Daily Archives: January 4, 2018

January 4 Understanding Your Spiritual Resources

“God … has blessed us with every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3, emphasis added).

✧✧✧

As a Christian, you possess every spiritual resource you need to fulfill God’s will for your life.

The story is told of a wealthy London businessman who searched many years for his runaway son. One afternoon he was preparing to board a train to London when he spotted a man in ragged, dirty clothing begging for money from passengers along the station platform. His first impulse was to avoid the beggar, but there was something strangely familiar about him.

When the beggar approached and asked if the man could spare a few shillings, the businessman realized he had found his long-lost son. With tears in his eyes and joy in his voice he embraced his son, crying, “A few shillings? You are my son—everything I have is yours!”

That pictures many Christians who are ignorant or negligent of their spiritual resources. They are children of the King, yet live like spiritual paupers.

Paul repeatedly emphasized our sufficiency as believers. In Colossians 2:10 he declares that in Christ “you have been made complete.” In Philippians 4:13, 19 he says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me … my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Peter adds that God’s “divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

The word translated “spiritual” in Ephesians 1:3 speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit. Every blessing you receive, whether material or immaterial, has God as its source.

As a Christian, you possess every spiritual resource you need to fulfill God’s will for your life. You need not pray for more love, for example, because His love is already poured out in your heart through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). The same is true of joy (John 15:11), peace (John 14:27), strength (Phil. 4:13), and every other resource you need.

The key to spiritual progress and victory is learning to apply what you already have, not seeking more.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for His abundant spiritual resources. ✧ Ask Him to help you apply them with wisdom and consistency.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 6:25–34 and Philippians 4:6–8. ✧ What specific promises does God make in those passages? ✧ What does He require of you?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

January 4, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

The Trump administration is pushing back against China’s efforts to boost its economic ties with Latin America, as the rivalry intensifies between the world’s two largest economies.

The Trump administration is poised to open the door to selling new offshore drilling rights from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arctic Sea, igniting a fight with coastal residents worried about oil spills befouling beaches and jeopardizing tourism dollars.

The White House is banning its employees from using personal mobile phones while at work in the West Wing, despite concerns among some staffers that they’ll be cut off from children and other relatives trying to reach them.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding the Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. Sessions will instead let federal prosecutors where pot is legal decide how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana law, the people said.

A suicide bomber killed 14 worshipers at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, a day after Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a string of attacks in a rare video.

A fast-moving winter storm, growing stronger by the hour, has grounded 3,000 flights, delayed rail travelers in the busy Northeast Corridor and closed schools in New York and Boston. Manhattan could get as much as 9 inches of snow late Thursday and Boston could see 14 inches.

Payrolls at U.S. companies increased in December by the most in nine months, consistent with further progress in the labor market, according to data released Thursday from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey. Private payrolls rose by 250k, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey, after a revised 185k increase in Nov.

The world’s biggest chipmakers and software companies, including Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp., are coming to grips with a vulnerability that leaves vast numbers of computers and smartphones susceptible to hacking and performance slowdowns.

On Tuesday, the technology website The Register said a bug lets some software gain access to parts of a computer’s memory that are set aside to protect things like passwords. All computers with Intel chips from the past 10 years appear to be affected, the report said.

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.

AP Top Stories

President Donald Trump appeared to threaten millions of dollars in U.S. aid to the Palestinians in a series of tweets Tuesday after a decision to also withhold funds from Pakistan earlier in the day.

Comparing the ongoing anti-government protests in Iran to demonstrations in the U.S. like Black Lives Matter, actress and activistYara Shahidi is urging Americans to consider just how interconnected the situation in Iran is to the U.S. experience.

Iran’s most fervent regional foes, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are both eagerly looking for signs of vulnerability and imminent change in their nemesis amid the past week of protests across the country. But they’ve taken vastly different approaches of how to engage with the upheaval.

Pakistan is shrugging off proposed U.S. aid cuts but frets that Washington could take more drastic measures to deter what it sees as the South Asian nation’s support for Taliban militants causing chaos in neighboring Afghanistan.

The recent influx of mostly young, male migrants into Germany has led to an increase in violent crime in the country, according to a government-funded study published Wednesday.

The U.N. human rights chief called on Iran on Wednesday to rein in security forces to avoid further violence and respect the right of protesters to freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

Tax reform could move the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates faster than it anticipates, minutes of the Fed’s December meeting showed.

BBC

Lawyers for US President Donald Trump are seeking to stop the release of a book containing explosive insights into his presidency, US media report.

A passenger train has caught fire in South Africa after colliding with a truck, killing at least 12 people and injuring 268, officials have said.

Winter storms have been sweeping across Western Europe, causing three deaths and widespread disruption. Tens of thousands of people have been affected by power cuts, and air travel has been disrupted.

The 11,500-year-old remains of an infant girl from Alaska have shed new light on the peopling of the Americas. Genetic analysis of the child, allied to other data, indicates she belonged to a previously unknown, ancient group.

Patients undergoing surgery in Africa are more than twice as likely to die following an operation as the global average, researchers said.

Twenty-five civilians are reported to have been killed in air strikes on two towns in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area outside Syria’s capital, Damascus.

WND

Security researchers on Wednesday disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and ARM Holdings.

Iceland on Monday became the first country in the world to force employers to pay workers the same rate – regardless of gender, sexuality or ethnicity.


The Briefing — Thursday, January 4, 2018

1) Mormon President’s death highlights differences between historic Christianity and Mormonism

Mormon Newsroom –
President Thomas S. Monson Dies at Age 90

2) Should the Mormon church be considered a Christian denomination?

AP (Brady McCombs) –
Mormon baptisms of Holocaust victims draw ire

3) In spite of “official” doctrine, Mennonite church continues leftward trend

Religion News Service (Kimberly Winston) –
Largest group of Mennonite churches leaves denomination

4) Another strange milestone in the sexual and moral revolution

Wall Street Journal (Lukas I. Alpert) –
Playboy Might Kill Magazine to Focus on ‘World of Playboy’


News – 1/4/2018

Trump to announce ‘most dishonest’ and ‘corrupt media awards’ next week
“I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o’clock.” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, adding: “Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media. Stay tuned!”

‘In 2017, Jews Won War for Temple Mount’ – Activist
In the past year, an unprecedented number of Jews ascended to their holiest site, laying claim in a manner that some Temple Mount Activists consider even more significant than the IDF victory in 1967 that unified Jerusalem. The next step for the Jews, prayer on the Temple Mount, may be even closer than most realize, waiting on a court case set to be decided in just a few weeks. “The war for the Temple Mount is finally over,” Fried told Breaking Israel News. “Now, we need more Jews to go up to the Temple Mount, and we all need to do much more spiritual work because the next step is the Temple.”

Burning Man Announces Newest Centerpiece: Temple to Greek Goddess
The Burning Man Festival, held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada in August, has chosen its centerpiece structure, a massive wood temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Gaia, that is just one of the many pagan symbols featured at the popular desert gathering.

Neo-Nazi behind the Daily Stormer website has Jewish ancestry
Prominent American neo-Nazi comes from ‘mixed-race family’, says his mother, and has Jewish ancestors on both sides.  Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer’s mother, Alyse, confirmed to Newsweek magazine in an article published Wednesday that her son comes from a “large, mixed race family” with Native American heritage, and that he has Jewish lineage “on both sides of his family.” His Jewish heritage was first reported by Gawker in 2012 when he volunteered the information to a reporter, but this is the first time a family member has confirmed his background.

Israel strikes Gaza terror infrastructure following rocket fire
The Israel Air Force struck terror infrastructure in the southern Gaza Strip early Thursday morning following three mortar shells which were fired towards Israel on Wednesday. A statement released by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit stated that the airstrikes targeted a “central terror infrastructure” and while Israel holds Hamas responsible…the statement did not mention the group, which rules the enclave.

Haley hosts reception for diplomats who voted ‘no’ on Jerusalem UN vote
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley hosted her counterparts from 64 nations on Wednesday night who abstained, voted ‘no’ or remained absent last month on a General Assembly resolution condemning the Trump administration for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital…”It’s easy for friends to be with you in the good times, but it’s the friends who are with you during the challenging times that will never be forgotten,” Haley said.

Deadly storm blasts across Europe, killing three
Winter storms are sweeping across western Europe, causing three deaths and widespread disruption. Tens of thousands of people have been affected by power cuts, and air travel has been disrupted. Two people drowned on Spain’s northern Basque coast after being swept away by a huge wave and a skier was killed by a falling tree in the French Alps.

