Daily Archives: January 29, 2018

January 29 Exalting Christ

“[God] seated [Christ] at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:20).

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Christ occupies the highest place of power, prominence, authority, and honor.

To exalt someone is to elevate that person in status, dignity, power, and honor. As God, Jesus possesses all power and authority and is deserving of all honor and glory. But when He was on earth, most people refused to give Him the glory He deserved. Instead they mocked and eventually murdered Him.

Just prior to His death, Jesus prayed to the Father, “Glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5). The Father answered that prayer by giving Him an exalted name and an exalted position.

Paul wrote, “God highly exalted [Christ], and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9–11).

Hebrews 1:3 adds that when Christ had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Old Testament priests didn’t sit down while on duty because their work was never finished. Repeated sacrifices were necessary because of the priest’s own sins and the sins of the people. Christ, on the other hand, made one all-sufficient sacrifice, then sat down. His atoning work was completed.

The “right hand” of God is a metaphor for the highest place of power, prominence, authority, and honor. From that exalted position Christ reigns as the Sovereign Lord of the universe.

There’s one aspect of Christ’s exaltation that we as believers can participate in right now. David said, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Ps. 34:3). Psalm 99:5 adds, “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool.” Be generous in praising Him today, for He is worthy!

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Read Psalm 34 and exalt the Lord for all the benefits He demonstrates on behalf of His people.

For Further Study: Read Colossians 3:1–4. ✧ Describe your position in Christ (vv. 1, 3). ✧ What should be the focus of your life (v. 2)? ✧ When ultimately will God vindicate your faith in Christ (v. 4)? ✧ What must you do to be exalted by God (see James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6)?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 41). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

JANUARY 29 DISCIPLESHIP: SAYING GOODBYE TO WORLD’S TOYS

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: …he shall receive the crown of life, which the LORD hath promised….

JAMES 1:12

There is one kind of human suffering which can be known only to the believing Christian, and that is voluntary suffering deliberately and knowingly incurred for the sake of Jesus Christ!

Such voluntary suffering displayed among us in these times is a luxury, a treasure of fabulous value, a source of riches beyond the power of the mind to conceive. And it is rare as well as precious, for there are few in this decadent age who will of their own choice go down into this dark mine looking for jewels.

But of their own choice it must be, for there is no other way to get down. God will not force us into this kind of suffering; He will not lay this cross upon us nor embarrass us with riches we do not want.

Some riches are reserved for those who apply to serve in the legion of the expendables, who love not their lives unto the death, who volunteer to suffer for Christ’s sake and who follow up their application with lives that challenge the devil and invite the fury of hell.

Such as these have said goodbye to the world’s toys; they have chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God. They have accepted toil and suffering as their earthly portion.

But where are they? Has this breed of Christian died out of the earth? Have the saints of God joined the mad scramble for security?

Are we now afraid to suffer and unwilling to die?

I hope not—but I wonder. And only God has the answer![1]


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

January 29, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

Two Republican senators called on their party to return funds received from billionaire Steve Wynn, who stepped down Saturday as Republican National Committee finance chairman amid allegations of sexual harassment.

At 2:57 a.m. on Friday morning in Tokyo, someone hacked into the digital wallet of Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc. and pulled off one of the biggest heists in history. Three days later, the theft of nearly $500 million in digital tokens is still reverberating through virtual currency markets and policy circles around the world. The episode has heightened calls for stricter oversight at a time when many governments are struggling to formulate a response to the digital-asset boom.

The sun never sets on China’s trade and infrastructure ambitions. With the addition of the Arctic and Latin America last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative has become truly global. Only the U.S., its neighbor Canada and ally Japan have yet to be included in the plan, which seeks to build or upgrade a network of highways, railways, ports and pipelines.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will travel to Tokyo for his country’s first joint summit with Japan and South Korea since 2015, the clearest sign yet of improving ties between the three neighbors.

Czech President Milos Zeman, an ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, won a second term after warning voters that sheltering Muslim immigrants would bring terrorism to a country divided over its place in the European Union.

The conservative political network led by billionaires Charles and David Koch plans to spend close to $400 million on policy and politics during the two-year election cycle that culminates with November’s midterm elections, a roughly 60 percent increase over 2015-16.

U.S. regulators and the wireless industry are pushing back against a plan under discussion by the Trump administration to build a secure 5G network — possibly with government control — amid concerns about China and cybersecurity.

It’s to be expected that Elon Musk and his colleagues will want to toast the first launch of SpaceX’s new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, after more than five years of delays. NASA has sold out $195 tickets to a viewing party featuring a champagne toast and a commemorative glass. The Falcon Heavy-the most powerful operational rocket in the world-could launch for the first time as soon as Feb. 6.

AP Top Stories

Four people are dead after a gunman opened fire at a car wash roughly 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh early Sunday, officials said. Police initially reported five fatalities, but lowered the death toll to four during a news conference Sunday afternoon. They noted that the shooter was on life support but not expected to survive.

Floodwaters have reached a peak in Paris and are now threatening towns downstream along the rain-engorged Seine River.

A bomb hidden in an ambulance killed at least 95 people and wounded about 158 in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday when it blew up at a police checkpoint in a busy part of the city that was crowded with pedestrians.

A heat map published on the Internet by fitness tracking company Strava may have been inadvertently giving away sensitive secrets. An Australian student used the service to reveal the locations and activities of soldiers at U.S. military bases.

Fourteen soldiers were killed and 18 wounded on Saturday in an attack on their camp in Mali’s restive north, the army said, while military sources told AFP jihadists were responsible.

The U.S. has delivered the last batch of Black Hawk helicopters for Jordan’s rapid deployment force to bolster border defenses and engage in cross-border operations against Islamic militants.

Philippine policemen resumed visits to the homes of drug suspects to encourage them to reform, despite an acknowledgement from their chief that corrupt officers have abused the program.

President Donald Trump will continue to travel in luxury when he gets two new refrigerators for Air Force One that will cost taxpayers nearly $24 million. There are five units total on each plane, which can store more than 3,000 meals, according to Defense One.

Police are appealing for witnesses following Britain’s first “Bitcoin heist,” in which a trader was held at gunpoint and ordered to transfer the cryptocurrency.

The bodies of three of the crew of the Sanchi, the tanker involved in the worst oil ship disaster in decades off the coast of China, have been identified.

BBC

An expected US report that could sanction Kremlin-linked oligarchs is an attempt to influence Russia’s March presidential election, Moscow has said.

Thousands of people have reportedly been left homeless after fire swept through a Kenyan slum on Sunday evening, killing at least four. Fire engines which turned up to help did not have enough water.

WND

A group called the Satanic Temple is boasting of a “historic win for abortion rights,” citing a comment in court by Missouri’s solicitor general that ultrasounds are not required to obtain an abortion in the state.

Florida ranks dead last when it comes to rating the best states in the nation. Michigan ranks No. 1, the very best state in the union. Thrillist’s Definitive and Final Ranking of All 50 States list ranked the states “based on everything.” Specifically, the states’ contributions to America, like inventions, food and drink, “somewhat productive famous people,” and unique physical beauty, among other things.

Inserted in a sweeping House bill introduced earlier this month called Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 is the establishment of a new biometric National ID card for all Americans that has privacy activists sounding alarms.

The Briefing — Monday, January 29, 2018

1) Planned Parenthood loses its leader in pushing the culture of death

New York Times (Amy Chozick) –
Cecile Richards on Her Life After Planned Parenthood

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse –
Sasse Statement on Cecile Richards

2) Reality sets in among Americans on question of LGBT rights

Washington Post (Alyssa Rosenberg) –
In three years, LGBT Americans have gone from triumph to backlash

3) Lament over divorcing sex from love falls tragically short

Washington Post (Gracy Olmstead) –
Divorcing sex from love hasn’t made sex more fun, more safe or less complicated

4) Florida legislators consider bill declaring pornography a public health problem

AP (Brendan Farrington) –
Florida could declare porn a health threat


News – 1/29/2018

Democrat hits Pelosi over ‘make America white again’ comment
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is under friendly fire from a fellow Democrat for her response to President Trump’s immigration plan that she called a blue print to “make America white again.” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., who was on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ said we “don’t need that type of rhetoric on either side, from Nancy,

The Latest: Turkey arrests hundreds over its Syria offensive
Turkish officials say authorities have detained 311 people for allegedly engaging in “terrorist propaganda” through social media postings critical of Turkey’s military offensive into the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin. The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has criticized the detentions as the Turkish government’s “witch hunt against critics.”

Dershowitz to Obama: Don’t associate with bigots, anti-Semites
‘He called Judaism a gutter religion – he is a horrible human being’ says Dershowitz of Farrakhan after ties with Obama revealed.

