Daily Archives: January 11, 2018

January 11 The Slavery That Frees

“In [Christ] we have redemption” (Eph. 1:7).


Slavery to sin is bondage; slavery to God is freedom.

Freedom is a precious thing. People throughout history have prayed, fought, and even died for it. Our Declaration of Independence upholds it as one of our inalienable rights.

But the truth is, no matter what one’s political situation might be, everyone is a slave—either to sin or to God. Jesus said that “everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8:34). Paul added that all of creation is in slavery to corruption (Rom. 8:21). However, believers have “been freed from sin and enslaved to God” (Rom. 6:22).

The Roman Empire had as many as twenty million slaves; slave trade was a major industry. For a slave to gain his or her freedom, a redemption price had to be paid. The Greek word for such a transaction is lutroō, which Paul uses in Ephesians 1:7 to speak of our “redemption” from sin’s bondage.

Slavery to sin is bondage; slavery to God is freedom. That sounds paradoxical, but God is the Sovereign King, and true freedom means having the ability to bend your will to His and thereby become all He created you to be. Even though you will fail at times, your greatest desire and highest pursuit as a believer is to be like Christ (1 John 2:5–6). Those enslaved to sin cannot do that, nor do they want to.

Today you will have many opportunities to demonstrate your submission to Christ. Let your attitudes and actions speak clearly of your love for the Master.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank the Lord that He is a faithful and just Master who always does what is best for His servants. ✧ A self-seeking slave is a contradiction in terms. Ask the Lord to guard you from thoughts and actions that are contrary to His will.

For Further Study: According to 1 Corinthians 4:1–2 what key characteristic is required of a servant of Christ? ✧ Read Matthew 24:42–51. How does Jesus describe a wise servant? ✧ Read Philippians 2:5–11. How did Jesus demonstrate the heart of a servant? What implications does His example have for your life?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 23). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 JOHN 2:15

Of all the calamities that have been visited upon the world, the surrender of the human spirit to this present world and its ways is the worst—without doubt!

No oriental monarch ever ruled his cowering subjects with any more cruel tyranny than things—visible things, audible things, tangible things—rule mankind. That we who were made to communicate with angels and archangels and seraphim and with the God who made them all—that we should settle down here as a wild eagle of the air come down to scratch in the barnyard with the common hens—this I say is the worst of anything that has ever come to the world!

It seems incredible that we who were made for many worlds should accept this one world as our ultimate home.

Man was made in the image of God and is now a fallen being that has left its place in the celestial world and has plummeted down like a falling star. Now, in this world, he has all but forgotten the place from which he came. That is why the devil sees to it that we seldom get alone with time to think and meditate on the reality of the other world. For when a man really gets alone, he senses often that this life in this world is not the answer—it is not the end.

Actually and simply, a Christian is one who dedicates himself to God to inhabit another and better world![1]

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

Regarding the James White-Michael Brown Connection

Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You, weighs in on the White-Brown controversy. He writes:

It seems this week’s episode of “Too Wretched for Radio” unleashed a minor Tweetstorm. A few points have been raised that apparently still need clarification:

  1. It does not trouble me that James White and Michael Brown are friends. As far as their personal relationship is concerned, it surely holds some potential for good. Indeed, Dr. Brown could use more friends whose theological convictions are rooted in Scripture rather than the latest “fresh word” from the mouths of demonstrably false prophets in Redding, CA; Sydney, Australia; Kansas City; TBN; the NAR; or some other nest of charismatic extremism.
  2. I deplore hyper-separatism almost as much as I hate ecumenism. I don’t tell my friends whom they should or shouldn’t be friends with. Our Lord was known as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 7:34). And He didn’t automatically shun even teachers of religion who were doctrinally at odds with Him. When “one of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him . . . he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table” (v. 36). On “The Dividing Line” last week, Dr. White stated that critics have been telling him, “You have to separate yourself from anybody that you have disagreements with when it comes to theology.” He expressly attributed that position to his more moderate, reasonable critics (“not . . . the unhinged folks.”) I personally have not heard anyone (including the unhinged folks) make such a statement with regard to the Brown/White relationship. But I am of course aware that there are hyper-separatists out there who seem to relish conflict and treat everydisagreement as an excuse to fire off anathemas. That’s not my position. Some of the richest, most edifying friendships I’ve ever had transcend denominational and theological boundaries. My own circle of friends is wide enough to include both stodgy, formal Anglicans and exuberant, hand-waving Pentecostals. I even have some friends who make no profession of faith at all.
  3. On the other hand, we are forbidden by Scripture to partner with or promote someone who comes in Christ’s name and perverts or rewrites the gospel (Galatians 1:8-9; 2 John 7-11).My complaint about Michael Brown is that he routinely flouts that principle. Not that he himself overtly proclaims a twisted gospel; he seems to know better than that. But he partners with and aggressively promotes prosperity-gospel preachers, purveyors of false prophecies, and charismatic extremists of every variety, whether they actually have a credible gospel testimony or not. Brown’s plea is twofold: First, he says he knows these people personally, and they are wonderful, tenderhearted, lovable, well-meaning Christian people. Second, he doesn’t know enough about their teaching or their activities to judge them guilty of corrupting the gospel or prophesying falsely. He doesn’t have time to investigate them thoroughly, and it’s unreasonable for his critics to assume he knows what they teach. The two halves of his self-defense thus cancel each other out. 
  4. It’s impossible to escape the conclusion that Dr. Brown is not a credible authority on charismatic issues—especially the question of who is orthodox and who is not. He has been in leadership in the charismatic movement since at least the mid-1990s. He’s been a champion or a defender of every aberrant doctrine or practice featured in the pages of Charisma magazine. He scolds critics of the charismatic movement for not really knowing what’s going on inside. And yet when pressed with specific examples of charismatic extremism or heresy, he invariably pleads ignorance. He says he’s not familiar with the New Apostolic Reformation. He claims to have been unaware of any heresy, fakery, or false prophecy stemming from Benny Hinn prior to 2014. And he claims it is unreasonable for critics to demand that he watch videos, study the teaching, read published material, and give account for the various heresies and abuses of people whom he has partnered with.
  5. One of my chief concerns is that Dr. Brown seems to be using his relationship with James White to deflect legitimate and important criticisms. I love James White and have the greatest respect for his abilities as an apologist and teacher. But I do think his public deference to Dr. Brown has enabled and encouraged efforts by Dr. Brown to evade accountability for his partnership with (and promotion of) some of the grossest truth-corrupters and charlatans who are troubling the church today. View article →

Source: Regarding the James White-Michael Brown Connection

January 11, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump on Wednesday reiterated his stance that he would not sign a deal to protect young immigrants from deportation if it doesn’t include funding for a border wall.

California Republican Darrell Issa said Wednesday he won’t seek re-election this year, bringing the number of House GOP members who have left or are leaving in this election cycle to 38. That’s more than double the number of House Democrats — 16 — who are leaving this year, underscoring the difficult political conditions Republicans face ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The Trump Administration moved Thursday to allow states to impose work requirements on their Medicaid programs for the first time, the latest alteration of the nation’s health-care system through administrative action after Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare failed last year.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is boosting its starting hourly wage to $11 and delivering bonuses to employees, capitalizing on the U.S. tax overhaul to stay competitive in a tightening labor market.

U.S. wholesale prices fell in December for the first time in more than a year on declining costs for services, a potential sign that inflation pressures are easing in the economy. Producer-price index fell 0.1% m/m (est. 0.2% rise) after 0.4% gain the previous month; first decline since Aug. 2016.

MoneyGram International Inc. climbed the most in 10 months after saying it was working with blockchain startup Ripple to test the use of its digital currency to move funds.

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange keeps getting bigger. Hong Kong-based Binance.com is adding “a couple of million” registered users every week, with 240,000 people signing up in just an hour on Wednesday. Demand is so high that the company is limiting new customers, though Binance may fully reopen in the coming weeks.

Canadian government officials said there’s an increasing likelihood U.S. President Donald Trump will give six months’ notice to withdraw from NAFTA, dragging down the loonie, yields on government bonds and Mexico’s peso.

U.S. filings for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose to a three-month high last week during a holiday period when claims tend to be volatile, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. Jobless claims increased by 11k to 261k (est. 245k), highest since week ended Sept. 23, when filings were elevated due to hurricanes

AP Top Stories

The suicide of a 14-year-old girl who was once the face of iconic Australian outback hat maker Akubra has left the nation shocked. Her grieving family has launch a campaign to raise awareness of cyberbullying.

In a dramatic crackdown, immigration agents arrived unannounced at nearly 100 7-Eleven stores across the country before dawn Wednesday, interviewing employees and managers, serving audit notices and arresting 21 workers.