Iran protests: US accused of ‘grotesque’ interference
Iran has accused the US of “grotesque” interference in its internal affairs in a letter to the UN. It said the US leadership, in “numerous absurd tweets, [had] incited Iranians to engage in disruptive acts” which violated international law. Twenty-one people died in six days of protests sparked by Iran’s economic problems, which spanned several cities.

Tech giant is rolling out new robots to replace workers in hotels, airports and supermarkets
A Korean tech giant on Thursday announced new robots that take aim squarely at the jobs of many services industry workers around the globe. There have long been predictions that advances in artificial intelligence and automation could end up eliminating millions of jobs over time, and tech companies have been testing robots to carry out a variety of tasks — from working in a pizza parlor to making deliveries…

There Have Been More Than 30,000 Documented Terror Attacks Worldwide Since September 2001
When are we going to say that enough is enough?  According to Act For America,  more than 30,000 documented terror attacks have taken place around the world since September 11th, 2001.  And in case you were wondering, almost all of those terror attacks were committed by radical Islamic terrorists.

Vicious Winter Storm Brings Snow to Florida as It Winds Northward
For the first time in 28 years, it is snowing in Florida — and the storm is far from over.

Exclusive-Kris Kobach: Voter Fraud Commission ‘Being Handed Off’ to DHS, Will No Longer Be ‘Stonewalled’ by Dems
Kansas Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach says the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity will be “handed off” to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “more effectively” investigate voter fraud without being “stonewalled” by Democrats.

Bombshell Study: Migrants Caused 92% Violent Crime Increase In Germany
Migrants are responsible for a 92% increase in reported violent crimes in Germany during 2015 and 2016, according to a university criminologist study.

A WORLD OF SHAME: Allied forces knew about Holocaust two years before discovery of concentration camps, secret documents reveal
Newly accessed material from the United Nations – not seen for around 70 years – shows that as early as December 1942, the US, UK and Soviet governments were aware that at least two million Jews had been murdered and a further five million were at risk of being killed, and were preparing charges. Despite this, the Allied Powers did very little to try and rescue or provide sanctuary to those in mortal danger.

Company Harvesting Human Body Heat to Mine Cryptocurrencies
A Dutch startup has been using the body heat of volunteers to mine cryptocurrencies in a project reminiscent of “The Matrix.”

Tech Firms: Spying On Iranian Activists
…Since 2009, Iran’s mullahs have mastered the surveillance capabilities of the internet and smart phones, in large part due to critical help they’ve received from western telecom companies, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.

Homosexuality Splits Mennonite Church
The largest conference of Mennonite churches in the U.S. split from the Mennonite community Monday in a dispute over the denomination’s stance on homosexuality.

Even The Penguins Are Panicking: North America Is Entering A Record-Setting Deep Freeze
North America is in the grip of a record-setting cold spell that’s set to culminate with the arrival of a “bomb cyclone” along the eastern seaboard late Thursday. The cold front has delivered temperatures that haven’t been seen in decades.

President Donald Trump Recognized as ‘Pro-Life Person of the Year’ for 2017
One of the most prominent pro-life groups in America has given its annual award to President Donald Trump, declaring him the 2017 “Pro-Life Person of the Year.”

Chelsea Clinton Sends Happy New Year Tweet to The Church of Satan 
Chelsea Clinton wished The Church of Satan a Happy New Year Tuesday during an exchange on social media.

Mid-Day Snapshot

Jan. 4, 2018

More Evidence the FBI Fixated on Trump, Fixed for Clinton

This is how banana republics operate, not republics defined by constitutional Rule of Law.

The Foundation

“They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.” —John Adams (1775)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: January 4

  • Stocks records tumble, oil at highest since 2015 (Read More)
  • Massive Winter Storm Threatens East Coast With Snow and Floods (Read More)
  • Boston, New York Bear Brunt of Canceled Flights Before Storm (Read More)
  • Bitcoin Is a Hit in Countries Where Locals Face Currency Troubles (Read More)
  • Trump’s welfare plans have Republicans on edge (Read More)
  • Russia urges U.S. not to interfere in Iran’s ‘domestic affairs’ (Read More)
  • Commodities Are on Their Longest Winning Streak in History (Read More)
  • Cash-Strapped Venezuela Offers Diamonds for Medicines (Read More)
  • U.S. military warns against getting hopes up over North Korean overture (Read More)
  • The Rise of Untraceable ‘Ghost Guns’ (Read More)
  • German tax office targets Chinese online retailers: Handelsblatt (Read More)
  • Why Trump Ended His Hunt for Fake Votes (Read More
  • JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs come top of banker pay league in Britain (Read More)
  • Oil Rises From 3-Year High After Best Start to Year Since 2012 (Read More)
  • Iranian army commander offers to help police with protests (Read More)
  • How a Secretive Conclave Decides When U.S. Recessions Happen (Read More)

Headlines – 1/4/2018

Israelis voice warnings, Palestinians talk of ‘blackmail’ in wake of tweets by Trump

PA attacks on Trump triggered angry Twitter response threatening US aid

White House: Trump won’t subsidize Palestinians if they spread lies about the US

Nikki Haley says US may also cut funding to UN’s Palestinian relief agency

Top PLO official says Trump threatened to ‘starve Palestinian children’

Why Trump’s funding threat to Palestinians is even more dangerous than Jerusalem move

Rebuffing Trump aid threat, Palestinians say Jerusalem ‘not for sale’

Trump’s Mideast policy: Diplomatic Darwinism in the quest for the ultimate deal

Israeli Seen as Heir to Netanyahu Says Two-State Idea Is Over

Haley hosts reception for diplomats who voted ‘no’ on Jerusalem UN vote

The status of Jerusalem: A matter of logic

French Jews protest reprint of Holocaust-era anti-Semitic essays

Knesset Gives Preliminary Backing to Death Penalty for Terrorists

As economy crumbles and with ‘nothing to lose,’ war in Gaza grows likely

Israel strikes Gaza terror infrastructure following rocket fire

Despite rocket attacks, Israel to increase Gaza power supply

Israel to Resume Sale of Electricity to Gaza After 6-month Hiatus

Israel says Iran recruited Palestinian militants via South Africa

Iranian intelligence network exposed in Judea and Samaria

Iranian Intelligence Operating in West Bank, Israel’s Shin Bet Says

Turkish banker found guilty in Iran sanctions case allegedly tied to Erdogan

Europe Resists Trump’s Call for Tougher Measures on Iran

France: Israeli, US rhetoric on Iran ‘would lead us to war’

Ex-Mossad official: Iran protests mean nuke deal did not fix economy

Los Angeles’ large Iranian community cheers anti-regime protests

Iran accuses US of ‘grotesque’ meddling, ‘inciting’ protesters

Hezbollah chief: Iran protests will leave Trump disappointed

Iran’s regional enemies watch unrest, searching for leverage

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claim protests over

UN chief urges Iranians to avoid violence as protests continue

Putin’s Titanic has hit a fatal Middle East iceberg

Report says 23 civilians killed near Damascus, mainly from Russian air strikes

Syrian groups urge UN boycott of Putin-hosted conference

Nasrallah sees end of Syrian war, says Israel did not block weapons transfers

White House to announce cuts in ‘security assistance’ for Pakistan

Hindu Radicals Launch at Least 23 Attacks during 2017 Christmas Season in India

Startling maps show every terrorist attack worldwide over the last 20 years

North Korea accidentally hit one of its own cities with a missile, report says

Trump Watches From the Sidelines as the Koreas Begin to Talk

White House: Americans should worry about Kim’s mental fitness, not Trump’s

Trump Says Bannon ‘Lost His Mind’ After Ex-aide Calls Meeting With Russians ‘Treasonous’

Trump attorney sends Bannon cease and desist letter over ‘disparaging’ comments

Reporter to Sanders: Will Press Corps Be Invited to the Fake News Awards?

