteousness over you.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 11). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 3 No More Bad News

Separated to the gospel of God.

Romans 1:1

Thousands of babies are born every day into a world filled with bad news. The term bad news has become a colloquialism to describe our era.

Why is there so much bad news? It’s simple. The bad news that occurs on a larger scale is only the multiplication of what is occurring on an individual level. The power that makes for bad news is sin.

With so much bad news, can there really be any good news? Yes! The good news is that sin can be dealt with. You don’t have to be selfish. Guilt and anxiety can be alleviated. There is meaning to life and hope of life after death. The apostle Paul says in Romans 1:1 that the good news is the gospel. It is the good news that man’s sin can be forgiven, guilt can be removed, life can have meaning, and a hopeful future can be a reality.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 14). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

January 3, 2018 : Morning Verse Of The Day

At that time Jesus answered and said, “I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” (11:25a)

At that time could mean that Jesus’ invitation was given immediately after His upbraiding of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, in order to take advantage of any interest in salvation those sobering words may have evoked.

It is also possible that Jesus was repeating an invitation He had given on other occasions and would continue to give throughout His ministry. In that case, Matthew here calls attention to what may have been Jesus’ last invitation during His first and major Galilean ministry-as He offered the people one final appeal to be saved.

After Jesus’ performing countless miracles to attest His divinity and His messianic credentials (4:23–24), after His preaching in detail the message of the gospel and the Christian life (5–7), and after His having sent out the twelve (10:5–15) and then the seventy (see Luke 10:1–16), the people of Galilee had the greatest opportunity to learn of God and of His way of salvation than any people in history, before or since. Yet in spite of that great opportunity, the majority willfully rejected Christ and His message, either by hostility or by indifference.

Though the nation had turned its back on the Messiah, He continued to call to Himself that remnant who were weary of carrying their heavy spiritual burdens and who sought rest in God’s grace.

Jesus’ early period of popularity was ending, and opposition was growing in amount and in intensity. As Jesus would soon make clear, the only possible alternatives are acceptance or rejection. A person is either for Christ or against Him (Matt. 12:30; cf. Mark 9:40). Consequently, Jesus’ teaching became more and more specifically directed either to those who accepted or those who rejected Him. Side by side are messages of judgment and of compassion, of warning and of encouragement, just as we see here. Jesus had just presented the God of judgment and wrath (Matt. 11:20–24), and now He presents the God of love and mercy.

Answered and said is a Hebrew idiom that means to speak out openly, as opposed to privately or confidentially. Jesus’ invitation to follow Him was universal and open to everyone who would come on God’s terms.

Jesus’ prayer to His Father was meant to be heard by prospective believers. As He prayed, I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Jesus called attention both to His unique relationship to the Father and to the Father’s sovereign control over salvation. Salvation is a provision of the Lord of heaven and earth, and is not a result of man’s wisdom, plans, purposes, or power; and for that truth Jesus gives praise to the Father.

Every faithful pastor, evangelist, and witness is sometimes disappointed that more people do not respond. He asks himself, “What more can I do? What new approach can I take? How can I make the message clearer and more persuasive?” Yet he also knows that some people will reject Christ no matter how clear, loving, and powerful the presentation of the gospel may be. If men could reject salvation from the very lips of the Lord Himself-and in the midst of awesome, authenticating miracles-we can hardly expect every person who hears our imperfect witness to fall at Christ’s feet.

We weep over those who refuse to be saved, just as our Lord wept over Jerusalem when it would not receive Him. But also like Christ, we should praise our heavenly Father that all things are under His divine control and that His sovereign plan for the world and for His own people cannot be frustrated. Men’s rejection of Christ proves their failure, not God’s.

God’s sovereignty should be the foremost thought in the mind of every witnessing believer. We should remember with confidence that His plan is always on course and that even the most unrepentant, wicked, vindictive, and cynical rejection of our testimony does not alter God’s timetable or thwart His purpose. Our responsibility is simply to make our witness faithful (1 Cor. 4:2); it is God’s responsibility alone to make it effective.

Because Jesus had an unyielding trust in His Father’s perfect will, He could rest in that will and give Him praise no matter what responses people made to Him.

As Jesus compassionately invited His hearers to come to Him and be saved, He set forth the five essential elements that constitute a genuine invitation to salvation.

Humility and Dependence

that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight. (11:25b-26)

Jesus’ specific cause for praise is God’s sovereign wisdom in hiding these things from the wise and intelligent and instead revealing them to babes. He thanks His Father that the first step to salvation is humility, coming to God in utter despair of one’s own merit or resources. It is not by accident that the first beatitude is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). The kingdom belongs only to the humble.

These things refers to the kingdom, on which Jesus’ entire ministry focused. Even during the forty days between His resurrection and ascension Jesus was “speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). His teachings about His messiahship, lordship, and saviorhood, and about salvation, submission, and discipleship all centered in the kingdom of God-the realm where He is sovereign, where His people dwell by grace through faith, and where His righteous will is done.

