Daily Archives: February 13, 2018

February 13 The Joy of Anticipation

“I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it” (Phil. 1:6).

✧✧✧

God always finishes what He starts.

All who love Christ desire to be like Him in spiritual perfection and absolute holiness. We want to please Him in every respect. However, that noble pursuit is often met with frustration and discouragement as human frailties and sin block our pathway.

Paul’s cry in Romans 7 is ours as well: “That which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. … I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. … Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (vv. 15, 21, 24). His answer resonates with confidence and relief: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25).

Paul was convinced that God always completes the good work of salvation He begins in every new believer—a work that progressively conforms us to the image of His Son (2 Cor. 3:18). That might seem like a painfully slow process at times, but be assured He will complete it. All whom He justifies will be glorified (Rom. 8:29–30).

In the meantime, you have an active role to play in the process. Paul called it “work[ing] out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). You must discipline yourself for holiness through prayer, Bible study, obedience, and accountability to other believers. All the resources you need are at your disposal as God Himself works in you to produce “His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

Rejoice in knowing that you belong to God and that He is conforming you to the image of His Son. See every event of this day as part of that process. Yield to the Spirit’s prompting, and take heart that God will accomplish His will.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Give thanks to God, who is able “to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24). ✧ Express the desire to discipline yourself for godliness. Ask for wisdom in taking advantage of all the spiritual resources available to you as a believer.

For Further Study: Read Hebrews 10:19–25. ✧ What should be your attitude when approaching God? ✧ What is your responsibility in light of God’s promises?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 56). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

FEBRUARY 13 DIVINE LOVE: NECESSITY FOR THE CHURCH ON EARTH

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne…He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

REVELATION 3:21, 22

The kind of Christianity that relies upon the influence of its own human and earthly power makes God sick, for the church of Jesus Christ is a heavenly institution.

For myself, if I could not have the divine power of God, I would walk out and quit the whole religious business. The church that wants God’s power will have something to offer besides social clubs, knitting societies and all of the other side issues.

If any church is to be a church of Christ, the living, organic member of that redeemed Body of which Christ is the Head, then its teachers and its members must strive earnestly and sacrificially with constant prayer to do a number of things.

We must strive to make our beliefs and practices New Testament in their content. We must teach and believe New Testament truths, with nothing dragged in from the outside.

We must keep our little field of God’s planting healthy, and there is only one way to do that: keep true to the Word of God! We must constantly go back to the grass roots and get the Word into the church.

We must live to gear ourselves into things eternal and to live the life of heaven here upon the earth, empowered by the Spirit of God with that same power that came on the earliest believers. We must put loyalty to Christ first at any cost. Anything less than that really is not a Christian church![1]


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

February 13, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

This year’s midterm elections are a “potential target” for Russian influence operations, with Moscow likely to exploit social media and other platforms to fuel divisions, according to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the top U.S. spy.

U.S. forces killed More than 200 Russian mercenaries in Syria last week in what may be the deadliest clash between citizens of the former foes since the Cold War, according to one U.S. official and three Russians familiar with the matter.

The nation’s intelligence agencies are warning, in the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, of global instability if climate change continues unabated, according to a report submitted for a hearing Tuesday before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization will make the U.S. and Germany the locations for two new military headquarters that mark the first upgrade of the alliance’s command structure since the end of the Cold War, according to officials.

Kim Jong Un expressed satisfaction with South Korea’s treatment of his sister during a visit to mark the opening of the Winter Olympics, and called for more efforts to improve ties between the countries.

A Trump administration proposal to reduce food-stamp benefits is casting a cloud over U.S. dollar-store chains. Shares of Dollar Tree Inc. and Dollar General Corp. both dropped on Monday after President Donald Trump unveiled the plan, which would slash cash payments and substitute them with packages of food — potentially one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

In what would be one of the biggest shakeups of the U.S. food-stamp program in its five-decade history, President Donald Trump is proposing to slash cash payments and substitute them with “100 percent American grown food” given to recipients.

The U.S. budget deficit widened in the first four months of the fiscal year as growth in spending exceeded revenue. The U.S. fiscal gap increased by 11 percent to $175.7 billion between October and January from the same period a year earlier.

For two centuries, it has been a totem of America’s gun culture — a name emblazoned on frontier flintlocks and U.S. Army .45s. But on Monday Remington Outdoor Co., which traces its history back to 1816, said it would file for bankruptcy protection, succumbing to a slump in business worsened by, of all things, a president who has steadfastly supported Americans’ right to bear arms.

AP Top Stories

The Trump administration’s Education Department will no longer investigate complaints filed by transgender students who are kept from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

A top Kuwaiti official condemned on Tuesday a call by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to evacuate his country’s workers from Kuwait, suggesting Duterte could damage ties between the two countries. Duterte said last week that his government would ask private airlines to evacuate Filipino nationals from Kuwait within 72 hours, after the discovery of the dead body of a Filipino migrant worker in a freezer.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas visits Russia on Monday in a bid to secure Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support following Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

President Donald Trump has said he will expand and update the US nuclear arsenal in “far, far in excess of anybody else,” in a departure from nearly 50 years of US policy. “We’re going to have the strongest military we’ve ever had by far,” Mr. Trump told reporters.

In early January 2018, Boeing announced it’s developing a concept for a hypersonic reconnaissance and strike drone that could compete with Lockheed’s own SR-72. Both Boeing’s “Valkyrie II” concept and Lockheed’s “Son of Blackbird” could be capable of cruising at speeds exceeding Mach 5, potentially allowing them to evade all but the most sophisticated enemy defenses.

Amazon.com is cutting hundreds of jobs in its consumer business in Seattle, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday, as the company shifts resources into fast-growing areas like its work on voice assistant Alexa.

Price manipulation in the cryptocurrency space is “unavoidable” but will disappear once the market has matured, the head of cryptocurrency firm NEM said Tuesday. “Price manipulation is not something new.

BBC

A Nigerian court has jailed a Boko Haram militant involved in the 2014 kidnapping of the Chibok girls. Haruna Yahaya, 35, is the first member of the group to be sentenced for playing a part in the mass abduction.

The Australian Football League (AFL) has agreed for the first time to allow a transgender footballer to play women’s football at state level.

Police in Portugal have detained a man at Lisbon’s international airport accused of carrying 2.2lb of cocaine in fake buttocks. The drug seized would have been enough to make 5,000 individual doses of cocaine.

WND

This is where we are: A primary school in Philadelphia will give its students a crisp $100 bill at graduation if they go the whole year without getting into any physical scuffles.

Conservative Catholics are expressing shock at Pope Francis’ zeal in embracing the totalitarian government of China by first agreeing to replace underground church leaders with state-chosen hacks and now with a top Vatican official saying “those who best realize the social doctrine of the church are the Chinese.”

Single people are more likely to not only embrace solitude, but benefit from it, recent studies have suggested.


The Briefing — Tuesday, February 13, 2018

1) A perfect storm over religious liberty and the moral revolution

Religion Dispatches (Patrick Hornbeck) –
LGBTQ Equality Pendulum “Abruptly” Swinging Back as Religious Exemptions Gain Victories

2) Massachusetts legislators consider bill that would eliminate conscience clauses

AP (Steve LeBlanc) –
Massachusetts bill would bar companies from citing religious exemptions

3) What is required to coerce agents of life into being agents of death?

Daily Mail (Jenny Johnston) –
The midwife hounded out of her job after 30 years (and 5,000 babies) because she refused to supervise abortions

4) What American viewers aren’t noticing when they watch one British TV show

5) Who is really helping the poor and how?

Wall Street Journal (David Henderson) –
A War on the Rich Won’t Help the Poor


News – 2/13/2018


February 13, 2018
ALAN KEYES — “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils…. (more)

February 12, 2018
NEWSMAX — Sen. Rand Paul lashed out Sunday at his own party, calling members “hypocritical” for passing tax cuts – – and then turning around and voting for spending increases. In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” the Kentucky Republican said the support for both doesn’t make fiscal sense…. (more)

February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Rep. Jim Jordan says the swamp struck back with the passage of a massive budget deal that increases government spending by $300 billion. “I’m saying the swamp won and the American taxpayer lost,” Mr. Jordan, co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, said on “Fox News Sunday.”… (more)


February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Few things produce bipartisanship more than spending other people’s money. This week’s deal to add $320 billion to the deficit over the next 20 months and set the stage for $1.8 trillion more in deficits over the next decade has won strong reviews from those who want to see Democrats and Republicans get along better…. (more)

February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump’s second budget will cut $3 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, White House officials indicated Sunday night, but won’t be balanced. Instead of balancing the budget, the Trump administration will tout lowering the debt relative to the economy in its budget document, to be released Monday…. (more)

February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the fact that his fiscal year 2019 budget request does not balance, and said Monday that Congress’ rejection of his savings proposals has put a balanced budget out of reach. “It’s not hypocritical,” said Mulvaney, a self-professed deficit hawk who pushed hard for spending cuts as a member of Congress. “It’s simply adjusting to the Washington, D.C., we live in.”… (more)

February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was adamant Sunday he would not accept an immigration bill dealing with both increased border security and a pathway for citizenship for so-called Dreamers, or immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children…. (more)

February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Washington’s liberal establishment suddenly is running from the Democratic Party’s Russia dossier, which for months was fodder for Democrats to hurl charges against President Trump and his campaign. A new liberal narrative has arisen since Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, launched a probe to find out who funded the salacious, unverified dossier and how the FBI used it against Trump people…. (more)

February 12, 2018
ART MOORE — A former Soviet-bloc spy chief who famously defected to the United States during the Cold War says the effort by the Democratic Party during the 2016 election to distribute a bogus anti-Trump “dossier” filled with Russian propaganda and use it to obtain a warrant to spy on the opposition campaign is reminiscent of disinformation operations he was asked to carry out for his boss, dictator Nicolae Ceausescu…. (more)

February 12, 2018
NEWSMAX — Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham said Sunday President Donald Trump may not be “the greatest” example of the Christian faith, but lauded him for doing his part “defending the faith and standing strong on that.”… (more)

February 12, 2018
WORLDNETDAILY — The difference between the Obama and Trump administrations in acknowledging God in America has been stark. Obama, in eight Thanksgiving Day proclamations, referenced God a total of only five times, outside of quotes, while Trump’s first proclamation alone cited God six times…. (more)