Macron proposes new law against fake news

Ex-U.S. NSA contractor to plead guilty to massive theft of secret data

Security flaws put virtually all phones, computers at risk

Nissan tech allows a car to read your mind to boost reaction times

Record-Breaking 2,000 New Asteroids Approached Earth in 2017 and Astronomers Expect to Spot Even More in 2018

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Izu Islands, Japan region

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Izu Islands, Japan region

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Merizo Village, Guam

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near La Libertad, El Salvador

Earthquake swarm hits near Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens, an active volcano, had four times as many earthquakes than usual last month

Mount St. Helens Is Rumbling Again With 40 Earthquakes Since New Years Day

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

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

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 18,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Massive winter storm heads north after dropping rare snow on South

America’s Power Grid Is Showing Signs of Strain During Brutal Cold

Man Told to Stop ‘Slumber Parties’ for Homeless During Cold, He Says

Badly strained UK hospitals to delay non-urgent procedures

A popular sugar additive may have fueled the spread of not one but two superbugs

Yemen: Children hit by diphtheria outbreak

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

President Donald Trump Recognized as ‘Pro-Life Person of the Year’ for 2017

PCUSA Updates Book of Common Worship to Have ‘Inclusive Language’ for Same-Sex Marriage

Likud MK Warns Israel’s Nation-state Law Could Harm LGBT Rights

U.S. Mennonite Church Splits Over Homosexuality

Mormon “Prophet” Who Fought To Ban Gay Marriage Hailed As Hero After Death

‘Stay Strong, Keep Praising the Lord’ Popular TV Newscaster Posts Before Her Sudden Death

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 12:44 PM PST

‘Stay Strong, Keep Praising the Lord’ Popular TV Newscaster Posts Before Her Sudden DeathA public funeral is being held Wednesday for veteran newscaster Amanda Davis who suffered a “massive spontaneous stroke” while waiting to board an airplane last week. The 62-year-old award-winning journalist was a beloved fixture in Atlanta television news for thirty years, most recently serving as morning anchor for the CBS affiliate. Tuesday she was waiting to board a Texas-bound flight at

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to attend her step-father’s funeral when she collapsed. She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.Her last Facebook post was just three days earlier, on Christmas Eve, in which she wrote, “Stay Strong, Keep Praising the Lord” to accompany a graphic about how to survive Christmas without a loved one. She also posted, “Thank God for the Christmases you had with them.” READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Life-threatening Tropical Cyclone “Ava” to hit Madagascar

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 12:36 PM PST

DEVELOPING: Life-threatening Tropical Cyclone “Ava” to hit MadagascarA tropical cyclone designated 03S, named Ava at 09:00 UTC, January 3, has formed east of Madagascar and is currently affecting Reunion, Mauritius and especially northern Madagascar where heavy rain is already causing problems. This system is expected to continue organizing and gaining strength until it makes landfall early Friday, January 5, 2018 (UTC) along the northeastern coast of Madagascar. Be ready for strong winds, dangerous storm surge, heavy rain, flooding and landslides.  Ava is the first

named cyclone of the 2017-18 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season. It comes unusually late in a season which runs November 15 through April 30/May 15. Showers produced by TC03S, now Ava, started across northern Madagascar late Tuesday, January 2 and intensified overnight Wednesday, reaching close to and over 200 mm (7.8 inches) in some places by Wednesday morning. Reunion and Mauritius saw first drops of rain around 09:00 UTC Tuesday and accumulated close to 100 mm (3.9 inches) in places over the next 24 hours. READ MORE

French President Macron proposes new law against ‘fake news’…

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 12:31 PM PST

French President Macron proposes new law against ‘fake news’…French President Emmanuel Macron says he will introduce a new law against the spread of “fake news” in the lead up to elections. Macron made the announcement during a New Year’s address to the press corps at the Elysee Palace in Paris. “I have decided that we will change our legal system to protect democratic life from this fake news,” Macron said on Wednesday evening. “During the election period,

on the internet, content will no longer have exactly the same rules,” he added. The proposed legislation will also change the role of French media watchdog CSA, Macron said. Macron has been highly critical of Russian media in particular, openly accusing TV channel RT of sowing disinformation about him via its website and social media during the 2017 French presidential election. READ MORE

Kim Jong Un orders largest-ever ICBM to be launched on NK 70th anniversary

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 12:22 PM PST

Kim Jong Un orders largest-ever ICBM to be launched on NK 70th anniversaryKim Jong Un has ordered his rocket scientists to construct North Korea’s biggest ballistic missile ever, and the despot reportedly plans to launch the record rocket on the regimes 70th anniversary in September. The rocket would be outfitted with re-entry capability — a feat the Hermit Kingdom’s last intercontinental ballistic missile wasn’t able to achieve — according to a defector who talked to a Japanese paper.

The defector, who was not identified but was said to be knowledgeable in the Hermit Kingdom’s missile program, told Japanese publication Asahi Shimbun earlier this week Kim laid out his plans during a meeting in Pyongyang on Dec. 11 and 12. The rocket, called the “Unha-4,” will be an upgraded version of the long-range ballistic missile Unha-3, which was launched in 2012 and 2016 and put North Korea’s first satellite into orbit. READ MORE

Alabama Church Transforms Building Into Warming Center for the Homeless and Their Pets

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 11:06 AM PST

Alabama Church Transforms Building Into Warming Center for the Homeless and Their PetsThe majority of the continental U.S. is experiencing temperatures even more frigid than usual, and those most vulnerable to the cold are people without homes. The cold is even affecting states in the South, prompting one church in Alabama to find a creative way to combat homelessness amid dangerously low temperatures. The Grateful Life Community Church in Huntsville has transformed its building into a

warming center, providing unconventional resources to the homeless such as haircuts and medicine as well as food, warm clothes, and somewhere safe to sleep.  “We welcome all of God’s children; all races, religions, orientations, and gender identities are welcome to join us,” according to a GoFundMe campaign set up by the church. READ MORE

Multitudes of Iranian Muslims Are Coming to Faith in Jesus

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 11:00 AM PST

Multitudes of Iranian Muslims Are Coming to Faith in JesusBy now many of you have heard of the continual Anti-government protests that are taking place in Iran.  According to reports, The demonstrations have already left at least 20 people dead and is showing no signs of subsiding anytime soon. Tens of thousands of protesters have formed the largest outpouring of government opposition since the volatile 2009 presidential elections. Recently, Dr. Micahel Brown has come out and shared what may be another key to what is going on in Iran.

Fasting to Break the Bonds of Wickedness and Undo the Heavy burdens!

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 10:49 AM PST

Fasting to Break the Bonds of Wickedness and Undo the Heavy burdens!(By Ricky Scaparo) In this message, we will discuss how fasting breaks the power of sin and bondages off of our lives and sets us free from oppression, depression, and anxiety in our lives!

Mennonite Church USA’s Largest Conference Leaves Denomination Over Homosexuality

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 10:31 AM PST

Mennonite Church USA’s Largest Conference Leaves Denomination Over HomosexualityThe largest Mennonite conference in the United States has officially split from the Mennonite Church U.S.A. over changing views on homosexuality. The Lancaster Mennonite Conference, which has over 179 congregations across New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio and over 70,000 members, officially left the denomination on Monday after about 82 percent of voting congregational leaders chose in November 2015 to take such an action.

The shifting leniency of the Mennonite Church USA, an Anabaptist denomination, toward same-sex marriage was one of the reasons why the conference felt the need to split. Conference Moderator L. Keith Weaver told Lancaster Online that church polity, vision and governance were other reasons for the change. Churches within the Lancaster Mennonite Conference were given two years to decide whether or not they wish to remain in the conference. READ MORE

Why This Atheist Could No Longer Deny the Existence of God

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 10:24 AM PST

Why This Atheist Could No Longer Deny the Existence of GodIn the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, you might have missed a pretty incredible tweet from skeptical journalist-turned Christian apologist Lee Strobel—a message that briefly breaks down his take on the improbability of atheism. Strobel’s simple message truly resonated, too, as it was sent just before

Americans planned to celebrate Jesus’ birth, with scores of people responding to his breakdown of what non-belief truly entails. “To continue in atheism, I would need to believe that nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, chaos produces information. CONTINUE

Palestinian Official Fires Back at Trump Tweet: ‘We Will Not Be Blackmailed’

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 05:54 AM PST

Palestinian Official Fires Back at Trump Tweet: ‘We Will Not Be Blackmailed’Palestinian officials responded to President Donald Trump’s tweet threatening to defund the Palestinian Authority by saying they would not be blackmailed and that Jerusalem was not for sale. Meanwhile, Israeli officials said Trump had pulled off the P.A.’s “mask of hypocrisy.”  In a pair of tweets, Trump said on Tuesday that “we pay 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.” He added that, “with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” In response to Trump’s tweet, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ office said Jerusalem is “not for sale,” according to a tweet from the AFP. READ MORE

Cancer patient ‘halts disease with TURMERIC’…First recorded case of its kind

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 05:45 AM PST

Cancer patient ‘halts disease with TURMERIC’…First recorded case of its kindA woman who battled blood cancer for years without success finally halted the disease with turmeric, it has been reported.  Dieneke Ferguson is now leading a normal life after giving up on grueling treatments that failed to stop it. Doctors say her case is the first recorded instance in which a patient has recovered by using the spice after stopping conventional medical treatments. With her myeloma spreading rapidly

after three rounds of chemotherapy and four stem cell transplants, the 67-year-old began taking 8g of curcumin a day – one of the main compounds in turmeric. The cancer, which has an average survival of just over five years, was causing increasing back pain and she had already had a second relapse. But it stabilized after Mrs Ferguson, from north London, came across the remedy on the internet in 2011 and decided to try it as a last resort. READ MORE

 

 

America’s Power Grid Showing Signs of Strain During Brutal Cold

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 05:41 AM PST

America’s Power Grid Showing Signs of Strain During Brutal ColdAmerica’s power grid is starting to show signs of fatigue as the nation grapples with a record-breaking cold snap.  Some power plants in New England that have been burning oil are running short on fuel, according to Marcia Blomberg, a spokeswoman for ISO New England Inc., the region’s grid operator. Restrictions governing air emissions are also a factor limiting their use.

