Daily Archives: January 9, 2018

January 9 Living Out Your Royal Heritage

“In love [God] predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:4–5).


Because God loves you, He adopted you as His child and grants you all the rights and privileges of family membership.

Moses told Israel that God didn’t choose them because of their great numbers or any inherent goodness on their part, but as an expression of God’s sovereign will and sacrificial love (Deut. 7:7–8). That’s true of you as well if you’re a Christian.

The Greek word translated “love” in Ephesians 1:4 speaks not of emotional or sentimental love but of love that seeks God’s best for others at any cost. It is marked by sacrifice rather than selfishness—giving rather than receiving. It seeks to forgive rather than condemn—to dismiss offenses rather than count them.

Such love is epitomized in God Himself, who loved you so much that He sacrificed His Son on your behalf as He willingly laid down His own life for you (John 3:16; 15:13).

While false gods are worshiped out of fear and ignorance, the true God—your Heavenly Father—has eliminated all fear so that you can confidently enter into His presence (Heb. 10:19; 1 John 4:18). You have “received a spirit of adoption” and can address Him as “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15), Abba being the Aramaic equivalent of “Daddy” or “Papa.”

Your Heavenly Father delights in your praise and glories in your obedience. Be a faithful child. Make this day count for Him. Live out your royal heritage. Seek His wisdom in all you do. Go to His Word, and follow its counsel. Demonstrate His love to others in practical ways.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for granting you the privilege of being a member of His family. ✧ Thank Him for the many manifestations of His love that you enjoy each day. ✧ Ask Him to lead you to someone to whom you can demonstrate His love in a practical and sacrificial way.

For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 13. ✧ List the characteristics of godly love. ✧ How does the quality of your love for others compare to God’s standard? What steps can you take today to bring your love into greater conformity to His?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

ROMANS 15:13

There is a nebulous idea accepted by many in our day that faith is an almighty power flowing through the universe which anyone may plug into at will! It is conceived vaguely as a subrational creative pulsation streaming down from somewhere Up There, ready at any time to enter our hearts and change our whole mental and moral constitution as well as our total outlook on man, God and the cosmos.

When it comes in, supposedly out go pessimism, fear, defeat and failure; in come optimism, confidence, personal mastery and unfailing success in war, love, sports, business and politics.

All of this is, of course, a gossamer of self-deception woven of the unsubstantial threads of fancy spun out of minds of tenderhearted persons who want to believe it! What is overlooked in all this is that faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy.

For it is not enough that we believe; we must believe in the right thing about the right One!

To believe in God is more than to believe that He exists. To a right faith knowledge is necessary. We must know at least something of what God is like and what His will is for His human creatures. To know less than this is to be thrown back upon the necessity of accepting the affirmations of the soul and substituting “Thus saith my soul” for the biblical “Thus saith the Lord,” and no man has any right to pick and choose among revealed truths.[1]

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

January 9, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


After about 11 hours of talks Tuesday, the two Koreas agreed in a joint statement to hold military talks and further high-level dialogue.

A military satellite launched by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. appears to have crashed into the sea following a malfunction in the latter stages of its ascent, a potential setback for the billionaire’s rocket program.

The U.S. Senate will hold a vote on net neutrality – albeit a symbolic one. Less than a month after the Federal Communications Commission reversed Obama-era rules that prohibited internet providers from blocking or slowing down certain websites, or accepting payment for faster service, Democratic senators have collected enough support to force a vote to block the changes from taking effect.

Former U.S. intelligence-contractor-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden joined critics of India’s digital ID program as the nation’s top court is due to decide on its legality.

Israel’s Knesset authorized an ultra-Orthodox cabinet minister to close stores on the Jewish Sabbath, narrowly averting a crisis that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned could bring down his government.

The New Year isn’t even two weeks old, and already $2.1 trillion has been added to the market capitalization of global equities. The market is verging on such overbought levels that not even reliably bullish analysts can keep up with the new highs.

Two groups focused on boosting House Speaker Paul Ryan’s agenda and the prospects of Republicans maintaining control of Congress said Tuesday they raised a combined $66 million in 2017, the best non-election-year fundraising total in their history.

Software patches put in place to protect computers against a recently uncovered chip vulnerability will slow down machines, but have so far headed off any illicit efforts to obtain data, Krzanich said at the CES consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas on Monday.

Jeff Bezos’s net worth reached $105.1 billion Monday on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as Amazon.com Inc. shares added to a 12-month surge that’s lifted the online shopping giant’s market value by almost 57 percent.

Oil steadied near $62 a barrel on estimates that U.S. crude stockpiles declined for an eighth week as the rebalancing of global markets continues.

AP Top Stories

The National Weather Service has warned that flash flooding, debris flow and mudslides are possible in the communities already devastated by California’s Thomas and La Tuna fires.

Germany said on Tuesday it had summoned Iran’s ambassador to reprimand Tehran against spying on individuals and groups with close ties to Israel, calling such acts a completely unacceptable breach of German law.

About 3,700 people were arrested across cities in Iran as a rare wave of anti-government protests and unrest gripped the country, according to a parliament member.

The Trump administration, which has repeatedly warned of the threat of gang violence and specifically of the MS-13 gang, just announced the end of immigration protections for thousands of Salvadorans living in the U.S, which will force many to return to a country where MS-13 is a serious problem.

A federal judge on Monday threw out a criminal case against a Nevada rancher and three other men over a 2014 militia standoff with federal agents, saying prosecutors had repeatedly withheld evidence from the defense.

Israel on Sunday identified 20 activist groups from around the world whose members will be banned from entering the country over their calls to boycott the Jewish state, stepping up its fight against a movement it views as a serious threat.

The United Nations on Tuesday called on Israel to scrap a new program forcing thousands of African migrants out of the country, condemning it as incoherent and unsafe. The program is targeting an estimated 38,000 people, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan.

The World Health Organization has announced a new “hyper-invasive” strain of meningitis at a time when there is an acute shortage of vaccines. The new strain of meningitis, meningococcal meningitis serogroup C, has already begun spreading across Africa, causing at least 2,500 deaths and with a possible contagion to some 34 million people in 26 African countries in the next two years.

The study by the National Institute on Retirement Security, using data from the U.S. Federal Reserve, shows that retirement savings “are dangerously low” and that the U.S. retirement savings deficit is between $6.8 and $14 trillion. Worse, the median retirement account balance is $3,000 for all working-age households and $12,000 for near-retirement households.


The US experienced a record year of losses from fires, hurricanes and other weather related disasters in 2017, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Total losses amounted to $306bn the agency said, over $90bn more than the previous record set in 2005.

Same-sex couples in Australia have tied the knot on the first official day of ceremonies following the passage of a historic law.


The plans for Obama’s Presidential Center in Chicago are getting so extravagant, the proposed structures now include a basketball court, a yoga room, even a test kitchen, “a children’s play garden, sledding hill, green spaces for picnics and outdoor gatherings … and even a recording studio.” In February 2017, the architects even said they may need as much as $1.5 billion to pay for the project, which includes a library and a museum. Unlike other presidential libraries, there’s one thing the Obamas didn’t want the presidential center to include: hard copies of Obama’s letters, manuscripts or other documents.

The Briefing — Tuesday, January 9, 2018

1) The persistence of truth in an age of untruth: Is truth more important than ever before?


2) California learns to sing the anthem of states rights as the rift grows between California and Washington D.C.

New York Times (Tim Arango) –
In Clash Between California and Trump, It’s One America Versus Another

3) The costly battle for our eyeballs intensifies in modern television programming

New York Times (John Koblin) –
487 Original Programs Aired in 2017. Bet You Didn’t Watch Them All.

4) What can we learn—about ourselves and advertisers—from those constant drug ads?

New York Times (Joanne Kaufman) –
Think You’re Seeing More Drug Ads on TV? You Are, and Here’s Why

News – 1/9/2018

51st Anniversary of First Scientific Attempt at Resurrecting the Dead
Since the process of thawing the body has yet to be developed and the cure for clinical death does not currently exist, cryonics is performed with the hope that resuscitation and restoration to full health may be possible sometime in the future. Implicit in this process is the belief that will only consider a person properly preserved if they can be revived with all of their memories intact with the understanding that long-term memory is stored in cell structures and molecules within the brain. Rabbi Doniel Katz, a Torah educator who lectures on consciousness, is skeptical of the attempts at cryonics and the reasoning behind it.

Herzog offers Saudis ‘special role’ on Temple Mount
“We need to implement an interim solution for the next ten years, and then talk about Jerusalem,” he said. “Here, Saudi Arabia has a big job. When we start talking about Jerusalem and holy places such as Al-Aqsa mosque, I think Saudi Arabia has an important job and responsibility…we need to give them a central role in this issue.”

Report: Saudi Arabia working with Israel against Iran
The Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung on Monday morning reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together to fight Iran’s expanding presence in the Middle East. According to the report, the two countries are cooperating significantly in the areas of military issues and security on strategic issues, despite the fact that they have no open diplomatic ties.

Hamas official shot in the head in Gaza
Senior Hamas official Imad al-Alami was shot to head and seriously injured in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The circumstances behind the injury are still unclear. It is possible he tried to take his own life after being diagnosed with cancer a year ago, or that he was hurt in an assassination attempt. A third option is that his handgun accidentally discharged, hitting him.

North Korea urges guarantee of peace on Korean peninsula: South Korea
South Korea on Tuesday asked North Korea to halt hostile acts that raise tension on the Korean peninsula, in the first talks between the neighbors in two years, Seoul said in a statement.

Thank God we’re LEAVING! Macron and Merkel plot massive EU power-grab in latest revelation
France and Germany have long shared a strong partnership on European Union issues, with Chancellor Angela Merkel putting fellow leader Emmanuel Macron’s plans for EU reform at the centre of her coalition talks. French MEP Jean Arthuis claimed Ms Merkel could push for an even stronger alliance should she succeed in forming a majority government after leaving Germany without formal leadership for months.

CIA Director Seeks Stronger Counterintelligence Against Spies and Leakers
CIA counterintelligence efforts, however, remain limited by a lack of both qualified personnel and strategic vision needed to deal with a growing spy threat that today includes both cyber operations and influence activities, in addition to traditional spying by nations such as China and Russia. The foreign spying threat is increasing in both scale and sophistication, according to intelligence experts. As part of the reform, Pompeo is stepping up internal security at CIA in a bid to better identify leakers—employees who may be politically motivated to conduct more non-traditional digital-age crimes—such as exposing secrets in a bid to undermine American intelligence, or overall U.S. national security.

A Curious Thing Happened When Ontario Hiked Minimum Wages By Over 20%
Faced with a 21% hike in minimum wages starting January 1st, with hourly rates going to $14 from $11.60, owners of the two restaurants said they had no choice but to cut employee benefits and eliminate paid breaks to offset their higher costs. Per the Financial Post:

Mossad chief: We have eyes and ears in Iran
Mossad chief Yossi Cohen spoke out at a Ministry of Finance conference Tuesday morning regarding the recent protests in Iran, according to Kan Radio. He stated that “Israel has eyes and ears there, too,” and added that he would be “happy to see a social revolution in Iran.” Cohen then warned that “the Iranians are coasting into the Middle East undisturbed and with very large forces…in order to actualize the Iranian vision.”

