Daily Archives: February 12, 2018

February 12 The Joy of Participation

“  . . in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:5).


You share in a sacred partnership with Christ and your fellow-Christians for the advancement of the gospel.

In recent years the Greek word koinōnia has become familiar to many Christians as the New Testament word for “fellowship.” However, it is also translated “partnership” and “participation.” In Philippians 1:5, Paul uses it to emphasize the participation of the Philippians in common ministry goals.

Romans 12:13 gives one aspect of that partnership and participation: monetary contributions. That’s one aspect of fellowship that the Philippian church eagerly shared with Paul. As he says in Philippians 4:15–16, “At the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.” They were partners in his ministry because their financial support made it possible for him to preach the gospel more effectively.

The Philippians knew that Paul carried a tremendous burden in his heart for all the churches. In listing many of the trials he endured as an apostle, he added, “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:28). The Philippian church eased that burden somewhat by being committed to Paul, to his teaching, and to godly living. That brought great joy to him.

How about you? Do your leaders derive encouragement and joy from your participation in the gospel? Remember, you share in a sacred partnership with Christ and your fellow-Christians in the advancement of the gospel, just as the Philippians shared a partnership with Paul. Rejoice in that privilege, and make the most of it today.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank the Lord for the Christian fellowship you enjoy. ✧ Ask for wisdom on how you might advance the gospel more effectively. ✧ Always seek to ease the burden of your spiritual leaders by faithfully participating in the ministry of your church as God has gifted you.

For Further Study: Read Ephesians 4:11–16. ✧ What is the goal of Christian ministry? ✧ What is the role of a pastor/teacher in achieving that goal? ✧ What is your role (see also Rom. 12:6–8; 1 Cor. 12:4–11; 1 Peter 4:10–11)?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 55). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


…For the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 JOHN 3:8

I have observed among spiritual persons in the Christian fellowship a tendency either to ignore the devil altogether or to make too much of him.

Both attitudes are wrong!

There is in the world an enemy whom we dare not ignore. We see him first in the third chapter of Genesis and last in the twentieth of Revelation, which is to say that he was present at the beginning of human history and will be there at its earthly close.

This enemy is not a creation of religious fancy, not a mere personification of evil for convenience, but a being as real as man himself. The Bible attributes to him qualities of personality too detailed to be figurative, and reveals him speaking and acting in situations hard and practical and far removed from the poetic imagination. He is said to be a liar, a deceiver and a murderer who achieves his ends by guile and trickery. While he is not omnipresent (omnipresence being an attribute of God alone) he is ubiquitous, which for his purpose amounts to the same thing.

Satan hates God for His own sake, and everything that is dear to God he hates for the very reason that God loves it. Because man was made in God’s image the hatred with which Satan regards him is particularly malevolent, and since the Christian is doubly dear to God he is hated by the powers of darkness with an aggravated fury.

In view of this, it cannot be less than folly for us Christians to disregard the reality and presence of such an enemy.[1]

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

February 12, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Israel and Iran moved closer to confrontation in Syria as rising tensions erupted into the most serious standoff between the sides since the Syrian civil war began seven years ago.

President Hassan Rouhani ordered a third of government managerial jobs to be filled by women within three years, in what would be a significant break with a so far disappointing record on attacking gender discrimination in Iran.

The U.S. is ready to engage in talks about North Korea’s nuclear program even as it maintains pressure on Kim Jong Un’s regime, Vice President Mike Pence said, signaling a shift in American policy.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made a dramatic gesture that may raise prospects for easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula by inviting South Korean President Moon Jae-in to meet in Pyongyang. The invitation was verbally delivered by Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, during a Saturday meeting at Moon’s presidential compound in Seoul a day after the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics in South Korea. A Moon-Kim summit would mark the first time leaders of two countries have met in 11 years.

Investors actively abandoned the world’s biggest passive fund during the onset of market mayhem. The SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund suffered a record $23.6 billion in outflows last week amid the worst momentum swing in history for the underlying U.S. equity benchmark.

The Morgan Stanley strategist who predicted volatility would ramp up in 2018 says the damage has been done and it’s time to buy stocks.

Walmart just named two female executives to top jobs even as women are becoming more scarce overall at the nation’s biggest private employer.

The latest surge in U.S. oil output will probably hasten the country’s rise to the top of the producer pile. More important, it’s starting to look as though at least half of OPEC’s nightmare scenario for 2018 — a surge in shale output and slowdown in demand growth — is coming true. Last week’s avalanche of releases from the U.S. Department of Energy showed daily oil production above 10 million barrels a day for the first time since 1970.

London City Airport, an important hub for business travelers, canceled all flights on Monday to allow for the removal of an unexploded World War II bomb discovered during a construction project.

Bitcoin extended a rebound on Monday as the regulatory concerns that have plagued digital currencies this year showed signs of subsiding. Bitcoin climbed 2.6 percent to $8,774 at 10:26 a.m. in London, bouncing back by almost 50 percent since dipping below $6,000 in intraday trading Feb. 6,

AP Top Stories

An explosion and fire at an electric substation threw much of northern Puerto Rico into darkness late Sunday in a setback for the U.S. territory’s efforts to fully restore power more than five months after Hurricane Maria started the longest blackout in U.S. history.

The deputy chief of the Pakistani Taliban has been killed in a US drone strike, the militant group said in a statement Monday, as Washington continues to intensify attacks along the Afghan border region.

Disney raised entry prices for most tickets at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida over the weekend. A single-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom at World Disney World on the most expensive days will now cost $129, up from $124, for anyone ages 10 and older.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says it’s too early to tell if any of the overtures between North and South Korea during the Olympic Games are creating a chance for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

A woman was killed and 12 other people injured after a man carried out a knife attack in a mall in a busy shopping district in the Chinese capital, Beijing, police said on Sunday.

The hopes for citizenship of 1.8 million illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children hung in the balance Monday as Congress started up debate on sweeping new immigration legislation.


Iceland is facing an “exponential” rise in Bitcoin mining that is gobbling up power resources, a spokesman for Icelandic energy firm HS Orka has said. This year, electricity use at Bitcoin mining data centers is likely to exceed that of all Iceland’s homes.

At least eight people in Bolivia have died when a gas canister used by a street vendor exploded during the city of Oruro’s famous carnival celebrations. More than 40 others were injured.