Hezbollah official warns terror group can destroy Israeli army
Hezbollah has called an article written by IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis and published on Lebanese opposition websites “provocative words published by a coward.” “The article is nonsense and a provocation that is published by someone who is a coward,” Hajj Muhammad Raad, the head of Hezbollah’s “Loyalty to Resistance” Lebanese Parliamentary bloc, wrote on the Ahewar website.

Netanyahu to tell Putin: Iran trying to turn Lebanon into ‘missile factory’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for a one-day trip to Moscow Monday morning where he said he will speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin about Iran’s efforts to turn Lebanon into “one big missile site.” Before boarding his plane, Netanyahu said that Israel is “not willing to tolerate” Lebanon being turned into a site for the manufacture of precision missiles to be used against it.

EU and Norway to hold urgent meeting on Israeli-Palestinian crisis
The European Union and Norway plan to hold an urgent meeting…Wednesday to address the Palestinian funding crisis, Gaza and the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. “In an effort to support the peace process and address the dire situation in Gaza, Norway and the EU will convene an extraordinary session of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) on January 31 at the ministerial level,” UN Special Coordinator…Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council…

Lang’ata fire: ‘Not enough water’ to tackle Kenya blaze
Thousands of people have reportedly been left homeless after fire swept through a Kenyan slum on Sunday evening, killing at least three. Residents used sewage water in a desperate attempt to douse the flames which had engulfed their homes in the Lang’ata area of the capital, Nairobi. The MP for the area, Nixon Korir, said fire engines which turned up to help did not have enough water.

Afghanistan conflict: Deadly attack on Kabul military post
Militants have killed at least 11 soldiers in an attack on an army post in Kabul, the fourth major assault in a surge of violence in just over a week. Sixteen other soldiers were injured in the raid near the main military academy in the west of the Afghan capital. Four militants were killed, a defence ministry spokesman told the BBC. A fifth was arrested. Islamic State (IS) militants claimed the assault.

French floods: Seine river reaches peak in flood-hit Paris
The swollen River Seine in the French capital, Paris, has peaked at about four metres above its normal water level for the time of year. The flood level rose to 5.84m (19.2ft) early on Monday and is not expected to begin receding before Tuesday. Weeks of rainfall have produced a relentless rise in the water level.

Stockton Gets Ready to Experiment With Universal Basic Income
Wage stagnation. Rising housing prices. Loss of middle-class jobs. The looming threat of automation. These are some of the problems facing Stockton and its residents, but the city’s mayor, Michael Tubbs, says his city is far from unique. “I think Stockton is absolutely ground zero for a lot of the issues we are facing as a nation,” Tubbs said.

White House Is Planning To Nationalize 5G Network: Report
In a stunning – if accurate – report published Sunday night, Axios claims that White House national security officials are considering an unprecedented federal takeover of a portion of the nation’s mobile spectrum/network to protect against Chinese attacks, in what may well be a pre-emptive shot, hinting at upcoming trade wars between the two superpowers.

Paving way for Syrian peace: Sochi hosts National Dialogue Congress, hoped to boost Geneva talks
Sochi is hosting a forum on Syria’s future, bringing together representatives of the country’s various social strata. The Congress is expected to boost the peace process and kick-start efforts to draft a new constitution. The Syrian National Dialogue Congress is to start in the Russian resort city of Sochi on Monday. The event is expected to last for two days, the main negotiations taking place on Tuesday. The Congress is sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran,…

Google knows everything, but …
Google prides itself in accumulating everything worth knowing so that it can help you get the information you need at a moment’s notice. But, if you want to stump Google Home, try this: Ask who Jesus is. David Sams of Nashville tried, and Google Home’s response was: “I don’t think I can help you with that.” How about Jesus Christ – possibly the most familiar name in the world? “I don’t think I can help you with that.” How about God: “I don’t think I can help you with that.”

Hezbollah official warns terror group can destroy Israeli army
“Israel should not act foolishly and complicate itself in a war that will be destructive for it. Hezbollah is stronger today and has capabilities that can destroy the Israeli Army. Israel today has become a regional and international isolationist, and the media spins that come out of it are meant to cover up its distress, because it wants to present itself as strong,” he continued.

ANALYSIS: As PA escalates conflict with U.S., France steps in
Abbas even went to France to convince Macron to take over the US role. Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS)told the Palestinian leader he would get a non-contiguous state with only limited sovereignty and without Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinian leadership furthermore was expected to relinquish the so-called right of return, according to the NYT.

Photo of Obama and Anti-Semitic Farrakhan Surfaces After 13 Years of Being Suppressed
In 2005, when Barack Obama was still an Illinois senator, a journalist snapped a photo of him with Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam movement, a notorious anti-Semite. The Trice Edney News Wire published the photo that was taken by Askia Muhammad at a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus. Muhammad also reported that followers of the Nation of Islam worked in Obama’s campaign office.

The Doomsday Clock is now just 2 minutes to ‘midnight,’ the symbolic hour of the apocalypse
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advanced the symbolic Doomsday Clock a notch closer to the end of humanity Thursday, moving it ahead by 30 seconds after what the organization called a “grim assessment” of the state of geopolitical affairs. “As of today,” Bulletin president Rachel Bronson told reporters, “it is two minutes to midnight” — as close as the world has ever been to the hour of apocalypse.

The flu can be spread just by breathing, new study finds
…the flu may be spread just by breathing. That’s the major takeaway from a new University of Maryland study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the study, researchers captured the flu virus in the exhaled breath of 142 people with confirmed cases of the flu while they breathed naturally, spoke, coughed, and sneezed. The researchers found that a significant number of flu patients regularly exhaled the virus via aerosol particles that were small enough to cause a risk of airborne transmission. About 48 percent of the 23 fine aerosol samples the researchers collected when people breathed but didn’t cough had detectable levels of the flu, and most of those were infectious.

FBI’s Strzok and Page spoke of ‘secret society’ after Trump election, lawmakers say
“We learned today about information that in the immediate aftermath of [Trump’s] election, that there may have been a secret society of folks within the Department of Justice and the FBI — to include Page and Strzok — that would be working against him,” Gowdy said the “secret society” reference occurred the day after Trump won the presidential election in November 2016.

Diphtheria Is Rare These Days — But Not In The Rohingya Refugee Camps In Bangladesh
Diphtheria poses one more threat to already beleaguered Rohingya refugees. The outbreak started in the sprawling camps in Bangladesh in November soon after hundreds of thousands of Rohingya arrived. It appeared to have peaked around New Year’s but now there is renewed concern as the potentially fatal disease continues to spread.

SHOCK VIDEO: The Islamic Caliphate Has Relaunched The African Slave Trade, But CNN Won’t Tell You
Alex Jones presents a video of African migrants being held against their will as slaves for a re-emerging Islamic Caliphate that seeks to relaunch their old African slave trade in the modern age.


No More War Movies: Leftists Angry Post-9/11 Movie ’12 Strong’ Promotes ‘Toxic Masculinity’
The film is about heroes, but like many modern examples of American military might, it has triggered those on the far left, some of whom are now insisting that in the post-#MeToo era,Hollywood abandon films about war because they promote “backwards” ideas and “glorify outdated models of masculinity.”

‘Police state’ national ID card tucked in major bill
Inserted in a sweeping House bill introduced earlier this month called Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 is the establishment of a new biometric National ID card for all Americans that has privacy activists sounding alarms.

Byron York: House Intel meets Monday and could vote on memo release — is Jeff Sessions softening his stance?
The House Intelligence Committee meets at 5 p.m. Monday in the Capitol. The meeting will give the committee its first opportunity to vote on the question of releasing the so-called “FISA abuse” memo that has captured Washington’s attention in recent days. Since the GOP holds a 13 to 9 advantage on the committee, the overwhelming likelihood is that if there is a vote, the panel will decide, along party lines, to release the memo.

Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama Emails: Key to Lack of Clinton Indictment
From the first, these columns have argued that the whitewash of the Hillary Clinton–emails caper was President Barack Obama’s call — not the FBI’s, and not the Justice Department’s. (See, e.g., here, here, and here.) The decision was inevitable. Obama, using a pseudonymous email account, had repeatedly communicated with Secretary Clinton over her private, non-secure email account.

George Soros Declares War On President Trump and His Supporters
George Soros, the Godfather of the left, has started into motion the seeds for a racial gencide for White America. He is promoting racial violence in America on an unprecedented scale. He is the driving force behind the sedition that is CALEXIT. Soros is even biting the hands that feed him.

Experts Warn China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative Seeks to Undermine US-Led World Order
…The “Belt and Road Initiative,” or “BRI,” as Western experts call it, is Chinese President Xi Jinxing’s plan to build roads — literally and figuratively — across Central Asia to Western Europe, in a bid to further integrate their economies.

Israel warns the world, Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal allows Iran to produce 200 bombs
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells World Economic Forum in Davos that deal gives “pre-eminent terrorist state of our time” the ability to produce nuclear bombs, says Israel “won’t let that happen” • Expounds new model of Palestinian self-governance.