The wise and intelligent sarcastically refers to those who are intelligent in their own eyes and who rely on human wisdom and disregard God’s. The Lord does not exclude smart people from His kingdom but rather those who trust in their smartness. Paul was a brilliant, highly educated scholar, and he did not forsake his intelligence when he became a Christian. But he stopped relying on his intelligence to discern and understand spiritual and divine matters. It is not intelligence but intellectual pride that shuts people out of the kingdom. Intelligence is a gift of God, but when it is perverted by pride it becomes a barrier to God, because trust is in the gift rather than in the Giver. “For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly; but the haughty He knows from afar” (Ps. 138:6).

The wise and intelligent include both religious and nonreligious people, who in their love of human wisdom are much more alike than different. Whether religious or irreligious, the proud person will not submit to God’s wisdom and truth and therefore excludes himself from the kingdom. The religious man who relies on tradition or good works to please God is just as far from God as the atheist.

The means God uses to hide these things from such people is the darkness of their proud, unregenerate hearts, which prevent them from seeing what God desires them to know and to accept. Paul said, “Just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’ For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Cor. 2:9–10). God’s spiritual truth is not empirically, objectively knowable. It cannot be externally discovered, but must be willingly received through man’s heart as God reveals it. As someone has said, “The heart and not the head is the home of the gospel.” No amount of human reasoning or speculation can discover or explain God’s saving truth, because, as Paul continues to say, “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (v. 14).

No amount of evidence is sufficient to convince the confirmed unbeliever. John says of such people that, though Jesus “had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him; that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, ‘He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them’ ” (John 12:37–40). Those who hear God’s Word and refuse to receive it are subject to God’s judicial confirmation of that choice.

Just as wise and intelligent does not refer to mental ability but to a proud spiritual attitude, babes does not refer to physical age or capability but to a humble spiritual attitude.

A baby is totally dependent on others to provide everything it needs. It has no abilities, no knowledge, no skills, no resources at all to help itself. Nēpios (babes) is used in 1 Corinthians 3:1 and Hebrews 5:13 of infants who cannot eat solid food but only milk. In 1 Corinthians 13:11 it is used of those who have not yet learned to speak and in Ephesians 4:14 of those who are helpless.

During a question and answer period in a meeting one time, a young girl, perhaps 9 or 10 years old, came up to me and asked, “What happens to babies and retarded children when they die?” She was obviously very serious, and I did my best to answer her from Scripture. Beginning with David’s comment about his infant son who had died, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Sam. 12:23), I explained that God takes to Himself all of those, such as babies and retarded people, who are not able to choose Him. Afterward her mother explained that a younger brother was seriously retarded and understood almost nothing of what went on around him. His sister, young as she was, knew, the way of salvation and was deeply concerned that her little brother might not go to heaven because he was not able to understand how to receive Christ as Savior. I reminded her that Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). She was greatly relieved when I said that her little brother was a living illustration of the kind of person Jesus came to save and to receive into heaven-the utterly helpless.

It is to spiritual babes, those who acknowledge their utter helplessness in themselves, to whom God has sovereignly chosen to reveal the truths of His kingdom. It is to the “poor in spirit” who humbly confess their dependency that God makes the way of salvation clear and understandable. By the Holy Spirit they recognize they are spiritually empty and bankrupt and they abandon all dependence on their own resources. They are the cringing spiritual beggars to whom Jesus refers in the first beatitude-the absolutely destitute who are ashamed to lift up their head as they hold out their hands for help.

Babes are the exact opposite of the kind of person the scribes, Pharisees, and rabbis taught was pleasing to God. They are also the exact opposite of the imagined ideal Christian touted by many popular preachers and writers who glorify self-assertion and self-worth.

The contrast between wise and intelligent and babes is not between the knowledgeable and the ignorant, the educated and the uneducated, the brilliant and the simpleminded. It is a contrast between those who think they can save themselves by their own human wisdom, resources, and achievement and those who know they cannot. It is a comparison between those who rely on themselves and those who rely on God.

People who are famous, highly educated, wealthy, powerful, or talented are often difficult to reach for Christ, simply because human accomplishments easily lead to pride and pride leads to self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction.

Yes, Father, Jesus continues, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight. God is well-pleased with the gospel of grace because it brings glory to Him, which is the supreme purpose in the universe. “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’ ” (Isa. 57:15). God loves to help the humble and the repentant, because they know they are helpless. He is pleased when they come to Him for help, because that honors His grace and gives Him glory (cf. Luke 18:9–14).

Still to the lowly soul

He doth Himself depart,

And for His dwelling and His throne

He chooses the humble heart.

(Author unknown)

“For consider your calling, brethren” Paul reminded the Corinthian believers, “that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” (1 Cor. 1:26–27).