Thousands of Venezuelans have rushed to border crossings with Colombia after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced a tightening of controls. Only those who have registered for a special border card or can produce a passport will be able to cross.

A suspected big cat poacher has been eaten by lions near the Kruger National Park in South Africa, police said.

The official Winter Olympics website was taken offline after being hit by a cyber-attack, officials have confirmed. The site was affected just before the beginning of the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea.


The federal government has just launched a 10-year, $1.5 billion project for which researchers want your information. All of it. Medical records, mental-health records, lifestyle details, personal habits, physical measurements, blood pressure, height, weight, blood and urine samples, details on health-care visits, procedures, medications, and electronic health records, among others. Oh, and DNA, too. It’s called All of Us and scientists say they want at least one million people to be under observation on an ongoing basis.

The Briefing — Monday, February 12, 2018

1) The shape of theological disaster: A denomination speaks with two minds and two moralities


2) What a moral surrender to pornography looks like

New York Times Magazine (Maggie Jones) –
What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn

3) A morally-serious response in morally-unserious times

New York Times (Ross Douthat) –
Let’s Ban Porn

4) Why Kansas may be the state to watch in the upcoming election

New York Times (Jose A. Del Real) –
‘I’m Not a Career Politician’: 6 Teenagers Run for Kansas Governor

Mid-Day Snapshot

Feb. 12, 2018

Love Trumps Hate? Media Swoon Over Kim’s Murderous Sister

While the American Leftmedia slammed Mike Pence, they couldn’t get enough of Kim Yo-jong.

The Foundation

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” —Thomas Jefferson (1800)

News – 2/12/2018

Earthquake 6.0, 10 km deep strikes off Northern Mariana islands, no tsunami warning
An earthquake magnitude 6.0 has struck 10 kilometres deep off the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Monday. The has been no immediate tsunami warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre as yet.

Tonga declares state of emergency ahead of Tropical Cyclone Gita
The storm was forecast to make landfall later on Monday and into Tuesday, with “very destructive hurricane force winds”, “very rough to high seas”, and “a heavy southeast damaging swell on coastal areas”. Gita was a lesser category 1 cyclone when it passed over Samoa on Saturday, causing widespread flooding and loss of electricity. Many models are predicting it would hit New Zealand, but not until the middle of next week.

The open war with Iran has begun
The “Shadow War” between Israel and Iran has been going on for years, bringing us closer and closer to today’s events and what is to come. What happened in northern Israel on Saturday is the beginning of the overt and direct war between Israel and Iran. The infiltration and interception of an Iranian drone over Israel, the downing of an Israeli F-16 and Israel’s retaliatory strikes against Syrian and Iranian targets that followed, are apparently just the opening scenes of a potentially wider conflict that could erupt if Iran continues trying to fortify its presence in the new Syria.

Trump: Obama was ‘absolutely terrible’ for Israel
“But I feel much better if we can actually make a deal in terms of peace. I mean you certainly weren’t very close with Obama, he gave you the Iran deal, which basically is a deal that says let’s ultimately do bad things to Israel. Obama was terrible. He was absolutely terrible for Israel. I think our relationships are very good. I think they are probably as good as they have ever been.”

Trump warns Israel that settlements ‘complicate’ peace hopes
US President Donald Trump has said Israeli settlements “complicate” the peace process with Palestinians and urged “care” over the issue. He also told an Israeli newspaper that he did not believe the Palestinians, and possibly Israel as well, were ready to make peace. President Trump angered Palestinians in December when he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Hackers hijack government websites to mine crypto-cash
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) took down its website after a warning that hackers were taking control of visitors’ computers to mine cryptocurrency. Security researcher Scott Helme said more than 4,000 websites, including many government ones, were affected. He said the affected code had now been disabled and visitors were no longer at risk.

Explosion, fire at power plant cause blackout in northern Puerto Rico
An explosion and fire at an electric substation threw much of northern Puerto Rico into darkness late Sunday in a setback for the U.S. territory’s efforts to fully restore power more than five months after Hurricane Maria started the longest blackout in U.S. history. The island’s Electric Power Authority said several municipalities were without power…but they were optimistic it could be restored within a day…

Is America having second thoughts about free speech?
The free speech wars are getting worse, but it seems that none of the warring factions quite grasp the character of the dispute — or precisely what’s at stake…On many college campuses, groups of left-leaning students insist that free speech should be conditional on speakers adhering to explicit standards of diversity and avoiding the infliction of emotional harm on the members of marginalized groups through the spreading of “hate.”

U.S. Secretary of State says Washington backs Egypt in fight against terrorism
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday the United States supports Egypt’s fight against Islamic State but reiterated that it advocated free and fair elections in the Arab country. Speaking at a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Tillerson also said that Washington remained committed to achieving a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, despite President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Putin to host Abbas to settle peace deal with Israel in new peacemaker role
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday for talks on achieving a peace settlement with Israel, as Russia tries to promote itself increasingly as a peacemaker in international conflicts. Putin met Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu exactly two weeks ago in Moscow. Russia has managed to maintain robust relations with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority government, as well as Israeli rivals Syria and Iran.

Security Cabinet mulls action against Iran
The 12-member security cabinet met Sunday to discuss the volatile situation in the North, with some of the ministers already having advocated taking military action – not only against Iranian proxies for attacks on Israel, but against Iran itself. The ministers heard briefings from the security establishment, but no operative decisions were announced even as Israeli officials made clear throughout the day that Jerusalem was interested in de-escalating the situation.

Cruz: America stands with Israel in wake of Iran’s aggression
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Sunday condemned Iran’s attack on Israel and urged the world “to take decisive action to stop Iran’s expanding terrorist activities.” “This weekend, Iran committed an unprecedented, blatant act of aggression against our close friend and ally, Israel. Previously, Iranian proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas have used Iranian-provided resources to target Israel, but this escalation was a direct operation by the Iranian military against Israeli territory. This is utterly unacceptable. America stands with Israel, and resolutely against Iran’s unprovoked act of war,” Cruz said in a statement.

Republicans moving forward with Trump’s immigration framework
a group of Republican senators on Sunday evening announced their intention to offer the president’s framework as legislation during the immigration debate. The proposal would offer a pathway to citizenship to 1.8 million young immigrants eligible for the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, in return for $25 billion in border security and wall money as well as cuts to family based-immigration.