Syrian army claims Israel struck targets near Damascus in overnight raids
The Israeli Air Force struck Syrian military positions east of Damascus in a series of overnight raids, the Syrian army said Tuesday. In a statement by Syrian state news agency SANA, Israel jets flying inside Lebanese airspace fired several missiles towards the al-Qutaifa area at around 2:40 in the morning on Tuesday causing damage near the military site.

Credit card debt hits new record, raising warning sign
Americans’ outstanding credit card debt hit a new record in November, highlighting a more confident U.S. consumer but also flashing a warning signal of potential trouble down the road. Revolving credit, mostly credit cards, increased by $11.2 billion to $1.023 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Monday. That nudged the figure past the $1.021 trillion highwater mark reached in April 2008, just before the housing and credit bubbles burst.

U.S. spy satellite believed destroyed after failing to reach orbit: officials
A U.S. spy satellite that was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to reach orbit and is assumed to be a total loss, two U.S. officials briefed on the mission said on Monday. The classified intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corp, failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and is assumed to have broken up or plunged into the sea, said the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Philippines to protest to China over apparent airbase on manmade island
The Philippines will make a diplomatic protest to China, which the southeast Asian nation’s defense minister described as having reneged on a promise not to militarize artificial islands in the busy South China Sea waterway. The United States has criticized China’s build-up of military facilities on the artificial islands and is concerned they could be used to restrict free movement along the key trade route.

US Virgin Islands Gov. Renews Gun Order
U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp renewed a highly controversial executive order in January that allows the National Guard to seize arms from everyday civilians.

Guardian Writer: Clinton Made Satan Cool
A Guardian writer said that the Church of Satan “got cool” thanks to Chelsea Clinton and others’ media attention, proposing the religion as the “spiritual antidote to the Trump era.”

FOOTSTEPS OF WAR: Israeli government meets to discuss the growing Iranian presence on its northern border – how will this threat be dealt with?
Recent Cabinet meetings have dealt with the threat of Iran’s presence near the Syrian border.

Scandal: Oprah’s World Depopulation Scheme Dashes Presidential Hopes
Oprah Winfrey met in secret with George Soros and other billionaires to discuss a plan to depopulate the world. The 2009 meeting in Manhattan, organized by Bill Gates, was so discreet that the billionaires’ aides were told to treat it as a “security briefing,” and attendees also included the late David Rockefeller, Warren Buffett, Ted Turner and Michael Bloomberg, in addition to Oprah and Soros.

A North Korean BOMBSHELL: Kim Jong-un’s secret plot to TAKE OVER South Korea REVEALED
A POLITICAL expert on North Korea has revealed Kim Jong-un’s motive in accepting talks with South Korea is ultimately to invade and take over the bordering country.

BLACKLISTED: Israel publishes the FULL list of groups and organizations that will be refused entry into the Jewish State
Full list of organizations to be prevented entry into Israel published. Interior Minister: ‘These people slander the Land.’ The Israeli government has compiled a list anti-israel organizations backing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement whose activists will not be allowed to enter Israel.

Arab Muslim states lead effort to recognize Jerusalem as ‘Palestinian Capital’
Arab states will push for international recognition of east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital in response to President Donald Trump Dec. 6 decision to recognize the city as Israel’s capital, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Saturday.

Internet users in UK Parliament access porn 160 times a day
Around 160 requests a day were made in late 2017 to access pornography websites from computers within the Houses of Parliament, Britain’s Press Association reported Monday.

Earth’s Volcanoes Are Waking Up: DORMANT Papua New Guinea Volcano Erupts For First Time
Hundreds of people are fleeing the island of Kadovar after a violent volcano has erupted for the first time in history.  There have also been warnings that tsunamis could strike the island after the alarming eruption.

PM NETANYAHU DECLARES: The UNRWA agency for ‘Palestinian refugees’ exists only to destroy Israel – it must be eliminated 
Netanyahu added, “UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem and also perpetuates the narrative of the so-called right of return in order to destroy the State of Israel.” “UNRWA needs to pass from the world,” Netanyahu said, “there is a UN commission for the treatment of the other refugees in the world. This absurdity must be stopped.”

Spanish Catholics Outraged After Gay-Themed Float Appears In Three Kings Parade
Madrid’s 2018 Three Kings Parade featured a gay themed float to encourage LGBT normalization on the eve of Epiphany, stirring outrage among the country’s Catholic faithful. The controversial float in Friday’s parade featured a female stripper, a female hip-hop artist, and a drag queen, according to Crux Now. The archdiocese of Madrid responded indirectly to the float, reminding Catholics that celebrations of Christmas and the Magi should center around praise of Jesus, not the promotion of personal ideologies.

Study Finds That 22 Percent Of Bitcoin Investors Are Using Debt To Fund Their Investments

Investing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin is extremely risky, and experts all over the country are warning that people should only invest what they are willing to lose.  Unfortunately, many are getting swept up in the current euphoria surrounding cryptocurrencies and are not listening to that very sound advice.  A disturbing new survey that was just released found that 22 percent of all Bitcoin investors are either directly or indirectly investing in Bitcoin with borrowed money… (Read More…)


January 9, 2018
ALAN KEYES — In a Politico article published last month, Jason Schwartz asserts: “Authoritarian rulers across the globe are adopting President Donald Trump’s favorite phrase to limit free speech, with prominent leaders or state media in at least 15 countries using his “fake news” line to denounce their critics, according to a Politico review.”… (more)

January 8, 2018
JOAN SWIRSKY — When my husband Steve was almost 13, his grandfather died. Just a few months before, the old man he loved and respected had tutored him for his Bar Mitzvah. To this day, Steve remembers the burial ceremony vividly. When the rabbi had finished the prayers at the outdoor burial site and his grandfather’s son and daughters and grandchildren were wiping the tears from their eyes, Steve told me that “my grandmother let out a blood-curdling scream and jumped into the grave – – literally – – right on top of the wooden coffin! And I remember three or four men had to reach in and jump in after her to lift her out.”… (more)

January 8, 2018
USA TODAY — LAS VEGAS – – Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his two sons and a militia member will not face a retrial on charges that they led an armed rebellion against federal agents in 2014. A federal judge Monday said the federal prosecutors’ conduct was “outrageous” and “violated due process rights” of the defendants…. (more)

January 8, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The Supreme Court announced Monday it would not hear cases challenging a Mississippi law that allows religious organizations to refuse to hire persons or provide services in situations that run afoul of their sincerely held religious beliefs. Gay-rights groups had challenged Mississippi’s 2016 law, HB 1523, which was aimed at affirming rights of those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman, an individual’s gender is determined at birth and sexual relations are reserved for married couples…. (more)

January 7, 2018
BYRON YORK — There’s been a lot of confusion about the decision by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley and crime subcommittee chairman Lindsey Graham to refer Christopher Steele, author of the Trump dossier, to the Justice Department for a possible criminal investigation…. (more)

January 7, 2018
ART MOORE — The failure to repeal and replace Obamacare is regarded as perhaps the biggest legislative failure of President Trump’s first year in office. Yet, Trump managed to eliminate the linchpin of Obama’s signature law, the individual mandate, through the tax-reform bill passed in December…. (more)

January 7, 2018
GREG COROMBOS — The Trump administration is advancing plans to open up the vast majority of the Outer Continental Shelf to energy exploration and development, a move that a leading national security voice in Congress says will be another major boost to the economy and protect American interests by ending any dependence on rogue states that sit on a lot of oil…. (more)

January 7, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Meteorologist Joe Bastardi had a decidedly unscientific term for the effort to link Thursday’s frigid winter storm to human-caused climate change: “witchcraft.” “This is flat out insanity and deception now,” Mr. Bastardi said Thursday in a tweet. “To tell the public that events that have occurred countless times before with no climate change attribution, is now just that, is not science, [it’s] witchcraft.”… (more)

January 7, 2018
TIMES OF ISRAEL — Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been arrested by authorities for allegedly inciting unrest against the government, the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported Saturday, citing “reliable sources in Tehran.”… (more)

January 7, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Two top House Republicans have introduced a resolution supporting the Iranian people and condemning the regime in Tehran after a week of street protests that have resulted in more than 20 deaths across the country. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce said Friday the House will vote Tuesday on the measure, which comes as the Trump White House is trying to increase international pressure on Tehran over its handling of the demonstrations…. (more)

January 7, 2018
BOB UNRUH — Wisconsin lawmakers, left aghast at a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed the government to limit a family’s use of their private land, have adopted a new law that effectively overturns the court decision…. (more)

January 7, 2018
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The Justice Department is reviving investigations involving Hillary Clinton’s emails and the degree to which the State Department during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary was put in the service of the Clinton Foundation. Good. Indeed, it is long overdue…. (more)

January 7, 2018
REVIEW JOURNAL — Mandalay Bay hotel staff had more than 10 interactions with Stephen Paddock in the days leading up to his Oct. 1 massacre of 58 people on the Strip, including two on the day of the shooting, MGM Resorts International said Friday…. (more)

January 6, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump’s team is engaged in a serious but discrete internal discussion about whether to renew the key sanctions waived under the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, administration allies said following a meeting this week at the White House…. (more)

January 6, 2018
NEWSMAX — Voters believe President Donald Trump has moved to the right since taking office, according to the website FiveThirtyEight. Before entering the Oval Office, Trump took a combination of liberal and conservative positions, FiveThirtyEight said. It noted he was steadfastly against illegally immigration, but supported infrastructure spending. He was against gun control but supported LGBT rights…. (more)

January 6, 2018
ALICIA POWE — The Justice Department finally has decided to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee, agreeing to provide records that could reveal whether the salacious Trump-Russia “dossier” was used to justify FBI surveillance of Trump campaign officials…. (more)

January 6, 2018
NEWSMAX — A research firm that compiled a dossier of sometimes salacious information about U.S. President Donald Trump’s contacts with Russians failed to block a congressional bid to see its banking records. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington agreed on Thursday that information sought by the House Intelligence Committee is pertinent to its probe of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. The judge rejected Fusion GPS’s argument that disclosure of the data could reveal secrets about the firm’s clients and devastate its business…. (more)

January 6, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to leak memos of his interactions with President Trump could come back to haunt him in a challenge to his New York bar membership. Ty Clevenger, a lawyer who filed a grievance against Mr. Comey, said in a letter Friday to the New York lawyers’ disciplinary committee that if the fired director ended up leaking classified information it should bolster the case against him…. (more)

January 6, 2018
BOB UNRUH — After several years of various courts forcing Christian pregnancy centers and counseling groups to promote abortion – – even though it violates their faith – – it appears the tide is turning…. (more)

January 6, 2018
BOB UNRUH — An expert on military readiness is warning that the Department of Justice’s decision not to go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court in the dispute over transgenders in the ranks “allowed judges to run the military,” which violated the U.S. Constitution…. (more)

January 6, 2018
WORLDNETDAILY — After issuing an executive order late Wednesday closing his commission to investigate voter fraud, President Donald Trump now stresses the need for more voter identification and has tasked the Department of Homeland Security with ensuring the integrity of elections…. (more)

January 6, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — I have no problem with President Trump’s tweet on nuclear weapons. Of course, many others reacted with pathetic uproar. The perpetually enraged liberal think-tanker Neera Tanden led the way in attempting to persuade U.S. enemies that we are psychologically weak…. (more)

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)


JAN. 9, 2018

Oprah Could Win

Her mystique with female voters and the empty Democrat bench leave quite an opening.


“Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: January 9

  • North Korea, South Korea agree to hold military talks (Read More), resolve issues through dialogue (Read More)
  • North Korea Strikes Deal to Join Winter Olympics, Commits to Military Talks (Read More)
  • Oil hits highest since May 2015 above $68 on tighter market (Read More)
  • As Economy Strengthens, Fed Ponders New Approach (Read More)
  • Intel CEO Comments Indicate Chip Issue May Cause Bigger Slowdown (Read More)
  • Wall Street’s Euphoria May Spell Trouble for Stocks (Read More)
  • Hedge Funds’ Best Year Since 2013 Not as Great as It Sounds (Read More)
  • Microsoft halts some AMD chip Meltdown patches after PCs freeze (Read More)
  • Silicon Valley Reconsiders the iPhone Era It Created (Read More)
  • Bitcoin’s 43% Arbitrage Trade Is a Lot Tougher Than It Looks (Read More)
  • East China Sea oil tanker burns for third day as winds, high waves lash rescuers (Read More)
  • France Probes Apple on Claim iPhones Are Designed to Die (Read More)
  • Target’s holiday sales rise 3.4 percent, boosts profit forecast (Read More)
  • Wall Street’s Rising Euphoria May Spell Trouble for Stock Market (Read More)
  • How Allergan Continues to Make Drug Prices Insane (Read More)
  • Talks with rebels in no-man’s land as Russia eyes post-war role in Syria (Read More)
  • Huawei, Seen as Possible Spy Threat, Boomed Despite U.S. Warnings (Read More)
  • SpaceX-Launched U.S. Military Satellite Appears Lost (Read More)
  • Trump Power Plan Rejected by Federal Energy Regulators (Read More)

Headlines – 1/9/2018

Syria claims Israel targeted an army base outside Damascus

Syrian army says IAF fired at Syria with jets, missiles

Defense Ministry drafts bill to cut PA funds over terrorist stipends

Kahlon: It’s time to annex West Bank settlement blocs

Herzog: ‘Saudi Arabia needs to play a central role on Jerusalem issue’

Jerusalem should be shared capital, UK’s Johnson tells Palestinian foreign minister

Pence to visit Israel January 22-23 following reschedule, White House says

Israel Passes Bill That Bans Most Stores From Operating on Shabbat

‘Crazy numbers’: civilian deaths from airstrikes almost double in a year

Jordanian intelligence stops terrorist plot targeting public security

One person killed in anti-government protest in Tunisian town

High school student killed in protests as price of bread doubles in Sudan

Belgian government at risk of collapse over Sudan migrants scandal

Kremlin says Russia has enough troops in Syria to address attacks

Assad believed to be preventing Iran military entrenchment in Syria

Qatar, Iran officials discuss tourism cooperation in Kish island

Iran protests fade, but economic woes that sparked them persist

Iran protests: deaths in custody spark human rights concerns

Iran Hints at Rift With Atomic Agency if U.S. Quits Nuclear Deal

Iran warns world to prepare for US nuke deal withdrawal

Trump faces deadlines this week that could decide fate of Iran deal

Oil tanker still ablaze three days after collision off Shanghai coast

Trump administration mulling strikes in North Korea

After rare talks at the border, deal is struck for Pyongyang to send athletes and officials to Winter Olympics in February

200,000 Salvadorans may be forced to leave the U.S. as Trump ends immigration protection

Jeff Bezos Is Now Worth More Than Bill Gates Ever Was

A Crypto Website Changes Its Data, and $100 Billion in Market Value Vanishes

Indian banks are choking bitcoin exchanges by blocking payments and withdrawals

Google, Twitter face new lawsuits alleging discrimination against conservative voices

Beijing bets on facial recognition in a big drive for total surveillance

US shatters record for disaster costs in 2017

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Aratoca, Colombia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Vanj, Tajikistan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Tobelo, Indonesia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 22,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 17,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

29 killed, 80,000 affected by Madagascar cyclone

Rare Snowstorm Just Blanketed Parts Of The Sahara Desert In Up To 16 Inches Of Snow

Syracuse’s snow streak finally ends, 66 hours and 19.3 inches later

Mudslide and flood threat prompts evacuations in burnt Southern California as major storm looms

DR Congo mourns flood victims as cholera fears mount

Bats Fall Dead From Sky Amid Record-Breaking Heatwave In Australia

Macedonia takes emergency measures against air pollution

Appeals Court Strikes Maryland City’s Law Forcing Pro-Life Centers to Promote Abortion

U.S. top court turns away challenge to Mississippi LGBT law

India’s highest court to revisit 16th-century ban on gay sex

Midnight marriages usher in Australia’s same-sex wedding laws

Buff Scott Jr. – Examining the Cancer Within

Peter Popoff: Miracles or manipulation?

Jory Micah Wants Oprah to Be Her Pastor

Greg Locke Puts Away Wife, Finds New Girlfriend

Church Standing Behind Pastor Accused of Past Sexual Assault

Facebook Takes Down ‘Warriors for Christ’ Page Citing Policy on Bullying, Hate Speech

Isaiah 11:11 – The Regathering of Israel

Heresy Hunters Guide (Part 1): Why God has called Christians to be ‘Heresy Hunters’

“Prophetess” Vonda Brewer claimed Trump would resign 12-25-17

Paula White Urges Followers to Sow ‘First Fruits’ Offering of Up to 1 Month’s Pay or Suffer The Consequences

The hidden pitfall of Bill Johnson’s ‘Red Letter Revival’

Two-thirds of Christians in new survey say they have been spiritually abused

Ohio’s Largest Abortion Facility Launches Billboard Campaign to Claim: ‘Abortion Is a Blessing’


What is The Gospel?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
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January 9 An Upward Look by a Downcast Soul, Part 2

By James Boice on Jan 09, 2018 12:00 am

These two psalms give at least six reasons for depression, and they indicate the cure. What are the causes of spiritual depression? There are undoubtedly more than these psalms list, but the place to begin is with the causes that are given.

Read more…

‘Unbelief’ and ‘Comfortable’ Christianity Fueling Millennial Interest in Occult, Astrology

Christian Post

Millennials are increasingly exploring and turning to occultic spirituality and astrology, as statistics continue showing rising numbers of “nones,” those who do not identify with any particular faith.

View Article

CultureWatch: Oprah for POTUS, and Other Scary Thoughts

OK, the next US Presidential election is not scheduled for another few years, but the Party that lost the unlosable election in 2016 is already sniffing out possible candidates. And a speech at a Golden Globes ceremony may have given them what they are after: a leftwing celebrity messiah.

The Hollywood liberals were in a frenzy after talk show host Oprah Winfrey gave a speech the other day at the famous awards’ night. As one news report puts it:

Oprah Winfrey fans have lit up Twitter with calls for her to run for US president after the entertainment star gave an inspiring “new day” speech at the Golden Globes in support of those who have exposed sexual misconduct in Hollywood and beyond.
A surge of tweets carrying #Oprahforpresident and #Oprah2020 hashtags followed her speech, where Winfrey became the first African-American woman to receive a lifetime achievement award on Sunday.
Winfrey, an actress, movie and television producer, and chief executive of her OWN cable channel, is actively thinking about a run, CNN reported on Monday, citing two of her close friends. CNN did not name the friends, who it said had spoken on condition of anonymity. At least one emphasised that Winfrey had made no firm decision on a run.
Sunday’s award ceremony honoured Winfrey, 63, as a role model for women and a person who has promoted strong female characters. “In a 9 minute speech, @Oprah was more presidential than the current occupant of the White House has been for an entire year,” wrote Khary Penebaker, a member of the Democratic National Committee, on Twitter.

The mainstream media was fawning over her and her talk, and everyone now seems to have her written in as the next Democratic candidate for POTUS. The liberal NBC even tweeted “Nothing but respect for OUR future president. #GoldenGlobes.” They later had to embarrassingly retract the tweet.

Actually the whole evening was an embarrassment, as Hollywood lefties who for decades pushed sleaze, sexual immorality and soft-core porn onto the rest of us dressed in black to tell us how bad sexual harassment is. Well, yes it is bad, but the hypocrisy of the Hollyweird crowd is just too much to handle.

The same actresses who are now condemning strong, powerful men in Hollywood were just recently cozying up to them and singing their praises. Film director Roman Polanski was accused of rape, yet folks like Meryl Streep had sung his praises with a standing ovation. Oprah herself was seen cuddling up to Harvey Weinstein not long ago. On and on it goes.

This hypocrisy is typical of the Hollywood left. English commentator Melanie Phillips just wrote about this event. She says:

It’s hard to recall a more egregious display of vanity signalling than the black dress protest. It was “please snap me while I pose in my conscience”. MeToo! MeToo! Shortly before the awards there was a major crisis. Forget Iran, Syria or North Korea. So many Hollywood consciences needed to be on display that designers and stylists were reportedly running out of black attire and having to rush in more from their fashion bases in New York.

She continues:

The hypocrisy is epic. Many actors expressing such outrage use sexual chemistry to attract the predatory male movie executives they then profess to despise. They habitually wear outfits that leave little to the imagination, split upwards or downwards or utterly transparent. What’s more, many of the movies and TV series in which they appear, some of them having forgotten to put on any clothes at all, have long crossed the line into soft porn.
Among all the exaggerated outrage, however, there have been victims of real, horrific, sexual violence. Yet many of those blustering in black at the Globes knew about this behaviour but kept quiet about it in order not to jeopardise their careers.
When Roman Polanski won the Oscar for best director in 2003, he wasn’t present at the ceremony. He had fled to France after being charged in 1977 with rape, sodomy and other offences against a 13-year-old girl and had pleaded guilty to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
When his award was announced, however, Meryl Streep, among others, leapt to her feet to give him a standing ovation. No matter: there she was at the Globes displaying her principles and courage by wearing a long black gown instead.
Where is this outrage going to draw a line? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is in disarray over the fact that, having expelled Harvey Weinstein for his sexual aggression, they face similarly having to ban dozens of A-listers — Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Affleck and many more — who have also been outed (with some denials) in the Great Casting-Couch Terror.

Phillips concludes:

Millions of women around the world really do suffer in cultures where male violence towards women is a given; but on those victims, these Hollywood hypocrites are silent. In cultures they choose to present as victims of western colonialism, they simply ignore the all-too real oppression of women. They profess “solidarity” with oppressed women; but of course, it’s really all about themselves.”

