Daily Archives: January 17, 2018

January 17 Praising God for Your Election

“Having been predestined according to [God’s] purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11).

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God took the initiative in salvation by choosing you and granting you saving faith.

In Ephesians 1:4 Paul says that God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” In verse 11 he reiterates that marvelous truth by affirming that believers have been predestined to salvation according to God’s own purpose and will.

Many reject the teaching that God chose (“predestined”) believers to salvation. They think believers chose God. In one sense they’re right. Salvation involves an act of the will in turning from sin to embrace Christ. But the issue in predestination goes deeper than that. It’s a question of initiative. Did God choose you on the basis of your faith in Him, or did He, by choosing you, enable you to respond in faith?

The answer is clear in Scripture. Romans 3:11 says that no one seeks for God on his own. Unregenerate people have no capacity to understand spiritual truth; it’s all foolishness to them (1 Cor. 2:14). They are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1), blind (2 Cor. 4:4), and ignorant (Eph. 4:18).

How can people in that condition initiate saving faith? They can’t! That’s why Jesus said, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him. … All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:44, 37). Paul added, “God … has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Tim. 1:8–9).

God took the initiative. He chose you and gave you saving faith (Eph. 2:8–9). Rejoice in that truth. Rest in His power to conform all things to His will. Draw strength and assurance from His promise never to let you go (John 10:27–29). Then live each day as God’s elected one by shunning sin and following after holiness.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for placing His love upon you and for granting you salvation. ✧ Pray for the salvation of others, and seek opportunities to share Christ with them today.

For Further Study: Read Ezekiel 36:22–32. ✧ Why will God one day redeem Israel? ✧ What does that passage teach you about God’s initiative in salvation?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 29). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

JANUARY 17 MAN’S FALL CREATED A PERPETUAL MORAL CRISIS

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

ROMANS 5:19

The fall of man has created a perpetual crisis. It will last until sin has been put down and Christ reigns over a redeemed and restored world.

Until that time the earth remains a disaster area and its inhabitants live in a state of extraordinary emergency.

Statesmen and economists talk hopefully of “a return to normal conditions,” but conditions have not been normal since “the woman saw that the tree was good for food…and pleasant” and “to be desired to make one wise” and “took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” It is not enough to say that we live in a state of moral crisis. That is true, but it is not all, for the Fall has affected every part of man’s nature, moral, intellectual, psychological, spiritual and physical.

Man’s whole being has been deeply injured; the sin in his heart has overflowed into his total life, affecting his relation to God, to his fellow men and to everyone and everything that touches him.

To me, it has always been difficult to understand those evangelical Christians who insist upon living in the crisis as if no crisis existed. They say they serve the Lord, but they divide their days so as to leave plenty of time to play and loaf and enjoy the pleasures of the world as well. They are at ease while the world burns; and they can furnish many convincing reasons for their conduct, even quoting Scripture if you press them a bit.

I wonder whether such Christians actually believe in the Fall of man![1]


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

January 17, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump is “fit for duty” and should remain so through his presidency, according to presidential physician Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, who examined the president last week amid criticism that the 71-year-old commander-in-chief may be unfit for office.

North and South Korea will march jointly under one unified flag during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, the biggest sign yet of a detente after months of tensions over Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program.

House Republicans are coalescing around a plan to try and force the Senate to accept a short-term spending bill this week that doesn’t address immigration issues and other demands from Democrats in order to avoid a government shutdown after Jan. 19.

The threat of large-scale cyberattacks and a “deteriorating geopolitical landscape” since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump have jumped to the top of the global elite’s list of concerns, the World Economic Forum said ahead of its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Turkey warned the U.S. that the deployment of an American-backed, Kurdish-led force in northern Syria along the Turkish border could cause irreparable harm to the countries’ ties.

The U.S. has told the United Nations agency that aids Palestinians that it will contribute only about half of a $125 million payment to the body, while demanding a “fundamental reexamination” of the social-service agency’s mission and funding before deciding whether to pay the rest.

Venezuela’s plan for its own cryptocurrency include paying public workers in the digital token and using tax incentives to encourage its use, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News.

Five officers involved in two Navy ship collisions last year that killed a total of 17 sailors are being charged with negligent homicide, the Navy said Tuesday.

Bitcoin tumbled below $10,000, bringing its loss to almost 50 percent from a record set only a month ago, as increased scrutiny from regulators around the world weighs on the digital-coin craze.

U.S. factory production rose for a fourth straight month in December, capping the strongest quarter since 2010 and underscoring a resurgence in manufacturing that’s primed for further advances, Federal Reserve data showed Wednesday.

AP Top Stories

This is a record not to be coveted: Donald Trump is wrapping up a year in office with the lowest average approval rating of any elected president in his first term. That’s according to polling by Gallup, which shows that Trump has averaged just a 39 percent approval rating since his inauguration. The previous low was held by Bill Clinton, whose first-year average stood 10 points higher than Trump’s, at 49 percent.

At least nine construction workers were killed and five injured when a partially-constructed bridge collapsed in central Colombia on Monday, the disaster response agency said.

Nine of the 12 board members of the National Park Service Advisory Board have tendered their resignation over frustrations with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, The Washington Post reports.

China on Tuesday dismissed an international meeting on the North Korean nuclear crisis hosted by Canada and the United States as illegitimate, as major players like Beijing were not present.

Glowing-red lava spurted in a fountain and flowed down the Philippines’ most active volcano on Tuesday in a stunning display of its fury that has sent more than 34,000 villagers fleeing to safety and prompted police to set up checkpoints to stop tourists from getting too close.

A leading Serb politician was shot to death Tuesday near his political party’s offices in northern Kosovo, an attack that raised ethnic tensions in the Balkans and prompted the suspension of EU-mediated talks between Kosovo and Serbia.

BBC

The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, the country’s most populous, is at risk of yellow fever, the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning.

Divers in Mexico have discovered the ‘world’s longest’ cave. The discovery of a 216 mile long cave by the Gran Acuifero Maya project could shed light on Mayan history.

Police in Guinea say they have arrested a healer for conning hundreds of women into believing they were pregnant. N’na Fanta Camara gave women who had been unable to conceive a mixture of leaves, herbs and other medicines that caused them to bloat and look pregnant. For her services, patients paid $33, in a country where the average monthly wage is around $48. Police believe Ms. Camara made thousands of dollars a month, though she says she was only trying to help.

A previously unknown drawing by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has gone on display in the Netherlands. The monochrome sketch called The Hill of Montmartre with Quarries dates from 1886, shortly after the artist moved to Paris.

A woman who says she was abducted in Belgium has been found after locating herself on her smartphone and sharing the address with her brother. The 19-year-old student said five men kidnapped her in front of a nightclub in the capital Brussels on Friday. The alleged kidnappers had taken the woman’s device but on Monday she managed to recover it.

WND

Residents of southeast Michigan were left a bit shaken Tuesday night after a big bright flash lit up the sky and the ground beneath them shook. The National Weather Service eventually solved the mystery, tweeting “USGS confirms meteor occurred around 8:10 pm, causing a magnitude 2.0 earthquake.”

With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood. To be clear, they don’t want to leave the United States, just California.


The Briefing — Wednesday, January 17, 2018

1) Blue America is growing bluer: Political swings in both New Jersey and New York show worldviews at work

Washington Post (David Weigel) –
Incoming N.J. governor plans a swing to the left — and a model for the country

New York Times (Nick Corasaniti) –
Governor Murphy Pledges a Progressive Course for New Jersey

New York Times (J. David Goodman and William Neuman) –
De Blasio’s Second Inauguration: Less Fanfare, Dimmed Star Power

2) Why politics and hypocrisy go together so dangerously

New York Times (Jim Dwyer) –
Battling Climate Change from the Back Seat of an S.U.V.

3) A tale of two letters: French accuse Americans of holding to a Puritan sexual morality

New York Times (Aurelien Breeden and Elien Peltier) –
Response to French Letter Denouncing #MeToo Shows a Sharp Divide

New York Times (Jason Horowitz) –
In Italy, #MeToo Is More Like ‘Meh’

New York Times (Jenny Nordberg) –
Yes, It Happens in Sweden, #Too


News – 1/17/2018

FINALLY: Trump authorizes anti-aircraft missiles for the Kurds to combat Islamic threats from Turkey and Syria
The US is supplying N. Syrian Kurds with man-portable air defense weapons MANPADs to counter Turkish war threats. Tensions around northern Syria hit a new high on Tuesday, Jan. 16, when Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan threatened his army would invade the Kurdish region of Afrin – and then Kurdish-held Manbij – both of which abut on the Turkish border.

With a risk premium for oil, the World Economic Forum worried by war
“A deteriorating geopolitical landscape is partly to blame for the pessimistic outlook in 2018, with 93 percent of respondents saying they expect political or economic confrontations between major powers to worsen and nearly 80 percent expecting an increase in risks associated with war involving major powers,” the report read. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said last year that global economic momentum was “robust,” but warned the interdependent world that normally binds peace to deeper levels of connectivity was “falling apart and countries and peoples are pulling away from each other.”

Washington’s Paradigm Shift on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The Trump administration’s approach to the Palestinians represents what Mideast experts and Israel advocates are describing as a paradigm shift in Washington, D.C.—acknowledging that Palestinian rejectionism lies at the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict, rather than reflexively blaming the Jewish state for the impasse in negotiations. The purported paradigm shift comes as the current Palestinian leadership is rejecting American involvement in the peace process.

US Withholds $65 Million From UN’s Palestinian Refugee Agency, Calls for Changes
“There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded,” a U.S. official told AFP. According to the State Department, the U.S. sent UNRWA $60 million to keep the agency operating through the end of the year, but withheld additional planned funding of $65 million, while encouraging other countries to share the burden.

White House Announces Religious Freedom Day
On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump publicly proclaimed January 16 as the national day of religious freedom. He called on Americans to celebrate the day, so as to “remind us of our shared heritage of religious liberty.” The president’s announcement addressed both religious freedom internationally and within the United States.

‘New California’ movement seeks to divide the Golden State in half
Two men have launched a campaign to divide rural California from the coastal cities, motivated by what they referred to as a “tyrannical form of government,” that doesn’t follow the state or federal constitution, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Unlike the failed 2016 campaign to split California into 6 states, the “New California” movement, founded by Robert Paul Preston and Tom Reed, seeks to consolidate rural California into a dinstinct economy separate from the coast. The “founders” have evoked Article IV Section 3 of the United States Constitution as justification for establishing a new economy with a new state constitution.

PA Chairman threatens war over Jerusalem
Mahmoud Abbas threatened war if US President Donald Trump does not allocate Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian State. In a Cairo speech, Abbas said, “Jerusalem is the key to peace if it is our capital, and if it is not – it is the key to war. Trump will need to chose.”

Magnitude 5.8 Quake Hits 51 Miles Southwest of Rivas, Nicaragua – USGS
At first the USGS put the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.0 but later it revised it.

Thermometer in world’s coldest village breaks as temperatures plunge to -62C
The thermometer in a remote Siberian village known as the coldest inhabited place on earth has broken as temperatures plunged to near-record depths. The public device, which was installed in Oymyakon as a tourist attraction, recorded -62C, before malfunctioning this week.

Out!’ Trump Kicks CNN’s Jim Acosta Out Of Press Conference
When Jim Acosta asked if the President would prefer the people to be from Caucasian countries or places of color, President Trump looked at the Senior White House Correspondent, pointed a finger at him and said one word — “Out.”