Israel Dispatches Missile Defense Batteries in North After Operation in Syria
The Israel Defense Forces is reinforcing missile defense systems along the border with Syria following a major military confrontation between Israel, Syria and Iran which culminated in the first battle loss of an Israeli fighter jet in 35 years.

False Teacher Rob Bell Claims in New Documentary ‘The Heretic’: ‘Jesus Would Be Mortified Someone Started a Religion in His Name’
A new documentary called “The Heretic,” which centers on false teacher Rob Bell, is set to be released on March 1, and features a number of statements that are already raising concern, such as, “The Bible has caused so much damage” and “Jesus would be absolutely mortified that someone started a religion in His name.”

Hijabbed Muslim singer retools Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with Islamic proselytizing lyrics on THE VOICE
She seemed to be the embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of French multiculturalist Leftists: a hijab-wearing Muslima singing a song written by a famous Jewish poet. But, as seems always to be the case, there was a catch: she sang altered lyrics in Arabic that turned the song into one that proselytized for Islam:

Game Over – Judge Jeanine Interview With HPSCI Rep. Chris Stewart…
The game is over. The jig is up. Victory is certain… the trench was ignited… the enemy funneled themselves into the valley… all bait was taken… everything from here on out is simply mopping up the details.  All suspicions confirmed.

Preparing for war in the north, Israel boosts air defenses – Arab-Israeli Conflict
Some 20 Syrian air defense missiles were fired towards Israeli jets during missions over Syria.

Israeli Ambassador to UN: 82,000 Syrian Fighters Under Iranian Control
Israel on Sunday said 82,000 fighters are “directly under Iranian authority in Syria,” and warned of Iran’s potential to “terrorize the entire free world,” CNN reports.

Legislators unveil legislation to protect babies with Down syndrome
House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, and Rep. Judy Ward, R-Blair, this week introduced House Bill 2050, which would prohibit the abortion of a child due solely to a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome.

FINALLY: This State Considers Banning Schools From Teaching About Gender Identity
A South Dakota Republican lawmaker proposed a bill calling for a ban on teaching gender identity in public schools, drawing the ire of various gay and transgender organizations.

Jesus statue decapitated in church sword attack
Indonesian police shot and wounded a man wielding a one-meter-long sword who attacked a Catholic Church service Sunday, seriously injuring four, including a priest, and decapitating a statue of Jesus.

A WARDROBE TO DIE FOR: Macy’s to launch line geared toward Muslims, including hijabs
When is Macy’s launching its clothing line geared toward Jews? Christians? Hindus? Buddhists?

New York Times Accuses Jewish Billionaires of Dragging United States Into War With Iran
The New York Times op-ed page carries an article by Lawrence Wilkerson headlined “A Familiar Road to War.” It warns, with zero factual basis, that the Trump administration is about to invade Iran the same way the George W. Bush administration invaded Iraq.

Shock: CNN Literally Fawns Over Sister Of North Korean Dictator As Millions In Country Are Starving To Death, Tortured In Slave Labor Camps
CNN has sparked widespread backlash throughout the country after running what amounted to a direct propaganda piece for the North Korean dictatorship that literally fawned over the sister of dictator Kim Jong Un despite the fact that her and her family have been involved in the horrific abuse of their own people as well as directly threatening to destroy the United States.

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: February 12

  • Investors Get a Reprieve From Recent Turmoil (Read More)
  • White House to Roll Out Trump Infrastructure Plan (Read More)
  • Trump to Urge Wall, Opioid Spending While Congress Sets Its Own Course (Read More)
  • Overseas Markets Rebound After Their Worst Week in Years (Read More)
  • Syrian frontline town divides NATO allies Turkey and U.S. (Read More)
  • The Tax Law Is About to Make Analyzing Earnings Trickier (Read More)
  • Record $23 Billion Flees World’s Largest ETF (Read More)
  • China’s HNA Group gets $3.2 billion credit from Citic Bank (Read More)
  • Glitch Exploited by High-Speed Traders is Back at CME (Read More)
  • Games organizers confirm cyber attack, won’t reveal source (Read More)
  • Bitcoin Closes in on $9,000 as Regulatory Fears Peter Out (Read More)
  • A culprit for financial site glitches: you and your apps (Read More)
  • China Is Winning Global Race to Control Batteries (Read More)
  • The Fall of a Chinese Tesla Killer Threatens a California Town’s Dream (Read More)
  • Comcast May Revive Pursuit of Fox (Read More)
  • Fox commits to Sky News independence to try to secure Sky deal (Read More)
  • General Dynamics Buying CSRA for $6.8 Billion (Read More)
  • Broadcom Secures as Much as $100 Billion of Debt Funding for Qualcomm Bid (Read More)
  • Oxfam International boss says Haiti scandal ‘breaks my heart’ (Read More)

Headlines – 2/12/2018

Abbas heads to Moscow in bid to sideline US from peace process

Trump warns Israel that settlements ‘complicate’ peace hopes

Labor head: West Bank annexation would be a ‘diplomatic terror attack’

Lawmaker from Norway says nomination of BDS for Nobel Peace Prize is against Israel, not Jews

PM rebuffs ‘ridiculous’ report he paid purported crony to follow police

With Gaza in Financial Crisis, Fears That ‘an Explosion’s Coming’

By Light of a Blood Moon, Life Returns to a Bombed-Out Syrian Landscape

Caroline Glick: Syria – The War Everyone Must Fight and No One Can Win

Preparing for war in the north, Israel boosts air defenses

First public Israel-Iran clash was only a taste of the next war

Israeli official: We warned of Iran in Syria, but the situation escalated fast

Bennett: Israel must act systematically against Iranian ‘octopus’

Bennett: We’re in an all-out war against Iran’s presence in Syria

Defense officials: Next confrontation with Iran is inevitable

Israel Believes Syria Strikes Took Out Nearly Half of Assad’s Air Defenses

Former Qaeda leader in Syria ‘welcomes’ Israeli airstrikes

‘IDF performed 1000s of operations in Syria over past year’

Iranian UAV that entered Israeli airspace seems to be American stealth knock-off

Minister Katz: If Iran keeps attacking from Syria, we’ll teach it a lesson it won’t forget

Iranian officials say hacks on newspapers’ websites are from US, Britain

Iran’s Rohani: We prevented Israel and the U.S. from dividing Syria

Iranians show defiance of US, Israel in anniversary of Islamic Revolution

Iran’s Rouhani declares US-Israeli ‘plots’ to divide region were defeated

Lebanon to begin offshore energy search in block disputed by Israel

Gas and oil diplomacy in Eastern Mediterranean prelude to regional war

Egypt jails 17 for life over deadly 2014 unrest

Drone strike kills 6 al-Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Russian passenger plane crashes near Moscow; 71 dead – Investigators said they were looking at all possible causes

Olympics officials confirm cyberattack during opening ceremony

Media outlet tries to link Olympic norovirus outbreak to North Korea bio-attack

Earthquake, wind and fire: extreme conditions hit Olympics

Media make Kim Jong Un’s sister a star at the Olympics

Investors brace for more swings as U.S. inflation specter rises

Bitcoin billionaires turn to millionaires as cryptocurrency world gets cold feet

Is America having second thoughts about free speech?