February 12, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — Playing themselves as train passengers in The 15:17 to Paris, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler – – the three young Americans who on August 21, 2015, spontaneously subdued and walloped an Islamic terrorist, thus preventing mass murder on board the Thalys No. 9364 train – – humbly reenact that legendary heroism…. (more)


February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Sen. Ron Wyden, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, is calling on the Treasury Department to disclose banking and real estate records associated with President Trump’s sale of a Palm Beach, Fla., mansion to a Russian billionaire…. (more)

February 12, 2018
NEW YORK POST — For law enforcement, Congress and even journalists, exposing misdeeds is like peeling an onion. Each layer you remove gets you closer to the truth. So it is with the scandalous behavior of the FBI during its probe into whether President Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia in 2016. One layer at a time, we’re learning how flawed and dirty that probe was…. (more)

February 10, 2018
FAMILIES BLOG — According to new statistics, autism rates in California have exploded since the introduction of the mandatory vaccine bill last year. Following the introduction of the controversial SB277 bill, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, autism rates have risen a staggering 17%. Althealthworks.com reports: The state of California passed its controversial mandatory vaccination law (SB 277), which removed personal and religious reasons from the list of being exempt from vaccinations, with the goal of increasing vaccination rates…. (more)


February 10, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump signed a bipartisan spending bill Friday morning, saying it will provide stable funding for the military and help the economy. “Our Military will now be stronger than ever before,” Mr. Trumptweeted. “We love and need our Military and gave them everything – – and more. First time this has happened in a long time.”… (more)

February 10, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The White House counsel said Friday night that President Trump cannot declassify a House Democratic memo on FBI surveillance abuses in the Russia probe because it “contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.” White House counsel Don McGahn told House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes that although the president is “inclined” to release the memo, the Justice Department believes disclosing certain portions of it “would create especially significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests.”… (more)


February 10, 2018
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — In a word, the Grassley-Graham memo is shocking. Yet, the press barely notices. Rest assured: If a Republican administration had used unverifiable hearsay from a patently suspect agent of the Republican presidential candidate to gull the FISA court into granting a warrant to spy on an associate of the Democratic nominee’s campaign, it would be covered as the greatest political scandal in a half-century…. (more)

February 10, 2018
BYRON YORK — One of the most remarkable takeaways from the new documents released in the Trump-Russia investigation is the degree to which FBI officials were determined to believe dossier author Christopher Steele – – even after it became clear he had lied to them. In their drive to win a warrant to wiretap sometime Trump volunteer Carter Page – – along with Paul Manafort, one of only two Trump figures known to be wiretapped in the investigation – – the bureau rested most of its case on Steele’s information, and the officials who filed the warrant application seemed resolved to believe Steele even after his credibility came into question…. (more)

February 10, 2018
BOB UNRUH — The Obamacare individual mandate was dropped precipitously when the tax-reform package was signed into law just before Christmas. Now a second much-reviled Obamacare provision, its “death panel,” has been repealed in this week’s two-year spending plan adopted by Congress in the wee hours of Friday morning and signed by President Trump…. (more)

February 10, 2018
BOB UNRUH — A state commission in Colorado that punished Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips for refusing to use his artistry to promote same-sex marriage could be eliminated. Future funding for the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, where one member even likened Christians to Nazis, failed in a vote in the state’s Joint Budget Committee…. (more)

February 9, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The government careened Friday morning into its second partial shutdown in less than three weeks – – though this one appeared likely to be short-lived. Sen. Rand Paul forced the government to go beyond the midnight deadline when current funding expired, staging a protest against the potentially $2.1 trillion budget bill required to keep the cash spigot flowing…. (more)


February 9, 2018
GREG COROMBOS — Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., is slamming Republican congressional leaders for caving to spending demands by Democrats in a two-year budget bill that he anticipates will spark trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see while Republicans unilaterally surrender their greatest weapon for passing meaningful entitlement, welfare, or health care reforms…. (more)


February 9, 2018
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — The Watergate scandal of 1972 – -74 was uncovered largely because of outraged Democratic politicians and a bulldog media. They both claimed that they had saved American democracy from the Nixon administration’s attempt to warp the CIA and FBI to cover up an otherwise minor, though illegal, political break-in…. (more)

February 9, 2018
THE GATEWAY PUNDIT — On Tuesday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released a “much-less redacted,” version of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s criminal referral of dossier author Christopher Steele. Comey is in hot water. The unredacted memo reveals the FBI misled the FISA court about Christopher Steele’s contacts with media outlets…. (more)

Don’t Use Facebook’s Onavo VPN: It’s Designed to Spy On You
You may have seen a new button in Facebook’s mobile app lately: under the Settings menu, a “Protect” option leads you to download an app called Onavo Protect. Don’t do it.

Expert: Sweden Has Become a ‘Base’ for International Radical Islamic Extremist Networks
Swedish researcher Peder Hyllengren of the Swedish Defence College has claimed that Sweden has become a hub of international Islamic extremism and that hundreds of Swedish residents have built up a vast network of jihadi contacts.

UK unveils extremism blocking tool
The UK government has unveiled a tool it says can accurately detect jihadist content and block it from being viewed. Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC she would not rule out forcing technology companies to use it by law. Ms Rudd is visiting the US to meet tech companies to discuss the idea, as well as other efforts to tackle extremism.

Iran Unveils New Homemade Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles Amid Massive War Celebrations
Iran unveiled a series of new homemade nuclear-capable ballistic missiles during military parades held over the weekend… On the heels of an encounter between an Iranian drone and Israeli forces, Iranian leaders showcased their ballistic missile capabilities, which includes a nuclear-capable medium-range missile that appears to share similarities with North Korean technology, according to experts.

A.I. will be ‘billions of times’ smarter than humans and man needs to merge with it
Artificial intelligence could be “billions of times smarter” than humans and people may need to merge with computers to survive… Speaking on a panel …at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Futurizon’s Ian Pearson’s comments mirrored ideas put forward by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “The fact is that AI can go further than humans, it could be billions of times smarter than humans at this point,” Pearson said. “So we really do need to make sure that we have some means of keeping up.

Trump not following through on threat to cut aid over Jerusalem vote
US President Donald Trump threatened in December to cut funding for countries voting at the UN against his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but…not a single country lost funding for that reason. According to Buzzfeed, countries such as Zimbabwe, Somalia, and Nigeria, which were among the 128 nations that voted in favor of a UN resolution cancelling the American recognition, are still set to receive aid as part of next year’s budget.

Either Former FBI Director Comey or Former NatSec Advisor Susan Rice is Lying Based on Yesterday’s Email Released by Senator Grassley
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley uncovered an unusual email former NatSec Advisor to Barack Obama, Susan Rice sent herself on January 20th 2017–Donald Trump’s inauguration day. The email clearly implicates either Susan Rice or shamed former FBI Director James Comey in a lie!

Dry, hot California winter closes ski resorts, stalls wildflower blooms and revives drought fears
In the Sierra Nevada, snowpack levels are running below even the darkest days of the drought, with cross-country ski resorts closed and mountain biking becoming the sport of choice until the snow returns. In the Bay Area, cities like San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Rosa are experiencing the hottest starts to a year on record. And Southern California remains in the grip of unprecedented dry and hot conditions, despite a weak storm that moved in Monday. February is historically a wet month, but not this year. And the long-term forecast offers little hope for relief.

California now suing to shut up Christian speech
The state of California’s lawsuit against a Christian who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds is a frivolous case meant to chill the baker’s free-speech rights, contends a petition to dismiss the case.

Damascus warns Israel of ‘more surprises’ in Syria
Syrian anti-aircraft fire downed the F-16 as it returned from a retaliatory bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria after the incursion of an Iranian drone into Israeli airspace early on Saturday. Both Iran and Russia are supporting President Bashar Assad in Syria’s near seven-year civil war.

Trump proposes cutting all federal funds for NPR, PBS
The 2019 federal budget that the White House unveiled Monday again proposes cutting all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funnels money to NPR and PBS.

‘The world must know: We will apply sovereignty’
According to Shaked, Israel must act in accordance with its own interests. “Begin did not hold talks with the White House about imposing sovereignty over the Golan. He simply did it. It’s clear that all the countries of the world, as well as the United States, will not accept the application of sovereignty easily.”

France: Migrant Crisis Spirals Out of Control
Hundreds of Africans and Asians armed with knives and iron rods fought running street battles in the northern port city of Calais on February 1, less than two weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron visited the area and pledged to crack down on illegal immigration. The clashes plunged Calais — emblematic of Europe’s failure to control mass migration — into a war zone and reinforced the perception that French authorities have lost control of the country’s security situation.

US Finally Admits “No Evidence” Assad Used Sarin Gas 
Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated on or about February 2nd, 2018 that the United States has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people in attacks in 2013 and 2017.

Social Media Giants Meet For Orwellian Control
Reps from Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube faced a British Parliamentary committee on U.S. soil at George Washington University. They were reminded of their own unchecked power to gather their users’ data. Oddly enough, after demonizing the social media giant’s reach, the Orwellian panel dove headfirst into the need to control free speech.

Top Uranium One Executive Killed in Russian Plane Crash
The passenger death list for the Russian AN-148 passenger plane carrying 71 people that crashed yesterday, has been released revealing Ivanov Vyacheslav, the top CFO of Rosatom/RuaniumOne, amongst the dead.  Vyacheslav was involved in Hillary Clinton’s Uranium One deal with Russia back in 2009 under Obama.

Islamic Republic of Iran has used $1,700,000,000 Obama gave it to finance jihad terrorists
Obama paid billions to a regime that requires its citizens to chant “Death to America.” That regime has used the money to finance jihad terrorists who want to see America’s destruction and are actively working against American interests. Treason is defined as giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Obama ought to be charged with treason.

Evidence Suggests Former FBI Head of Counter Intelligence, Bill Priestap, is Obamagate’s ‘Deep Throat’!
More and more evidence is beginning to suggest the Former FBI Head of Counter Intelligence, Bill Priestap, is Obamagate’s ‘deep throat’ – the insider providing information to government investigators about the Obama crime syndicate!

Obama policy helped create No. 1 African threat
…Newsweek asked whether the “role the Obama administration played in the North African country’s instability” could be blamed for the newly developing slave trade there. Now, a new report from the Congressional Research Service warns that it’s even worse

Feds to give all your health data to researchers
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.