UNRWA chief appeals for Palestinian refugee funds after US cut
The head of the UN agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees appealed on Wednesday for world donations after the United States withheld about half its planned funding for the organization, a move he said risks instability in the region. Washington said on Tuesday it would provide $60 million to the UN Relief and Welfare Agency while keeping back a further $65 million for now. The US State Department said UNRWA needed to make unspecified reforms.

Abbas cancels peace negotiations due to Saudi leaked Jerusalem plan
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided to deliver Sunday’s speech – in which he ruled out a peace process as long as Donald Trump is US president – after parts of Trump’s Middle East peace plan were leaked to him by the Saudis, Channel 2 reported on Tuesday night. Even before Sunday’s speech, Ben Caspit of The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister paper Maariv reported last week that Abbas was angered by the preliminary reports of Trump’s plan that the Saudis had given him.

Brexit: Brits take EU rights bid to Dutch court
Five UK nationals are going to court in the Netherlands in a campaign to keep their EU citizenship after Brexit. They want a Dutch judge to press the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify their rights. The ECJ, if it decides to make a ruling, could guarantee such rights as freedom of movement after the UK leaves the European Union. An ECJ decision would affect all British nationals living in the European Union.

Syria war: Turkish forces mass near Kurdish areas
Turkey’s president has warned of imminent military offensives on two Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria, as tanks and troops mass on the border. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Syrian rebels would support Turkish efforts to clear the “terror nests” of Afrin and Manbij. The areas are controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a terrorist group.

Earthquake-causing meteor leaves southeast Michigan residents awestruck
Residents of southeast Michigan were left a bit shaken Tuesday night after a big bright flash lit up the sky and the ground beneath them shook. A flying saucer? No. A shooting star? Not quite. The National Weather Service eventually solved the mystery, tweeting “USGS confirms meteor occurred around 810 pm, causing a magnitude 2.0 earthquake.”

The Church of Satan believes that sex robots could save our society
Oddly, the founder of the church of Satan, Anton Lavey, predicted sex robots more than two decades ago – and today’s Satanists still believe they could save us all. In Lavey’s ‘Five Point Plan’, drawn up in the Eighties, he recommended the use of ‘humanoids’ as an outlet for people’s darker impulses…Magus Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan told Metro, ‘Anton LaVey promoted the idea of “artificial human companions” as a means for people to exercise sexual or other drives with a device that might gratify their fantasies without having to involve other human beings.

How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms
Last year, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte made an announcement to great fanfare: The university would soon open a branch of the Confucius Institute, the Chinese government-funded educational institutions that teach Chinese language, culture and history. The Confucius Institute would “help students be better equipped to succeed in an increasingly globalized world,” says Nancy Gutierrez, UNC Charlotte’s dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences…

Welcome to the neighbourhood. Have you read the terms of service?
…Quayside may be one of the most sensor-laden neighbourhoods in North America, thanks to Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, which has been working on a plan to redevelop the area from the ground up into a test bed for smart city technology…The Canadian government is soliciting pitches for more smart cities across the country, and has promised up to $80 million to communities competing in its Smart Cities Challenge prize.

21 states sue to keep net neutrality as Senate Democrats reach 50 votes
A group of 21 U.S. state attorneys general filed suit to challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to do away with net neutrality on Tuesday while Democrats said they needed just one more vote in the Senate to repeal the FCC ruling…Trump backed the FCC action, the White House said last month, and overturning a presidential veto requires a two-thirds vote of both chambers.

Breaking Report: Trump Admin To Appeal DACA Decision Directly To Supreme Court
Fox News is reporting that the Justice Department is planning to appeal directly to the Supreme Court to overrule a San Francisco federal judge’s ruling voiding President Trump’s order ending the Obama administration’s controversial DACA program for certain illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as children.

Government Report: 73% of All Terrorism Related Offenders Over Last 15 Years were Foreign Born
A new report by the Department of Homeland Security found that 73% of terrorism related offenses in the last 15 years were by foreign born residents.

It’s Spreading=> Congressional Investigation Into Steele Dossier Has New Target: The Obama State Department
Congressional investigators probing the origins of the Steele dossier have set their sights on a brand new target — The Obama State Department.

Isaiah’s Shocking Prophecy Comes True in the Sahara as Snow Falls in World’s Hottest Desert
The people of Ain Sefra were greeted by a strange sight when they woke up last Sunday: 4-12 inches of snow had fallen overnight in the northern Algerian town known as “the Gateway to the Desert”, situated between the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains. This is only the third time in the last 40 years that the Sahara’s dunes have been coated with snow. The Sahara is one of the hottest places on the planet but strangely, it snowed there last year as well. Before that, it had been 37 years since Ain Sefra’s last snowfall.

Trump Withholds $65 Million from U.N.’s Palestinian ‘Refugee’ Agency
The Trump administration on Tuesday informed the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which ministers to so-called Palestinian refugees, that it is providing tens of millions of dollars less than its annual pledge to the agency.

OUTBREAK ALERT: ‘Eye Bleed Fever’ Kills 4 As Virus Sweeps Through Uganda
Panic is setting in after a nine-year-old girl died suddenly of “eye bleed fever” in Uganda.  This new virus is said to be even more dangerous than the “Black Death,” killing 40 percent of those who contract the disease, and four have died already.

Islamic Takeover in FULL SWING – American School District Surrenders to SHARIA LAW
The greatest damage to the American country had been made during the Obama’s time in the White House. His legislation’s allowed hundreds of thousands Muslim immigrants from third-world countries, move to America and stay here forever.

Our Leaders Have Sold America to the United Nations
…Despite all of these problems, the United Nations champions massive, disorganized immigration. Why? Because it serves to dilute the culture. Oh, I know this is a conspiracy theory and as some would have you believe there is no such thing as a conspiracy. But before you can install a new world order, you must destroy the existing cultures and the spirit of nationalism.

Palestinians Attempt to Bomb 1,000 Jewish Pilgrims Visiting Joseph’s Tomb, Judaism’s Third Holiest Site
On Tuesday, Palestinians apparently attempted to bomb Joseph’s Tomb, considered Judaism’s third holiest site, during a visit there earlier today by about 1,000 Jewish pilgrims.

Every Swedish household to receive guide on how to handle terror attacks
Sweden is set to send a guide to every household in the country on how to handle terror attacks as its security deteriorates. The ‘If War Comes’ booklet was first distributed in the 1940s in the early days of the Second World War and contained tips for citizens on what they should do if Sweden was invaded.


More Than 100 Are Dead As The Worst Flu Epidemic In Years Sweeps Across The United States

This flu season is already off to a record-setting beginning, and many believe that it could ultimately be the worst that we have seen in decades.  In fact, it has been reported that if we stay on this current pace that this could truly be the worst flu season in more than 50 years.  As you will see below, the CDC is reporting widespread flu activity from coast to coast, and the death toll has already crossed 100.  Here in the United States, flu season usually begins in October and ends in May, and so we still have a long way to go before it is over. (Read More…)

Why the Deadly 2018 Flu Season Could Get Even Worse (Plus, The Spanish Flu Outbreak, Did you know it may have killed 50 million people? Mostly young adults)

(From Fortune) Even if the hopeful assessment by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bears out, there will still be another 11 weeks to 13 weeks of flu circulating across the country. “In general, we see things peaking right…

Mid-Day Snapshot

Jan. 17, 2018

So Much for Using the 25th Amendment Against Trump

There was a lot of crazy talk about Trump’s health yesterday, but none of it came from the White House.

The Foundation

“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind.” —Thomas Jefferson (1822)

Headlines – 1/17/2018

Israel said to hit Hezbollah weapons depot near Damascus

Trump’s top peace envoy heads to Israel for meeting with Quartet

Analysis: With a vent at Trump, Abbas exits ‘peace process’

Israeli TV: Abbas fury a response to Saudis revealing Trump’s pro-Israel plan

Speaker of Lebanese parliament: ‘Boycott Trump until he renounces Jerusalem recognition’

Behind the fiery rhetoric, the Palestinian leadership is cornered and flailing

Bowing to PLO, Abbas sets stage for successor to take dramatic action on Israel

Bid to legitimize terror victim’s West Bank outpost faces legal hurdle

Introducing: digital warfare through the IDF’s new intelligence unit

IDF soldier detained for calling to avenge rabbi killed in terror attack

Israeli security forces find cell phone bomb in Joseph’s Tomb

The Terrorism Jobs Program: Pampering the Palestinians Must End

Across the Mideast, Palestinians brace for Trump aid cuts

Decision to withhold UN funds not aimed at punishing Palestinians – US official

The U.S. Has Cut Half of Its Aid to Palestinian Refugees Pending U.N. Reform

US to withhold $65 mln from UNRWA, provide $60 mln in aid

Palestinians blame Israel for US funding cut to UNRWA

UNRWA warns US funding cut threatens regional security, Palestinian dignity

Stung by US aid cut, UNRWA launches global fundraising campaign

Netanyahu ‘confident’ US embassy will move to Jerusalem within a year

Erdogan to meet pope for talks said to focus on Jerusalem

Netanyahu says Israel, India both face threat from radical Islam

CIA report reveals budding Tehran-PLO relationship in 1979

Iran’s leader accuses Saudis of ‘treasonous collaboration with Israel’

IDF chief: Iranian nuclear threat ‘is not theoretical’

Jubeir: Iran is a major threat in its role in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen

‘Iranian spies’ targeted in German police searches

Syrian opposition calls on Trump and EU to up pressure on Russia and Iran

US must do more to force Assad to negotiate, says Syrian opposition leader

David Miliband: UN security council ‘out of the picture’ on Syria

Iran says planned U.S.-backed force inside Syria would fan war

Iran adds to criticism of US-trained Kurdish force in Syria

Syria crisis: Why Turkey is poised to attack Kurdish enclave Afrin

Turkish attack on US-backed Kurds in Syria believed imminent

Turkey begins first wave of artillery fire on Kurds in Afrin

Erdogan: NATO must take stance against US over border force

Global survey finds Turkey no longer a free country

Arab Coalition destroys Houthi missile launch bases along Saudi border

Saudi Arabia shoots down Yemeni missile

Saudi Arabia welcomes UN report on Iran providing weapons in Yemen

Iran’s leader accuses Saudis of ‘treason’ against Muslims

Yemeni official: Iran constantly trying to counterfeit the country’s currency

Yemen war: 5,000 children dead or hurt and 400,000 malnourished, UN says

Yemen asks Saudis for $2B to save currency, prevent ‘famine’

North Korea calls Trump nuclear button boast the ‘bark of a rabid dog’

North Korea: Trump tweet the ‘spasm of a lunatic’

Nations to consider more North Korea sanctions, U.S. warns on military option

Tillerson warns military action on NK unless diplomacy works

Tillerson says Americans should be “sober” about possibility of conflict with North Korea

Japan issues false alarm over missile launch, days after Hawaii alert gaffe

A password for the Hawaii emergency agency was hiding in a public photo, written on a Post-it note

Hawaii woman claims boyfriend suffered heart attack after false ballistic missile alert

Bannon refuses to answer House panel’s questions in Russia probe

Lawmakers vow to force answers from Bannon in Russia probe after he defies subpoena

Intel Dem decries White House ‘gag order’ after Bannon testimony

Trump fueling global assault on democracy, report says

Trump cites federal report on foreign-born terrorists to urge immigration reform

Trump: We want immigrants ‘from everywhere’ to come to US

Mexican columnist is stabbed 21 times in front of family, underscoring deadly risks faced by journalists

401(k) investors: Is Dow 26,000 a sign that stocks are getting risky?