Puerto Rico hit with partial blackout after power plant explosion

World War II bomb discovered in London’s River Thames, airport shut down, reports say

The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows

6.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Rota, Northern Mariana Islands

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Angaur State, Palau

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Tropical Cyclone Gita could be most powerful to ever hit Tonga

Tonga declares state of emergency ahead of Tropical Cyclone Gita

Newly-formed tropical storm to threaten up to 300 mm of rain in the Philippines

Why so many medicines are in short supply months after Hurricane Maria

Scores of monkeys killed in Rio yellow fever panic

Pope Francis chooses pro-LGBT priest to guide Lent retreat who holds Jesus didn’t ‘establish rules’

White House: Trump ‘shocked’ by domestic abuse claims against ex-aides

Five people killed in ‘horrific’ Kentucky shooting spree

Greg Koukl – How I pray, even when it’s hard

Torben Søndergaard Teaches Only Full Immersion Baptism in Water Sets Free From Sin

Patricia King Claims She Ascended into Heaven and Killed Flu Demons With Sword, and 2018 Flu Season Over

Megachurch Pastor William Curtis Draws Criticism Over $230K Bentley Bentayga

Does This String of Incredible Coincidences Connect Dr. Michael Brown to the NAR?

Papists to Pray the Rosary on British Border, Vainly Repeating Prayer on Coasts

Glendale pastor sought in sexual assault of girl at Covina motel turns himself in

Homeless man saves life of pastor who took him in

Homosexual Advocates Protest Church for Offering Help to Youth Struggling With Homosexuality

16,000 Christians Dead in Less Than 3 Years: Report Reveals Extent of Violence in Nigeria

Teacher Fired for Sharing Biblical Views; Loses Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:56 AM PST

Teacher Fired for Sharing Biblical Views; Loses Discrimination LawsuitAn Employment Tribunal in the UK dismissed a discrimination lawsuit filed by a Christian teacher in Bristol. Svetlana Powell was fired from her job at the T2 Apprenticeship Academy when she answered a student’s question about her views on homosexuality in 2016. Powell reportedly stated homosexuality was “against God’s will” but that He loves everyone.

According to Christian Concern, a student knew about Powell’s Christian faith and started asking probing questions in an attempt to trap the teacher.  Other students joined the conversation which led to a question from a 17-year-old student about her views on homosexuality.  The students then accused Powell of “brainwashing.”  After an investigation, the school decided to let Powell go for “gross misconduct.” She filed a lawsuit for discrimination and loss of wages. READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: Russia, Turkey And Iran Discuss Meeting On Syria In Kazakhstan

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:44 AM PST

PROPHECY WATCH: Russia, Turkey And Iran Discuss Meeting On Syria In KazakhstanAccording to a new report from the Jerusalem Post, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Monday that Russia, Turkey and Iran had discussed a possible meeting of their foreign ministers

on Syria, which could be held in Kazakhstan’s Astana in March, the TASS news agency reported. Bogdanov also warned against escalation in the Middle East after Israeli strikes on Syria. READ MORE

Megachurch pastor under fire for $230K Bentley Bentayga

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:19 AM PST

Megachurch pastor under fire for $230K Bentley BentaygaLeader of the 10,000-member Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, William H. Curtis, has sparked a vigorous debate online after his $230,000 Bentley Bentayga, which costs nearly twice as much as the median home in the church’s Larimer neighborhood, was photographed outside the church. The photograph of the pastor’s Bentayga, which Bentley boasts is the fastest SUV in the world with a top speed of 187 mph, was posted to Facebook Monday by Jarrell Taylor who criticized the pastor’s opulent display.

“If ya pastor driving a Bentley truck … he’s sucking ur community dry with hope and tithes,” Taylor wrote. The Christian Post reached out to Curtis for comment about his choice of transportation Thursday and his assistant said she did not believe he would respond to questions about his car but promised to deliver our message to him. She also acknowledged that the church had been getting direct reactions to the vehicle as well but would not confirm the sources of the criticism. READ MORE

Persecution in Nigeria has resulted in 16,000 Christians dead in less than 3 years

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:13 AM PST

Persecution in Nigeria has resulted in 16,000 Christians dead in less than 3 yearsU.S. President Donald Trump and his counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, have been told that at least 16,000 Christians have been killed in Nigeria since June 2015, many of them victims of radical Islamic violence. The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law submitted a petition to Buhari last week, where the civil society organization urged the president to “wake up from [his] slumber” and protect the millions of endangered Christians in Nigeria.

The “Christians at Crossroads in Nigeria” letter, shared online by Elombah.com, said that 16,000 people, mostly Christians, have been killed since Buhari took office in 2015, including the 5,800 victims of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, based on Intersociety’s investigation. Intersociety, which sent a copy of the letter to Trump and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, said that the 30 million or so Christians in Northern Nigeria have for decades suffered discrimination and violent attacks at the hands of radical terror groups. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Israel appears to be preparing for major war, Gives strong warning to Iran

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:36 AM PST

DEVELOPING: Israel appears to be preparing for major war, Gives strong warning to IranIsrael has boosted its air defense in the North following a significant confrontation between the Jewish State, Syria and Iran which led to the loss of an F-16 fighter jet.  While the army refused to comment on the reports, witnesses reported seeing a convoy of missile-defense batteries heading north near the Israeli-Arab city of Baka al-Gharbiya. Other witnesses posted photos of several trucks carrying the batteries on central highways in northern Israel.