Cambodia and China signed 19 aid and investment pacts on Thursday in the latest sign of their strengthening relationship as Cambodia turns further away from Western donors.

Israeli intelligence has helped stop terrorists from using civilian aeroplanes in Europe to carry out major attacks “of the worst kind”, Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning advising Americans to avoid five states in Mexico, putting the regions at the same level of danger as war-torn Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.

Saudi-led coalition air strikes on a marketplace and house in rebel-held northern Yemen have left at least 14 people dead, witnesses and a rebel-run news agency said Thursday.

Boeing on Wednesday unveiled a prototype for an unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing cargo air vehicle (CAV) that the plane maker said will be used to test it’s autonomous technology.

New York announced plans Wednesday to sell off $5 billion in fossil fuel investments from city pension funds after suing for billions of dollars in damages from oil companies to help fund protection against climate change.


Japan has summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo, after a Chinese frigate sailed near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

A senior adviser to the European Union’s top court has backed a Romanian gay man’s right to have his US husband live with him in Romania. EU countries should recognize the right of all spouses to residency even if they do not allow gay marriage, according to the advocate general for the European Court of Justice.

Hundreds of rescuers are combing wreckage in Southern California for those missing after mudslides that have killed 17. Another 28 injuries have been reported in Santa Barbara County following the deluge that overwhelmed an area scorched by wildfires last month. More than 100 homes were destroyed, and another 300 have been damaged.

One of America’s largest retirement villages will have a fleet of self-driving taxis introduced next year. US firm Voyage said it will start rolling out the service at The Villages, Florida which is home to 125,000 senior residents.

A mass burial of more than 70 people is under way in Nigeria’s central Benue State. Dozens have been killed in conflicts between nomadic herdsmen and farming communities in three states – Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba – in recent weeks.


A local church in Christian predominant state of Mizoram India, has announced cash incentives for couples who have four or more babies. The Lunglei Bazar Veng Baptist Church has recently announced Rs 4,000 for the fourth baby, Rs 5000 for the fifth and so on.

The military veterans playing cards in the Albany County jail wear the same orange uniforms as everyone else, with “INMATE” printed down the legs. But their service offers one distinct privilege: a special cellblock where they can work through problems they often share, such as substance use and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Briefing — Thursday, January 11, 2018

1) New questions in the brave new world: Who gets to decide if human embryos are preserved or destroyed?

Washington Post (Ariana Eunjung Cha) –
Court to weigh if one parent has the right to use frozen embryos if the other objects

2) Does what you drive indicate how you vote? Political scientists say “yes” according to an analysis 50 million Google Images

New York Times (Steve Lohr) –
How Do You Vote? 50 Million Google Images Give a Clue

3) Looking at the moral revolution from the other side—a side fearful of the “re-moralization of sex”

New York Times (Daphne Merkin) –
Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings.

News – 1/11/2018

Warning to Christians: Don’t board the Oprah bandwagon
The Christian attorney also offers the following advice to believers who might find a Winfrey 2020 presidential bid appealing, pointing out “her denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ, rejection of biblical Christianity, and her being one of the primary purveyors of pagan spirituality in American society.” “I would encourage you to really reconsider whether or not she is the type of person you should be clamoring for,” Hamilton states.

The Madness of the Anti-Trump Shrinks
The ‘Duty to Warn’ march had begun at New York Law School where the experts demanded that Trump be removed from office based on their inability to understand the 25th Amendment. And then the mental health experts marched to the beat of Fraenkel’s drum ….

Seal calls out Oprah Winfrey for hypocrisy, calls her ‘part of the problem’
Seal slams Oprah as a hypocrite after Golden Globes speech. In a fiery Instagram post Wednesday, Seal republished a pair of photos of Winfrey with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, including one in which she appears to be kissing the producer’s cheek. Overlayed on the photos, in all-caps, is the text: “When you have been part of the problem for decades, but suddenly they all think you are the solution.” “Oh I forgot, that’s right…..you’d heard the rumours but you had no idea he was actually serially assaulting young stary-eyed actresses who in turn had no idea what they were getting into. My bad,” Seal wrote.

Exclusive: Canada increasingly convinced Trump will pull out of NAFTA
Canada is increasingly convinced that President Donald Trump will soon announce the United States intends to pull out of NAFTA, two government sources said on Wednesday, sending the Canadian and Mexican currencies lower and hurting stocks. The comments cast further doubt on prospects for talks to modernize the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump has repeatedly threatened to abandon unless major changes are made.

Rabbi identifies ‘Gog,’ enemy of God’s people
“Gog” is defined as the name of the enemies of God’s people, “apparently a ruler from the land of Magog,” or even a “nation under the dominion of Satan.” Many people would understand the description as very uncomplimentary. But that’s what one prominent rabbi has labeled the United Nations, according to Breaking Israel News. BIN’s Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz reports Rabbi Mendal Kessin, who “interprets modern events from a Torah perspective, lectured that U.S. President Donald Trump is bringing the world close to the Messiah, and the United Nations is Gog.”

Feinstein Makes Startling Admission: “I Got Pressured” To Release Fusion Transcripts
“I meant to tell him, and I didn’t have a chance to tell him, and that concerns me,” Feinstein told CNN Congressional correspondent Manu Raju, adding “I just got pressured, and I didn’t do it.” When asked to elaborate, Feinstein walked back her statement, saying “I wasn’t pressured,” without any further comment. Her office later said she misspoke and that she wasn’t pressured to release the transcript.

Defense, finance ministries agree on NIS 150 million to boost northern defenses
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon have agreed to allocate NIS 150 million to strengthen and fortify buildings in the north and to create a team to examine the defense establishment’s demand for an increase in the state’s budget. The team will present its recommendations to the Security Cabinet.

Abbas to meet Putin in February to discuss Trump’s Jerusalem moves
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia in the first half of February to discuss US President Donald Trump’s changes to American policy on Jerusalem, a Palestinian diplomat said on Thursday…Abbas last visited the Russian president in Moscow in May, where he said “it is impossible to solve the Palestinian issue without Russia’s meaningful participation in the peace process.”

Tunisia hit by new anti-austerity protests
More than 300 people have been arrested in Tunisia overnight, as anger over the government’s austerity measures spilled into the streets once more. Police used tear gas against large crowds demonstrating against price rises affecting basic goods. The army was deployed into towns across the country to protect government buildings, which have become targets.

By 2040, Islam could be the second-largest religion in the US
The Muslim population is growing, and in the next two decades Muslims could become the second-largest religious group in the United States, according to a Pew Research study…According to their data, the Muslim population is growing at an accelerated rate, and will more than double from an estimated 3.45 million in 2017 to an estimated 8.1 million in 2050.

Trump administration will allow states to test Medicaid work requirements
The Trump administration said on Thursday it would allow states to test requiring some Medicaid recipients to work or participate in community activities such as volunteering or jobs training as a condition of eligibility for the government health insurance program for the poor…Certain Medicaid populations would be exempt from the rules, including those with disabilities, the elderly, children and pregnant women.

Rev. Graham: Washington State Grants 3 Sexes, M,F, or X, But God’s Word, Male, Female, Never Changes
In reference to Washington State now allowing three choices for sex on a birth certificate — “Male, Female, or X” — evangelical leader Franklin Graham said that society may change but God’s Word does not change and, as Jesus Christ instructed us, from the beginning God made them “make and female.”

Trump’s Airstrikes Destroy Acres of Poppy Fields, Ends Afghanistan’s Opium Trade
The Trump administration’s relentless airstrikes on the vast opium fields in southern Afghanistan has destroyed Taliban’s a top funding source of heroin and opium.

BOMBSHELL REPORT: Hillary-Funded Russia Dossier Used to Obtain Trump FISA Warrant – More Systemic “FISA Abuse” to be Revealed Soon
…Of course the Russia dossier was used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump’s camp. Hillary Clinton didn’t pay over $10 million for mere gossip about Trump and Russian hookers. Hillary paid for a document that could pass as ‘intelligence’ in order to spy on her political opponent. This is precisely why fake news New York Times and other Deep State operatives are desperate to shift focus from the dossier to George Papadopoulos. Hint: It’s not working.

Our World: The Palestinians’ race to the bottom
The problem for the PLO/PA is that the world has changed fundamentally while they were busy embracing terrorists and getting away with it.

BREAKING: Activist Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump From Ending Obama’s DACA Program
A judge granted a pretrial injunction barring the Trump administration from rescinding Obama’s DACA program Tuesday.