Battle Stations: U.S. and China Prepare for Trade Clash of the Titans

$260 billion ‘cryptocalypse’ as cryptos plunge 30 per cent amid fresh China, South Korea fears

Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies tumble on government crackdown worries

Bitcoins and brothels: Cryptocurrency may be coming to the Bunny Ranch

States file lawsuits to block net neutrality repeal

Conservatives demand Twitter answers after Project Veritas videos point to political bias

A Google app that matches your face to artwork is wildly popular. It’s also raising privacy concerns.

America’s Fastest Spy Plane May Be Back—and Hypersonic

“Likely” meteor lights up sky over Michigan, National Weather Service says

China wants to clean Earth’s orbit by blasting space junk with giant lasers

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Angoram, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Western Xizang

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Nearly 35,000 evacuate as Philippine volcano continues to erupt

Dangerous Cyclone Berguitta to strike Mauritius, La Reunion with damaging winds and flooding

South braces for impact as winter storm brings rare snow, ice

Oymyakon: Freezing temperatures breaks thermometer in world’s coldest village at -62C

China Opens ‘World’s Largest Air Purifier’ To Fight Pollution

Workers making iPhones in China exposed to toxic hazards, report says

This flu epidemic did something never recorded before – Scores of deaths are blamed on the virus, which has now hit every state in the continental US

Think Flu Season Is Bad? It Might Get Even Worse

Flu stresses hospitals, shows we’re not ready for emergencies

California hospitals face a ‘war zone’ of flu patients – and are setting up tents to treat them

Jewish LGBTQ youths find safe space to reconcile religious and sexual identities

Pretty dresses are no longer just for women

Pope begs forgiveness for ‘irreparable’ harm from sex abuse

3 churches firebombed in Chile during pope visit

The Witness of 70 AD

Elizabeth Prata – A move of the holy spirit & Christian emotionalists

Kenneth Copeland Adds New $36M Gulfstream Jet to His Air Fleet

Shawn Bolz Tells Sid Roth: “The Angel of Finance Gave Me His Keys!”

Jen Johnson’s ‘armpit reflector’ Jesus: worshiping a pagan image that can be changed by your words

Nigerian student arrested after converting from Islam to Christianity

Are skirts the next men’s fashion trend?

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 07:52 PM PST

Are skirts the next men’s fashion trend?In an era during which rules seem meant to be broken — and more and more people are calling for gender equality — it should surprise no one that the fashion world is the head cheerleader for change. Case in point: the Fall 2018 Menswear designers presenting a variety of skirts on their runways. A wrap skirt paired with a matching jacket showed up at the Astrid Andersen show in London, as well as a flasher-

worthy trench dress at Alex Mullins, and a a flirty full skirt bounced along at Bobby Abley. Then, Undercover presenting a plethora of pleated maxi skirts in Florence. Designer Jun Takahashi opened with five looks ranging from minimalist monochromatic to grungy, head-to-toe plaid. But the literal showstopper was the finale: a parade of topless men in white maxiskirts. Don’t expect many men to embrace that style — but it’s definitely a talker for our times. READ MORE

God’s Fingerprints? See the Curious Shape of This Key Human Protein

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 07:39 PM PST

God’s Fingerprints? See the Curious Shape of This Key Human ProteinHave you ever wondered if there is evidence of the divine within the biological makeup of our human form? If God really did create us, and if in Christ “all things hold together” as scripture attests, then wouldn’t it be possible for Him to could leave a mark in our very cells to show us He was behind the work of art we call life?  Well, that is exactly what evangelist Louie Giglio sought to explore in a timeless clip that recently resurfaced on Facebook. Giglio talks (video below) of meeting a molecular biologist following a preaching event in Texas.

As the two got chatting, the man revealed something absolutely extraordinary to Giglio that links the human body to the glory of God in Christ. “I said I’m on my way back home to Atlanta Georgia. Gonna be preaching the next two Sunday’s,” Giglio recalls telling the biologist. When Louie was asked what he was preaching on, he answered: “The series is on the glory of God and the human body. He says ‘that’s really amazing because I’m a molecular biologist at the University down the road.’” READ MORE

Isaiah’s Prophecy Appears in Sahara as Snow Falls in World’s Hottest Desert

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:51 PM PST

Isaiah’s Prophecy Appears in Sahara as Snow Falls in World’s Hottest DesertThe people of Ain Sefra were greeted by a strange sight when they woke up last Sunday: 4-12 inches of snow had fallen overnight in the northern Algerian town known as “the Gateway to the Desert”, situated between the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains. This is only the third time in the last 40 years that the Sahara’s dunes have been coated with snow. The Sahara is one of the hottest places on the planet but strangely, it snowed there last year as well.

Before that, it had been 37 years since Ain Sefra’s last snowfall. The Sahara is the largest and hottest desert in the world, covering 3.5 million square miles, an area approximately the size of the continental US. In 1922, a temperature of 136° Fahrenheit, the highest land surface temperature ever recorded, was set in the Sahara at El Azizia, Libya. The prophet Isaiah speaks of deserts blooming repeatedly in his description of the end-of-days. READ MORE

 

California hospitals face a ‘war zone’ of flu patients — and are setting up tents to treat them

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:09 PM PST

California hospitals face a ‘war zone’ of flu patients — and are setting up tents to treat themAna Oktay rushed to the hospital in late December struggling to breathe, with a 102-degree fever and a cough that wouldn’t let up. ​​​​​She expected doctors to tell her she had pneumonia or bronchitis. “They were just like: ‘It’s just influenza A. It’s just what’s going around,’” said Oktay, 49. An influenza A strain known as H3N2 is making people so ill in California that thousands have shown up in recent weeks at hospitals struggling to fight the infection. “I was flat on my back and in bed for 10 days,” said Oktay, who lives in Palms.

“This has been hands down the worst flu I’ve ever dealt with.” The huge numbers of sick people are also straining hospital staff who are confronting what could become California’s worst flu season in a decade. Hospitals across the state are sending away ambulances, flying in nurses from out of state and not letting children visit their loved ones for fear they’ll spread the flu. Others are canceling surgeries and erecting tents in their parking lots so they can triage the hordes of flu patients. READ MORE

Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 05:55 PM PST

Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear ArmsA newly drafted United States nuclear strategy that has been sent to President Trump for approval would permit the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a wide range of devastating but non-nuclear attacks on American infrastructure, including what current and former government officials described as the most crippling kind of cyberattacks. For decades, American presidents have threatened “first use” of nuclear weapons against enemies in only very narrow and limited circumstances, such as in response to the use of biological weapons against the United States.

But the new document is the first to expand that to include attempts to destroy wide-reaching infrastructure, like a country’s power grid or communications, that would be most vulnerable to cyberweapons. The draft document, called the Nuclear Posture Review, was written at the Pentagon and is being reviewed by the White House. Its final release is expected in the coming weeks and represents a new look at the United States’ nuclear strategy. The draft was first published last week by HuffPost. READ MORE

Conservatives Battle Tech Giants Over Censorship

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 11:04 AM PST

Conservatives Battle Tech Giants Over CensorshipSocial media giants Google, Twitter and YouTube are facing accusations from many high-profile conservatives over alleged censorship. Twitter will face a lawsuit in February filed by Breitbart’s former senior editor Milo Yinnopoulos along with Republican political consultant Roger Stone. In addition to this lawsuit, a Republican congressman is planning on calling a congressional hearing to look into

alleged discrimination against conservatives by Google, YouTube, Twitter, and others. Read on to learn more about this situation: The discrimination Twitter and others are accused of is covert in nature. After all, to come out and say they discriminated against certain people groups who possessed specific beliefs would most certainly be met with some pushback.  READ MORE

Aztecs were wiped out by horror ‘eye-bleeding’ disease that killed 15 million in just 5 years

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 10:47 AM PST

Aztecs were wiped out by horror ‘eye-bleeding’ disease that killed 15 million in just 5 yearsThe Aztecs were wiped out by a horror disease that caused them to bleed from the eyes, mouth and nose, experts have revealed. Scientists say as many as 15 million people – an estimated 80 percent of the population – were killed when an epidemic known as cocoliztli swept Mexico’s Aztec nation in 1545.  The word means “pestilence” in the Aztec Nahuatl language. Its cause, however, has been in question for nearly 500 years.

On Monday, scientists swept aside smallpox, measles, mumps, and influenza as likely suspects, fingering a typhoid-like “enteric fever” for which they found DNA evidence on the teeth of long-dead victims, reports news.com.au. Ashild Vagene, of the University of Tuebingen in Germany, said: “The 1545-50 cocoliztli was one of many epidemics to affect Mexico after the arrival of Europeans, but was specifically the second of three epidemics that were most devastating and led to the largest number of human losses. READ MORE

New Flu Strains Coming! Things Could Get Much Worse!

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 10:41 AM PST

New Flu Strains Coming! Things Could Get Much Worse!The influenza virus that’s sickened millions of Americans this season is already the most widespread outbreak since public health authorities began keeping track more than a dozen years ago. Now, with the threat of more strains emerging, it might get even worse. “Flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now,” said Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the national Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “This is the first year we have had the entire continental U.S. be the same color on the graph, meaning there is widespread activity in all of the continental U.S. at this point.”

The most optimistic assumption among government experts is that the season peaked a few weeks ago, marking the apex of what was already an early and severe outbreak. However, such an outlook requires observers to ignore that outpatient doctor visits have continued to climb (albeit more slowly) in the first week of 2018, yielding the most flu cases ever for this time of the year. READ MORE

Huge asteroid to buzz earth, Previously unseen by NASA

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:58 AM PST

Huge asteroid to buzz earth, Previously unseen by NASANASA is closely monitoring the arrival of a previously unseen asteroid that is set to brush past Earth next week at 12,300 miles per hour. The space rock had been invisible to astronomers until January 5, but scientists quickly calculated the asteroid, named 2018 AJ, will fly past Earth Tuesday, January 23. But NASA admits it is not yet certain of its orbital path. New asteroids are given a condition code of between 0 to 9 based on how certain astronomers are about its course. Zero means they are fairly certain, but 9 is classed as “highly uncertain”.

It is currently believed it will pass at a comfortable 4.6 times the distance from Earth to the Moon. The Moon is 238,000 miles from Earth and this pass, currently estimated at around 1.1 million miles, is considered a cat’s whisker in astronomical terms. NASA considers and monitors anything which comes within six million miles of our planet as a near-earth asteroid. The asteroid is estimated to be between 22 and 68 meters in diameter, meaning it is bigger than a three-story house. READ MORE

Children banned at hospitals as deadly flu continues to spread

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:53 AM PST

Children banned at hospitals as deadly flu continues to spreadHospitals are banning children from visiting patients to help stop spreading the aggressive flu that has now killed 20 children and 85 adults in the U.S., according to federal authorities. A news release from Detroit’s Beaumont Health System said they are experiencing high volumes of patients with respiratory viral illnesses, predominantly influenza.