Israel’s air defenses currently include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets; the Arrow system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and the David’s Sling missile-defense system, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles fired from ranges of between 40 km. to 300 km. Israel also has Patriot missile batteries stationed in the North and has used them to intercept drones infiltrating into Israeli airspace from Syria. READ MORE

MAKES STRONG THREAT TO IRAN: Israel issued stark warnings on Sunday over Iran’s presence in neighboring Syria after a confrontation threatened to open a new and unpredictable period in the country’s seven-year civil war. Israel carried out major air raids in Syria on Saturday, including against what it described as Iranian targets — the first time it had publicly acknowledged doing so since the war began. The raids came after an Israeli F16 fighter was shot down by Syrian air defences. The pilots survived, but it was Israel’s first loss of a warplane in battle since 1982. “We inflicted on Saturday a heavy blow to Iranian and Syrian forces,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. READ MORE

Hailstorm strikes Cordoba, Argentina producing 9 inch hail, Potentially breaking record

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 01:05 PM PST

Hailstorm strikes Cordoba, Argentina producing 9 inch hail, Potentially breaking recordUnofficial reports coming from Cordoba, Argentina mention a 23 cm (9 inches) large hailstone that fell on February 8, 2018. If confirmed, this will break the current world record for largest hailstone. A violent hailstorm hit Cordoba, Argentina on Thursday afternoon, February 8, 2018. The storm started around 16:30 local time with small hailstones that didn’t cause much damage. However, hailstones grew bigger over the next 20 minutes and eventually reached up to 20 cm (7 inches) and more. Although it’s still not

officially confirmed, the largest hailstone had a diameter of 23 cm (9 inches). Currently, the largest hailstone officially confirmed fell on Vivian, South Dakota, US on July 23, 2010. It measured 20.32 cm (8.0 inches) in diameter, 46.99 cm (18.5 inches) in circumference, and weighed in 0.878 kg (1.9375 pounds). Hail can reach this size only if thunderstorm updrafts are strong enough to keep it suspended in the air. That would require vertical winds exceeding 193 km/h (120 mph), Capital Weather Gang meteorologists explained. READ MORE

Trump at National Prayer Breakfast: America Needs Faith in God to Be a Great Nation

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 12:50 PM PST

Trump at National Prayer Breakfast: America Needs Faith in God to Be a Great NationPresident Donald Trump has declared that the United States of America will be a great nation provided its citizens remain open to the grace of God. Speaking Thursday at the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., President Trump spoke about the link between faith in God and national greatness.”As long as we open our eyes to God’s grace and open our hearts to God’s love, then America  will forever be the land of the free, the home of the brave, and a light to all nations,” said Trump.

“When Americans are able to live by their convictions to speak openly of their faith and to teach their children what is right, our families thrive, our communities flourish, and our nation can achieve anything at all.” Trump also touted the religious heritage of the United States, pointing to such things as the national motto “In God We Trust” on the money and “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, adding that “throughout our history, we see the story of God’s providence.” READ MORE

Churches ditching communion, Avoiding handshakes and other methods to combat the Flu

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 12:40 PM PST

Churches ditching communion, Avoiding handshakes and other methods to combat the FluThe United States is experiencing an increase in influenza infections this winter compared with recent years, leading many churches and dioceses to take extra precautions amid reports of hundreds of Americans dying of flu-related complications, including more than 50 children. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has estimated that nearly 15,000 people have been hospitalized since October, which is double the number last flu season.

Congregations across the denominational spectrum are giving advice and warnings to their members and are even changing certain aspects of their rituals and ceremonies. Here are five examples of local congregations and regional bodies that are altering communion and church activities to help ease the worries of some and hopefully curb the infection rate. READ MORE

WAR DRUMS: Russia calls for restraint from Israel and Syria as war may be imminent

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 07:03 AM PST

WAR DRUMS: Russia calls for restraint from Israel and Syria as war may be imminentRussia’s foreign ministry is expressing concern over Israeli missile strikes in Syria and is urging the sides to avoid escalating the situation. In a statement Saturday, the ministry said “of particular concern is the danger of escalation of tension within and around de-escalation zones in Syria, the creation of which has become an important factor in reducing violence on Syrian soil.” “We urge all parties involved to exercise

restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation. We consider it necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries of the region. It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen who are in Syria at the invitation of its legitimate government to assist in the fight against terrorists,” the ministry said. READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: Israel warns that Iran and Syria playing with fire!

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 06:57 AM PST

PROPHECY WATCH: Israel warns that Iran and Syria playing with fire!Israel warned Syria and Iran Saturday morning that their attempts to escalate the situation in the north will bring the full force of the IDF upon them. “Iran and Syria are playing with fire,” the army said in a statement.“The IDF acts with determination against the attempt of the Iranian-Syrian attack and the violation of Israeli sovereignty. The IDF is prepared for a variety of scenarios and will continue to act as necessary.” Syria’s involvement shows that it has chosen to interfere in the Israeli-Iranian incident, the

IDF statement said, “the Iranian mask has been removed. It is clear that they are using Syria as a launchpad for activity against Israel.” The statement added that Israel does not seek an escalation, but will exact a high price if the enemy does. Syrian state news agency SANA said on Saturday that Syrian air defenses were responding to a “new Israeli aggression” and a military source said the defenses had thwarted attacks on military positions in the south of the country. READ MORE

Billy Graham on Why Christians Should Avoid Today’s ‘Demonic’ Witchcraft

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 06:51 AM PST

Billy Graham on Why Christians Should Avoid Today’s ‘Demonic’ WitchcraftEvangelist Billy Graham has cautioned Christians against buying objects that claim to possess “spiritual healing” powers, as such items — no matter how innocent they seem — are “demonic” and “opposed to God.” The 99-year-old founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association answered a reader’s question on his website regarding whether or not “lucky charms” actually affect the wellbeing of users.

The reader wrote: “I have bad arthritis, and I saw an ad in one of those supermarket papers for a gold-plated charm that they say will heal me. The ad says it’s been prayed over by a spiritual healer, and has special magical healing powers. Should I send for it? It’s kind of expensive.” Graham began by urging the reader to refrain from wasting their money on such an item, or anything else that claims to have magical powers. “Nothing like this has any medical evidence to support its dubious claims, nor should you trust what the sellers say about it,” he said. READ MORE

Israel launches heavy Syria strikes after F-16 crashes

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 06:38 AM PST

Israel launches heavy Syria strikes after F-16 crashesIsrael launched heavy air strikes in Syria on Saturday, saying it hit air defenses and Iranian targets, and the Syrian army claimed to have brought down an Israeli F-16 that crashed in northern Israel in a major escalation of tension.  The Israeli military said early assessments indicated the jet had been shot down by Syrian fire, but this was still unconfirmed. It marked the most serious confrontation yet in Syria between Israel and Iranian and Iran-backed forces that have established a major foothold in the country while fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war.