SODOM AND GEMORRAH: Grammar school bans teachers calling pupils ‘girls’ to not offend transgender children
TEACHERS at a leading all-female school have been ordered not to refer to its pupils as girls. The ban is said to be to avoid upsetting youngsters who are questioning their gender. And it comes despite the word featuring in the single-sex school’s name: Altrincham Grammar School for Girls. The school, in Trafford, Greater Manchester, confirmed that the term will no longer be encouraged when staff address the pupils.

TARGET INFIDEL: ‘Terrorist dream come true’ ISIS using Bitcoin to fund deadly attacks and buy weapons
Terrorists are using anonymous cryptocurrencies to fund their operations and evade detection as they move huge sums of money across international borders, former US Treasury advisor Elizabeth Rosenberg and Centre for a New American Security researcher Edoardo Saravalle have warned.

A Planned Genocide In the Making: The Final Solution for White Males
From Hollywood to college campuses, the war on whites continues unabated. The rhetoric against white, conservative males grows stronger by the day. This article contains word-for-word proof that a war against white males is under way.

CBP Offers Daily Tally of Drug Seizures: 14-Year-old Meth Smuggler; Heroin, Cocaine, Pot Pouring In
Here’s a sample of those CBP news releases — just for this past Monday and Tuesday — documenting recent drug seizures and arrests:

Dems Admit They Need Illegals For Their Votes
…Democrats at the Left’s premier think tank have finally admitted in a leaked memo that illegal immigration is key to their party’s future electoral success. Republicans may not be angels but they have never wielded compassion as a cudgel the way Democrats do. But this memo ought to end Democrats’ phony compassion shtick for all time. Power is the only thing that matters to them. They don’t care about America or Americans. They care only about winning. Honest observers have known this for years.

“It Looks Like A Battlefield” -Photos Show California Mudslides’ Devastating Aftermath
…The storm may be over, but the hunt for survivors isn’t. So far, 13 people have been confirmed dead, while 25 more were injured and another 50 had to be rescued. But those numbers could rise as the search is deepened and expanded Wednesday, with a major search-and-rescue team arriving from nearby Los Angeles County and help from the Coast Guard and National Guard along with law enforcement, according to the Associated Press

Anger as ‘Underage’ Migrant in Controversial ‘Teen Love’ Children’s Documentary Revealed as Adult
An “underage” migrant, who was presented as being in a romantic relationship with an underage girl in a controversial German children’s channel television programme, has admitted he is actually an adult.

Mid-Day Snapshot

Jan. 11, 2018

Republicans Flirting With Earmarks Again

Several GOP lawmakers and even Trump have floated the idea of a return to the corrupting practice.

The Foundation

“The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)

Headlines – 1/11/2018

Norway, EU call meeting in bid to ‘speed up’ efforts for 2-state solution

Arab League to hold meeting on Jerusalem next month

Netanyahu: I Will Meet With Trump in D.C. in March, Possibly Before

Why a Big Wave of European Countries Recognizing Palestine Is Fast Approaching

Texas imam apologizes after ‘Muslims will kill the Jews’ sermon in response to Trump’s Jerusalem speech

Terror attacks tripled after Trump Jerusalem recognition, Shin Bet stats show

After shooting, Liberman tells ministry to look into recognizing Havat Gilad as legal settlement

After terror attack, US ambassador accuses Palestinians of preventing peace

Netanyahu praises US envoy for blaming lack of peace on Palestinians

PM calls on Abbas to condemn West Bank shooting, end terrorist stipends

Palestinians reject US envoy’s blame accusation after deadly attack

Hamas blesses shooting attack against rabbi, calls it ‘heroic’

Support for Israel among young evangelicals dips, says new survey

Germany’s migrants may have to visit Nazi concentration camps

Hamas official denies being appointed new West Bank military commander

Iran-Hamas reconciliation in the works, Amit Center says

Iran threatens to ramp up enrichment beyond nuke deal pace

Europe, Iran to meet on backing nuclear deal as Trump decision looms

Germany urges US to separate Iran nuclear deal from other issues

Despite threats, Trump to extend sanctions relief for Iran

Congressmen introduce bill to sanction Iran for taking hostages

Iran arrests dozens for ‘terrorist’ acts linked to protests

Iran protests: US urges release of ‘peaceful’ demonstrators

Iran lashes US lawmakers’ support for anti-regime protests

Lapid: No regional stability as long as Iranian forces in Syria

Syria war: Assault on rebel stronghold of Idlib ‘displaces 100,000’

UN says Syrian forces killed 85 civilians in besieged zone

Several killed in blast at Syrian weapons depot

Saudi prince who criticized arrest of relatives is sacked

Tunisia Protests Spread for Third Straight Day, Despite Threats of Government Clampdown

200 arrested, dozens hurt in fresh Tunisia unrest

U.S. travel warning puts five Mexican states on par with war-torn nations

Project Veritas Twitter Video: Company Responds To Allegations It Can Share Trump’s Deleted, Direct Messages

Ohio man charged for remotely controlling devices, spying on people for 13 years

Trump has Canada worried he’ll pull US from NAFTA: report

Over $100 billion wiped off global cryptocurrency market following talk of South Korea trading ban

Whispers of $80 Oil Are Growing Louder – Rising demand for oil and OPEC production cuts could send prices higher in 2018

Big Apple Sues Big Oil Over Climate Change

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Mandali, Iraq

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Mehran, Iran

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Mandali, Iraq

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Mandali, Iraq

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Hirara, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Southern East Pacific Rise

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchakta, Russia erupts to 36,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 12,500ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Death toll in California mudslides reaches 17, more than a dozen missing

Many Ignored Evacuation Orders Before Mudslides

Hurricane-hit Puerto Rico launches new drive for US statehood

Florida monkeys excreting rare disease that can kill humans, scientists warn

Utah hepatitis A outbreak spread from San Diego

Zambia to vaccinate 1 million against cholera amid outbreak

Christians in Egypt face unprecedented persecution, report says

Top 50 Worst Countries for Christians: 3,066 Killed, 6 Women Sexually Attacked Every Day

In France, Some Say #MeToo Has Gone Too Far

Mike Ratliff – Arrogance, unbelief, and Sola Scriptura

Phil Johnson – Regarding the James White-Michael Brown Connection

Branding Faith? Churches in Dallas, Frisco in Legal Battle Over Naming Rights

If You Can’t Heal ‘Em, Beat ‘Em? – The Dark Side of Smith Wigglesworth’s Ministry

Whistleblowing Moody Radio Host Julie Roys Fired After Disclosures about Moody Bible Institute (UPDATED)

Moody Bible Institute President, COO Resign Amid Board’s ‘Unanimous Decision’ for ‘New Season of Leadership’

Hundreds of ‘Boiled’ Bats Fall from Sky in Australian Heat Wave

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 06:14 AM PST

Hundreds of ‘Boiled’ Bats Fall from Sky in Australian Heat WaveMore than 200 bats have lost their lives to southern Australia’s ongoing heat wave. As temperatures rose to 111.5 degrees Fahrenheit (44.2 degrees Celsius) in Campbelltown in the Australian state of New South Wales, a colony of flying fox bats that lives near the town’s train station felt the effects. Volunteers struggled to rescue the heat-stricken bats, according to the Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser, but at least 204 individual animals, mostly babies, died. “They basically boil,” Kate Ryan, the colony manager for the Campbelltown bats, told the newspaper.

“It affects their brain — their brain just fries and they become incoherent.” Rescuers with Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown posted on their Facebook page details of the dire situation: “As the dead bodies were recovered and placed in a pile for a head count the numbers had reached 200 not including the many hundreds that were still left in trees being unreachable, sadly a few adults were also included in the body count. It was a long and heartbreaking afternoon…” READ MORE

Russell Brand Declares He’s Changed His Ways, Never Been Closer to Jesus

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 06:07 AM PST

Russell Brand Declares He’s Changed His Ways, Never Been Closer to JesusControversial comedian Russell Brand, who’s best known for his vulgarity, insults, and wild behavior, says he’s discovered that Jesus Christ is the solution to the world’s problems. “My personal feeling is the teachings of Christ are more relevant now than they’ve ever been,” Brand said in an interview with Relevant magazine.