“For the safety of our patients and staff, visitation by children under 13 years of age is limited to extraordinary circumstances, such as severe illness of a parent or sibling, or end-of-life situation.” About 46 states including Michigan are reporting widespread flu outbreaks. The oldest and the youngest are the most vulnerable. READ MORE

Amazon plans to put camera and microphone in every Bedroom

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:49 AM PST

Amazon plans to put camera and microphone in every BedroomAmazon wants to put a camera and microphone in your bedroom with the UK launch of its latest Echo home device. The camera on the £119.99 ($129) Echo Spot, which doubles up as a ‘smart alarm’, will probably be facing directly at the user’s bed. The device, which is already available in the US has such sophisticated microphones it can hear people talking from across the room – even if music is playing. However, there remain privacy concerns over using such a device in the home. Amazon devices have previously activated when they’re not wanted meaning this small device could turn into a potential spy.

It is the latest edition to the tech giant’s family of devices and is as usual powered by virtual assistant Alexa. Although the camera on the Echo Spot is primarily used to facilitate video calling, it could be hacked and used for malicious purposes, writes The Verge. Last month a hack by British security researcher Mark Barnes saw 2015 and 2016 versions of the Echo turned into a live microphone. READ MORE

 

 

‘Eye-bleeding fever’ strikes second country as fears of pandemic circulate

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:43 AM PST

‘Eye-bleeding fever’ strikes second country as fears of pandemic circulateHealth officials have confirmed they are facing an outbreak of the “eye-bleeding fever” after four people died of the suspected disease in weeks. Uganda’s health ministry has today finally admitted it is facing the risk of a large-scale explosion of the viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF).  VHF causes victims to suffer a burning fever before beginning to bleed from orifices including their eyes, anuses and mouths.

It comes after a girl, nine, was reportedly killed by the infection Uganda, and three people died in neighboring South Sudan of similar symptoms. Uganda health minister Sarah Opendi confirmed emergency response teams are now being deployed to the districts of Nakaseke and Luweero. She also identified the mystery disease, saying tests have revealed the infection is Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF).  READ MORE

Pastor Dragged, Beaten, Threatened With Death, Told to Renounce Christ for Hindu Monkey God

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:33 AM PST

Pastor Dragged, Beaten, Threatened With Death, Told to Renounce Christ for Hindu Monkey GodAn Indian pastor says he was attacked by Hindu extremists who dragged him out onto the streets, beat him, and threatened to kill him unless he renounced Jesus Christ for a Hindu monkey deity. “In those moments when they were kicking and beating me, I felt that even if I die now, the Lord will make the ministry I leave behind fruitful,” Pastor Karma Oraon told Morning Star News in an article published Monday. “We are just a few gathering in the name of Jesus. He is our strength.” The attack occurred

while in Harmu village of Ranchi District, Jharkhand state, on Christmas Eve, when 16 or so Hindu radicals attacked a prayer meeting the 34-year-old pastor was leading with others. The attackers started shouting “Praise Bajrang Bali,” referring to the monkey god Hanuman. “They forcefully dragged me outside when we were in the middle of meditating on the Word of God,” the pastor explained. “They spewed many words in extreme foul language and beat me on my chest repeatedly.” READ MORE

 

New Law In Bolivia Criminalizes Evangelism With Up to 12 Years in Prison

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:24 AM PST

New Law In Bolivia Criminalizes Evangelism With Up to 12 Years in PrisonEvangelicals in Bolivia are “deeply worried” about the country’s new Penal Code, which they say could ban evangelism, and sentence so-called guilty parties with up to 12 years in prison. The National Association of Evangelicals in Bolivia has established a National Emergency Commission, which will analyze how evangelical bodies respond to the new law, as reported by Evangelical Focus on Monday.

“We express our most resolute rejection of the inclusion of our ministerial activities in the list of possible conducts that go against the law,” reads a statement by the group. “The legislator forgets that the evangelical Christian churches in Bolivia are religious organizations recognized by the Bolivian state, and, therefore, legal entities.” The evangelicals are concerned that the Penal Code, which is to be approved by President Evo Morales, could lead to “state abuse” against believers. READ MORE

Popular Charismatic Website Promotes Heresy—Mixes Hinduism, New Age and Christianity

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:18 AM PST

Popular Charismatic Website Promotes Heresy—Mixes Hinduism, New Age and Christianity(By Mike Shreve) For several years, I have received emails from a prophetic resource website that is very popular with charismatics. Usually, two articles a day from that website drop in my inbox. A few days ago (around the beginning of January), one particular article shocked me. The title of the article is “Christ Is All Things.” Though the author does not use far eastern or New Age terminology, he promotes the doctrine of either pantheism (the material universe is an emanation of God / God is all and all is God) or its subtler modification, pantheism (everything contains a spark of divinity / God is in all and all is in God). He claims that this is something Paul upholds in his writings, basing his idea on the CEB (Common English Bible) version of Colossians 3:11, “Christ is all things and in all people.”

The author proposes that the traditional evangelical view of the “born again” experience is wrong (the idea that Jesus comes to live within a person’s heart when He is invited to be Lord and Savior). Instead, he falsely asserts, “Everyone has Christ in them. This would include Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus atheists, and everyone else. No one is separated from Christ at birth. At birth, everyone is born with Christ within them.” He also maintains, “Because creation has been made through Christ, Christ is in all creation, and the whole creation emanates with and reflects Christ. This includes humanity as well.” CONTINUE

Prophetic Word: 2018 Will Be the ‘Year of Death’ in U.S. for False Prophets and Lukewarm Christians

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:12 AM PST

Prophetic Word: 2018 Will Be the ‘Year of Death’ in U.S. for False Prophets and Lukewarm ChristiansPastor Kent Christmas believed God wanted to him to share a lengthy word of the Lord with his congregation—and video of the prophecy went viral. In the video, he declares it a “year of death” for false prophets and lukewarm Christians, but also promises good developments for God’s followers. SOURCE

Japan public broadcaster falsely reports N. Korean missile launch

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 06:08 AM PST

Japan public broadcaster falsely reports N. Korean missile launchOnly days after an accidental slip up in Hawaii, Japanese media outlet NHK has apologized for issuing a false report of a North Korean missile launch Tuesday evening local time. An apology was issued on the Japanese language version of NHK’s website and later shared on its social media platforms. “Around 6:55 pm earlier we reported on the NHK’s news site and NHK’s news disaster prevention application ‘Pattern of North Korean missile launch’ but this was incorrectly issued.

J alert has not appeared. I must sincerely apologize,” the news outlet wrote. The incident comes just four days after a public warning was issued to residents in Hawaii to “seek immediate shelter” from an alleged incoming ballistic missile which had been launched. That alert was issued in error by the Hawaii Civil Defense, which apologized profusely and sparked debate online about US President Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding his country’s nuclear capabilities and the threat posed by the North Korean regime. READ MORE


What is The Gospel?


Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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January 17, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Next Body Is the Best

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (5:1)

The “eternal weight of glory” Paul described in 4:17 includes a new body. That truth was of great comfort to the apostle, whose physical body had been so mercilessly battered by the effects of the Fall, personal sin, hardships, illness, the rigors of life, and persecution that he longed for his incorruptible, immortal resurrection body.

Paul’s confident assertion for we know indicates that believers’ glorified bodies are not a remote possibility or a vague wish. They are a fixed reality, a settled fact based on the promise of God (Rom. 8:18, 23; 1 Cor. 15:35–49; Phil. 3:21), not philosophical speculation or mystical fantasy.

Paul wrote if instead of “when” because, though he was ready to die, he did not see his death as inevitable. He viewed the return of Jesus Christ as imminent and believed it was possible for him to live until the Lord returned. That was his deepest desire, as his use of the plural pronoun “we”in passages describing the Rapture indicates. In 1 Corinthians 15:51 he wrote, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.” To the Thessalonians he wrote,

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:15–17)

If he could not live until the Rapture, Paul preferred “to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). He expressed that same truth to the Philippians when he wrote of his “desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (Phil. 1:23). Remaining on in the flesh was only his third choice.

The phrase if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down refers metaphorically to death (cf. Isa. 38:12). As a tentmaker himself (Acts 18:3), Paul chose to use the analogy of an earthly tent (the physical body) to describe the soul’s temporary house in this world (cf. 2 Peter 1:13–14). Speaking of the incarnation of Christ, the apostle John used the verb skēnoō, (lit., “to live in a tent”) to depict the eternal God coming into the world and taking a human body (John 1:14). A tent is an apt metaphor for the human body, which is a temporary home for the eternal souls of those whose real home is in heaven (Phil. 3:20) and who are aliens and strangers in this world (Gen. 47:9; 1 Chron. 29:15; Ps. 119:19; Heb. 11:13; 1 Peter 1:1, 17; 2:11). Just as the tabernacle of Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness was replaced with a permanent building when Israel entered the Promised Land, so the temporary tent in which believers now dwell will be replaced one day in heaven with an eternal, imperishable body (1 Cor. 15:42, 53–54).

After death dismantles believers’ earthly tent, they have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. A building suggests something on a solid foundation that is fixed, secure, and permanent. Since it replaced his earthly tent (his physical body), the building from God Paul referred to must be his glorified body, which he would receive after “He who raised the Lord Jesus … raise[d him] also with Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:14).

In Romans, written shortly after 2 Corinthians, Paul expressed the same longing for his glorified resurrection body:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? (Rom. 8:18–24)

The entire created universe, subjected to futility by the Fall, will one day “be set free from its slavery to corruption” (v. 21). In that glorious and longed-for day, writes Paul, believers will experience “the redemption of our body” (v. 23).

Paul longed for his glorified body not primarily because it would be free of physical weakness, blemishes, and defects, but because it would be free of sin. The tent of the body is sin’s home, causing Paul to lament, “I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin” (Rom. 7:14); “sin … dwells in me” (Rom. 7:17, 20); “evil is present in me” (Rom. 7:21); and “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). The apostle longed to serve, worship, and praise God in absolute purity, freed from the restrictions of his fallen, sinful flesh. That is the best feature of resurrection reality.

Paul further described the glorified, resurrection body as a house not made with hands. It is not a procreated, physical body. Referring to Jesus’ words in John 2:19, the false witnesses at His trial said, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands’ ” (Mark 14:58). They misconstrued those words as a reference to Herod’s temple, but in reality Jesus “was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:21)—that is, His resurrection body. Paul used the same phrase in Colossians 2:11 when he wrote, “you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” But perhaps the most definitive use of the phrase not made with hands is in Hebrews 9:11: “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation.” That verse equates not made with hands with “not of this creation.” It therefore refers to what is spiritual, transcendent, and eternal, not to what is earthly, physical, and temporal.

Paul gave the most detailed description of believers’ resurrection body in 1 Corinthians 15:36–49. He wrote that section of his epistle in reply to those who asked, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” (v. 35). Paul answered that question in four ways.

First, he gave an illustration from nature in verses 36–38:

You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.

There is no way to extrapolate from the plain, simple, ugly appearance of a seed the magnificent glory of the flower, tree, or plant that will grow out of its death. So also the glory of believers’ immortal, resurrection bodies cannot be imagined from our perishing, physical bodies.

Second, Paul gave a series of comparisons in verses 39–42a:

All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.

Just as the bodies of men, beasts, birds, fish, heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies differ from each other, so also will the resurrection body differ radically from the physical body.

