Daily Archives: January 22, 2018

January 22 Praying for Believers

“For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints, I do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers” (Eph. 1:15–16).

✧✧✧

Your love for other Christians is as much a mark of true faith as your love for God.

The Ephesian Christians demonstrated two important characteristics of genuine Christian faith: faith in the Lord Jesus and love for fellow believers.

“Faith in the Lord Jesus” implies both an affirmation of Christ’s deity and submission to His sovereignty. Because He is God, He is the Sovereign Lord, and therefore we must obey what He commands (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3–6).

Your “love for all the saints” is as much a mark of true faith as your love for God. John said, “The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now” (1 John 2:9). In that passage “light” is a metaphor for righteousness and truth, and “darkness” is a metaphor for sin and error. It is sinful and erroneous to claim you love God if you have no love for other believers. Those who love God will love fellow-believers as well.

If you love others, you will pray for them and will praise God for their spiritual progress—as Paul did for the Ephesians; and they will do the same for you. That’s a wonderful dynamic within the Body of Christ, one you must diligently pursue.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  If you haven’t done so already, start a prayer list of individuals for whom you will pray each day. List their names and some specific requests. Record answers to your prayers as you see God moving in their lives. ✧ Remember to thank God for their spiritual progress as well as praying for their needs. Let them know you are praying for them. That could be a source of great encouragement for them. ✧ If you are at odds with another believer, seek to reconcile immediately (Matt. 5:23–24), so your witness will be strong and the Lord’s name won’t suffer reproach.

For Further Study: Read Philippians 1:9–11 and Colossians 1:9–14. ✧ What requests and concerns did Paul express in his prayers? ✧ Do your prayers reflect Paul’s priorities? If not, what adjustments must you make to have a more Biblical pattern of prayer?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 34). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Seminar: Finding Your Confidence, Identity, and Security in Christ (Podcasts)

The audio segments below were taken from the live presentation of the “Finding Your Confidence, Identity, and Security in Christ” seminar. For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

Chapter 1.
If Not Self-Esteem, Then What?

https://player.pippa.io/brad-hambrick/episodes/finding-your-confidence-identity-security-in-christ-part-1?theme=white

Chapter 2.
A Portrait of Christ-Honoring Identity

https://player.pippa.io/brad-hambrick/episodes/finding-your-confidence-identity-security-in-christ-part-2?theme=white

Chapter 3.
A Portrait of Christ-Honoring Purpose 

https://player.pippa.io/brad-hambrick/episodes/finding-your-confidence-identity-security-in-christ-part-3?theme=white

Chapter 4.
A Portrait of Christ-Honoring Confidence

https://player.pippa.io/brad-hambrick/episodes/finding-your-confidence-identity-security-in-christ-part-4?theme=white

Chapter 5.
A Portrait of Christ-Honoring Security

https://player.pippa.io/brad-hambrick/episodes/finding-your-confidence-identity-security-in-christ-part-5?theme=white

Chapter 6.
A Portrait of Christ-Honoring Wisdom

https://player.pippa.io/brad-hambrick/episodes/finding-your-confidence-identity-security-in-christ-part-6?theme=white

If this post was beneficial for you, then consider reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Self-Esteem” post which address other facets of this subject.

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JANUARY 22 GETTING GLORY FOR GOD—OR FOR OURSELVES?

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

1 CORINTHIANS 10:31

I think that we ought to be mature enough to confess that many have been converted to Christ and have come into the church without wrestling with that basic human desire for honor and praise. As a result, some have actually spent a lifetime in religious work doing little more than getting glory for themselves!

Brethren, the glory can belong only to God! If we take the glory, God is being frustrated in the church.

The work of the ministry which the saints are to do will bring about the edifying of the Body of Christ—and this is not just in reference to the ordained ministry as we know it. It is the ministry of all Christians to have some share in the building up of the Body of Christ until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, with a measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Surely in this sense God desires to use the Body of Christ for doing His final work—His eternal work.

But Christian believers and Christian congregations must be thoroughly consecrated to Christ’s glory alone!

This means absolutely turning our backs on the modern insistence for human glory and recognition.

Natural gifts and talents are not enough in God’s work. The mighty Spirit of God must have freedom to animate and quicken with His overtones of creativity and blessing.

You can write it down as a fact: no matter what a man does, no matter how successful he seems to be, if the Holy Spirit is not the chief energizer of his activity, it will all fall apart when he dies![1]


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

Three Seminary Presidents to Unleash Mark Driscoll at Conference

(Pulpit & Pen) The “Unleashed Conference” is a Phoenix-area conference organized by Ryan Rice of North Valley Community Church. According to its website, the point of the conference is to help the city of Phoenix, which they call “one of the most post-Christian and Biblically illiterate cities in America,” and so bring together “local and national leaders about how preaching God’s Word has expanded the Kingdom of God from generation to generation and how churches that commit to communicating the timeless truths of Scripture are thriving in the midst of troubled times.”    View article →

Source: Three Seminary Presidents to Unleash Mark Driscoll at Conference

The Battle for a Man’s Mind

Paul concludes his majestic treatise on the gospel of Jesus Christ in the book of Romans with a call for a renewed mind that is transformed by the gospel. He writes, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:2). In other words, the believer has an entirely different worldview because his thinking is liberated from the mold of this age (fallen world) by the lens of the gospel. This worldview transformation is the only way the believer can live out the will of God in daily life.

A worldview is how we frame the world and make sense out of everything we experience. God has not given Christians a set of detailed instructions for us to mindlessly follow. Rather, he has given us his word, gospel and Spirit to transform us. Taking “every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 5:10) involves redefining every category in life, including manhood. A Christian man must rethink the very meaning of his existence in the world as a man. Manhood is to be radically reoriented and framed according to the gospel deeply within a man’s heart. This gospel reorientation involves the most fundamental categories of a man’s life.

In Genesis 2, the Scripture teaches that God created man to live his life under his authority as a leader, provider, and protector, committed to God’s glory and human flourishing. Living out man’s purpose involved worshipping God, working for communal good, and family. After God’s image bearers join a satanic rebellion in Genesis 3, sin corrupted man’s thinking about all of the categories that are to frame his life. We now read about fallen man blaming others rather than leading, serving self rather than providing for others, and harming others rather than protecting them. No longer is the worship of God and service to the community primary in his thinking—he is.

Thus, every aspect of culture is corrupted by the reality of sin in the world, the community, the home, and the workplace. That is why the quest for redeemed manhood always drives us back to Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate example of what a true man looks like, but more importantly, he is our Savior. One mistake men often make, is to treat the problems in their life as though they are isolated matters, and the real issue lies outside of them. The starting point of a redeemed worldview is knowing the greatest danger to any man exists inside of him, not outside of him.

