Daily Archives: January 5, 2018

January 5 Cultivating a Heavenly Perspective

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

✧✧✧

Christians hold a dual citizenship. We are citizens of earth, but, more importantly, we are also citizens of Heaven.

It’s been said that some Christians are so heavenly-minded, they’re no earthly good. But usually the opposite is true. Many Christians are so enamored with this present world that they no longer look forward to Heaven. They have everything they want right here. The health, wealth, and prosperity doctrine has convinced them that Christians can have it all, so they pursue “the good life” with a vengeance.

Despite the prevalence of such thinking, the old Negro spiritual says well, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.”

Paul reminds us of that truth in Philippians 3:20: “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s why we must set our minds on heavenly, not on earthly, things (Col. 3:1–2). Our deepest affections and highest aspirations should center there. Our actions and decisions should reflect heavenly priorities, not earthly indulgences.

Even though we live in a sin-stained world and must constantly fight against its corrupting influences, God hasn’t left us stranded. He extends to us all the rights and privileges of our heavenly citizenship. Let that assurance encourage you today to live to His glory and to rely on His heavenly provisions. Take care not to let impure aspirations or trivial pursuits distract you from your heavenly priorities.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Tell Jesus how thankful and full of praise you are because of the place He is preparing for you in Heaven (John 14:1–3). ✧ Pray for a greater awareness of the fleeting value of this world and the surpassing value of the world to come (1 John 2:17).

For Further Study: Read Revelation 4, 5, 21. ✧ What primary activity are the inhabitants of Heaven engaged in? ✧ List some of Heaven’s blessings.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

JANUARY 5 DO NOT MISTAKE THE TRUE MEANING OF THE CROSS

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our LORD Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

GALATIANS 6:14

All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles.

It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial, the differences fundamental!

From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life with encouragement for a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist tries to show that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. The modern view is that the new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him!

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere, but it is as false as it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. In Roman times, the man who took up his cross and started down the road was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life redirected: he was going out to have it ended! The cross did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more!

The race of Adam is under death sentence. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. Thus God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life![1]


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

January 5, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

U.S. payroll gains slowed by more than forecast in December, wages picked up slightly and the jobless rate held at the lowest level since 2000, adding to signs of a full-employment economy. Employers added 148,000 workers, compared with the 190,000 median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Congressional leaders will seek to lift the U.S. debt limit in February by attaching a measure to a government funding bill, a House Republican familiar with the talks said Thursday.

Across the cobbled square in the city of Weimar where Germany’s national assembly met in 1919, plans to mark that first, stumbling attempt at a democratic government have taken on greater significance in recent weeks. The new center for events dedicated to the short-lived Weimar Republic is due to open in 2020, but it’s already a timely reminder of the past as the country struggles with political gridlock and the rise of the far right.

The U.S. is suspending security assistance to Pakistan as the Trump administration escalates pressure on the government in Islamabad to prevent terrorist groups from finding safe harbor in the country.

The Justice Department’s decision to free federal prosecutors to enforce marijuana laws in states that have legalized the drug adds to the political burdens of congressional Republicans trying to hold their House and Senate majorities in an already challenging election year.

Apple Inc. said all Mac computers and iOS devices, like iPhones and iPads, are affected by chip security flaws unearthed this week, but the company stressed there are no known exploits impacting users.

AP Top Stories

The Trump administration is considering prosecuting state and local officials for not fully cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency’s acting director said Tuesday in an escalation of his threats against so-called “sanctuary cities” and the undocumented immigrants who live in them.

The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday reversed official policy that had tolerated the growing state-based movement to legalize marijuana sales, just three days after California formally permitted recreational use of the drug.

The feared “bomb cyclone” surged up the Eastern coast Thursday and slammed into Boston, unleashing treacherous, recording-setting flooding that swamped downtown, leaving office workers trapped and drivers marooned in freezing waters chock-full of ice floes. Rescuers used boats to pluck people from hi-rises and floating cars as snow and driving winds brought more misery.

America’s Muslim population is growing at a steady rate ― so much so that Muslims are projected to one day outpace Jews as the country’s second-largest religious group.

Russia has warned the United States not to interfere in what Moscow calls Iran’s “domestic affairs”.

The nation’s overall cancer death rate declined 1.7 percent in 2015, the latest indication of steady, long-term progress against the disease, according to a new report by the American Cancer Society.

The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history” and Western governments are failing to stop it, a report from a Catholic organization said.

Republican David Yancey on Thursday won a tied election for a Virginia House of Delegates seat when state officials picked his name out of a bowl.

Tobacco giant Philip Morris International took out full-page ads in several British newspapers this week proclaiming the company’s 2018 New Year’s resolution as “trying to give up cigarettes.” “Our ambition is to stop selling cigarettes in the UK,” the ad says.

French President Emmanuel Macron plans to introduce legislation that will crack down on so-called “fake news” during French election campaigns, calling the spread of such misinformation a threat to democracy.

New orders for U.S.-made goods increased in November for a fourth straight month, but business spending on equipment appeared to be cooling after robust growth in 2017.

The U.S. trade deficit in November reached the highest level in almost six years as an increase in imports exceeded a gain in shipments overseas, Commerce Department data showed Friday. Gap grew 3.2% to $50.5b (est. $49.9b deficit) from a revised $48.9b in the prior month (prev. $48.7b)

BBC

The Australian government has said it aspires to be the world’s leading exporter of medicinal cannabis.

North Korea has accepted an offer to attend high-level talks next week, South Korean officials have said.

China is issuing long-term visas to lure highly skilled people from abroad to work in the country.

WND

The extremist ISIL group’s branch in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula has taken a simmering dispute with the Palestinian Hamas group based in nearby Gaza to new levels in a 22-minute video calling on its followers to attack the group and executing what it said was a collaborator.

The blood moon or blue supermoon is coming in a rare lunar event which happens only every 150 years. Three separate celestial events – a supermoon, a blue moon and a full lunar eclipse – will occur simultaneously on January 31. Just weeks after 2018’s first supermoon of January 1 and 2, this astronomical rarity of events is being called a super blue blood moon eclipse.

As dozens of its clinics closed amid a dwindling U.S. abortion rate, Planned Parenthood has moved to diversify its business model by getting into transgender hormone therapy.

Desmond Napoles from Brooklyn in New York City is launching Haus of Amazing, the ‘first and only drag club for kids,’ where no adults are allowed.


The Briefing — Friday, January 5, 2018

1) 2018 is going to be a pivotal year on the question of marijuana

USA Today (Colin Atagi) –
Pot sales now legal in California, but you can’t find it everywhere yet

2) If something is legal, is it now moral?

New York Times (Thomas Fuller) –
Recreational Pot Is Officially Legal in California

USA Today (Trevor Hughes) –
What California’s legalization of marijuana means for you

Washington Post (Matt Zapotosky, Sari Horwitz and Joel Achenbach) –
Use of legalized marijuana threatened as Sessions rescinds Obama-era directive that eased federal enforcement

3) The moral crisis over a baby in Texas and the vexing question of surrogate parenting

WFAA (Kevin Reece and Jobin Panicker) –
Surrogate-born baby’s very life at center of legal fight

The Atlantic (Katie O’Reilly) –
When Parents and Surrogates Disagree on Abortion

4) The lessons of history from Iran

New York Times (Thomas Erdbrink) –
As Iran Erupts in Protest, Tehran Is Notably Quiet


Apple: All iPhones, Macs, and iPads Are Affected by Meltdown and Spectre CPU Bugs

(Breitbart) In a recent statement, Apple has revealed that nearly all Apple computers, tablets, and phones have been affected by the recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre CPU bugs. Following the publishing of a report on the CPU bugs by Google, hardware manufacturers and software developers scrambled to detect and fix system vulnerabilities. Many tech firms have now released patches to bolster system security and mitigate the CPU bugs. For many years it was believed that Apple’s computer systems were much less vulnerable to hacking in comparison to Windows and Android systems, but it seems that Meltdown and Spectre have left every device running a modern computer processor vulnerable.View article →


January 4, 2018
MICHAEL OBERNDORF — A whole lot of us Deplorables, who had the unmitigated temerity to vote for the interloper, Donald Trump, have served in capacities which required us to take an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect it not only from foreign enemies, but domestic ones as well. Over the 229 years that have elapsed since the Constitution was ratified in June of 1788, we have endured and overcome numerous attempts by foreign nations to defeat us militarily, and some economically. However, domestic threats have been rare. Other than the occasional traitor, we have had no serious, well organized threats internally, the Civil War being the obvious exception, until the communists. However, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the “mainstream” media declared the Cold War over and communism defeated, and thus, all the communists in the U.S.A., aka, Stalin’s Useful Idiots, magically disappeared. Poof…. (more)

January 4, 2018
PETER LEMISKA — On December 25th, the New York Times published an editorial by liberal columnist Paul Krugman. It was entitled “America Is Not Yet Lost,” and it was a message wrapped in hope, but filled with hate. Still fuming about the 2016 election and its aftermath, Krugman ranted that Donald Trump has proven himself unfit for office – – morally and intellectually, and that the Republican Party is composed of “cynical apparatchiks, willing to sell out every principle – – and every shred of dignity – – as long as donors get big tax cuts.”… (more)

January 3, 2018

TWINCITIES.COM — Tina Smith raised her right hand and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution this morning, replacing Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken after a series of allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct. The former Minnesota lieutenant governor took her oath at 11:04 a.m. Central time to be followed by a reenactment in the historic former Senate chamber. Smith becomes the 22nd female senator, a record number of women serving at the same time in the 100-member body…. (more)


January 3, 2018
HAARETZ.COM — In the summer of 2009, as the forces of the Iranian government brutally repressed mass demonstrations protesting a stolen election, the United States sent the people of Iran an unmistakable message. The man regarded as an international beacon of hope offered them no encouragement…. (more)

January 3, 2018

ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The New York Times’ Russian Reset continues. My weekend column argued that the Democrats and the media are scrambling to pull together a new origination account of the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. The original origination account has become a political liability because it centered on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who featured prominently in the so-called Steele dossier…. (more)


January 3, 2018

LEO HOHMANN — Pictures and videos coming out of Iran are starting to look more like a full-on revolution than a protest movement, but American news agencies continue to be slow to react, describing the historic protests as mostly about the country’s weak economy and chastising President Trump for cheering them on. That’s woefully under-reporting the depth of what is really going on in Iran, say experts on the country’s history and current political environment…. (more)


January 3, 2018
BEN SHAPIRO — Last week, former Obama national security advisor Susan Rice – – she of the infamously shifting Benghazi explanations – – published an op-ed in the New York Times dedicated to the proposition that Trump’s “America first” foreign policy has “relinquish[ed] the nation’s moral authority in these difficult times.” According to Rice, Trump has shifted away from seizing “opportunities to expand prosperity, freedom and security” around the globe…. (more)

January 3, 2018
THE HILL — Republicans on key congressional committees say they have uncovered new irregularities and contradictions inside the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server. For the first time, investigators say they have secured written evidence that the FBI believed there was evidence that some laws were broken when the former secretary of State and her top aides transmitted classified information through her insecure private email server, lawmakers and investigators told The Hill…. (more)

January 3, 2018
PAGE SIX — The federal grand jury handing down indictments for special counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t appear to include any supporters of President Donald Trump, according to one witness who recently testified before the panel…. (more)

January 3, 2018
PATRICK BUCHANAN — What caused the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016, which evolved into the criminal investigation that is said today to imperil the Trump presidency? As James Comey’s FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have, for 18 months, failed to prove Donald Trump’s “collusion” with the Kremlin, what was it, in mid-2016, that justified starting this investigation?… (more)

January 3, 2018
ALICIA POWE — Leftists are demanding Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, R-Calif., be put in prison for probing how federal law enforcement conspired to stop Donald Trump from becoming president…. (more)

January 3, 2018
DAILY CALLER — Huma Abedin forwarded sensitive State Department emails, including passwords to government systems, to her personal Yahoo email account before every single Yahoo account was hacked, a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of emails released as part of a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch shows…. (more)

January 3, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump called on Huma Abedin, a former Clinton aide, Tuesday to be jailed for allegedly giving out classified information. “Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others,” Mr. Trump tweeted…. (more)

January 3, 2018
NEWSMAX — The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says politicians who run sanctuary cities should be charged with crimes. Thomas Homan said in an interview Tuesday with Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto that the Department of Justice needs to file charges against municipalities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities and deny them funding…. (more)

January 2, 2018

NEWSMAX — Sen. Orrin Hatch’s retirement announcement Tuesday triggered an outpouring on Twitter from both critics and admirers of the Utah Republican. The Washington Post’s conservative columnist, Jennifer Rubin, tweeted she was glad to see the veteran and “apologist” for President Donald Trump retire…. (more)


January 2, 2018
NEWSMAX — Former Texas congressman and House Majority leader Tom Delay said Tuesday the race for retiring Utah GOP Sen. Orin Hatch’s seat might end up being a contest about President Donald Trump. In an interview on Newsmax TV’s “Newsmax Now,” DeLay said both 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Utah congressman Jason Chafetz could be interested in the veteran’s Senate spot…. (more)

January 2, 2018
JOE KOVACS — In the wake of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s announcement that he would retire early next year at the end of his term, there have been numerous reports suggesting former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was considering running for that seat…. (more)

January 2, 2018
NEWSMAX — Six senators, including both Democrats and Republicans, have introduced a bill in the Senate that would eliminate paperless voting machines from U.S. elections, while also calling for audits to reduce dangers of foreign government interference…. (more)

January 2, 2018

NEWSMAX — North Korea announced Wednesday that it will reopen a cross-border communication channel with South Korea, officials in Seoul said, another sign of easing animosity between the rivals after a year that saw the North conduct nuclear bomb and missile tests and both the Koreas and Washington issue threats of war…. (more)


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

January 2, 2018

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


January 1, 2018

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


January 1, 2018

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


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

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

News – 1/5/2018

5 Biblical Prophecies Fulfilled in 2017 and 5 More Expected in 2018
A retrospective of Breaking Israel News reveals that so many remarkable and unprecedented events occurred in 2017, conforming to prophecy and bringing the world closer to the Messianic era. Other articles presented hints of prophecies that are still waiting to be revealed in their entirety.