Third, Paul listed a series of contrasts in verses 42b–44:

It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

The physical body is perishable, sinful, and weak. In contrast, the resurrection body is imperishable, free of sin, and powerful.

Finally, Paul gave the prototype of believers’ resurrection bodies in verses 45–49:

So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

Just as they have physical bodies like Adam’s, so believers will one day have glorified bodies like Christ’s. To the Philippians Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20–21). The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).[1]


5:1 Apparently for the first time in his apostolic career Paul reckons seriously with the possibility—now a probability—of his death before the return of Christ. Previously, to judge by 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51, he had expected to be among those Christians living when Christ returned. But now, as a result of his recent devastating encounter with death in Asia (2 Co 1:8–11), he realized that he was likely to die before the Parousia, though he always entertained the hope of survival until the advent (see Php 3:20–21).

As a leatherworker (skēnopoios, GK 5010) whose trade included the making and repairing of tents (Ac 18:3), Paul naturally likened his present body to an “earthly tent” (cf. vv. 2, 4) that might at any moment be dismantled or destroyed. This would simply mark the termination of the process of weakness and decay already at work in his body (4:16). But this possibility did not daunt him, for he was the assured recipient of a permanent heavenly house—the spiritual body provided by God (see Notes).[2]


5:1 / Paul commences the first section (vv. 1–5) with a statement that substantiates the idea in 4:17–18, that the expected heavenly glory far outweighs the momentary troubles on earth. At first, the first person plural (we) seems to refer not just to Paul but to believers in general, thus introducing a generally accepted, traditional Christian conviction (we know); however, the previous context always uses “we know” of the apostle’s personal knowledge, albeit a knowledge that has implications for the Corinthians (cf. 1:7; 4:13b–14). Therefore, if 4:7ff. has already been using the first person plural to refer exclusively to Paul, it seems reasonable to assume continuance here, although the apostle’s experience and hope are here, as often elsewhere, prototypical for all believers.

Yet how does Paul “know” that he has an eternal house in heaven? Is the source of his knowledge exclusively Jewish and/or Christian tradition? Or, has he received a special revelation? In answering these questions, it is well to remember that in 2 Corinthians Paul claims to have personal experience with the heavenly realm. As we have seen, the apostle refers to his Moses-like encounter with the throne-chariot of God (2:14) and his speech in the presence of God (2:17). He has seen the glory of God in the face of Christ (4:6), and he has been caught up to the third heaven or paradise (12:2–4). Yet, as we would expect, his own personal experience is often expressed in terms of traditional expectations.

The contrast here is between a transient tent and a permanent house, just as the tabernacle was to the temple (cf. 2 Sam. 7:2, 5–7). Paul knows that if his earthly tent (i.e., his mortal body) is destroyed, he has an eternal house in heaven. The present tense we have suggests that Paul already has the heavenly house in some sense, but that he occupies it sometime after death. This corresponds to the idea in verse 5 of the Spirit as a “deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” In other words, just as Paul already has possession of the guarantee that promises full payment at a specific time in the future, so also he already has the eternal house prepared for him in heaven (cf. John 14:2; 2 Bar. 48:6; 5Q15). This thinking is typical of Paul’s notion of the “already” and the “not yet.” It is likely, therefore, that the “eternal house” is not referring to a continued bodily existence in heaven but rather to a kind of heavenly dwelling that is different from the individual’s resurrection body. According to 1 Corinthians 15:23, 52, the spiritual body is received at the Parousia—unless, of course, Paul’s thinking has undergone significant development since the writing of that passage (so M. Thrall). Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 5:8 contrasts being away from the earthly body with being “at home with the Lord,” rather than with receiving a new body.

The expression that Paul uses for his mortal body is not just the earthly tent (niv) but rather “our earthly house of the tent.” The language is drawn from 1 Chronicles 9:23 lxx, which refers to the tabernacle as “the house of the tent” (cf. also 1 Chron. 6:17 lxx). Just as the tabernacle was the temporary dwelling of God from the time of the wilderness wanderings and until the building of a permanent temple in Jerusalem, so also Paul’s mortal body is merely temporary. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 Paul refers to the body as “the temple of the Holy Spirit within you.” It may also be significant for Paul’s metaphor that the glory of God filled the tabernacle (Exod. 40:34–35), for Paul is arguing in context for internal criteria for evaluating his apostleship.

The eternal house in heaven is not built by human hands. This term occurs elsewhere in connection with the temple (cf. Mark 14:58). The contrast here is between what humans make and what God makes (cf. Acts 7:48; 17:24). In Jewish tradition, the eschatological temple will be built either by God himself (Jub. 1:17; cf. 1:27; 11QTemple 29.8–10; Sib. Or. 5:420–425) or by his Messiah (Tg.Isa. 53:5). The Qumran community evidently understood itself as a sort of interim, spiritual temple, a “sanctuary of men,” until the eschatological temple could be built (cf. 4QFlor 1.2–7). Very likely, Mark 14:58 reflects a similar idea of a spiritual temple composed of Jesus and his followers. According to Matthew 12:6, Jesus says, possibly referring to himself, “Something greater than the temple is here” (cf. 12:41–42; Luke 11:31–32; John 2:19–21). Hence, when Paul refers to a house not made with hands, he evidently looks beyond believers as the present temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16) to the corresponding heavenly reality (cf. Gal. 4:26–27). The word oikos, house, is frequently used of the temple of God (cf. 1 Kgs. 7:31; Matt. 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46; John 2:16; Acts 7:47, 49). Moreover, eternal house(oikos aiōnios; Heb. bēth ʿôlāmîm) is a common name for the (Solomonic!) temple in Jerusalem (e.g., Josephus, Ant. 8.107; Gen. Rab. 54:4; 99:1; Num. Rab. 9:26, 32, 42; 10:24; b.Yoma 44a, 53a, 67b; b.Sukka 5b; b.Soṭa 16a; b.Mak. 12a).

Paul evidently knows the heavenly temple through his prior merkabah experience (cf. T. Levi 3:4: the Great Glory dwells in the holy of holies in the third heaven). The fact that he holds open the possibility of an out-of-body experience during his ascent to the third heaven (cf. 2 Cor. 12:2–4) shows how he may have conceived of a bodiless existence in heaven before the resurrection at the Parousia.[3]


5:1. The apostle began with a statement of confidence. We know that certain things are true. Paul had already taught these truths to the Corinthians, and he was confident they had not forgotten them.

Life in the physical body is like living in an earthly tent because this body is being destroyed. All human bodies suffer the processes of aging and death. Yet, Paul, his company, and to some extent all believers experience intensified destruction of their earthly bodies. Suffering on Christ’s behalf aggravates the decay that the Fall brought upon the human race. As Paul put it in the previous chapter, we are only fragile jars made of clay.

Paul was sure that his readers knew another truth as well: all true believers have a building from God that will replace the earthly tent. The present bodies of believers are only temporary homes; we wait for a permanent house. In Paul’s day people used tents while they traveled and while they were building permanent homes. Paul had in mind tents in which people lived as they waited for permanent dwellings to be built. Peter used this same metaphor (2 Pet. 1:13–14), and the Old Testament also speaks of earthly life as a tent (Isa. 38:12).

Paul described the building from God as an eternal house in heaven. His words are difficult to understand, and they have been the subject of controversy. At least two prominent outlooks have been taken. First, some interpreters think Paul spoke of believers receiving permanent heavenly bodies when they die. This understanding agrees with Paul’s personal focus in this discussion. Yet, it seems unlikely because Paul taught that believers’ bodily resurrection would occur at Christ’s return (Phil. 3:20–21; 1 Thess. 4:15–17).

Other interpreters suggest that Paul spoke of the heavenly temple of God providing protective cover for all believers. This view appeals to the expression, not built by human hands, which the writer of Hebrews uses to describe the heavenly temple (Heb. 9:11). This interpretation is possible, but it is questionable.

The third and most likely possibility is that Paul referred to the future resurrected bodies of believers, focusing on the eternal state without differentiating it from the intermediate state. According to this view, Paul did not address our heavenly experience before Christ’s return. Because the intermediate state is not the goal that believers are to keep in mind, it is overshadowed by the permanent state after Christ’s return.

The last verse of this section (5:10) supports this third view. Paul did not direct his attention to the human condition during a long intermediate state. Instead, he focused on the day of judgment. The contrast he set up in 5:10 was between what is done “while in the body” and how we will “receive what is due.” Paul referred to the individual believer’s glorious resurrection body, but had in view the reception of that body on the last day.[4]


5:1 For we know that if our earthly tent in which we live is taken down, we have a house from God, an eternal house not made with hands, in heaven.

  • “For we know.” Paul introduces this verse with the words for we know (see also 1:7; 4:14; 5:11). In light of the preceding verses (4:16–18) that speak of the outward and the inward person and of looking at that which is unseen, Paul reminds his readers of his former teachings on the resurrection. He can say “we know” to remind the Corinthians of the doctrine he taught them in person and later through his correspondence. His instruction is neither at variance with nor different from that which he taught in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15. Nothing in Paul’s earlier writings conflicts with his present discourse, nor are we able to detect a gradual development of the resurrection doctrine. This chapter provides no evidence that he had to correct or change his initial teaching.

Knowledge of the life hereafter does not originate in our human minds. Through the Holy Spirit, God reveals the assurance of our own immortality to us, so that we meet death cheerfully. But what do we know? Paul confidently answers, “We have a house from God, an eternal house not made with hands, in heaven.” Before we look closely at his answer, we must consider the conditional clause that qualifies it.

  • “That if our earthly tent in which we live is taken down.” Some scholars stress that Paul had to oppose Gnosticism, a religious and philosophical system that taught that matter is evil and the soul good. As such, the soul sheds its outer covering at the time of death and is set free. The question, however, is not whether Paul was opposing incipient Gnosticism and thus used Gnostic terminology to be effective in his dispute. Although Greek philosophy taught that this earthly life is comparable to living in a tent, Paul exhibits an Old Testament background. A tent, as the tentmaker well knew, is a temporary dwelling that is readily taken down. He alludes to Moses’ tent of meeting outside the camp of Israel; in this tent, God spoke to Moses face to face (Exod. 33:7–11). This earthly tent that subsequently became the tabernacle was a reflection of God’s presence among his people as his glory covered the tabernacle. Further, even Aaron’s high-priestly garments reflected God’s holiness and glory. Yet both the tabernacle and the garments revealed transitoriness. The tabernacle was taken down when the Israelites moved to another place, and the garments were removed whenever Aaron’s priestly duties ended.

In the first eight verses, Paul uses a series of three metaphors (tent [vv. 1, 4], clothing [vv. 2–4], and home [vv. 6, 8]). The first illustration that Paul, the tentmaker, uses is that of a tent. He compares our physical body with a temporary dwelling place. And he may have thought of the Feast of Tabernacles, during which the Jews lived in temporary shelters for seven days to celebrate the end of the harvest and to commemorate the forty-year wilderness journey of the Israelites. The metaphor of taking down a tent points to the approaching end of not only our physical body but also our entire earthly existence. Indeed, Peter mentions living “in the tent of this body” that would soon be put aside (2 Peter 1:13–14; compare Isa. 38:12; Wisd. of Sol. 9:15). The word earthly is used as a contrast to heavenly, as a reminder of the first man taken from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:47), and ethically as a place of sin.