Or as Ben Shapiro put it:

It wasn’t just Oprah: actor after actor stepped to the microphones and virtue signaled about the lack of female power in Hollywood. They all wore black dresses in solidarity with sexual abuse victims, and spoke in support of Time’s Up, a movement to end such abuse. All of which is great! Except that watching Hollywood decry sexual abuse feels like watching NFL executives decry concussions: these people have been making bank on a town that thrives on sexual abuse. Watching them fete themselves for their newfound heroism is galling, to say the least.
During Oprah’s speech (she of the multiple pictures kissing Harvey Weinstein), we watched a cutaway to Meryl Streep (she of “God, Harvey Weinstein” fame and the standing ovation for Roman Polanski). If that doesn’t say all that needs to be said about Hollywood, nothing does.
But we’re supposed to cheer Hollywood for its newfound wokeness. We’re supposed to pretend that their message of empowerment has nothing to do with being caught with their hands up skirts. We’re supposed to believe that these thoughtleaders who cheered Woody Allen just six years ago when he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes should continue to be our thoughtleaders on issues of protection against sexual abusers. Spare me.

Matt Walsh concurs:

They all praised and befriended the predators and begged to be in their films when their career ambitions were best served by doing so. But now that Weinstein and his ilk are no longer useful, their former lickspittles are happy to jump on the dogpile. It’s phony. All of it. It’s a charade. It’s theater. These people are doing the only thing they know how to do: acting.

So all the black gowns, and the speech by Oprah – as moving as it might have been – were drenched in hypocrisy. As to Oprah, if she does indeed consider making a run for POTUS, we need to know more about her – we need to keep in mind what Oprah is really all about.

As I have documented before, she is actually the biggest promoter in the world of New Age baloney. See here for more on this: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/06/18/the-gospel-according-to-oprah/

As I said back then:

Who is the number one promoter of New Age philosophy in the world today? Is it Eckhart Tolle? Rhonda Byrne? Dan Brown? Marianne Williamson? Nope. The numero uno New Age evangelist is by far Oprah Winfrey. When Oprah says jump, people ask, ‘how high?’
Unquestionably, Oprah Winfrey is the most influential woman in the world today. The television show host, author, publisher, actress, philanthropist, and media personality is a multi-millionaire, and when she speaks, people – especially her legions of dedicated female followers – consider her utterances to be almost divine revelation.

And she is good buddies with many other powerful leftist celebs and politicians. But worse yet, she is good buddies with some of our most liberal and dodgy “Christian leaders” such as Rob Bell and Joel Osteen. As I have also documented, the beliefs of these three are incredibly similar. See these articles for starters:



As I said elsewhere, it would not surprise me if she did run, and she had someone like Osteen as her running mate. But, you say, they have no political experience. So what? Sadly so much of America is so dumbed down right now, so caught up in an entertainment culture, and so utterly obsessed with celebs, that they would lap up this dream team.

Two of the most popular folks in America right now who both share quite similar views on life. I would not be surprised at all if such a combination both ran and won – that is how bad America now has become. It worries me greatly to be honest.

But as I say, it is early days yet. But the hysteria about Oprah among the left right now is at fever pitch, and she may well be their messianic hope for 2020. Time will tell.



Confession in the Bible: Verses About Confessing Your Sins

When many people hear ‘confessing your sin’, they think it reserved for monks in a monastery or of paying penance to God by entering a church confessional.

But Scripture teaches us it is an important practice for the life of every Christian. The answers to these questions about confession in the Bible may surprise you:

What does the Bible say about confession?

What will happen if you don’t confess your sins?

Psalm 32 offers us several powerful reasons to confess our sins and shows us the consequences of unconfessed sin. David felt weak and was miserable when he did not confess. Verses 3-4 says, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”

Before confessing his sin, David was exhausted. Why? The life was being drained out of him by sin. If you do not weaken sin, it saps your spiritual strength. It weakens you. When I see a sin forming in my life, I must say, “If I’m to serve Christ, I dare not let this grow! It’ll drain the life out of me…”

Why should you confess your sins?

In addition to avoiding the negative effects of unconfessed sin, biblical confession is a way to experience more of God’s grace.  Biblical confession should be a joy, in some ways, due to the rich benefits God gives us through it.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This does not mean that God will forgive a sin only if it has been specifically confessed. When a Christian repents and believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ, all of their sins, past, present, and future are immediately forgiven!

Confessing is part of the sanctification process and aids Christians in dealing with sin and healing from it.  James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Why confess your sin if God already knows your sin?

Christians confess their sins to God to practice humility before him and to fess up to the bad things they have done. It takes a humble person to admit their mistakes! Humility is a vital part of confession and aids the restoration of Christians who have quenched the Spirit of God. Peter in 1 Peter  5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

A True Confession is Done in Humility with an Attitude of Repentance

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

“…you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God…For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (Psalm 32:1-5)

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”  (1 John 1:9).


The post Confession in the Bible: Verses About Confessing Your Sins appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

The Gatekeepers of False Teachers Calling Out Renowned Christian Apologist

The blog, Bible Thumping Wingnut (BTWN) has shown Christian apologist James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries to be in “sinful error,” according to Pulpit & Pen:

He has gone from doing some merely unwise things to clearly sinful things, and he is digging in as hard and fast as he can go while beginning to disqualify himself from Christian ministry right before our eyes. White has resorted to ad hominem attacks, sadly against some of the very leaders who have defended him in the past. He seems unwilling to listen to those who are well aware of Michael Brown’s errors and the dangers of the New Apostolic Reformation. Most are beginning to see it.

In a stunning display of irrefutable evidence from Chris Rosebrough, Phil Johnson, Mike Abendroth, Todd Friel, and more, Tim Hurd plays these clips of James’ friends all exhorting people to beware of Michael Brown – the very NAR apologist who was Elephant Roomed by James last Tuesday. (Source — above link ours)

In piece titled “BTWN Takes On James White/Michael Brown in Stunning Presentation of Evidence” P&P includes a link to BTWN’s podcast. The host, John Hurd, plays clips of Rosebrough, Johnson, Abendroth and Friel warning people to watch out for Dr. Michael Brown. After listening to the podcast, CRN contributor Mike Ratliff, who has been involved in discernment for over a decade had this to say:

I listened to this episode of the Bible Thumping Wingnut this evening. I found it troubling, but, then again, when this ministry first began I worked shoulder to shoulder with [discernment blogger] Ken Silva doing heavy duty discernment work and this episode sure took me back [to those days]. I am convinced that our enemy has worked very hard within the Visible Church to discredit discernment ministries by making the wolves attacking the Body of Christ appear to be victims of slander and unfair exposure by those of us who simply tell the truth about what is going on in those “ministries.”

According to P&P, it is essential that believers listen to this podcast because “if you do, there will remain no doubt that James is in serious sinful error – if not a pastorally disqualifying elder.”

The Gatekeepers of False Teachers

On this episode Tim considers Dr. Michael Brown’s defense of Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson & Mike Bickle on the Dividing Line with Dr. James White

Related articles:

Phil Johnson, Todd Friel: Michael Brown is NOT orthodox, is Dangerous — Statements from Johnson and Friel about Michael Brown

Articles on Dr. James White

Articles on Dr. Michael Brown

Visit discernment blog Apprising Ministries – Gatekeeper Ken Silva was in the trenches until 2014, when he went home to be with the Lord.

See Berean Research’s White Paper on Discernment

Source: The Gatekeepers of False Teachers Calling Out Renowned Christian Apologist

Paula White Urges Followers to Give ‘First Fruits’ Offering of a Day, Week or Month’s Wages

(Christian News Network) Prosperity preacher Paula White, who also serves as the chair of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, is urging her followers to give a “first fruits” financial offering with the start of 2018, stating that there are “consequences” for those who don’t do so out of “ignorance or direct disobedience.”

“As you remember the Lord your God, according to Deuteronomy 8:18, through your first fruits offering, He gives you the power to acquire wealth to establish His covenant,” she wrote in a post on her website, accompanied by a YouTube video. View article →

Source: Paula White Urges Followers to Give ‘First Fruits’ Offering of a Day, Week or Month’s Wages

Barna Update | The Trends Shaping a Post-Truth Era

The term “post-truth” is now often used to describe the current political climate in the United States, in which reality is relative and even the facts are open to interpretation. In this sneak peek of the feature story of Barna Trends 2018 (available now), the Barna team identify cultural and spiritual reasons the world is no longer in agreement about anything.

Read more

January 9, 2018 : Afternoon Verse Of The Day

33 The character of this new covenant is described as one that will be made “after those days” (NASB), referring back to v. 31a and possibly back to v. 27 or even earlier and apparently meaning after they have been planted again in the land (cf. Metsudat David, “after they return from exile”). Interestingly, reference is made here only to the house of Israel, but this must certainly be understood inclusively as referring to both Israel and Judah (mentioned in vv. 29, 31); it may also reflect the fact that the Sinaitic covenant was made with one people, Israel, before there was such a thing as the northern and southern kingdoms. In the same way this new covenant will be made with one people, Israel (cf. esp. 1 Ki 18:31; see also Holladay with reference to Eze 39:15–17).

In this new covenant God’s tôrâ (“teaching, law”) will be put within his people (beqirbām, lit., “in their midst/interior”; the NIV’s “in their minds” is too interpretive) and will be written on their hearts, in obvious contradistinction to the Sinaitic covenant, which was written on tablets of stone (Ex 24:12; 34:1, 4, 28; Dt 4:13; 5:22; 9:9–11; 10:1, 3; see Eze 36:26–27; 2 Co 3:3; cf. further Pss 40:8[9]; 51:6, 10; note Dt 10:16; Jer 4:3–4). Thus it will become Israel’s very nature to keep the commandments of the Lord as their automatic, natural response; this is expressed more fully in the (clearly parallel) new heart passage in Ezekiel 36:26–27, as well as in Jeremiah 32:37–42 (see discussion there; cf. also Eze 11:17–20).

On a practical level, this means that what the psalmist experienced on a temporary and individual level in Psalm 40—delighting in God’s will and having the Torah in his heart before being overwhelmed by the consciousness of his still-present sins—will become Israel’s experience on a corporate and permanent level. Because there will be harmony between Yahweh and his people, the covenantal promise expressed first in Jeremiah in 7:23 and repeated again in 11:1–4 will finally become the reality. As Keil notes, “the essential element of the new covenant, ‘I will be their God, and they shall be my people,’ was set forth as the object of the old; cf. Lev 26:12 with Ex 29:45,” but it is only through the new covenant that it will be realized. As Heschel, 1:128–29, observes, “Prophecy is not God’s only instrument. What prophecy fails to bring about, the new covenant will accomplish: the complete transformation of every individual.” For a thorough interpretive study, see Fẹmi Adeyẹmi, The New Covenant Torah in Jeremiah and the Law of Christ in Paul (Studies in Biblical Literature 94; New York: Peter Lang, 2008).[1]

31:33I will make: The new covenant would be initiated by God Himself, assuring its effectiveness. after those days: This expression looks forward to the time of fulfillment of the New Covenant, which found fruition in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. put My law in their minds … write it on their hearts: Together the mind and heart describe the total inner motivations of mind, will, emotion, and spirit.[2]

31:33 Rather than writing the law on tablets and scrolls (see Ex. 34:1; Deut. 31:9–13) and asking the people to internalize it (Deut. 6:4–9), God will write it on their hearts from the start. He will be the God of this new covenant, just as he was for the old covenant partners who loved him. In Rom. 11:27, Paul takes the words “this will be my covenant with them” from this verse.[3]

31:33 Under the old covenant, the law of God was engraved on tablets of stone and placed in the Most Holy Place; under the new covenant God will write His law on the hearts of His people. The people then are like the temple in that the law of God is within them, but with the difference that they are a living temple, made of living stones (2 Cor. 3:3; 1 Pet. 2:5). See “God’s Covenant of Grace” at Gen. 12:1.

after those days. The prophet speaks of a time after exile, without being specific. The New Testament shows that the time arrived with Christ, the Messiah.