Israeli Lawmakers Approve Preliminary Bill on Death Penalty for Terrorists
Israeli lawmakers on Wednesday approved a preliminary piece of legislation easing the threshold for military courts to carry out executions of convicted terrorists. The bill was approved in a 52-49 vote in its preliminary reading by the Knesset. Currently, military courts have the power to carry out executions only if a panel of three military judges passes a sentence unanimously. The new bill would lower that requirement to a majority verdict.

Russia: US demand for UN meeting on Iran is ‘destructive’
The United Nations Security Council on Friday afternoon will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the recent protests in Iran. The uprising, the largest since a series of mass protests in 2009, began in the city of Mashhad, when demonstrators denounced Iranian President Rouhani over the failure to reduce the country’s high unemployment rates. Efforts to contain the protests have led to the deaths of at least 21 people. However, Russia considers the US-initiated meeting to be “harmful and destructive,” RIA reported

Justice Department investigating Clinton Foundation over ‘pay to play’ allegations
The Justice Department has launched a new investigation into allegations the Clinton Foundation used “pay to play” politics while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state, Fox News has confirmed. A source familiar with the investigation told Fox News late Thursday the investigation is being led by the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI in Little Rock, Ark.

‘World is doomed’: Erdogan denounces U.S. justice after Turkish banker trial
In his first public comments on Wednesday’s verdict, the Turkish president cast the case as American plot to undermine Turkey’s government and economy – an argument likely to resonate with nationalist supporters. A U.S. jury convicted an executive of Turkey’s majority state-owned Halkbank (HALKB.IS) of evading Iran sanctions, at the close of the trial which has strained relations between the NATO allies. Some of the court testimony implicated senior Turkish officials, including Erdogan.

ISIS declares war on Hamas with new video execution
The extremist ISIL group’s branch in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula has taken a simmering dispute with the Palestinian Hamas group based in nearby Gaza to new levels in a 22-minute video calling on its followers to attack the group and executing what it said was a collaborator. It’s an escalation that analysts say has the potential to destabilize an already fragile security situation in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave that Hamas has controlled for the past decade.

Pot bad, offshore drilling good: Trump rolls back two signature Obama-era policies
On the judicial front, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy that paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country. The Obama policy was to discourage federal prosecutors from charging people in states that had legalized pot. Sessions said that undermined the rule of law and he will now allow federal prosecutors in those states to decide how aggressively to enforce cannabis laws. On the energy front, the Trump administration moved to vastly expand offshore drilling in Atlantic waters near Maine, California’s Pacific Ocean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico — areas where drilling had been banned by Obama.

Egyptian academic under fire for lecture at Israeli university
One of Egypt’s most distinguished academics is facing a torrent of condemnation for traveling to Israel and giving a lecture at Tel Aviv University in violation of a taboo on “normalization” of relations. Sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, 79, attended an international conference about Egyptian society at the university on Tuesday and lectured to a packed auditorium on “Lessons from 100 Years of Changes in Egypt.

Israel privately urging Trump to back down from UNRWA funding threat
There were cries of joy in Israel Tuesday when the United States threatened to cease funding for the Palestinian refugee aid organization UNRWA as long as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to return to the negotiating table. But the Israeli Foreign Ministry, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has privately urged President Donald Trump’s administration to back down from its threat, according to an Israeli TV report Thursday.

U.S. issues new sanctions on Iran over missiles
The Treasury Department on Thursday sanctioned five Iran-based entities involved in Tehran’s ballistic missile program and announced its intent to add more sanctions on Iran over its treatment of anti-government protesters this past week, just as critical deadlines approach for US President Donald Trump on sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear work.

Syria war: ‘Russian strikes’ kill 25 in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta
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. The Syria Civil Defence said one of its rescue workers was among 18 people who died when what witnesses identified as Russian jets bombed Misraba. Another six people died in suspected Russian strikes on Arbin, it added.

Major chip flaws affect billions of devices
Two major flaws in computer chips could leave a huge number of computers and smartphones vulnerable to security concerns, researchers revealed Wednesday. And a U.S. government-backed body warned that the chips themselves need to be replaced to completely fix the problems. The flaws could allow an attacker to read sensitive data stored in the memory, like passwords, or look at what tabs someone has open on their computer, researchers found.

Genetically-modified animals could be sold in UK after Brexit, says Michael Gove
Genetically-modified animals could be sold in the UK after Brexit, Michael Gove has said. The Environment Secretary said that “bio-tech changes” are coming which will “challenge us to think about the future” as he suggested gene editing could be used to create “more valuable livestock”. But he admitted that the science was still “in its infancy” and that its use would raise “political and moral questions”.

Heavy rains, ferocious winds whip Israel from north to south
Israelis awoke to a morning of harsh weather conditions Friday as heavy rains and furious storms lashed the country from north to south, inflicting floods on various areas and causing trees to come crashing down on parked cars in Tel Aviv. Police officers and municipal crews were forced to nip the first signs of danger in the bud by the early morning after two drivers found themselves ensnared in a puddle 60cm deep at the HaSira Interchange in…Herzliya.

Strong Earthquakes Hit San Francisco And Mount St. Helens And Experts Warn They May Be Foreshocks For ‘Something Larger’
Just when it seemed like things may be settling down, two very unusual earthquakes have hit the west coast within the past couple of days.  A 4.4 magnitude quake struck Berkeley, California just prior to 3 AM on Thursday morning, and a 3.9 magnitude earthquake hit Mount St. Helens in Washington state on Wednesday.  Overall, there have been 68 earthquakes in the vicinity of Mount St. Helens since New Year’s Day, and there have been a total of 629 earthquakes in the state of California within the last 30 days.  Could it be possible that all of this activity is leading up to a historic seismic disaster on the west coast?

FBI Launches New Investigation Into The Clinton Foundation
The probe will focus on pay-for-play schemes and tax code violations.

Israel recently performed one of the greatest medical miracles in history
When we think of modern medicine, we think of pills and advanced scans. But we’d be overlooking a modern marvel: how advanced focused ultrasound technology has been used by Israelis to treat tremors.

Trump Announces Massive Expansion In Offshore Drilling; Environmentalists Outraged
In December 2017, during the twilight days of the previous administration, as one of Barack Obama’s last executive actions the former president formally blocked offshore oil and gas drilling in most of the Atlantic and Arctic Ocean, responding to a call from environmentalists who say the government needs to do more to prevent drilling in environmentally sensitive areas of U.S.-controlled oceans.

PM ‘concerned’ about Yemen crisis
Despite being almost eradicated worldwide, diphtheria is returning to Yemen as a result of the country’s civil war.

Lab Develops DNA Vaccine That Could Lead to One-Dose Flu Vaccination
…a professor in the university’s Department of Microbiology, explained the DNA vaccine in a news release, saying, “The current flu vaccine is an inactivated virus. The whole virus is first grown in eggs, then it’s inactivated and injected. DNA vaccines are different. Instead of producing the vaccines in eggs, we instead inject a genetic code for proteins from the virus into our own cells.

College Kid Makes Case For Infanticide
A University of Knoxville, Tenn., student claims it is okay to kill young children, because they cannot communicate like adults do, the pro-choice college male said in a video released Thursday.

Earthquake Alert: Swarms Reported Near Mt. Saint Helens Volcano
A magnitude 3.9 earthquake that hit near Mount St. Helens early Wednesday was followed by a swarm of aftershocks. This earthquake swarm is sparking fears that the volcano could be awakening once again.

John Kerry wanted Israel to abandon the strategically important Golan Heights – to ISIS
MK Motti Yogev to Arutz Sheva: We are in an amazing and wonderful time period. We are finished with the eight years of Obama’s freeze.

Are You OK With a Muslim Judge Being Sworn In With A Koran?
Patriots, are you comfortable having a Muslim Judge sworn in with her hand on the Koran? Is this even compatible with the U.S. Constitution?

North Korea Missile Hits Own City
A North Korea missile reportedly hit one of its own cities and destroyed several buildings after a failed launch during a test, The Diplomat reported citing a U.S. government source. News of the failure sharply escalates concerns that such an errant missile could lead to war if it lands in a country like Japan or South Korea.

Trump pushes to scale back welfare programs has Republicans on edge
Emboldened by his victory in the passage of the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in decades, President Donald Trump now wants to rein in social welfare programs even though some Republicans are wary of tackling the volatile issue in a congressional election year.

DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison Endorses Antifa (A Terrorist Group) 
DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison has stoked controversy by appearing to endorse Antifa, a group that is formally classified by the federal government as a domestic terror organization.


Strong Earthquakes Hit San Francisco And Mount St. Helens And Experts Warn They May Be Foreshocks For ‘Something Larger’

Just when it seemed like things may be settling down, two very unusual earthquakes have hit the west coast within the past couple of days.  A 4.4 magnitude quake struck Berkeley, California just prior to 3 AM on Thursday morning, and a 3.9 magnitude earthquake hit Mount St. Helens in Washington state on Wednesday.  Overall, there have been 68 earthquakes in the vicinity of Mount St. Helens since New Year’s Day, and there have been a total of 629 earthquakes in the state of California within the last 30 days.  Could it be possible that all of this activity is leading up to a historic seismic disaster on the west coast? (Read More…)

Mid-Day Snapshot

Jan. 5, 2018

Trump Drills Another Obama Regulation

He reverses the moratorium against developing new energy-extracting sites in the nation’s coastal waters.

The Foundation

“It is very imprudent to deprive America of any of her privileges. If her commerce and friendship are of any importance to you, they are to be had on no other terms than leaving her in the full enjoyment of her rights.” —Benjamin Franklin

This ‘n’ That

  • Five terrible reasons to become a pastor. Don’t take that call too lightly, brother; only God truly calls men into ministry.
  • Oh, Spurgeon, you say everything so well!
  • It’s that time of year. Out with the old, in with the new.
  • Jesus Christ is the Author of salvation. Do not miss this great article by Amy Mantravadi.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • This looks like it will be a good read (HT to Paula!).
  • So do these. My Amazon Wishlist is growing!
  • These look delicious, but I’d have to eliminate the cheese.
  • Great stuff from Michelle Lesley to start the new year.
  • Note to self: eating ketchup packets is bad.
  • Florida friends, get some blankets and keep the iguanas warm!
  • The president of the Mormon church has died. This is sobering to consider friends, for unless he repented and trusted in Christ before his death, he has entered into eternal condemnation.
  • You only get one life on this earth.
  • Although, for some limbs, “life” goes on.
If God has given you his Son, it is more than if he had given you a whole world! Be settled in the belief of this great truth, that all things in the world are nothing without Christ. Man, in the midst of worldly riches, is poor without Christ. —William Whitaker

Weekly Watchman for 01/05/2018

Coming Out of the Darkness of Liberal Thought

On today’s show we answer your questions and read your comments from this week. Several listeners have written in about how liberal, anti-biblical thought and dialogue seems to be taking over everywhere. Other subjects we will discuss include:

Islam being called an “Abrahamic Faith” by some pastors.

How can Christians support Donald Trump given his caustic personality?

Pastors and churches sitting on the sidelines instead of fighting secular culture and trends.

A husband and new Christian convert who is sending a lot of money to Word Faith organizations, and his wife’s concern that they are spiraling into financial ruin because of it.

And an email from a recovering liberal who is now seeking God’s truth in His Word with great vigor.

Read more


Opposing Perspectives on Iran, Government

While most of the international intrigue has been over North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities to attack America, something very interesting is happening in Iran. The radical Muslim nation under the grips of the powerful Ayatollahs has imprisoned and killed Christians, homosexuals and anyone opposing them. But now the people of Iran are rising up in opposition and this isn’t the first time. Under President Obama the U.S. said nothing against the brutal regime in Iran because the president wanted his precious “nuclear treaty” with Iran – a treaty that has proven to be another example of naive thinking and failed foreign policy.