Trump orders US military to shoot down North Korean missiles
US President Donald Trump has ordered military to shoot down any missile launched from North Korea and heading toward Guam or the United States. Sources close to the White House national security team told the media on Thursday the order was issued to the US military in the wake of last month’s threat by North Korea to fire a ballistic missile toward Guam, a US territory.

Intel’s New “Smart Glasses” Shoot Laser Beam Directly Into Your Retina
For anyone who wanted a pair of Google glasses but didn’t want to look like a lazy Borg cosplay, Intel may have just what you need. Just one catch; you have to be OK with a laser firing photons directly into your retina.

Mid-Day Snapshot

Feb. 13, 2018

McConnell’s DACA Strategy: Let Demos Look Extreme

“Throwing Schumer as much rope as he’s willing to take and inviting the Democrats to go hang themselves with it.”

The Foundation

“On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” —Thomas Jefferson (1823)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: February 13

  • GOP’s Silence on Deficits Under Trump Marks Turnabout (Read More)
  • Investors start looking abroad (Read More)
  • Cold War Rivals Risk Direct Conflict in Syria (Read More)
  • Ex-Prosecutors Take Frustrations With Trump to the Campaign Trail (Read More)
  • Amazon’s Latest Ambition: To Be a Major Hospital Supplier (Read More)
  • In Shift, U.S. Signals Readiness to Talk With North Korea (Read More)
  • Volatile Markets Make Tomorrow’s CPI Report a Reason to Worry (Read More)
  • Shale Output Hasn’t Grown This Fast Since Oil Was at $100 (Read More)
  • Exxon Sues Its Antagonists in a Fierce Climate-Change Lawsuit (Read More)
  • PepsiCo beats sales estimates on snacks boost (Read More)
  • OPEC Revises Crude Supply Forecasts on Higher U.S. Production (Read More)
  • U.S. to push for ‘reciprocal tax’ on trade partners (Read More)
  • U.S. Tax Provision May Sting Foreign Firms (Read More)
  • Israel Says U.S. Not in Syria ‘Game’ (Read More)
  • The Biggest Political Spender at Trump Properties Is Trump (Read More)
  • Iraq says $4 billion needed for new downstream oil investments (Read More)
  • Harley CEO asks investors for patience as sales, stock slide (Read More)
  • Don’t take the president literally, aide says, after women deride ‘macho-fascist’ Duterte (Read More)
  • Icahn, Deason urge Xerox shareholders to oppose Fujifilm deal (Read More)

Headlines – 2/13/2018

Palestinian leader Abbas tells Putin he wants US peace role diluted

Abbas Tells Putin: ‘We Refuse to Cooperate With U.S. in Any Form’; Putin: Trump Sends Best Wishes

As Abbas asks Putin to sideline US, Trump urges new peace push

Trump told Putin before Abbas meeting: ‘Now is the time’ to forge a peace agreement

Secretary of State Tillerson using Mideast trip to advance U.S. peace plan

Tillerson: US committed to Israeli-Palestinian peace, despite Jerusalem move

Despite threat, Trump budget still funds countries that opposed Jerusalem move

PM says he’s in talks with Trump administration over settlement annexation

Palestinians blast Netanyahu claims of Israel-US talks on annexation

White House denies report it discussed West Bank annexation with Israel

Opposition MKs slam Netanyahu for ‘lying’ about annexation talks with the US

With annexation gaffe, Netanyahu blunders into first real crisis with Trump

Israel’s creeping annexation: Knesset votes to extend Israeli law to academic institutions in the West Bank

Diplomats back softened bill slashing PA funding over terror payouts

Shin Bet: Hamas funneling terror funds to West Bank, Gaza through Turkey

Hamas meets with Abbas rivals as detente with Fatah crumbles

Government approves immigration of 1,000 Ethiopian Jews for 2018

Lebanese PM warns of ‘new wars’ over multiple disputes with Israel

After years of covert proxy wars, Iran shifts to direct contact with Israel

US defense secretary: Iran is present everywhere we find trouble in Mideast

Steinitz: Assad in danger if he allows Iran to attack Israel from Syria

Iran: Nobody has the right to prevent our presence in Syria

Iran Unveils New Homemade Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles Amid Massive War Celebrations

UK backs Israeli actions in Syria, urges Russia to rein in Iran

Mattis: Israel has an absolute right to defend themselves

Kremlin says US diplomatic help on Syria insufficient

Russians killed in clash with US-led forces in Syria

Turkey: U.S. stalling battle against ISIS to justify backing Syrian Kurdish fighters

Islamic State calls on fighters to disrupt Egypt’s vote with attacks

In Cairo, Tillerson says US, Egypt committed to defeating Islamic State

Egypt continues Sinai crackdown as 28 militants killed, 126 arrested

ISIS’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is ‘alive but wounded’ in Syria hideout

Iraq says reconstruction after war on ISIS to cost $88 billion

Dubai’s Gevora, the new tallest hotel in the world, opens

Coalition: Houthis fired 95 missiles toward Saudi Arabia so far

Turkey: Relations with U.S. at make-or-break point

Trump touts infrastructure plan as alternative to ‘stupidly’ blowing money in the Middle East

A culprit for financial site glitches: you and your apps

Dow closes more than 400 points higher after its worst week in 2 years

George Soros hits back at ‘toxic, personal criticism’ and defends donation to anti-Brexit campaign

Iceland set to use more energy mining Bitcoin than powering homes

Senators flag ‘unusual’ Susan Rice email on Russia probe from Inauguration Day

Top Justice Department official Brand quit partly over fear she might be asked to oversee Russia probe

Bannon claims the #MeToo movement is poised to bring down Donald Trump

Wife of Donald Trump Jr. taken to hospital after opening envelope containing white powder

Harvard, Berkeley rank among 10 worst schools for free speech

Less-cool Facebook losing youth at fast pace: survey

Facebook is suggesting mobile users ‘Protect’ themselves…by downloading a Facebook-owned app that tracks their mobile usage

EU Enlists AI Startup in Fight Against Fake News

Equifax breach exposed more than previously thought

Trump tells Putin more steps needed to scrap North Korea nuclear program

94% of North Koreans think reunification is ‘necessary’ : US study

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Rota, Northern Mariana Islands

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Rota, Northern Mariana Islands

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Bamboo Flat, India

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Rota, Northern Mariana Islands

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 15,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Record snowfall amounts pile up around the globe

Tropical Cyclone Gita is a monster Category 4, and it’s hammering Tonga

Tropical Cyclone Gita leaves trail of destruction from American Samoa to Tonga

Heavy rain triggers dangerous flooding and landslides across parts of Southeast U.S.

Gale force winds wreak havoc on PyeongChang games

Robots take to the slopes on sidelines of Winter Games

194 cases of norovirus infection confirmed in PyeongChang

Oregon woman infected with rare “eye worm” seen only in cattle

‘We are being targeted’: Voodoo believers fear a backlash

Report: Christian Persecution is Worse Today Than Ever Before

Supposing That Gain is Godliness

“The time is short” for Jerusalem (Luke 12:54–13:9)

Enneagram: The Road Back to You, Or to Somewhere Else?

SYNERGIZE: The Ox and Eagle Anointings Collide! LeStrange and LeClaire Spoof Themselves

Liberty U. professor Karen Swallow Prior Promotes Illegal Immigration, along with gay rights, abortion, etc, etc

Flu Demon Rebuking Apostle Is Running for Swain County Commissioner in North Carolina

Pat Robertson returns to “700 Club” 10 days after stroke

California Pastor Claims Innocence After He Is Accused of Sexually Assaulting Underage Tourist

Outback Server Fired for Facebook Rant Over Not Being Tipped for Florida Megachurch’s $735 Order

Canadian Government Says Lighthouse Trails Transgender Booklet “Hate Propaganda” – Will Not Allow It In Their Country

Dutch Woman Allowed Assisted Suicide After Arguing Mental Illness Gave Her a ‘Rotten Life’

Are There Spiritual Roots to Illness and Disease?

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 06:33 AM PST

Are There Spiritual Roots to Illness and Disease?(By Mark Virkler) You sure wouldn’t think there are spiritual roots to illness when you look at the way Western medicine treats sickness. Their primary focus is to provide a drug to deal with the symptoms. 60 to 80 percent of primary care doctor visits are related to stress, yet only 3 percent of patients receive stress management help. According to Occupational Health and Safety news and the National Council on the compensation of insurance, up to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints. There is an entire 50- page book, written by a Protestant minister, detailing the spiritual roots of diseases. It is A More Excellent Way to Be in Health by Henry W. Wright.

Could We Get More Healing if We Discerned the Spiritual Roots?
The possibility of spiritual roots to illness and disease is an interesting question, for if many diseases do have spiritual roots, and I am seeking healing, I sure want to ask the Lord what spiritual roots are nourishing this illness or disease, so I can repent of them and be delivered and set free. Jesus warned the lame man whom He healed, “See, you have become whole. Sin no more lest something worse happens to you” (John 5:14). So it seems clear that Jesus, to some level connected sin to infirmity. Acts 10:38 sums up Jesus’s ministry by connecting healing with oppression by the devil: “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” CONTINUE

Trump tells Putin now time for peace between Israelis and Palestinians

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 06:26 AM PST

Trump tells Putin now time for peace between Israelis and PalestiniansU.S. President Donald Trump on Monday told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that “now is the time” to work toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The two leaders spoke on the phone shortly before Putin met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. According to statements released by both the White House and the Kremlin, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was an important part of the conversation between the two leaders.

In the statement, the White House said that after Trump offered his condolences to Putin for the fatal plane crash that took place in Moscow over the weekend, the Russian President noted his meeting with Abbas later in the day, “and President Trump said that now is the time to work toward an enduring peace agreement.” During their meeting, Abbas told Putin he could no longer accept the role of the United States as a mediator in talks with Israel because of Washington’s behaviour, the Interfax news agency reported. READ MORE

Expert warns A.I. will be ‘billions of times’ smarter than humans and man needs to merge with i

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 06:17 AM PST

Expert warns A.I. will be ‘billions of times’ smarter than humans and man needs to merge with iArtificial intelligence could be “billions of times smarter” than humans and people may need to merge with computers to survive, a futurist told CNBC on Tuesday. Speaking on a panel hosted by CNBC at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Futurizon’s Ian Pearson’s comments mirrored ideas put forward by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “The fact is that AI can go further than humans, it could be billions of times smarter than humans at this point,” Pearson said. “So we really do need to make sure that we have some means of keeping up.