Jesus referred to Nicodemus as the “teacher of Israel,” suggesting that he was perhaps the most highly respected rabbi in the land. He was a student of the Old Testament and of the many traditional writings of Judaism. Yet with all his religious training and knowledge he could not grasp Jesus’ teaching that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Even after Jesus explained, Nicodemus did not understand, and Jesus said to him: “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:3–12). Before he could comprehend or receive the gospel, Nicodemus had to go all the way back and start over as a spiritual babe, putting aside his human knowledge and achievements and coming to Christ with no merit of his own.[1]


25 The Greek en ekeinō tō kairō (“at that time”) is a loose connective in Matthew (cf. 12:1; 14:1), loosely historical (it was about that time) and tightly thematic (this pericope must be read in terms of the preceding denunciation). Luke 10:21 has Jesus saying these words “at that hour” (en autē tē hōra; NIV, “at that time”) when the seventy-two joyfully returned from their mission, an event Matthew does not record. Luke’s connective relates to the success of the mission; Matthew’s assumes that there has been some success (God has revealed these things to little children) but draws a sharper antithesis between the recipients of such revelation and the “wise and learned,” who, like the inhabitants of the cities just denounced, understand nothing.

While exomologoumai soi (“I praise you”) can be used in the sense of “I confess my sins” (cf. 3:6), the basic meaning is acknowledgment. Sins truly acknowledged are sins confessed. When this verb is used with respect to God, the person praying “acknowledges” who God is, the propriety of his ways, and the excellence of his character. At that point, acknowledgment is scarcely distinguishable from praise (as in Ro 14:11; 15:9; Php 2:11; cf. LXX of Ps 6:6; 7:18; 17:50 et al.).

Here Jesus addresses God as “Father” and “Lord of heaven and earth” (cf. Sir 51:10; Tob 7:16). These are particularly appropriate titles, because the former indicates Jesus’ sense of sonship (see comments at 6:9) and prepares for v. 27, while the latter recognizes God’s sovereignty over the universe and prepares for vv. 25–26. God is sovereign, free to conceal or reveal as he wills. God has revealed “these things”—the significance of Jesus’ miracles (cf. vv. 20–24), the messianic age unfolding largely unnoticed, the content of Jesus’ teaching—to nēpiois miracles (cf. vv. 20–24), the messianic age unfolding largely unnoticed, the content of Jesus’ teaching—to nēpiois (“little children,” (“little children,” “childlike disciples,” “simple ones,” GK 3758; see Jeremias, New Testament Theology, 111; comments at 18:1–5; cf. Jn 7:48–49; 1 Co 1:26–29; 3:18); and he has hidden them from the “wise and learned.”

Many restrict the “wise and learned” to the Pharisees and teachers of the law, but the context implies something broader. Jesus has just finished pronouncing woes on “this generation” (v. 16) and denouncing entire cities (vv. 20–24). These are “the wise and learned” (better, “the wise and understanding”) from whom the real significance of Jesus’ ministry is concealed. The point of interest is not their education, any more than the point of interest in the “little children” is their age or size. The contrast is between those who are self-sufficient and deem themselves wise and those who are dependent and love to be taught.

For revealing the riches of the good news of the kingdom to the one and hiding it from the other, Jesus uttered his praise to his Father. Zerwick (Biblical Greek, para. 452) argues that though the construction formally puts God’s concealing and his revealing on the same level, in reality it masks a Semitic construction. See Romans 6:17, which reads literally, “But thanks be to God that you were servants of sin, but you obeyed from the heart the form of teaching with which you were entrusted.” But this example does not greatly help here; for even when the construction is rendered concessively (“I praise you … because, though you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, you have revealed them to little children”), God remains the one who reveals and conceals.

Yet we must not think that God’s concealing and revealing are symmetrical activities arbitrarily exercised toward neutral human beings who are both innocent and helpless in the face of the divine decree. God is dealing with a race of sinners (cf. 1:21; 7:11) whom he owes nothing. Thus to conceal “these things” is not an act of injustice but of judgment—the very judgment John the Baptist was looking for and failed to find in Jesus (see comments at vv. 2–6). The astonishing thing about God’s activity is not that God acts in both mercy and judgment but who the recipients of that mercy and judgment are: those who pride themselves in understanding divine things are judged; those who understand nothing are taught. The predestination pattern is the counterpoint of grace.