Every man must realize that of first importance in winning the spiritual battle of our lives involves framing his life according to biblical truth. Here are some suggested reminders to help a man frame his thinking (and his sons) in the battle for a renewed worldview:

  1. Today will I see myself as the owner of my life or as a steward of the life I’ve been given by my Creator and Savior?
  2. Will I worship Jesus as Lord today or will I serve my desires as Lord?
  3. I deserve the judgment of God, but I have salvation and live by the grace of Christ. Will I proceed today with a sense of entitlement or an awareness of grace?
  4. Will I add to the darkness of the fallen world by seeing others as the problem or will I shine the light of the gospel by seeing others as people to lovingly lead and serve?
  5. Will I see myself as most important today at the expense of others or will I think humbly and walk in line with the gospel by self-sacrificially providing for others?
  6. Today, will I think I am superior to others and am willing to harm them for my benefit, or will I know my own neediness and courageously protect others even if it is personally costly?

The post The Battle for a Man’s Mind appeared first on Prince on Preaching.

The Passion Movement: The Emergent Church On Steroids

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

One has only to see the “line up” of so-called pastors at Passion events to discern the heart of this movement.

  • Bill Johnson (Bethel Church)
  • John Piper
  • Beth Moore
  • Francis Chan
  • Louis Giglio
  • Christine Caine
  • Andy Stanley
  • Tomy Campola
  • Many more not named here

It grieves my heart when I see Christian singers like Chris Tomlin jumping on board with Passion.  Where is the discernment?

Jesus Culture is part of this Passion Movement

What exactly is Jesus Culture Movement?

Excerpts from pointingtojesus.blogspot.com

Before looking at Jesus Culture’s teachings in-depth, a brief look at the people who influence them is necessary. While who they associate with may not alone make the movement heretical, the people Jesus Culture support and have speak at their conferences gives reason for one to worry. First, the movement is heavily influenced by Bill Johnson, senior pastor at Bethel Church. He has been heavily influenced…

View original post 950 more words

‘Bethelated’ spirits? Bethel teaching we can walk through walls & walk on water.

Back in 2008 with many involved in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the Lakeland revival was going on – with Todd Bentley being recognized as a New Breed (little god) on earth. This theology came out of the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR). (That is the sonship spirit, the power gospel and the kenotic Christ.)

‘Prophet’ Paul Cain (a heavy advocate of the NAR), announced he was now seeing the fulfilment of what the NOLR prophesied about the New Breed when he prayed for Todd Bentley. (Cain was involved in the NOLR.)

94cwcportrait_Todd_Bentley

The NOLR raised its ugly head at the Lakeland revival, with many pushing the idea of a civil war in the church (noted by Charismatic journalist writer Lee Grady), Christ’s returning for this end-time revival (Wendy Alec), enforcing the end-times Apostolic/Prophetic government to establish their militant Joel’s Army (Wagner and Co.

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January 22, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

Lawmakers failed to negotiate an end to the government shutdown Sunday despite a bipartisan effort to broker a deal, raising the political stakes as federal agencies begin closing at the start of their normal workweek.

U.S. President Donald Trump will formalize his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by transferring the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv in 2019, Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli parliament.

As a siren warned of an approaching North Korean missile, hundreds of people in central Tokyo hurried for cover in buildings and under ground. But unlike the false alarm in Hawaii nine days earlier, this was just a drill. The government planned Monday’s exercise to raise awareness about taking action should a ballistic device be detected heading for the densely populated Japanese capital.

An advance team for North Korea arrived in Seoul on Sunday as Pyongyang reversed a decision to cancel the visit, a day after signing an agreement with the South to march under a unified flag at next month’s Winter Olympics.

Facebook Inc. acknowledged today that social media can have a negative impact on democracies, and that the company has more work to do in order to ensure that the good outweighs the bad.

Saudi Arabia on Monday announced $1.5 billion in new aid for Yemen, where nearly three years of conflict have devastated the local economy and pushed millions to the brink of famine, causing what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The equity rally that saw the S&P 500 Index cap its third straight weekly advance — the best start since 1987 — is being driven by two things: Upward earnings revisions and the crush of money flowing into stocks. Optimism that the advance fueled by Donald Trump’s presidency will keep going is high among institutions and mom-and-pop investors alike. A survey by the University of Michigan shows that a record 66 percent of Americans believe the stock market will climb in the next year.

The world’s biggest financial market is embracing the iPhone era as investors find new ways to work when they’re not on the trading floor. In a JPMorgan Chase & Co. survey of more than 400 institutional FX, rates and commodities traders, 61 percent said they’re “extremely” or “somewhat” likely to use a mobile trading app this year, up from 31 percent in 2017.

The world now has 2,043 billionaires, after a new one emerged every two days in the past year, the nonprofit organization said in a report published Monday. The group of mostly men saw its wealth surge by $762 billion, which is enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam.

AP Top Stories

Two improvised explosive devices detonated at the Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales, Florida, about 30 minutes east of Tampa. No one was injured by the blasts around 5:30 p.m.

The European Union imposed travel bans and asset freezes on North Koreans accused of helping Pyongyang evade United Nations sanctions linked to the secretive country’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology captured lava fountains shooting out of the Mayon volcano in Albay, the Philippines, on the night of January 21. The institute said lava reached over 1,600 feet above the crater and ash fell in the Albay neighborhoods of Oas and Guinobatan.

The United States is accusing Russia of “costing innocent Syrian lives” amid new reports of a suspected chemical attack in Syria.

Nine Syrian civilians were killed on Monday by insurgent shelling of the old quarter of Damascus, Syrian state television said, citing a source from the capital’s police.

There were more than 25,000 murders across drug-ravaged Mexico in 2017, the highest annual tally since modern records began, government data showed.

China’s top newspaper, decrying Washington as a trouble-maker, said on Monday U.S. moves in the South China Sea like last week’s freedom of navigation operation will only cause China to strengthen its deployments in the disputed waterway.

California’s iconic Highway 101 in Santa Barbara reopened on Sunday nearly two weeks after it was covered with 12 feet (3.7 meters) of debris from mudslides, and a day after the discovery of a missing woman’s body pushed the death toll to 21.

Tourists vacationing in Jamaica have been warned to stay on their resorts after a recent spell of violence in Montego Bay.

Swiss-based commodities fund Tiberius Group plans to make a foray into cryptocurrencies with the launch of what may be the first digital money underpinned by physically deliverable metals including industrials such as aluminum and copper.

BBC

In a move that could revolutionize the way we buy groceries, Amazon opens its first supermarket without checkouts – human or self-service – to shoppers on Monday. Amazon Go, in Seattle, has been tested by staff for the past year. It uses hundreds of ceiling-mounted cameras and electronic sensors to identify each customer and track what items they select. Purchases are billed to customers’ credit cards when they leave the store.

At least 22 people have now been reported killed in a siege by gunmen at Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel, the health ministry said.

Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all.

WND

California will take the next step in blurring the lines between citizens and non-citizens beginning April Fool’s Day when the state complies with a court order to begin automatically registering to vote all those who are granted driver’s licenses.


The Briefing — Monday, January 22, 2018

1) Politics at a fever pitch as limited government shutdown is underway

 

2) As thousands of women march, record numbers file to run for political office

USA Today (Mabinty Quarshie) –
Is the Women’s March more inclusive this year?

New York Times (Susan Chira) –
The Women’s March Became a Movement. What’s Next?