But now President Trump is supporting the uprising to overthrow a brutal Islamic regime and the liberal press is blasting him. We look at a couple of articles and perspectives on this simmering world-stage issue.

In our first segment we check in with Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Council to look at the difference between state and federal government process, as well as pending legislation that would address “non-discrimination” ordinances being passed in Wisconsin that threaten religious conscience and liberty.

Read more


Public Education Undermining Parents, and Other ‘New Year’ Challenges

It’s bad enough that public education teaches evolution as fact, ignoring God’s Word and the option to teach another view of creation. It’s also sad today’s children are encouraged to “explore their sexuality and gender” without talking with their parents; but now comes a story from West Bend, Wisconsin where Middle School students are being tested to see if they are “privileged,” seemingly concluding they should feel guilty if they come from a religious, white, heterosexual family with a stable environment.

We cover an article written by Todd Starnes exposing the apparent agenda to plant seeds of immorality and indoctrinate middle school children into the radical liberal agenda. This survey given to kids might surprise you. We also discuss an article by our own David Fiorazo sharing insight on eight major topics Christians should watch and discern as we go through 2018.

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Eight Areas of Interest to Christians in 2018

Israel, America, Trump, ISIS, media bias, Planned Parenthood, Hollywood, technology, transgenderism, “tolerance,” and a lukewarm Christian church. Overall, 2017 was a faith-testing year for many of us. Good will continue being called evil and truth will continue to be attacked and redefined. If America stays on its current course down this destructive road where there is no longer objective truth or fixed standards of morality, we’re in big trouble. BUT GOD…

We don’t need to be news junkies, but we should be informed and knowledgeable so we can watch, pray, and be ready for whatever the Lord will bring in 2018. In no particular order, here are some key subjects to consider…

Read more


Headlines – 1/5/2018

‘Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem threatens global peace’

Why do US evangelicals support Trump’s Jerusalem policy?

Guatemala offers to help countries move their embassies to Jerusalem

White House ‘reviewing’ aid to Palestinians after threats to slash funds

Netanyahu urging Americans not to cut funding for UNRWA

Top minister backs US threat to cut UNRWA aid, contradicting Foreign Ministry

Caroline Glick: Trump kicks America’s Palestinian habit

Gazans irked by early-morning calls to prayer – It’s against Islam’s instructions to ‘annoy’ people, says one resident

Hamas members in East Jerusalem could lose residency under new bill

Thousands in Gaza protest against worsening living conditions

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

Hamas leader: Only force will work against Israel

IDF appears to have hit Gaza tunnel in response to mortar attacks

Islamic State in Sinai declares war on Hamas in gruesome execution video

Stranded in Iraq, some Jews say Israel abandoned them

German man sentenced to prison for making fun of Holocaust

Iran blames Israel-backed CIA plot for week of protests

Iran complaint to UN: Trump’s ‘absurd’ tweets incite more protests

UN Security Council to meet on Iran protests, at US request

Russia: US call for UN emergency session on Iran is ‘destructive’

Macron: Change in Iran must come at home, not from abroad

Iran unrest: it’s the economy, stupid, not a cry for freedom or foreign plotters

Iranian army commander offers to help police with protests

Yara Shahidi Compares Iran Protests With Black Lives Matter: We’re All Interconnected

How Iran Became the Dominant Power in the Middle East

Analysis: How Iran is working to destroy Israel from within

Iranian Hackers: Sophisticated, Frustrated and a Rising Global Threat

White House, senators seek Iran measure ahead of nuclear deadline

With nuke deal tottering, Iran protests could be death blow or saving grace

US penalises companies linked to Iran missile programme

Egypt arrests 75, including officials, with corruption

Saudi Arabia: No evidence shows it had a hand in 9/11 attack

America’s longest war: US remains in Afghanistan

U.S. suspends at least $900 million in security aid to Pakistan

After Trump tweet, Pakistan talks of ‘response’ to US action

China says it welcomes efforts to improve ties on Korean peninsula

US agrees to delay joint military exercises with South Korea until after Olympics

Trump, South Korean president agree to keep up ‘maximum pressure’ on North Korea

North Korea Threat ‘Severest Since WWII’, Says Japan’s Shinzo Abe

Mexican psychic predicts no US-North Korea nuclear war

Cash-Strapped Venezuela Offers to Pay for Medicines With Diamonds

Trump push to scale back welfare programs has Republicans on edge

The Dow Jones industrial average tops 25,000 for first time, continuing its history-making rise

Trump-Bannon feud drives wedge through their populist movement

Bannon calls Trump a ‘great man’ and brushes off uproar over tell-all book

Meltdown and Spectre: ‘worst ever’ CPU bugs affect virtually all computers

Tech giant is rolling out new robots to replace workers in hotels, airports and supermarkets

India’s national ID database is reportedly accessible for less than $10

Scientists weigh in on 6 volcanoes that are heating up in 2018

4.4 Earthquake rocks San Francisco Bay Area

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 28,000ft

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

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Heavy rains, floods and even hail batter Israel’s north in worst storm of season

Israel’s New year rain follows driest December in 18 years

Record-setting blizzard buries New England in over a foot of snow, brings travel to a halt

‘Bomb cyclone’ forces world’s largest passenger jet to land at small New York airport

It’s so cold in Florida, iguanas are falling from trees

Genetically-modified animals could be sold in UK after Brexit, says Michael Gove

Republicans to Jeff Sessions: Get Your Hands Off Our Weed

Overwhelmed By Swelling Flu Cases, Some ERs Having To Turn Ambulances Away

Planned Parenthood Annual Report: 82 Abortions for Every Adoption Referral

Christian Persecution and Genocide Is Worse Now Than “Any Time in History,” Report Says

Russell Moore – Does Jeremiah 29:11 Apply to You?

Sandy Simpson – A Commentary on the Museum of the Bible

Topless Dancing at Christalignment “Workshop”-Does Kris Vallotton Approve?

Bethel: Stretching the truth with… Destiny Pants?

Ed Stetzer Promotes False Prophetess, Christine Caine

Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report: 321,384 Abortions Performed by Organization in 2016-2017

Facebook Temporarily Removed ‘Warriors for Christ’ Facebook Page

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:13 PM PST

Facebook Temporarily Removed ‘Warriors for Christ’ Facebook PageFacebook temporarily shut down the page “Warriors for Christ.” Why? The official corporate line is that the page violated the social media giant’s community standards. But the Christ fighters have a few other thoughts — namely, that Facebook is simply showing its pro-LGBT, anti-Christian bias. This, from the page administrator, Nellchy Kentley, in a letter to Pamela Geller: “On 29th December 2017, Facebook shut down our page because of our biblical stance on marriage.

Facebook has been after our page for many years and often censored our posts simply because they contained truth articles on statistics, Bible verses and memes that exposed the hypocrisy of the left.” Following a petition drive, and pressure from the public — including the page’s 225,000 or so followers — Facebook reinstated the page. But what’s up with a prayer page that makes it so hated by Facebook censors? FULL STORY

 

Progressive Christianity Is As Much Of A Threat To Your Kids’ Faith As Atheism

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:06 PM PST

Progressive Christianity Is As Much Of A Threat To Your Kids’ Faith As Atheism(By PNW) In our backyard we used to have a beautiful lime tree. One day I noticed that a thorny vine of some kind had started growing around it. It looked enough like the rest of the tree that I figured it was just another stage of growth. A quick Google search told me thorns often grow around citrus trees, so I didn’t think much more about it. Then, within a couple of months, the thorns took over the tree and it began to die. A gardener looked at it and said these particular thorns weren’t part of the tree at all. It turns out they were a foreign invader.

Had the foreign invader looked more foreign, I would have realized the need to uproot it immediately. But because it shared surface-level similarities with the tree, I was fooled into thinking it was all the same thing. I often write here about the threat hostile atheists pose to kids’ faith today. But atheism is not the only threat. In fact, there’s a particular threat that can be even more dangerous because it less obviously requires attention. It’s like the thorny plant that gradually killed my lime tree because I didn’t even realize it was foreign. READ MORE

 

PROPHECY WATCH: Visits by religious Jews to Temple Mount increased by 75% in 2017

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 01:02 PM PST

PROPHECY WATCH: Visits by religious Jews to Temple Mount increased by 75% in 2017The number of visits by religious Jews to the Temple Mount has increased by 75% in 2017, compared to 2016, according to the Yera’eh organization, which encourages Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount. In the past year, there have been 25,628 religious Jews’ visits to the Temple Mount, compared with 14,626 last year, 11,001 visits in 2015, 11,754 in 2014, and only 5,658 visits by religious Jews in 2009.

Religious Jews are counted separately from the other visitors and are not allowed to enter the Temple Mount compound without a police escort. Assaf Fried, spokesman for the Temple Organizations Headquarters, who promote Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount, attributes the increase in visits to the fact that, other than one attack on the Temple Mount in July, 2017, in which two Border Police officers were killed by Israeli Arabs, security in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount is perceived by the Israeli public as being relatively calm. READ MORE

Pakistan promises ‘cold-blooded’ response to Trump’s abrupt aid cut

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:59 AM PST

Pakistan promises ‘cold-blooded’ response to Trump’s abrupt aid cutIslamabad has warned Donald Trump against endangering US-Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan, promising a “cold-blooded” response to Washington’s aid cut. The US carried out some 60,000 attacks from Pakistani soil, it said.  In a seething series of tweets, Pakistan’s foreign minister ripped into Trump’s accusation that Islamabad has double-crossed the US in Afghanistan, noting that Pakistan

“went through a bloodbath” after “blindly” trusting Washington.  “You ask what we’ve done? From our bases you carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan… thousands of our civilians and soldiers became victims of the war initiated by you,” Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif wrote. Citing Pakistan’s “unending saga of sacrifices” in the fight against terrorism, Asif wrote that “history teaches us not to blindly trust the US… [we] will not compromise our dignity anymore.”  READ MORE

Couple Told They Should Abort Child With Fatal Condition Returns to Same Hospital 3 Years Later With Their Healthy Little Girl

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:49 AM PST

Couple Told They Should Abort Child With Fatal Condition Returns to Same Hospital 3 Years Later With Their Healthy Little GirlA young couple who were once encouraged by doctors to abort their little baby girl due to her “fatal” heart condition has returned to the same hospital with their bouncing, healthy child. Back when their unborn daughter, Amnesty, was developing in the womb, married couple Dusty and Krystal Marshall were told she required urgent surgery to repair her spine. But, when they made it to the medical center for the operation, they were further informed that their baby girl did not qualify for the surgery on

account of a heart defect that she had developed. “Because she had a heart issue, spinal bifida and a clubbed foot, it was possible that she had a chromosomal defect. That really brought up the concern for maybe having an abortion,” Krystal explained in a new video. But the couple decided to reject the medical advice, accept the risks, grab hold of their faith and choose life for their baby. They were so impressed by the staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado that they chose to move their entire family out there to go ahead with the pregnancy. READ MORE

Paula White on White House Faith Agenda: If You Thought Last Year Was Big, Wait Until This Year

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:43 AM PST

Paula White on White House Faith Agenda: If You Thought Last Year Was Big, Wait Until This YearPastor Paula White, a key faith advisor to President Donald Trump, says Christians have a lot to look forward to in 2018 as it relates to the White House and its faith agenda.  Appearing on CBN’s Faith Nation, White told hosts David Brody and Jenna Browder about some of the specific initiatives Trump’s Faith Advisory Council is planning to unveil soon.

“We’ll have about six initiatives – exciting, exciting things that, if we thought we did some things last year, boy, wait until this year,” White said. “We’ll be touching on everything from humanitarian, working of course on criminal justice reform, religious liberties, so many different aspects, mental healthcare, substance abuse.”  CONTINUE

DEVELOPING: Massive Flooding Wreaking Havoc Along Massachusetts Coast

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:38 AM PST

DEVELOPING: Massive Flooding Wreaking Havoc Along Massachusetts CoastReports of major flooding are pouring in from coastal Massachusetts communities on Thursday afternoon. Multiple cars were reportedly stuck in flood waters along Newport Avenue Extension in Quincy ahead of high tide. Rescues are now in progress. Flooding was also reported in the Squantum neighborhood, with water into houses. A shelter is being set up at Quincy High School. On Dyke Street in Marshfield, a mother and two children had to be rescued while firefighters made three other single

vehicle rescues on other nearby roads. Newburyport police said a few people are being evacuated on Plum Island due to flooding. Several streets in the city are also closed due to high water. Parts of Causeway Street, Morrissey Boulevard and Seaport Boulevard in Boston were underwater too, and the harborside entrance at the MBTA’s Aquarium Station is temporarily closed due to flooding. READ MORE

Kim Jong-un could launch nuclear strike on US in less than Six Months

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 06:16 AM PST

Kim Jong-un could launch nuclear strike on US in less than Six MonthsNorth Korea could be able to launch a nuclear attack on the United States in less than six months despite sanctions starting to have a large effect on the population, East Asia expert Gordon Chang warned. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un warned he was ready to press the “nuclear button” on his desk to hit the United States, possibly kickstarting World War 3.