Israel said the F-16 crashed during a mission to strike Iranian drone installations in Syria. It said it sent its jets into Syria after shooting down an Iranian drone over Israeli territory earlier on Saturday. The military alliance fighting in support of Assad denied any of its drones had entered Israeli air space. In a statement, it said Israel had targeted an air base in the Homs desert that is being used to fly drones in missions against Islamic State. READ MORE

Flu Is Causing 1 in 10 American Deaths and Climbing, May kill 4,000 a Week

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 06:29 AM PST

Flu Is Causing 1 in 10 American Deaths and Climbing, May kill 4,000 a WeekThe amount of influenza ravaging the U.S. this year rivals levels normally seen when an altogether new virus emerges, decimating a vulnerable population that hasn’t had a chance to develop any defenses. It’s an unexpected phenomenon that public health experts are still trying to decode. The levels of influenza-like illnesses being reported now are as high as the peak of the swine flu epidemic in 2009, and exceed the last severe seasonal flu outbreak in 2003 when a new strain started circulating, said Anne Schuchat,

the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s acting director. Swine flu, which swept the globe in 2009 and 2010, sickened 60.8 million Americans, hospitalized 274,304 and killed 12,469, according to CDC data. Deaths from the current outbreak will likely far outstrip those of the 2009-2010 season. “This is a difficult season, and we can’t predict how much longer the severe season will last,” she said. “I wish there was better news, but everything we are looking at is bad news.” READ MORE

Army conducts drills using ground robots that shoot…

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 06:22 AM PST

Army conducts drills using ground robots that shoot…In a historic first, the Army conducted a live fire exercise with a remote-controlled ground combat vehicle armed with a .50-caliber machine gun. It plans to conduct more exercises with more heavily armed ground robots within the next couple of years. The demonstration was part of the annual Northern Strike exercise, which took place last July and August at Michigan’s Camp Grayling. Primarily

geared toward reserve units, this year’s event debuted an unmanned, heavily armed M113 armored personnel carrier. The driver and the weapons operator followed behind in a slightly larger M577 command post vehicle. “The scenario here was a complex breach in a minefield,” Paul Rogers, director of the Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC, said at the AUVSI conference on Wednesday. READ MORE

What is The Gospel?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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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What is Real Repentance?

Godly repentance does not lead to a life stricken with guilt and regret, but instead it moves us towards the great love of God and his salvation in Christ. A repentant sinner is ready to receive the grace of God offered in the free gift of the gospel (Lk. 24:47; Acts 20:21). God does not leave us to despair of our brokenness but immediately offers us the comfort and consolation of forgiveness and love, so that when we cry out to God in faith, he willingly forgives us and saves us (Rom. 10:13).

“Repent and believe” has been the cry of preachers ever since the time of Jesus. However, repentance can seem mysterious and sometimes contradictory to the gospel. Doesn’t the gospel say that I don’t have to do anything to be saved? Is repentance a work—something I do to be saved? How does it fit into the Christian life?

What Is Repentance?

Briefly defined, repentance is turning away from sin and self and looking to God for forgiveness and salvation. The Old Testament uses the word “turn” or “turning” to describe repentance. Those who repent turn their backs on their sin and come around to seek God; repentance is the conviction of guilt before God and the awareness that we are stained and in need of cleansing. This isn’t something we do, but it is something God works in us (Acts 5:31; 11:18). Like faith, it is necessary but given to us, not worked by us; rather, God works in us an inward acknowledgment of guilt which causes us to shrink away from our dirtiness before his perfect and holy character.

Repentance and the Law

Repentance is worked in us by the hearing of the Word of God, especially by the hearing of God’s law (Jer. 23:29; Rom. 3:10-12). Martin Luther describes it this way:

Now this is the thunderbolt of God, by means of which he destroys both the open sinner and the false saint and allows no one to be right…this is not “active contrition,” a contrived remorse, but “passive contrition,” true affliction of the heart, suffering, and the pain of death. (Martin Luther, “The Smalcald Articles” in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings [Fortress Press, 2012], 352)

As Luther notes, we are passive recipients of repentance. The law convicts us of our guiltiness, leading us to pain and remorse over our sin. This is why the law is read in church: to remind us of our incapacity so that we might learn to lean more and more upon God.

Repentance that Leads to Salvation

Godly repentance does not lead to a life stricken with guilt and regret, but instead it moves us towards the great love of God and his salvation in Christ. A repentant sinner is ready to receive the grace of God offered in the free gift of the gospel (Lk. 24:47; Acts 20:21). God does not leave us to despair of our brokenness but immediately offers us the comfort and consolation of forgiveness and love, so that when we cry out to God in faith, he willingly forgives us and saves us (Rom. 10:13).

Repentance, then, is the posture that leads us to pray with the tax-collector, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Ps. 51: 2, 10, 14; Lk. 18:13). In fact, repentance is necessary to receive God’s forgiveness. Grief without repentance can lead only to despair (2 Cor. 7:10; Matt. 27:3).

The Fruits of Repentance

Once given to us, we can exercise our repentance by confessing our sin and asking God for forgiveness. Repentance bears the fruit of confession: we confess our sin before God, ask for forgiveness, and pursue godliness in keeping with the new life Christ gives (Matt. 3:8; Acts 26:20). These fruits are born of the tree rooted and watered in Christ.

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The post What is Real Repentance? appeared first on The Aquila Report.

Why Are Satan’s Lies So Convincing?

Code: B180212

Why is the unconverted world so easily enamored with Satan’s lies? Why do sinners eagerly and gullibly imbibe foolish notions about their own innate goodness and charitable judgments in the afterlife? And why do they embrace self-apparent nonsense about the relativity of truth while rejecting the absolute, unassailable truth of Scripture?