The Big Wobble: A mag 6.2 – Russia rocks the Pacific ring again! It’s now 6 major quakes and 6 extremely active volcanoes in the last 7 days: Disaster imminent?
The mag 6.2 – 38km NE of Nikol’skoye, Russia this morning is yet another major quake on the Pacific rim, the 6th in the last 8 days, see above, add to it the 6 most active volcanoes and it’s easy to see the Pacific ring of fire is bursting at the moment. With the Mayon volcano in Indonesia and the Kadova Island volcano Papua New Guinea expecting imminent explosions and three major quakes in 24 hours including the powerful Alaskan quake something big could be in the offing.

50,000 Now Dead From Flu Outbreak: Mainstream Media Blackout
A major cover-up regarding the true scale of the flu outbreak has been revealed as almost 50,000 American have now died this season, according to reports.

FBI takes on ‘Islamophobia’: White nationalism seen as bigger threat than jihadism
…The only religion attacking, subjugating and slaughtering members of other religions en masse is Islam. The religion attacking other religions is Islam. Yet FBI agents learn nothing of this, and do nothing to alert the public about it. Gender apartheid, creed apartheid, cultural annihilation, jihad wars, and enslavement are raging across the world, and the FBI proselytizes for Islam. This is the work of Obama that President Trump most urgently needs to undo.

Washington State Will No Longer Require Birthplace on Drivers License Application
Washington State will no longer require drivers to reveal where they were born, a move that comes following a story published in the Seattle Times uncovering the department’s policy of providing photos and driver’s-license applications to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Report: Koch-Backed AFP to Spend $400M in 2018 Cycle, the Most Ever
Americans for Prosperity said Saturday that its network would spend more than $400 million on conservative causes and candidates during the 2018 midterm election cycle — 60 percent more than during the 2016 presidential election period.

MID-DAY SNAPSHOT

JAN. 29, 2018

Hillary Clinton, the Faux Feminist

She again exposes her hypocrisy on standing against sexual abuse, because for her, it’s about power.

THE FOUNDATION

“Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason.” —Benjamin Franklin (1735)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: January 29

  • Global Stocks Start 2018 With a Roar (Read More)
  • Challenged on all fronts, Britain’s May faces pressure over Brexit law (Read More)
  • Governments Worry That Cryptocurrencies Could be the ‘Next Swiss Bank Account’ (Read More)
  • U.S. Spending Rises in December; Saving Rate Lowest Since 2005 (Read More)
  • Trump security team sees building U.S. 5G network as option (Read More)
  • All Signs Point to Big Democratic Wins in 2018 (Read More)
  • U.S. Companies Brace for Wider Oversight of Chinese Deals (Read More)
  • The Follower Factory: how celebs buy twitter followers (Read More)
  • U.S. authorities due to make arrests in futures ‘spoofing’ probe (Read More
  • North Korea, Under Sanctions Strain, Dials Back Military Exercises (Read More)
  • First Lady’s Military Flights Before Washington Move Cost More Than $675,000 (Read More)
  • Why Canada is the next frontier for shale oil (Read More)
  • SpaceX’s New Beast of a Rocket Is Go for Launch (Read More)
  • Japan raps Coincheck, orders broader checks after $530 million cryptocurrency theft (Read More)
  • How Apple Built a Chip Powerhouse to Threaten Qualcomm and Intel (Read More)
  • AutoNation Just Decided to Stop Caring About Pot Smoking (Read More)
  • London’s Bankers Haven’t Been This Gloomy Since 2008 (Read More)
  • U.N. employees in Gaza hold protest strike over U.S. aid cut (Read More)
  • Hung out to dry twice, Tennessee city stumped by Trump’s washer tariffs (Read More)
  • British Lords Get Ready to Disrupt Brexit (Read More)
  • VW faces inquiry call over diesel fumes test on monkeys (Read More)

Headlines – 1/29/2018

EU and Norway to hold urgent meeting on Israeli-Palestinian crisis

Greenblatt holds ‘very productive’ meeting with Netanyahu on peace talks

US peace team led by Jared Kusher ‘very able’ due to real estate background, Netanyahu says

Maher Defends Jerusalem Decision: When You Win Wars You Take Land, Palestine A “Coiled Snake”

German president pushes back against US Jerusalem recognition

Jordan’s Abdullah affirms support for Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem

Abbas invites African nations to join in peace process

As PA escalates conflict with U.S., France steps in

Greenblatt tours Gaza border tunnel, slams Hamas

Trump’s Mideast envoy slams Hamas for ‘wasting resources’ on terror

In historic first, India’s Modi to visit Palestinian territories

Airlines pull international flights from Israel for lack of security personnel

PM: Israel won’t tolerate Poland ‘distorting truth or re-writing history’

Polish president seeks to reassure Israel over law that criminalizes linking Poles to Holocaust crimes

In ‘striking exception,’ anti-Semitic incidents soar in Ukraine, report says

Report: Ukraine had more anti-Semitic incidents than all former Soviet countries combined

PM Netanyahu: ‘Iran trying to turn Lebanon into large missile silo’

Netanyahu to meet Putin in Moscow, discuss Israel’s right to act against Syria arms smuggling

Hezbollah may use suicide ships in next war, former naval officer warns

Assad threatens: ‘Attack again, and I’ll launch a missile at Ben Gurion airport’

Heavy fighting resumes in Syria’s eastern Ghouta

UN envoy to attend Syria peace talks despite boycott

Syria escalation: Turkey’s vendetta against the Kurds

Female Kurdish Fighter Kills Turkish Troops in Likely Suicide Bombing in Syria

Erdogan: Turkey will ‘clean’ Syrian border of Kurds

Turkey: No Longer a Friend but Not a Foe

New ISIS Video Sings to U.S. Jihadists: ‘It is Now Time to Rise, Slit Their Throats, Watch Them Die’

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to meet on Monday for Nile dam talks

Egyptians urged to boycott elections after candidates’ withdrawals

Afghanistan military school assault leaves multiple soldiers dead, officials say

Kabul on high alert after ambulance bomb toll tops 100

Iran spends billions on weapons programs, terrorism while ignoring Iranians’ basic needs, report finds

‘Halal’ internet means more control in Iran after unrest

Saudi’s Kingdom Holding shares soar after Prince Alwaleed freed

Fitness tracking app Strava gives away location of secret US army bases

Beverly Hills to install more than 600 TV cameras around city in effort to curb crime

Musicians Add ‘Counterterrorism Briefing’ to Pre-Grammy Schedule

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits Southwest of Africa

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Albardon, Argentina

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits Southwest of Africa

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Vinchina, Argentina

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits Southwest of Africa

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Mayon volcano in the Philippines erupts to 17,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,500ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 11,000ft

Rare snow blankets Saudi Arabia mountain top

Iranians prayed for rain, but got dumped with snow

Israel Is Approaching a Severe Water Crisis

Cape Town’s Jews weigh in on looming water crisis

Thomas Kidd – When Christians Began Speaking of ‘the’ Antichrist

Elizabeth Sachs – Larry Nassar, the church, and the culture of abuse

Ray Yungen – Contemplative Prayer or the Holy Spirit – It Can’t Be Both

Mike Bickle’s Bible Botching

Todd White Promises All Sexually Transmitted Diseases Will be Healed at Awaken the Dawn

NAR Publisher Larry Sparks: “We Need to Be ‘Weird’ Again”

Super blood moon APOCALYPSE: Bible prophecy predicts ‘return of Messiah and end of days’

Church of England Urges ‘Unconditional Affirmation of Trans People … Within the Church’

Is the Current Influenza Outbreak a Sign of the End Times?

Posted: 28 Jan 2018 12:08 PM PST

Is the Current Influenza Outbreak a Sign of the End Times?Towards the end of the age, Revelation describes the four horsemen, who symbolize the terrible events, that will plague the earth just before the return of Jesus Christ. Revelation 6 describes each horse, and each horse has a specific color and symbol, with a meaning that is explained further by looking at Matthew 24. The white horse symbolizes religious deception; the red horse, warfare; the black horse, famine; and the pale horse, death.

The fourth horseman (Revelation 6:7–8), the pale horse, comes after famine in Matthew 24, where Jesus Christ mentions pestilences—disease epidemics (Matthew 24:7). The pale horse is symbolic of the pestilences (the definition of the word, pestilence, used in Matthew 24:7 is: a contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating) that will plague the earth just before the return of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, the Greek word translated “pale” is chlōros, a greenish color, likely describing either a sickly appearance or the color of decaying flesh. This pale horse will ravage one-quarter of the earth by violence, hunger and “the beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:8)—A surprising fact is that 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are transmitted from animals (beasts of the earth) to humans. In recent years we have seen swine flu (from pigs), avian flu (from birds) and Ebola virus (from primates).