But Mr Chang said the international community has between three to six months before North Korea reaches nuclear capability to defuse tensions. He said: “Kim Jong-un actually doesn’t have a button he can push right now. Maybe three months, six months from now, he can pick up the phone and launch a nuke at the United States. “The one thing Kim can do is launch an electromagnetic pulse device: he doesn’t need heat shielding, he doesn’t need guidance. He could do a lot of damage to the United States.” READ MORE

Alaska Town Forgoes Funding Church Renovation After Atheist Group Complains

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 06:11 AM PST

Alaska Town Forgoes Funding Church Renovation After Atheist Group ComplainsAn Alaskan city council has reneged on a plan to give a historic local church funding to repair the outside of the building after the nation’s leading secularist group voiced a complaint. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has claimed victory after the city assembly of Sitka voted 4 to 3 against a motion to give St. Michael’s Cathedral $5,000 from the municipality’s visitor’s enhancement fund to repair exterior damages to the church building.

“It’s a fundamental American principle that citizens may not be taxed to support a church,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement after the vote. “We’re pleased that the majority of Sitka City Assembly members nixed this very bad idea.” Local radio station KCAW reports that the idea to donate $5,000 to the church, which is a key focal point in the town and is suffering from structural problems and a leaking roof, was proposed to the city assembly on Nov. 7 and spurred much debate surrounding the issue of separation of church and state. READ MORE

Catastrophic Hailstorm buries cars in ice in Biblian, Ecuador

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 06:02 AM PST

Catastrophic Hailstorm buries cars in ice in Biblian, EcuadorAn apocalyptic hailstorm accompanied by heavy rains surprised the inhabitants of Biblián, in the province of Cañar, Ecuador on January 2, 2018 afternoon, at around 4:00 p.m. The most intense rainfall

that has been recorded in the last 15 years in the city lasted a little more than an hour, but with such a fury that it completely buried cars in a hell lot of hail! Here some pictures and videos reporting the unbelievable hail accumulation: MORE

RUMORS OF WAR: Chinese President orders army to prepare for War…

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 05:53 AM PST

RUMORS OF WAR: Chinese President orders army to prepare for War…In the clip, filmed in Central Theatre Command on Wednesday, more than 7,000 Chinese servicemen await Xi’s New Year orders.  As the camera pans through the crowd, it gives an insight into how regimented the world’s largest army is. Speaking in front of thousands of troops and over 300 perfectly organized military vehicles, Xi – the Communist Party’s General Secretary – ordered his forces to prepare for the event of war.

“Here I give my orders: the military at all levels should strengthen military training and war preparedness. “The military should continue to implement actual and joint training under combat conditions, and continue to conduct strict training in accordance with the Outline for Military Training and Evaluation. “The military should hold training and competition with mass participation, strengthen tailored and adversarial training, enhance real combat capabilities, and master the skills to fight and win.” READ MORE

Popular sugar additive fueling spread of superbugs…

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 05:50 AM PST

Popular sugar additive fueling spread of superbugs…Two bacterial strains that have plagued hospitals around the country may have been at least partly fueled by a sugar additive in our food products, scientists say. Trehalose, a sugar that is added to a wide range of food products, could have allowed certain strains of Clostridium difficile to become far more virulent than they were before, a new study finds.  The results, described in the journal Nature, highlight

the unintended consequences of introducing otherwise harmless additives to the food supply.  C. difficile is a nasty bacterium — infection can result in severe diarrhea and death — and numbers among the most prevalent hospital-acquired infections in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half a million people were sickened by the bug in 2011. Some 29,000 of those patients died within 30 days of being diagnosed with C. difficile, and about 15,000 of those deaths were directly linked to the infection. READ MORE

Nissan unveils technology that can interpret signals from drivers’ brains

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 05:44 AM PST

Nissan unveils technology that can interpret signals from drivers’ brainsNissan claims to have developed a car that can read its driver’s mind. Software adapted from the medical profession is translating a driver’s thoughts into action to improve vehicle responsiveness. The technology will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. The software monitors brain wave activity to anticipate intended movement, be that turning the steering wheel or

hitting the brakes. Nissan says the system can react between 0.2-0.5 second faster than the driver without being considered intrusive. The B2V technology is meant to make driving more enjoyable in a semi-autonomous world by speeding up reaction times and having vehicles that constantly adapt to their owner’s driving style. Nissan vice-president Daniele Schillaci says the software takes connectivity to the next level. READ MORE

 

City threatens to condemn man’s home — for sheltering homeless during cold!

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 05:36 AM PST

City threatens to condemn man’s home — for sheltering homeless during cold!A suburban Chicago resident who was offering up “slumber parties” in his basement for homeless people in his neighborhood during dangerously cold weather says city officials have given him an ultimatum. Stop the “slumber parties” or the house will be condemned. Greg Schiller, of Elgin, said he began letting a group of homeless people sleep in his unfinished basement last month during brutally cold nights,

offering them food, warm beverages and a cot to sleep on while watching movies. “I would stay up all night with them and give them coffee and stuff and feed them,” he said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were allowed inside his residence during the evening events. Last winter, Schiller offered up his garage to area homeless, but said he was told he could no longer do so after EMTs were called to help a man with a heart condition. That’s when he had the idea to move them to his basement – READ MORE

4.4 Earthquake rattles most dangerous fault in California

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 05:29 AM PST

4.4 Earthquake rattles most dangerous fault in CaliforniaCalifornia has been struck by a powerful earthquake on a dangerous fault line experts believe could unleash a dreaded “big one” as soon as tomorrow.  California has today been rocked by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake in the Bay Area of Berkley shortly after 3am local time (11am GMT). The “terrifying” tremor has left millions across the state fearing an imminent “Big One” earthquake measuring magnitude 7 or greater on the Richter Scale.

The US state has not been struck by a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake since a colossal rupture in the San Andreas Fault laid waste to San Francisco in 1906. The massive magnitude 7.8 earthquake reduced buildings to rubble in less than a minute, killing around 7,500 people and destroying 80% of the city. Experts believe there is a 70% chance a tremor on a similar scale will strike the Bay Area of San Francisco within the next 30 years. READ MORE

 

Israel Busts Hamas Terror Cell in Judea and Samaria

Posted: 04 Jan 2018 05:21 AM PST

Israel Busts Hamas Terror Cell in Judea and SamariaIsrael’s combined security services nabbed a 17-man Palestinian terror cell in November that was working to execute terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, with guidance from Hamas in Gaza. The Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) revealed Monday that the main figure behind the elaborate terror plot is Abdallah Arar, a terrorist who was involved in the kidnapping and murder of Sasson Nureil in 2005.

Arar was captured by Israel and was subsequently released in the 2011 prisoner exchange with Hamas, during which Israel released some 1,000 Palestinian terrorists in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Arar has since returned to terrorism. Arar is suspected of ordering Ala Salim, a resident of Jabba in the Binyamin region, to establish a terror cell and acquire an M16 assault rifle for the purpose of carrying out terror attacks. Arar gave Salim funds for this purpose. READ MORE

 

UK Council Responds to Petition to Ban Franklin Graham for ‘Hateful’ LGBT, Islam Views

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 06:30 PM PST

UK Council Responds to Petition to Ban Franklin Graham for ‘Hateful’ LGBT, Islam ViewsThe city council of Blackpool in the U.K. has said that it’s up to the country’s authorities to determine whether evangelist Franklin Graham’s conservative views on homosexuality and Islam amount to hate speech that would bar him from entering the country. Graham is scheduled to speak at the Lancashire Festival of Hope in September, though almost 7,500 people have signed an online petition seeking to bar him from the U.K.

Councillor Maria Kirkland, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for Third Sector Engagement and Leisure Services, responded to the controversy in a statement to anti-Muslim attack monitoring group TellMAMA Tuesday, saying, “The council has been made aware of a number of alleged comments and opinions on topics including gender, sexuality, race and immigration by Franklin Graham, the main speaker at this event.” READ MORE

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

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 06:27 PM PST

PCUSA Updates Book of Common Worship to Have ‘Inclusive Language’ for Same-Sex MarriagePresbyterian Church (USA) will soon have a new Book of Common Worship, which will include a new marriage service text that will feature “inclusive language.” Scheduled to be released in May, the latest edition of the BCW is the first revision of the voluntary worship resource since 1993. Among the changes made, the new edition will feature what the PCUSA publication Presbyterians Today described as “inclusive language” for its marriage rite.

“A revised marriage service features inclusive language and a flexible format, making the service useful for all sorts of couples and family configurations,” Presbyterians Today reported on Tuesday. “Those who want to renew their vows will find a service that is adaptable for a variety of people and places. Also included is a brief service of prayer for those who seek a way to ritually mark the end of a marriage.” READ MORE

East Coast under state of emergency as ‘Bomb Cyclone colder than Mars’ advances

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 06:20 PM PST

East Coast under state of emergency as ‘Bomb Cyclone colder than Mars’ advancesApproaching Storm Grayson has thrust the US East Coast into a state of emergency as a “bomb cyclone” colder than Mars advances, it has been announced. Residents have been warned about Storm Grayson in the states of Florida, Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina as the blizzard sweeps across the region. The city of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, has also declared a snow emergency that will begin at midnight. A “bomb cyclone”, otherwise known as the “bombogenesis” effect, occurs when the barometric pressure of

a storm drops by 24 millibars in 24 hours. Barometric pressure is an instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure. The shockingly cold temperatures will plague the US with figures lower than Mars – the red planet’s highest temperature sat at minus 18.8 Celsius. New Hampshire is expected to see temperatures as frighteningly low as minus 37.2 Celsius. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster warned residents against the powerful storm and declared that pets should be kept indoors. READ MORE

Why So Many Believers Don’t Pray for Revival

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 06:11 PM PST

Why So Many Believers Don’t Pray for Revival(By Brad Tuttle) As I have been praying for a heaven-sent visitation of God and for people to have a heart to pray for one, the Lord spoke to me four reasons why we do not pray for revival. But first, a short description of what revival means to me: Revival is God, in His love and mercy, invading earth with His glorious manifest presence, intervening in lives in a tangible, life-changing way that influences and impacts all spheres of society. Revival is Father’s outrageous, unstoppable love transforming lives,

giving us a heart that burns with passion for the least, the last and the lost. Revival is God’s glorious, majestic, powerful, awe-inspiring, kingdom here on earth as it is heaven. We do not pray for revival because we do not realize just how much our Father loves us or recognize His passionate heart for the world (I John 4:16, John 3:16) We do not pray for revival because we do not understand or believe in the effectiveness of our prayers to move the mighty hand of God. Learn about effectual, fervent prayer in James 5:16. CONTINUE

Woman receives bionic hand with sense of touch

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 06:05 PM PST

Woman receives bionic hand with sense of touchScientists in Rome have unveiled the first bionic hand with a sense of touch that can be worn outside a laboratory. The recipient, Almerina Mascarello, who lost her left hand in an accident nearly a quarter of a century ago, said “it’s almost like it’s back again”. In 2014 the same international team produced the world’s first feeling bionic hand. But the sensory and computer equipment it was linked to was too large

to leave the laboratory. Now the technology is small enough to fit in a rucksack, making it portable. The development team included engineers, neuroscientists, surgeons, electronics and robotics specialists from Italy, Switzerland and Germany. The prosthetic hand has sensors that detect information about whether an object is soft or hard. READ MORE

Rare Winter storm strikes Florida

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 05:59 PM PST

Rare Winter storm strikes FloridaInterstate 10 in North Florida has reopened, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The interstate from Tallahassee to Madison was closed earlier today because of the winter storm. FHP officials say they are not aware of any serious crashes because of the weather.  Interstate 10 west from Mahan Drive has been opened after most of the state highway was closed Wednesday morning during a winter ice storm.