Paul literally writes, “if our earthly house of the tent is taken down.” He describes the house in terms of a tent to stress its transience. The probability that this tent will be destroyed in a single action is real, for death marks the end of a person’s earthly body and life. But Paul does not know when the dismantling will occur. If Jesus should return during his lifetime, Paul would not have to think about death.

Earlier Paul wrote that he had endured a near-death affliction (1:8). This incident reminded him of life’s brevity and the possibility of dying before Christ’s return. But we cannot deduce from this event that in the interval between writing I Corinthians and II Corinthians Paul changed his mind and no longer expected the return of Christ in his lifetime. Paul had survived a number of near-death experiences; the stoning in Lystra (Acts 14:19) serves as an example. And in his list of sufferings, he writes that he had been repeatedly exposed to death (11:23). Knowing firsthand the brevity life, Paul realized that the gospel had to be preached to all nations before the Lord would return. He also knew that his missionary task had just begun and would remain unfinished at his death (compare Rom. 15:20, 24, 28).

  • “We have a house from God, an eternal house not made with hands, in heaven.” The second part of this verse is a source of constant debate, because Paul’s words are enigmatic and at places hard to reconcile with the entire context. If there is a contrast between the earthly tent and the house in heaven, why does Paul write the present tense (“we have”)? The answer is that New Testament writers frequently penned a present tense with a future meaning that is determined by the context. One example is in the Gethsemane narrative, where prior to his arrest Jesus says, “The Son of Man is betrayed in the hands of sinners” (Matt. 26:45). Just as Jesus knew the nearness of his betrayal, so Paul knew with certainty that a heavenly home was waiting for him (see John 14:2–3).

Is a house from God a resurrection body that believers receive at the time of death? If so, we must think in terms of three successive bodies: an earthly, an intermediate, and a resurrected or a transformed body. But why would the dead have to be raised at Jesus’ return if they already have a resurrection body? Scripture speaks only of our physical body that either dies and is raised at Jesus’ coming or that meets the Lord at his return and is transformed (1 Cor. 15:42, 51; Phil. 3:20–21; 1 Thess. 4:15–17). The Bible fails to provide details on our house in heaven.

We admit that Scripture portrays people of the hereafter in terms of the physical form in which they left this earth. Samuel is described as an old man (1 Sam. 28:14); Lazarus in heaven has a finger, and the rich man in hell has eyes and a tongue (Luke 16:23–24); the saints in heaven are dressed in white robes and hold palm branches in their hands (Rev. 6:11; 7:9). But the writers of Scripture use anthropomorphic language. That is, they depict the dead as human beings with flesh and blood, for they know of no other way to portray the departed. Scripture states unequivocally that the departed saints are spirits; their bodies rest in the dust of the ground and their spirits have returned to God (Eccles. 12:7; Heb. 12:23).

What is the meaning of the word house? This noun is qualified as being from God, eternal, not made by human hands, in heaven. Some scholars interpret the word to signify the corporate body of Christ, that is, the church. They point out that in the Greek, the term oikodomē (house) refers to the church and not to an individual body. To support their interpretation, they rely on a few passages from the Pauline epistles, especially 1 Corinthians 3:9 (God’s building); Ephesians 2:21 (the building or holy temple; by extension, the body of Christ); Ephesians 4:12, 16 (the body of Christ).

However, the context in which an expression is used always determines its meaning. Here the context for the word house differs from that of the passages that speak of the church. Furthermore, whenever Paul refers to the church as the body of Christ, he puts it not in a future context but in a present setting. In verse 2, Paul notes our longing to be clothed with a heavenly tent in the future. This interpretation proves to be incongruous if we already belong to Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27).

Other scholars think that the house in heaven is the temple of God that is awaiting the believer at the time of death. When Christians enter this building, they in effect enter God’s presence. Supporting this interpretation is the fact that the concept not made with human hands appears also in the description of the greater and more perfect tabernacle in heaven. That place is the very presence of God (Heb. 9:11). An objection to this interpretation is that the symmetry of verse 1 suffers, because an earthly tent and a heavenly house represent not a physical body and God’s temple but a physical body and a spiritual body.

Perhaps we should think of this heavenly house as a place that supplies a covering in the form of divine glory (4:17; Rom. 8:18), a glory of immeasurable worth. Even though we enter God’s presence, where we are clothed with glory, we eagerly await the redemption of our bodies, namely, the resurrection of our bodies (Rom. 8:23).

The link between the preceding paragraph (4:16–18) and this verse is undeniable. Earlier Paul spoke of the outer and inner person, temporary troubles and lasting glory, the visible and the invisible things. In verse 1, he speaks of an earthly tent, that is, our physical bodies brought into the world through human effort. He contrasts this temporary tent with a permanent house that originates with God and belongs to an entirely different order. The house is God’s very presence that at the portals of heaven envelops the believer with eternal glory. Paul teaches that if he should die before Jesus’ return, then his soul would enter and be in heaven without his body until its resurrection at the consummation.[5]


5:1 In verse 1, the apostle speaks of our present mortal body as our earthly house, this tent. A tent is not a permanent dwelling, but a portable one for pilgrims and travelers.

Death is spoken of as the dissolving of this tent. The tent is taken down at the time of death. The body goes into the grave, whereas the spirit and soul of the believer go to be with the Lord.

Paul opens the chapter with the assurance that if his earthly house should be destroyed (as a result of the sufferings mentioned in the preceding chapter) he knows he has a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Notice the distinction between tent and building. The temporary tent is taken down, but a new, permanent house awaits the believer in the land beyond the skies. This is a building from God, in the sense that God is the One who gives it to us.

Furthermore, it is a house not made with hands. Why should Paul say this? Our present bodies are not made with hands; so why should he emphasize that our future, glorified bodies will not be made with hands? The answer is that the expression not made with hands means “not of this creation.” This is made clear in Hebrews 9:11, where we read, “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.” What Paul is saying in 2 Corinthians 5:1 is that whereas our present bodies are suited to life on this earth, our future, glorified bodies will not be of this creation. They will be especially designed for life in heaven.

The believer’s future body is also described as eternal in the heavens. It is a body that will no longer be subject to disease, decay, and death, but one that will endure forever in our heavenly home.

It might sound from this verse as if a believer receives this building from God the moment he dies, but that is not the case. He does not get his glorified body until Christ comes back for His church (1 Thess. 4:13–18). What happens to the believer is this. At the time of death, his spirit and soul go to be with Christ where he is consciously enjoying the glories of heaven. His body is placed in the grave. At the time of the Lord’s return, the dust will be raised from the grave, God will fashion it into a new, glorified body, and it will then be reunited with the spirit and the soul. Between death and Christ’s coming for His saints, the believer might be said to be in a disembodied condition. However, this does not mean that he is not fully conscious of all the joy and bliss of heaven. He is!

Before leaving verse 1 we should mention that there are three principal interpretations of the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens:

  1. Heaven itself.
  2. An intermediate body between death and resurrection.
  3. The glorified body.

The house can scarcely be heaven itself, because it is said to be eternalin the heavens and “from heaven” (5:2). As far as an intermediate body is concerned, the Scriptures never mention such a body. Moreover, the house not made with hands is described as eternal in the heavens, which would not be true of an intermediate body. The third view—that the house is the resurrection body of glory—seems to be the correct one.[6]


5:1. Few chapter divisions are more unfortunate than this one since what follows (5:1–10) details the thought expressed in 4:16–18. Failure to appreciate this fact unduly complicates these already difficult verses by removing their contextual constraints.

Paul had referred to his mortal “body” (4:10–11) as “wasting away” (4:16). Now he compared his body to a worn-out earthly (epigeios, “on the earth”) tent (skēnous) soon to be destroyed. In Christ’s incarnate body He “lived (eskēnōsen, lit., ‘tabernacled or tented’) among us” (John 1:14). This is why the eternal perspective (2 Cor. 4:17) should be maintained (the second Gr. word in 5:1 is gar [“for”; trans. now in the niv], introducing the reason for what preceded). An earthly body is temporary; a heavenly body is eternal.

The reference to the heavenly body as a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands is reminiscent of Jesus’ description of His own resurrection body as a temple “not made by man” (lit., “not made by hand”; Mark 14:58). Second Corinthians 5:1 briefly summarizes what Paul had earlier written to the Corinthians about the nature of the resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:34–54). The confident assertion, we know, was based on the argument set forth in 1 Corinthians 15.[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 161–165). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 473–474). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 109–111). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, pp. 352–353). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 166–170). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1837–1838). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Lowery, D. K. (1985). 2 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 565). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Barna Update | Year One: American Views on President Trump

This week marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Looking back on what has been an unprecedented year in American politics, Barna recaps some of the bigger political moments since January 20, 2017 and how U.S. adults felt about them.

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January 17 Sheep That Conquer, Wednesday

By James Boice on Jan 17, 2018 12:00 am

The immediate past. The second part of this opening section recalls victories in the immediate past, acknowledging, as in the preceding section, that they were achieved not by any strength or virtue of the people, but by God. In this stanza the subject of the sentences becomes singular (“my” and “I”), rather than plural (“we,” “us” and “our”) as in stanza one. This does not mean that we suddenly have another speaker at this point, as if this were a liturgical exchange between a priest and the people, as some scholars like to think.

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Change of Plan: To Change Every Day

With January 1st behind us, we’re still thinking about our New Year resolutions. People bought shiny new planners hoping that this will finally be the year they are punctual and organized. Vows were made never to touch “x” product again, whether it be chocolate, coffee, cigarettes, or the like. Daily Bible reading plans have begun.

However, each year sadly follows the same pattern. Those planners become dusty and shoved to the back of the desk drawer. “X” product gets picked up again. The Bible reading plan keeps getting put off.

We wait expectantly for January 1st, holding off change, assuming that when we wake up that morning we’re sprinkled with magic abilities to change. Sadly, many of us have discovered that there is nothing special about January 1st.

But there is something special about you, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus. You have the Holy Spirit living inside you, who gives you the ability to change daily (Romans 8:1-17).

Christians, we don’t need to wait for a new year in order to grow in our obedience to God. Instead of getting stuck in New Year Resolutions this year, let’s seek to change daily.

But first we must recognize why we need to change daily, how to change, and finally how to persevere in daily change.

Why We Need to Change Daily

First, God calls us to change.

Romans chapter three reminds us that every human on earth is a sinner (Romans 3:10, 23). We don’t simply make mistakes. We sin against the Holy God each day. We selfishly seek to steal his glory for ourselves, we harm other people made in his image, and we rebel against his law seeking to go our own way. And we don’t do this on occasion. We do this constantly. We’re not good people who occasionally misstep; we’re evil at heart (Jeremiah 17:9, Genesis 8:21, Psalm 51:5).

Thanks be to God that he didn’t leave us in this sin-stuck state:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)

This is the glorious exchange: On the cross, Christ took the wrath we deserved and gave us his righteousness. Those who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised them from the dead, they are saved from condemnation for sin and are counted righteous in Christ before God (Romans 10:9-10).

Romans 8:29-30 reminds us that God has chosen us for the purpose of changing us into the likeness of Jesus, with the goal of one day glorifying us. This is his eternal plan: saving sin-filled man to fill them with the Holy Spirit, to conform them to Christ, and bring glory to his name.

Second, God commands us to change.

This doesn’t mean that we are now perfect as believers. We still sin, because we are still living in our flesh. But when we were saved God gave his Spirit, who enables us to live a life pleasing to God, and the desire to do so (Romans 8:1-11). We’re no longer slaves to sin but to righteousness.