The way to protect against that is to link that AI to your brain so you have the same IQ… as the computer. I don’t actually think it’s safe, just like Elon Musk… to develop these superhuman computers until we have a direct link to the human brain… and then don’t get way ahead.” At the World Government Summit in 2017, Musk, who has warned about the power of AI in the future, said humans and machines must merge to still be relevant with the advent of more powerful technology. READ MORE

RUMORS OF WAR: Damascus warns Israel of ‘more surprises’ in Syria

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 06:10 AM PST

RUMORS OF WAR: Damascus warns Israel of ‘more surprises’ in SyriaIsrael will face “more surprises” should it again attack Syrian territory, Damascus said on Tuesday, after Syria’s air defenses shot down an advanced Israeli warplane during the fiercest flare-up between the old foes in 36 years.  The F-16 jet was hit over northern Israel on Saturday as it returned from a raid on a Syrian position blamed for launching an Iranian-made drone across the border. Iran is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s near seven-year civil war.

“Have full confidence the aggressor will be greatly surprised, because it thought this war – this war of attrition Syria has been exposed to for years – had made it incapable of confronting attacks,” Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Sussan said. “God willing, they will see more surprises whenever they try to attack Syria,” Sussan said during a Damascus news conference. READ MORE

 

Scripture Signs Removed From High School Choir Room Following Complaint From Atheist Activist Group

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 06:00 AM PST

Scripture Signs Removed From High School Choir Room Following Complaint From Atheist Activist GroupSeveral displays featuring quotations from Scripture have been removed from a choir room at a public high school in Arkansas following a complaint from one of the nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist activist organizations. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter in November to the superintendent of the Searcy School District to assert that the signs, displayed by choir director Tina Niederbrach at Searcy High School, are violative of the U.S. Constitution.

According to reports, the signs included the verses, “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19); “Love binds us together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14); and “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (Psalm 42:1).“The district violates the  Constitution when it allows schools to display religious symbols or messages. Public schools may not advance, prefer, or promote religion,” the FFRF claimed in its correspondence. READ MORE

Next wave of Facebook crackdown begins! “Toxic Content” to removed!

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 05:54 AM PST

Next wave of Facebook crackdown begins! “Toxic Content” to removed!Facebook executives have pledged to tackle fake news and online fraud after Unilever warned tech firms that it will pull lucrative advertising contracts if companies allow their platforms to “breed division”. Adam Mosseri, the social network’s head of news feed, told an audience in California that Unilever’s commitment to tackling issues such as online racism, sexism and terrorism is a “great thing”. “We think the commitment by such a large advertiser on these issues is great, it’s a great thing.

“It’s on us to make sure we deliver and meet whatever expectations that they have, but we commend the announcement,” Mr Mosseri said at the Code Media conference in Huntington Beach. His comments come after the consumer goods giant’s marketing chief Keith Weed raised serious concerns over the spread of illegal and extremist content online. He said on Monday: “We cannot continue to prop up a digital supply chain – one that delivers over a quarter of our advertising to our consumers – which at times is little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency. READ MORE

Worms pulled from Oregon woman’s eye in first known case of infection

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 06:31 PM PST

Worms pulled from Oregon woman’s eye in first known case of infectionAn Oregon woman who had worms coming out of her eye is being called the first known human case of a parasitic infection spread by flies. Fourteen tiny worms were removed from the left eye of the 26-year-old woman over a 20-day period in August 2016 before her symptoms dissipated. The worms were translucent and each less than half an inch long. Scientists reported the case Monday. The woman was

diagnosed in August 2016 with Thelazia gulosa, a type of eye worm seen in the northern United States and southern Canada – but only in cattle. It is spread by flies that feed on eyeball lubrication. The woman had been horseback riding in Gold Beach, Oregon, in a cattle farming area. After a week of eye irritation, she pulled a worm from her eye. In a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, researchers said North Americans may be more vulnerable than previously understood to such infections. READ MORE

Iran unveils new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in the midst of tensions with Israel

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 06:21 PM PST

Iran unveils new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in the midst of tensions with IsraelIran unveiled a series of new homemade nuclear-capable ballistic missiles during military parades held over the weekend, a move that experts view as a bid to bolster the hardline ruling regime as dissidents continue efforts to stir protest. On the heels of an encounter between an Iranian drone and Israeli forces, Iranian leaders showcased their ballistic missile capabilities, which includes a nuclear-capable medium-range missile that appears to share similarities with North Korean technology, according to experts.

The nuclear-capable missile can strike Israel even when fired from Iranian territory, raising concerns about an impending conflict between Tehran and the Jewish state that could further inflame the region. Iranian military leaders bragged the ballistic missile “can be launched from mobile platforms or silos in different positions and can escape missile defense shields due to their radar-evading capability,” according to reports in Iran’s state-controlled media. READ MORE

Mysterious wind blows down big trees at once in Olympic National Park Washington – Small quake recorded – Weather experts baffled

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 06:07 PM PST

Mysterious wind blows down big trees at once in Olympic National Park Washington – Small quake recorded – Weather experts baffledWhat in the world could possibly blow down more than 100 trees in the middle of a national park when no other major weather event was recorded in the area? A mysterious incident, believed to be meteorological in nature, knocked down over 100 trees in a Washington state national park and has left weather experts baffled. The head-scratching event occurred in the early morning hours of January 27th

at the Olympic National Park. Whatever the force was, it wound up knocking down dozens of fairly large trees in the forest which spawned a rumbling sound that drew concern from people living nearby. Although initially presumed to have been a microburst based on the appearance of the downed trees, a local weather watcher named Cliff Mass dug deeper into the story and realized that it was really more of a riddle than that. READ MORE

Category 4 cyclone Gita hammers Tonga before heading toward Fiji

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 06:01 PM PST

Category 4 cyclone Gita hammers Tonga before heading toward FijiTropical Cyclone Gita barreled through the Pacific island nation of Tonga, causing widespread flooding as it heads toward Fiji. The storm’s winds blew the roof off of Tonga’s meteorological service, damaging equipment. A powerful Category 4 cyclone tore through the Pacific island nation of Tonga early Tuesday, causing extensive flooding and downing power lines. Officials described Cyclone Gita as the most

powerful storm to ever hit Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa after it passed through shortly after midnight (1100 GMT). The storm hit the island with destructive sustained winds of around 233 kilometers per hour (142 miles per hour), damaging about 40 percent of the buildings in the capital. “It was a particularly bad night,” Graham Kenna, from the National Emergency Office, told Radio New Zealand. “I’ve been  involved in disaster response for 30-plus years and it was the worst situation I’ve been in.” READ MORE

Mom of 2 Dies After Refusing Flu Medication

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 10:46 AM PST

Mom of 2 Dies After Refusing Flu MedicationA teacher and mother-of-two has died from complications related to the flu after deeming the antiviral medication she was prescribed as too expensive. Heather Holland, of Weatherford, Texas, fell sick last Monday and was diagnosed with the flu on Wednesday. Medics prescribed her Tamiflu, an antiviral medication that has been used widely during this year’s flu season. Holland thought the pills “cost too

much” according to her husband, Frank. “She wouldn’t go get medicine because she’s a mama. Mamas are tough,” said Willow Park Baptist Church pastor Clark Bosher. “She just kept going. She had a job; she had kids. Frank was going to be out of town for a day or two. I think any mom does that. I don’t think she is being irresponsible. I don’t think she thought she was that sick. It happened so quick.”  READ MORE

Violent thunderstorm hits Queensland with tennis ball-sized hail, 130,000 homes without power

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 10:39 AM PST

Violent thunderstorm hits Queensland with tennis ball-sized hail, 130,000 homes without power

A severe thunderstorm that hit the city of Brisbane, Queensland Sunday night (local time), February 11, 2018, left 130,000 homes without power, produced some 265,000 lightning strikes and dropped up to tennis ball-sized hail on the region. At least one person was injured after a lightning hit nearby home. Heavy rain and winds up to 100 km/h (62 mph) smashed Brisbane around 19:00 local time Sunday, accompanied by up to tennis ball-sized hail that caused extensive damage and blanketed fields. The temperature dropped by 10 °C (18 °F) as the storm hit, from up to 38 °C (100.4 °F) to 28 °C (82.4 °F).The storm downed numerous trees and more than 500 power lines at the height of the storm, leaving some 130 000 homes without power. On Monday morning, February 12, Logan City, south of Brisbane, still had more than 40,000 properties without electricity, Brisbane almost 7,000 and Redland City about 2,300. The extreme weather event also caused some schools to close on Monday and a disruption to Brisbane and Sunshine Coast trains services due to power outages and failing radio communications. READ MORE

3 Prophesied End-Times Outpourings You Can Expect

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:17 AM PST

3 Prophesied End-Times Outpourings You Can Expect(By Asher Intrater) Here are three significant prophecies of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the end times. Two have to do with revival, one with judgment. “I will pour out on the house of David and over those dwelling in Jerusalem a spirit of favor and supplication so that they look to Me, whom they have pierced through” (Zech. 12:10). In this astounding Messianic prophecy, the same One who says “I” will pour out the Spirit, also says, they will look upon “Me.” The One who pours out the Spirit is the same as the One who was pierced.

This prophecy refers to a spirit of revelation that will give the people of Israel understanding that the One we pierced (crucified) is indeed the divine savior, Yeshua the Messiah. The second is similar but more global: “‘In the last days it shall be,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh … I will pour out My Spirit” (Acts 2:17a, 18b). Peter quotes the prophet Joe, as he explains the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire on Pentecost morning. He seems to be indicating that there will be a similar outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the end times, yet much wider in scope. READ MORE

Hundreds of ‘UFO and alien sightings’ in UK reported to police

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:06 AM PST

Hundreds of ‘UFO and alien sightings’ in UK reported to policeAlmost 400 sightings of aliens and UFOs have been reported to UK police forces in the past three years, according to shock figures seen by Express.co.uk. Officers across the country received 146 calls about apparent extra-terrestrial activity by concerned residents in 2015. A further 124 such calls were made to police forces in 2016, with the number of reported alien and UFO sightings falling to 112 last year. The total number of calls received by officers over the three-year period was 382.