26 Far from bemoaning or finding fault with his Father’s revealing and concealing, Jesus delighted in it. The conjunction hoti is best understood as “because” or “for” (NIV): I thank you because this was your good pleasure; and that is what Jesus “acknowledges” or “praises.” Whatever pleases his Father pleases him. “It is often in a person’s prayers that his truest thoughts about himself come to the surface. For this reason, the thanksgiving of Jesus here recorded is one of the most precious pieces of spiritual autobiography found in the Synoptic Gospels” (Tasker, 121). Jesus’ balance mirrored the balance of Scripture: he could simultaneously denounce the cities that did not repent and praise the God who does not reveal, for God’s sovereignty in election is not mitigated by man’s stubbornness and sin, while man’s responsibility is in no way diminished by God’s “good pleasure” that sovereignly reveals and conceals (cf. Carson, Divine Sovereignty, 205ff.).[2]


11:25–26 / The final section of chapter 11 (vv. 25–30) comprises three rather separate utterances: a thanksgiving, a soliloquy, and an invitation. The major question raised by commentators regarding these verses has to do with authenticity. It is commonly held that the high Christology of the passage, combined with similarities to Gnostic thought, places its origin at a later period. Beare comments, “This meteorite from the Johan-nine heaven (von Hase) is undoubtedly a theological (christological) composition from the hand of an unknown mystic of the early church” (p. 266). The following discussion holds (with Green) that the material is integral to Matthew and to its context (p. 119).

Jesus gives thanks to his heavenly Father for revealing to the childlike what is hidden from the proud. The opening of his prayer of thanksgiving, Father, Lord of heaven and earth (v. 25) resembles Ben Sira’s prayer, “I will give thanks to thee, O Lord and King” (Sir. 51:1). The wise and learned are the scribes and Pharisees, the official guardians of Israel’s wisdom. Paul speaks disparagingly of the “scholars” and “skillful debaters of this world,” noting that according to the Scripture, God will “destroy the wisdom of the wise and set aside the understanding of the scholars” (1 Cor. 1:19–20, gnb). The little children (“babes,” av) are the followers of Jesus who, unimpeded by preconceived ideas of how God should act, respond with simple faith to Jesus and his mighty works. It is paradoxical but true that study can separate a person from truth as well as bring a person to truth. It is the attitude of the learner that determines the result. It has always been God’s gracious will (v. 26) to resist the proud but give grace to the humble (James 4:6).[3]


11:25, 26 The three cities of Galilee had neither eyes to see nor heart to love the Christ of God. He knew their attitude was but a foretaste of rejection on a wider scale. How did He react to their impenitance? Not with bitterness, cynicism, or vindictiveness. Rather He lifted His voice in thanks to God that nothing could frustrate His sovereign purposes. “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.”

We should avoid two possible misunderstandings. First, Jesus was not expressing pleasure in the inevitable judgment of the Galilean cities. Secondly, He did not imply that God had high-handedly withheld the light from the wise and prudent.

The cities had every chance to welcome the Lord Jesus. They deliberately refused to submit to Him. When they refused the light, God withheld the light from them. But God’s plans will not fail. If the intelligentsia will not believe, then God will reveal Him to humble hearts. He fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty (Luke 1:53).

Those who consider themselves too wise and understanding to need Christ become afflicted with judicial blindness. But those who admit their lack of wisdom receive a revelation of Him “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Jesus thanked the Father for ordaining that if some would not have Him, others would. In the face of titanic unbelief He found consolation in the overruling plan and purpose of God.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 11:25). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 317–319). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (2011). Matthew (pp. 106–107). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1245). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

JANUARY 3 ATHIRST FOR GOD

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

—Psalm 42:1

In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.

This is the only real harbinger of revival which I have been able to detect anywhere on the religious horizon. It may be the cloud the size of a man’s hand for which a few saints here and there have been looking. It can result in a resurrection of life for many souls and a recapture of that radiant wonder which should accompany faith in Christ, that wonder which has all but fled the Church of God in our day. POG007

O Lord, I pray that a thirst for You may build and grow, may prove unquenchable and may indeed result in a recapturing of “that radiant wonder,” both in my own faith and in that of the Church. Amen. [1]


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

January 3 From Doctrine to Duty

“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

✧✧✧

There can be no right living without right principles.

Imagine someone saying, “I have some extra money lying around. I think I’ll send a large check to the government.” Absurd, isn’t it? But every year, honest wage–earners fill out forms and give part of their income to the government. Why? It’s not because they are generous but because there is a law—a doctrine—that says they have to.

Unless people know the reason for what they should do, it’s unlikely they’ll make a commitment to do it. Paul understood that, so he always taught doctrine before duty. “Therefore” in Ephesians 4:1 links the doctrine of chapters 1–3 to the duty of chapters 4–6. Doctrine and duty are inseparably linked; duty always flows out of doctrine. Right living is based on right principles.

Paul told the Colossian church, “We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (1:9). For what purpose? “So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (v. 10). Spiritual knowledge, wisdom, and understanding make up the pathway of a worthy walk.

When pastors teach duty without teaching doctrine, they weaken the Word of God because they’ve eliminated the motive. They may be able to stir up emotions, but that brings no long–term commitment. The pastor’s responsibility is to teach the truth of God, and the hearer’s responsibility is to obey it.

Of course, the source of God’s truth is His Word: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). Knowing the Bible well is our means of equipping ourselves for a righteous life.

As we think about our worthy walk, let’s avoid emotionalism and legalism, and instead focus on living what we learn from a thorough and personal study of God’s Word.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: If you have neglected studying the Bible, confess that to God, and ask Him to give you a greater desire to learn His Word.