I will. God will take the initiative to renew His people.

my law. The law of Moses required obedience from the heart (Deut. 6:6) but provided no enablement for that obedience (Deut. 5:29; 29:4). It did mediate forgiveness and hope, especially through the sacrifices. The law was a system of “types and shadows,” that is, of significant elements foreshadowing Christ and inviting trust in God through Him.

I will be their God, and they … my people. This declaration is the summary of God’s blessings promised in His covenant (Lev. 26:12; cf. 7:23).[4]

[1] Brown, M. L. (2010). Jeremiah. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah–Ezekiel (Revised Edition) (Vol. 7, pp. 396–397). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 923). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1431). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1099). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.


The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

John 1:14

We do well to remember that mankind is only one order of God’s beings or creatures. So we wonder: How could the Infinite ever become finite? And: How could the Limitless One deliberately impose limitations upon Himself?

In the book of Hebrews, we learn to our amazement that God took not upon Him the nature of angels, but He took upon Him the seed of Abraham.

We would suppose that God in stepping down would step down just as little as possible. But instead He came down to the lowest order and took upon Himself the nature of Abraham—the seed of Abraham.

I like what John Wesley said concerning this mysterious act of God in stooping down to tabernacle with us: We should be sure to distinguish the act from the method by which the act is performed. Do not reject a fact because we do not know how it was done, Wesley advised.

With the saints of all ages, we do well just to throw up our hands and confess: “Oh Lord, Thou knowest!”

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for leaving the heights of heaven and stooping down to our lowly level. We didn’t deserve this amazing visitation from above, but we are so grateful.[1]

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

January 9 Preparation for Testing

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.—Matt. 4:1

One of life’s important truisms is that strong temptation tends to follow every major personal triumph. The apostle Paul warns, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). In the aftermath of significant successes, we are often tempted to think the accomplishment came solely by our own strength and ingenuity. But just when we think success is here to stay, we become vulnerable to pride—and failure. Even Christ in His incarnation was not exempt from testing, such as what came on the heels of His God-affirming baptism.

In a parallel passage, Mark says, “Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). Mark’s use of “impelled” denotes the necessity of the Lord’s temptation, or testing. Although the testings would come from Satan, it was God’s will that Jesus undergo them in advance of His earthly ministry and redemptive work.

So after His ministry and Person had been validated by the Father and the Spirit at the scene of His baptism, Jesus confronted the first great challenge to His mission. Our Savior was not intimidated by the prospect of temptation but fully conscious of His divine mission and strengthened in His humanity by the abiding presence and power of God. That is what Satan sought to forever undermine and destroy.


What specific temptations often awaken in your own heart following times of encouragement or accomplishment? How do you deal with them and defeat them? May God be seen as your continual supply, even at times when you’re tempted to think you can manage on your own.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 17). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 9 Our Consistent Gospel

He promised [the gospel] before through His Prophets in the Holy Scriptures.

Romans 1:2

Did you know that the Old Testament is completely consistent with the New? That’s because the good news is old, not new. The Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, or anywhere in between, is all about the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said that the Scriptures give testimony about Him (John 6:39). In speaking to men on the road to Emmaus, Jesus said, “ ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25–27).

Why is that important for you today? So you can be confident that the Scripture holds God’s promise of good news in Christ.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 20). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

January 9, 2018 : Morning Verse Of The Day

Its Primitiveness to Combat

For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. (3:7–8)

James’s point in these two verses is simply that the human tongue is innately uncontrollable and untamable. It is wild, undisciplined, irresponsible, irrepressible, and savage. In what might be called its primitive or intrinsic evil, it combats every effort to control and direct it.

Every species includes animals that walk and fly, beasts and birds, as well as those that crawl and swim, the reptiles and creatures of the sea. Animals from each of those categories are being tamed and have been tamed by the human race. The wildest, smartest, fastest, most powerful, and most elusive of creatures are subject to man’s taming. Even after the Fall, Noah was able to bring every kind of animal into the ark in pairs without serious incident. Although the task of Noah and his family to take care of those thousands of creatures was surely daunting in the extreme, there is no record of any of the animals attacking or harming their keepers, or each other, in any way. For centuries, the major attraction of circuses has been the wild animal acts, in which lions, tigers, and other powerful and dangerous animals do tricks at the command of a human trainer. In that regard they are less primitive and more civilized and controllable than the unregenerate, unsanctified tongues of their masters.

But no one, that is, no human being in his own power, can tame the tongue. Even in believers, the tongue can easily slip out of its sanctified cage, as it were, and do great harm. Its work can be so subtle that it sometimes escapes notice until the damage is done. Well aware of that danger, David prayed, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3). Even the godly Paul confessed: “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not” (Rom 7:18). He could not trust himself to keep his tongue, or any other part of his unredeemed flesh, in check. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,” he reminded believers in Galatia; “for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:17).

As noted earlier in this commentary chapter, Adam’s first sin after the Fall not only was slander but slander against God, indirectly blaming his own disobedience on the Lord for having given him Eve, who tempted him to eat of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:12). By contrast, the first act of the new creations in Christ, who became the church, was to praise God with their purified tongues, “speaking of the mighty deeds of God” (Acts 2:11).

Restless translates akatastatos, the same word rendered “unstable” in 1:8. In this context, the meaning goes well beyond that of restless, suggesting the idea of a wild animal fighting fiercely against the restraints of captivity. This evil chafes at confinement, always seeking a way to escape and to spread its deadly poison. Its “venom” is more deadly than a snake’s because it can destroy morally, socially, economically, and spiritually.

David was a soldier’s soldier, a man of military renown who had fought powerful enemies. But he realized that the most dangerous enemies are those who attack with words. He therefore prayed:

Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, from the tumult of those who do iniquity, who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow, to shoot from concealment at the blameless; suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear. They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly; they say, “Who can see them?” They devise injustices, saying, “We are ready with a well-conceived plot”; for the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep. But God will shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly they will be wounded. So they will make him stumble; their own tongue is against them; all who see them will shake the head. Then all men will fear, and they will declare the work of God, and will consider what He has done. The righteous man will be glad in the Lord and will take refuge in Him; and all the upright in heart will glory. (Ps. 64:1–10)

The poisonous lies of Laban’s sons against Jacob drove him and his family out of the land and devastated Laban’s own home and family life (Gen. 31). The venomous tongue of Doeg the Edomite lying to King Saul about David and Ahimelech the priest resulted in the brutal massacre of eighty-five priests as well as the entire priestly city of Nob (1 Sam. 22:9–19). The deceitful princes of Ammon also lied about David, accusing him of hypocrisy in honoring Nahash their king and Hanun, his son and successor. Believing the lies, Hanun assembled an enormous force of his own soldiers, along with Aramean mercenaries, of which some seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand horsemen and their commander were needlessly slaughtered by David’s forces—all because of a lie! (2 Sam. 10). When Naboth refused to sell his vineyard to King Ahab, Queen Jezebel conspired to have two men falsely accuse Naboth of blasphemy, which resulted in his being stoned to death (1 Kings 21:1–13). As recorded in the book of Esther, Satan attempted to use the lies of Haman to exterminate exiled Jews in Medo-Persia, but was thwarted by Esther and her cousin, Mordecai. Our Lord Himself was put to death because of lies (Matt. 26:57–60). Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death because he was falsely accused of blaspheming Moses and God (Acts 6:8–7:60).[1]

We Can Tame Anything but the Tongue (3:7–8)

James begins the next verse with the word “for” (esv). That shows he is explaining what he just said. By this we know the tongue is enflamed by hell: mankind can tame anything but the tongue. Every kind of animal “can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:7–8 esv).

The tongue is restless, unstable, and liable to break out at any time. It is half-tamed at best. At an aquarium, we may behold whales, dolphins, and seals heeding human commands. At the circus, we see birds, horses, camels, elephants, and even tigers perform their routines. If an animal fails to perform, the trainer barks commands to bring it back into line. But who can force the tongue back into line? There is a touch of poetry in James’s answer:

Every kind of beast can be tamed by humankind,

but no one among humans can tame the tongue.

Humankind subdues every kind of animal, but it cannot subdue itself. James’s literal phrasing is a bit awkward: “No one is able to tame the tongue—among humans.” This stilted language makes us think. Human nature cannot control the tongue, yet the tongue must be tamed. Who then, will tame the tongue?

Augustine explains that James “does not say ‘no one can tame the tongue,’ but ‘no man,’ so that, when it is tamed, we admit that it was done by the mercy of God, the assistance of God, the grace of God.” This clarifies James’s pessimism about the tongue. James says two things: The tongue has vast influence, so we ought to control it. Yet no human can tame the tongue. This is a paradox: James says we must do something that we cannot do. There are two ways to approach this problem.

First, we can soften James’s message. He means it is almost impossible to tame the tongue, therefore we must redouble our efforts. This view says: Since the tongue is the key to holy living, we must bend every effort to control it, for if we do, we control all. James’s illustrations seem to support this view. Just as a bit turns a large horse, just as a rudder turns a large ship, so the tongue the lives of men.

One writer compares the tongue to a master switch. The words that the tongue forms control our thoughts and plans. If the tongue were “well under control” so that it refused to formulate “words of self-pity” or “thoughts of anger … then these things are cut down before they have a chance to live.”

Rudders certainly are important. During World War II, the mightiest German battleship, the Bismarck, sank because its rudder failed. Germany launched the Bismarck to attack Allied shipping. When the British navy intercepted it, the Bismarck sank the Hood, the pride of Britain’s navy, in less than ten minutes. The British put everything into a counterattack while the Bismarck, lightly damaged, steamed to harbor. But one tiny plane dropped a torpedo that struck and irreparably damaged the Bismarck’s rudder. The Bismarck could only go in circles. Within hours, dozens of ships and planes brought all their firepower against that one ship until it sank.

Metaphorical rudders are crucial, too. A misdirected chief officer can wreak havoc upon a corporation. A heedless pastor can decimate a church. The first view says it is very difficult, but we can and must control the tongue, for it is the rudder for human life.