But the true figure is likely to be much higher, as 16 of the UK’s 46 police forces did not respond to Express.co.uk’s Freedom of Information requests. Nick Pope, a former UFO investigator for the Ministry of Defence, said: “There’s massive under-reporting of UFOs, because witnesses fear being ridiculed or disbelieved. “Even if they do decide to come forward, many people don’t know who to contact. READ MORE

Why are people outside high-risk groups dying from flu?

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:50 AM PST

Why are people outside high-risk groups dying from flu?As far as flu seasons go, experts are saying the levels of visits to hospitals and emergency rooms for this one are comparable to the 2009 swine flu. As such, reports of otherwise healthy or young people dying from the infection are flying around. The stories have been shocking, especially because many of these people were outside the high-risk groups for flu-related death that include pregnant women, small children and the elderly. So far in the 2017-2018 season, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention has recorded 63 pediatric deaths. This compares to 110 deaths in 2016-2017, 93 in 2015-2016 and 148 in 2014-2015. The CDC does not know how many deaths are caused overall from the seasonal flu because, among other reasons, flu-related deaths happen a few weeks after someone is infected and are often caused by a secondary illness or a pre-existing condition. From the 2010-2011 to the 2013-2014 seasons, the CDC gives a range of 12,000 (during the 2011-2012 season) to 56,000 (2012-2013) deaths. READ MORE

Outback server fired over online rant slamming church for skipping tip

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:42 AM PST

Outback server fired over online rant slamming church for skipping tipA Florida Outback Steakhouse worker says she filled a local megachurch’s $735 takeout order and then was fired when she ranted on social media about not getting a tip. “We take the order over the phone, we put the order together, take payment and then take order to the car,” Tamlynn Yoder, 25, of Lake Park, told the Palm Beach Post. “It’s a lot of work just as much as serving.”

Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens was holding a conference and called in an order to the local Outback Wednesday for 25 steak dinners, 25 chicken dinners and 25 side orders of potatoes that Yoder said she had to prepare, costing her other tips. “I brought it out, put it in the car,” Yoder told Miami Fox affiliate WSVN-TV. “We received the payment. There was no gratuity. I got upset. I posted a post on Facebook about the church not leaving a gratuity tip.” A friend read her post and called the church to complain and was told that the person who picked up the food didn’t know to leave a tip. READ MORE

Parents boycott Peter the rabbit film over “allergy bullying”

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:37 AM PST

Parents boycott Peter the rabbit film over “allergy bullying”Sony Pictures Entertainment has issued an apology over a controversial scene in its new film “Peter Rabbit,” during which a character with an allergy to blackberries is attacked with the offending foodstuff. “Food allergies are a serious issue,” wrote representatives for Sony Pictures Entertainment, reports The New York Times. “Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s archnemesis, Mr. McGregor,

being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way.” “We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize,” the statement concluded. The new film “Peter Rabbit,” based on Beatrix Potter’s children’s book of the same name, was released on Feb. 9, but soon began receiving backlash on social media over its treatment of the allergy-afflicted character. READ MORE


What is The Gospel?


Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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Barna Update | How Liturgical Are Today’s Christians?

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. This season, along with other rituals and readings for congregational worship, are part of what is known as Christian liturgy. Though practiced for centuries, these traditions are mostly absent from many contemporary worship expressions today. Just how familiar are practicing Christians with the Church calendar and liturgy?

Read more

The Liberal Problem in America

American Thinker

The liberal sun is setting in the West, and all that remains for its worshippers is an unbearable sorrow for the power they have lost, of bewilderment and anger, a sense of the lengthening shadows of their irrelevance, and a gathering realization that, from having dwelt within the deep corruption of the Obama administration, they have nothing to offer the people but their old socialist handbooks, their consuming hatred for the new president, and a roiling temper of revenge.

View Article

A Racist Con-Man: Obama’s Portrait Artist, Who Hires Cheap Chinese Labor To Paint “His” Work, Says “Kill Whitey” Is A Major Theme

Since Obama’s portrait was unveiled, I’ve received a flurry of text messages from outraged artist friends I made while living in New York. No, they weren’t outraged because they saw Kehinde Wiley’s other painting that feature black women murdering white women. They were outraged because Kehinde Wiley is a terrible artist who only rose to prominence, something they have been attempting to do their entire lives, in the art world because he is a racist gay black man.

Back in April 2012, Wiley New York magazine wrote a glowing piece covering Wiley and his “global reach.” When Wiley was asked about one of the anti-white paintings in his studio, his response is not only shocking but shows a complete lack of any sort of intellectual depth:

A tall, elegant black woman in a long blue dress—the canvas is enormous, eight feet by ten feet—calmly staring down the viewer. In one hand, she holds a knife. In the other, a cleanly severed brunette female head. “It’s sort of a play on the ‘kill whitey’ thing,” Wiley says. […]

That unabashed bombast has made Wiley a walking superlative: the most successful black artist since Basquiat, possibly the wealthiest painter of his generation, certainly the one who made his name earliest (he was 26 for his first major solo show), a gay man who has become the great painter of machismo for the swag era, a bootstrapper from South Central who talks like a Yale professor (much of the time), a genius self-­promoter who’s managed to have it both ways in an art world that loves having its critical cake and eating the spectacle of it, too, and a crossover phenomenon who is at once the hip-hop world’s favorite fine artist (Spike Lee and LL Cool J own pieces) and the gallery world’s most popular hip-hop ambassador. Not to mention an all-around positive guy.

– NY Mag

Which gets back to a major problem here, and the frustration of one of my painter friends in New York, a Japanese-born gay artist who immigrated to the United States a decade ago. My friend is highly skilled (I would include some of his work but he wishes to remain anonymous), and similar to Wiley draws stylistic inspiration from classical artists such as Caravaggio and Gentileschi. Irately he texted me in his typical broken-English:

His works are Billboard painting quality. If he was white, he has no enough skill to be famous artist.

This went on to him expressing frustration at the art world, especially in New York where tastes are created and artists are seen to emerge more so than anywhere else in the US, that there is not so much a demand for quality in the art world anymore. There is more of a demand for affirmative action. He described an artist friend of his whose assistants (a disgustingly common practice these days among “artists” who’ve made it) are primarily composed of white girls, but when any sort of New York art media or coverage enters his studio for a profile, his assistants quickly change race and gender: “My friend was working in his studio. There were many white girls in his studio. But when shooting for magazine or film came to his studio, he hides white assistants and showed only Latino boy assistants. He knows how to show himself on media.”

So, alright, affirmative action seems to be a major thing in New York – if you are white, or even Asian, you can count on a struggle. The art world doesn’t want you because they’re too busy propping up those technically bad painters who happen to be able to tick more boxes off the intersectionality checklist.

And Wiley certainly can check quite a few boxes off that checklist: a black, gay man, who pushes the anti-white rhetoric that the left revels in these days. But there is another problem, a big one:

Wiley doesn’t actually paint his work.

A common technique used, especially by Chinese labor “painters” who mass produce work, is to repeat a pattern over and over rather than use an artist’s intuition to create a scene.

The fawning New York Magazine piece makes this clear after the writer attempts to snap a few pictures of the studio space. Wiley immediately grows uncomfortable and begins skirting around the truth:

There’s nothing new about artists using assistants—everyone from Michelangelo to Jeff Koons has employed teams of helpers, with varying degrees of irony and pride—but Wiley gets uncomfortable discussing the subject. “I’m sensitive to it,” he says. When I first arrived at his Beijing studio, the assistants had left, and he made me delete the iPhone snapshots I’d taken of the empty space. […] “I don’t want you to know every aspect of where my hand starts and ends” […]

Producing work in China cuts costs, but not as much as it used to, Wiley says. These days in Beijing he employs anywhere from four to ten workers, depending on the urgency, plus a studio manager, the American artist Ain Cocke. 

And there you have it, disgusting as it may be. Is the skill of Wiley’s work good? No, but maybe that’s because he outsources the work to underpaid Chinese labor. Are his concepts good or original? No. It’s very unoriginal these days to be a racist black man whose raison d’etre purely centered around anti-white ideologies. So why is Wiley famous now? How did a former president of the United States end up tapping this sly con artist to paint his portrait, an incredible honor for any artist? What does it say about the state of the arts and modern American culture that we’re willing to pay a hustler hundreds of thousands of dollars to have underpaid Chinese women paint large anti-white paintings?

All that can be definitively answered is: A racist con-artist is being propped up by not just the deranged art world but a former president, and that should trouble everybody.

The post A Racist Con-Man: Obama’s Portrait Artist, Who Hires Cheap Chinese Labor To Paint “His” Work, Says “Kill Whitey” Is A Major Theme appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

Mainstream media celebrates mass starvation and political prisons in North Korea

WINTERY KNIGHT

CNN raves about North Korea's brutal regime, yay communism! CNN raves about North Korea’s brutal regime: Pretty! Glamorous! Stylish!

I’m sure everyone has heard about the mainstream media’s embrace of North Korea’s charming smiles at the Olympics. I like to listen to the Ben Shapiro podcast, the Andrew Klavan podcast, and the Daily Signal podcast and they ALL talked about it. But I wanted to tell people the truth, and remind people that this isn’t the first time that mainstream media types have covered up atrocities in order to make their heroes look good.

The Daily Signal posted celebratory tweets from seven different mainstream media sources: CNN, ThinkProgress, The New York Times, Politico, Reuters, and a bureau chief of the Washington Post.

The New York Times tweeted: “Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong-un’s sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy” and Reuters tweeted: “North Korea judged winner of diplomatic gold at Olympics”.

Before we go any…

View original post 1,384 more words

Should Christians Avoid Yoga?

(Faithwire) A new debate hit the internet today and it put yoga squarely in the crosshairs.

It all started with this tweet observation from writer Matt Walsh:

It’s kind of amazing to see all of the Christians who think nothing of going to a yoga class. There are many excellent ways to get in shape that do not involve participating in Hindu worship. 

And with that, the yoga Twitter war began. Walsh took issue by linking yoga to Hindu worship, which appears to be a fair assertion. The debate, however, is hardly anything new. The issue was raised by the BBC a few years ago, interestingly by a Muslim woman, not by a Christian. They also included concerns about practicing it from a number of other religions: View article →

See Berean Research’s White Paper on Yoga

Source:

SICK: Artist Who Painted Obama’s Official Portrait Known For Painting Blacks Beheading Whites

The artist who painted former President Obama’s portrait for the Portrait Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution, has an interesting past. While reviewing previous works by artist Kehinde Wiley, it was discovered that he has a great fondness for painting black women beheading white women. Both beheading pieces are titled “Judith beheading Holofernes”, referencing a story in the Book of Judith, which involves a beautiful woman who seduces an invading general before he is able to destroy their land, gets him drunk, and then decapitates him.