With today’s population, we can figure out that these calamities will kill over 1.5 billion people! Given the modern medical technology we have available today, this may seem impossible, yet warnings of devastating global epidemics are appearing with increasing frequency…CONTINUE

School Board Member Concerned After Homework Assignment Claims Christians, Muslims Worship Same God

Posted: 28 Jan 2018 12:00 PM PST

School Board Member Concerned After Homework Assignment Claims Christians, Muslims Worship Same God“Do you know what your children are being taught: Muslims believe in the same God as Christians and Jews?” That’s the question a school board member in Illinois recently posted online after her daughter came home with an assignment that included an article claiming that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Jeannette Ward of the U46 School Board posted the text of the assignment to her social media page to show others the kinds of messages that are being presented to students, and to outline why she voted no on the curriculum the previous year.

“Judaism, Christianity and Islam are three of the world’s major religions. While they have many differences, they all believe in the same God,” the assignment read. “In each religion, God is ‘revealed’ by a chosen messenger, called a prophet. Some of the prophets that Jews follow were Noah, Abraham and Moses. Christians follow these prophets too. They also think that Jesus was another prophet of the same God,” it stated. “Later, Muhammad founded Islam by declaring himself a prophet. He said he was the next in the same line of prophets. He also said that he would be the last.” READ MORE

Two Huge Earthquakes Strike Atlantic

Posted: 28 Jan 2018 11:43 AM PST

Two Huge Earthquakes Strike AtlanticTwo strong earthquakes measuring magnitudes of 6.5 and 5.0 have struck the same region of the Atlantic Ocean, sparking assurances a tsunami is not expected. The two earthquakes struck in the same region of the ocean around 1300 miles from the southern coast of South Africa. The first struck at 2.03pm GMT and registered 6.5. The US tsunami warning center said there was no threat to the east coast of America

or Canada. They said: “There is no tsunami danger for the U.S. east coast, the Gulf of Mexico states, or the eastern coast of Canada. “Based on earthquake information and historic tsunami records, the earthquake is not expected to generate a tsunami.” The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued an alert assuring those living in the Caribbean a tsunami was not expected. READ MORE

Is the Great Deception Here?

Posted: 28 Jan 2018 11:37 AM PST

Is the Great Deception Here?(Bu Hal Lindsey) Some call it fake news. Jesus called it deception. When His disciples asked about the signs of the last days, Jesus began by giving His followers this warning: “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:4).

We live in an age of deception – fake news, false advertising, viral lies and clickbait. The mainstream media perpetrate falsehoods regularly, as do various alternative media. But one of the major sources of 21st-century deception can be found in an unlikely place: our schools. For instance, the U.S. Department of Education urges all public schools to teach Islam.

It’s really just thinly veiled propaganda, though they would certainly not use that word. The DoE says schools should teach Islam “to create an anti-bias learning environment.” Many regularly teach the religious doctrine that God and Allah are the same. Forget the “separation of church and state” arguments for the moment. This one teaching alone is a form of gross – and deadly – deception. And the deception is being inculcated in our malleable children, by order of the state! READ MORE

 

Miracle ‘River of Hail’ collectively fills some dams to the point of overflowing in drought-stricken Northern Cape, South Africa

Posted: 28 Jan 2018 11:21 AM PST

Miracle ‘River of Hail’ collectively fills some dams to the point of overflowing in drought-stricken Northern Cape, South AfricaMany citizens are resigning themselves to dry dams and a complete shutdown of their taps in Cape Town, South Africa. But, as we’ve seen in the Northern Cape, it may not be time to rule out a miracle just yet. Over the weekend, the city of Sutherland heavy rainfalls and biblical hailstorms battered the town with some places receiving between 100 – 150cm of rain in 48 hours. These unprecedented storms were enough to collectively fill some dams in the Northern Cape to the point of overflowing and create icebergs in the resulting flash floods.

The miracle “River of hail” has to be seen to be believed: The NC territory is experiencing an unprecedented drought just like its neighbor to the south. Rainfall between September to December has been almost non-existent for the last three years in NC. Sutherland was one town in the province that had been hit badly by the lesser-known water crisis. So imagine their relief when, dams that were reportedly almost empty, were saved by the mother of all freak weather patterns. READ MORE

Animals freeze solid in Kazakhstan after temperatures drop to minus 68F

Posted: 28 Jan 2018 11:11 AM PST

Animals freeze solid in Kazakhstan after temperatures drop to minus 68FThe weather is completely going out of control. Look at this poor dog, hare, and cat. Yes, it was so cold in Kazakhstan a few days ago that animals and even humans froze solid as temperatures drop to minus 68F.

The Hare: The hare was trapped while climbing through a fence before dying in the arctic conditions and its body had to be pulled free by locals. FULL STORY 

Earthquake rocks Japan as Ring of Fire remains on High Alert

Posted: 27 Jan 2018 12:43 PM PST

Earthquake rocks Japan as Ring of Fire remains on High AlertJapan has been rocked by an earthquake as the Pacific Ring of Fire remains on alert following a geologically chaotic week for the region. The earthquake registered 5.1 magnitudes at struck at a depth of 37 miles off the east coast of Honshu. The Japan earthquake struck 46 miles from the town of Miyako, which is home to more than 50,000 people. Morioka-shi, home to nearly 300,000 people, is 73 miles from the epicenter.

It comes after a week of chaos in the region, with a volcanic eruption sparking a fatal avalanche in Japan earlier this week. The Pacific Ring of Fire is the most geologically active area in the world with more than 90 percent of earthquakes occurring here, as well as 22 or the 25 biggest volcanic eruptions in history. The volatility on the Pacific Ring of Fire this week has increased fears for the Big One: a major earthquake in a highly-populated area on the US west coast or in Japan. READ MORE

More than 50,000 deaths expected from Flu Season from Hell!

Posted: 27 Jan 2018 12:36 PM PST

More than 50,000 deaths expected from Flu Season from Hell!Children returning to school after the winter holidays appear to be sharing more than just their new toys. They are driving influenza infections to levels not seen since the swine flu pandemic of 2009, public health officials said. By the time this flu season is over, experts said, more than 50,000 Americans will be dead. While the year’s flu activity is actually starting to cool in some regions, it remains high across most of the country and is gaining in other areas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mortality rates, which trail infections, spiked sharply, with seven additional children dying from the

infection over the past week, said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald. Thus far, 37 children have died as a resistant strain of the virus dominates the season. The government said that number may double before its over. “This rapid increase in cases that we have been seeing is after the winter holidays, and while it’s among all ages, it’s higher in children,” said Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “It looks like a big part of the later January activity is flu transmission from kids returning to school.” READ MORE

Schools Close in 11 States as Flu Epidemic Spreads

Posted: 27 Jan 2018 12:30 PM PST

Schools Close in 11 States as Flu Epidemic SpreadsSchools in at least 11 states have closed as the worst flu epidemic in nearly a decade intensifies. The dominant strain of flu this season, H3N2, known for being particularly virulent, has resulted in the deaths of at least 37 children and is expected to cause more as the epidemic persists several more weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected on Friday.

Seven children died this week, authorities said. Hospitalizations, a predictor of the death rate, rose to 41.9 people per 100,000, up from 36.9 the week before. An estimated total number of deaths due to the flu won’t be available until next season, according to the CDC. Outpatient hospital visits by people with the flu have been skyrocketing for several weeks, and as of mid-January had surpassed every season except 2009-10, when a new strain of flu caused a global pandemic. READ MORE

Flu season worst since 2009 swine flu pandemic

Posted: 27 Jan 2018 12:25 PM PST

Flu season worst since 2009 swine flu pandemicFederal health officials warned Friday that this year’s flu outbreak is more severe than any other since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and that its intensity is still increasing. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a phone call with reporters that the number of people experiencing flu-like symptoms is increasing. Hospitalizations for influenza are also rising. What’s more, flu activity has stayed at the same level nationwide for about three weeks, said Dr. Dan Jernigan, the director of the CDC’s Influenza Division.

That sets it apart from many flu seasons, in which activity wanes in certain parts of the U.S. “We often see different parts of the country ‘light up’ at different times, but for the past 3 weeks, the entire country has been experiencing lots of flu, all at the same time,” he said. The deaths of seven children from the flu were reported to the CDC this week, bringing the total number of child deaths this flu season to 37, CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald said. READ MORE


What is The Gospel?


Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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


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January 29 Monday: Martin Luther’s Psalm

By James Boice on Jan 29, 2018 12:00 am

Almost everyone associates Martin Luther with the book of Romans, particularly Romans 1:17, “The just shall live by faith” (KJV). However, we forget that Luther was converted not only by his study of Romans, but also by his study of the Psalms. Luther taught the Psalms for years and loved them very much. His favorite was Psalm 46. It is said of Luther that there were times during the dark and dangerous periods of the Reformation when he was terribly discouraged and depressed.