Closures remain to the east to Live Oak, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Leon County Emergency Management Director Kevin Peters, said the Thomasville Road flyover was reopenned at about 1 p.m. “We have sunny skies and temperatures above freezing so I’m not expecting any more closures,” Peters said. Peters said the unusual storm, which dropped a light sprinkling of snow, sleet and freezing rain across the Big Bend, kept emergency officials busy. READ MORE

3.9 earthquake strikes near Mount St. Helens, 2nd strongest since 1981

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 05:54 PM PST

3.9 earthquake strikes near Mount St. Helens, 2nd strongest since 1981Several small earthquakes shook an area east of Mount. St. Helens late Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning. According to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, the largest quake, a magnitude 3.9, hit east of Spirit Lake near Mount Saint Helens just after 12:30 a.m. A series of smaller quakes, ranging from magnitude 1.6 to magnitude 2.7 stuck shortly after. A total of 15 quakes were reported in the area as of 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Wes Thelen, a seismologist for the Cascades Volcano Observatory said the earthquake hit about seven miles northeast of the mountain and about three miles east of Spirit Lake.Thelen said more than 100 people reported feeling the quake. Some of those reports were from as far away as Portland up to the  Puget Sound near Seattle, he said. While a series of quakes are common around the mountain, the Wednesday episode stands out. READ MORE

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

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 05:51 PM PST

Mount St. Helens Is Rumbling Again With 40 Earthquakes Since New Years DaySince New Years Day Mount St. Helens has experienced 40 earthquakes within its vicinity as tremors continue every few hours. The most powerful earthquake was a magnitude 3.9 that occurred around midnight west coast time about 5 miles from Mount St. Helens and 23 miles from the town of Morton. The 3.9 magnitude earthquake was felt in Portland but there were no reported injuries or damage. Since that earthquake there have been 16 more earthquakes, averaging about every half hour with magnitudes from 0.6 to 2.6.

It is common to experience swarms of earthquakes at Mount St. Helens. While it is certainly not a sign of an impending eruption, the earthquakes are a result of an active volcanic system. Mount St. Helens is most commonly known for its major eruption in 1980, the deadliest and most economically damaging volcanic event in the history of the United States. The stratovolcano is situated just 96 miles from Seattle and 50 miles from Portland, making an eruption especially dangerous. FULL REPORT


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?


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


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Faith & Repentance

When the gospel is proclaimed, it seems at first sight that two different, even alternative, responses are called for. Sometimes the summons is, “Repent!” Thus, “John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'” (Matt. 3:1–2). Again, Peter urged the hearers whose consciences had been ripped open on the day of Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). Later, Paul urged the Athenians to “repent” in response to the message of the risen Christ (Acts 17:30).

Yet, on other occasions, the appropriate response to the gospel is, “Believe!” When the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he must do to be saved, the Apostle told him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

But there is no mystery or contradiction here. Further on in Acts 17, we discover that precisely where the response of repentance was required, those who were converted are described as believing (Acts 17:30, 34).

Any confusion is surely resolved by the fact that when Jesus preached “the gospel of God” in Galilee, He urged His hearers, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14–15). Here repentance and faith belong together. They denote two aspects in conversion that are equally essential to it. Thus, either term implies the presence of the other because each reality (repentance or faith) is the sine qua non of the other.

In grammatical terms, then, the words repent and believe both function as a synecdoche—the figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole. Thus, repentance implies faith and faith implies repentance. One cannot exist without the other.

But which comes first, logically? Is it repentance? Is it faith? Or does neither have an absolute priority? There has been prolonged debates in Reformed thought about this. Each of three possible answers has had advocates:

First, W. G. T. Shedd insisted that faith must precede repentance in the order of nature: “Though faith and repentance are inseparable and simultaneous, yet in the order of nature, faith precedes repentance” (Dogmatic Theology, 2.536). Shedd argued this on the grounds that the motivating power for repentance lies in faith’s grasp of the mercy of God. If repentance were to precede faith, both repentance and faith would be legal in character, and they would become prerequisites for grace.

Second, Louis Berkhof appears to have taken the reverse position: “There is no doubt that, logically, repentance and the knowledge of sin precede the faith that yields to Christ in trusting love” (Systematic Theology, p. 492).

Third, John Murray insisted that this issue raises

an unnecessary question and the insistence that one is prior to the other is futile. There is no priority. The faith that is unto salvation is a penitent faith and the repentance that is unto life is a believing repentance . . . saving faith is permeated with repentance and repentance is permeated with saving faith. (Redemption—Accomplished and Applied, p. 113).

This is, surely, the more biblical perspective. We cannot separate turning from sin in repentance and coming to Christ in faith. They describe the same person in the same action, but from different perspectives. In one instance (repentance), the person is viewed in relation to sin; in the other (faith), the person is viewed in relation to the Lord Jesus. But the individual who trusts in Christ simultaneously turns away from sin. In believing he repents and in repenting believes. Perhaps R. L. Dabney expressed it best when he insisted that repentance and faith are “twin” graces (perhaps we might say “conjoined twins”).

But having said this, we have by no means said everything there is to say. Entwined within any theology of conversion lies a psychology of conversion. In any particular individual, at the level of consciousness, a sense of either repentance or trust may predominate. What is unified theologically may be diverse psychologically. Thus, an individual deeply convicted of the guilt and bondage of sin may experience turning from it (repentance) as the dominant note in his or her conversion. Others (whose experience of conviction deepens after their conversion) may have a dominant sense of the wonder of Christ’s love, with less agony of soul at the psychological level. Here the individual is more conscious of trusting in Christ than of repentance from sin. But in true conversion, neither can exist without the other.

The psychological accompaniments of conversion thus vary, sometimes depending on the dominant gospel emphasis that is set before the sinner (the sinfulness of sin or the greatness of grace). This is quite consistent with the shrewd comment of the Westminster Divines to the effect that faith (that is, the trusting response of the individual to the word of the gospel) “acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof [of Scripture] containeth” (WCF 16.2).

In no case, however, can real conversion take place apart from the presence of both repentance and faith, and therefore both joy and sorrow. A “conversion” that lacks all sorrow for sin, that receives the word with only joy, will be temporary.

Jesus’ parable of the sower is instructive here. In one type of soil, the seed sprouts quickly but dies suddenly. This represents “converts” who receive the word with joy—but with no sense of fallow ground being broken up by conviction of sin or any pain in turning from it (Mark 4:5–6, 16–17). On the other hand, a conversion that is only sorrow for sin without any joy in pardon will prove to have been only “worldly grief” that “produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10). In the end, it will come to nothing.

This, however, raises a final question: Does the necessity of repentance in conversion constitute a kind of work that detracts from the empty-handedness of faith? Does it compromise grace?

In a word, no. Sinners must always come empty-handed. But this is precisely the point. By nature, my hands are full (of sin, self, and my own “good deeds”). However, hands that are full cannot hold on to Christ in faith. Instead, as they take hold of Him, they are emptied. That which has prevented us from trusting Him falls inevitably to the ground. The old way of life cannot be retained in hands that are taking hold of the Savior.

Yes, repentance and faith are two essential elements in conversion. They constitute twin graces that can never be separated. As John Calvin well reminds us, this is true not only of the beginning but of the whole of our Christian lives. We are believing penitents and penitent believers all the way to glory.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

DBG Spotlight (1-5-18)

In the 2017 G3, Steven Lawson preached in the fifth session of the conference and his topic was, “Justification by Faith Alone.”  You will enjoy this sermon as you consider the grand importance of the doctrine of justification.

2018 G3 Conference — In less than 2 weeks, the G3 Conference will be in full swing.  If you’re planning on attending the event, make sure you download the G3 app and turn on notifications for important updates throughout the weekend.

Kids and Cellphones – Three-Minute Thursdays #9 — Tim Challies talks cellphones and kids and provides some helpful advice about when to allow children to have one and how to properly manage it.

Don’t Make Your Pastor Groan — “In the short term, disregarding commands like Hebrews 13:17 is a great way to gets lots of attention and, perhaps, even lots of satisfaction. In the long run, however, it is spiritually dangerous.”

20 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Make (and Keep) Right Now — Don’t just make resolutions, keep them.

Brief Thoughts on the Death of Thomas Monson — “Pray for the Mormon people, and pray for those brave souls who minister to them faithfully, not just in Utah (though those up there surely need our regular prayer support!) but around the world. May God be pleased to draw many unto Himself in a true knowledge of the one true God who is not an exalted man living on a planet circling a star named Kolob, but is the eternal, unchanging God, maker of all things.”

What measures should pastors take to keep people safe when the church gathers? — With the recent attacks on church assemblies, it’s a good idea to think about church security in 2018.

Strange Items Confiscated by TSA — Imagine getting on an airplane and sitting down next to a guy who pulls out his bag of eels.  Perhaps it could only be worse if the man next to you pulls out a human skull from his carry-on.  You will find these items strange and dangerous.

 

The post DBG Spotlight (1-5-18) appeared first on Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace.

Rick Warren is the wrong choice for spokesman of the Museum of the Bible

Photo courtesy Apprising Ministries

Sandy Simpson of Deception In The Church has written a commentary on the 430,000-square-foot Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. Simpson has some serious concerns about some the museum’s board members, including false teacher Rick Warren. And he presents plenty of evidence to back up his concerns. He writes:

Let me start out by stating that I am all in favor of a museum that shows the historicity of the Bible.  If it weren’t for some of the people involved this would be a valuable resource.  But I don’t support giving credibility to Rick Warren and his friends in support of the Museum of the Bible.  Warren has become the de facto spokesman for this effort.  It is great they are featuring texts and archeological information about the Bible.  But I believe Warren is doing this to set himself up as an authority on the Bible when he is actually guilty, on many counts, of not only disobeying it but of twisting it out of all recognition. …

False teachers and those who hang with them are constantly on the lookout for projects that will legitimize them and make them look like they are biblical leaders in Christendom people should follow.  But true biblical leaders are those who do not teach heresy and do not stand up for false prophesies.  Though the Museum of the Bible could do a world of good for those lacking an understanding of the Bible and its place in history, it is also propping up some questionable “Christians” who are behind it and those compromisers who stand with them.

A little history on Warren

Rick Warren supports and profits from an unbiblical church growth methodology he got from his mentor C. Peter Wagner, as well as unsound advice in his books.  His P.E.A.C.E. plan was a lie where he claimed Saddleback and associates were going to “solve” a number of issues like hunger, lack of education, disease, etc.  He has repeatedly been disingenuous about the popularity of his books, presented his church growth tactics to Catholics, Mormons, Jews, etc., used the demonically inspired ideas of Carl Jung as one basis for his church growth methodology, removed his statement of faith (such as it was) from the Saddleback site when it came under attack, supports Catholics and Protestants together movements, called for Muslims, Jews and Christians to stand together in their “Abrahamic faiths” and claims we all pray to the same “God”, worked with globalist Tony Blair and supported him for a “peace prize”, basically supports the concept of “Chrislam” (the attempt to meld together Christianity and Islam), continues to work with Catholics and the pope on a number of issues also stating “We all love Jesus Christ”, has spoken at a papal mass, and so forth.

Following are a just a few of the articles exposing Rick Warren followed by an expose on other participants such as Mary E. Banks and her husband Melvin who are on the teaching team of Joel Osteen’s church:

Niche Marketing, Audience-Driven, Full Service Churches: How We Got Here? by Orrel Steinkamp, The Plumbline, Volume 8, No. 1, January/February 2003 Proponents of Willow-Creek Seeker Sensitive evangelism and the wider public have little knowledge of the historical genealogy of this movement.  Most simply assume that George Barna and associates originated the marketing model now employed widely in seeker sensitive evangelism.  Barna, however, is a late-comer, who actually adapted and expanded ideas that had been earlier discovered by Robert Schuller.

The Market-Driven Church by Gary Gilley, 6/00 While we will examine the writing of various individuals who speak for the market-driven movement, we will focus often on the two flagship churches: Saddleback Valley Community Church in Orange County, California, and Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago. These churches serve as the models that are reshaping the way we “do church” today. As a matter of fact, many refer to these churches and their clones as “new paradigm churches.” Churches all over the world, even those who would claim to reject the church growth movement, are imitating the many methods promoted by Saddleback and the “Creekers.” Others have written about church growth, but these two churches have made it work, and for their success they are idolized and adored by the modern evangelical community. Read Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4.

The Purpose Driven Life – An Evaluation by Gary Gilley, 11/03 A two-part evaluation of the popular book by Rick Warren.  Read Part 1, and Part 2.

Critique of the “Seeker-Sensitive, Purpose-Driven” Church Method by Pastor Dan Norcini, Copyright 1999 Sovereign Grace Bible Church These early Christians knew what to expect for confessing Jesus Christ before men. They knew the price they paid would be dear but they possessed something which made all of their tribulations seem light and momentary (2Cor 4:17) genuine faith working through genuinely fervent love for the person of Jesus, who had loved them and given Himself for them. Can the same be said of any of the converts of this system? Time and the providence of God will tell. 10 part series. 

The Church Growth Movement – An Analysis of Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven” Church Growth Strategy by by Dennis Costella, FOUNDATION Magazine, March-April 1998 AFTER PERSONALLY covering the Saddleback Community Church “Building a Purpose-Driven Church” seminar held in Southern California this past January, it became clear to me that some of today’s most influential religious leaders misunderstand and misrepresent the true purpose of the church today.