We recently asked John MacArthur to help us understand what makes Satan’s lies so enticing and convincing to the unsaved world. Here’s what he had to say:

In the days ahead, we’re going to look at ten of Satan’s primary lies that dominate the world. These lies drive the world’s philosophy, morality, and ideology. They shape the sinner’s worldview and snare him in the grip of Satan’s influence. And increasingly, these lies are infiltrating the church, corrupting the gospel and confusing God’s people.

As John MacArthur explained, the darkness of the unbelieving heart can only be penetrated by the light of the gospel. To that end, we want to expose these lies and give you the biblical tools to combat them in your interactions with unsaved friends and family. We want you to understand the gospel truth that contradicts Satan’s deceptions, and know how to stand faithfully for the truth in a world dominated by lies.

Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180212
COPYRIGHT ©2018 Grace to You

You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/about#copyright).

God Is Just Judge and Merciful Justifier

Imagine you’re a judge. Your job is to uphold and execute the law. It’s the only standard you must adhere to, and you must do it unflinchingly. One day a man stands before you—a vile, wicked murderer. The evidence against him is ironclad. There’s no doubt about his guilt—he openly admits it. He confesses what he did and says he’s very sorry. Then he asks you to forgive him. And in spite of what the law says, in spite of your responsibility to dispatch justice, you grant him complete forgiveness and let him walk free. We’d certainly be horrified if human judges operated that way.

But that’s exactly what our Judge has done. In spite of the clear standard of His law, and in spite of the overwhelming evidence of our sin and corruption, He sweeps aside our crimes, washes away our guilt, and sets us free from the due penalty of our sin. How can He do that and uphold His own holy law?

Paul gives us the glorious answer in 2 Corinthians 5:21— just fifteen Greek words that sum up the entire gospel and encapsulate God’s ministry of reconciliation. Paul writes, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” That is the doctrine of substitution, and that’s how God can be both our just Judge and merciful justifier.

God “made Him who knew no sin”—which can only be a reference to Jesus Christ—“to be sin on our behalf.” As we’ve already seen, Scripture testifies over and over to Christ’s sinless perfection. The writer of Hebrews calls Him “holy, innocent, undefiled” (Heb. 7:26). Pontius Pilate—who had every incentive to find some flaw in the character and reputation of Jesus—said, “I find no guilt in Him” (John 19:6). The Father even spoke of the Son’s implicit sinlessness, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3:17). That same perfect, spotless, undefiled Son was “made. . . to be sin on our behalf ” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Don’t make the mistake, as some do, when it comes to understanding how God made Christ to “be sin.” Many preachers in the Word of Faith movement, for example, teach that Paul is telling us that Jesus actually became a sinner on the cross. They say His sin forced Him to go to hell for three days, and that after He had suffered sufficiently, He was released through the resurrection. That is a blasphemous, ludicrous heresy. Ephesians 5 tells us Christ surrendered Himself without spot or blemish (vv. 25–27). On the cross He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). If He was a sinner, He would not have had to ask why He was punished.

So what is Paul saying when he tells us that God made Christ “to be sin on our behalf”? It means God treated Him as if He were a sinner. More than that, actually—God poured out on Him the full fury of His wrath against all the sins of all the people who would ever believe, as if Christ had committed them Himself. As a righteous Judge, He had no other choice. The just God of the universe had to punish sin justly—He had to pour out the full penalty on His Son to grant forgiveness to His elect people. And His justice demands that every sin that has ever been committed, by every person who has ever lived, will be punished—either in the eternal torment of hell or on Christ at the cross.

It’s a humbling and profound thought that God treated Jesus on the cross as if He had lived my life and punished Him for every sin I have ever committed or ever will commit, to the full satisfaction of His justice. And for all who were included in the atonement—provided by the sacrifice of the Son by the glorious grace and mercy of God—the same is true.

All the judgment, all the torment, all the excruciating punishment was poured out on Christ as He died in our place. That’s a breathtaking reality, especially when you consider that Jesus was only on the cross for about three hours. In that brief window of time, Christ paid for all the sins of all those whom God would one day reconcile to Himself. In the span of a scant few hours, He was “offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28). “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). First Peter 2:24 sums it up simply but powerfully: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” Through His suffering, Christ purchased our forgiveness. Through His sacrifice, He cleared the way for our reconciliation to God. He is our Redeemer King, our Lord and Lamb.

Amazingly, some people don’t seem to think Christ’s sacrifice was enough. They attempt to extend the atonement Christ purchased on the cross to the whole of humanity, as if He died for the whole human race. In so doing, they make His atoning sacrifice merely potentially effective. It must be actualized by the believing sinner. According to that notion, the price has already been paid for all humans—it’s simply up to the sinner to cash it in. But a just God can’t punish sin twice. He wouldn’t lay the penalty for the sins of everyone on His Son only to later mete out that same punishment on those who didn’t believe. A righteous Judge doesn’t deliver double punishment. God did not punish His Son for our sins and then punish the unbelieving sinner for the same sins.

Furthermore, such a notion would mean that Jesus Christ did the same thing, in dying, for those in hell as He did for those in heaven. It would mean that He did not actually, really atone for anyone’s sins. He just offered a potential atonement that is converted to a real one by the willing sinner. Christ died for no one in particular if He died for everyone. As Christ Himself explained, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. . . . I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:11, 14–15). It’s clear there was no limit to the punishment Christ could endure on the cross, but there would be no sense in enduring God’s wrath if it didn’t purchase redemption for those He would one day reconcile to Himself. Put simply, Christ is not the Redeemer for those who will not be redeemed.

There’s more. Paul saves arguably the best news for last. Second Corinthians 5:21 concludes that God made Christ to be sin for us “so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Not only has God imputed our sins to Christ, He has imputed Christ’s righteousness to us. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though He was not, so that He could treat us as if we were righteous, though we are not. In the most personal terms, God treated Christ on the cross as if He had lived my life, so He could treat me as if I had lived His life. That’s the beautiful glory of the gospel. God sees us covered with the righteousness of His Son.

Many people—including some Bible scholars—wonder why Christ had to live through the humility of the incarnation for thirty-three years. Why didn’t God just send Him down for a weekend—to be crucified on Friday and return to heaven on Sunday? Why wouldn’t that suffice? Why did the Lord have to endure all the stages of life—most of them spent living in total obscurity?