“As oil inventories are depleted, replenishment of these fuels will be important given the uncertainty around weather and future fuel demands for the remaining two months of the winter period,” she said by email on Tuesday. Oil, a scant contributor to the nation’s power supply in normal weather conditions, has accounted for about 30 percent of New England’s electricity in recent days after temperatures plunged below freezing. A lack of pipeline capacity has constrained natural gas supplies to the region in recent years, causing prices to surge during severe cold snaps. READ MORE

Instead of Your New Year’s Resolutions, Choose God’s Divine Solution

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:04 PM PST

Instead of Your New Year’s Resolutions, Choose God’s Divine Solution(By Janet Perez Eckles) I stood by the table piled with my books after addressing a large group at a women’s conference. And right after I autographed her book, a sweet lady squeezed my hand. “Honey, I loved what you shared about what helped you get through the sorrow you experienced,” she said. “I also have known tragedy. But the reason I made it through is because Jesus gave me the answer. He first became my comforter. Then He became my counselor. And He never left me.”

There you have it: the wisdom of a heart turned from pain to peace. She didn’t bother with resolutions. Instead she embraced the ultimate solution that carried her from day to day, from month to month and from year to year. And as we begin this year, while the world is busy talking about their New Year’s resolutions, let’s welcome God’s solution. It’s powerful enough to change our outlook, our heart and our destiny. He promises to be: CONTINUE

Scientists are genetically engineering immune systems to attack and destroy HIV

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 06:58 PM PST

Scientists are genetically engineering immune systems to attack and destroy HIVThe battle against HIV has been a long and difficult. As scientists have searched unsuccessfully for a cure, more than 35 million people worldwide have died of the illness since the 1980s. Now emerging medical science—made possible by high-tech gene editing and grant money from the US National Institutes of Health—is yielding positive results in the petri dish and in monkeys, according to a new study published in the PLOS Pathogens.

The study was small, but suggested scientists can genetically modify the immune system to better fight the virus. The experiment involved genetically modifying stem cells to produce immune-system T cells and other blood cells with a specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that enables them to identify and attach to antigens on HIV-infected cells. Once attached, the CAR-T cell kills the infected cells. Even better, the genetic modifications also protect the CAR-T cells from becoming infected with HIV themselves. READ MORE

Trump Warns Kim Of BIGGER Weapons!

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 06:52 PM PST

Trump Warns Kim Of BIGGER Weapons!President Donald Trump has fired off a tweet against North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, claiming to have a “more powerful” nuclear weapons launcher. Trump’s tweet, amid a barrage of angry posts, is a belated response to Kim’s New Year speech, in which the North Korean leader claimed, “The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk.” “This is reality, not a threat,” Kim said, adding that “these weapons will be used only if our security is threatened.” Trump tweeted in return that not only is his own “Nuclear Button” bigger and better,

but it actually works. He sarcastically pleaded Tuesday night for “someone from his depleted and food starved regime” to “please inform” Kim of those claims. In Kim’s New Year message, he also offered some hope of a thaw in relations with South Korea, saying he is open to talks over the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics. Trump attributed that to “sanctions and ‘other’ pressures” starting to have an impact on North Korea, before returning to his usual belligerent attitude. READ MORE

RUMORS OF WAR: One million lives lost within days if Kim triggers war ..

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 06:43 PM PST

RUMORS OF WAR: One million lives lost within days if Kim triggers war ..North Korea’s escalating aggressiveness could trigger a conflict costing “one million lives” within the first days of war, leading strategic consultant David Morey warned. North Korea has been threatening world peace by defying calls to give up its nuclear weapons development programme. Mr Morey said: “There is no good option when it comes to North Korea. You can’t ignore them, starve them, destroy them or even negotiate with them. “Destroying them would involve – some people think – a trillion

dollars and a million lives within the first days of a conflagration on the peninsula. So there’s no good option.” The public diplomacy expert said it was “unrealistic” to think sanctions on North Korea would ultimately dash Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions. But he said stepping up the US and South Korea’s diplomatic approach to the North Korean issues could prove to be the best solution for a peace treaty with Pyongyang. READ MORE

Greek holiday hotspot rocked by seven tremors that ‘will not stop’

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 06:35 PM PST

Greek holiday hotspot rocked by seven tremors that ‘will not stop’Greece has been rocked by seven tremors near a popular holiday hotspot as a local expert forecast further tremors that could hit today.  Thessaloniki, the country’s second-largest city, was hit at the 6.24am local time (4.24am GMT) on Tuesday and measured up at 5.1 on the Richter scale. Kostas Papazachos, a Professor of Seismology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, warned that the flurry of activity could continue based on the history of the region. He said:

“From our experience, we find that the earthquakes will not stop immediately.  “There will be an evolution of activity. “We are cautious in the early hours. “We are dealing mainly with East-West fault, fault that defines Mount Beles to the south, fissures that are triggered and give us these little earthquakes. “I think that this phenomenon will continue for at least 1-2 days because if we look behind us and see the seismic history of the area, READ MORE

New Year’s Church Shootings Kill At Least 14 Christians

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 06:24 PM PST

New Year’s Church Shootings Kill At Least 14 ChristiansA Gunmen killed at least 14 churchgoers returning from midnight New Year’s services in Nigeria’s Rivers state. One relative told The Guardian the attacks happened around 12:30 a.m. in a coordinated attack in two different locations. Reports indicate that the shots were disguised by the sound of fireworks, making it difficult for people in the area to realize what was happening.

The exact death toll is disputed at this time. The Guardian reports a death toll of 14 people, while BBC cites police sources saying at least 16 were killed. One anonymous officer said, “14 persons died on the spot, while 12 who sustained gunshot wounds were rushed to the hospital and are receiving medical attention.” David Umahi, governor of the Ebonyi state, condemned the attacks as a national tragedy in an official statement, according to the Nigeria Independent. READ MORE

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

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 06:19 PM PST

‘Bomb cyclone’ to blast East Coast before polar vortex uncorks tremendous cold late this weekUnforgiving cold has punished the eastern third of the United States for the past 10 days. But the most severe winter weather yet will assault the area late this week. First, a monster storm will hammer coastal locations from Georgia to Maine with ice and snow. By Thursday, the exploding storm will, in many ways, resemble a winter hurricane, battering easternmost New England with potentially damaging winds in addition to blinding snow.

Forecasters are expecting the storm to become a so-called “bomb cyclone” because its pressure is predicted to fall so fast, an indicator of explosive strengthening. The storm could rank as the most intense over the waters east of New England in decades at this time of year. While blizzard conditions could paste some coastal areas, the most extreme conditions will remain well out over the ocean. READ MORE


What is The Gospel?


Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


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What worldview does the maker of Star Wars movies want you to accept?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Lets take a closer look at a puzzle Lets take a closer look at a puzzle

I heard that there was a new Star Wars movie out, and that many of my Christian friends were going to see it. I passed on it, because there is something about that whole series that is creepy to me.

It looks like my concerns have some justification. I noticed a couple of reviews of the movie from Come Reason Ministries and Bnonn Tennant.

Here are 3 points that Lenny makes at Come Reason: (H/T Brian)

  1. Faith and tradition are disposable
  2. You don’t really need to put in years of work to be competent
  3. Men are inconsequential

All three points he makes seem to me to be exactly what the movie communicates, but I want to focus on point #3:

The most obvious message The Last Jedi sends is the one that Johnson clearly sought to send, that is that men offer nothing…

View original post 959 more words

January 4, 2017 A Weak Man’s Strong Tribute, Part 4

By James Boice on Jan 04, 2018 12:00 am

The worst thing of all was that David has been betrayed by his close friend (v. 9). This may have happened more than once in David’s life and no doubt did. But the situation in the psalm is adequately accounted for or at least well illustrated by the betrayal of Ahithophel, David’s trusted counselor, at the time of Absalom’s rebellion (2 Sam. 16:15-17:23).