Read more…

Young Teens and Social Media

Like all of us, teens are made to live in relationship. They are social, interested in peers, and looking for connection in the relationships they build. They are also growing in independence. For many, social media is newly available to them and it is tailor-made made for those who are just entering the social scene. It offers an easy way to connect with people and places a world of information at their fingertips. It can even offer community to those who are shy or more isolated and need a connection to the outside world.

However, this new way of relating can be dangerous to a teen who is unaware of its potential risks. Indiscriminate use of social media can have many negative impacts. It is addictive. It can create a felt need to always be “connected” for fear of missing out on something. Some teens will start to lose sleep and lose interest in other activities. Others will constantly create and recreate themselves online while feeling a false sense of security because of the perceived safety of an electronic screen. This might lead to a lack of discretion about what is okay to post and make them vulnerable to on-line bullying, sexting, and pornography. It can even increase the risk of victimization from online predators.

These problems are serious and, as parents, we need to be in ongoing conversations with our kids about them. Just like teaching a child to handle a stove, a bike, or a car, we must also prepare them to use social media well. We would never let a young child simply turn on a stovetop and begin playing with it, nor would we hand a 14-year-old the keys to a truck and expect them to have the knowledge, skill and good judgement to handle it. Likewise, we should not hand kids a smart phone or other connected device without first proactively shaping how they think about and interact with this new technology.

To start, talk with them about the biblical principle of stewardship. Remind them that we are called to be stewards of what God has created (Psalm 24:1). It is all his and we and are to use it faithfully to serve him. Explain that stewardship extends to all that man creates as well, including electronic devices. Help your kids form the way they view technology. Teach them about its benefits and potential dangers—it’s never too early. Much heartache is avoided when parents are involved in shaping their child’s view on this subject—rather than trying to debunk a wrong one.

Then, to keep the conversation going, develop a working knowledge and understanding of social media. Parents (and youth workers, and counselors) do not have the luxury of dismissing their ignorance as unimportant. What may not be of interest or value to you must become so for the sake of the well-being of our young people. In fact, being well-educated on social media will win you the respect of your children and help you avoid over-reacting or imposing unjustified restrictions when questions arise about specific apps.

Use that knowledge to monitor and limit their activities online. Teens have a false sense of security when hiding behind an electronic screen in the comfort of their own home. They presume they are safe and alone. It is a parent’s responsibility to be sure they actually are safe. Until a young person has the maturity, tools, and skill to protect themselves, it is a parent’s job to do so for them. This will not be met with excitement on your teen’s behalf. It means being on top of their activities. It means being called over-protective, and potentially being told you are “the only parent in school who does ______.”

Teach safety skills online. Personal information should never be requested or given out. Be aware of all sites and passwords your child has, and be willing to check on them regularly. Even if you trust your child’s online activity, be aware that there are others online with your son or daughter who are not trustworthy. Role play uncomfortable situations until your kids can articulate what is wrong with what is being asked of them and how they would handle it. Give “what if” questions to prepare them for the unexpected. “What if someone asked for personal information?” “What if you got a text from someone you didn’t know, what would you do?” “What if your girlfriend/ boyfriend sent you an inappropriate picture?” Make it an on-going conversation, one that does not instill fear but preparedness.

And finally, teach them personal responsibility and godly fidelity in whatever they doIn Colossians 3:23-24, Paul writes: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” We want to encourage young people to engage in daily life with godliness and the conviction that they are living for the approval of the Lord, not the applause of their friends.

Our children are growing up in a world that thrives on technology, and we must be faithful in helping them engage with it. As with many things, technology can be a useful tool and a source of enjoyment, connection, and education. It can also become an addiction, idol, or tool for malice. The more we build strong character in our children, and the more we actively teach them to steward technology, the more likely they are to handle it with skill and wisdom.

The post Young Teens and Social Media appeared first on Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation.

Don’t “Share Your Faith”

Code: B180129

Our postmodern culture gnashes its teeth at biblical evangelism. Their commitment to subjectivity and relativism cannot accommodate a religion that is exclusive, narrow, and declares non-negotiable truth. And that shouldn’t surprise us—Jesus told us to expect to be hated in the same way that He was (John 15:18).

Moreover, Scripture also warns against appeasing (James 4:4) or imbibing (Romans 12:2) the world’s values. But that’s easier said than done. We are called to separatism without monasticism—being in the world but not of the world. We can’t live our lives and engage our mission field without coming into contact with pagan culture.

For most of us it’s difficult to avoid marinating in the postmodern thinking of our friends, families, and colleagues. And we see signs of this even in the realm of evangelism.

The phrase “share your faith” is now deeply embedded in the evangelical vernacular. Most of us use it as a synonym for our evangelistic encounters, myself included. But those three words reek of postmodern subjectivity—a point not lost on John MacArthur:

It’s not your faith and you can’t share it. . . . That is a not-so-very subtle overture to the post-modern mentality that says my faith is my faith and I certainly would be happy to share it with you.

That’s not at all what we want to do. We want to explain the faith, the Christian faith, truth. And our greatest example for that is the Lord Jesus, who throughout His ministry presented the truth. . . . Jesus was relentlessly committed to the truth. He spoke the absolute truth into every situation. And either people accepted the truth, and rejected error, or they held tightly to their error and began to hate Jesus— because they saw what He was doing as an attack on them. And it was.

We don’t share it, we announce it. And it’s not your faith, it’s the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3 ESV). It is God’s gospel.

I rejoice that the Christian gospel rests on objective historical facts that transcend my own experiences or validation—God’s creation, man’s fall, and Christ’s redemption. I’ve watched in agony as Christians have vainly tried to duel with other religions and worldviews on the basis of personal experience. Those encounters rapidly degenerate into an endless subjective standoff. The experiential evangelist is powerless to refute someone’s experience with his own.

The truth of the biblical gospel crashes through all of those man-made barriers with God’s own written testimony. It doesn’t hinge on our personal skills or powers of persuasion. It is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Imposters Abound

Yet there remains no shortage of people willing to substitute “the power of God” with their own ideas and agendas. The prosperity gospel attempts to entice people into God’s kingdom through the offer of material riches. The gospel of Roman Catholicism offers salvation through religious hoops and human effort. The gospel of seeker-sensitivity hinges on their ability to attract people that don’t exist—seekers (Romans 3:11).

Meanwhile, proponents of the social gospel advocate charitable works and social causes as the redemptive answer for a world overrun with sin. While writing this article, I was alerted to a recent tweet posted by the political arm of an influential denomination. It simply said: “We are fulfilling the Great Commission when we welcome people from other nations to our country.” That is a blatant lie told by people who should know better! The Great Commission is a command to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28), not to roll out a welcome mat at border checkpoints.

Works of compassion are meant to adorn the gospel, not replace it. When other adjectives encroach on the gospel (i.e., social gospel, prosperity gospel, etc.), it’s often an indication that it is no gospel at all.

Measuring Success

Our worth as evangelists can only be measured by our faithfulness to the message we have been called to preach. We find ourselves in good biblical company when most people reject the message we proclaim. Noah, Jeremiah, and even the Lord Jesus Himself, had relatively few converts by the end of their earthly ministries. Yet they all excelled in the sole metric of success for evangelists—they never deviated from the message they were called to preach.

That remains our benchmark for evangelistic success as far as God is concerned. He has called us to preach the gospel, both “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). We are to present God’s holiness, prosecute sinners, proclaim Christ, and plead with all men to repent and believe the gospel. God will draw His elect (John 6:44), and Christ will continue to build His church (Matthew 16:18).

Preaching is our job and converting is God’s. Woe unto us if we ever confuse that simple point.

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180129
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January 29, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Mary’s Submission

And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (1:38)

In addition to the well-known story of Abraham and Sarah, Mary was familiar with another Old Testament account of a miraculous conception that must have come into her mind. First Samuel 1:1–2:10 records the story of Samuel’s birth to Hannah. In 1:10–11 Hannah, who was barren (1:2, 5), appealed to God for a son:

She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. She made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”

Like Hannah, who called herself God’s “maidservant,” Mary also saw herself as the bondslave of the Lord (cf. v. 48). The Greek word rendered bondslave (doulē, which always should be accurately translated “slave”) is the same one used in the Septuagint version of 1 Samuel 1:11, thus linking Mary’s submissive attitude to Hannah’s. Her humble response demonstrated Mary’s willing submission to God’s unfolding purpose. She saw herself as nothing more than His willing, humble slave, and responded by saying, “May it be done to me according to your word.” She did not ask about Joseph, who obviously would know that the baby was not his. Mary would thus have to face the stigma of unwed motherhood and the appearance of having committed adultery—the punishment for which was death by stoning [Deut. 22:13–21; Lev. 20:10; cf. John 8:3–5].) But in humble, obedient faith Mary willingly trusted God to vindicate her (cf. Matt. 1:19–25).