Typical artists from the Rennaissance era have placed Judith in the role of a scriptural savior, “a type of the praying Virgin or the church or as a figure who tramples Satan and harrows Hell.” Given the historical context and how Wiley recreated it in his works, is hard to interpret his use of this theme as anything other than a blatant statement of racism; black women are the powerful angels of the earth, conquering the white devils.

Can you imagine for a second if George W. Bush, or any other former president, decided on a painter who was famous for depicting white people killing black people to paint his official portrait? It’s hard to imagine, right? Yea, that’s because it’s disgusting and backward.

Users on Twitter expressed outrage at commissioning an artist with such obvious racist leanings to paint the portrait of an American president:

The Obama portrait “artist” Kehinde Wiley is shown here with one of his works, a black woman beheading a white woman.

These CANNOT be the official Obama White House portraits. They just can’t. NOTHING is this awful on purpose. pic.twitter.com/RtgScx2WM1

It gets worse. The artist (Kehinde Wiley) who painted Obama’s portrait has a penchant for depicting black women beheading white women. pic.twitter.com/wDFPqdwcdN

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Also by Obama portrait painter Kehinde Wiley: This darling little number. I just LOVE how he blended the floral notes with the beheading of the white kid.

Obama portrait painter @kehindewiley, undoubtedly in the name of “artistic license”, butchered history by depicting Caravaggio’s classic “Judith Beheading Holofernes (1602)” as a vile image of a black woman decapitating a white woman. @seanhannity @RealJamesWoods

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Kehinde Wiley the man who painted @POTUS44 presidential portrait has paintings showing blacks beheading whites

These portraits are hideous, unartistic, and make absolutely no sense. Absolutely uninspired. pic.twitter.com/pvYksrNlcI

Eye of the beholder. I like them. What disturbs me is the other art by this artist, African-American women holding the decapitated heads of white women. pic.twitter.com/UrUOqSWJj1

View image on Twitter

 

The post SICK: Artist Who Painted Obama’s Official Portrait Known For Painting Blacks Beheading Whites appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

February 13, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Anna

And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (2:36–38)

The next testimony to Jesus was given by a prophetess named Anna. Her name is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Hannah, which means “grace.” Like the Old Testament Hannah, Anna was characterized by prayer and fasting (cf. 1 Sam. 1:7, 10–16). That she was a prophetess does not mean that she predicted the future, but that God had used her to speak His word.

The Old Testament mentions five women who are called prophetesses. But neither Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron (Ex. 15:20), Deborah (Judg. 4:4), or Huldah (2 Kings 22:14) had an ongoing prophetic ministry as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the other male prophets did. A fourth, Noadiah (Neh. 6:14), was a false prophetess. Isaiah’s wife was described as a prophetess (Isa. 8:3) because she gave birth to a son who was given a prophetic name. Among the New Testament women, only the daughters of Philip are called “prophetesses” (Acts 21:9), with no explanation beyond that. Anna may have been called a prophetess because, as noted above, she was a teacher of the Word. Or she may have been a prophetess more like Isaiah’s wife because she testified that this Child was the Messiah.

That Anna was a member of the tribe of Asher is noteworthy. Asher was one of the ten tribes that formed the northern kingdom and were taken captive by Assyria in 722 b.c. But the so-called ten lost tribes were in fact not lost. Before the fall of the northern kingdom, in response to letters from King Hezekiah of Judah (2 Chron. 30:6), “some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem” (v. 11). Their descendants would be among those who were carried away captive to Babylon, and returned to Israel after the exile.

While Simeon’s old age is inferred, the text explicitly states that Anna was advanced in years. Luke explained that she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. Some interpret the last phrase to mean that Anna lived as a widow for eighty-four years after the death of her husband, which would mean that she was more than one hundred years old. Both translations are possible and both support Luke’s statement that she was advanced in years. That she never left the temple suggests that Anna lived in the temple complex, perhaps in one of the apartments in the outer court normally occupied by priests doing their two weeks of annual service. She was not idle, but spent her time at the temple serving night and day with fastings and prayers. Prayer is often associated with fasting in Scripture (cf. 5:33; 2 Sam. 12:16; Ezra 8:23; Neh. 1:4; Ps. 35:13; Dan. 9:3; Acts 13:3; 14:23); fasting is the self-denial that accompanies passionate prayer. Anna was singularly and completely devoted to the service and worship of God; such a devout, godly woman was a fitting witness to Jesus.

In God’s providential timing, at that very moment—while Simeon was uttering his prophetic hymn of praise—she came up to the little group. In his typical understated way, Luke gave no details of the meeting or of what transpired between the time Anna arrived and when she began giving thanks. Certainly Simeon, whom she most likely knew, along with Joseph and Mary, must have told her who the Child was. But Luke merely noted that Anna began giving thanks to God for the baby Jesus. All the long years of passionately petitioning God gave way to an outburst of joyous praise. Hers, though the words were not recorded, is the final hymn of praise in Luke’s account of Christ’s birth, along with those of Elizabeth (1:41–45), Mary (1:46–55), Zacharias (1:67–79), the angels (2:13–14), and Simeon.

Anna’s testimony to Jesus did not end with this incident. Instead, from her place inside the temple, she continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem; that is, the believing remnant, everyone who anticipated that the Lord would visit His people with salvation, who believed that the promises given through the prophets would be fulfilled, and looked for the blessings of the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New covenants to be realized.[1]


37–38 Anna was a familiar figure at the temple. Possibly she lived in one of the rooms surrounding the temple precinct; or she may have, like the disciples in 24:53, centered her life there. She was the ideal widow described in 1 Timothy 5:5. Once more, Luke points out the providential timing (v. 38; cf. v. 27). He may be underlining the desire for the messianic deliverance of Jerusalem (cf. Isa 52:9) by describing Anna’s thanksgiving with a rare verb (anthomologeomai, GK 469), which occurs in a psalm lamenting the defilement of the Jerusalem temple (Ps 79:1–3 [78:1–3 LXX]). Later Luke will mention another pious Jew who had been expecting the messianic kingdom—Joseph of Arimathea (23:51).[2]


2:36–38. Simeon acted like a priest, much like Eli in 1 Samuel 1–2, but he received no official title from Luke. He was simply a dedicated servant of God led by the Spirit of God. Anna immediately received a legitimating title. She was a prophetess, one with great age and experience, apparently having been married seven years and widowed eighty-four (NIV textual note), perhaps being 105 or so as she stood in the temple. She made the temple her permanent home; worship, prayer, and fasting, her occupation. Without invitation, she approached the baby Jesus just as Simeon returned him to his parents. She recognized what God was doing in the person of this baby and gave thanks. This term appears only here in the New Testament.

Anna then turned to other worshipers and spoke her prophetic words about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem (see Isa. 52:9). Not all Jews rejected Jesus. Simeon waited for God to comfort Israel (v. 25). Anna and the other worshipers looked to God for Jerusalem’s redemption (cf. 1:68). Israel raised praises at Jesus’ birth, looking forward to what he would do in his death. There he died, giving his life in payment for the death penalty all people deserved because of their sins.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2009). Luke 1–5 (pp. 184–186). 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, pp. 83–84). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke (Vol. 3, p. 33). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

FEBRUARY 13 OUR HIGHEST HAPPINESS

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

John 13:17

Let me call it to your attention that the happiness of all moral creatures lies in the giving of obedience to God, the Creator.

The psalmist cries out in Psalm 103:20: “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.”

The angels in heaven find their complete freedom and highest happiness in obeying the commandments of God. They do not find it a tyranny—they find it a delight!

Here is something that we should know and realize: Heaven is a place of surrender to the whole will of God, and it is heaven because it is such a place.

I thank God that heaven is the world of God’s obedient children. Whatever else we may say of its pearly gates, golden streets and jasper walls, heaven is heaven because children of the Most High God find they are in their normal sphere as obedient moral beings.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your patience with me as I learn to obey You more fully in my daily walk with You.[1]


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

FEBRUARY 13 THE WAY TO HUMILITY

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Matt. 5:3

Achieving humility doesn’t mean merely putting yourself down. Because of sin, you are already spiritually down, whether you know it or not; humility just recognizes this truth. Furthermore, this recognition comes only from God, which is why asceticism, self-denial, and other human efforts are so futile in seeking humility.

Yet even though genuine humility results from God’s sovereign, saving work, He still commands it of men and women (cf. Matt. 18:4; 23:12; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5). Therefore it is always helpful to remember some basic steps to take from our side of the divine equation.

First, we must take our eyes off ourselves and look to God—through study of the Word, time in prayer, and sincerely desiring to be close to Him. Second, we must starve our flesh by removing the things on which it feeds. This means removing those things that promote pride. Third, and most important, we must simply ask for it. God alone can help us keep our lives in balanced perspective, and He will respond when we seek humility with all our hearts. David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). He desired to be steadfastly humble, and knew only God could grant such a request. The Father stands ready to answer this prayer long before we even utter it—humility is that important.

ASK YOURSELF

Fashion your own prayer today, deliberately confessing your tendency toward pride, acknowledging your inability to conjure up true humility within yourself, and asking for the Lord’s enablement in pursuing a life of genuine, godly perspective. He will love hearing this prayer from you.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 52). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

February 13 Take Responsibility

Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.

Psalm 51:4

If you want to have a decreasing frequency of sin in your life and an increasing amount of spiritual growth, you must acknowledge your responsibility. Don’t blame your circumstances, your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your boss, your employees, or your pastor. Don’t even blame the devil. Your sin is your fault. Certainly the world’s system can contribute to the problem, but sin ultimately occurs as an act of the will—and you are responsible for it.