Read more…

JANUARY 4 THE SPIRIT OF MAN MAKES HIM A HUMAN BEING

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

1 CORINTHIANS 2:11

Deep inside every man there is a private sanctum where dwells the mysterious essence of his being. It is the man’s “I am,” a gift from the I AM who created him. The I AM which is God is underived and self-existent; the “I am” which is man is derived from God and dependent every moment upon His creative fiat for its continued existence. One is the Creator, high over all, ancient of days, dwelling in light unapproachable. The other is a creature and, though privileged beyond all others, is still but a creature, a pensioner on God’s bounty and a suppliant before His throne!

The deep-in human entity of which we speak is called in the Scriptures “the spirit of man.” Paul told the Corinthian church: “For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

As God’s self-knowledge lies in the eternal Spirit, so man’s self-knowledge is by his own spirit, and his knowledge of God is by the direct impression of the Spirit of God upon the spirit of man. This reveals the essential spirituality of mankind.

It also denies that man is a creature having a spirit and boldly declares that he is a spirit having a body!

That which makes man a human being is not his body but his spirit, in which the image of God originally lay.[1]


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

January 4, 2018 : Afternoon Verse Of The Day

14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 4:14). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


4:14 Sadly, Cain expressed his distress only at the punishment he received, not at his crime. Nor was there any note of repentance concerning his dreadful action. anyone who finds me: Most have assumed that the others whom Cain feared were sisters and brothers already born but not mentioned or those yet to be born. This idea is based on the wording of 5:4, “and he {Adam} had sons and daughters.” Some have proposed that God created others outside the Garden of Eden, but the Scriptures give no indication of this. It makes sense to conclude that Cain was afraid of his siblings.[1]


4:14 whoever … kill me. This shows that the population of the earth was, by then, greatly increased. As a wanderer and scavenger in an agrarian world, Cain would be easy prey for those who wanted his life.[2]


4:14 from your face I must hide Part of Cain’s anguish is that he fears being cut off from Yahweh.

whoever finds me will kill me By the time of Abel’s murder, there were others living nearby. As with Cain’s wife (see Gen 4:17 and note), the narrator has no interest in providing a chronology and description of circumstances that would explain where the people living outside Eden came from. Statements of this nature imply that the Biblical genealogies are selective.[3]


4:14 whoever finds me. The story up to now has focused on Cain, not on Adam’s other descendants (v. 17; 5:4). Ironically, after murdering his brother, Cain now fears vengeance from his own family (cf. Num. 35:19).

kill me. Cain anticipates the violent behavior of his descendants (6:5, 11).[4]


[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 15). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ge 4:14). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 4:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 16). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

JANUARY 4 SAVIOR AND LORD

For by grace are ye saved through faith…it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8

God chose His only begotten Son as the channel for His grace and truth, for John witnesses that “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

The Law was given by Moses—but that was all that Moses could do. He could only “command” righteousness. In contrast, only Jesus Christ produces righteousness.

All that Moses could do was to forbid us to sin. In contrast, Jesus Christ came to save us from sin.

Moses could not save anyone—but Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord.

Grace came through Jesus Christ before Mary wept in the manger stall in Bethlehem. It was the grace of God in Christ that saved the human race from extinction when our first parents sinned in the Garden.

It is plain in history that God forgave Israel time and time again. It was the grace of God in Christ prior to the Incarnation that made God say: “I have risen early in the morning and stretched out my hands to you!”

Dear Lord, I want to be a reflection of Your grace and truth in the lives of my family and coworkers today.[1]


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

January 4 Symbols from Jesus’ Baptism

Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”—Matt. 3:15a

The most important symbol Jesus’ baptism gives us is a perfect example of obedience to God the Father. Our Lord always modeled obedience in all things (e.g., Phil. 2:6–8; cf. Matt. 17:25–27). In submitting to baptism, Jesus affirmed the validity of John’s standard of righteousness and demonstrated that baptism was God’s will to which every believer should be obedient.

Furthermore, Jesus’ baptism is a profound, symbolic identification with sinful humanity. Hundreds of years earlier the prophet Isaiah stated that the Messiah “was numbered with the transgressors; yet He himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12). The sinless One took His place among sinners, and that in part entailed submitting Himself to a sinner’s baptism.

Finally, Jesus’ baptism is a symbol of His death and resurrection, and therefore a prefigurement of our Christian baptism. Concerning His death, Jesus later said, “I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50). In pointing to His obedient identification with sinners (cf. Isa. 53:11; 2 Cor. 5:21) and His subsequent atoning death and bodily resurrection, the key symbols stemming from Jesus’ baptism remind believers of their need to faithfully obey and be baptized.

ASK YOURSELF

He became one of us, identifying with our sin. Marvel again at the amazement and immensity of this truth. What grace! What humility! What kind of worship should flow from this reality? Worship Him today as the One who was not ashamed to take your place, who stooped down so that you could stand.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 12). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 4 Separation

It is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:16

Do you know you cannot serve God unless you are separated? In the Scripture, that word refers to being set apart for a specific task or purpose.

The Lord said to Moses, “You shall offer up a cake of the first of your ground meal as a heave offering” (Num. 15:20). God wanted the firstfruits of the land to be set apart to honor Him.

The Lord also said, “I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine” (Lev. 20:26). God took the nation of Israel and separated them from all other nations for His glory.

In each of these passages in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament), the word refers to separation in the fullest sense. The apostle Paul knew that once he was called as an apostle, he would be disconnected from his past. When Paul was the most ardent of Pharisee, he was set apart for—or separated to—the traditions of the Jewish people (Phil. 3:5). Now he could claim to be a Pharisee separated to the gospel of God.

Are you separate from your former life?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 15). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

January 4, 2018 : Morning Verse Of The Day

Happy Are the Merciful

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (5:7)

The first four beatitudes deal entirely with inner principles, principles of the heart and mind. They are concerned with the way we see ourselves before God. The last four are outward manifestations of those attitudes. Those who in poverty of spirit recognize their need of mercy are led to show mercy to others (v. 7). Those who mourn over their sin are led to purity of heart (v. 8). Those who are meek always seek to make peace (v. 9). And those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are never unwilling to pay the price of being persecuted for righteousness’ sake (v. 10).

The concept of mercy is seen throughout Scripture, from the Fall to the consummation of history at the return of Christ. Mercy is a desperately needed gift of God’s providential and redemptive work on behalf of sinners-and the Lord requires His people to follow His example by extending mercy to others.

To discover its essence we will look at three basic aspects of mercy: its meaning, its source, and its practice.

The Meaning of Mercy

For the most part, the days in which Jesus lived and taught were not characterized by mercy. The Jewish religionists themselves were not inclined to show mercy, because mercy is not characteristic of those who are proud, self-righteous, and judgmental. To many-perhaps most-of Jesus’ hearers, showing mercy was considered one of the least of virtues, if it was thought to be a virtue at all. It was in the same category as love-reserved for those who had shown the virtue to you. You loved those who loved you, and you showed mercy to those who showed mercy to you. That attitude was condemned by Jesus later in the Sermon on the Mount. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy’ ” (Matt. 5:43). But such a shallow, selfish kind of love that even the outcast tax-gatherers practiced (v. 46) was not acceptable to the Savior. He said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. … For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? … And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (vv. 44–47).

Yet many people have interpreted this beatitude in another way that is just as selfish and humanistic: they maintain that our being merciful causes those around us, especially those to whom we show mercy, to be merciful to us. Mercy given will mean mercy received. For such people, mercy is shown to others purely in an effort toward self-seeking.

The ancient rabbi Gamaliel is quoted in the Talmud as saying, “Whenever thou hast mercy, God will have mercy upon thee, and if thou hast not mercy, neither will God have mercy on thee.” Gamaliel’s idea is right. When God is involved there will be mercy for mercy. “If you forgive men for their transgressions,” Jesus said, “your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matt. 6:14–15).

But as a platitude applied among men, the principle does not work. One writer sentimentally says, “This is the great truth of life: if people see us care, they will care.” Yet neither Scripture nor experience bears out that idea. God works that way, but the world does not. With God there is always proper reciprocation, and with interest. If we honor God, He will honor us; if we show mercy to others, especially to His children, He will show even more abundant mercy to us. But that is not the world’s way.

A popular Roman philosopher called mercy “the disease of the soul.” It was the supreme sign of weakness. Mercy was a sign that you did not have what it takes to be a real man and especially a real Roman. The Romans glorified manly courage, strict justice, firm discipline, and, above all, absolute power. They looked down on mercy, because mercy to them was weakness, and weakness was despised above all other human limitations.

During much of Roman history, a father had the right of patria opitestas, of deciding whether or not his newborn child would live or die. As the infant was held up for him to see, the father would turn his thumb up if he wanted the child to live, down if he wanted it to die. If his thumb turned down the child was immediately drowned. Citizens had the same life-or-death power over slaves. At any time and for any reason they could kill and bury a slave, with no fear of arrest or reprisal. Husbands could even have their wives put to death on the least provocation. Today abortion reflects the same merciless attitude. A society that despises mercy is a society that glorifies brutality.