One of the Roman Catholic Church’s most egregious errors is its turning of this self-proclaimed humble slave of God into the exalted queen of heaven. Such worship of Mary, which would have appalled and horrified her, is nothing less than idolatry. There is no queen of heaven, only the true and eternal King (Pss. 29:10; 47:8; Dan. 4:37; cf. Matt. 11:25; Acts 17:24), the triune God.

Catholicism’s elevation of Mary finds no support in Scripture; the concept of the “queen of heaven” does appear in the Old Testament in connection with ancient pagan religion. The idea derives from Assyrian and Babylonian beliefs and practices prevalent during Jeremiah’s time in apostate Judah. Their idolatry caused God through the prophet to pronounce judgment on His people:

“As for you [Jeremiah], do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods in order to spite Me. Do they spite Me?” declares the Lord. “Is it not themselves they spite, to their own shame?” Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched.” (7:16–20)

The “queen of heaven” (v. 18) was the pagan goddess Ishtar (also called Ashtoreth and Astarte), the wife of Baal or Molech. Because those false deities symbolized fertility, worship of them also involved prostitution.

Later, God once again used Jeremiah to confront His rebellious people over this issue. Defiantly, they replied,

“As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! But rather we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths, by burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, just as we ourselves, our forefathers, our kings and our princes did in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food and were well off and saw no misfortune. But since we stopped burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have met our end by the sword and by famine.” “And,” said the women, “when we were burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and were pouring out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands that we made for her sacrificial cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her?” (44:16–19)

In response, the prophet solemnly warned them of God’s impending judgment:

Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including all the women, “Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, as follows: ‘As for you and your wives, you have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled it with your hands, saying, “We will certainly perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” Go ahead and confirm your vows, and certainly perform your vows!’ Nevertheless hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are living in the land of Egypt, ‘Behold, I have sworn by My great name,’ says the Lord, ‘never shall My name be invoked again by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “As the Lord God lives.” Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the sword and by famine until they are completely gone. Those who escape the sword will return out of the land of Egypt to the land of Judah few in number. Then all the remnant of Judah who have gone to the land of Egypt to reside there will know whose word will stand, Mine or theirs.’ ” (44:24–28)

To worship Mary as if she were the queen of heaven is to mix paganism with biblical truth and to blaspheme the true King of heaven. To proclaim that Mary is co-redemptrix and mediatrix of saving grace (cf. the discussion of Catholicism’s unbiblical view of Mary in chapter 4 of this volume), only compounds its false, syncretistic view of her.

Mary’s dramatic encounter with the angel Gabriel ended with this short, simple postscript: And the angel departed from her. His mission accomplished, Gabriel returned to the presence of God. The God-man was going to be born; the only begotten Son of God, Jesus, who would save His people from their sins, the divine Redeemer, the holy offspring, the divine King who will reign over a kingdom that will last forever.

This account demonstrates that God’s promises will be fulfilled, as they were in Mary’s life. It also reveals that the sovereign God accomplishes His purposes through His willing and obedient slaves, as He did through Mary. Without regard for the implications and potential risks, Mary faithfully rested in the sovereign purpose of her Savior and God. That is her true magnificence.

God is still doing His work today, if not through visible miracles, then spiritually through His people who trust Him (Isa. 26:3; cf. Prov. 29:25), obey His Word (Ps. 119:17, 67, 101; Matt. 7:24; Luke 11:28; James 1:25), and humbly submit as obedient slaves to His will (Josh. 24:24; Ps. 119:35; Eccles. 12:13; Phil. 2:12–13).[1]


38 Mary’s exemplary attitude of servanthood recalls that of Hannah when she was praying for a son (1 Sa 1:11, where the LXX also has doulē, “servant,” GK 1527). Nothing is said about the relation of Mary’s submission to her consciousness of the shame a premarital pregnancy could bring her. Her servanthood is not a cringing slavery but a submission to God that in OT times characterized genuine believers and that should characterize believers today (cf. v. 48). Understandably, Mary doubtless felt empathy with Hannah’s sense of being at the Lord’s disposal in a part of life over which a woman before modern times had little or no control. Mary’s trusting submission at this point in her life may be compared with her attitude toward her son later on (cf. Jn 2:5).[2]


1:38. In humble submission, Mary was now ready to serve God and follow his will. As pregnancy had lifted Elizabeth’s disgrace it would soon bring the virgin Mary disgrace. Both agreed to do what God required (see v. 25). With his mission accomplished, the angel left.[3]


38. Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be with me according to your word! Instead of “handmaid” some insist on the translation “slave.” Most translators and commentators have concluded that in the present context that rendering would not be felicitous.

This conclusion is based upon the fact that with the word slave we generally associate the ideas of forced subjection, involuntary service, and (frequently) harsh treatment. On the other hand, Mary’s final reaction was the very opposite. “May it be with me according to your word” reminds one of the humble and fully surrendered attitude of the “Servant” in Isaiah’s great “Servant” passages (42:1–9; 49:1–9a; 50:4–11; and 52:13–53:12). She is and is eager to be “the handmaid of the Lord,” ready to do his will and to be used for carrying out his purpose.

In view of the story recorded in Matt. 1:18, 19 this was not easy. Mary knew that becoming pregnant at this particular time, before her marriage to Joseph had been consummated, would expose her to painful criticism and ridicule; perhaps to something even worse (see Deut. 22:23 f.). But she made a complete surrender. She placed herself, body and soul, at the disposal of the God who loved her and who, by means of this promised pregnancy and childbirth, was bestowing upon her an inestimable blessing.

Gabriel’s mission had been fully accomplished. So we are not surprised to read: Then the angel left her.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2009). Luke 1–5 (pp. 60–62). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 61). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke (Vol. 3, p. 12). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, p. 90). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

JANUARY 29 A BELIEVING REMNANT

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Romans 11:5

What is God trying to do with His believing people?—the Bible calls us a remnant according to grace, believers taken out of the great, teeming swarm of so-called religious people in today’s world.

I am inclined to join others in wondering if the Lord is postponing His coming because He is trying to get His Bride ready.

For years it has been the popular idea in evangelical Christianity that the whole body of believers in Christ would rise like a flock of frightened birds when the Lord comes. But A.B. Simpson and William MacArthur and others in the past generation said, “Oh no! The Lord will take with Him those who are prepared and ready for His coming!”

I do not presume to give an answer satisfying to everyone in our churches. But I know that many Christians are too smug about this, saying in effect: “I am converted to Christ through grace, so I can live as I please!”

Of some things we cannot be dogmatic; but we know this for sure—God has no halfway house between heaven and hell where He takes us to fumigate us!

Dear Lord, today I pray for my pastor and my local church. Help us as a congregation not to be surprised on the day of Your return![1]


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

January 29 Jesus’ Authoritative Preaching

From that time Jesus began to preach.—Matt. 4:17a

Our Lord heralded the gospel message with certainty. His mission was not to dispute or argue with His opponents but to preach the truth of salvation. He did not merely proclaim certainties, but He did so with the utmost authority (cf. Matt. 7:29).

The scribes could not teach with authority because they had mingled so many man-made opinions and interpretations in with biblical truths that any sense of authority for them had long since disappeared. It was thus quite astounding when the people again heard one like Jesus preach with real authority, as the prophets had (cf. Matt. 7:28–29).

Jesus also preached precisely and only what His Father commissioned Him to proclaim, which no doubt gave added weight to His authority. He testified to this fact quite directly, “I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak” (John 12:49; cf. 3:34; 8:38).

Based on this divine authority, Christ sends us out into the world as His ambassadors by saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:18b–19a). All believers who are faithful witnesses for the gospel will proclaim God’s certain truth by His authority—and with His power.

ASK YOURSELF

The authority of Jesus that registered with the people of His day also had something to do with His authenticity. If people don’t show much respect for God and His Word today, how much of it is due to a lack of authenticity in His people? Pray that we would exude His grace-filled reality.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 37). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

January 29 The Pressure of Ministry

The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the fruits.

2 Timothy 2:6

A person who serves with his whole heart will be content only with spiritual fruit. Yet some will only be content with prestige, acceptance, or money.

In the past, Satan has tried to put that thought into my mind. At times he’s tried to make me question why I care about the people I minister to. His approach is to make me secure in the knowledge that I’m saved and going to heaven, that I’m well paid in a good job with a lot of security. But that is Satan’s lie.