Perhaps one of the best examples of someone who learned how to take responsibility was the prodigal son. When he returned home to his loving father, he said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21). He was even willing to be treated as a humble laborer because he knew he didn’t deserve anything (v. 19). That is the right attitude of one who confesses sin.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 56). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

February 13, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

10 “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Je 29:10–14). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


11–13 Verse 11 begins with real emphasis (lit., “for I myself know”), where the Lord gives strong assurance of his intentions toward his people. (When he focuses on [“knows”] his people’s sins, it is bad news for them [see, e.g., Dt 31:27; Rev 3:15–18]; but when he focuses on [“knows”] his own thoughts and plans, it is good news for them.) Whereas in the past Yahweh was planning disaster (rāʿâ) against them (the phrase ḥāšab maḥšabôt, “planning plans,” occurs in 18:11 in the context of judgment), now he is planning for them šālôm, not rāʿâ. Unfortunately, the NIV’s “to prosper you” misses the point here, since the Lord is telling his people that he has plans of šālôm for them—the very šālôm that the false prophets promised for so long (e.g., 4:10; 6:14), also reinforcing the promise of v. 7. (See further 33:9, where the NIV translates ṭôbâ with “prosperity” and šālôm with “peace.”)

God will give his people an ʾaḥarît, a “future” (for this meaning, cf. Pr 23:18; 24:14, 20) and a “hope” (tiqwâ), the two words perhaps forming a hendiadys to mean “future hope.” It is difficult to find a more wonderful promise anywhere in Scripture that expresses the tender compassion of Yahweh toward these exiles and setting before them, at last, a real reason for optimism and expectation. Measured by the words of the courageous, dauntless missionary pioneer Adoniram Judson (1788–1850)—“The future is as bright as the promises of God”—Judah’s future is looking bright indeed, despite the dark night of the exile.

At that time of restoration (v. 12) God’s people will come and pray to him (meaning they will come to the temple), and he will answer (cf. 14:11–12, where he refused to hear his people’s prayers). Moreover, in language closely resembling Deuteronomy 4:29, where a promise is given to the Israelites scattered around the world, God’s people will seek (bqš) and find him, searching (drš) for him with all their hearts (cf., e.g., Pr 2:1–5; 8:17; Heb 11:6). Would Jeremiah or the exiles receiving this letter ever have dreamed that more than twenty-five hundred years later these verses would be quoted by thousands of people around the world—both Gentiles and Jews—as the very words of God to them and as a personal message of divine encouragement? As to the call to seek God, J. H. H. Hertz rightly notes that “the sinner … must feel the ‘loss’ of God, and take active measure to find Him and regain His favour’ ” (cited in Freedman).[1]


29:10–14 / A second section of the divine oracle in letter format is introduced by a shorter formula: this is what the Lord says (compare v. 10 with v. 4). The tone of the message also changes from present judgment to future salvation.

Indeed, the duration of the judgment is specified as seventy years. After that period of time in Babylon, God will come to the exiles and return them to their homeland. It is hard, even in historical retrospect, to know the precise significance of seventy. Even the original hearers may have wondered if this number was symbolic for a long, but unspecified period of time, since seven is a well known symbolic number for completion and seventy is, of course, seven times ten. Then there is the difficult question of knowing when this seventy-year period of judgment began (for more detailed information see note at 25:11 and also DBI, pp. 774–75).

In spite of the surprising ambiguity of the number seventy, God’s statement here clearly indicates that the judgment is for a specified period of time. God is not abandoning his people in Babylon forever. God still has plans for Israel in his redemptive purposes. Of course, in their present situation the exiles would think that God has intentions only to bring harm on them, but through Jeremiah he informs them that he is not done with them. Of course, from what is said in vv. 4–9 the recipients of the letter would not see this change from judgment to redemption, but perhaps their children or grandchildren would.

Verse 12 suggests that this transition will be initiated by the people’s repentance. They must first seek God, and when they do, God will allow himself to be found by them. Repentance precedes restoration (contra Fretheim, Jeremiah, pp. 405). Perhaps we should understand these verses as motivating Daniel to articulate repentance in Daniel 9, set at a time when it was felt the seventy years were about to expire (see G. Wilson, The Prayer of Daniel 9: Reflection on Jeremiah 29,” JSOT 48 [1990], pp. 91–9).[2]


29:10–14 The Lord promises that the captivity in Babylon will end in seventy years and that the people will return to the land.

Verse 13 is an encouragement to all who have been seeking the Lord, sometimes without apparent success:

God’s Word to His people in the day of Jeremiah is still His sure word for men who have sinned and lost touch with the Infinite. No perfunctory gesture of interest can procure the rich treasure that is more valuable than all gold. He is always available. His longing is that all men may look to Him and live. His arms are always open in loving invitation to any who will turn to Him. It is just as true, however, that a diligent search is necessary. One who becomes conscious of his need, senses the satisfying gift of God, and sets out to find Him can be sure of victory if he seeks with his whole heart. Cleansing, peace, joy, victory will be his at the hand of a loving God who delights to welcome His children home.[3]


29:10–14. The restoration of the exiles to Judah would happen only when God’s 70 years of judgment were completed (cf. 25:11–12). Then God would fulfill His gracious promise to restore the exiles to their land. The 70-year Exile was a part of God’s plans to give Judah hope and a future. The judgment prompted the exiles to seek God wholeheartedly (cf. Dan. 9:2–3, 15–19). Once they had turned back to their God He would gather them from all the nations where they had been banished and return them to their land. The larger purpose of the Exile was to force Israel back to her God (cf. Deut. 30:1–10).

(3) The warning against false prophets (29:15–23).[4]


Those Who Have True Hope (vv. 10–14). True hope is based on the revealed Word of God, not on the “dream messages” of self-appointed prophets (v. 10, NIV). God gave His people a “gracious promise” (v. 10, NIV) to deliver them, and He would keep His promise. God makes His plans for His people, and they are good plans that ultimately bring hope and peace. Therefore, there is no need to be afraid or discouraged.

In every situation, however, God’s people have the responsibility to seek the Lord, pray, and ask Him to fulfill His promises, for the Word and prayer go together (Acts 6:4). The purpose of chastening is that we might seek the Lord, confess our sins, and draw near to Him (Heb. 12:3–13). According to Jeremiah 29:14, these promises reach beyond the Jews captive in Babylon and include all of Israel throughout the world. Jeremiah was looking ahead to the end of the age when Israel will be regathered to meet their Messiah and enter their kingdom (Isa. 10:20–12:6).

Jeremiah’s word of explanation (vv. 15–23). The false prophets in Babylon were giving false hopes to the people concerning Jerusalem and Judah, and this word got back to Jeremiah. Yes, King Zedekiah was still on the throne and there were Jews still living in Jerusalem, but this was no guarantee that the city and the nation would be delivered. The people still in the land were the “bad figs” that would be thrown out (Jer. 29:17; see chap. 24). The important thing wasn’t what happened to the people in the land but what the exiles would do with the Word of God. If they obeyed God, He would work out His purposes and bless them.

Jeremiah named two of the false prophets, Ahab and Zedekiah, who not only preached lies to the people but also lived godless lives. Consequently, he announced their doom in Babylon. Their names would become proverbs in Israel, warning not to rebel against the Word of God.

Jeremiah’s word of warning (vv. 24–32). This warning was in response to Shemaiah, another false prophet in Babylon, who had written letters to people in Jerusalem “in the name of the Lord,” urging them to imprison Jeremiah because he was a madman. The chief temple officer Zephaniah let Jeremiah read the letter (see 21:1). Because Shemaiah had a following in Babylon, Jeremiah warned the exiles that the man was a rebel against God and that the Lord had neither sent him nor given him a message. Shemaiah would be judged for his sins by dying childless in Babylon, never to see his native land again.

What life does to us depends largely on what life finds in us. If we seek the Lord and want His best, then circumstances will build us and prepare us for what He has planned. If we rebel or if we look for quick and easy shortcuts, then circumstances will destroy us and rob us of the future God wants us to enjoy. The same sun that melts the ice also hardens the clay.

God’s thoughts and plans concerning us come from His heart and lead to His peace. Why look for substitutes?[5]


29:13 — “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Do you really want to know God’s will for your life? Do you really want to learn His plans for you? God promises to reveal His will to everyone who will obey whatever He tells them to do.[6]


[1] Brown, M. L. (2010). Jeremiah. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah–Ezekiel (Revised Edition) (Vol. 7, pp. 359–360). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Longman, T., III. (2012). Jeremiah, Lamentations. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 194). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1015). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Dyer, C. H. (1985). Jeremiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1166). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Decisive (pp. 124–126). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Je 29:13). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

FEBRUARY 13 THE DEEPER LIFE

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

—Philippians 3:10

I almost shrink from hearing the expression, “the deeper life,” because so many people want to talk about it as a topic—but no one seems to want to know and love God for Himself!

God is the deeper life! Jesus Christ Himself is the deeper life, and as I plunge on into the knowledge of the triune God, my heart moves on into the blessedness of His fellowship. This means that there is less of me and more of God—thus my spiritual life deepens, and I am strengthened in the knowledge of His will.

I think this is what Paul meant when he penned that great desire, “That I may know him!” He was expressing more than the desire for acquaintance—he was yearning to be drawn into the full knowledge of fellowship with God which has been provided in the plan of redemption. ITB017-018

Lord, I want to know You more, that I might enter into lasting fellowship with You. May that be my deep desire and not just a topic for spiritual discussion. Amen.[1]


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

February 13 Evidences of God’s Power

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know … what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”

Ephesians 1:18–19

✧✧✧

God’s power is seen in creation, preservation, redemption, and resurrection.

Think of all the energy we get from the sun, and multiply that by the innumerable stars in space. But God by His great power created all the stars with no effort whatsoever: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host” (Ps. 33:6). He just spoke, and they were made.

God’s power also preserves the universe. Christ “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3), and “in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Chaos would result unless His sustaining hands were directing the orderliness of creation (Ps. 104; Jer. 31:35–36).

God’s power was beautifully demonstrated at the cross. Satan was subdued, death was conquered, and the penalty for our sins was paid. The gospel “is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes” (Rom. 1:16). When we were saved, God made each of us “a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). Not only that, but “He who began a good work in [us] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God’s power saved us and gives us strength to live lives pleasing to Him.

The power of God is also made evident in resurrection. Did you know that someday God is going to resurrect every human being who ever lived? The righteous will be raised to eternal life, and the unrighteous to eternal damnation (John 5:28–29; Rev. 20:11–15). Billions of people, long dead, will be resurrected. What tremendous power!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for the power He has shown in His beautiful creation. ✧ Thank God that by His power He made you into a new creation and will someday raise you to eternal life.