3) 45 years after Roe v. Wade decision, the American conscience remains unsettled on the question of abortion

Time (Kate Pickert) –
What Choice?: Abortion-rights activists won an epic victory in Roe v. Wade. They’ve been losing ever since

4) How scientific developments have bolstered the pro-life argument

The Atlantic (Emma Green) –
Science Is Giving the Pro-Life Movement a Boost

5) As President Trump addresses March for Life, we pray for a shift in the ‘moral intuition’ of Americans

NPR (Sarah McCammon) –
‘You Love Every Child’: President Trump Addresses March For Life


The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want To Talk About #ReleaseTheMemo, But This Could Be The Biggest Scandal In D.C. Since Watergate

Republican members of Congress are pushing for the release of a memo that reportedly shows that government surveillance powers were illegally used against Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, and that the Obama administration, the FBI and Hillary Clinton illegally colluded in a concerted effort to try to destroy Trump’s chances of winning the presidency.  If these allegations turn out to be true, this will be the biggest scandal in American political history, but so far the mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about it.  Other than Fox News, it is hard to find any coverage of this memo on any of the mainstream news networks.  But as you will see below, Republican members of Congress are making a tremendous amount of noise about it. (Read More…)


News – 1/22/2018

Neutron star cosmic collision keeps burning brighter, baffling scientists
The event, reported last October, marked the fifth observation of gravitational waves – ripples in the very fabric of spacetime, caused by huge cosmic cataclysms. Radio telescopes have remained trained on the site since detection, and found that the emissions weren’t fading away as expected – to the contrary, they actually brightened.

Will Turkish Invasion of Syria Bring About Pre-Messianic Conflict With Russia?
A massive Turkish ground force crossed into the Afrin region of Syria to fight the Kurdish militia and push them out of Syria. The Turkish government claims their goal is to establish a 19-mile buffer zone against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a militant group based in Syria. If the conflict intensifies, it could pit Turkey directly against Russia, which has boosted its military presence and bases in Syria in an effort to support the Syrian government in the country’s nearly seven-year-long civil war. A conflict between Turkey and Russia was predicted over 200 years ago by Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, known as the Vilna Gaon, …

California to register illegal aliens to vote – automatically
The state has long provided driver’s licenses to all who simply claimed, without proof, that they were citizens of in the country legally. There were no checks made or documentation required. But beginning April 1 every person who gets a California driver’s license will be automatically entitled to vote.

Report: Trump suggests annexation of 10% of Judea and Samaria
Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat revealed in a report prepared for the PLO Central Committee meeting last week details of the American proposal for a “deal of the century” aimed at advancing an agreement to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. According to the report, the outline drawn up by US President Donald Trump’s negotiating team included the annexation of 10% of Judea and Samaria by Israel and the placement of the capital of the future state of Palestine in the suburbs of Jerusalem.

Analysis: A new anti-Israel axis is forming
With Hamas running out of options in its terror war against Israel from Gazan soil, the Islamist terrorist organization is looking for other options to hit Israel. After Israel proved it can virtually neutralize every rocket launched at southern Israel from Gaza and developed what is dubbed ‘an underground Iron Dome’ in order to combat the increasing threat of Hamas’ terror tunnels, the Palestinian terror group is now threatening Israel from the north.

The age of Neo-Stalinism
Today, the judicial system has turned into a disgusting parody of itself; supported by politicians, Academia, media and NGOs, it is now a powerful lever used by prominent people to promote the ideology of political correctness and multiculturalism. The goal of this ideology is ethnic and cultural substitution and, as a consequence, Islamization. It is not actively displayed, although it is not concealed.

Pope shocks Chile by accusing sex abuse victims of slander
Pope Francis accused victims of Chile’s most notorious pedophile of slander Thursday, an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic Church its credibility in the country. Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up the sex crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, such accusations against Barros are “all calumny.”

Israeli Obstacles to Peace
Abbas has never met an offer he liked. In 2008, then prime minister Ehud Olmert offered him everything he demanded, and Abbas walked away. In 2014, then-president Barack Obama offered him even more than Olmert did. And Abbas walked away.

Iran says warplanes warned off 2 Western vessels during drill
Iranian warplanes warned off two “coalition vessels” during military drill in waters off the country’s southeast, a senior naval officer said, in the latest confrontation between Iranian and Western forces that patrol the Gulf. The vessels approached the area of the drills early on Monday to monitor Iranian ships, said Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, spokesman for the drills, according to Tasnim news agency.

French prison guards in nationwide strike after attacks
A series of attacks against prison guards by inmates at institutions across France has led to a nationwide strike in the country. Unions have vowed a “total blockade” of prisons on Monday as their dispute with the government over safety improvements and wage rises enters its second week. France’s Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said she would meet union leaders to try to end the crisis.

Syria offensive: Turkish troops ‘capture villages’ in Afrin
Turkish forces have captured a number of villages in north-western Syria, on the third day of an offensive to oust Kurdish fighters, Turkish media report. Turkish troops, accompanied by allied Syrian rebels, reportedly seized control of several areas in the region of Afrin on Monday. But Kurdish fighters later said they had recaptured two of the villages.

US shutdown: Government services closed as working week begins
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be unable to report for work on Monday, as the US Senate struggles to end a government shutdown. Some will not be paid until the stalemate is resolved. A rare Sunday session of the Senate yielded no agreement between Democrats and Republicans, with immigration one of the main sticking points.

Scientists are worried a mysterious “zombie” disease killing deer could spread to humans
Deer across North America are dying from a mysterious disease that gradually destroys the animals’ nervous systems. And scientists are concerned that the infection could make its way to humans. Chronic wasting disease — or “zombie deer disease” — was first observed in 1967 in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has since infected wild herds in 24 states and Canada, as well as in South Korea and Norway, NPR reported.

China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials
In a hospital west of Shanghai, Wu Shixiu since March has been trying to treat cancer patients using a promising new gene-editing tool. U.S. scientists helped devise the tool, known as Crispr-Cas9, which has captured global attention since a 2012 report said it can be used to edit DNA. Doctors haven’t been allowed to use it in human trials in America. That isn’t the case for Dr. Wu and others in China.

Paris dustmen film swarming plague of rats as Paris faces up to mass rodent infestation
Paris rubbish collectors have released a video to sound the alarm over a plague of rats that have invaded the banks of the Seine, claiming that the rodents now pose a physical threat to dustmen. Shot last month between the tourist landmark of the Musée d’Orsay and the Pont Royal, the film shows a huge group of the large vermin desperately trying to escape from a deep plastic municipal rubbish bin.

PROPHECY COMING ALIVE: Just Like The Bible Said, Israel Will Turn The Desert Into Paradise
“G-d will console Zion..and He will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of G-d” Isaiah prophesied and the prophecy is happening now…

A workshop on how women can dress in accordance with Islam has been approved by city officials in Dresden, Germany
A course offered by an educational center in Dresden that tells how to properly wear the burqa is going forward, despite some outcry from those who say the class contributes to the oppression of women. What’s even more outrageous is that this course has been sanctioned by city authorities.