The Book of Numbers – Rick Warren’s purpose-driven attack on American Christianity by Chris Lehmann, MSN Culturebox, Posted Monday, March 17, 2003, at 11:33 AM PT This, rather than the abundance of marketing techniques and showman gimmicks that inflect Warren’s style of self-presentation, is the most troubling feature of Warren’s purpose-driven approach. It has historically been the nature of the Christian God to be something of an unstinting task master. Warren’s God “wants to be your best friend.” And this means, in turn, that God’s most daunting property, the exercise of eternal judgment, is strategically downsized. When Warren turns his utility-minded feel-speak upon the symbolic iconography of the faith, the results are offensively bathetic: “When Jesus stretched his arms wide on the cross, he was saying, ‘I love you this much.’ ” But God needs to be at a greater remove than a group hug. Surely we lose something if we apprehend the Bible, and the language of faith, as little more than a lesson book. “If you’re not preaching life application,” Warren has told one interviewer, “you’re not really preaching.” Yet if you’re only believing in life application, what are you really believing?

Rick Warren Connections – especially to the ecumenical Third Wave New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and “Positive Thinking” Movement compiled by Sandy Simpson, 1/04 Connections of Rick Warren to the Third Wave and Schuller. 

The Church Growth Movement by James Sundquist, 5/03 Three part series on the Church Growth Movement, Bill Hybels and Rick Warren. 

Simpson includes a few more articles on Rick Warren and then has some facts on the other Museum of the Bible board members, as well as details on the Green family.View article →

Source: Rick Warren is the wrong choice for spokesman of the Museum of the Bible

Biblical Gospel vs Fake Gospel

The world is awash with fake news, and sadly this is just as true in so many of our churches. Instead of hearing biblical truth, we are getting fake news preached from too many of our pulpits. Indeed, the biggest churches in the West are often guilty of this.

We get feel-good pop sermons about how wonderful we are, how amazing we are, and how terrific we are. Not exactly what Scripture says, but this is now the most popular message heard from so many churches. At such churches one would not think that the Bible ever spoke of sin and the need of a Saviour.

One year ago the Christian satire site Babylon Bee perfectly captured this reality. The article, with this title, “Woman Unsure Why She Needs Jesus After Preacher Spends 30 Minutes Telling Her How Amazing She Is” is a satire piece, but so often satire is a perfect means to convey truth. The article says this:

TWIN OAKS, AZ—According to reports coming out of Hope Community Church, first-time visitor Brittany Wilson remains unsure about why she needed “this Jesus guy” in her life after the pastor spent the entire Sunday sermon reiterating how awesome, amazing, unique, and special she is.
“The message was super-encouraging. It was all about how I need to let the goodness within me shine and ‘just do me,’ without worrying about all the haters,” Wilson said after the service.
“But then the pastor said I needed Jesus, out of the blue. Like, what? It made no sense. I’m not sure what He has to offer that I don’t, based on how wonderful the pastor said I am.”
Wilson, who hasn’t attended church since she was a child, further reported she was “a little hurt” that the pastor would segue into an invitation to add Jesus to her life.
“It really undermined my confidence in myself,” she said, adding she wouldn’t be back anytime soon.

Some will say, “Yeah, but this is just satire. I am not aware of any churches or preachers teaching this.” If so, you are clearly out of touch. Sadly, many are running with this, and as a supreme example, the biggest church in North America specialises in this.

Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, pastored by Joel Osteen, offers exactly this sort of message week in and week out. He packs the place out each Sunday, and his books have become best sellers. It is all about feeling good about yourself, having your best life now, and thinking happy thoughts. That is his gospel, full stop.

I have often documented this in previous articles. Consider just one of his recent books. In 2015 Joel Osteen released The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today. It is simply more of his tried and ‘true’ formula. It is all about feeling good about yourself and being upbeat and positive. That’s it. That is the substance of this book, and all his books. Here are some quotes from the book:

“I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am successful.”
“I am victorious. I am talented. I am creative.”
“I am wise. I am healthy. I am in shape.”
“I am energetic. I am happy. I am positive.”
“I am passionate. I am strong. I am confident.”
“I am secure. I am beautiful. I am attractive.”
“I am valuable. I am free. I am redeemed.”
“I am forgiven. I am anointed. I am accepted.”
“I am approved. I am prepared. I am qualified.”
“I am motivated. I am focused. I am disciplined.”
“I am determined. I am patient. I am kind.”
“I am generous. I am excellent. I am equipped.”
“I am empowered. I am well able.”
“I am a child of the Most High God.”

Um, this is not quite what the Word of God offers us. Far from it. It gives us a much more realistic – and worrying – assessment of who we are. Simply reading the Bible will show us who we really are: we are not wonderful folks who are just peachy, but depraved rebels headed to hell who need to be delivered from our sin and depravity.

Consider what the Bible says about us as sinners. We are:

-spiritually sick (Luke 5:31-32)
-rebellious children (Luke 15:11-32)
-lost (Luke 19:10)
-in darkness (Acts 20:18)
-under the power of Satan (Acts 20:18)
-slaves to sin (Romans 6:22)
-influenced and led astray to mute idols (1 Corinthians 12:2)
-spiritually blind (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)
-God’s enemies (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
-slaves to those who by nature are not gods (Galatians 4:8)
-dead in your transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1)
-objects of wrath (Ephesians 2:3)
-dead in transgressions (Ephesians 2:5)
-darkened in their understanding (Ephesians 4:18)
-separated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18)
-darkness (Ephesians 5:8)
-in the dominion of darkness (Colossians 1:13)
-alienated from God (Colossians 1:21)
-his enemies (Colossians 1:21)
-idol worshippers (1 Thessalonians 1:9)
-held in slavery (Hebrews 2:15)
-not a people; who had not received mercy (1 Peter 2:10)
-sheep going astray (1 Peter 2:25)

Hmm, not a very flattering portrait of who we are. Indeed, it is a pretty shocking and wretched picture actually. But of course some will protest and say that this book by Osteen is meant just for Christians. But both he and his fans will insist that all of his books, sermons and messages are for everyone.

And even if this was just a feel-good, self-help pep-talk for believers only, again we find the biblical version of events a far cry from this pap. Just consider what the Apostle Paul said of himself. Did he relish in the positive thinking spiel, and adhere to the “every day and in every way I am getting better and better” mantra?

Not at all. Consider these passages in which he describes his spiritual condition. The older he got, the longer he walked with Christ, the more he became aware of his fallen and depraved condition, and the more he needed to cling to the mercy and grace of God:

-“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:9 – written in mid-50s.)
-“Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8 – written in early 60s.)
-“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15 – written in mid-60s.)

Perhaps even more worrying than Osteen and his message are the zillions of folks who lap up every word he utters. Just consider some of the comments under the book’s amazon page. I looked through many of the 854 “reviews” and it was scary stuff. Usually one or two word comments like “awesome” and “so positive” and “really uplifting” are found. Here are some of the more substantial ones:

“I am not a Christian but the message of this book is for all people. I bought it for me and some of my non Christian friends. It has changed my life. I highly recommend it to anyone.”

“I am not a particularly religious person and I enjoy Joel and his messages.”

“I know Joel is a man of religion but that isn’t why I bought the book. The positive messages we need to send to ourselves eventually spread out far and wide, even in places the good book doesn’t reach.”

“I gave it a 5 stars it speak life. I would recommend this book to everybody and the unbelievers also.”

“I love the positive and no gloom and doom that most preachers give us. Grew up Catholic and no matter what we were going to Hell, so why bother… We can make our own futures and be happy and have plenty and do good.”

And one reviewer nails it:

“The trouble with Joel, and I am not knocking him, cause I actually like him, but his trouble is that if you have read one of his books, you might as well say you have read them all, because his basic premise, and unfortunately writings and stories are truly all the same.”

Notice how plenty of non-Christians just love his stuff. That is most telling. When Jesus and the disciples preached the gospel, they were hated, attacked, abused and killed. The same when the prophets spoke in the name of the Lord. The only popular prophets in the Old Testament were the false prophets.

If Jesus had preached the message that so many of our megachurch pastors are preaching today, he never would have been crucified. Everyone would have loved him. ‘Oh I feel so much better. Thank you. Life is so much rosier now. You are so uplifting and upbeat. I feel so much happier. Thanks Jesus.’

By the way, if you go to see the reviews of a book like The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. or even the best-selling New Age books by folks like Oprah Winfrey (a good buddy of Osteen’s), you will find identical comments: “inspiring,” “uplifting,” “awesome,” ‘encouraging,” “so positive,” etc.

These authors all get identical positive reactions because they all preach identical gospels – and they happen to be false gospels. The good news of the gospel is certainly good news. But it means absolutely nothing until we first hear and digest the bad news of the gospel, that we are damnable sinners heading to a lost eternity, and unless we turn to Christ in faith and repentance, we are all lost.

That is one message you will NOT find in the books and sermons by folks like Osteen. As such, they are presenting fake news. And as Scripture makes so clear, such fake news does not give life – certainly not everlasting life. It brings death.

http://babylonbee.com/news/woman-unsure-needs-jesus-preacher-spends-30-minutes-telling-amazing/

Source: Biblical Gospel vs Fake Gospel

3 Things you Should know About Religious Freedom and the Church in China

In September, China finally nailed down religious restrictions introduced last year. The numerous regulations, made in the name of national security, prohibit unregistered groups from teaching about religion or taking part in trainings or meetings outside the country (like the Thailand conference), beginning in February 2018.

Refined by the fire. This has been the history of the church in China. Since the rise of the atheist Communist Party, Chinese Christians have faced incredible persecution at the hands of their government. Yet, the church has persisted and its numbers have grown exponentially. Today, the Chinese church is thought to have anywhere from 70 to 115 million members.

Over the last 30 years, the Communist Party has gradually released its grip on religious groups, allowing many underground churches to begin to peek their heads up from their hiding places, even buying church buildings, putting up crosses, and building websites.

But over the last few months, a shift back toward a strict centralized control of religion has occurred. Here are three things you should know about the new threats to religious liberty that our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ are facing today.

1. In the name of national security, the Chinese government is once again clamping down on religious freedom.

This fall the Chinese government passed a new set of rules regulating religious affairs. The regulations, which will be implemented beginning February 2, place severe restrictions on unregistered religious groups.

Christianity Today details the new regulations:

In September, China finally nailed down religious restrictions introduced last year. The numerous regulations, made in the name of national security, prohibit unregistered groups from teaching about religion or taking part in trainings or meetings outside the country (like the Thailand conference), beginning in February 2018.

In addition, no religious activities—including the publication of religious materials, the acceptance of donations, any international religious exchanges, and renting space to an unregistered church—can happen without the approval of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA). (. . .)

The new rules come down especially hard on religious schools—requiring them to apply for government approval, have their own funding and facilities, and hire full-time staff.

The Chinese government claims that these new regulations are necessary to protect against Islamic extremism, but Christian leaders fear their effect will force the church back underground. The vast majority of churches in China today are unregistered in order to protect themselves from the control and influence of the communist government, so the new regulations are sure to drastically affect the church.

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Why is Godliness with Contentment Great Gain?

“A Christian comes to contentment, not so much by way of addition as by way of subtraction… Contentment does not come by adding to what you have, but by subtracting from what you desire. The world says that you will find contentment when your possessions rise to meet the level of your desires… The Christian has another way to contentment, that is, he can bring his desires down to his possessions.”

Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

Godliness is a God-centered life. It grows, not through the pursuit of a process, but through the presence of a person. Jesus Christ is the mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16).

His presence in your life is your hope of becoming the person God calls you to be. Christ in you [is] the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Contentment is finding joy in what God has given to you. The opposite of contentment is greed which destroys your capacity to enjoy what God has given.

Contentment is a Christian grace that grows over time. It does not come quickly, easily or naturally. Paul says “I have learned to be content” (Philippians 4:12).

How did he learn it? He tells us “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to Godliness is a God-centered life. It grows, not through the pursuit of a process, but through the presence of a person. Jesus Christ is the mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16).ave plenty. I have learned the secret of being content” (Philippians 4:12). He is saying: “There were times when I had plenty. But then God brought me to situations where I was ‘in need.’ And through that I learned something: I discovered the secret of being content.”

God used the experience of loss to produce the good fruit of contentment in Paul’s life. Have you discovered the secret of being content?

Jeremiah Burroughs described contentment as “a rare jewel.” How can you find joy in what God gives you, especially when it is less than you had before? Burroughs has great wisdom on how to obtain this jewel:

A Christian comes to contentment, not so much by way of addition as by way of subtraction… Contentment does not come by adding to what you have, but by subtracting from what you desire. The world says that you will find contentment when your possessions rise to meet the level of your desires… The Christian has another way to contentment, that is, he can bring his desires down to his possessions.

Great Gain

“Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

Not just gain, but “great gain.” Paul says “If you have godliness with contentment, it will be of huge advantage to you.” Why is this? It has to do with the consequences of not being content.

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‘Mindfulness’: Corporate America’s Strange New Gospel

Scientifically, mindfulness is way down there with yoga, acupuncture, and homeopathy in terms of empirically observable results. The evidence for its effectiveness is largely subjective, e.g., self-reported improvements in mood, attitude, stress, or sleep. A recent paper published in Perspectives on Psychological Science — co-authored by 15 prominent psychological and cognitive-science researchers — gently derided the “pervasive mindfulness hype” associated with research on the subject and concluded that there was very little evidence for its effectiveness on any metric.