“There’s a famous quote: ‘Every man who knocks on a brothel door, he’s looking for God,’” he added. “Crack houses and these dens of suffering and illicit activity, they’re all people trying to feel good, trying to feel connected. People are trying to escape. People are trying to get out of their own heads. To me, this is a spiritual impetus.” MORE

Chinese Authorities Detonate Bombs to Destroy Christian Church

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 05:56 AM PST

Chinese Authorities Detonate Bombs to Destroy Christian ChurchChinese officials reportedly demolished a Christian church on Tuesday, detonating bombs to bring down the house of worship.  ChinaAid, an organization that monitors Christian persecution, reported that the Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, China, is “serially persecuted” and noted that the unregistered church was privately paid for by its members for just over $2.6 million. The organization is speculating that the order to destroy the church came from China’s top officials,

seeing as military police have been under the government’s command since last year. Officials placed bombs beneath the structure to bring it down. And it’s not the first time that the Golden Lampstand Church has attracted negative attention from the government, as ChinaAid reported that some of its leaders have been jailed for up to seven years for simply serving at the house of worship. Radio Free Asia reported that witnesses said church members had tried to halt the demolition but to no avail — READ MORE

US deploys B-2 stealth bombers, 200 airmen to Guam in face of North Korea…

Posted: 11 Jan 2018 05:47 AM PST

US deploys B-2 stealth bombers, 200 airmen to Guam in face of North Korea…The U.S. Air Force announced it has deployed three nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers and 200 air personnel to Guam — sending a strong signal to North Korea just a few days after its talks with South Korea. The B-2s join a number of B-1 conventional bombers already deployed on the Pacific island. It is unclear how long the B-2s will stay at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

The Air Force last sent a lone B-2 bomber to Guam in October, but only for a few hours as part of a long-range training mission from its home base in Missouri. The last time the U.S. sent three of the stealth bombers to Guam was in 2016. READ MORE

Tropical Cyclone “Ava” causes floods and landslides, leaves 29 dead

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:45 PM PST

Tropical Cyclone “Ava” causes floods and landslides, leaves 29 deadTropical Cyclone “Ava” reached a peak intensity of 167 km/h (103 mph), an equivalent to Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, just hours before it made landfall over Toamasina, Madagascar on January 5, 2018. Heavy rain was falling across northern Madagascar since January 3 and increased with the landfall, producing deadly floods and landslides. “On a national scale, the provisional toll is 29

dead, 22 missing, 17 170 displaced and 83 023 affected,” the National Bureau for Risk and Catastrophe Management (BNGRC) said in a statement. There are no less than 20 000 extensive damage claims. Among the worst hit areas are the capital Antananarivo, where more than 3 200 people were evacuated from their homes. The center of the cyclone has now left the island nation and there are no more alerts in effect. READ MORE

Bangladesh struck by coldest temperatures ever recorded

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:41 PM PST

Bangladesh struck by coldest temperatures ever recordedSevere cold wave engulfed Bangladesh this week with record-breaking low temperatures, the coldest the country has seen since record-keeping started in 1948. At least 12 people, including 6 children, died of cold-related ailments in just 4 days. Temperatures in parts of Bangladesh dropped to 2.6 °C (36.7 °F) on Monday, January 8, 2018, well below average for the country used to mild winters. “It is the lowest temperature since authorities started keeping records in 1948,” Shamsuddin Ahmed, head of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), told AFP.

The previous record low of 2.8 °C (37 °F) was recorded in 1968, he added. The worst affected were country’s northern regions, where at least 12 people died of cold-related ailments, including 6 children in just 4 days in Rajshahi, Kurigram and Thakurgaon districts. However, unusually low temperatures also affected its southern regions. Capital Dhaka recorded 9.5 °C (49.1 °F) on Monday, the lowest temperature this season, BMD said. The city’s lowest temperature ever was 5.6 °C (42 °F) recorded in 1964. READ MORE

‘God Had a Plan for Me’: Teen’s Miracle Recovery Stuns Doctors after a Car Landed on His Head

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:37 PM PST

‘God Had a Plan for Me’: Teen’s Miracle Recovery Stuns Doctors after a Car Landed on His HeadJuan Spence is the definition of a walking miracle. On May 22, 2017, the Williamsburg teen was involved in a near-fatal car accident near his Warhill High school. Juan was a passenger in his friend’s car that rainy Spring day. “My friend is speeding away down the road,” Juan told CBN News in a recent interview at his home. “Due to all the rainwater, he loses control of the car. He hits a post, the car starts tumbling down the road and me not having my seatbelt was terrible,” he recalled.

“I couldn’t believe it. I crashed through the sunroof head first, landed onto the roadway and the car still tumbling, rests on me and crushes my body and my skull.” Juan had been ejected from the car, which landed on his head. He was rushed to MCV Hospital in Richmond Virginia. Doctors said the pressure and swelling in his brain was so bad that a piece of his skull had to be removed. Meanwhile his mother, Elizabeth Butler began to pray as soon as she heard about the crash. READ MORE

3 Crucial Points All Prayer Warriors Need to Remember

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:32 PM PST

3 Crucial Points All Prayer Warriors Need to Remember(By Michael Youssef) There are three things to remember when praying for our world, our neighbors, our friends and our family members. We must employ penitent, persistent and persuasive prayer. The Bible gives us an example of an effective intercessor in Abraham’s intercession for Sodom (see Gen. 18:16-33).

Penitent Prayer: Abraham did not come to God demanding. He didn’t say, “God, please do this. It’s very important for You to do this.” He did not come to God enumerating all his righteous deeds, all his righteous acts. In fact, he said, “I am nothing but dust and ashes” (Gen. 18:27b. NIV).

Persistent Prayer: When Abraham interceded for Sodom, he persisted in his prayer. He didn’t pray flippantly once or twice then give up. He continually petitioned for Sodom and his family. Six times Abraham would make his request of the Lord. Each time he saw the grace of God extended, and he became emboldened to ask for more.

Persuasive Prayer: How should our prayers be persuasive? By twisting God’s arm? No. Persuasive prayer is pleading the character of God. When we plead with God on the basis of who He is and what He promises, we are praying a persuasive prayer. MORE

California flooding death toll rises to 17, 100 homes destroyed

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:26 PM PST

California flooding death toll rises to 17, 100 homes destroyedThe death toll in weather-related incidents in Santa Barbara County has risen to 17 by Wednesday, after a storm led to dangerous mudflows that destroyed 100 homes and damaged at least 300 others in wildfire burn areas. Santa Barbara County Fire Department officials confirmed the number of fatalities rose from 13 to 15 overnight. Then another two deaths were added to the toll in an afternoon press conference. The fatality figure could increase as at least 17 people were considered still missing as

search-and-rescue efforts continued “While we hope it will not, we expect that this number will increase as we continue to look for people who are still missing and unaccounted for,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. More than 500 first responders and 10 search dogs were involved in the search-and-rescue efforts. Three people were rescued on Wednesday. Searchers believe they have looked through about 75 percent of the debris field. READ MORE

How Some Christians Become the Devil’s Minions

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 10:48 AM PST

How Some Christians Become the Devil’s Minions(By J. Lee Gray) A friend of mine who pastors a growing church recently got a visit from a worried church member who said she had an important message from the Lord for him. When they met, the woman began to warn him about another woman in the church who, she claimed, was going to tear the church apart. The pastor listened carefully and then asked a few questions. Had the woman in question said something derogatory to reveal her alleged evil intentions? What was she doing to tear the church apart? Was there proof? After all, the woman being accused was a supportive volunteer who seemed to get along with everyone.

The woman with the “word from the Lord” got defensive and said she knew she was right because she had “a gift of discernment.” She didn’t need to corroborate her story or provide concrete evidence. She just “knew.” When the woman bringing this accusation was told she was out of bounds, she left the meeting in a huff—and then left the church because her super-spiritual insight was not received. In this case, the woman who claimed to have a hotline to God did not have “discernment”—she was exhibiting a spirit of accusation. She had what I jokingly refer to as “the gift of suspicion.” Ironically, she is the one who is guilty of tearing the church apart. READ MORE

Markets Jittered By China Threat To Halt US Treasuries

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 10:39 AM PST

Markets Jittered By China Threat To Halt US TreasuriesChina, the biggest buyer of U.S. sovereign bonds, could be slowing down or even halting its purchases, according to a report. Bloomberg News reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter, that officials in Beijing have recommended the Chinese government lower — or even stop — its buying of U.S. sovereign debt. The report also notes that Chinese officials think U.S. debt is becoming less attractive compared with other assets, adding that trade tensions between the two countries could provide a reason to slow down or halt the purchases.