Number of young women using ADHD medicine up by 700 percent, CDC says
Are more people suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder? More prescriptions are certainly being filled, because the number of women in their late 20s using ADHD medicine jumped to 700 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Brazil declares yellow fever emergency in Minas Gerais
Brazil’s south-eastern state of Minas Gerais has declared a public health emergency following a deadly outbreak of yellow fever. At least 15 people have died there since December. Many areas, including the state capital Belo Horizonte, have been affected. A mass vaccination programme is in place in three southern states.

BREAKING: FIVE MONTHS Worth of Peter Strzok Text Messages GO MISSING – FBI Cites Mystery “Glitch”
Additional text messages sent and received by disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok have been handed over Congress, reports the Associated Press. In yet another twist to the Peter Strzok saga, the FBI failed to hand over a block of the agent’s text messages because they have gone missing.

Major state to register illegal aliens to vote – automatically
California will take the next step in blurring the lines between citizens and non-citizens beginning April Fool’s Day when the state complies with a court order to begin automatically registering to vote all those who are granted driver’s licenses.

Look who’s suing to quash U.S. terrorist screening
A group established as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. is suing the federal government’s Terrorist Screening Database, contending it stigmatizes its targets without due process.

HHS Rescinds Obama-Era Rule Banning States From Excluding Planned Parenthood From Medicaid Program
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has rescinded an Obama-era rule that banned states from excluding the abortion giant Planned Parenthood from their Medicaid program.

Amazon’s Automated Grocery Store of the Future Opens Monday
…The Seattle store, known as Amazon Go, relies on cameras and sensors to track what shoppers remove from the shelves, and what they put back. Cash registers and checkout lines become superfluous – customers are billed after leaving the store using credit cards on file.

Ryan Zinke Signs Over Road For King Cove
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will swap federal land with the Aleut of King Cove, Ak., on Jan. 22, answering decades of pleas from local officials to build a road on roughly 500 acres.

Trump Undoes Obama’s Legacy In First Year
As president, Barack Obama repeatedly mocked Donald Trump’s political ambitions, laughing at the idea of Trump ever winning the presidency.

More than 25,000 Murdered in Mexico in 2017, Country’s Deadliest Year
Mexico saw a total of 25,339 murders last year, official data has shown, after 2017 was already established as a record-breaking year based on killings carried out until November.

NEW WORLD (DIS)ORDER: George Soros Suffers Embarrassment of the Century, May Be Banished from His Own Country That Detests Him
Hungarian-born US billionaire Soros has been called “a public enemy” by Prime Minister Viktor Orban who accuses the 87-year-old of orchestrating migration into Europe since the refugee crisis began in 2015. Hungary erected fences on its southern borders in 2015 and last year began holding all adult asylum-seekers in guarded border camps.

MID-DAY SNAPSHOT

JAN. 22, 2018

The Schumer Shutdown

The Democrat leader hypocritically embraces the “politics of idiocy” he roundly condemned in 2013.

THE FOUNDATION

“It behooves you, therefore, to think and act for yourself and your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counselors. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.” —Thomas Jefferson (1775)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: January 22

  • Senator says FBI lost crucial texts tied to Clinton probe (Read More)
  • Agencies Implement Shutdown Plans (Read More)
  • Government Shutdown Starts to Bite, Raising Political Stakes (Read More)
  • Stocks Muted After U.S. Government Shutdown (Read More)
  • What the Shutdown Says About Politics in 2018 (Read More)
  • This Rare Bear Who Called the Crash Warns Housing Is Too Hot Again (Read More)
  • Biggest U.S. East Coast Oil Refinery Files for Bankruptcy (Read More)
  • Sanofi digs deep to buy U.S. haemophilia group Bioverativ for $11.6 billion (Read More)
  • Celgene to Buy Juno Therapeutics for $9 Billion (Read More)
  • One of the World’s Hottest Stocks Is Now Tumbling (Read More)
  • AIG Strikes $5.56 Billion Deal to Acquire a Bermuda Insurer (Read More)
  • Nafta Is Nearing a ‘Danger Zone’ (Read More)
  • More than 10 percent of $3.7 billion raised in ICOs has been stolen (Read More)
  • Fresh Doubts Raised on China’s Bad-Loan Data (Read More)
  • U.K.’s Prudential Was Mystery Victim of HSBC’s Front-Running (Read More)
  • China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials (Read More)
  • Halliburton beats on fourth quarter profit, makes tax provision (Read More)

Headlines – 1/22/2018

Pence lands in Israel as PM Netanyahu stresses ‘no alternative’ to US as peace broker

Jordan’s king tells Pence U.S. must rebuild trust after Jerusalem decision

Jordan’s king says East Jerusalem must be capital of Palestinian state

Pence says he and Jordan’s Abdullah ‘agreed to disagree’ on Jerusalem

Pence said to ask Egypt, Jordan to coax Palestinians back to table

Pence ‘extreme and delusional,’ says Joint List MK

Israeli Arab lawmakers to boycott Pence speech

Palestinians burn photo of Pence in Bethlehem protest over Israel trip

Abbas heads to Europe in bid to circumvent US in peace process

Abbas to ask European Union to recognize Palestinian state

Paris suburb to recognize Palestinian statehood

Slovenia to recognize Palestinian state next month

Pope renews call to maintain Jerusalem status quo

27 percent of European Jews say they don’t feel safe in survey

Ministry of Diaspora Affairs report shows hike in worldwide anti-Semitism

Bennett: Rising antisemitism due to far right, refugees, social media

Rivlin: Gaza about to collapse, epidemics on horizon

Nasrallah warns Israel against continued construction of border wall

Turkey advised US before Syria strikes; contacts ongoing

US urges Turkey to ‘exercise restraint’ in Syria operation

Erdogan to YPG: You can’t rely on US support to defeat Turkey

Turkish forces push into Syria, battle Kurdish militia

Turkish border town hit by another rocket from Syria

Assad slams Turkey’s Syria offensive as ‘support for terrorism’

French calls for emergency Security Council meeting on Syria

IS and how it continues to plague Iraq

Russia, Iran open their arms as Turkey loses patience with U.S.

Iran may try to loosen Revolutionary Guard’s grip on economy

Iran deal ‘fixes’ to dominate Tillerson’s agenda in Europe

Spurned by Trump, Europeans ponder how to meet Iran ultimatum

UN appeals for $3B in aid to war-battered Yemen

Deadly Kabul hotel siege investigated as a possible ‘insider attack’

Las Vegas Women’s March set as anti-Trump protests mark inauguration’s one-year anniversary

Newly released texts between ex-Mueller team members suggest they knew outcome of Clinton email probe in advance

Senator says FBI lost crucial texts tied to Clinton probe

Contrite Facebook executives seek to ward off more European rules

Google Has An Actual Secret Speech Police

Security fears spark crackdown on Chinese tech

Inside Amazon’s surveillance-powered no-checkout convenience store

‘We loot or we die of hunger’: food shortages fuel unrest in Venezuela

One Year of Trump: Border Wall Prototypes Sit in Desert As Border-Crossings Surge to Obama Levels