The underlying motive of self-concern has characterized men in general and societies in general since the Fall. We see it expressed today in such sayings as, “If you don’t look out for yourself, no one else will.” Such popular proverbs are generally true, because they reflect the basic selfish nature of fallen man. Men are not naturally inclined to repay mercy for mercy.

The best illustration of that fact is the Lord Himself. Jesus Christ was the most merciful human being who ever lived. He reached out to heal the sick, restore the crippled, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and even life to the dead. He found prostitutes, tax collectors, the debauched and the drunken, and drew them into His circle of love and forgiveness. When the scribes and Pharisees brought the adulteress to Him to see if He would agree to her stoning, He confronted them with their merciless hypocrisy: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” When no one stepped forward to condemn her, Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more” (John 8:7–11). Jesus wept with the sorrowing and gave companionship to the lonely. He took little children into His arms and blessed them. He was merciful to everyone. He was mercy incarnate, just as He was love incarnate.

Yet what was the response to Jesus’ mercy? He shamed the woman’s accusers into inaction, but they did not become merciful. By the time the accounts of John 8 ended, Jesus’ opponents “picked up stones to throw at Him” (v. 59). When the scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus “eating with the sinners and tax-gatherers,” they asked His disciples why their Master associated with such unworthy people (Mark 2:16).

The more Jesus showed mercy, the more He showed up the unmercifulness of the Jewish religious leaders. The more He showed mercy, the more they were determined to put Him out of the way. The ultimate outcome of His mercy was the cross. In Jesus’ crucifixion, two merciless systems-merciless government and merciless religion-united to kill Him. Totalitarian Rome joined intolerant Judaism to destroy the Prince of mercy.

The fifth beatitude does not teach that mercy to men brings mercy from men, but that mercy to men brings mercy from God. If we are merciful to others, God will be merciful to us, whether men are or not. God is the subject of the second clause, just as in the other beatitudes. It is God who gives the kingdom of heaven to the poor in spirit, comfort to those who mourn, the earth to the meek, and satisfaction to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Those who are merciful … shall receive mercy from God. God gives the divine blessings to those who obey His divine standards.

Merciful is from eleēmōn, from which we also get eleemosynary, meaning beneficial or charitable. Hebrews 2:17 speaks of Jesus as our “merciful and faithful high priest.” Christ is the supreme example of mercy and the supreme dispenser of mercy. It is from Jesus Christ that both redeeming and sustaining mercy come.

In the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) the same term is used to translate the Hebrew ḥesed, one of the most commonly used words to describe God’s character. It is usually translated as mercy, love, lovingkindness, or steadfast love (Ps. 17:7; 51:1; Isa. 63:7; Jer. 9:24; etc.). The basic meaning is to give help to the afflicted and to rescue the helpless. It is compassion in action.

Jesus is not speaking of detached or powerless sentiment that is unwilling or unable to help those for whom there is sympathy. Nor is He speaking of the false mercy, the feigned pity, that gives help only to salve a guilty conscience or to impress others with its appearance of virtue. And it is not passive, silent concern which, though genuine, is unable to give tangible help. It is genuine compassion expressed in genuine help, selfless concern expressed in selfless deeds.

Jesus says in effect, “The people in My kingdom are not takers but givers, not pretending helpers but practical helpers. They are not condemners but mercy givers.” The selfish, self-satisfied, and self-righteous do not bother to help anyone-unless they think something is in it for them. Sometimes they even justify their lack of love and mercy under the guise of religious duty. Once when the Pharisees and scribes questioned why His disciples did not observe the traditions of the elders, Jesus replied, “Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, anything of mine you might have been helped by is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down” (Mark 7:10–13). In the name of hypocritical religious tradition, compassion toward parents in such a case was actually forbidden.

Mercy is meeting people’s needs. It is not simply feeling compassion but showing compassion, not only sympathizing but giving a helping hand. Mercy is giving food to the hungry, comfort to the bereaved, love to the rejected, forgiveness to the offender, companionship to the lonely. It is therefore one of the loveliest and noblest of all virtues.

Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (4.1.180–85) Portia says,

The quality of mercy is not strain’d;

It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven,

Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d.

It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:

’Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown:

Mercy and Forgiveness

A clearer understanding of mercy can be gained by working through some comparisons. Mercy has much in common with forgiveness but is distinct from it. Paul tells us that Jesus “saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). God’s forgiveness of our sins flows from His mercy. But mercy is bigger than forgiveness, because God is merciful to us even when we do not sin, just as we can be merciful to those who have never done anything against us. God’s mercy does not just forgive our transgressions, but reaches to all our weakness and need.

“The Lord’s lovingkindness [mercies, KJV] indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22). God’s mercy to His children never ceases.

Mercy and Love

Forgiveness flows out of mercy, and mercy flows out of love. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4–5). Just as mercy is more than forgiveness, love is more than mercy. Love manifests itself in many ways that do not involve either forgiveness or mercy. Love loves even when there is no wrong to forgive or need to meet. The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father, although they both are without sin and without need. They both love the holy angels, although the angels are without sin and need. When we enter heaven we, too, will be without sin or need, yet God’s love for us will, in comparison to eternity, only be just beginning.

Mercy is the physician; love is the friend. Mercy acts because of need; love acts because of affection, whether there is need or not. Mercy is reserved for times of trouble; love is constant. There can be no true mercy apart from love, but there can be true love apart from mercy.

Mercy and Grace

Mercy is also related to grace, which flows out of love just as forgiveness flows out of mercy. In each of his three pastoral epistles Paul includes the words “grace, mercy and peace” in his salutations (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4, KJV). Grace and mercy have the closest possible relationship; yet they are different. Mercy and its related terms all have to do with pain, misery, and distress-with the consequences of sin. Whether because of our individual sins or because of the sinful world in which we live, all of our problems, in the last analysis, are sin problems. It is with those problems that mercy gives help. Grace, on the other hand, deals with sin itself. Mercy deals with the symptoms, grace with the cause. Mercy offers relief from punishment; grace offers pardon for the crime. Mercy eliminates the pain; grace cures the disease.

When the good Samaritan bound up the wounds of the man who had been beaten and robbed, he showed mercy. When he took him to the nearest inn and paid for his lodging until he was well, he showed grace. His mercy relieved the pain; his grace provided for healing.

Mercy relates to the negative; grace relates to the positive. In relation to salvation, mercy says, “No hell,” whereas grace says, “Heaven.” Mercy says, “I pity you”; grace says, “I pardon you.”

Mercy and Justice

Mercy is also related to justice, although, on the surface, they seem to be incompatible. Justice gives exactly what is deserved; whereas mercy gives less punishment and more help than is deserved. It is difficult, therefore, for some people to understand how God can be both just and merciful at the same time to the same person. If God is completely just, how could He ever not punish sin totally? For Him to be merciful would seem to negate His justice. The truth is that God does not show mercy without punishing sin; and for Him to offer mercy without punishment would negate His justice.

Mercy that ignores sin is false mercy and is no more merciful than it is just. It is that sort of false mercy that Saul showed to King Agag after God had clearly instructed Saul to kill every Amalekite (1 Sam. 15:3, 9). It is that sort of false mercy that David showed to his rebellious and wicked son Absalom when he was young. Because David did not deal with Absalom’s sin, his attitude toward his son was unrighteous sentimentality, neither justice nor mercy-and it served to confirm Absalom in his wickedness.

That sort of false mercy is common in our day. It is thought to be unloving and unkind to hold people responsible for their sins. But that is a cheap grace that is not just and is not merciful, that offers neither punishment nor pardon for sin. And because it merely overlooks sin, it leaves sin; and the one who relies on that sort of mercy is left in his sin. To cancel justice is to cancel mercy. To ignore sin is to deny the truth; and mercy and truth are inseparable, they “are met together” (Ps. 85:10, KJV). In every true act of mercy, someone pays the price. God did, the Good Samaritan did, and so do we. To be merciful is to bear the load for someone else.

To expect to enter the sphere of God’s mercy without repenting from our sin is but wishful thinking. And for the church to offer hope of God’s mercy apart from repentance from sin is to offer false hope through a false gospel. God offers nothing but merciless judgment to those who will not turn from their sin to the Savior. Neither relying on good works nor relying on God’s overlooking sin will bring salvation. Neither trusting in personal goodness nor presuming on God’s goodness will bring entrance into the kingdom. Those who do not come to God on His terms have no claim on His mercy.

God’s mercy is grounded not only in His love but in His justice. It is not grounded in sentiment but in Christ’s atoning blood, which paid the penalty for and cleanses from sin those who believe in Him. Without being punished and removed, even the least of our sin would eternally separate us from God.