The answer is the glorious truth we know as the doctrine of imputation. The writer of Hebrews says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Christ had to live a complete life, fulfilling all righteousness, so it could one day be credited to us. The comprehensive nature of God’s reconciliation is staggering. When God looked at the cross, He saw us; when He looks at us, He sees His Son. Our Lord did not just take on the punishment of our sins—He lived a holy, blameless life credited to us by faith. And we now stand before God fully reconciled to Him, cloaked in the righteousness of our blessed Redeemer.

This excerpt is adapted from Good News: The Gospel of Jesus Christ by John MacArthur.

Source: God Is Just Judge and Merciful Justifier

Love week essay #2: What did Apostle John mean when he wrote ‘God is love’?

The End Time

Christians know Jesus and thus, they know His love. But many people don’t understand His love, biblically.

Others who aren’t saved, if they know nothing else in the Bible, they know the verse “God is love” from 1 John 4:8…which they use to reject any discussion of sin, wrath, or judgment, half the Gospel. But unsaved people can’t love (in a Christ-like, God-honoring way). (1 John 4:8)

So what does Apostle John mean when he writes ‘God is love’?

Here is a reposted essay from the blog at Grace To You explaining the verse.

The Nature of God’s Love: John MacArthur on God’s Love Defined Biblically

“God is love” (1 John 4:8).

That’s a transcendent thought that finds its ultimate expression in the cross of Christ. The most famous verse in the Bible confirms that God’s love was the motive for sending Christ: “For God so loved the world …

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Use Your Freedom Well

Unfathomable Grace

Can you imagine being an Israelite saved from Egypt? Can you contemplate the joy of following Moses, Aaron, the elders, the Angel of God, and the supernatural cloud as it leads you and your family out of the God-forsaken land? Then, can you imagine the renewed hope and joy you have after witnessing God bringing down the Red Sea upon Pharaoh’s head? Sure, tough days remain for you and your family. Absolutely, there are still be numerous burdens to carry and foes to face. However, from this point forward, you are free from your devilish taskmasters. No longer will you be commanded to throw your male children in the river. No longer will you be forced to make bricks for another man’s house of idols. From this point forward, you are free to love God, hear God’s counsel, enjoy and glorify him forever.

Can you put yourself in the shoes…

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Albert Mohler Blog: “All Other Ground is Sinking Sand: A Portrait of Theological Disaster”

In this essay, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. writes about the CBF’s recent decision on hiring LGBT individuals in ministry positions. Mohler writes:

“The report, “Honoring Autonomy & Reflecting the Fellowship,” has infuriated LGBTQ proponents and alienated more conservative churches. Its recommendations offer a ridiculous and unstable policy. The report and related news reports reveal that the proposed policy will allow for the hiring of openly-LGBT CBF personnel in some positions, but not in positions of leadership or missionary field assignment. The new policy, if adopted, would create a dual morality — one for an estimated 80% of CBF staff and the other for supervisory staff and field personnel. The two moralities, contradictory by definition, would supposedly co-exist within one structure.”

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February 12, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

5–6a The psalmist analyzes his feelings and asks questions of himself (vv. 5, 11; 43:5). The threefold refrain reflects the emotional state of many of God’s people during the exile and, for that matter, any crisis situation. The inner feelings express themselves in questions, despair, and hope in God. The questions are overtaking him. Yet while hemmed in by the questions in his desperate situation, he still could engage himself in dialogue. There was no voice from God. In the loneliness of alienation, his faith was tried, and it triumphed! Faith and doubt are twins; and when doubt seemed to triumph, true faith calmed its questions. Faith answered. Faith despairs and in despair hopes!

Hope leads the psalmist away from despair. His hope is “in God, … my Savior and my God.” Hope, in essence, is waiting for God to act (cf. 38:15; 39:7). Hope is focused on the glorious acts of salvation and victory of which the Law, the Writings, and the Prophets speak. Hope longs for the “praise” of God for the acts of salvation. Hope says, “You are my God,” in anticipation of the fulfillment of the promises, even when help is far off. For the application of these words, reflecting the LXX, to Jesus’experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, see Matthew 26:38.[1]

42:5 The thought of the happy past leads to spiritual depression and activates a ping-pong struggle between pessimism and faith. The soul becomes downcast and disquieted, but faith challenges the tension of this burdened state of mind.

Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

If this were just a pious optimism that “everything will turn out all right,” it would be an utterly worthless sentiment. What makes this hope 100% valid is that it is based on the promise of God’s Word that His people will see His face (Ps. 17:15; Rev. 22:4).[2]

42:5Why are you cast down: These words are repeated in v. 11 and 43:5. The psalmist reminds himself that one day he will experience anew the presence of God. In the end, his hope in the Lord will not be misplaced. praise Him: As is common in the Psalms, the poet is not describing an act of private devotion, but of public praise of the goodness of God. This is praise in words and songs that would be repeated in the midst of the congregation (22:22; Eph. 5:19; Heb. 13:15).[3]

42:5. In this refrain (cf. v. 11; 43:5) the psalmist in a rhetorical question encouraged himself, though downhearted (42:6), to hope in God, for he was confident that he would yet be able to praise Him as before.[4]

42:5 in despair … disturbed. In this active introspection the psalmist rebukes himself for his despondency.[5]

42:5Why are you in despair, O my soul In this refrain—repeated in Ps 42:11 and 43:5—the psalmist questions his own despair. He wonders why he is troubled when he should instead hope in God.

Hope The Hebrew word used here, yachal, refers to hoping or waiting on God. It is not a futile activity. The psalmist has faith that God will act and bring deliverance (Prov 20:22).

The psalmist believes his hope in God will not be in vain; he confidently expresses that he will again praise God for His salvation.[6]

42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul. This verse occurs twice more as a refrain (v. 11 and 43:5). In dialogue with himself, the psalmist takes fresh hold on God.[7]

42:5 The questions and the response of v. 5 also appear in v. 11 and in 43:5 (perhaps because Ps 43 is part of this psalm; see note at Ps 42 title). The psalmist was speaking to himself (my soul) in an attempt to bring comfort and security. In answer to the questions focusing on his depression, he literally commands himself to hope in God. This means waiting on God during a time of crisis, trusting that he will answer prayer (see note at 27:14). The point the psalmist seems to be making is that there was no reason for his depression if God was his Savior. The fact that he repeated this several times shows the difficulty of internalizing this truth.[8]

[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, pp. 383–384). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 615). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 677). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 825). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 42:5). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 42:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 773). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[8] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 856). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.