Senate at Impasse as Votes Delayed Until Monday

Trump’s budget chief says shutdown could last more than a week

Trump keeps parks, monuments open to shun Obama’s ‘weaponization’ of shutdown

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Masachapa, Nicaragua

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Villa Rica, Peru

Mayon volcano in the Philippines erupts to 12,000ft

Wicked-strong storm beats the Netherlands with 90-mph wind gusts

Scientists worry brain-wasting ‘zombie deer’ disease could spread to humans

Flu season getting worse, as illness has ‘lot more steam’ than expected

Flu outbreak: 100 people a week dying in US as virus continues to spread

China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials

Planned Parenthood Condemns House Passage of Bill to Ensure Babies Born Alive During Abortion Receive Care

First same-sex active-duty couple marries at West Point

With 25,339 murders in 2017, Mexico suffers record homicide tally

Jamaica declares emergency over parts of island as gun crime soars


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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More Distorted Prosperity Gospel

Kenneth Copeland Ministries Fleecing the Flock

For those unfamiliar with the Prosperity Gospel, that’s code for “If you send us lots of money God will give you whatever you want.” It distorts the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, turning God into some kind of cosmic fairy godmother. Afflicted with cancer? Send Copeland some seed money and God will repay you with a miraculous healing. Behind on your mortgage? Send Copland money and your problems will be solved.

View Article

January 22, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Born to Holiness

(James 1:18)

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures. (1:18)

In this verse James adds another piece of evidence (to those in vv. 13–17) that God is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for our temptations, much less our sin—namely, proof from the nature of regeneration itself. The new life that the Lord gives to those who believe in Jesus Christ is a godly, holy, Christlike life. It is the life of God in the soul of man. By the new birth, a believer is re-created, given a completely new nature that has no part in sin or evil. Our own lust begets death (v. 15); the gift of God in Christ begets life.

In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul quoted from Psalm 14, saying, “As it is written, ‘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’ ” (Rom. 3:10–12; cf. Ps. 14:1–3). Besides Jesus Christ, not one human being since the Fall has been born righteous or become righteous, that is, morally pure and right with God, through their own efforts. In all of human history, there has not been a single one; nor will there ever be in this present age. “Their throat is an open grave,” Paul goes on to say; “with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:13–18). That is the condition of every sinful, unredeemed person, every person separated from God. Man’s condition is by choice as well as by nature, as John explains: “The Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19–20).

To Christians, Paul wrote: “You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Eph. 2:1–3; cf. 4:17–19). Before salvation, our conduct was dictated by the evil system in which we lived, because our evil natures readily responded to it. We were unknowing but willing subjects of Satan, “the prince of the power of the air, … the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (2:2). He was, as it were, our spiritual father (John 8:44).

Because fallen man’s problem is internal, the solution to his problem must be internal. There is no external ritual, ceremony, rite, profession, or action that can change his basic evil nature. He cannot become righteous by trying to act righteously or talk righteously. He needs an entirely new heart, a new nature, a new being. He needs to be re-created, changed from his old nature of sin and death to a new nature of holiness and life, for without holiness, or sanctification, “no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

In 1:18, James answers four questions about regeneration, the new birth, that shed light on the proof that God is not responsible for our temptations or for the sins that result from succumbing to them. Rather, He is responsible for our righteousness.

Who Does It?

In the exercise of His will (1:18a)

Regeneration is the act, and wholly the act, of God, “the Father of lights” (v. 17), accomplished in the exercise of His will. Through His sovereign will, God washes away sin, grants forgiveness, and plants new life—a completely new nature within each person who trusts in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He even takes residence in that life through His indwelling Spirit (John 14:17; Rom. 8:9). As the Lord promised through Ezekiel, “I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:25–26).

The phrase in the exercise of His will could be rendered most simply as, “by His own will.” But it translates the aorist passive participle of the verb boulomai, which expresses the idea of the deliberate and specific exercise of volition, which is suggested by the NASB’s addition of in the exercise of. The phrase is also in the emphatic position in the Greek, reinforcing the truth that God’s sovereign and uninfluenced will is the source and basis of the new life.

Not only theologically but logically, that is the only way life could be given to those who are dead. The dead have no awareness or understanding of sin, no desire to turn from it (John 3:19–20), and no power or resources to change if they wanted to. They do not, of course, even know that they are dead. Regeneration could only happen by the sovereign will and power of God, the Source and Giver of spiritual life. “But as many as received Him [Jesus Christ],” John says, “to them He [the Father] gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13, emphasis added).

No child has ever been born into the world by its own will or plan. Its conception, gestation, and birth are completely out of its consciousness and control. It is merely the passive recipient of the will and action of its parents. Just as certainly, no person wills, much less creates, a new spiritual nature within himself. Jeremiah asked rhetorically, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jer. 13:23). Through that same prophet the Lord set forth the only way that the needed change can and must be made.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer. 31:31–34)

The natural man not only cannot make such a change in himself, but, apart from God’s revelation, he cannot even know that he needs such a change. To the contrary, if he thinks he needs change at all, he underestimates what he really needs and presumes he can make it satisfactorily by himself. “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God,” Paul explains, “for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14).

“But God, being rich in mercy,” Paul assures us, “because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4–5). The only way a spiritually dead person (all unbelievers) can have spiritual life is to receive it as a gift from God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Christian therefore can say with Paul, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him,” Jesus said (John 6:44), later adding, “You did not choose Me but I chose you” (15:16).

The most beautiful and graphic explanation of regeneration is in Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus, a devout and highly respected Pharisee and teacher, who “came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him’ ” (John 3:2). The leader only made a statement about Jesus and did not say anything about himself or ask the Lord a question. But the Lord knew what was really on his mind and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3). Understandably puzzled, Nicodemus responded, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (v. 4). Nicodemus was not referring to physical rebirth, for he knew Jesus was speaking about spiritual life, not physical. He was simply picking up on the figure Jesus had just used. But he was nevertheless confused by what he heard. Being a highly trained teacher of the Mosaic Law, he assumed, as did most Jews, that men pleased God and became right with Him by obedience to that Law, and in no other way. He also assumed that whatever was necessary to become right with God had to be done by himself, by his own efforts, accomplishments, and goodness. So his question was, in effect, “How can I make myself reborn, earn for myself new life?”

The Lord went on to explain. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (vv. 5–8). The Spirit of God sovereignly moves in where He wills and gives new birth to those whom He has predestined to salvation. “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:4–5). “For by grace you have been saved through faith,” Paul says later in that letter, “and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (2:8; cf. Phil. 1:29).

The source of new life was not in Nicodemus’s power, as it is not in any man’s power, to achieve or to earn. It comes from God, through His Holy Spirit, the only imparter of new spiritual life. The Lord promised that truth long ago through Jeremiah, saying, “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart” (Jer. 24:7). The new birth is a sovereign gift of God, implanted by His Holy Spirit in those who have come to Him by faith in His Son. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

The new birth results from God’s sovereignly coming down to a sinner and by His grace cleansing him, planting His Spirit within him, and giving him a completely new spiritual nature. He then has “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:24).

After Augustine was converted, a woman he formerly lived with called to him as he walked down the street, but he did not answer. She persisted and finally ran up to him and said, “Augustine, it is I.” To which he replied, “I know, but it is no longer I.”