Andy Lee has an interesting job title: He is his company’s “chief mindfulness officer,” and he is not employed at some voguish Silicon Valley start-up or by a chain of organic-food co-ops — he works for Aetna, as old-fashioned a corporate giant as you could ever hope to find. In an interview with Healthy Workplace author Leigh Stringer, Aetna’s mindfulness program was described in familiar terms: “Participants are regaining 62 minutes per week of productivity,” Stringer wrote. “They are seeing an approximate dollar return, in terms of productivity alone, of more than $3,000 per person per year.”

Never mind karma — this is a bottom-line issue.

“Mindfulness,” a meditation practice that is in essence Buddhism without Buddha, is everywhere in corporate America and celebrity culture. (The two are no longer entirely distinguishable: Bill Gates is a celebrity, and Oprah is a vertically integrated global conglomerate.) Google offered a course under engineer-guru Chade Meng Tan (employee No. 107) that at one point had a six-month waiting period; Meng has since gone off on his own. Goldman Sachs has caught the mindfulness bug and uses a mindfulness app to keep its employees mindful. Intel is on board, and a study undertaken by the National Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments found that one in five of the companies surveyed offered mindfulness training, with another 21 percent planning to do so — at a cost of up to ten grand per session.

When they aren’t pushing Häagen-Dazs out the door, General Mills employees and executives have access to a seven-week mindfulness program. After completing the program, 80 percent of executives reported that their decision-making skills had improved. One wonders about that datum: Were these executives going to tell their superiors that their decision-making skills had been degraded, or that they’d wasted their time? Bear in mind that Häagen-Dazs doesn’t actually mean anything in any language — the guy who founded the company just thought it sounded cool and that people would buy it. There may be a bit of that at work here, too.

Scientifically, mindfulness is way down there with yoga, acupuncture, and homeopathy in terms of empirically observable results. The evidence for its effectiveness is largely subjective, e.g., self-reported improvements in mood, attitude, stress, or sleep. A recent paper published in Perspectives on Psychological Science — co-authored by 15 prominent psychological and cognitive-science researchers — gently derided the “pervasive mindfulness hype” associated with research on the subject and concluded that there was very little evidence for its effectiveness on any metric. There were predictable design problems with the research: inconsistent and conflicting definitions, lack of control groups to adjust for placebo effects, lack of replicable results. A review in American Psychologist found that fewer than one in ten mindfulness studies had included a control group. “A 2014 review of 47 meditation trials, collectively including over 3,500 participants, found essentially no evidence for benefits related to enhancing attention, curtailing substance abuse, aiding sleep or controlling weight,” Scientific American reports.

Mindfulness is way down there with yoga, acupuncture, and homeopathy in terms of empirically observable results.

Mindfulness training is a $1 billion–plus business in the United States alone and growing robustly.

Why?

Ronald Purser has an interesting perspective on that: As a professor of management in the business school at San Francisco State University and an ordained teacher in the Zen Taego Buddhist tradition, he has a foot in both the corporate and mindfulness worlds, and he is a trenchant, at times scathing, critic of corporate mindfulness, which he dismisses as a kind of prosperity gospel for coastal liberal elites — Joel Osteen in a saffron robe.

“I’ve been to a number of corporate mindfulness conferences,” he says, “just as a fly on the wall to see what’s going on. Some of the consultants selling this stuff are Buddhist practitioners. But the Buddhism is backstage. At the Awakened Leadership Conference, a big mindfulness event, one of the consultants told me:

We know we’re teaching Buddhism — but they don’t. “They” meaning the corporate sponsors. In order to sell, they’ve really had to go stealth, selling mindfulness as a scientifically proven method. And the conference was all about how to sell the program, how to sell this stuff in corporate-speak, how to get them to perceive it as a performance-enhancement technique.

Cf. Aetna’s purported $3,000-per-person-per-year productivity kick.

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The Hottest Thing at Church Today

A Christian wants nothing more than God’s Word because there is nothing he needs more than God’s Word. The Christian may not know it or be able to verbalize it any more than the baby can, but within every true believer will be a deep hunger to be fed by spiritual food—food that is found only in the Word of God. Those churches that committed to preaching endless series of sermonettes for Christianettes were starving their people.

According to a new study by Gallup, the hottest thing at church today is not the worship and not the pastor. It’s not the smoke and lights and it’s not the hip and relevant youth programs. It’s not even the organic, fair trade coffee at the cafe. The hottest thing at church today is the preaching. Not only is it the preaching, but a very specific form of it—preaching based on the Bible. And just like that, decades of church growth bunkum is thrown under the bus. As Christianity Today says, “Despite a new wave of contemporary church buzzwords like relational, relevant, and intentional, people who show up on Sundays are looking for the same thing that has long anchored most services: preaching centered on the Bible.” Praise God.

Praise God, but please don’t jump on the bandwagon. The last thing we need is a bunch of preachers responding to this poll by suddenly ditching their series on “7 Keys to Successful Relationships” or “5 Secrets to a Happy Home” to dabble in biblical exposition. What we need is for preachers to search the Scripture, then to commit to biblical exposition.

Pragmatism Dies Hard

For decades, the Western church has been dominated by the church growth movement, a movement that drew heavily from the business principles of pragmatism. Pragmatism insists that the end justifies the means. It demands that we establish goals, determine the best means to achieve those goals, then assume that success proves that both the goal and the means are good. As one of the fathers of church growth said, “Never criticize what God is blessing.” According to pragmatism, there is no distinction between what works and what is experiencing God’s hand of blessing. One proves the other.

The church growth movement established the goal of having as many people as possible profess faith in Jesus Christ. To do this, it would need to make church attractive to unbelievers. This demanded changing the services to make them seeker-friendly, changing the music to make it more contemporary, and even changing the gospel to make it less offensive. Of course, it also demanded changing the preaching to make it more palatable and that meant preaching themes and principles rather than preaching the Bible itself. Pragmatism is so ingrained in the very fabric of the church today that it is extremely difficult to root out. Churches that have been immersed in it have to battle tooth and nail against its seductions. They need to retrain themselves to look not to what appears to work, but to what the Bible demands.

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Bethel: Stretching the truth with… Destiny Pants?

Recently, Bethel Pastor and Christalignment tarot reader extraordinaire, Theresa Dedmon, came out in defense of Destiny (tarot) card readings.

Another Bethel pastor defends the occult practices of Jen Hodge and Christalignm

Many Christians are rightly exposing Dedmon’s bible twisting to justify her occultic tarot card practices. Her bizarre meanderings in defense of her Destiny Card divination practices are just as frivolous as her… Destiny Pants?

Theresa Dedmon


DESTINY PANTS

Does your fashion release the “love of God?” Do your pants enhance “awareness of God’s presence” or give people “heavenly encounters?” If your clothes are not doing this, then you need Theresa Dedmon’s ‘Destiny Pants’. Just like Destiny Cards give people encounters of the God kind, so too does Dedmon’s prophetic ‘Destiny Pants’ yoga leggings.

Theresa Dedmon writes,

“My fashion designs embody the prophetic art they are created from. Wearing my art enhances your awareness of God’s presence, and helps you become…

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Brown muddies the waters – damaging James White’s reputation?

Dr James White is in serious damage control after his recent program featuring NAR Apostle Michael Brown. At the bottom of this article, you can see further evidence of this on his Facebook page.

What happens to White when Brown hits the fan.

James White has refused to factually address the evidence presented to him about Michael Brown’s involvement in the NAR (as a NAR Apostle) and Brown’s NAR theological heresies. Here is the documented evidence of Michael Brown lying about his involvement in the NAR. We encourage you to compare these links to the accusations of James White and Michael Brown. The evidence speaks for itself:

What Michael Brown is hiding from his audience (Part 1): Attacking Christian authors; contends for NAR gospel

What Michael Brown is hiding from his audience (Part 2): Damning 2010 audio proving Brown’s knowledge & involvement in the NAR. 

What Michael Brown is hiding from his…

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January 5, 2017 A Weak Man’s Strong Tribute, Part 5

By James Boice on Jan 05, 2018 12:00 am

Verse 12, the last verse of Book 1 of the Psalter, is a final outbreak of praise. Significantly, it is how each of the five books end. Books 1, 2 and 3 end with the phrase “Amen and Amen.” Book 4 ends with the words “Let all the people say, Amen! Praise the LORD” (or “Hallelujah”). Book 5 ends with a double “Praise the LORD.”

Read more…

January 5, 2018 : Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Pilgrimage of Faith

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. (11:8)

It was not Abraham’s plan to leave Ur and then Haran, and eventually settle in the land of Canaan. In fact, when he left Ur he had no idea where he was going. He was called by God, and only God knew what was in store for him.

In the Greek, he was called is a present participle, and the translation could be, “when he was being called.” In other words, as soon as he understood what God was saying, he started packing. It was instant obedience. It may have taken several days, or even weeks or months, to make final preparation for the trip, but in his mind he was already on the way. From then on, everything he did revolved around obeying God’s call.

Abraham was a sinful heathen who grew up in an unbelieving and idolatrous society. We do not know exactly how or when God first made Himself known to Abraham, but he was raised in a home that was pagan (Josh. 24:2). His native city of Ur was in Chaldea, in the general region called Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It was a fertile land and was culturally advanced. It was near where the Garden of Eden was located (cf. Gen. 2:14) and was some 140 miles from where the great city of Babylon would one day be built.

Isaiah refers to Abraham as “the rock from which you were hewn” and “the quarry from which your were dug” (Isa. 51:1–2), reminding his fellow Jews that God sovereignly condescended to call Abraham out of paganism and idolatry in order to bless him and the world through him. He may have had higher moral standards than his friends and neighbors, but this was not the reason God chose him. God chose him because He wanted to choose him. And when God spoke to him, he listened; when God promised, he trusted; when God commanded, he obeyed.

When any person comes to Jesus Christ, God demands of him a pilgrimage from his old pattern of living into a new kind of life, just as Abraham’s faith separated him from paganism and unbelief and started him toward a new land and a new kind of life. “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). Salvation brings separation from the world. The Lord works in the heart the total willingness to leave behind everything that is not pleasing to Him. He cannot lead us into new ways of living until He leads us out of the old. We should respond, “I don’t know what You are going to do with me, Lord, but I’m going to drop all those old things. I don’t know what You’re going to substitute for them, but I’m going to let them go.”

That is the attitude of the faith pilgrim. The life of faith begins with the willingness to leave one’s Ur, one’s own place of sin and unbelief—to leave the system of the world. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2; cf. 2 Cor. 6:14; Gal. 1:4).

Giving up the old life is one of the greatest obstacles to coming to Christ, and is also one of the greatest obstacles to faithful living once we are in Christ. From the perspective of the old life and the old nature the new life in Christ can appear dull and unexciting. When we think this way we fail to understand that, once we become a Christian, we are given a new set of values, interests, and desires—which we cannot experience in advance. We cannot “see” the blessings and satisfaction of life in Christ before we trust Him as Lord and Savior. We believe and then we experience. We must first be willing to “go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come” (Heb. 13:13). Often the reproach is all we are able to see at first. We look forward to the “city which is to come” by faith.

The force that makes us want to hold on to the old life is sometimes called worldliness. Worldliness may be an act, but primarily it is an attitude. It is wanting to do things that are sinful or selfish or worthless, whether we actually do them or not. It is wanting men’s praise whether we ever receive it or not. It is outwardly holding to high standards of conduct, but inwardly longing to live like the rest of the world. The worst sort of worldliness is religious worldliness, because it pretends to be godly. It holds to God’s standards outwardly (usually adding a few of its own), but it is motivated by selfish, worldly desires. It is pretentious and hypocritical. This was the Pharisees’ great sin, as Jesus so often pointed out.

Worldliness is not so much what we do as what we want to do. It is not determined so much by what our actions are as by where our heart is. Some people do not commit certain sins only because they are afraid of the consequences, others because of what people will think, others from a sense of self-righteous satisfaction in resisting—all the while having a strong desire for these sins. It is the desire for sin that is the root of worldliness, and from which the believer is to be separated. “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15; cf. James 4:4). The root meaning of holiness is separation, being set apart for God.

One of the surest marks of the demise of worldliness is a change in desires, in loves. As we grow in Christ and in love for Him, our love for the things of the world diminishes. They will simply lose their attraction. We will not want to do them like we used to. The pilgrimage of faith begins by separating ourselves from the world, and as we concentrate on Jesus and fellowship with Him, soon we do not care about the things we once loved so much. When we slip and engage in them, we hate what we do in the weakness of the flesh (cf. Rom. 7:14–25).