The second view interprets James rather literally. It says: It would be good to tame the tongue, but James says we cannot. Therefore, we must turn elsewhere for help. No one has sufficient self-control to govern his tongue: “We all stumble in many ways” (3:2). “No one”—no mere human—“can tame the tongue” (3:8).[2]

7–8 James’s discussion of the tongue’s destructiveness continues by comparing it to the wildest of animals. James notes that every species of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is being tamed and has been tamed by human beings. “Tamed” can also mean “controlled” or “subdued.” The point is that, in relation to the other species of the earth, humans are distinct. In the creation of people and animals on the sixth day (Ge 1:24–28) God stated this distinction explicitly. He proclaimed in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” James’s point is that the creation mandate of ruling over the lesser beasts had been carried out. Animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures are subdued. One must not think here of “tamed” as in a circus; rather, James has in mind humans as dominant.

Yet, irony of ironies, that small beast, the tongue, defies subjugation. James states plainly, “but no man can tame the tongue.” He probably speaks hyperbolically in v. 8, since his appeal is that those of the congregations do just that. Yet the two descriptions at the end of the verse leave no room for doubt concerning the seriousness with which the tongue must be taken. Like a wild animal pacing about, attack and tearing in its every thought, the tongue is a “restless evil.” The word “restless” (akatastatos, GK 190) also connotes the concept of being “unstable” and occurs in James’s description of the double-minded person of 1:8. In one ancient work, slander is personified as a “restless demon” (Shepherd of Hermas, Mand. 2:3). Moreover, this wild animal is full of death-dealing poison. The thought parallels Paul’s quote of Psalm 140:3 at Romans 3:13. There the apostle conflates a number of OT passages to speak of the comprehensive nature of human sin, pointing out that sin is often associated with the “mouth” (i.e., speech). He includes the quotation from Psalm 140:3, a psalm that describes wicked people of violence who devise evil plans and slander with their poisonous tongues: “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” So too James points out that the tongue is like a wild, poisonous animal that kills with its blows.[3]

3:7–8 / Having said some rather strong things about the tongue, James now turns to arguing his case in detail. His main point will be that the tongue, that is, human speech, is hopelessly evil. He begins with an analogy from nature: “All kinds of species are being tamed and have been tamed by humans.” He is not arguing scientifically: It would not bother him to learn that no one had yet tamed a rhinoceros or that in his day killer whales still lacked human contact; nor is James concerned about whether an animal is fully domesticated. It is enough for him that wild-cats and apes can be brought under human control. This is true, from the prisoner taming the mice and rats in his dungeon, to the elephant driver causing his beast to lift an Indian prince, to the snake charmer in the market and the merchant with birds that fly to him on command. This had been true in the past (have been tamed), but it is not part of some golden age half-forgotten—it is present experience as well (are being tamed). Furthermore, this truth is applicable to all the four major classes of animals: animals (i.e., mammals), birds, reptiles (which includes amphibians), and creatures of the sea.

But what a contrast when one comes to the tongue! No one can tame the tongue: The problem of controlling speech was a byword of the Greek and Hebrew cultures: It was a maxim that James hardly needed to prove. Did not his readers have dozens of things they wished they could “unsay” or many words they had spoken in error? Had they not learned dozens of proverbs to try to help them: “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov. 12:18); “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin” (Prov. 13:3). Surely James’ words are self-evident to every honest person.

Instead of being tamed, the tongue is a restless (or unstable) evil. As Hermas would later say, “Defamation is evil; it is a restless demon, never at peace, but always dwells in dissension” (Mandate 2.3). In contrast, God is perfectly single-minded, stable, and at peace, “For God is not a God of disorder [confusion, restlessness, instability] but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33). Yet speech is frequently characterized by instability; one believes one has controlled the tongue, then in an unguarded moment a critical, defamatory word slips out. Uncontrollable, restless, unstable—those are also the characteristics of the demonic, as James will soon point out (3:16).

Furthermore, the tongue is full of deadly poison. The psalmist agreed: “They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips” (Ps. 140:3). The comparison with snakes was widespread in Jewish literature, perhaps because the tongue looks a bit like a snake, perhaps because a snake kills with the mouth, and perhaps because the serpent in Eden deceived with its smooth words. There is no evidence that James is depending on any particular passage; he is simply asserting that words are not harmless; they are dangerous, as deadly as poison if they are not controlled. This is James’ answer to the modern tendency to see words as unimportant and cheap.[4]

The Rebellion of the Tongue (vv. 7–8)

SUPPORTING IDEA: We can tame all types of animals, but no one can tame the rebellious nature of the tongue.

3:7–8. Verse 7 mentions four classifications of earthly animals men have subdued or tamed: animals which could walk, fly, crawl, or swim. Genesis 9:2 follows the same type of classification. These classifications represent a human observation about different types of animals rather than a scientific ordering.

Certainly no one has ever tamed a rhinoceros or an alligator, but in general wild animals can be brought under human control. Elephants, charmed snakes, and porpoises are examples of this principle. Although human beings can tame animals, they cannot tame their own tongues. The tongue is a restless evil, always busy creating more mischief. We must always keep the tongue under careful guard and never give it freedom to roam relentlessly, for it is full of deadly poison. Like the tongue of a serpent, the tongue deals out death (see Ps. 140:3).

Several years ago at the conclusion of a moving musical presentation, a man claiming to be Leonard Bernstein, Jr., son of the world-famous conductor, gave a check for twenty thousand dollars to the sanctuary choir of a large Baptist church. With tears in his eyes the man indicated that he and his father were Christian Jews and members of a New York City Baptist church. He asked that the church use the money to take the church choir to New York to perform with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Officials at the bank on which the check was drawn could not locate the account. The office of Leonard Bernstein in New York indicated that he had one son, whose name was Alexander. Neither father nor son had any connection with a Baptist church in New York. Someone had pulled a hoax. He had presented a picture of a tongue full of restless mischief.

The Bible’s accurate picture of the tongue’s destructive potential offers us no excuse for acquiescing to the tongue’s evil potential (see Eph. 4:29). By committing our tongues to the power of God, we can see them used to build up and strengthen others rather than to tear them down.

Recently I spoke to a church in South Texas and focused during one evening on Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:15–23. I urged my listeners to adopt the requests of Paul’s prayer as they interceded for others. The next day one of the members pulled me aside to say that those words from Paul had changed her own prayer life. Her words of encouragement built me up and sent me back to my teaching with renewed enthusiasm. A tongue committed to God can be used as a positive tool for building hope and stamina in others.[5]

7. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,8. but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James comes to a conclusion on taming the tongue. With the examples of the horse’s bit and the ship’s rudder he has shown the skill and capability of man (vv. 3–4). Now he portrays man as ruler in God’s creation, for man has been given power to rule over all creatures that walk, fly, crawl, and swim (Gen. 1:26, 28; Ps. 8:6–8).

“All kinds of animals.” We should not expect a scientific enumeration of all the species of animals that man has been able to tame. Nevertheless, James lists them in pairs:

wild animals and birds

reptiles and sea creatures

Man has been able to subdue all these creatures, for God has given man the power to rule in his great creation. Man continues to tame animals for his benefit and pleasure. We see this displayed in a circus performance where wild animals obey their trainer who merely cracks a whip, snaps his fingers, or claps his hands. Man has been endowed with a nature that is able to subdue God’s creatures.

Yet man is unable to control his own tongue. When man fell into sin, he lost his ability to govern himself. He lost control of himself and is now ruled by his tongue. Man can tame fierce and powerful animals, yet he cannot tame his own tongue.

James makes no exceptions: “No man can tame the tongue.” With this brief and yet emphatic remark James repeats what he said earlier: “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check” (3:2).

What is man’s tongue? “It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” The picture is that of a poisonous snake whose tongue is never at rest and whose fangs are filled with lethal venom. Man’s tongue is unstable, elusive, restless. Besides, it is full of a death-bringing poison. Of all the biblical authors, James most descriptively and accurately portrays the nature of man’s tongue (compare Ps. 58:4; 140:3). It is an ugly picture that shows the destructive nature of sin.[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 157–159). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Doriani, D. M. (2007). James. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 111–113). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 247). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Davids, P. H. (2011). James (pp. 83–85). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, pp. 304–305). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 112–113). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.


And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

–Exodus 33:18

When Moses saw the glory of God he begged that he might see more. When God revealed to him that he had found grace, he wanted more grace. Remember this: The man that has the most of God is the man who is seeking the most ardently for more of God….

I have been greatly and deeply concerned that you and I do something more than listen, that we dare to go to God like the Lady Julian and dare to ask Him to give us a faithful, fatherly wound—maybe three of them, if you please: to wound us with a sense of our own sinful unworthiness that we’ll never quite get over; to wound us with the sufferings of the world and the sorrows of the Church; and then to wound us with the longing after God, a thirst, a sacred thirst and longing that will carry us on toward perfection….

Almost every day of my life I am praying that “a jubilant pining and longing for God” might come back on the evangelical churches. We don’t need to have our doctrine straightened out; we’re as orthodox as the Pharisees of old. But this longing for God that brings spiritual torrents and whirlwinds of seeking and self-denial—this is almost gone from our midst. MDP116-117

Lord, I pray that You will bring about a renewed, intense longing for You in my heart. Begin the work in my own heart, and let it spread also to all of Your Church! Amen.[1]

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

January 9 The Importance of Humility

“Walk … with all humility”

Ephesians 4:2


Humility is fundamental to spiritual growth and blessing.

It’s no secret that family problems are on the rise. Husbands and wives can’t get along. Children rebel against their parents. Unfortunately, most of the proposed solutions deal only with the peripheral issues instead of the central issue, which is pride. There will never be unity or happiness in a family without humility.

Humility is not only essential in families; it is also a basic ingredient for all spiritual blessing. The book of Proverbs is rich with such teaching. “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom” (11:2). “Before honor comes humility” (15:33). “The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life” (22:4). James tells us, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (4:6). Too often we forget how important humility is.

Did you know that pride was the first sin ever committed? An angel named Lucifer tried to exalt himself above God: “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13–14). He said “I will” five times, and God said, “No, you won’t” and cast him out of Heaven. Lucifer, “son of the morning,” became Satan, “the accuser.”

Every sin—whatever it is—has pride at its root, because all sin is defiance of God. What could be more prideful than saying, “I won’t follow God’s standard”? So in trying to overcome sin, we must also deal with our pride.

It is impossible to be saved without humility. God isn’t impressed with credentials; you must come to God and say, “I am a sinner, and I realize I am worthy of nothing.” There’s no other way into God’s family and no other way to walk once you’re there.

Though you may have read your Bible, prayed, gone to church all your life, or even founded churches, if you aren’t walking in humility, you aren’t walking a worthy walk. The worthy walk begins with “all humility.”


Suggestions for Prayer: Consider how pride manifests itself in some areas of your life, confess those to God, and ask His forgiveness.