Our conscious experience of conversion, of believing in Jesus Christ, in His death and resurrection on our behalf, of committing our life to Him, is all the consequence of God’s sovereign will. “In this is love,” John says, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). In fact, we could never truly love at all—we could not even love God or other believers—had not “He first loved us” (v. 19). “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified (Rom. 8:29–30).

What Is It?

He brought us forth (1:18b)

Brought … forth is from the same verb rendered “gives birth” in verse 15. In regeneration, God gives birth to a new spiritual life. Regeneration is a miracle of God by which the principle of new life is implanted in man and the governing disposition of his soul is made holy. This is the new birth, being born again (cf. John 3:3–8; Eph. 2:5–6; 1 Pet. 1:23; cf. Ezek. 36:25–27).

In Christ believers actually “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). The new birth is unseen by any human eye but is able to be experienced by any human heart that turns to God through faith in Christ. It is evidenced in a transformed life. “I came,” Jesus said, “that they may have life, and have it abundantly …; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:10, 28).

How Does It Happen?

by the word of truth, (1:18c)

By the word of truth could be rendered literally “by the truth’s word,” that is, by the Word of God, by Scripture. Believers are born again, regenerated, by the power of God’s Word.

Paul uses the phrase logō aletheias (word of truth) several times. In his second letter to the church at Corinth, he speaks of commending himself as a servant of God “in the word of truth, in the power of God” (2 Cor. 6:7). He reminded believers in Colossae of “the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel” (Col. 1:5); and admonishes his beloved Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). In its broadest sense, therefore, the word of truth is the whole of God’s Word, and in its more restricted sense is the gospel, as Paul also clearly states in Ephesians: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13).

“For this reason,” Paul wrote the church at Thessalonica, “we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). In his letter to Titus, he presented the same truth in these words: “[God] saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Speaking of the church as a whole, he explained to believers at Ephesus that Christ “gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Eph. 5:25–26).

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?” Paul asks rhetorically. “[And] how will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?… So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:14, 17). Regeneration occurs when God sovereignly acknowledges a person’s belief of the gospel—that is, belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior—and credits him with the full righteousness of His Son (2 Cor. 5:21). As Peter explains, “You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word which was preached to you” (1 Pet. 1:23–25; cf. Isa. 40:6–8).

Why Is It Done?

so that we would be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures. (1:18d)

Finally, James explains why God regenerates those who place their trust in Jesus Christ. Although salvation is the greatest possible blessing a human being can receive, its primary purpose is not to benefit man but to fulfill God’s sovereign purpose of believers becoming, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures.

The Lord commanded Moses, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it’ ” (Lev. 23:10–11; cf. Ex. 23:19; Deut. 18:4). The first fruits were the first and best of the crops that were harvested and were usually an indicator of what the rest of the crop would be like. A farmer would be inclined to take that early harvest and store it away in case the rest was lost to drought, locusts, or other calamities. But the Lord required that it was to be that first and best which was offered to Him.

When James writes we, he is applying the term to the believers of that time, perhaps especially Jewish believers who were the first of the harvest of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were the first of many more to come in the spiritual harvest God was beginning. Paul spoke of the household of Stephanas as being “the first fruits of Achaia” (1 Cor. 16:15).

When referring to people, His creatures means all who will be saved (cf. Acts 15:14–15). The Greek term is used several times to refer to the material creation, so James may have had that also in mind. In an immeasurably greater way, those who are regenerated through Christ in this present age will be the first fruits among His creatures in His ultimate re-creation of the new heaven and new earth after the present heaven and earth have been destroyed (Rev. 21:1; 2 Pet. 3:10). “These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:4). Jesus told the apostles, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). Paul tells us that

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. (Rom. 8:19–22)

Believers are the first installment on God’s new creation that is to come (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10–13).[1]


18 To counteract the devastating effect of pregnant lust’s birthing of sin, which leads to death, God exercised his will in giving us one of his good gifts. He “chose to give us birth”, which could be a reference to God’s creation of human beings in the beginning (Laws, 75–78) but is more likely a reference to redemption (Moo, 79; Martin, 40). “God’s will” is a common biblical idea speaking of God’s sovereign choice rooted in his own determination (Job 23:13; Ps 113:9). This “birthing” is how God determined to express his grace to us.

The means of this birth experience is “the word of truth.” Whereas deception is possible in this fallen world, God’s word is true and has the wonderful spiritual effect of establishing our relationship with God (2 Co 6:7; Eph 1:13; Col 1:5; 2 Ti 2:15).

The reason God has acted this way toward us is “that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” “Firstfruits” is a designator variously used of believers in the NT (Ro 16:5; 1 Co 16:15; 2 Th 2:13; Rev 14:4), and in the OT the concept carries several connotations. It, of course, refers to the first ripening of a harvest or first offspring of an animal, which was offered to God in acknowledgment that he owns everything already (Ex 23:16–19; Lev 27:26; Nu 18:15–18; Dt 14:22–23). Thus the firstfruits were considered sacred, set apart for God. More closely related to James’s usage, it also referred to the firstborn among sons (Ex 34:20) and was used to speak of Israel as God’s firstborn, or chosen, people (Ex 4:22; Dt 7:6; Jer 2:3). So we are set apart as God’s special people for the destiny to which God has birthed us and designated us.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 57–64). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 224). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Christ in His Proper Place

Code: B180122

“Jesus Is the Answer” is a song that has always bothered me for one glaring reason: It never tells us what the question is. In many ways, Andraé Crouch’s well-worn anthem is emblematic of many modern evangelistic strategies—where the preacher skips over prerequisite details in his haste to get to the cross.

At best, that approach is confusing—leaving the unbeliever to figure out on his own why Jesus needed to live, die, and rise again. At worst, it’s downright dangerous—especially when unbelievers see their primary problems as unhappiness, hardship, and victimhood. If sinners understand the cross as merely the remedy to those temporal problems, they don’t have the gospel at all.

A biblical understanding of Christ is fundamental to the gospel, but it’s the wrong place to start the story. Without first understanding the utter holiness of God and the total depravity of sinful man, the person and work of Christ make no sense.

You’ve seen that conviction borne out in the way we’ve constructed this series on the anatomy of the gospel. Until the sinner appreciates the infinite gulf between God’s holiness and man’s guilt, he can’t properly appreciate his need for the redemption that Christ provides. Powerful evangelism brings the immense weight of those sobering truths to bear on the unbeliever, leading him to cry out to the Savior.

The salvation Christ brings is meaningless to the sinner who doesn’t understand his own sin. Instead of too quickly offering Christ as a remedy to temporal trials and the cares of this world, we need to help him see the eternal cost of his sin and rebellion. We need to cultivate in him the conviction of the thief on the cross, who confessed that “we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds” (Luke 23:41).

That is a soul that’s ready to hear about Jesus and the eternal value of His life, death, and resurrection.

A Substitutionary Life

Have you ever wondered why the Savior had to live thirty-three years on earth before He atoned for our sins? Why didn’t He head straight for the cross as soon as He arrived? The answer to that question can be found in Galatians 4:3–5:

We, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His son, born of woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law.