“If China stops buying Treasuries, the market could suffer,” strategists at Jefferies said. “Treasury financing needs are going to rise significantly in 2018 and beyond relative to recent history, so Treasury is going to be looking for as many sources of demand as they can find.” The news is worrying markets. Treasury prices fell, boosting yields. The dollar also dropped against most currencies and gold rose. U.S. equities declined. READ MORE


Former Teacher Has Certificates Suspended for Speaking Against Homosexuality on Facebook

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:20 AM PST

Former Teacher Has Certificates Suspended for Speaking Against Homosexuality on FacebookThe New Jersey Department of Education has suspended the teaching certificates of a former high school teacher who came under fire seven years ago for speaking against the sin of homosexuality on Facebook. As previously reported, Jenye “Viki” Knox, 56, first came under fire in June 2011 after she posted comments on Facebook decrying the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle Union High School. The

school had reportedly erected a display in acknowledgment of “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Month,” which featured popular homosexual celebrities. “It’s still there,” she vented on her personal Facebook page. “I’m pitching a fit.” The status then began to spark discussion, which turned into a controversy when others were offended by her comments. Knox, a born-again Christian who also had served as the adviser for the school’s Bible study group, defended the Bible’s position on homosexuality when others challenged her status. READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: Earth’s Volcanoes Are Waking Up: Dormant Papua New Guinea Volcano Erupts For First Time

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:11 AM PST

PROPHECY WATCH: Earth’s Volcanoes Are Waking Up: Dormant Papua New Guinea Volcano Erupts For First TimeHundreds 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.  Mount Tavurvur, in the town of Rabaul in East New Britain province, erupted at 3 a.m. Friday morning, local time. The volcano, located in Papua New Guinea, was thought to be dormant.  It has now erupted for the first time in known history, spewing ash thousands of feet into the air and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents. But the worst could be forthcoming, as experts now fear this surprising eruption could lead to landslides and tsunamis in the area.

“Due to the steepness of the island, landslides are possible and together with the explosive nature of magma, tsunamis may be generated,” the Rabual Volcanological Observatory said in a statement.  “It appears from satellite imagery and aerial photographs that it started with mild Vulcanian activity from a vent at the southeast base. It appears a fissure may be opening just inside of the western wall of the net’s breach descending down to at least sea level,” the statement continued. CONTINUE

The New Normal For Church Security

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:06 AM PST

The New Normal For Church SecurityWe recently experienced a new tipping point for church security. A tipping point is the critical juncture in evolving developments that leads to a new and, often, irreversible state. We call that new state “the new normal.” In church security we have witnessed two major tipping points. Though child sex abuse in churches was not new, it reached a new level of awareness and response when Pope John Paul II called an emergency meeting with the U. S. cardinals in 2002. We knew then the issue was serious and pervasive.

We reached a second major tipping point in November 2017 with the church shootings at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Among the 26 people killed were nine members of one family. Church leaders and members across the nation began to realize that if it can happen in Sutherland Springs, it can happen anywhere. I recently conducted a social media survey to ask church leaders and members to share what their churches were doing for church security. MORE

Worst country to be Christian revealed and 50 danger zones named

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:59 AM PST

Worst country to be Christian revealed and 50 danger zones namedChristians are facing the threat of murder, rape and torture around the world, with new areas around the world emerging as the next “hotbed” for persecution. North Korea has been named as the worst place to be a Christian in the world, with Kim Jong-un’s hermit state topping Open Doors’ 2018 watchlist.  While the torturous totalitarian regime regularly features at the top of the terrifying list, Open Doors gave a

new stark warning for Christians in South East Asia, which they named the “next emerging perception hotbed”.  North Korea has topped Open Doors’ yearly list of worst states for the 16th year running with Saudi Arabia and Somalia the only two other states to have been ranked first during the 26 years Open Doors has been creating the list. The Open Doors report said: “North Korea remains the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian. Believers are forced to worship in secret – if they are discovered they are taken to labour camps. READ MORE

Psalms To Remember When Your Life is Full of Worry and Fear

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:49 AM PST

Psalms To Remember When Your Life is Full of Worry and FearSometimes, it is very easy to slip into a state in which you find your mind consumed with anxious thoughts that leave you worried. If you find yourself struggling with worry, or are feeling anxious inside, the Psalms given below can help you find peace. Remember, the Bible is a great resource to help bring you back to enjoying a healthy perspective on life. It reminds you that when you are weak, He is strong! So in moments of worry, fear and anxiety, cast your cares upon the Lord to find strength and comfort.

The Psalms were written for all kinds of people, including those fighting despair and anxiety, so they are perfect for trying to break free if you are feeling this way. If you are looking for hope and encouragement, turn to the Psalms. They are a reminder of God’s consistent love for us and the fact that, in our darkest moments when we may be lost or struggling with anxiety, He is there with us. CONTINUE

21-year-old healthy bodybuilder dies of flu complications

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:38 AM PST

21-year-old healthy bodybuilder dies of flu complicationsKyler Baughman was a seemingly fit 21-year-old who was working and going to school like any normal 21-year-old.  “He was into physical fitness,” said his mother, Beverly Baughman. “He was going to school to be a personal trainer.” But when he came to visit for the holidays, he wasn’t looking like he was in peak condition. “We saw him the 23rd for our family Christmas get-together and we noticed he wasn’t feeling well,” Beverly Baughman said.

“He looked rundown and had a bit of a snotty nose.”  He celebrated with family again Christmas night, and returned to work Tuesday, but he came home early, because he wasn’t feeling well. “He kinda just laid down and went about his day and that was the day he was coughing and said his chest hurt, he had a mild cough,” said his fiancée Olivia Marcanio. READ MORE

Trump’s new nuke ‘posture’: Draft allows nuclear response to conventional attack and new warheads

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:23 AM PST

Trump’s new nuke ‘posture’: Draft allows nuclear response to conventional attack and new warheadsThe Trump administration is expected to reveal a new, hawkish nuclear doctrine, which reportedly incorporates more cases in which it would use nuclear weapons, and also mandates the development of smaller-yield, simpler warheads. The new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is expected to be revealed

sometime after President Donald Trump’s state-of-the-union address in late January and will be the first update of the key strategy document in eight years. According to Jon Wolfsthal, a former special assistant to Barack Obama on arms control and non-proliferation, the final draft that he reviewed is pretty hawkish, but some of the more aggressive suggestions from the initial variant have been dropped. Wolfsthal described the document to The Guardian. READ MORE

China May Halt Purchases of U.S. Treasuries…

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:09 AM PST

China May Halt Purchases of U.S. Treasuries…China added to bond investors’ jitters on Wednesday as traders braced for what they feared could be the end of a three-decade bull market. Officials in Beijing reviewing the nation’s foreign-exchange holdings have recommended slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasuries, according to people familiar with the matter. Benchmark bonds reversed earlier gains on the news, with the yield on 10-year Treasuries climbing for a fifth day.

China’s foreign-exchange reserves of $3.1 trillion are the world’s largest, though it wasn’t clear whether the recommendations have been adopted. The market for U.S. government bonds is becoming less attractive relative to other assets, and trade tensions with the U.S. may provide a reason to slow or stop buying American debt, the thinking of these officials goes, according to the people, who asked not to be named as they aren’t allowed to discuss the matter publicly. READ MORE

UPDATE: Massive 7.6 Quake strikes in the Caribbean, One of most powerful Quakes ever in region

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:05 AM PST

UPDATE: Massive 7.6 Quake strikes in the Caribbean, One of most powerful Quakes ever in regionA massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake has struck the Caribbean Sea, prompting a tsunami warning for nearby islands including the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. The tremor, one of the largest to hit the Caribbean in recorded history, struck on Tuesday night at about 9.51pm just over 25 miles from the coast of Great Swan Island, belonging to Honduras. The earthquake had a depth of 6.2 miles and rocked several Central American nations.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami advisory was put in place for hurricane-hit Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and warned of possible waves up to three feet above tide level. There were also fears waves could potentially impact the coasts of Central American nations, including Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands. However, the warnings were later canceled and in the end, no tsunami materialized. Warnings were issued after what was one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the Caribbean in modern times. The 2010 quake that devastated Haiti killing more than 200,000 people was magnitude 7.0. READ MORE

What is The Gospel?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:


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?

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Putting the Evangel in Evangelicalism

Pastrix Paula White, Pastor Robert Jeffress and other religious leaders praying for  then presidential GOP candidate Donald Trump.

Why do so many people who outright reject the Christian worldview and choose to live like heathens self-identify as evangelical Christians? For this reason, many Christians, especially in the Reformed camp, say that the label “evangelical” has outlived its purpose. The term has become identified with the Christian Right. Tim Challies reminds us that a large number of evangelicals are not on board with “the alignment of major Evangelical leaders with President Trump and also the stretching of the label to people who functionally deny the ‘evangel’ (good news) at the heart of the word.” (Source)

Because “evangelical” has become so politicized, Eric Davis of The Cripplegate is not gung ho on Christians embracing the term. He says “It might be better if we don’t. But if we do, we need to think of it in terms of the biblical evangel.” What does that mean? “According to the biblical evangel,” says Davis, “‘evangelical’ means more than voting conservative, attending weekly religious services, and owning a Bible.  It’s a worldview centered on the message of the cross of Jesus Christ. The message of the cross is at least that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. But for clarification sake, we can say more than that, especially today. There are lots of things I would like to say to those who take a more mainstream evangelical label. But if I had to boil it down to a few points, I would say these things.”