For Further Study: Read Ephesians 1–3 and list all we are or have in Christ. Knowing what God has given you, can you do any less than commit yourself to Him completely?[1]


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

January 2, 2017 Daily Help

HE who lives without prayer—he who lives with little prayer—he who seldom reads the Word—he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high—he will be the man whose heart will become dry and barren; but he who calls in secret on his God—who spends much time in holy retirement—who delights to meditate on the words of the Most High—whose soul is given up to Christ—such a man must have an overflowing heart; and as his heart is, such will his life be.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 6). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

January 2, 2018 : Evening Verse Of The Day

A Single Treasure

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (6:19–21)

Lay up (thēsaurizō) and treasures (thēsauros) come from the same basic Greek term, which is also the source of our English thesaurus, a treasury of words. A literal translation of this phrase would therefore be, “do not treasure up treasures for yourselves.”

The Greek also carries the connotation of stacking or laying out horizontally, as one stacks coins. In the context of this passage the idea is that of stockpiling or hoarding, and therefore pictures wealth that is not being used. The money or other wealth is simply stored for safekeeping; it is kept for the keeping’s sake to make a show of wealth or to create an environment of lazy overindulgence (cf. Luke 12:16–21).

It is clear from this passage, as well as from many others in Scripture, that Jesus is not advocating poverty as a means to spirituality. In all of His many different instructions, He only once told a person to “sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Matt. 19:21). In that particular case, the young man’s wealth was his idol, and therefore a special barrier between him and the lordship of Jesus Christ. It provided an excellent opportunity to test whether or not that man was fully committed to turning over the control of his life to Christ. His response proved that he was not. The problem was not in the wealth itself, but the man’s unwillingness to part with it. The Lord did not specifically require His disciples to give up all their money and other possessions to follow Him, although it may be that some of them voluntarily did so. He did require obedience to His commands no matter what that cost. The price was too high for the wealthy young ruler, to whom possessions were the first priority.

Both testaments recognize the right to material possessions, including money, land, animals, houses, clothing, and every other thing that is honestly acquired. God has made many promises of material blessing to those who belong to and are faithful to Him. The foundational truth that underlies the commandments not to steal or covet is the right of personal property. Stealing and coveting are wrong because what is stolen or coveted rightfully belongs to someone else. Ananias and Sapphira did not forfeit their lives because they kept back some of the proceeds from the sale of their property, but because they lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). Holding back some of the money was selfish, especially if they had other assets on which to live, but they had a right to keep it, as Peter makes plain: “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control?” (v. 4).

God expects, in fact commands, His people to be generous. But He also expects, and even commands, them not only to be thankful for but to enjoy the blessings He gives-including the material blessings. The Lord “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). That verse is specifically directed to “those who are rich in this present world,” and yet it does not command, or even suggest, that they divest themselves of their wealth, but rather warns them not to be conceited about it or to trust in it.

Abraham was extremely rich for his day, a person who vied in wealth, influence, and military power with many of the kings in Canaan. When we first meet Job he is vastly wealthy, and when we leave him-after the testing that cost him everything he possessed outside of his own life-God has made him wealthier still, in flocks and herds, in sons and daughters, and in a healthy long life. “And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12–17).

The Bible gives considerable counsel for working hard and following good business practices (cf. Matt. 25:27). The ant is shown as a model of the good worker, who“prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest” (Prov. 6:6–8). We are told that “in all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (14:23) and “by wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (24:3–4). “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty” (28:19).

Paul tells us that parents are responsible for saving up for their children (2 Cor. 12:14), that “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thess. 3:10), and that “if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).

During his exceptionally long ministry, which spanned most of the eighteenth century, John Wesley earned a considerable amount of money from his published sermons and other works. Yet he left only 28 pounds when he died, because he continually gave what he earned to the Lord’s work.

It is fight to provide for our families, to make reasonable plans for the future, to make wise investments, and to have money to carry on a business, give to the poor, and support the Lord’s work. It is being dishonest, greedy, covetous, stingy, and miserly about possessions that is wrong. To honestly earn, save, and give is wise and good; to hoard and spend only on ourselves not only is unwise but sinful.

Some years ago, I happened to have contact with two quite wealthy men during the same week. One was a former professor at a major university who, through a long series of good investments in real estate, had accumulated a fortune of possibly a hundred million dollars. But in the process he lost his family, his happiness, his peace of mind, and had aged far beyond his years. The other man, a pastor, also acquired his wealth through investments, but they were investments to which he paid little attention. Because of his financial independence, he gave to his church over the years considerably more than he was paid for being its pastor. He is one of the godliest, happiest, most fruitful, and contented persons I have ever met.

The key to Jesus’ warning here is yourselves. When we accumulate possessions simply for our own sakes-whether to hoard or to spend selfishly and extravagantly-those possessions become idols.