Commenting on the need for Christ to be “born under the Law,” John MacArthur explains:

Jesus not only came to earth as a man but was born under the Law, in order that “He might redeem those who were under the Law.” As Paul explains in Romans, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:3–4).

Like every other man, Jesus was born under the Law. Like every other Jew, He was under obligation to obey and be judged by conformity to God’s written Law in the Old Testament; but unlike any other Jew, He satisfied the requirements of that law by living in perfect obedience to it. And because He lived in perfect obedience, He was able to redeem all other men who were under the Law but not obedient to it, provided they had saving faith in Him. [1]

The New Testament doesn’t leave the Law of the Old Covenant as a failed and abandoned project. God’s Law—His righteous standards and commands—exposes our guilt and need for an alien righteousness (Galatians 3:23–24). Just as Adam’s original sin was representative for all of his descendants, so Christ’s righteous life is representative for all of His elect (Romans 5:19).

Christ’s lifelong mission until Calvary was to fulfill God’s Law on behalf of His sinful people. That’s why He told John the Baptist that it was necessary for Him to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15) and preached that He “did not come to abolish but to fulfill” the Law (Matthew 5:17).

But Christ’s righteous life must still be applied to the people He represents. Satisfactory payment is needed to deal with our immense guilt, and that’s exactly what happened at the cross.

A Substitutionary Death

No verse better encapsulates the transaction of Calvary than 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” John MacArthur draws profound riches from this text:

The benefit of God’s imputing believers’ sins to Christ and His righteousness to them is that they become righteous before Him. They are “found in Him, not having a righteousness of [their] own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3:9). The very righteousness God requires before He can accept the sinner is the very righteousness He provides. . . .

On the cross God treated Jesus as if He had lived our lives with all our sin, so that God could then treat us as if we lived Christ’s life of pure holiness. Our iniquitous life was legally charged to Him on the cross, as if He had lived it, so that His righteous life could be credited to us, as if we lived it. That is the doctrine of justification by imputation—the high point of the gospel. That truth, expressed so concisely and powerfully in this text, is the only cure for the sin plague. [2]

Christ’s atoning death brings perfect harmony between God’s inflexible justice, and the rich mercy He graciously extends towards sinners. Calvary has never been about God giving us a mulligan—a second chance after initial failure. God cannot be coerced into leniency and ignorance of our crimes. His wrath must be satisfied.

We must never forget that the cross was meant for us. God’s wrath that was pointed directly at us was suffered by our righteous substitute who hung in our place—“so that He would be just and the justifier” (Romans 3:26). God can now demonstrate mercy toward believing sinners without violating His righteousness. His wrath against them has been satisfied in His perfect substitute. God is concurrently perfectly just and gloriously merciful.

A Guaranteed Resurrection

While the story of redemption may reach its climax at the cross, it doesn’t end there. The apostle Paul said that gospel preaching is empty without the proclamation of Christ’s resurrection:

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. (1 Corinthians 15:12–14)

Our preaching is pointless and our eternity is doomed without the resurrection. That’s because our own future resurrection is contingent on the reality of Christ rising from the dead.

The historical fact of the resurrection has profound implications for all who are united to Him through repentance and faith. When Paul says that Christ was “raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:25), he reminds believers that Christ’s resurrection is proof that God the Father was satisfied with His payment for our sins. The resurrection is God’s declaration that Christ is precisely who He said He was (Romans 1:4). That assurance also provides us with the certainty of our own future resurrection from the dead.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15:20–23)

John MacArthur elaborates on what it means that “in Christ all will be made alive”:

Just as Adam was the progenitor of everyone who dies, so Christ is the progenitor of everyone who will be raised to life. In each case, one man doing one act caused the consequences of that act to be applied to every other person identified with him. . . . Those who are identified with Christ . . . are subject to resurrection to eternal life because of Christ’s righteous act. [3]

Preaching Christ

Andraé Crouch was right when he said that Jesus is the answer. But the evangelist should first help the sinner to ask the right question before offering the solution. Christ should be preached when the sinner sees God’s wrath, seeks God’s forgiveness, and searches for a Savior. And when we do proclaim the person and work of Christ we should include all three facets of His earthly ministry. First, His fulfillment of the Law as a substitute for sinners who broke it. Second, the punishment He suffered as a substitute for sinners who deserved it. And third, His literal resurrection that secures our future bodily resurrection.

We must remember, however, that not all sinners experience the profound eternal benefits of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Christ’s finished work places demands on all who hear it preached. So what is His expectation? How should sinners respond to the gospel? In short, repentance from sin and faith toward Christ. And we’ll consider those gospel demands next time.

 


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January 22 Monday: A Messianic Wedding Song

By James Boice on Jan 22, 2018 12:00 am

Psalm 45 is different from any psalm we have studied thus far. In fact, it is unique. There are no other psalms like it. It is a beautiful poem prepared on the occasion of a royal wedding, evoking all the sights, sounds, movement, splendor and emotion of such an important occasion. It is at the same time a messianic psalm, as the words “O God” in verse 6 and the use of verses 6 and 7 in the first chapter of Hebrews in reference to Jesus Christ, clearly show.

Read more…

Sin is man’s captor and slave owner

Every human being born since the Fall has come into the world enslaved to sin,under total bondage to a nature that is corrupt,evil and separated from it’s Creator.No person is spiritually free.No human being is free of sin or free of it’s consequences,the ultimate consequence,or penalty, for which is death (Rom 6:23).”The soul who sins will die”(Ezek 18:4)

Jesus said,”Truly,truly,I say to you everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin”(John 8:34),and Paul points out that every person has commited sin:”There is none righteous,not even one”(Rom 3:10;cf Ps 14:1).In the same letter the apostle says that we are all “sold into bondage to sin”(7:14) and that,in fact,the whole of creation is enslaved to the corruption of sin(8:21)
Sin is man’s captor and slave owner,and it demands a price for his release.Death is the price that had to be paid for man’s redemption from sin.Biblical redemption therefore refers to the act of God by which He Himself paid as a ransom the price of sin.
John MacArthur
Ephesians MacArthur New Testament Commentary p.18

Seven Important Differences Between Angels and Demons

Seven Important Differences Between Angels and DemonsA recent study revealed 63% of young Americans (age 18-29) believe in demon possession. Even though fewer people in this age group claim any affiliation to organized religion, their belief in demons is actually increasing. While there are good reasons to believe in the existence of angelic beings (even apart from what the Bible teaches), the clearest description of angels and demons comes directly from the Biblical text. We’ve been examining the nature of angels in recent posts, but given the increasing cultural interest in demons, it might be wise to understand them more deeply. While angelic beings were originally were created to love God, demons have rejected him entirely. In many ways the story of angelic beings parallels our own experiences as humans. Demons rebelled against God in a manner similar to those of us who have also rebelled. Angels worship and honor their Creator and choose continually to help reunite all of creation to Him, but demons reject God and endeavor daily to oppose the spiritual understanding and development of humans (Ephesians 6:12). Angels and demons are the same kind of being; they share the same powers we’ve already described. The behavior of demons, therefore, can be contrasted with the behavior of angels:

Angels Appear Human / Demons Inhabit Humans
While angels appear in human form to demonstrate their empathy and love for us, demons enter human bodies to take on the form of those they are attacking:

Matthew 17:14-18
When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

Angels Herald the Savior / Demons Shriek the Savior
While angels announce the Savior in love and expectation, demons scream his name in fear, provoking fear in those non-believers who may be watching:

Mark 3:11-12
Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”

Angels Celebrate Our Salvation / Demons Obstruct Our Salvation 
While angels celebrate our salvation, demons do all they can to prevent our conversion. They often do this by simply attacking our ability to hear the word or to speak in response to the Gospel:

Mark 9:25
And when Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.”