The good news of the gospel is that Christ paid the penalty for all sins in order that God might be merciful to all sinners. On the cross Jesus satisfied God’s justice, and when a person trusts in that satisfying sacrifice God opens the floodgates of His mercy. The good news of the gospel is not that God winked at justice, glossed over sin, and compromised righteousness. The good news is that in the shedding of Christ’s blood justice was satisfied, sin was forgiven, righteousness was fulfilled, and mercy was made available. There is never an excuse for sin, but always a remedy.

Mercy, therefore, is more than forgiveness and less than love. It is different from grace and is one with justice. And what is true of God’s mercy should be true of ours.

Mercy led Abraham to rescue his selfish nephew Lot from Chedorlaomer and his allies. Mercy led Joseph to forgive his brothers and to provide them food for their families. Mercy led Moses to plead with the Lord to remove the leprosy with which his sister Miriam had been punished. Mercy led David to spare the life of Saul.

Those who are unmerciful will not receive mercy from God. In one of his imprecatory psalms David says of an unnamed wicked man, “Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord, and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be before the Lord continually, that He may cut off their memory from the earth.” David’s anger was not vengeful or retaliatory. That man and his family did not deserve mercy because they were not themselves merciful. “He did not remember to show lovingkindness, but persecuted the afflicted and needy man, and the despondent in heart, to put them to death” (Ps. 109:14–16).

Paul characterizes godless men as unrighteous, wicked, greedy, evil, envious, murderous, deceitful, malicious, gossiping, slanderous, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, and unloving. The climaxing evil of that long list, however, is being unmerciful (Rom. 1:29–31). Mercilessness is the capstone marking those who reject God’s mercy.

“The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm” (Prov. 11:17). The way to happiness is through mercy; the way to misery is through cruelty. The truly merciful person is even kind to animals, whereas the merciless person is cruel to everything. “A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, but the compassion of the wicked is cruel” (Prov. 12:10).

In His Olivet discourse Jesus warned that those who claim to belong to Him but who have not served and shown compassion on the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned will not be allowed to enter His kingdom. He will say to them, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.” When they say, “ ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry,’ … He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me’ ” (Matt. 25:41–45).

James writes, “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not commit murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy” (James 2:10–13a).

In the midst of our corrupt, ego-entered, and selfish society that tells us to grab everything we can get, the voice of God tells us to give everything we can give. The true character of mercy is in giving-giving compassion, giving help, giving time, giving forgiveness, giving money, giving ourselves. The children of the King are merciful. Those who are merciless face judgment; but “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13b).

The Source of Mercy

Pure mercy is a gift of God. It is not a natural attribute of man but is a gift that comes with the new birth. We can be merciful in its full sense and with a righteous motive only when we have experienced God’s mercy. Mercy is only for those who through grace and divine power have met the requirements of the first four beatitudes. It is only for those who by the work of the Holy Spirit bow humbly before God in poverty of spirit, who mourn over and turn from their sin, who are meek and submissive to His control, and who hunger and thirst above all else for His righteousness. The way of mercy is the way of humility, repentance, surrender, and holiness.

Balaam continually prostituted his ministry, trying to keep within the letter of God’s will while conspiring with a pagan king against God’s people. He presumptuously prayed, “Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!” (Num. 23:10). As one Puritan commentator observed, Balaam wanted to die like the righteous, but he did not want to live like the righteous. Many people want God’s mercy but not on God’s terms.

God has both absolute and relative attributes. His absolute attributes-such as love, truth, and holiness-have characterized Him from all eternity. They were characteristic of Him before He created angels, or the world, or man. But His relative attributes-such as mercy, justice, and grace-were not expressed until His creatures came into being. In fact they were not manifest until man, the creature made in His own image, sinned and became separated from his Creator. Apart from sin and evil, mercy, justice, and grace have no meaning.

When man fell, God’s love was extended to His fallen creatures in mercy. And only when they receive His mercy can they reflect His mercy. God is the source of mercy. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness [mercy] toward those who fear Him” (Ps. 103:11). It is because we have the resource of God’s mercy that Jesus commanded, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

Donald Barnhouse writes,

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, all the work of God for man’s salvation passed out of the realm of prophecy and became historical fact. God has now had mercy upon us. For anyone to pray, “God have mercy on me” is the equivalent of asking Him to repeat the sacrifice of Christ. All the mercy that God ever will have on man He has already had, when Christ died. That is the totality of mercy. There could not be any more. … The fountain is now opened, and it is flowing, and it continues to flow freely. (Romans [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983], 4:4)

We cannot have the blessing apart from the Blesser. We cannot even meet the condition apart from the One who has set the condition. We are blessed by God when we are merciful to others, and we are able to be merciful to others because we have already received salvation’s mercy. And when we share the mercy received, we shall receive mercy even beyond what we already have.

We never sing more truthfully than when we sing, “Mercy there was great and grace was free; pardon there was multiplied to me; there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.”

The Practice of Mercy

The most obvious way we can show mercy is through physical acts, as did the good Samaritan. As Jesus specifically commands, we are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, and give any other practical help that is needed. In serving others in need, we demonstrate a heart of mercy.

It is helpful to note that the way of mercy did not begin with the New Testament. God has always intended for mercy to characterize His people. The Old Testament law taught, “You shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks” (Deut. 15:7–8). Even in the year of release, when all debts were canceled, Israelites were to give their poor countrymen whatever they needed. They were warned, “Beware, lest there is a base thought in your heart, saying ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing” (v. 9).

Mercy is also to be shown in our attitudes. Mercy does not hold a grudge, harbor resentment, capitalize on another’s failure or weakness, or publicize another’s sin. On a great table at which he fed countless hundreds of people, Augustine inscribed,

Whoever thinks that he is able,

To nibble at the life of absent friends,

Must know that he’s unworthy of this table.

The vindictive, heartless, indifferent are not subjects of Christ’s kingdom. When they pass need by on the other side, as the priest and the Levite did in the story of the good Samaritan, they show they have passed Christ by.

Mercy is also to be shown spiritually. First, it is shown through pity. Augustine said, “If I weep for the body from which the soul is departed, should I not weep for the soul from which God is departed?” The sensitive Christian will grieve more for lost souls than for lost bodies. Because we have experienced God’s mercy, we are to have great concern for those who have not.

Jesus’ last words from the cross were words of mercy. For His executioners He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). To the penitent thief hanging beside Him He said, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (v. 43). To His mother He said, “ ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple [John], ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household” (John 19:26–27). Like his Master, Stephen prayed for those who were taking his life, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60).

Second, we are to show spiritual mercy by confrontation. Paul says that, as Christ’s servants, we should gently correct “those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25). We are to be willing to confront others about their sin in order that they might come to God for salvation. When certain teachers were “upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain,” Paul told Titus to “reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:11, 13). Love and mercy will be severe when that is necessary for the sake of an erring brother and for the sake of Christ’s church. In such cases it is cruel to say nothing and let the harm continue.

As Jude closed his letter with the encouragement to “keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life,” he also admonished, “And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” (Jude 21–23). Extreme situations require extreme care, but we are to show mercy even to those trapped in the worst systems of apostasy.

Third, we are to show spiritual mercy by praying. The sacrifice of prayer for those without God is an act of mercy. Our mercy can be measured by our prayer for the unsaved and for Christians who are walking in disobedience.

Fourth, we are to show spiritual mercy by proclaiming the saving gospel of Jesus Christ-the most merciful thing we can do.

The Result of Mercy

Reflecting on the fact that when we are merciful we receive mercy, we see God’s cycle of mercy. God is merciful to us by saving us through Christ; in obedience we are merciful to others; and God in faithfulness gives us even more mercy, pouring out blessing for our needs and withholding severe chastening for our sin.

As in the other beatitudes, the emphatic pronoun autos (they) indicates that only those who are merciful qualify to receive mercy. David sang of the Lord, “With the kind Thou dost show Thyself kind” (2 Sam. 22:26). Speaking of the opposite side of the same truth, James says, “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy” (James 2:13). At the end of the disciples’ prayer Jesus explained, “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matt. 6:14–15). Again the emphatic truth is that God will respond with chastening for an unforgiving disciple.

Neither in that passage nor in this beatitude is Jesus speaking of our mercy gaining us salvation. We do not earn salvation by being merciful. We must be saved by God’s mercy before we can truly be merciful. We cannot work our way into heaven even by a lifetime of merciful deeds, any more than by good works of any sort. God does not give mercy for merit; He gives mercy in grace, because it is needed, not because it is earned.