Paradoxical as it may seem at first, the highest mark of spiritual maturity is being able to do what we want to do. “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward” (Heb. 11:24–26). Moses did not forsake Egypt because he had to or because he felt obligated to, but because he wanted to. Egypt had lost its attraction. It could not compare with what Christ offered. In this regard the spiritually mature Christian is like the worldly person—he does what he wants to do. The great difference is that the mature Christian wants what God wants.[1]


8 The first part of the account of Abraham (Hebrews never mentions his earlier name, Abram) will focus on God’s twin promises to him of land (vv. 8–10) and of a family (vv. 11–12). Like Noah, Abraham acted on the basis of a divine command against all the dictates of human wisdom. His “going out” (from Haran, Ge 12:1–4; the NIV’s “go” and “went” lose the significant element of going out, which is in the Greek; cf. the Christian’s “going out” in 13:11–14) meant leaving security on the basis of a mere word of God; indeed, in the Genesis account even the promise of possession of the land is not given until Abraham arrives there (Ge 12:7). He did not even know his destination, only that God would show it to him (Ge 12:1).[2]


11:8 / In this first example (drawn from Gen. 12:1, 4) the essence of faith is beautifully and simply expressed. Abraham is called by God to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance. Abraham obeyed and departed, although he did not know where he was going. Abraham leaves the known and the familiar to be led wherever God leads him. He acts on the basis of God’s promise alone, heading toward the unseen and unknown (cf. the definition of faith in v. 1). Abraham is thus controlled by God and his promise. This is exactly what faith entails and what our author wants his readers to emulate (cf. 13:13).[3]


11:8. Abraham’s faith shined brightly out of a dark background. Paul spent an entire chapter (Rom. 4) commending the faith of this spiritual leader. Abraham received a call to follow God which he accepted without question. He left Haran by faith (Gen. 11:31–12:4) and let God supply the road map. He did not receive his inheritance at the time of his first call, and he did not even know the location of the Promised Land. His daring faith earned him the title of “father of the faithful.”

Today Jews, Muslims, and Christians revere the name of faithful Abraham, but it is likely his contemporaries laughed at him when he left Haran. God can accomplish wonderful results in his followers, who walk with him as pilgrims on earth.[4]


11:8 Abraham was probably an idolater, living in Ur of the Chaldees, when God appeared to him and told him to move. With the obedience of faith, he left home and country, not knowing his ultimate destination. Doubtless his friends ridiculed him for such folly but his attitude was:

I go on not knowing—

I would not if I might,

I’d rather walk in the dark with God

Than walk alone in the light;

I’d rather walk by faith with Him

Than to walk alone by sight.

Helen Annis Casterline

The walk of faith often gives the impression to others of being imprudent and reckless, but the man who knows God, is content to be led blindfolded, not knowing the route ahead.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 327–329). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 151–152). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 189). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 201). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2196). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

JANUARY 5 OUR CHARTER IS FROM GOD

Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

While we are right to thank God in appreciation for all of the great and good men in the history of the Christian church, we actually “follow” none of them. Our charter goes farther back and is from a higher source. They were rightly looked upon as leaders, but they were all servants of God, even as you and I are.

Luther sowed. Wesley watered. Finney reaped—but they were only servants of the living God.

In our local assemblies, we are part of the church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and perpetuated by the mystery of the new birth. Therefore, our assembly is that of Christian believers gathered unto a Name to worship and adore the Presence. So, in that sense, the strain is gone. The strain and pressure to abide by traditional religious forms all begin to pale in importance as we function in faith as the people of God who glorify His Name and honor His Presence!

If all of this is true—and everything within me witnesses that it is—we may insist that God is able to do for us all that He did in the days of the apostles. There has been no revocation of our charter!

Dear Lord, thank You for the people in my life who have helped to shape me spiritually. And thank You that You alone are still the Source of new life.[1]


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

January 5 True Baptism—Christ Immersed

After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water.—Matt. 3:16a

Christians, especially new believers, sometimes wonder what mode of baptism Jesus underwent, and therefore wonder which is correct for them to experience. Since genuine baptism represents cleansing from sin and symbolizes the believer’s identification with Christ’s death and resurrection, the ordinance must involve immersion, not merely sprinkling or pouring.

The Greek word (baptizo) literally means to dip or submerge an object into water or another liquid. Confusion regarding the word’s meaning resulted largely because Latin and more modern-language translations of Scripture simply transliterated many occurrences of the Greek word.

Until the Middle Ages, the Christian church knew and officially practiced no form of baptism but immersion. Then the Roman Catholic Church formally introduced and sanctioned baptism by sprinkling or pouring. Prior to that, even the great Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas wrote, “In immersion the setting forth of the burial of Christ is more plainly expressed, in which this manner of baptizing is more commendable.”

That Jesus “came up immediately from the water” indicates He had been completely in the water—in other words, almost surely immersed. John baptized people in the Jordan River (Matt. 3:6) and at other places where “there was much water” (John 3:23). That would not make sense if he had baptized only by pouring or sprinkling (cf. Acts 8:38–39). Unlike immersion, those other modes just do not fully symbolize dying to sin and being raised to new life.

ASK YOURSELF

Baptism is a one-time exercise in obedience, but the reality of being crucified with Christ and raised to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4) is an ongoing experience. How do you remind yourself of this on your average day? Pray that the gift of God’s grace never loses its wonder.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 13). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 5 Mankind’s Box

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Colossians 2:9

If we were to think of this world as a time–space dimension, then a closed box could represent it, with God outside of the box. It is impossible for mankind to escape the box because, by definition, the natural cannot enter into the supernatural. That which is confined to time and space cannot escape into eternity and infinity.

Because there is something within man that longs to know what is outside the box, he invents deities into existence, which is how religions proliferate. Different religions become an extension of man’s desire to escape his box, but man’s longing to transcend the box cannot be overcome because he is confined to the box by his very nature.

Is there a way to escape this box?  Yes, the good news is there is a way, and it’s through Christ. Christianity acknowledges that you can’t get out of your box but proclaims that God has invaded the box from the outside. Jesus Christ has entered into your world to show you how you can dwell with God forever. Won’t you accept His invitation?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 16). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

January 5, 2018 : Morning Verse Of The Day

Christ’s Supreme Obedience

Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” (18:10–11)

Sensing what was about to happen, the disciples cried out, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” (Luke 22:49). Without waiting for the Lord’s reply, Simon Peter, emboldened by the awesome display of Christ’s divine power he had just seen, impulsively (and needlessly) charged to the Lord’s defense. Having a sword (Gk. machaira, a short sword or dagger; one of the two the disciples had with them according to Luke 22:38), Peter drew it. Rather than allow Jesus to be arrested, and feeling invincible in the wake of the Lord’s display of “flattening” power, he intended to hack his way through the entire detachment. His first target was the high priest’s slave, Malchus. (Although all four Gospels mention the incident, only John notes that it was Peter who attacked Malchus. Perhaps since Peter was already dead by the time John wrote, John did not need to protect him from reprisals.) Peter aimed for Malchus’s head, but missed (or Malchus managed to duck) and cut off his right ear. Peter’s reckless act threatened to start a battle that could wind up getting the disciples either killed or arrested—the very thing Jesus was trying to prevent.

The Lord moved immediately to defuse the situation. Sharply rebuking him, Jesus said to Peter, in effect, “Stop! No more of this” (Luke 22:51). “Put the sword into the sheath. For all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). He was not an earthly king, who needed His followers to fight to protect Him (John 18:36). Had He chosen to, Jesus could have called on far more powerful defenders than the disciples (Matt. 26:53).

Then the Lord “touched [Malchus’s] ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51). This was a further display of Christ’s divine power in the span of just a few minutes. Upon seeing Him create an ear, the crowd should have fallen at His feet again and worshiped Him. But blinded by and hardened in their sin, they arrested Him (v. 12), demonstrating again the truth of what John had written earlier in his gospel: “But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him” (12:37).

Peter’s brave but impetuous act revealed his continued failure to understand the necessity of Jesus’ death. After his ringing affirmation that Jesus was the Christ (Matt. 16:16), the Lord immediately spoke to the disciples about His death (v. 21). Shocked, “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You’ ” (v. 22). Now that the moment had arrived, Peter still did not get it, so Jesus reminded him (and the rest of the disciples), “The cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” The cup of which the Lord spoke was the cup of divine judgment (cf. Pss. 11:6; 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15; Ezek. 23:31–34; Matt. 26:39; Rev. 14:10; 16:19), which He would drain completely on the cross when God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). It was to that saving sacrifice that Christ’s supreme courage, power, love, and obedience would lead.[1]


11 In the OT, the “cup” was often associated with the wrath of God (cf. Isa 51:17, 22; Jer 49:12). To “drink the cup” given by the Father was to accept the righteous retribution of a holy God—to experience the punishment for sin that must necessarily follow if the universe created by God is to be considered moral. God’s purposes are not achieved by thoughtless reactions. Zeal uninformed by knowledge leads a person to play the fool more often than not.[2]


18:10–11. Peter displayed admirable courage and loyalty but poor aim. He was a fisherman, not a swordsman. John did not record the healing of the ear, a detail reported by Luke. John’s only reference to Jesus’ final prayer came at the end of verse 11. We read more detail in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22.

Why did John not include more garden narrative as the other Gospels did? The answer seems to lie in his purpose—to focus on the words of Jesus, thereby showing him as the Son of God rather than detailing history of his life incident by incident. The last phrase of this section is important for us, since the rhetorical question gives the motive for Jesus’ behavior on this occasion. The Father has given a cup of suffering and death. The Son, in obedience and subjection, will drink it.[3]


11. Jesus, however, said to Peter, Put the sword into the sheath. The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?

Luke (Doctor Luke, remember!) mentions the fact that Jesus touched the servant’s ear and healed it (Luke 22:51). Jesus sharply reprimands his wilful disciple, and tells him to sheathe his sword (cf. Jer. 47:6). The reasons for this command may be summarized as follows:

(1) The one given here, “The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?” The struggle in Gethsemane is over. Jesus no longer prays that the cup of most bitter suffering and eternal death on the cross may pass from him (cf. Matt. 26:39). He is fully determined to drink it (that is, naturally, its contents). It is the cup which the Father (see on 1:14) has given him. Hence, the enemy must not be put to flight by means of the sword. The good shepherd must lay down his life. He must voluntarily offer himself. Simon’s deed is at variance with this determination. Cf. also Matt. 26:54.

(2) Jesus must be able to say to Pilate: “My kingship is not of this world. If my kingship were of this world, my attendants would have been fighting in order to keep me from being handed over to the Jews; but now my kingship does not spring from that source” (18:36).

(3) If it had been the wish of Jesus to defend himself, he had other means at his disposal, for example, more than twelve legions of angels (Matt. 26:53). Peter’s rash and awkward act was entirely unnecessary and uncalled for.

(4) “All they that take the sword will perish with the sword” (Matt. 26:52).

Before Jesus surrenders himself to this band, he first avails himself of the opportunity to point out the cowardly character of this base onslaught upon him, far away from the public eye, and in the middle of the night. He also emphasizes that his surrender is “according to plan.” It was in order that the scriptures might be fulfilled (Matt. 26:55, 56). Hence, this yielding was, in reality, no surrender at all. It was victory!

As Jesus is being (or is about to be) taken and bound, the disciples scamper away. One of the Master’s followers—not one of the twelve—, a man who had quickly thrown a linen cloth about himself, was seized. However, he left the linen cloth in the hand of his pursuer, and fled away naked. For these details see Matt. 25:56; Mark. 14:51, 52.[4]


18:11 Jesus rebuked the ill-advised zeal of Peter. The cup of suffering and death had been given to Him by His Father, and He intended to drink it. Luke, the physician, recorded how the Lord touched and healed Malchus’ ear at this point (22:51).[5]


18:10, 11 Note the contrast between Peter and Jesus. By fighting the guard, Simon Peter vehemently exercised his own self-will; Jesus in contrast voluntarily submitted to the will of God. One swung the sword of self-will; the other drank from the cup of God’s will. See Matt. 16:22, 23 for another attempt by Peter to control God’s plan for Jesus. cut off his right ear: Jesus mercifully restored the ear (Luke 22:51) that Peter cut off. He often does the same in our lives when we act rashly. His purposes are fulfilled in spite of us.[6]


18:11. Earlier that same night Jesus had rebuked Peter (13:6–11). Now He rebuked him again, this time for not understanding God’s will. In spite of constant teaching about His approaching death (3:14; 8:28; 12:32–33; cf. Luke 9:22) the disciples did not understand its need (cf. Luke 24:25). The cup which the Father had given Jesus refers to the suffering and death He would experience under God’s wrath against sin (Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15; Ezek. 23:31–33). The words the cup the Father has given Me indicated that Jesus saw all the things coming on Him as part of God’s sovereign plan. His rhetorical question to Peter was designed to prod Peter’s thinking. Jesus had come to do the Father’s will and so He must now embrace it.[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (pp. 311–312). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 612). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Gangel, K. O. (2000). John (Vol. 4, p. 332). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Vol. 2, p. 382). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1560). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1353). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 335). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.