Angels Are Poised to Protect / Demons Are Poised to Attack
While both angels and demons are watching over us, demons are watching for a very different purpose. Demons are looking carefully for another host to attack:

Matthew 12:43-45
When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.

Angels Seek to Unite Us / Demons Seek to Separate Us
While surround us in protection, demons are continually trying to separate us from God (fortunately we know they could never overpower the God who created them):

Romans 8:37-39
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Angels Inhabit the Church to Worship / Demons Inhabit the Church to Subvert
While angels are with us in our places of worship, singing right alongside the saints, demons also try to infiltrate the places of God:

Luke 4:33-35
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Ha. What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God.” “Be quiet.” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him.” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

Angels Point Us to God / Demons Distract Us from God
God’s holy angels will someday take us back home to Him, but demons are doing all they can to distract us from the God of the universe. In fact, they try to accomplish this by acting as false gods to divert our attention from the true God:

Revelation 16:14
They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

Revelation 9:20-21
The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood-idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

In our study of angelic beings, one thing should be clear. According to the Christian worldview, we are surrounded by an invisible reality; a host of angels and demons engaged in battles and victories. While we sometimes ignore the existence and activity of these beings, they continue to pursue opposing goals. As Christians, we can have confidence we have a Father who sent His Spirit to protect those who have placed our trust in Him. Jesus asked God the Father for this protection, and God continues to utilize His holy angels to accomplish His Goals:

John 17:9-16
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name-the name you gave me-so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

We have been protected from the “evil one” and the many demons who are active in the world. Part of this protection comes in the form of information. God has forewarned us of the nature and activity of demons so we can be better prepared to recognize and respond to their activity.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case DetectiveChristian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case ChristianityCold-Case Christianity for KidsGod’s Crime SceneGod’s Crime Scene for Kids, and Forensic Faith.

Source: Seven Important Differences Between Angels and Demons

Bad Examples of Women Pastors (But Great Examples of Godly Women)

Should there be equality in the roles of men and women as many Christians believe?  Or has God gifted women to fulfill only the roles He has specifically designed for them…. which does not include women becoming pastors, nor is it a woman’s role to teach men.

In this piece over at Junction City, Gabriel Hughes discusses the role of women in the Church. He writes:

In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” The context here is church leadership, an instruction that continues into chapter 3. A woman is not permitted to be a pastor in a church (elder, bishop, overseer, etc.). Only a man can be a pastor.

This instruction is not limited to the time-period in which Paul was writing. It applies to all people in every place at every point in the history of the church. How do we know this? Because Paul goes all the way back to Genesis with his explanation: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (verses 13-14).

So the first reason the role of pastor is to be filled by a man is because Adam was formed first, and Eve was formed from Adam as his help-meet. The differences between the sexes and the different roles they are assigned are not a result of the fall. They were established at creation and have applied to all people in all cultures at all times.

The second reason a pastor is to be man is because Adam was not deceived by the serpent, but the woman was deceived and transgressed the law of God. This might seem unfair because Adam certainly sinned as well, and death came to all men because Adam sinned (Romans 5:121 Corinthians 15:21). But Adam wasn’t deceived, and Eve was. So whether we’re talking about a perfect, sinless world, or the fallen, sinful one we currently inhabit, God intends that a man be the one to shepherd the flock of God (pastor means “shepherd;” see also 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Elsewhere, Paul wrote, “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak at church” (1 Corinthians 14:33-35).

This doesn’t mean a woman is supposed to have duct-tape over her mouth from the moment she walks into church to the moment she walks out. The context is teaching the church, or administering the authority of the word of God over the gathered people of God. The role as overseer is set apart for specifically a man to fill. View article →

Source: Bad Examples of Women Pastors (But Great Examples of Godly Women)

JANUARY 22 GUIDANCE IS BY THE SPIRIT

Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

We can always trust the moving and the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives and experiences, but we cannot always trust our human leanings and our fleshly and carnal desires. That calls for another word of balance. We know that the emotional life is a proper and noble part of our total personality. But by its very nature, it is of secondary importance, for religion lies in the will, and so does righteousness.

God never intended that such a being as mankind should become the mere plaything of his or her feelings. The only good that God recognizes is the willed good. The only valid holiness is a willed holiness. That is why I am always a little suspicious of the overly bubbly Christian who talks too much about himself or herself—and not enough about Jesus. That is also why I am more than a little concerned about the professing Christian whose experience does not seem to have resulted in a true inner longing to be more like Jesus every day in thought, word and deed!

Dear Lord, today I want to be more like You in everything I do—what I say to my family and colleagues, how I react in difficult situations, and what I think about in my free time.[1]


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

January 22 Satan Revealed as a Liar

[The devil] said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”—Matt. 4:9

Satan’s promises for better things, obtained more quickly and in a “preferred” manner to God’s plan, are actually counterfeit offers. He always wraps them in claims that seem easier, less expensive, and far less burdensome. After all, that’s the savvy way to success, he reasons. Our adversary’s argument is essentially just a form of the old “end justifies the means” concept.

But Satan has been a liar from the beginning of redemptive history. With his third temptation of Jesus he was actually just seeking to buy Christ’s soul and His permanent allegiance. The cost for the Lord, had He accepted the offer of the world’s kingdoms, would have been devastating beyond measure.

Similarly for us, Satan’s price is always far more than we are led to believe—and the goods always unfathomably fall short of what we had expected. Thankfully, Jesus in His omniscience and infinite wisdom recognized these truths and did not succumb to the final temptation in the wilderness. Had He accepted Satan’s sinister offer, Christ would have disqualified Himself as both Savior and King. Instead of redeeming the world, He would have joined it; instead of inheriting it, He would have lost both it and us.

ASK YOURSELF

If coming in the front door doesn’t work, our enemy has no qualms about executing the sneak attack, catching us off guard and by surprise. How seriously are you taking the call to be on the alert at all times, resisting Satan’s temptations and boldly obeying God’s will? Trust Christ for both radar and resistance.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 30). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 22 Service as Worship

Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Romans 12:1

When many people think of worship, they envision stained–glass windows and pipe organs. But in the Bible, the same word that is used to describe worship also means service.

The greatest worship you ever render to God is to serve Him. For Paul, service meant a total commitment.

Paul wrote to Timothy, “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience” (2 Tim. 1:3). Paul was saying that you could look deep inside him and see that he served God with his entire being. Paul’s service was an act of worship. It was deep, genuine, and honest. That is the real measure of true spirituality. The only way to serve God is with total commitment.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 33). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.