Davis begins his piece:

Recently there has been discussion about the term “evangelical.” What does it mean? Who are evangelicals? How do we know? It’s a good thing because clarity on truth is a good thing.

The word “evangelical” comes from the New Testament Greek word which means “gospel” or “good news.” Thus, “evangelical” means having to do with the Christian gospel. Understanding the Christian gospel, then, is needed to define who and what constitutes an “evangelical.”

If anyone would speak accurately of the Christian evangel, they must do so from the source of the evangel; the Bible. We could reference many passages, but if I were to choose one, it would be 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. To be sure, the passage was not written to 21st century Westerners in order to recalibrate flawed definitions of “evangelical.” However, it was written to pleasure-loving, professing Christians living in a worldly culture, to recalibrate their understanding of the evangel, or the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The writer of 1 Corinthians was the most evangelical evangelical in Christianity; the apostle Paul. He wrote this section of Scripture to teach a correct theological and philosophical understanding of the Christian gospel. In doing so, he zeros in on the centerpiece of the gospel, the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross refers less to the wooden object and more to the meaning and implications of what God did through the cross.

I am not insisting that Christians embrace the term, “evangelical.” It might be better if we don’t. But if we do, we need to think of it in terms of the biblical evangel. According to the biblical evangel, “evangelical” means more than voting conservative, attending weekly religious services, and owning a Bible. It’s a worldview centered on the message of the cross of Jesus Christ. The message of the cross is at least that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. But for clarification sake, we can say more than that, especially today. There are lots of things I would like to say to those who take a more mainstream evangelical label. But if I had to boil it down to a few points, I would say these things.View article →

Source: Putting the Evangel in Evangelicalism

Moody Bible Institute Facing a ‘Crisis of Leadership’

Moody Bible Institute

Moody Bible Institute is in the midst of what some are calling a crisis and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

The problems at the 132 year-old school are wide-ranging and include falling student enrollment numbers, a climate of fear and intimidation on campus, where whistleblowers were said to have been silenced, a liberal theological drift, unprofessionalism by professors in the classroom, widespread layoffs, questionable loans to school trustees and officials and now the firing of a popular Moody Radio Network host who criticized the school.


Julie Roys, host of Moody Radio’s “Up for Debate” program was told via email on Saturday that she had been terminated. No reason for the firing was given but just two days earlier Roys outlined the “disturbing truth” about leadership at MBI on her blog.  Her article was titled “A Luxury Suite, Questionable Loan to Officer, & Gambling: The Disturbing Truth About Leadership at MBI.”  The article resulted from her own investigation of complaints about MBI that she said school officials refused to address.

In that article she wrote:

In 2009, the Christian school allegedly gave MBI President Paul Nyquist a $500,000 loan—which Moody’s latest 990 forms say has never been repaid—in order to acquire a $1.08 million condominium near campus. This money was given during a period of financial hardship for the school, a period of time that has stretched into recent months as approximately one-third of the Chicago faculty were let go last November, and the school’s Spokane, Washington, campus and learning extension site in Pasadena, California, were both closed.

When asked generally about the practice of loaning to officers (not MBI in particular), Attorney Rich Baker, a partner with Mauck and Baker, a Chicago law firm known nationally for representing religious institutions, said: “I’m always against loans to corporate officers and directors. . . . If it’s not paid back, then that certainly puts it into the category of self-dealing. I’d be very uncomfortable in an audit in a situation like that.”

The condo in question is said to be worth more than two times as much as the median sale price of homes in the same neighborhood as MBI, Roys reported. Meanwhile, Nyquist’s compensation package has risen from $233,252 in 2009 to $338,735 in 2016, records say.

Roys said that from 2000 to 2008, MBI also provided a kind of “second home” in a luxury apartment atop Jenkins Hall for former Moody board chairman (now a trustee) Jerry B. Jenkins, co-author of the Left Behind fiction series. Jenkins had given the school an undisclosed sum of money in 1999 that enabled them to purchase the building bearing his name.

According to Roys, “Had MBI allowed other people to use the suite, and had Jenkins used the apartment only when he was in town on trustee business, it would not be considered self-dealing.”

Roys wrote that many MBI staff members were uncomfortable with the arrangement and in 2008 someone submitted an anonymous “whistleblower report” internally at MBI.  Jenkins was upset about the report and made efforts to find out who complained.


The accusations of liberal theological drift and unprofessionalism from professors comes from current and former students.

The drift has become so controversial that a website was created by concerned students called The Broken TwigThe website says it is “documenting the decline and fall of the Moody Bible Institute.”

On December 15, 2017 the website reprinted a letter from an MBI alumna documenting the unidentified writer’s “deep concern with the atmosphere, education, and direction of Moody Bible Institute.”

“Moody Bible Institute is not the training ground it once was. Moody has become not a unique place to study and know God’s Word, but instead a place infiltrated by liberal political stances and clichéd cultural buzzwords without a solid theological foundation, a departure from Moody’s central and driving mission to train men and women for faithful service by knowing and teaching the Word of God.”

The letter describes classes that start late and end early with unprepared professors who promote social justice, liberation theology and exercises meant to instill fear of “white privilege” ahead of ministry and the gospel.

The gambling reference also involves Jenkins.  According to Roys MBI dropped a prohibition on gambling from its employee standards after it was reported that Jenkins had admitted to gambling both in his home and at casino poker tournaments.

The post Moody Bible Institute Facing a ‘Crisis of Leadership’ appeared first on ChurchLeaders.

5 Boundaries to Save You From Unhealthy Relationships and Manipulative People

Do all you can to live at peace with them, but if they refuse to live at peace with you, then live your life in peace without them. This “tough love” can be so difficult, but sometimes someone will simply refuse to be in a relationship with you unless they’re pulling all the strings and you’re jumping through their hoops. Do all you can to live at peace and be one who builds bridges instead of tearing them down, but if this person isn’t willing to do their part, then you might need to love them from a distance. Don’t let them manipulate you or control you or steal your joy.

I recently sat down with a young couple who is going through a very serious struggle in their marriage because of someone outside their marriage. You might assume I’m talking about a mistress or an emotional affair, but this has nothing to do with wrongdoing on the part of either spouse. Their struggle has to do with an overbearing parent.

The husband’s mom (and the wife’s mother-in-law) has bombarded the young couple with pressures, demands, emotional pleas, tantrums, threats, bullying, name-calling and a myriad of other unpleasant tactics to get her way and to manipulate the dynamics within the family’s relationships. She seems to see their marriage as a threat to the relationship and influence she once had with her son. See seems to view her daughter-in-law as competition for her son’s attention rather than a beloved new addition to the family.

This young couple seemed exhausted by their dealings with what seems to be a narcissistic and emotionally unstable person. They want to honor and respect her. They want their young daughter to have a relationship with her grandmother. They want peace and no drama, but they also don’t want to be a doormat to her unhealthy demands. Sadly, their struggle is a very common one.

It’s very common for a couple to face an overbearing parent (or parents) in their marriage, but dealing with overbearing and emotionally unhealthy people can happen in all parts of life (work, school, home, etc.). Not if but WHEN you find yourself in a relationship with someone who is bullying, manipulative, unstable or unhealthy in any way, for the sake of your family and your sanity, PLEASE implement the following boundaries.

Five Boundaries to save you from unhealthy relationships and manipulative people (in no particular order)...

  1. “Teach” them how to treat you by how you treat them AND by how you allow them to treat you.

Make sure you’re not responding to negativity with negativity. Don’t sink to their level, because you’ll lose. It’s been said that when you wrestle with a pig in the mud, you BOTH get dirty, but the pig likes it! Be kind and respectful even when it’s not returned; not as a reflection of their character but as a reflection of yours. If the difficult person continues to bully, you might need to remove them from your life to protect yourself and your family until they change their toxic behavior. This leads directly into #2.

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The Power of God to Set You Free

There is one battle you will fight your entire life.

I’m referring to your battle against sin. Some of you reading this blog post are discouraged today; some of you feel beat up and ashamed; some of you are sick of fighting the sin in your life; and some of you have just about given up altogether.

The truth is, all of us are not only guilty of sin, we are slaves to sin. So, we not only need forgiveness, we need freedom. Here is what I want you to take confidence in today: No matter how powerful sin feels in your life, God’s power is greater.

In Exodus, we read the epic story of God’s power to free his people from slavery. In chapter 14, we get to the climax of the story: the crossing of the Red Sea. Before the people of Israel cross over the sea, they come face to face with their enemy. Their enemy is strong, and they are weak—but God is stronger.