After all Christ has done for us, we desire to live a life that brings glory to him! Although we continue to sin, our lives should be characterized with repentance and turning to obedience.


Change comes with both obedient action and dependence on the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:12-13).
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Not only that, but as believers, we’re called to take careful watch of how we walk. We are commanded to be obedient to God’s law as his children.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

We need to carefully watch how we live, striving to be obedient daily, rather than putting off our obedience until a special day of the year.

How to Cultivate Daily Change

God’s Spirit Works in You.

Change comes with both obedient action and dependence on the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:12-13). When we read God’s Word, he applies it to our hearts and convicts us of what sins we need to repent of. He promises to change our attitudes and renew our hearts with the Holy Spirit so that we desire to do what is righteous (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Strive to obey in faith.

Ephesians 4:20-24 (ESV) outlines a pattern of change for us to follow:

But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

First, we put off sin, our old self.

For the person who lies, Paul writes that they must put off falsehood (v. 25). In this action, there must be a clear repenting of and putting away sin.

We need to confess how we have sinned against God and then fight against repeating such sin.

Second, we are to be renewed in our minds.

There needs to be a godly motive for putting off sin—a heart change—otherwise you are simply modifying your behaviors like a Pharisee.

For the person who lies, Paul says they need to realize that they are members of the body of Christ (v. 25), and that their lies will harm the entire body.

Thirdly, we are to put on godliness in place of our old self.

For the liar, this is simply telling the truth (v. 25).

What active obedience can you put in place of your sin? Could you replace complaining with thanksgiving? Or anger with kindness? Irritability with patience?

How to Persevere: Remembering Grace for the Daily Battle

We will not always succeed in the daily battle, but instead, will give way to sin. This is the point where the world usually gives up on their New Year resolutions.

But for you, a truly born-again soul, you have God’s grace and his Spirit. When you sin, God not only forgives you, but also gives you the grace to continue striving for change.

His grace doesn’t simply come at salvation, but continues for your entire race of the faith. Don’t lose heart, but let us proclaim with Paul, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV).

Let’s strive to be obedient to God every day, giving glory to Christ, all the while resting in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Telling the Truth about Man

Genesis 1:26-28Romans 1:18-20

Code: B180117

Evolution’s doctrine of man is fundamentally wrong on two counts. That was the diagnosis Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones delivered during an interview in 1970: “I criticize the modern view of man on two grounds. One is that it makes too much of man. Secondly, that it doesn’t make enough of man.”

Jones’s point was in reference to the two biblical truths that evolutionists emphatically deny. They recognize man as “just an animal” and refuse to acknowledge him as being created in the image of God. Conversely, the secular wisdom of our day pronounces man as morally neutral and refuses to acknowledge what is so painfully obvious—that all people are sinners by nature.

Made in God’s Image

The Bible makes it clear that humanity is not merely one type of animal competing in the fight for survival. Scripture testifies that God made man to be the apex of His creation:

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  (Genesis 1:26–28)

There is nothing pointless or random about human existence. We were originally designed to take dominion over the world God made. Man, as God’s image bearer, carries a divine mission that sets him completely apart from the animal kingdom.

But what exactly does it mean that mankind was created in the image of God?

While the imago Dei is a massive theological subject in its own right, it contains one inherent truth vital for evangelism: Man is a moral creature who is accountable to God. James Montgomery Boice highlighted that critical implication.

An element in being created in the image of God is morality. Morality includes the two further elements of freedom and responsibility. To be sure, the freedom which men and women possess is not absolute. Even in the beginning the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, were not autonomous. They were creatures and were responsible for acknowledging their status by their obedience. [1]

Realizing that we are created in God’s image brings with it a sense of honor but also the realization of grave accountability. Our inherent morality doesn’t vouch for our morals. Rather, it convicts us of our failure to behave morally. Our knowledge of right and wrong, and the fact that we continually violate that morality, point us back to the historical reality of Adam’s fall.

Fallen

Are we sinners because we sin, or do we sin because we are sinners? Be careful how you answer that question—it’s not a play on words. Only one answer is biblically true.

When Adam fell in the Garden, his sin was passed on in the natures of all his descendants. It isn’t our sins that make us sinners. Our sins reveal our true sinful natures. John MacArthur elaborates:

All humanity was plunged into this guilty condition because of Adam’s sin. “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19). This is the doctrine of original sin, a truth that is expounded by Paul in Romans 5:12–19. . . . We prove our willing complicity in Adam’s rebellion every time we sin. And since no one other than Jesus has ever lived a sinless life, no one is really in a position to doubt the doctrine of original sin, much less deem it unjust. [2]

Original sin is biblical truth that can be empirically proven. When the Bible tells us that everybody is a sinner (Romans 3:23) it reinforces what the sum of our life experience has already proven. Original sin is why we have everything from global wars to locks on doors. It’s why people get sick and die. It’s why we are dying! There is nowhere to flee from the reality and impact of Adam’s first act of defiance in the Garden. And there is no way to get around our own subsequent crimes of complicity.

Guilty and Without Excuse

Man’s failure to honor and obey his Creator has never been due to ignorance on the part of humanity—or the lack of evidence on God’s part. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so [men] are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

When we proclaim the God of Scripture to sinners, we aren’t ministering to their lack of theological education. We are presenting truth that clearly resonates with what they already instinctively know. God’s Word tells us that sinners are not uninformed about the truth of God, but rather, they suppress that truth “in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). Put simply, man’s primary problem has always been the love of sin, not the lack of education.

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations” (Romans 1:21). God holds sinful men accountable for their failure to worship Him rightly. And He will call us to account on the Day of Judgment for our failure to do so (Hebrews 9:27).

That judgment will extend to all of our actions (Revelation 20:11–12), words (Matthew 12:36–37), and even thoughts (Matthew 5:27–281 Corinthians 4:5). There will be nowhere to hide and nothing left to conceal on the Day of Judgment.

Warning vs. Wooing

Faithful evangelists never comfort unrepentant sinners. Instead, we are to warn them. We must expose the sheer awfulness and offensiveness of sin by confronting them with an objective standard of righteousness. Since sin is biblically defined as lawlessness (1 John 3:4), John MacArthur advocates for the use of God’s law in the exposure of sin.

Jesus and the apostles did not hesitate to use the law in their evangelism. They knew that law reveals our sin (Romans 3:20) and is a tutor to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). It is the means God uses to make sinners see their own helplessness. Clearly, Paul saw a key place for the law in evangelistic contexts. Yet many today believe the law, with its inflexible demand for holiness and obedience, is contrary to and incompatible with the gospel.

Why should we make such distinctions when Scripture does not? If Scripture cautioned against preaching repentance, obedience, righteousness, or judgment to unbelievers, that would be one thing. But Scripture contains no such warnings. The opposite is true. . . . If we want to follow the biblical model, we cannot ignore sin, righteousness, and judgment because they are the very matters about which the Holy Spirit convicts the unsaved (John 16:8). Can we omit them from the message and still call it the gospel? [3]

Some argue that it’s better to preach about God’s love rather than man’s sin. That may sound like a far more pleasant and palatable idea, but Scripture reveals that the love of God finds its very definition in human sinfulness: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). A failure to preach about sin leaves the love of God meaningless and the cross of Christ purposeless.

If we are to faithfully proclaim the gospel, we need to let the glorious light of Christ’s saving work shine against the dark backdrop of man’s guilt. The cross will never be understood as the solution unless the problem is first explained. And the ultimate problem is most graphically displayed in the stark contrast between God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. The more we polarize these two truths, the more profound the portrayal of Christ’s redemptive work. We’ll consider that next time.

 


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Throwback Thursday ~ Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own

Michelle Lesley

Originally published July 22, 2016false teacher 7 steps

“What are your thoughts about  _____?
Is she doctrinally sound? Is she a false teacher?”

That’s probably the number one question I’m asked by readers. It gives me so much joy each time I receive that question because it’s encouraging to hear from Christian women who don’t want to be led astray and want to worship Christ in spirit and in truth.

I’m delighted to answer readers’ questions about various teachers (You can find information about many of today’s best known evangelical personalities and ministries under my “Popular False Teachers” tab at the top of this page.) but, unfortunately, my answers often take a while. I’ve never heard of many of the teachers I’m asked about, and in order to give a fair and biblically accurate answer, I have to research each of them. The less famous they are, the less information there is…

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JANUARY 17 EXPLORE GOD’S WORD

Thy word have I hid in mine heart.

Psalm 119:11

What a strange paradox! The atheistic freethinker rants and raves about the Bible being a “dangerous” book at the very same time that the Word of God is speaking life to my soul!

Strange indeed that some humans have the idea that the Word of God can only be approached with shivering fears. But that is true only of those who love their sin and hate their Savior.

The blessed truth is that if I hate my sin and love my Savior, the Word of God is a wonderful revelation, indeed, and a trustworthy guide.

We need to be aware always that if we do not keep the Word of God on our side, we will be miserable in our souls continually. It is up to us. What do we sincerely will to do with God and His revealed Word?

Years ago, the saintly George Mueller said he had read the Bible hundreds of times, and then he added: “with meditation!”

Let us see to it that we read the Word. More than that, we should actually explore it!

Thank You, Lord, for giving us Your Word. I pray that it will not only illuminate my own heart, but I pray for those translating the Word into other languages so that it will illumine theirs as well.[1]


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

January 17 Jesus Refuses to Test God

Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple.—Matt. 4:5

In confronting our Lord Jesus Christ, Satan persisted in trying to undermine or destroy the Son’s relationship to His Father. This time he goaded Jesus with this statement: “If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down.” To fortify his challenge and make it more plausible, the adversary—with a subtle and clever twist—quoted Scripture: “For it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone’ ” (from Ps. 91:11–12).

Now Satan surely had Christ backed into a corner, he likely reasoned, using his misguided and evil sense of logic. “If the Messiah lives only according to the Word of God, then I should confront Him with something from that Word.” If Jesus wouldn’t use His own power to help Himself and meet His immediate needs, maybe He would let God work on His behalf—after all, this was a “scriptural test,” according to Satan. Jesus could thus let God fulfill a promise from Psalms and prove to others that He was indeed God’s Son and Messiah.

But no matter how persuasive Satan’s argument—undergirded with a proof text—may have sounded, Jesus did not agree to it, not wanting to presumptuously test God or jump ahead of the divine timetable for the Savior’s redemptive ministry.

ASK YOURSELF

Yes, Scripture can be turned and twisted to suit anyone’s ends. What safeguards do you have in place against misusing the Word of God, while still maintaining a bold, believing faith in its sense of direction? Ask the Spirit to guide you into its truth. That’s His job (John 16:13).[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 25). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 17 Get in the Game

Run in such a way that you might win.

1 Corinthians 9:24

Because I was athletic as a boy, I played on many different teams in various sports programs. I remember many boys with little or no athletic ability who would try out for these teams. Every once in a while, a coach would feel sorry for such a boy and place him on the team in spite of his performance. He would give the boy a uniform to make him feel that he was a part of the team even though he would never let the boy play in a game.

Fortunately, the opposite is true in the Christian life. The Lord doesn’t place us on the team just so we can sit on the bench. He intends to send us into the game. It is His grace that calls us to salvation, and it is His will that sends us into the world to witness for Him.