For Further Study: Read Luke 18:9–14. Compare the attitudes of the tax collector and the Pharisee. Which one pleased God and why?[1]

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

January 8 Daily Help

PRAYER is the rustling of the wings of the angels that are on their way bringing us the boons of heaven. Have you heard prayer in your heart? You shall see the angel in your house. When the chariots that bring us blessings do rumble, their wheels do sound with prayer. We hear the prayer in our own spirits, and that prayer becomes the token of the coming blessings. Even as the cloud foreshadoweth rain, so prayer foreshadoweth the blessing; even as the green blade is the beginning of the harvest, so is prayer the prophecy of the blessing that is about to come.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 12). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

January 8, 2018 : Evening Verse Of The Day

The Meaning of Prayer

Philippians 4:6–7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

For most people few doctrines associated with Christianity are more generally misunderstood than that of true prayer. It is totally misunderstood by nonbelievers, and it is misunderstood by many who profess the name of Jesus. The problem may be traced to the fact that so few persons know God well enough to be closely associated with him in prayer, and since none of us is as closely associated with him as we ought to be, prayer is at least partially confusing to us all. Does prayer change things? Or does prayer change people? Does God change his mind as the result of believing prayer? Or does God move us to pray? What does it mean to pray without ceasing? Who can pray? How do you pray? And why should a person pray anyway? In any gathering of God’s people many of these questions will receive different and sometimes even contradictory answers.

In the fourth chapter of Philippians there are two verses that are an exceptionally fine statement of the Christian doctrine of prayer. Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7).

For Christians Only

What is prayer? Prayer is talking with God, and the place to begin in any true definition of prayer is with the fact that prayer is for believers only. Paul did not write his words about prayer to the pagan world at Philippi or to the world at large. He wrote them “to all the saints in Christ Jesus” at Philippi. This means that prayer is exclusively for Christians. It is the means by which an empty soul that has been touched by Jesus Christ can be thrust beneath the life-giving fountain of God’s grace, can bask in God’s goodness, and can be supernaturally refreshed for life’s tasks. Prayer is the Christian’s antidote for anxiety.

I know something called prayer is offered a billion times daily by millions of people who are not Christians, but this is not prayer in any real sense. Scores of non-Christian people in the East spend the better part of a day spinning prayer wheels. Savages chant prayers in many jungle clearings. New Agers finger prayer beads. Many poor souls cry out a prayer in the midst of some calamity. Many non-Christians give themselves to a life of meditation. But this is not true prayer, if the person involved is not a Christian. Prayer is talking with God, and the only prayer that God hears and answers is one that is made through his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone provides access to his presence.

This truth was taught by Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus did not say that he was one of several ways to come to God, that he was a prophet who pointed out the ways to God; he said that he was the way to come to God, and he added, lest anyone misunderstand him, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” This means that no prayer offered to God apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has ever reached God his heavenly Father.

There are more passages in the Bible that tell when God will not answer prayer than there are passages in which he promises to do it, and God definitely says he will not answer the prayer of anyone who does not come through faith in his Son.

Have you ever tried to pray and found God distant and unreal? Have you gone away without any real hope that God has heard you? It may be that you have never done the first thing God requires. Your sin divides you like a wall from God’s presence. It will only be removed by Jesus Christ. You need to come to him. You need to say, “Lord Jesus Christ, I recognize that I am separated from you by my sin; but I believe you died for me to remove that sin forever. Remove it now, and accept me as your child. Amen.” If you do that, God will remove your sin, and he will accept you as his child forever.

Barriers to Prayer

Now we must also add that although it is true that God does not hear the prayer of non-Christians, it is also true that he does not hear the prayers offered by many Christians. In fact, the Bible says that God will never hear a Christian’s prayer so long as the Christian is clinging to some sin in his heart. David said, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Ps. 66:18). Isaiah wrote, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1–2).

Do these verses describe your prayer life? If so, you must confess your sin openly and frankly, knowing that God “is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We can only pray if our lives are open books before him.

In normal life we must know people well before our conversation with them flows freely. There are many people I know casually to whom I would speak about the weather, their work, their families, but to whom I would never speak about more personal things. There are others I know better; to these I would speak about some problems in my own life or about the concerns of others. Certain things I share only with my wife. How easily I can speak depends on how well I know the person. It is the same in our relationship to God. If we do not know God well, if our sin keeps us from him, if we do not recognize his characteristics and how he operates with people, then he is like a stranger to us and the prayer flows slowly, even though we have come to faith in Jesus. Instead, we must confess our sin and learn to spend time alone with our heavenly Father. When we do that our prayer will become the kind of communion that we have in conversation with a close friend.

Prayer for Others

Everything that I have noted up to this point has ourselves as the center; but if you know what prayer is, you know also that prayer necessarily involves other people. No matter how intimate the conversation may be between a husband and wife, it does not always center on their own affairs exclusively. They share news about their acquaintances and their concerns for them. So it is in prayer. The Bible calls such prayer “intercession.” First Timothy 2:1 says, “I urge you, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.”

As we meet with God in prayer—at the beginning of a day, at its end, or in any moment throughout it—these concerns should also be a part of our conversation with him. We should have great boldness as we present the concerns of others.

That great Bible teacher, Harry Ironside, tells a story about intercessory prayer in one of his books. He had been preaching in the Midwest and had held meetings in a church that contained a most unusual group of believers. They had Sunday services and midweek meetings, but they did not come together for prayer. He spoke to them about this lack. They said, “We don’t need to meet for prayer. We have no spiritual needs, for the Bible says that we have all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. And we have no need of material things, for we are well provided for. So we don’t pray.” Ironside said, “Well, that is unfortunate. At the very least, you should pray for me that God will give me freedom of speech as I go about preaching the gospel.”

They could not seem to understand his point, and Ironside left. Some time later he collapsed while in the pulpit. It was found that he had typhoid fever with a temperature of 106 degrees. In time he recovered, and during the next year he was back with this strange group of Christians. They said to him, “When we heard that you were sick with typhoid fever we began to pray for you. We prayed for you twice a week, but after we heard that you had recovered we stopped.” Ironside said, “Well, that is unfortunate also. As long as I was in the hospital room I was all right. All I had was typhoid fever. But now that I am out preaching the gospel, I am faced with the spiritual temptations that come to a Christian minister. Now I need your prayers more than ever.”

I know someone is going to say, “Do you mean to teach that God will only take care of another Christian if we pray?” No, I do not think intercession means that. But it does mean that God allows us to share in the blessings he gives to others and delights in using our prayers as a means through which he operates.

Let me illustrate this by another story. More than a generation ago a man named Hotchkiss went to Nigeria where he spent over forty years as a missionary. One day he was late for a service he was to have in a village located across a large plain. There was a rule in Nigeria in those days that no one ever crossed a large open space for fear of stampedes by the herds of wild game that roamed at large in the country. A safe path always passed within a short run of the trees. Hotchkiss was late, and he knew the quickest way to the village was to go directly across the plain. So he started across it. Halfway across the worst happened. He heard the thunder of rhinoceros hoofs, and as he looked up he saw a herd of the monstrous animals headed toward him. There was nowhere to go, so Hotchkiss knelt down in the middle of the plain, clasped his Bible to his chest, and prayed, “Lord, here I come.” An eternity passed as the roar grew louder and then faded away into the distance. At last all was quiet and Hotchkiss arose. He was standing in the midst of the plain marked with the hoofprints of a hundred or more rhinoceros. But he was alive, and he went on to his meeting in the village.

Years later, a couple from Ohio visited this man in Nigeria. In the course of their conversation the husband said to Hotchkiss, “I had a most unusual experience once that concerned you. One night I woke up suddenly with an irresistible urge to pray for you. And I did, committing you to God’s safekeeping.” Hotchkiss asked if he remembered when it was. The man had written it down that night in his Bible, and when they compared the times, it was on the same day and at the same hour that Hotchkiss had been spared on the Nigerian plain.

Someone may argue that God would have saved Hotchkiss anyway, even if the man had not prayed. Probably. But the point is that in God’s marvelous working he moved a man halfway around the world to pray for Hotchkiss in that hour. Thus, years later the man was able to share in the blessing of his friend’s supernatural deliverance. In the same way we have the privilege as God’s children of committing others into his hands for his blessing—our friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and family. As we do, we are permitted to share in his blessing on them. Our Christian life holds few joys greater than this one.


There is one other point about prayer that comes directly from this passage. Prayer is not only talking with God, nor is it only intercession for others. Prayer is also an opportunity to present our requests to him. Paul calls them petitions, and he says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God invites us to place our earnest requests before him.

This is God’s cure for anxiety. Christians are troubled about many things. You may be troubled about your work, your family, the future, money, sex, or happiness. God invites you to place your request about these things before him. The promise of the verse is that the peace of God will keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

Have you ever noticed that the verse does not say that we shall necessarily receive the things we ask for? You would expect the verse to say, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and God will fulfill your requests.” But it does not say that. It says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Our prayers are often in error, and we pray for things that are not good for us. God does not promise to give us these things. All things work together for good to them that love God. However, God does promise to give a supernatural peace to those who share their real needs with him.

We must not think that Paul was recommending something for others that he had not found true for himself. Paul too had had this experience. Do you remember the prayer that Paul wrote in Romans 15? Paul was in Corinth and was about to go on to Jerusalem with the collection from the gentile churches. After that he had planned to travel to Rome as an ambassador of the Christian gospel. He asked prayer for three things: 1) “that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea”; 2) “that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints”; and 3) “that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed” (Rom. 15:31–32).

How were Paul’s requests answered? We do not know every aspect of God’s answers, but we know that Paul’s first request was not fulfilled literally. Paul fell into the hands of unbelievers and spent two years in prison in Caesarea as a result, although his life was spared. We have no information about his second request—that his collection might be received willingly by the saints in Judea—but there is no reason to think Paul received a warm welcome from anyone. Finally, we know that Paul’s third request—for a joyous journey to Rome—was fulfilled, if it was fulfilled, only after long delays and through much hardship. When Paul arrived in Rome at last, he arrived as a prisoner in chains.

God certainly did not answer Paul’s requests as Paul intended. But God did answer, and he answered exactly as Paul indicates in his words about prayer to the Philippians. He answered by giving Paul peace. Paul knew God’s peace even in the most difficult of earthly circumstances, and he writes out of these circumstances to tell us also to make requests of God, our heavenly Father.[1]

6 Anxiety can be good or bad. Paul has anxiety for the progress of the gospel (2:28) and the condition of the individual churches he has founded, and he sometimes loses sleep over them (2 Co 11:28), but he does not seem to regard this concern to be a noxious anxiety. It comes with the task of being an apostle. The anxiety Paul warns against is the kind that unhinges, paralyzes, and incapacitates one—“anxious, harassing care” (Lightfoot, 160). Paul is not calling for them to be indifferent toward life. The root idea of the verb “to be anxious” (merimnaō, GK 3534) is “to be pulled apart.” The Philippians are not to allow their lives to become so wrapped up with material well-being that they fall apart when their standard of living is threatened or their wealth is taken from them. They also need not be anxious about what is going to happen to Paul. Only those who are confident in the coming of the kingdom of God and in their vindication by God will not be overwhelmed by anxiety when trouble comes.

They are to “present [their] requests to God,” not because God is unaware of their needs and needs to be informed, but because it is a way to acknowledge their total dependence on God. When requests are accompanied with thanksgiving, they will be prepared “to surrender themselves to his will whatever the circumstances” (Peter T. O’Brien, “Divine Provision for Our Needs: Assurances from Philippians 4,” RTR 50 [1991]: 24). Michael, 197, writes, “The way to be anxious about nothing is to be prayerful about everything.” If the Philippians are truly thankful for what God has done for them in Christ, they will not be anxious about the assaults of opponents who threaten them. A thankful spirit crowds out selfish pride, checks fear, defuses anger, and directs one’s thoughts outwardly toward others.