Here are three observations from Exodus 14 that I pray will encourage you today:

The enemy does not want to let you go (vv. 5-9).

At this point in the story, things have not gone so well for Pharaoh. Ten plagues have rocked his nation, his firstborn son is dead, and he’s just lost all his slaves.

If he had any sanity at all, he would have called it quits. But evil, narcissistic, power-hungry people are often irrational. So Pharaoh is not ready to give up, even after all the evidence that God is stronger than him. He hears that the people of Israel have actually fled from his country. And he says, “Let’s go get them back.”

He takes six hundred chosen chariots (the real legit ones—think stealth bombers), all the other chariots, and he pursues the people of Israel with his whole army. Every military advisor with half a brain would say, “You lost man!” But Pharaoh is not willing to let his slaves go.

This is exactly the insanity and evil of our enemy. Jesus defeated Satan on the cross. But he won’t quit his hot pursuit of God’s people. This is why we can’t be complacent Christians. We have to be on guard. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Are you being watchful? Do you know his strategies?

You should be able to identify the unique ways that he tempts you. Is it stress, exhaustion, boredom, loneliness, pride in your accomplishments? Is it at school, at work, at a certain friend’s house, in your room, driving in your car? When, where, and how does the enemy come after you?

You must be watchful, because he does not want to let you go. But take heart…

God fights for you (vv. 10-20).

Israel has got their back against the wall—cut off by the Red Sea.

They are terrified as they look upon their enemy. Then they complain because they are under the false assumption that following God out of slavery is going to be easy. It’s not.

We make this mistake every time we assume that following Jesus will be easy. He never promised that. But in Exodus, God gives us a true promise: “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:14).

Imagine this: Israel with the sea on one side and Pharaoh on the other. Trapped. But then, in a pillar of cloud and fire, God’s presence moves between them. This is one of the greatest pictures in the entire Bible of what Jesus does for us. We are trapped in sin, totally helpless. But Christ moves with all his power and positions himself between us and our enemy.

This is the gospel! Your battle against sin is real, but you are not fighting alone. Jesus fights for you, he died fighting for you, and in the victory of his resurrection you win as well.

Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t sin. This doesn’t mean you won’t struggle. It means that if you trust Christ by the simple silence of your faith alone, your enemy will not defeat you. So this week when you face temptation, it may seem overwhelming. But remember which side of the pillar you are on. You’re not fighting alone. The Lord fights for you!

God will save you (vv. 21-31).

As Christians, we know that the outcome of our lives is secure in Christ. But sometimes we still wonder, am I going to make it? Will my struggle against sin ever really end?

What we learn at the end of this story is magnificent: that the Lord saved Israel, and His people saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

The day will come when your enemy will be gone forever! Satan will be destroyed. You will live in eternity with no more temptation and no more sin. Revelation 22:3-5 says, “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in [the city], and his servants will worship him… And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever.”

If you’re a Christian that’s the end of the story for you.

But what exactly was it that got Israel across the sea? What gets us into this glorious eternity? Read Hebrews 11:19 with me: “By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted the same, were drowned.”

That’s what it comes down to: faith. Exodus 14:31 says that the Israelites believed the Lord. What about you? Do you believe the Lord? Do you have faith in Jesus? I pray today that you will trust in his power to set you free.

[Photo Credit: Unsplash]


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Moody’s Enrollment Plummets Due to Leadership’s Moral Failings and Liberal Leanings

Moody’s Enrollment Plummets Due to Leadership’s Moral Failings and Liberal Leanings

By The Broken Twig blog “We’re in a storm.” That’s the reason President Nyquist recently gave for a nearly 30 percent drop in enrollment at Moody the past four years, which has caused the institute to close its Spokane campus and cut more than 20 faculty in Chicago. Nyquist took no responsibility for this dramatic […]

The post Moody’s Enrollment Plummets Due to Leadership’s Moral Failings and Liberal Leanings appeared first on .

Moody Bible Institute President, COO Resign Amid Board’s ‘Unanimous Decision’ for ‘New Season of Leadership’

(Christian News Network) “Moody Radio host Julie Roys also recently published an article asserting, among other allegations, that the school was not being vigilant to root out liberal professors, that it had allowed an official to violate Moody’s bylaws and that it was ‘fostering an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.’”

The president and COO of Moody Bible Institute have submitted their resignations amid controversy over the direction of the historic institution, and in light of the board’s “unanimous decision” for “new leadership.”  View article →

Source: ‘Unanimous Decision’ for ‘New Season of Leadership’

January 11, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

51:11 Don’t give up on me, Lord, or banish me from Your presence. I can’t stand the thought of being away from You, or of having Your Holy Spirit taken from me. In this age in which I live, You do take Your Holy Spirit from men when they walk in disobedience to You. You did it to Saul (1 Sam. 16:14)—I shudder to think of the consequences. Please, Lord, spare me from this fate.[1]

51:11 Your Holy Spirit from me. This is a reference to the special Holy Spirit anointing on theocratic mediators.[2]

51:11take not your Holy Spirit from me. Some have taken this to imply that the Holy Spirit can be taken from someone, at least in the OT; others have suggested that the Holy Spirit is viewed here in his role of empowering David for his kingly duties, and that this is a prayer that God not take the kingship and the divine anointing for kingship from David as he did from Saul (see note on 1 Sam. 16:14; cf. 1 Sam. 16:13). To evaluate these views, one should observe that the OT rarely discusses the Holy Spirit’s role in cleansing the inner life (besides here, Ezek. 36:27 is the main OT text on the subject), and certainly does not enter into technical questions of the Spirit’s permanent indwelling. Further, the fact that this is a psalm for the whole congregation argues against the idea that this is David’s personal prayer about his kingship. The whole tenor of this psalm is that, if strict justice were God’s only consideration, he would have the right to bring dire judgment on those who sin (which includes all of his own people), and that the only possible appeal is to his mercy. The function of the psalm, as a song sung by the entire congregation, is to shape their hearts so that they feel this at the deepest level, lest they ever presume upon God’s grace.[3]

51:11do not take your Holy Spirit from me The psalmist may have been thinking of when God removed His Spirit from Saul after Saul became His enemy (see 1 Sam 16:14 and note).

The psalmist hopes his sin will not make him an enemy of God, but that he will enjoy God’s presence (see note on Ps 4:6; note on 21:6).[4]

51:11 Holy Spirit. The Old Testament does not make a full disclosure of the personhood of the Holy Spirit. David understands that his spiritual well-being depends on God’s presence with him. He fears that the Spirit may be taken away, because the Spirit is holy and David is sinful. See “The Holy Spirit” at John 14:26.[5]

[1] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 630). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 51:11). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1000). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 51:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 782). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

January 11 An Upward Look by a Downcast Soul, Part 4

By James Boice on Jan 11, 2018 12:00 am

Attacks from ungodly, deceitful and wicked persons (43:1). The second of these two psalms brings in another cause of depression. It is attacks by unscrupulous and deceitful enemies. These are probably the same persons who taunted the psalmist earlier, asking, “Where is your God?” But in this section we learn that they had also been attacking him unjustly, since he prays for vindication and a pleading of his cause by God. Most of us can relate to this too, since it is not unusual for those who try to live for God to be unjustly accused, attacked and slandered. Jesus said, “You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you…. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:19, 20). It is an unusual person who will not be depressed by malicious and hurtful treatment, at least at times.

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We are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 5:20

The Spirit of God has impelled me to preach and write much about the believer’s conscious union with Christ—a union that must be felt and experienced. I will never be through talking about the union of the soul with the Savior, the conscious union of the believer’s heart with Jesus.

Remember, I am not talking about a “theological union” only. I am speaking also of a conscious union, a union that is felt and experienced.

I have never been ashamed to tell my congregations that I believe in feelings. I surely believe in what Jonathan Edwards termed “religious affections.” That is man’s perspective.

I am aware also that from God’s perspective there are qualities in the Divine Being that can only be known by the heart; never by the intellect!

Long ago John wrote: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). So it is best for us to confess that as humans we have difficulty in understanding what God has said when He says that He loves us!

Heavenly Father, help me to be conscious of Your presence in my life today. And I pray that others will see You through me.[1]

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

January 11 Fasting as Part of Preparation for Testing

After He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.—Matt. 4:2

For a quite lengthy period prior to the three diabolical temptations directed at Jesus, He fasted. We don’t know exactly what He did during the forty-day period, but He likely spent most of the time communing with His heavenly Father.

Even in His perfect humanity, Jesus needed solitary preparation time in meditation and prayer, as we all do in anticipating a major testing. Consider how Moses spent forty years in Midian in preparation for his leadership of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land, or that the apostle Paul lived three years in the desert of Arabia before launching his extensive ministries.