We are all like the boy who had no ability. God graciously puts us on the team, not because of our own ability, but purely by His sovereign grace. And He gives us the ability to play the game. So get in the game and give thanks for the holy privilege of serving Jesus Christ.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 28). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

January 17, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8  The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 138:7–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


138:7–8 The Lord Preserves Me through All Troubles. The psalm closes by telling of God’s constant care for each of his faithful. It is not easy for even the most faithful believer to be mindful of this care at all times, and singing this will help the members of the congregation be more aware of the ways in which God preserves and protects them.[1]


138:7 I walk in the midst of trouble The psalmist returns to describing his situation in very personal terms.[2]


138:7 in the midst of trouble. The trouble is general, enabling later worshipers to readily apply this thought to their own condition.

your right hand. See Ps. 74:11.[3]


138:7, 8 Though I walk: The poet is well aware that new troubles will confront him. He has confidence that God, who has blessed him in the experience of this psalm, will continue to bless his path. perfect: The same Hebrew verb is translated “perform” in 57:2. The point of the word is that God acts on behalf of His servants. Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever: This is a slight rewording of the refrain in Ps. 136.[4]


7–8 The psalm ends on a personal reflection even as it began on a personal note of thanksgiving. Confident of his God, to whom the nations must one day submit themselves, the believer confesses his indubitable faith in the Savior-King. He anticipates more “trouble” in life because the life of a believer is not immune from adversities. But despite the hardships, he rests assured. He knows the difference between being self-assured and assured, between pride and lowliness. The difference shows in his two confessions. The first is couched in the second person: “you preserve … you stretch out … you save me” (imperfect in Heb., v. 7), and the other in the third person: “The Lord will” (v. 8). These expressions are the language of faith.

The Lord will keep his saint alive (cf. 119:25; 143:11) and deliver him from danger and from his “foes.” The psalmist portrays the Lord as reaching out his “hand” as an expression of help, while dealing in judgment with those who cause his adversity (cf. 144:7; Ex 3:20; 9:15). His “right hand” signifies strength (cf. 60:5; 139:10).

Confidence also comes from a recognition that the Lord has a purpose. This purpose also includes individuals (“purpose for me,” v. 8; cf. 57:2; Ro 8:28). Confidence is not misplaced, because the Lord has shown an interest in his creation and in his people (“the works of your hands”; cf. 90:16; 92:5; 143:5; Isa 60:21; 64:8). His concern is of the most profound and lasting kind, as it is nothing less than his enduring “love” (ḥesed).[5]


138:7–8 / After celebrating the international scope of Yahweh’s praise, the psalm returns to the worshiper’s own situation, this time with a view towards the future. His recent deliverance (v. 3) gives confidence for future protection: Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. Yet the ultimate basis for this confidence lies not in this historical precedent, but in the character of Yahweh himself: your love, O Lord, endures forever. To confirm this future relationship, this thanksgiving psalm closes with a petition that Yahweh not abandon the works of his hands.

Surprisingly, Yahweh’s exaltation above all does not entail his distance from us. He does not become a remote monarch. In fact, paradoxically his exaltation goes together with his commitment to a relationship with the “lowly.” Yahweh’s subjugation of all enemies signifies his “exaltation” above all. And his subjugation of enemies entails the preservation of his allies.[6]


138:7 It is a beautiful picture—David is surrounded by all kinds of foes, all kinds of hazards, all kinds of distresses, yet the Lord enables him to walk safely through them as if they didn’t exist. The same hand that strikes out against his adversaries will save him from disaster.

138:8 With justified confidence, David affirms, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” It is the same confidence that Paul expressed in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

The work which His goodness began,

The arm of His strength will complete;

His promise is Yea and Amen,

And never was forfeited yet:

Things future, nor things that are now,

Nor all things below nor above,

Can make Him His purpose forego,

Or sever our souls from His love.

Augustus M. Toplady

Yes, His steadfast love endures for ever, and though we are permitted to pray with David, “Do not forsake the works of Your hands,” the fact is that He never can or will.[7]


138:7, 8 Though I walk: The poet is well aware that new troubles will confront him. He has confidence that God, who has blessed him in the experience of this psalm, will continue to bless his path. perfect: The same Hebrew verb is translated “perform” in 57:2. The point of the word is that God acts on behalf of His servants. Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever: This is a slight rewording of the refrain in Ps. 136.[8]


[1] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1115). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 138:7). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 860). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4] The NKJV Study Bible. (2007). (Ps 138:7–8). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[5] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 958). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[6] Hubbard, R. L. J., & Johnston, R. K. (2012). Foreword. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Psalms (p. 482). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[7] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 768). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 738). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

JANUARY 17 ONLY HIM

Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice: My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

—Psalm 63:7-8

It is part of my belief that God wants to get us to a place where we would still be happy if we had only Him! We don’t need God and something else. God does give us Himself and lets us have other things, too, but there is that inner loneliness until we reach the place where it is only God that we desire.

Most of us are too social to be lonely. When we feel lonely, we rush to the telephone and call Mrs. Yakkety. So we use up thirty minutes, and the buns are burned in the oven. With many, it is talk, talk, talk, and we rush about looking for social fellowship because we cannot stand being alone.

If you will follow on to know the Lord, there comes a place in your Christian life when Mrs. Yakkety will be a pest instead of being a consolation. She won’t be able to help you at all. There will not be a thing that she can do for you. It is loneliness for God—you will want God so badly you will be miserable. This means you are getting close, friend. You are near the kingdom, and if you will only keep on, you will meet God. God will take you in and fill you, and He will do it in His own blessed and wonderful way. COU078-079

Lord, bring me to that place of inner loneliness that David knew, so that when all else is stripped away, I might find satisfaction in You—only You. Amen.[1]


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

January 17 Gentleness: Power Under Control

“Walk … with all … gentleness.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

✧✧✧

The antidote to our vengeful, violent society is biblical gentleness.

A popular bumper sticker says, “Don’t Get Mad—Get Even.” People demand what they perceive to be their rights, no matter how the demand harms others. Some go to court to squeeze every last cent out of those who hurt them. More and more violent crimes are committed each year. We need a strong dose of biblical truth to cure these attitudes. The biblical solution is gentleness.

The world might interpret gentleness or meekness as cowardice, timidity, or lack of strength. But the Bible describes it as not being vengeful, bitter, or unforgiving. It is a quiet, willing submission to God and others without the rebellious, vengeful self–assertion that characterizes human nature.

The Greek word translated “gentleness” was used to speak of a soothing medicine. It was used of a light, cool breeze and of a colt that had been broken and tamed, whose energy could be channeled for useful purposes. It also describes one who is tenderhearted, pleasant, and mild.

Gentleness is not wimpiness though. It is power under control. The circus lion has the same strength as a lion running free in Africa, but it has been tamed. All its energy is under the control of its master. In the same way, the lion residing in the gentle person no longer seeks its own prey or its own ends; it is submissive to its Master. That lion has not been destroyed, just tempered.

Gentleness is one facet of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23). It is also a key to wisdom. James asks, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (3:13). Verse 17 says, “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”

Even if gentleness is not valued in our society, it is crucial to our godliness. Seek it diligently and prayerfully.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: If you tend to be at all vengeful or unforgiving, ask God’s forgiveness and His help to forgive those who hurt you. Seek to be gentle with them instead.

For Further Study: Throughout most of 1 Samuel, King Saul repeatedly tries to capture David and kill him. Read 1 Samuel 24. How did David demonstrate his gentleness in the face of his hostile enemy?[1]


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

January 16 Daily Help

THE river of God is full of water; but there is not one drop of it that takes its rise in earthly springs. God will have no strength used in his own battles but the strength which he himself imparts; and I would not have you that are now distressed discouraged by it. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled; and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

Unexpected help shall come to us when affairs are at their worst.

Let us learn from our Master to reckon upon forces invisible.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 20). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

January 16, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

2Righteousness, its value. The sage asserts that “righteousness” (edāqâ) has far greater value than ill-gotten wealth. This word takes on the meaning of honesty in this contrast. Wealth in general can only be enjoyed for a while, but righteousness delivers from mortal danger (māwet, “death”).[1]


10:2 / Here, as in many other sayings, one sees the law of retribution at work. Wrongdoing cannot profit and virtue is to be rewarded. Long life (cf. the patriarchs) was a divine blessing reserved for the virtuous. The justice of God, as Israel measured it, demanded a distinction in the treatment of good and evil; otherwise the problem of theodicy arose (cf. Job). Righteousness delivers from death, namely, from an early or unpleasant death that is supposedly the fate of wrongdoers. Such a fate deprives them of the riches they strove for. At a later period, righteousness came to be understood particularly as almsgiving (cf. Tob. 4:7–11) and death was also seen as no obstacle to immortality (Wis. 1:15).[2]


10:2 Wealth obtained illegally doesn’t last; it has a way of disappearing. And in the hour of death, it cannot win a moment’s reprieve. Righteousness, on the other hand, delivers from death in at least two ways. It preserves a man from the perils of a sinful life, and, as the outward evidence of the new birth, it shows that he has eternal life.[3]


10:2Treasures: This verse is a warning against presumption on wealth apart from personal righteousness. The wicked may be wealthy but that wealth will not allow them to buy their way past death. In this type of saying, death is something to fear—if one does not know God. That righteousness delivers from death presages some hope of life beyond death.[4]


10:2. To say that treasures are of no value seems like a startling, almost contradictory statement until one remembers that the treasures are ill-gotten (cf. 1:19; 28:16; Micah 6:10), gained unjustly (cf. Prov. 16:8) by theft or deceit. An example of this is addressed in 1:11–14, 18–19. Such treasures are no good because they dwindle away (13:11; 21:6) and do not forestall death (11:4). Of course money acquired dishonestly may provide some pleasure and be valuable for a while but in the long run it does not satisfy.[5]†


10:2 — Treasures of wickedness profit nothing .…

The Bible never tries to hide the fact that the wicked can indeed amass “treasures” through their wicked deeds. But it also insists that those ill-gotten treasures will benefit them not at all in the end.[6]


[1] Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 111). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] 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. 48). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 814). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 753). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] Buzzell, S. S. (1985). Proverbs. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 925). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Pr 10:2). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

January 16: Save Us!

Genesis 27, Matthew 20:17–21:22, Ecclesiastes 6:5–12

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matt 21:9). Idiomatically, this means: “Save [me], I pray, the Son of David. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of Yahweh! Save [me], I pray, by the highest!”

When the people shout these words about Jesus as He enters Jerusalem, they affirm His divinely appointed role and His ability to save them. And the original psalm that this phrase comes from is about their God, Yahweh. Perhaps the people understood Jesus as one with God (Psa 118:25–26).

As He enters Jerusalem, Jesus’ actions align with Zech 9:9, which foretells of a savior-king who will enter on a donkey (Matt 21:5).

For first-century Jews, everything lined up to affirm Jesus as God’s way of bringing salvation, and they responded to Him as such. This prompts several questions: how often do we see the alignment between what’s happening and God’s plan? How many parallels or opportunities do we miss? And how often do we forget to say “save me”?

Whenever possible, and just like the whole city of Jerusalem during Passover, we should be stirred to ask, “Who is this?” (Matt 21:10).

What do you currently need Jesus to save you from? In what areas of life could you be missing out on Jesus’ presence? How can you make Him part of those areas of your life again?

John D. Barry[1]


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