It’s very easy to let Satan pressure you into settling for less than God’s best. When Satan plants thoughts like that in my head, my reaction is: I am not content to simply be taken care of or appreciated. What matters is bearing fruit. Make the focus of your ministry spiritual fruit.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 40). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

January 29, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

16:16 she pressed him. Delilah did precisely what Samson’s wife had done earlier (14:17). Samson’s weak character shows through again: he did not learn from his previous mistake, but yielded in both cases.[1]


16:16 his soul grew impatient to the point of death Delilah may have withheld sexual favors from Samson since he kept coming to her day after day.[2]


16:16 Delilah pestered him, just as Samson’s wife had done earlier (14:17). Samson’s foolishness prevented him from learning the lesson of his earlier experience.[3]


[1] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 466). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jdg 16:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] The NKJV Study Bible. (2007). (Jdg 16:16). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

JANUARY 29 TAKE YOUR COWBOY GOD

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

—Psalm 8:1

Christianity at any given time is strong or weak depending upon her concept of God. And I insist upon this and I have said it many times, that the basic trouble with the Church today is her unworthy conception of God. I talk with learned and godly people all over the country, and they’re all saying the same thing.

Unbelievers say, “Take your cowboy god and go home,” and we get angry and say, “They’re vile heathen.” No, they’re not vile heathen—or at least that’s not why they say that. They can’t respect our “cowboy god.” And since evangelicalism has gone overboard to “cowboy religion,” its conception of God is unworthy of Him. Our religion is little because our god is little. Our religion is weak because our god is weak. Our religion is ignoble because the god we serve is ignoble. We do not see God as He is….

A local church will only be as great as its conception of God. An individual Christian will be a success or a failure depending upon what he or she thinks of God. It is critically important that we have a knowledge of the Holy One, that we know what God is like. AOG041-042

Lord, help me to know You in all Your majesty and in all Your excellence. Help me then to portray to the world a God worth worshiping! Amen.[1]


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

January 29 Our Unity in Christ

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

Ephesians 4:5

✧✧✧

All Christians have a common Lord, common beliefs, and a common public testimony.

Yesterday we looked at what Christians have in common through the Spirit. Today’s verse teaches us what we share through Christ.

Christians have only “one Lord,” the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says, “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.” Paul says in Romans 10:12, “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all.”

Our “one faith” is simply the content of what the revealed Word of God tells us we are to believe. And the primary focus of the Scriptures is Christ. Though we have many denominations and congregations, there’s only one true Christian faith. This faith is what Jude refers to in verse 3 of his epistle: “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

Why then do churches differ so much in what they teach? Some of it comes from inadequate study or lack of diligence. Some is from unexamined tradition. The fundamental problem, though, is our humanness—we are fallen, fallible people, and that can color our understanding of Scripture. That’s why it’s so important we not hold too tightly to “our brand” of Christianity, but instead always think matters through biblically and discuss them courteously.

Christians also have “one baptism.” This does not refer to Spirit baptism because that was implied in Ephesians 4:4 with the words “one body.” (As 1 Corinthians 12:13 explains, we all were placed into the Body of Christ by the baptism of the Spirit.) “One baptism” in verse 5 refers to water baptism. When someone comes to believe in the only true Lord, he should be baptized as a public expression of his faith. Public baptism was an essential part of the early church’s testimony to the world. It is no less essential today.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for our Lord Jesus Christ, for our common Christian faith, and for our baptism, by which we identify ourselves with Christ and His people.

For Further Study: The church at Corinth did not understand our oneness as believers. Read Paul’s description of them in 1 Corinthians 1:10–17. What were the symptoms of their divisions? ✧ What did Paul command them to do? ✧ If there are divisions in your church, find ways that you can be a peacemaker.[1]


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

January 28 Daily Help

THE imagination will sometimes fly up to God with such a power that eagles’ wings cannot match it. It sometimes has such might that it can almost see the King in His beauty, and the land which is very far off. But if it is potent one way, it is another, for imagination has taken us down to the lowest plains of earth. But I rejoice and think of one thing, that I can cry out when this imagination comes upon me. So it is with the Christian. If he cries out, there is hope. Can you chain your imagination? No; but the power of the Holy Ghost can. Ah, it shall do it! and it does do it at last, it does it even on earth.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 32). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

January 28, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Invitation

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. (22:17)

There are two distinct invitations in this verse, delineated by the two exclamations, “Come.” The first part of the verse is a prayer addressed to Christ; the second part is an invitation addressed to sinners. The first part calls for Christ to come; the second part is the last call for sinners to come to faith in Christ.

To Jesus’ promise of His imminent return (vv. 7, 12, 20), the Holy Spirit, the third Member of the Trinity responds, “Come.” The text does not specify why the Spirit especially desires Jesus to return, but the rest of Scripture suggests both a negative and a positive reason.

Negatively, men and women throughout history have continually rejected, ignored, and denied Christ. They have mocked and blasphemed the work of the Spirit (Matt. 12:31), whose ministry is to point them to Christ (John 15:26; 16:8). Speaking of the wicked sinners before the Flood, God said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years” (Gen. 6:3). The stubborn, stiff-necked, hard-hearted Israelites provoked the Spirit repeatedly during their forty years of wilderness wandering (Heb. 3:7–8)—something they would continue to do throughout their history (cf. Neh. 9:30; Isa. 63:10; Acts 7:51). The sinful world’s blasphemous rejection of Jesus Christ will reach its apex during the Tribulation. That seven-year period will see Satan promote to power the two most vile and evil blasphemers who will ever live: the beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet. To those two wretched, demon-possessed sinners will go the dubious honor of being the first people cast into the final hell, the lake of fire (19:20).

Throughout the long, dark centuries of mankind’s sin and rebellion, the Spirit has worked to bring about conviction and repentance (cf. John 16:8–11). So when the Lord Jesus Christ says He is coming, the long-suffering, grieved, blasphemed Holy Spirit echoes, “Come.” He pleads with Christ to return, subdue His enemies, judge sinners, and end the Spirit’s long battle to produce conviction in stubborn, hard-hearted sinners.

On the positive side, it is the desire and ministry of the Spirit to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:14). But the last view the world had of Jesus was of Him on a cross between two criminals, rejected, despised, and mocked. The Spirit longs to see His fellow Member of the Trinity exalted in beauty, splendor, power, and majesty. That will happen when Christ returns in triumph at His second coming.

The Holy Spirit is not the only one who longs for Christ’s return. Echoing His plea for Christ to come is the bride (the church; see the discussion of 19:7 in chap. 14 of this volume). Throughout the centuries, God’s people have waited for, prayed for, hoped for, and watched for Christ’s return. They are weary of the battle against sin and long to see Jesus Christ exalted, glorified, and honored. They long for Him to return and take them to heaven to live with Him forever (John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:17). They long for the day when their perishable, mortal bodies will be transformed into their imperishable, immortal resurrection bodies (1 Cor. 15:53–54). They know that in that glorious day there will be no more sorrow, no more tears, no more crying, no more pain, and no more death. Rebellion will be swiftly dealt with; God and the Lamb will be glorified and will reign forever over the new heaven and the new earth.

Believers are, in the words of Paul, those “who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). It is incongruous for someone to claim to love Jesus Christ and not long for His return. Believers are destined for eternal fellowship with Him, and the anticipation of that fellowship should be their chief joy. The church will never be satisfied until it is presented to God “in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:27).

The second use of the exclamation “Come” signals a change in perspective. The invitation is no longer for Christ to return, but for sinners to come to saving faith in Him. The phrase let the one who hears say, “Come” invites those who hear the Spirit and the bride to join with them in calling for Christ’s return. Obviously, they cannot do so until they come to faith in Him; only the redeemed can truly long for Him to appear. The implicit warning is not to be like those who “having ears, do … not hear” (Mark 8:18; cf. Deut. 29:4; Jer. 5:21; 6:10; Ezek. 12:2). The one who hears with faith and believes is the one who will be saved, because “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). Hearing is often associated with obedience in Scripture (e.g., Matt. 7:24; Luke 6:47; 8:21; 11:28; John 5:24; 18:37). Those who hear and obey the gospel will join with the Spirit and the bride in calling for the return of Jesus Christ, because they desire His glory—and their own deliverance from sin’s presence—in the realm of perfect holiness.

The one who hears is further defined as the one who is thirsty. Thirst is a familiar biblical metaphor picturing the strong sense of spiritual need that is a prerequisite for repentance. In Isaiah God calls “every one who thirsts [to] come to the waters” of salvation (Isa. 55:1). Jesus pronounced those “blessed … who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6). In John 7:37 He gave the invitation, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink,” while earlier in Revelation He promised, “I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost” (21:6; cf. Ps. 107:9; John 4:14; 6:35).