7 The “and” (kai) that begins this verse introduces the result of thankful prayer (Thielman, 219). The “peace of God” is the peace that God possesses and bestows on others (Ro 5:1) and that leads to contentment (Php 4:11). It is akin to God’s salvation secured through Christ. It will become a garrison standing guard over their hearts and minds, where anxiety and fear lurk. The reference to peace, concluding both sets of exhortations (4:7, 9), may also allude to their dissension. Every time Paul refers to the peace of God elsewhere, it occurs in contexts where strife has reared its ugly head (cf. Fee, 420). The peace of God is not simply what individuals might experience in their soul but is something that should reign over the community (Ro 14:19; 2 Co 13:11; Eph 4:3; Col 3:15; 1 Th 5:13). It keeps minds from becoming hardened (2 Co 3:14), blinded (2 Co 4:4), and outwitted by Satan (2 Co 2:11; 11:3) so that every thought remains captive to Christ (2 Co 10:5). It keeps hearts from losing heart (2 Co 4:1, 16; Eph 3:13) so that they do not stray from pure and sincere devotion to Christ.[2]

Trust and pray (vv. 6–7)

Christians are not to be filled with anxiety and tossed with care. They are rather to bring their problems and needs to the Lord with the confidence that he cares for them and his care is sufficient. They are to do so with thanksgiving, remembering how very gracious God has been to them. An ungrateful child always seeks more from his parents without giving thanks for what he has received. We are not to be ungrateful children.

Believers who carry their burdens to the Lord will find peace and rest in their spirits. This peace will stand at the door and guard the hearts and minds of believers so that anxious care and worry cannot enter. It is a glorious peace from the Lord that unbelievers cannot find and cannot explain, and it is a peace that believers themselves cannot fully understand.[3]

4:6 / Because “the Lord is near,” his people need not be anxious about anything. This is in line with Jesus’ own teaching to his disciples: “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear … do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matt. 6:25–34). Christian existence in a pagan world was full of uncertainties: persecution of one kind or another was always a possibility, and the impossibility of membership in guilds which were under the patronage of pagan divinities was bound to involve economic disadvantage. But if the Lord was near, there was no cause for anxiety. Jesus had encouraged his disciples to have done with anxiety because their heavenly Father, who fed the birds and clothed the grass with flowers, knew their needs and was well able to supply them (Matt. 6:26–32 par. Luke 12:24–30). Similarly Paul says, in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. He uses three different Greek words for “prayer” here. There are slight differences of nuance between one word and another, but the main effect of the use of all three is to emphasize the importance in Christian life of constancy in believing and expectant prayer. Like his Master, Paul takes it for granted that an essential element in prayer is asking God for things, with the same trustful spirit as children show when they ask their fathers for things. In the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to use when addressing their heavenly Father, the provision of his children’s daily bread is included along with the establishment of his kingdom on earth.

Moreover, a grateful remembrance of past blessings is a safeguard against anxiety for the future: it adds confidence to the prayer for continued blessings. Hence the importance of thanksgiving in all true prayer.

4:7 / If they paid heed to this encouragement, then, in place of anxiety they would enjoy peace of heart. Jesus, in John 14:27, bequeaths to his disciples “my peace,” which he gives them “not … as the world gives.” So here, the peace that God’s children receive is the peace of God, which transcends all understanding. It “surpasses all imagination” (F. W. Beare); it exceeds all that human wisdom can plan. This peace will “stand garrison” over their hearts and … minds and keep anxiety and other intruders out: it will guard them in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God may mean not only the peace that he gives (cf. Rom 5:1) but the serenity in which he lives: God is not subject to anxiety.[4]

4:6. Joy replaces anxiety in life, so Paul advises the Philippians not to be anxious about anything. The cure for anxiety? Prayer! Worry and anxiety come from focusing on your circumstances such as imprisonment or persecution which Paul and the Philippians faced. Anxiety or worry doesn’t accomplish anything, but prayer does (Jas. 5:16). Jesus warned against worry which demonstrates a lack of trust in God (Matt. 6:25–34).

4:7.The peace of God comes from prayer involving both asking God for earthly needs and thanking God for his presence and provision. The expression appears only here in the New Testament. God’s peace reflects the divine character, which lives in serenity, totally separate from all anxiety and worry. Such peace is like a squad of Roman soldiers standing guard and protecting you from worry and fret. Such peace is not a dream of the human mind. The human mind cannot even comprehend this kind of peace, wholeness, and quiet confidence. Such peace protects the two organs of worry—heart and mind that produce feelings and thoughts. Such protection is real, available in Christ Jesus. Those who do not trust and commit their life to Christ have no hope for peace.[5]

4:6 Is it really possible for a Christian to be anxious for nothing? It is possible as long as we have the resource of believing prayer. The rest of the verse goes on to explain how our lives can be free from sinful fretting. Everything should be taken to the Lord in prayer. Everything means everything. There is nothing too great or small for His loving care!

Prayer is both an act and an atmosphere. We come to the Lord at specific times and bring specific requests before Him. But it is also possible to live in an atmosphere of prayer. It is possible that the mood of our life should be a prayerful mood. Perhaps the word prayer in this verse signifies the overall attitude of our life, whereas supplication signifies the specific requests which we bring to the Lord.

But then we should notice that our requests should be made known to God with thanksgiving. Someone has summarized the verse as saying that we should be “anxious in nothing, prayerful in everything, thankful for anything.”

4:7 If these attitudes characterize our lives, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The peace of God is a sense of holy repose and complacency which floods the soul of the believer when he is leaning hard upon God.

Stayed upon Jehovah,

Hearts are fully blessed;

Finding, as He promised,

Perfect peace and rest.

Frances Ridley Havergal

This peace surpasses all understanding. People of the world cannot understand it at all, and even Christians possessing it find a wonderful element of mystery about it. They are surprised at their own lack of anxiety in the face of tragedy or adverse circumstances.

This peace garrisons the heart and the thought life. What a needed tonic it is, then, in this day of neuroses, nervous breakdowns, tranquilizers, and mental distress.[6]

6 Anxiety is to have no place in the lives of Christians because in everything there can be prayer, prayer in its various forms and modes, petition, requests, but above all thanksgiving. This is because praise is always due to God and because faith is quickened when we remember in thankfulness what God has done for us in the past. There is an echo here of the teaching of Jesus (Mt. 6:25–34; 7:7–11). 1 Pet. 5:7 is similar as it says, ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’, and as J. A. Bengel (New Testament Word Studies, vol. 2 [Kregel Publications, 1978], p. 447) aptly puts it, ‘Anxiety and prayer are more opposed to each other than fire and water.’

7 When prayer replaces worry, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding comes in, and that peace acts as a sentry guarding the Christian’s mind and emotions from being over-whelmed by the sudden onrush of fear, anxiety or temptation. This reality Christians should prove in their daily lives.[7]

4:6 Paul exhorts the Philippians to pray about their circumstances instead of worrying over them. be anxious for nothing: Although the same word in 2:20 describes Timothy’s concern for the Philippians, here Paul uses the word to refer to worry. He prohibits the Philippians from worrying about their own problems. Instead they are to commit their problems to God in prayer, trusting that He will provide deliverance.

4:7will guard: Paul’s choice of a military term implies that the mind is in a battle zone and needs to be “protected by a military guard.” Since the purpose of such a guard in a wartime situation is either to prevent a hostile invasion or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from escaping, the peace of God operates in the same way: to protect the mind from external corrupting influences and to keep the mind focused on God’s truth.[8]

4:6–7. Joy and gentleness (vv. 4–5), accompanied with an awareness of Christ’s imminent return, should dispel anxiety. Paul’s appeal to the Philippians is do not be anxious about anything. But this was not a call to a carefree life. To care and be genuinely concerned is one thing. To worry is another. Paul and Timothy cared for the people they ministered to (2 Cor. 11:28; Phil. 2:20), yet they retained trust in God. Jesus warned against worry which obviously eliminates trust in God (Matt. 6:25–33).

Paul exhorted the Philippians to prayer instead of anxiety. Praying with thanksgiving involves trusting God. Four words are used here to describe a believer’s communion with God. Prayer (proseuchē) describes a believer’s approach to God. Petition (deēsei) emphasizes requesting an answer to a specific need. Thanksgiving (eucharistias) is an attitude of heart which should always accompany one’s prayers. Requests (aitēmata) speak of definite and specific things asked for.

When the exhortations of verses 4–6 are heeded, the peace of God (v. 7) will flood one’s troubled soul. The Lord Jesus Christ is a believer’s peace (Eph. 2:14), and every child of God has peace with God through justification by faith (Rom. 5:1). But the peace of (or from) God relates to the inner tranquility of a believer’s close walk with God.

This peace of God transcends all understanding, that is, it is beyond man’s ability to comprehend. This peace guards the believers. Guard (phrourēsei, also used in 1 Peter 1:5) translates a military term which means “to protect or garrison by guarding.” Like soldiers assigned to watch over a certain area, God’s peace garrisons the hearts and … minds, that is, the emotions and thoughts, of God’s children.[9]

[1] Boice, J. M. (2000). Philippians: an expositional commentary (pp. 238–243). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Garland, D. E. (2006). Philippians. In T. Longman III (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 253). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Ellsworth, R. (2004). Opening up Philippians (p. 84). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[4] Bruce, F. F. (2011). Philippians (pp. 143–144). Peabody, MA: Baker Books.

[5] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, pp. 261–262). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1978–1979). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Foulkes, F. (1994). Philippians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1258). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1556). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[9] Lightner, R. P. (1985). Philippians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 663–664). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

January 8: Judging the Time and Seasons

Genesis 14–15; Matthew 11; Ecclesiastes 3:9–15

We often have difficulty judging the events in our lives and then responding appropriately. Although God has placed eternity “in our hearts,” we don’t know the reason or the outcome of our life’s events (Eccl 3:11).

The danger comes in being known for only one mode of operation and one response for all seasons. In Matt 11, Jesus speaks to a generation who responds in one way—with skepticism and unbelief. Those who judge see John the Baptist as a demon-possessed man rather than a prophet. They see Jesus as a glutton, a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and sinners—not the one who has come to save them from their sins.

Jesus illustrates their responses with a tale. He compares them to children who call out to each other in the marketplaces, saying, “We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we sang a lament and you did not mourn” (Matt 11:17). Those who hear and fail to act confuse the writer of Ecclesiastes’ times of mourning and dancing. They don’t acknowledge the judgment of John the Baptist or the joy of Jesus.

For those in His audience who refused to acknowledge His words, and miracles, Jesus pronounces a judgment far worse than that of Sodom. Those who respond with humility and faith, however, have the promise of rest. Jesus invites them: “Take my yoke on you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:29).

This response is an act of faith. We need to rely on God’s Word and His Spirit to judge the events of our lives, and to help us respond with faith.

What response are you known for?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]

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