It is possible that both our treasures upon earth and our treasures in heaven can involve money and other material things. Possessions that are wisely, lovingly, willingly, and generously used for kingdom purposes can be a means of accumulating heavenly possessions. When they are hoarded and stored, however, they not only become a spiritual hindrance but are subject to loss through moth, rust, and thieves.

In ancient times, wealth was frequently measured in part by clothing. Compared to our day of mass-produced clothes, garments represented a considerable investment. Rich people sometimes had golden threads woven into their clothing, both to display and to store their wealth. But the best clothes were made of wool, which the moth loves to eat; and even the richest persons had difficulty protecting their clothes from the insects.

Wealth was also often held in grain, as we see from the parable of the rich farmer who said, “I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods” (Luke 12:18). Brōsis (rust) literally means “an eating,” and is translated with that meaning everywhere in the New Testament but here (see Rom. 14:17; 1 Cor. 8:4, “eating”; 2 Cor. 9:10, “food”; and Heb. 12:16, “meal”). It seems best to take the same meaning here, in reference to grain that is eaten by rats, mice, worms, and insects.

Almost any kind of wealth, of course, is subject to thieves, which is why many people buried their nonperishable valuables in the ground away from the house, often in a field (see Matt. 13:44). Break in is literally “dig through;” and could refer to digging through the mud walls of a house or digging up the dirt in a field.

Nothing we own is completely safe from destruction or theft. And even if we keep our possessions perfectly secure during our entire lives, we are certainly separated from them at death. Many millionaires will be heavenly paupers, and many paupers will be heavenly millionaires.

But when our time, energy, and possessions are used to serve others and to further the Lord’s work, they build up heavenly resources that are completely free from destruction or theft. There neither moth nor rust destroys, and … thieves do not break in or steal. Heavenly security is the only absolute security.

Jesus goes on to point out that a person’ished possessions and his deepest motives and desires are inseparable, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. They will either both be earthly or both be heavenly. It is impossible to have one on earth and the other in heaven (cf. James 4:4),

As always, the heart must be right first. In fact, if the heart is right, everything else in life falls into its proper place. The person who is right with the Lord will be generous and happy in his giving to the Lord’s work. By the same token, a person who is covetous, self-indulgent, and stingy has good reason to question his relationship with the Lord.

Jesus is not saying that if we put our treasure in the right place our heart will then be in the right place, but that the location of our treasure indicates where our heart already is. Spiritual problems are always heart problems. Sinful acts come from a sinful heart, just as righteous acts come from a righteous heart.

When the exiles who came back to Jerusalem from Babylon began turning to God’s Word, a revival also began. “Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people” and various leaders took turns reading “from the law of God” (Neh. 8:5–8). Through hearing God’s Word the people became convicted of their sin, began to praise God, and determined to begin obeying Him and to faithfully support the work of the Temple (chs. 9–10).

Revival that does not affect the use of money and possessions is a questionable revival. As the Tabernacle was being built, “everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments” (Ex. 35:21). As plans were being made to build the Temple, David himself gave generously to the work, and “the rulers of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king’s work, offered willingly … Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chron. 29:2–6, 9).

G. Campbell Morgan wrote:

You are to remember with the passion burning within you that you are not the child of to-day. You are not of the earth, you are more than dust; you are the child of tomorrow, you are of the eternities, you are the offspring of Deity. The measurements of your lives cannot be circumscribed by the point where blue sky kisses green earth. All the fact of your life cannot be encompassed in the one small sphere upon which you live. You belong to the infinite. If you make your fortune on the earth-poor, sorry, silly soul-you have made a fortune, and stored it in a place where you cannot hold it. Make your fortune, but store it where it will greet you in the dawning of the new morning. (The Gospel According to Matthew [New York: Revell, 1929], pp. 64–65)

When thousands of people, mostly Jews, were won to Christ during and soon after Pentecost, the Jerusalem church was flooded with many converts who had come from distant lands and who decided to stay on in the city. Many of them no doubt were poor, and many others probably left most of their wealth and possessions in their homelands. To meet the great financial burden suddenly placed on the church, local believers “began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need” (Acts 2:45).

Many years later, during one of the many Roman persecutions, soldiers broke into a certain church to confiscate its presumed treasures. An elder is said to have pointed to a group of widows and orphans who were being fed and said, “There are the treasures of the church.”

God’s principle for His people has always been, “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:9–10). Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38). Paul assures us that “he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). That is God’s formula for earning dividends that are both guaranteed and permanent.

At the end of His parable about the dishonest but shrewd steward, Jesus said, “I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). Our material possessions are “unrighteous” in the sense of not having any spiritual value in themselves. But if we invest them in the welfare of human souls, the people who are saved or otherwise blessed because of them will someday greet us in heaven with thanksgiving.[1]


20–21 By contrast, the treasures in heaven are forever exempt from decay and theft (cf. Lk 12:33). The words “treasures in heaven” go back to Jewish literature (m. Peʾah 1:1; T. Levi 13:5; Pss. Sol. 9:9). Here it refers to whatever is of good and eternal significance that comes out of what is done on earth. Doing righteous deeds, suffering for Christ’s sake, forgiving one another—all these have the promise of “reward” (see comments at 5:12; cf. 5:30, 46; 6:6, 15; 2 Co 4:17). Other deeds of kindness also store up treasure in heaven (10:42; 25:40), including willingness to share (1 Ti 6:13–19).