To illustrate the working of God’s mercy Jesus told the parable of a slave who had been graciously forgiven a great debt by the king. The man then went to a fellow slave who owed him a pittance by comparison and demanded that every cent be repaid and had him thrown into prison. When the king heard of the incident, he called the first man to him and said, “ ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:23–35).

In that parable Jesus gives a picture of God’s saving mercy in relation to forgiving others (vv. 21–22). The first man pleaded with God for mercy and received it. The fact that he, in turn, was unmerciful was so inconsistent with his own salvation that he was chastened until he repented. The Lord will chasten, if need be, to produce repentance in a stubborn child. Mercy to others is a mark of salvation. When we do not show it, we may be disciplined until we do. When we hold back mercy, God restricts His flow of mercy to us, and we forfeit blessing. The presence of chastening and the absence of blessing attend an unmerciful believer.

If we have received from a holy God unlimited mercy that cancels our unpayable debt of sin-we who had no righteousness but were poor in spirit, mourning over our load of sin in beggarly, helpless condition, wretched and doomed, meek before almighty God, hungry and thirsty for a righteousness we did not have and could not attain-it surely follows that we should be merciful to others.[1]


7 This beatitude is akin to Psalm 18:25 (reading “merciful” [ASV] instead of “faithful” [NIV]; following MT [v. 26], not LXX [17:26]; cf. Pr 14:21). Mercy embraces both forgiveness for the guilty and compassion for the suffering and needy. No particular object of the demanded mercy is specified, because mercy is to be a function of Jesus’ disciples, not of the particular situation that calls it forth. The theme is common in Matthew (6:12–15; 9:13; 12:7; 18:33–34). The reward is not mercy shown by others but by God (cf. the saying preserved in 1 Clem. 13:2). This does not mean our mercy is the causal ground of God’s mercy but its occasional ground (see comments at 6:14–15). This beatitude, too, is tied to the context. “It is ‘the meek’ who are also ‘the merciful’. For to be meek is to acknowledge to others that we are sinners; to be merciful is to have compassion on others, for they are sinners too” (Stott, Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 48, emphasis his).[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 186–197). 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. 164). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

JANUARY 4 SHOW ME THY GLORY

Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight.

—Exodus 33:13

Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking. Moses used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing Him better. “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight” (Exodus 33:13); and from there he rose to make the daring request, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory” (33:18). God was frankly pleased by this display of ardor, and the next day called Moses into the mount, and there in solemn procession made all His glory pass before him.

David’s life was a torrent of spiritual desire, and his psalms ring with the cry of the seeker and the glad shout of the finder. Paul confessed the mainspring of his life to be his burning desire after Christ. “That I may know him” (Philippians 3:10), was the goal of his heart, and to this he sacrificed everything. POG015-016

Lord, make Your glory known to me and let me learn from Moses, David, Paul and others that deep longing that results in intimate knowledge of You. Amen. [1]


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

January 4 Guarding Against Sin

“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

✧✧✧

Knowing and obeying God’s Word helps us walk worthy by protecting us from sin.

While we are discussing the importance of knowing right doctrine before right duty, let’s see one way knowing the Bible helps us to walk worthy: it protects us from sin. From time to time you might hear people who have a fatalistic attitude toward sin saying, “I couldn’t help myself” or “The Devil made me do it.” Such excuses are foolish for Christians to make since God has given us the means to resist temptation.

The psalmist said, “Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:11). Without knowledge, we are defenseless and vulnerable. Knowing God’s truth—by study and by application—enables us to say no to sin and yes to righteousness. Anyone who puts his faith in Jesus Christ but who does not keep God’s Word constantly at the forefront of his mind will find himself entrapped in sin again and again.

Although we must know God’s Word to defend ourselves against sin and to obey God’s will, there is a danger. Once we know His truth, we are held accountable for what we know.

Second Peter 2:21 speaks of apostates, those who knew about Jesus Christ but returned to their former life without ever committing themselves to Him: “It would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.” James 4:17 says, “To one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

So not knowing is better than knowing and not obeying. What’s best, of course, is knowing the Word and obeying it, because it is our spiritual nourishment: “Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). For a Christian, neglecting the Word is spiritual starvation.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask forgiveness for times you have known the right thing to do but have not done it.

For Further Study: Read about a young man who gave in to temptation in Proverbs 7. Contrast him with Joseph in Genesis 39. What was the difference between them? ✧ Think about how Psalm 119:9 relates to them, and to you.[1]


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

January 3 Daily Help

ALL my springs are in thee, and if thou hast all thy springs in God, thy heart will be full enough. If thou dost go to the foot of Calvary, there will thy heart be bathed in love and gratitude. If thou dost frequent the vale of retirement, and there talk with thy God, it is there that thy heart shall be full of calm resolve. If thou goest out with thy master to the hill of Olivet, and dost with him look down upon a wicked Jerusalem, and weep over it with him, then will thy heart be full of love for never-dying souls.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 7). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

January 3, 2018 : Evening Verse Of The Day

25 The words “make his face shine upon you” take us back to the experience of Moses on Mount Sinai. There the epiphany of the Lord appeared to Moses (see Ex 34:29–35), and he experienced God’s presence in a dramatic and direct manner. (As elsewhere, I follow Claus Westermann in using the term “theophany” to describe an appearance of God, but “epiphany” to describe an experience of his grand descent.) As his glory caused Moses’ face to shine, so the Lord desired to make his presence known to all his people. When Moses was on the mountain, it was in the context of terror; all the physical signs of the epiphany of God in Exodus 19–20 provoked trepidation on the part of the people. But God had come down in grace; his revelation was of mercy. Hence we have the splendidly suitable tie of the light of his face and the grace of his presence in the words: “[May] the Lord make his face shine upon you / and be gracious to you.”

Again, and throughout the prayer, the pronoun “you” is in the singular in the Hebrew text; this was a prayer for the community, but its force was to be realized in the life of the individual. Only in the introductory and concluding formulas are the plurals used.[1]


6:25 The idea of the phrase make His face shine is that of pleasure in the presence of God, of an intimate experience that is not unlike that experienced by Moses when he talked with God on Mount Sinai (Ex. 34:29–35). The people as a whole would have some sense of the God’s glorious presence in their lives.[2]


6:25his face to shine upon you. God’s presence is like sunshine (Ps. 19:1–11). A shining face is a smiling face, a pledge of God’s good favor (Ps. 80:3, 7, 19).[3]


6:25his face The Hebrew word panim (used here and in v. 26) refers to the physical face. It also may idiomatically refer to someone’s presence because seeing a face required being in the person’s physical presence (compare Exod 33:20). In the ancient Near East, including the ot, when a deity’s face shines, it is a sign of favor (for example, Pss 31:16; 80:3, 7, 19).[4]


6:25 make his face to shine upon you. Here is a vivid figure for God looking favorably upon His worshipers. The closer one’s access to the face of God, the greater the blessing.[5]


[1] Allen, R. B. (2012). Numbers. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Numbers–Ruth (Revised Edition) (Vol. 2, p. 146). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 203). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 275). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Nu 6:25). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 203). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

January 3: Finding Comfort in a Cynic’s Words

Genesis 5; Matthew 5; Ecclesiastes 1:12–18

“I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after the wind” (Eccl 1:14). These aren’t exactly the words you want to hear in the morning—look who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The intention behind them, though, is actually quite comforting.

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes goes on to prove that he doesn’t need counseling, but instead should be our counselor: “What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted … I have acquired great wisdom … [But] in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Eccl 1:15–16, 18). And although we may want to deny this fact, it’s a truism that haunts all great people: we may help the hurting people in our world, but we will never be able to end the pain and knowledge alone will simply not get us there. Words on paper are not the solution. A manifesto, like the Declaration of Independence, may prompt great change, but what is it without action? It is vanity. It’s a striving after the wind.

Delusion of importance has crushed many great people’s efforts. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it’s what keeps most people from becoming what God wants them to be. And it’s not just the delusion of grandeur; it’s the delusion of insignificance or the distraction of focus. You become what you do, and what you think, write, speak, or feel, is meaningless if it’s not what you do.

We as Christians are meant to act. As Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, by what will it be made salty? It is good for nothing any longer except to be thrown outside and trampled under foot by people” (Matt 5:13). If we are salt, let’s be salty. If we are light, let’s shine brightly (Matt 5:14). Anything other than that is vain. It’s searching for knowledge for knowledge’s sake. It leaves both us and the world empty.

There is comfort to be found in the Preacher of Ecclesiastes’ words in that he is telling us, albeit through harshness and well-put cynicism, that we’re meant for more than we usually recognize. He calls us to rise to that: to shun the unimportant and focus on God’s work. What good is wisdom and knowledge if it’s not for that purpose?

What are you currently delusional about? What’s vain that you’re doing that God wishes for you to change?

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.