Adding another dimension to the invitation, John writes let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. That unlimited invitation is typical of the broad, sweeping, gracious offers of salvation made in Scripture (cf. Isa. 45:22; 55:1; Matt. 11:28; John 3:15–16). It also illustrates the biblical truth that salvation involves both God’s sovereign choice (cf. John 6:44) and human volition. God saves sinners, but only those who recognize their need and repent. The water of life (or the washing of regeneration, Titus 3:5) is offered without cost (cf. Isa. 55:1) to the sinner because Jesus paid the price for it through His sacrificial death on the cross (Rom. 3:24). God freely offers the water of life to those whose hearts are thirsty for forgiveness, whose minds are thirsty for truth, and whose souls are thirsty for Him.[1]


17 The first two sentences in this verse are not an evangelistic appeal but express the yearning of the Holy Spirit and the “bride” (the whole church; cf. 21:9) for the return of Christ. In v. 20, John gives us the Lord Jesus’ answer: “Yes, I am coming soon.” Those who hear (“him who hears”)—the members of the local congregations in John’s time—join in the invitation for Christ to return. Then, any in the congregations who are not yet followers of Jesus are invited to come and take the water of life as a free gift (dōrean, “freely,” GK 1562; cf. 21:6; Ro 3:24). On the water of life, cf. 21:6; 22:1; also, for the liturgical and eucharistic use of this verse, see comments at v. 20.[2]


An invitation (v. 17)

At this moment, it is not too late to receive Christ. He is the ‘water of life’ (John 4:13–14; 7:37–38) of which we may freely take. The Spirit of God and the bride of Christ (the church) unite their voices to say to the sinner, ‘Come!’ The individual who hears and heeds this invitation is invited again—this time to join his or her voice with the Spirit and the church and to say to those who are still outside of Christ, ‘Come!’ Come and drink freely! The only condition is to be thirsty. Thirsty for forgiveness! Thirsty for right standing with God! Thirsty for eternal life in heaven! If you are thirsty, come and drink![3]


22:17 / The believing community, along with the Spirit of the Risen Christ, issues the invitation, Come!, but to whom? The options are essentially three: (1) to the unbelieving world as an “altar call” (Mounce, Revelation, p. 395); (2) to Christ as a petition (Beasley-Murray, Revelation, pp. 343–44); or (3) to those believers whose intended response to Revelation is greater devotion to Christ. The second option makes best sense of the immediate context, which is focused by the oracle from the Risen Christ, “I am coming soon” (22:7, 12, 20). The bride is the embattled church, whose petition logically arises from a context of social repression and spiritual struggle: Come back here, Christ, and the sooner the better! The Spirit participates in this request as the church’s Paraclete, given by God to bring comfort in Christ’s absence (cf. John 14:18), However, this option does not explain the concluding invitation directed toward those who need grace, not comfort.

While we have argued that John’s composition does not intend to conceal the gospel from the unbelieving world and at points even purposes its conversion, his audience is the church. In this light, then, the first option does not make sense of Revelation’s epistolary setting: John’s benediction is given to an audience of Christian congregations. Further, the Johannine idea of the Spirit limits its realm to the believing community (cf. John 14:16–17); it is not clear, then, why John would have the Spirit invite Christ to return as part of an evangelistic program.

The concluding invitation, whoever is thirsty … take the free gift of the water of life, is not to introduce the unbeliever to God’s justifying grace (contra Beasley-Murray, Revelation, p. 345), but rather is meant for those readers who are in need of God’s sanctifying grace. It is for the rededication of believers rather than for the conversion of the lost.

This interplay between the invitation for Christ to return to earth and for the immature believer to return to God is similar to what we find in the nt book of James. The imminence of the Lord’s parousia (James 5:7–9) provides incentive to bring back those believers who “wander from the truth” (James 5:19), since they will be saved from the eschatological consequences of “a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). Likewise, John’s invitation envisions a promise, especially for those immature believers who have given in to the temptations and fictions of the anti-Christian kingdom: the waters of eternal life, the gift of a gracious God, will flow over those believers who return to God.[4]


22:17. This verse is without question the most evangelistic text in the entire book. Ultimately, many wicked people will refuse to repent. In the end unrepentant sinners will be banished outside the city (v. 15). Now opportunity still remains for the world’s people to come to Christ. The four invitations are addressed to the world, not the churches. (Some suggest that the first two “comes” are directed to Christ, requesting his Second Coming, but al1 four invitations are better understood as proclaimed to the world.)

The Spirit and the bride are those who together make evangelism possible. The bride is the church, corporately and individually, witnessing about her Bridegroom through lifestyle and lips. The Spirit is certainly the Holy Spirit, who is responsible to “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). Without the bride’s witness the Spirit is voiceless; without the Spirit’s witness, the bride is powerless. Thus, together these two join in urging the world to come to salvation in Christ.

Only the one who hears the gospel and has responded in faith can summon others to share in that salvation. Thus, the second come stands to remind all who have heard the good news that they are responsible to invite others to Christ. The only person who can respond to the gospel is one who is thirsty—aware of a need for eternal life. Some have well noted that part of the task of evangelism is to make people spiritually thirsty. By God’s grace whoever becomes aware of a need is welcome: let him come. During his earthly ministry Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37–38).

This leads directly to the fourth invitation to whoever wishes. Although the language is of the River of Life to be found in New Jerusalem (5:1), one may now, at any time during earthly life, take the free gift of the water of life (Isa. 55:1). The glories of heaven will not be fully enjoyed until the consummation, yet every person who hears and comes to Jesus will begin enjoying heavenly benefits immediately.[5]


17. “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who is thirsty come, and let the one who desires take freely of the water of life.”

Jesus appears to be the speaker and now announces that the response to his words comes from two sources, namely, the Holy Spirit and the church on earth. These two continue to utter their appeal for Jesus’ return with a request in the present tense that signifies “Carry out your plan in history with a view toward your coming.” The call for the coming of the Lord is repeated in verse 20 as the last petition in the Apocalypse, “Amen, come Lord Jesus.” The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of the bridegroom; and this Spirit has his abode in the bride, that is, the church. Hence, at the powerful urging of the Spirit, the church expresses her longing for the return of Christ, her bridegroom. Not only the organic body of the church but also every individual believer who obediently responds to the prompting of the Spirit articulates this yearning. The invitation “Come!” occurs twice to stress urgency.

However, the third invitation, “Let the one who is thirsty come,” is not addressed to Christ but to the people as a call to come to him. This causes confusion, especially as the last exhortation, “Let the one who desires take freely of the water of life,” is also an evangelistic address. This inconsistency can be solved when we interpret the double meaning of the verb to come. First, the church at worship and at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper petitions Christ to return (Maranatha; see Didache 10.6). Next, at the same time the church extends to everyone the invitation to come to Christ. Writing about the coming of the Lord, Peter instructs his readers to live holy and godly lives “as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Pet. 3:12a), thus indicating that God’s people have a part in shortening the time before Jesus’ return. Addressing the crowd after healing the crippled beggar, Peter told the people to repent in order to hasten the coming of Christ (Acts 3:19–21). Similarly about a.d. 300, a Jewish rabbi wrote, “If the Israelites were to repent for one day, then the Son of David [the Messiah] would come.” This means that church must bring the gospel to the world, lead people to faith and repentance, and fill the house of God. Then the end will come and Christ will return.

Everyone who desires to drink from the water of life may freely come and take. There is an Old Testament invitation, recorded in Isaiah 55:1, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (see also John 7:37; Rev. 21:6).[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2000). Revelation 12–22 (pp. 303–305). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Johnson, A. F. (2006). Revelation. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 788–789). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Ellsworth, R. (2013). Opening Up Revelation (p. 153). Leominster: Day One.

[4] Wall, R. W. (2011). Revelation (pp. 267–268). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Easley, K. H. (1998). Revelation (Vol. 12, pp. 422–423). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Vol. 20, pp. 592–593). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

January 28: Carpe Diem

Genesis 44; Hebrews 8–9; Ecclesiastes 11:1–4

The Latin phrase Carpe Diem, means “seize the day.” Taking risks to make your life extraordinary is biblical, if done according to God’s plan and principles. The idea behind this comes from Ecclesiastes: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Eccl 11:1).

Bread acts as the symbol for substance in the ancient world; the author of Ecclesiastes is suggesting that we should follow God’s plan, even at the possible cost of our livelihood. He then suggests that what we give to God, He will return. This is opposite from a self-protection mentality. The “waters” in the proverb represent chaos, suggesting that in letting go of even the most chaotic circumstances, we learn about God’s ability to give what we need.

This is further illustrated when the author says, “Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.… He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap” (Eccl 11:2, 4). In other words, there is no real way to calculate the return on investment. Things can always go bad. But with God, that’s not the case. He honors the work of those who diligently follow Him and give of themselves.

In the eyes of the world, not everything will work out perfectly for those who willingly give to God. But it will work out in the spiritual long haul. So, when God calls us to something, the answer is Carpe Diem. And the question we should be asking Him is, “What can I do for you and your kingdom?”

What risks are you taking for God right now? Have you asked Him what risks He would like you to take?

John D. Barry[1]


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