In the best MSS, the final aphorism (v. 21) reverts to second person singular (cf. vv. 2, 6, 17; see comments at 5:23). The point is that the things most highly treasured occupy the “heart,” the center of the personality, embracing mind, emotions, and will (cf. NIDNTT, 2:180–84), and thus the most cherished treasure subtly but infallibly controls the whole person’s direction and values. “If honor is rated the highest good, then ambition must take complete charge of a man; if money, then forthwith greed takes over the kingdom; if pleasure, then men will certainly degenerate into sheer self-indulgence” (Calvin). Conversely, those who set their minds on things above (Col 3:1–2), determining to live under kingdom norms, discover at last that their deeds follow them (Rev 14:13).[2]


19, 20. Do not gather for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves dig through and steal. But gather for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves do not dig through and steal. First the negative command is issued, then the positive (cf. verses 5, 6; 7–9; 16, 17; 19, 20; 25, 26, 28; 31, 33; and 7:1, 5). How absurd (see d above), Jesus is saying, to “treasure up” for oneself perishable earthly “treasures,” and while doing this to lose the imperishable heavenly riches! Earthly treasures are vulnerable because of deterioration and defalcation.

As to the first, deterioration, the moth consumes them. Moths, skippers, and butterflies belong to the large order of insects called Lepidoptera, that is, insects with scale-covered wings. In distinction from butterflies, moths a. constitute the largest division of this order, b. are largely nocturnal, and c. have antennae that are not club-shaped. The reference here in 6:19–21 is to the tiny insect that deposits its eggs in woolens. It is in the larval stage that it feeds on the cloth until the garment, etc., becomes moth-eaten and is destroyed (Isa. 51:8; Luke 12:33; James 5:2). Rust probably indicates the corrosion of metals, their being gradually gnawed into by the action of chemicals.

In all probability, however, the terms “moth” and “rust” represent all those agencies and processes that cause earthly treasures to diminish in value and finally to cease completely to serve their purpose. Thus, bread becomes moldy (Josh. 9:5), garments wear out (Ps. 102:26), fields (particularly neglected ones) become weed-infested (Prov. 24:30), walls and fences break down (Prov. 24:31), roofs cave in so that houses begin to leak (Eccl. 10:18), and gold and silver become tarnished and perish (1 Peter 1:7, 18). Add the havoc brought about by termites, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, earthquakes, plant diseases, soil erosion, etc. The list is almost endless.

As to the second, defalcation, thieves break through and steal. Through the clay wall of the houses of which Jesus was thinking the thief rather easily digs an entrance and steals the ill-guarded treasures. Inflation, oppressive taxation which may amount to confiscation, bank failures, stock market slumps and crashes, expenses in connection with prolonged illnesses, these and many similar woes have the same effect. Besides, man’s body, including that of the strongest, gradually wears away (Ps. 32:3; 39:4–7; 90:10; 103:15, 16; Eccl. 12:1–8). When he dies, all the earthly treasures on which he had pinned his hopes vanish with him.

Completely different are “the treasures in heaven” (cf. 19:21), that is, those blessings that are reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4), that are heavenly in character, but of which we experience a foretaste even now. Beginning, as is proper, with the enumeration of some of these as Jesus himself describes them, one thinks of our standing with God as being fully pardoned (Matt. 6:14), answered prayer (7:7), the enrolment of our names in heaven (Luke 10:20), the Father’s love (John 16:27), a welcome not only to the “mansions” of heaven but to the Savior’s own heart (John 14:2, 3), a full share in Christ’s own peace (John 14:27), his own joy (John 15:11), and his own victory (John 16:33), and the Holy Spirit’s permanent indwelling (John 14:16, 26; 15:26). See also all the spiritual blessings mentioned in the beatitudes (Matt. 5:1–12). Paul is thinking of these same treasures, and describes them sometimes in the same, sometimes in his own terms: our “being justified by faith” (Rom. 5:1), “answered prayer” (2 Cor. 12:8, 9), “the love of God shed abroad in our hearts” (Rom. 5:5), “the crown of righteousness” with which the Savior will welcome us (2 Tim. 4:8), “the peace of God that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7), “rejoicing in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:11), “the victory” (1 Cor. 15:57), and “his Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16; cf. Rom. 8:14, 16, 26, 27). The enumerations are merely illustrative, not exhaustive.

There is a degree of difference with which spiritual (as over against material) blessings are emphasized in the New Testament as compared with the Old. With the coming of Christ heaven as it were touches the earth. See N.T.C. on Ephesians, p. 73.