Matthew reports, with much simplicity and directness, that at the end of the period of fasting, Jesus “became hungry.” Hunger weakens us physically and somehow leaves us more vulnerable to spiritual attack, which is precisely why Satan often assails us at such times. But temptations that we have anticipated and prayed about have little power to harm us, if we constantly rely on the Lord.

Jesus, though spending more than a month in fasting, is a tremendous example to us of remaining alert to spiritual danger, which He did as Satan approached. During the temptations, He did not yield on the slightest point.


What other feelings and conditions—like hunger—serve as readymade points of entry for spiritual temptation? Knowing this, how can you better “keep watching and praying” that you not fall into sin (Mark 14:38)? Pray for the courage to live with such keen awareness.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 19). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 11 The Affirmation of God’s Son

Declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness,by the resurrection from the dead.

Romans 1:4

Jesus Christ had to be more than a man; He also had to be God. If Jesus were only a man, even the best of men, He could not have saved believers from their sin. If He were even the right man from the seed of David, but not God, He could not have withstood the punishment of God the Father at the cross and risen from the dead. He could not have overcome Satan and the world but would have been conquered as all men are conquered.

If there was ever any question that Jesus was the Son of God, His resurrection from the dead should end it. He had to be man to reach us, but He had to be God to lift us up. When God raised Christ from the dead, He affirmed that what He said was true.

As clearly as the horizon divides the earth from the sky, so the resurrection divides Jesus from the rest of humanity. Jesus Christ is God in human flesh.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 22). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

January 11, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

2  “How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3  Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4  Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 82:2–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

God’s Expectations of Justice (82:3–4)

3–4 The four imperatives—“defend [lit., judge] … maintain the rights … rescue … deliver”—summarize what God expects. The Lord accuses the gods of irresponsibility with respect to his just rule. They are charged because they have not shown concern for justice (v. 3). The gods of the nations have failed.

These verses may also be considered to be a didactic poem in which Israel is reminded of God’s expectations of his covenantal people (cf. Isa 1:16–17; Zec 7:7–10; Mal 3:9; Jas 1:27). Failure to observe God’s decrees inevitably leads to his condemnation (cf. Isa 10:1–3).[1]

82:2–4 / In the oracle of verses 2–7, we hear God’s speech to the gods (note esp. v. 6). Verses 2–4 imply the task of administering justice had been committed to these ʾelohîm. Judgment is a leitmotif (recurring motif) throughout: the phrases he gives judgment (v. 1), defend (vv. 2, 3), and judge (v. 8) all translate the same Hebrew verb (špṭ, “to judge”). We now detect the irony that the judges have now become the judged: the ʾelohîm, who have been judges, are now on trial. More specifically, the administration of justice—in God’s view—includes rescuing and delivering the weak and the poor. Judgment in the ot is not merely a legal term confined to the courtroom (cf. the prophets, esp. Amos). Because the powerful can ensure their own fair treatment, it is the particular task of God’s appointed authorities to protect the powerless. The Hebrew idiom for show partiality to the wicked is literally “lift the face of the wicked” (as in a legal acquittal). (Note these ʾelohîm are not identified with the wicked in vv. 2, 4.)[2]

82:3, 4 Then the Judge of all the earth reminds them once more of their responsibilities in the area of social justice. They are to champion the rights of the poor and fatherless, … the afflicted and needy. They should be the helpers of all who are dispossessed and downtrodden.[3]

3–4 The law. The prosecuting counsel opens by reminding his Lordship how the law stands: this is what the ‘gods’ should have done: to uphold the rights of the defenceless, Weakfatherless, those without earthly resources, of either wealth or people; poor, the downtrodden, those at the bottom of life’s heap; oppressed, the impoverished; needy, people who can be exploited by stronger, vested interests. Such are not to be favoured by the law but protected by the due operation of their legal rights and (4) they must be protected by law from the power (hand) of law-breakers.[4]

82:3 God expects all judges to administer true justice. do justice: These words summarize the teaching of the Law and indicate God’s basic desire that the defenseless would find a haven of justice in the courts.[5]

82:2–4 judge unjustly. God accuses the lesser human judges of social injustices which violate the Mosaic law (e.g., Dt 24).[6]

82:3 God expects all judges to administer true justice. Do justice: These words summarize the teaching of the Law and indicate God’s basic desire that the defenseless would find a haven of justice in the courts.[7]

[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, pp. 624–625). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Hubbard, R. L. J., & Johnston, R. K. (2012). Foreword. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Psalms (pp. 336–337). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 674). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Motyer, J. A. (1994). The Psalms. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 539). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 703). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 82:2–4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] The NKJV Study Bible. (2007). (Ps 82:3). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.


And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

—Exodus 3:2

Is it not true that for most of us who call ourselves Christians there is no real experience? We have substituted theological ideas for an arresting encounter; we are full of religious notions, but our great weakness is that for our hearts there is no one there.

Whatever else it embraces, true Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God. Without this, religion is but a shadow, a reflection of reality, a cheap copy of an original once enjoyed by someone else of whom we have heard. It cannot but be a major tragedy in the life of any man to live in a church from childhood to old age and know nothing more real than some synthetic god compounded of theology and logic, but having no eyes to see, no ears to hear, and no heart to love….

We who experience God in this day may rejoice that we have in Him all that Abraham or David or Paul could have; indeed the very angels before the throne can have no more than we, for they can have no more than God and can want nothing apart from Him. And all that He is and all that He has done is for us and for all who share the common salvation. POM010, 013

Lord, may I experience Your presence in such a real way today that I’ll feel like taking off my shoes, because I’ll know I’m on holy ground. Amen.[1]

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

January 11 Having Love for One Another

“Let love of the brethren continue.”

Hebrews 13:1


Christianity’s primary moral standard is love, especially for fellow believers.

Love of other believers is a natural outflow of the Christian life and should be a normal part of fellowship within the church. You can no doubt remember how after you were first saved it became very natural and exciting to love other Christians and to want to be around them. However, such an attitude is extremely difficult to maintain. This love, which is a gift from God’s Spirit, must be nurtured or it will not grow—it may actually shrivel. That’s why the apostle Peter urges us, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:22–23).

Paul teaches us the same concept of nurturing and practicing love for one another when he writes: “Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for any one to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more” (1 Thess. 4:9–10).

Paul also gives us the basic definition of brotherly love: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Rom. 12:10). Simply stated, brotherly love is caring for fellow Christians more than we care for ourselves. And such love presupposes that we will have an attitude of humility (Phil. 2:3–4).

So today’s verse from Hebrews merely supports what Paul and Peter said elsewhere. The writer’s admonition that we should let brotherly love continue tells us that this kind of love already exists. Our challenge today and each day is not to discover love for one another, but to allow it to continue and to increase.


Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to help you rekindle the love that used to be strong for a Christian friend, but perhaps isn’t now.

For Further Study: Read 1 Samuel 18–20. What was so special about the love and friendship between David and Jonathan? ✧ What was the end result of that relationship (see especially 20:8–17)?[1]

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

January 10 Daily Help

DO you not know that God is an eternal self-existent Being; that to say he loves now, is, in fact, to say he always did love, since with God there is no past, and can be no future. What we call past, present, and future, he wraps in one eternal now. And if you say he loves you now, you say he loved yesterday; he loved in the past eternity; and he will love forever; for now with God is past, present, and future.

Christ’s love is the sun and our love is the moonlight, which we are able to give forth because the sun hath looked upon us.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 14). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

January 10, 2018 : Evening Verse Of The Day

9:10 / Verse 10 is a key statement for understanding verses 7–12. Holy One is literally the plural (of majesty) as in 30:3b. Knowledge of the Holy One is a definition of fear of the Lord. As always, knowledge is practical, active, and reverent.[1]

9:10 Once again we are reminded that the starting point for all true wisdom is in the fear of the Lord. “To know the Deity is what knowledge means” (Moffatt). Because he knows the Holy, a true believer can see more on his knees than others can see on their tiptoes.

The Holy One (plural) may be the plural of majesty, excellence, and comprehensiveness, or it may modify Elohim (understood), a plural word for God.[2]

9:10The fear of the Lord. Together with 1:7 (see note), this verse stands as the grounding and thematic statement for all of the appeals to wisdom throughout 1:1–9:18.[3]

9:10 The fear of the Lord. See 1:7 and note; “The Wisdom and Will of God” at Dan. 2:20.

Holy One. Lit. “holy ones” or “saints.” The translation here is based on the parallel with “the Lord” in the previous line (cf. 30:3, where the same plural form is used).[4]

[1] Murphy, R. E., & Carm, O. (2012). Proverbs. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (p. 44). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 813). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1150). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 886). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.