That the heavenly treasures are moth-proof, rust-proof, and burglar-proof (verse 20), in other words, that they endure forever in all their sparkling luster, as the irremovable possession of the children of the heavenly Father, is the teaching of Scripture throughout, for it tells us about:

a faithfulness that will never be removed (Ps. 89:33; 138:8),

a life that will never end (John 3:16),

a spring of water that will never cease to bubble up within the one who drinks of it (John 4:14),

a gift that will never be lost (John 6:37, 39),

a hand out of which the Good Shepherd’s sheep will never be snatched (John 10:28),

a chain that will never be broken (Rom. 8:29, 30),

a love from which we shall never be separated (Rom. 8:39),

a calling that will never be revoked (Rom. 11:29),

a foundation that will never be destroyed (2 Tim. 2:19),

and an inheritance that will never fade out (1 Peter 1:4, 5).

The following questions may well be asked, however, “But if it is wrong to gather treasures on earth, does this mean, then, that making provision for future physical needs is always and absolutely wrong?” “Must all trade, commerce, and industry, carried on for the purpose, at least in part, of making a profit, be condemned?” “Are all rich people to be considered reprobates?” To all three questions the answer is, “No.” God did not condemn Joseph for advising Pharaoh to store up grain for future use (Gen. 41:33–36). Nor were Solomon and Agur wrong in pointing to the ant as an example of the common sense revealed in providing during the summer for the needs of the winter (Prov. 6:6; 30:25). Nor did Paul make a mistake when he wrote 2 Cor. 12:14b and 1 Tim. 5:8. Business and banking are encouraged, by implication, in Christ’s parables (Matt. 25:14–30; Luke 19:11–23). The rich man Abraham (Gen. 13:2) was a friend of God (Isa. 41:8; 2 Chron. 20:7; James 2:23). Rich Zachaeus (Luke 19:2) was accounted worthy to be called “a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9); and wealthy Joseph of Arimathea was a follower of the Lord (Matt. 27:57).

Nevertheless, the accumulation of wealth is fraught with spiritual danger (Matt. 19:24; Luke 12:16–21; 1 Tim. 6:10). To be sure, money can be a great blessing, if it is not an end in itself but a means to an end, namely, a. to prevent one’s own family from becoming a burden to others (1 Tim. 5:8), b. to help those who are in need (Prov. 14:21; 19:17; Acts 4:36, 37; 11:27–30; 24:17; Rom. 15:25; 2 Cor. 8:4, 9; Gal. 2:10; 6:10; Eph. 4:28), and c. to encourage the work of the gospel both at home and abroad (Mark 15:41; Luke 8:2, 3; Acts 16:15, 40; 1 Cor. 9:9; Phil. 4:15–17; 1 Tim. 5:17, 18), all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). However, money can also be a snare (Mark 14:11; Luke 22:5; Acts 8:18, 20).

Naturally, if a person’s real treasure, his ultimate aim in all his striving, is something pertaining to this earth—the acquisition of money, fame, popularity, prestige, power—, then his heart, the very center of his life (Prov. 4:23), will be completely absorbed in that mundane object. All of his activities, including even the so-called religious, will be subservient to this one goal. On the other hand, if, out of sincere and humble gratitude to God, he has made God’s kingdom, that is, the joyful recognition of God’s sovereignty in his own life and in every sphere, his treasure, then there is also where his heart will be. Money, in that case, will be a help, not a hindrance.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 409–413). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 212). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 343–346). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

January 2: Scripture for War or Peace?

Genesis 3–4; Matthew 3–4; Ecclesiastes 1:6–11

Like many people, I use Scripture to defend my views. But so does Satan. In Matthew 4, the devil says: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ ” (Matt 4:6, citing Psa 91:11–12). In turn, Jesus responds with Scripture, “Again, it is written, ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test’ ” (Matt 4:7, citing Deut 6:16, coupled with Isa 7:12).

While the devil used Scripture for his own purposes, Jesus used them for God’s. This teaches us that Scripture alone isn’t enough: it must be contextualized and balanced with other Scripture.

This story raises the question, “Will we use Scripture to defend our own positions, or use it to defend God’s?” It’s easy to quote Scripture only to defend our personal theological position. Sometimes we are too focused on being “right” and not necessarily on helping other believers. However, while we might believe that being “right” will ultimately help them, it’s possible that we’re inhibiting the gospel message instead. We might even be the one driving them away.

Many of us have some relationships that are plagued by a need to be right or to use Scripture in our personal war. But that needs to change.

When we use Scripture for our own gains or battles, we are acting like Christ’s tempter—not Christ. We might think that we are defending the gospel, but if it’s not about Christ’s virgin birth, suffering, death, resurrection, or continued presence in our lives, it’s really not about the fundamental truths. It’s about our battle—about what we want. Instead, let’s act more like Christ. Let’s use Scripture in the proper context, balancing it with other Scripture.

How do you need to change the way you’re using Scripture?

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.