For Further Study: Psalm 33 is a song of praise to God for His power and sovereignty. Examine what it teaches about God’s power, and read it as your own prayer of praise.[1]


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

February 12 Daily Help

OH! it is a happy way of smoothing sorrow when we can say, “We will wait only upon God.” Oh, ye agitated Christians, do not dishonor your religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon the Lord. I see ye staggering beneath a weight which He would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance. See! the Almighty bends his shoulders, and he says, “Here, put thy troubles here.”

“Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.”[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 47). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

February 12, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Truth Blesses Believers

Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. (3)

Although they appear together only here and in Paul’s letters to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2), grace, mercy, and peace are familiar New Testament terms. They are often used in the salutations of the epistles. Grace combines with peace in Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 3, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:2, and Revelation 1:4; mercy with peace in Jude 2. The three terms summarize the progression of the plan of salvation: God’s grace caused Him to grant mercy, which results in peace. Grace views sinners as guilty and undeserving (Rom. 5:20; Eph. 1:7); mercy views them as needy and helpless (Matt. 5:3; Rom. 11:30–32; Eph. 2:4–5; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3); peace is the result of God’s outpouring of both (Acts 10:36; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:14; Col. 1:20). These divine blessings, like everything in the Christian life, come only from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father. From God, “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” comes down “every good thing given and every perfect gift” (James 1:17). And through the Son, all “the promises of God … are yes” (2 Cor. 1:20). They are present when divine truth dominates the mind and heart, resulting in genuine love. The twofold repetition of para (from) stresses Jesus’ equality with the Father. John emphasized Christ’s identity as God’s Son because the false teachers were denying that truth (cf. the discussion of the false teachers and their heretical teaching in the Introduction to 1 John).[1]


3 John’s prayer for the reader combines Jewish and Greco-Roman customs. Greek letters typically include a “grace” greeting (charis, GK 5921), while “mercy” and “peace” (eleos, GK 1799, and eirēnē, GK 1645) are customary Jewish salutations. In most ancient letters, the prayer formula implies a subjunctive verb (“should be …”), indicating that the author hopes his wish will be granted for the reader. John, however, uses the future indicative of eimi, which represents, as the NIV indicates, a promise that these things “will be” with those who have faith. In light of the experience of the Johannine Christians (see Introduction), it may seem odd that John would promise “peace” as well as “grace” and “mercy.” He is probably thinking of “peace” as a positive relationship with God, irrespective of the difficulties presented by the world and the Antichrists. Throughout the Johannine literature, peace with God is the flipside of the world’s hatred (Jn 15:18–16:4; 17:14).

The function of the last phrase in v. 3, en alētheia kai agapē (“in truth and love”), is uncertain. Marshall, 64, suggests that these qualities go along with “grace, mercy and peace” as specifically Johannine benefits of faithfulness. Similarly, Dodd, 147, believes that all five terms describe facets of the same experience, “because the grace of God is shown in that revelation of Himself which is the Truth, and in the divine charity expressed in the work of Christ … and takes effect in the true belief and mutual charity of Christians.” The NIV, on the other hand, suggests that the phrase “modifies the way in which grace, mercy, and peace indwell” (Brown, 659), i.e., these blessings “will be with us in truth and love” (NIV). Brown, 682, believes that the phrase conditions the entire preceding greeting, so that the believer’s receipt of grace is contingent on her commitment to the “truth” of John’s message and subsequent good fellowship (“love”) with the community. Another possibility is suggested by the fact that John has positioned the phrase immediately after the words “the Father’s Son.” “In truth and love” may refer to the relationship that exists between Jesus and God, for God is referred to as ho patros (“the father”), and Jesus is then redundantly called “the Father’s Son.” The Johannine Jesus uses cognates of agapē (GK 27) to describe his relationship with God on several occasions (Jn 3:35; 10:17; 14:31), and John consistently advocates the “truth” of Jesus’ claims to this relationship. If this is the case, Jesus is the Son “in love,” in the sense that he and God love one another, and “in truth,” in the sense that this doctrine is true. In any case, “ ‘truth and love’ provide the transition to the next section, where they become the chief topic[s]” (Barker, 362).[2]


The truth—accompanying us for ever (2 John 3)

The truth is the Christian’s companion both now and for ever. Once again, John’s definitions of the truth help us to see what he means by this.

The Spirit Of Truth Will Be With Us For Ever

The parallel passage in John 14:16–17 again underlines this fact: ‘I will pray the Father, and he will give you another helper, that he may abide with you for ever—the Spirit of truth … He dwells with you.’ He dwells with us now and will do so for ever.

The Word Of Truth Will Be With Us For Ever

John himself does not say this elsewhere, but others do. Matthew 24:35 records the words of Jesus: ‘My words will by no means pass away.’ Peter, quoting from the prophet Isaiah, says, ‘the word of the Lord endures for ever’ and defines this as ‘the word which by the gospel was preached to you’ (1 Peter 1:25). If God’s word and the gospel remain for ever, the Christian is assured that all the promises and blessings of the gospel will outlive time itself and last for ever. Even in eternity they will never be obsolete or out of date.

Jesus The Truth Will Be With Us For Ever

The Lord Jesus Christ has promised to stay with his people now—‘Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matt. 28:20). He is with the believer after death; Paul said he had ‘a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better’ (Phil. 1:23). And Jesus is going to be with all his people throughout all eternity. After he comes again and all believers dead and alive ‘meet the Lord in the air’, ‘thus we shall always be with the Lord’ (1 Thes. 4:17).

Back in 2 John, in the middle of his references to the truth, John inserts a further note on this last point; those with whom the truth will be for ever are also accompanied by other great kindnesses from God the Father and God the Son (2 John 3):

GRACE—the gift of blessings which we do not deserve.

MERCY—the removal of the punishment for sin which we do deserve.

PEACE—peace with God (replacing enmity) and the peace of God in our hearts.

All of these come to the Christian in a rich combination of God’s truth and love.[3]


3 / Grace, mercy and peace are common in salutations of nt letters. First Timothy 1:2 and 2 Timothy 1:2 have precisely this trio. But the form of this blessing is unique. Literally, it begins, “There will be with us grace, mercy, peace.…” Only 2 John (a) uses the phrase will be with us, (b) calls Jesus the Father’s Son, and (c) delimits the sphere of the blessing as in truth and love.

Grace is God’s free, unmerited favor to the world and especially to those who belong to Christ (John 1:14, 16–17). Mercy, unique here in the Johannine literature, is God’s forgiving goodness, and peace (John 14:27; 16:33; 20:19, 21, 26) is the condition of believers, who have received God’s grace and mercy in Jesus Christ, who himself has overcome the world.

These blessings come to God’s people from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son. The family/relational terminology and the linking of Father and Son with the Elder’s community subtly underscore the unity of the loyal Johannine Christians with God, a point that is elsewhere made explicit (1 John 4:6).

But how does one come to enjoy these divine blessings? The Elder says that they will be with us in truth and love. The use of the future tense may imply that not all of the house churches in the Elder’s orbit are actively enjoying God’s blessing: some have joined the schismatics; others are in conflict, perhaps divided about whether to remain with the Elder or to side with the “new wave” (2 John 9) secessionists. The threefold blessing will belong to those who remain in truth and love.

In truth, as we have already seen, means “doctrinally correct when it comes to the basic truth about Jesus Christ,” i.e., in agreement with the Elder that Jesus Christ is fully human (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). In love means “not part of the secession.” Those who left the community (1 John 2:19) broke the love command, and thereby demonstrated that they were not really Jesus’ disciples, since the latter are to be characterized by love for one another (John 13:34–35; 1 John 3:11, 16–18, 23; 4:7, 11, 21). The Elder’s community is a fellowship of both truth and love. Neither can be minimized; both are at the core of what it means to be Christian. These two concepts are explored further in vv. 4–11.[4]


3. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

Here is an apostolic greeting that compares with the salutations of Peter and Paul, who write the words grace and peace at the beginning of their epistles. In two of the pastoral Epistles, Paul expands his greetings: “Grace, mercy and peace” (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2).

  • “Grace, mercy and peace.” The expression grace is not common to the literature of John (John 1:14, 16, 17; 3 John 4 [translated “joy”]; Rev. 1:4; 22:21). What is the meaning of this salutation? In his inimitable manner, John Albert Bengel summarizes the meaning of the phrase grace, mercy and peace in these words: “Grace removes guilt; mercy removes misery; peace expresses a continuance in grace and mercy.” And B. F. Westcott makes the following distinction: “ ‘Grace’ points to the absolute freedom of God’s love in relation to man’s helplessness to win it; and ‘mercy’ to His tenderness towards man’s misery.”7 Peace stands for harmony, trust, rest, safety, and freedom; it is God’s gift to man.
  • “From God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son.” Paul uses similar greetings (with only slight variations) in his letters to Timothy. However, John is more articulate when he places Jesus Christ on the same level as God the Father. John repeats the word from and notes that Jesus is the Son of God the Father. As in his first epistle, John opposes false doctrines concerning Jesus Christ and explicitly teaches Jesus’ divinity (compare 1 John 2:22; 4:2; 5:1, 5; 2 John 7). Jesus is the Son of God.
  • “Will be with us in truth and love.” John’s greeting deviates considerably from that of the rest of the writers of New Testament epistles. Paul, Peter, and Jude convey their greeting in the form of a prayer or a wish: “Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (e.g., 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2). But John is definite, because he does not express a wish but declares that “grace, mercy and peace … will be with us.” He adds the words in truth and love. The three virtues (grace, mercy, and peace) flourish in an environment where truth and love prevail. Truth unites the Christian community when it faces the common foe of falsehood; it is evident among Christians when they demonstrate their unity in showing love toward one another. Then the Christian church prays the prayer John Greenleaf Whittier composed,

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,

Till all our strivings cease;

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of Thy peace.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 219–220). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Thatcher, T. (2006). 2 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 514–515). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Crosby, T. P. (2006). Opening up 2 and 3 John (pp. 25–26). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[4] Johnson, T. F. (2011). 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 149–150). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 375–376). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

February 12: Liar or Lord?

Exodus 28:1–29:46; John 5:16–30; Song of Solomon 4:1–3

When Jesus made a defense of His healing on the Sabbath, He was upping the ante instead of defusing the situation: “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (John 5:17). For the Jews, such a claim was blasphemous. Not only was Jesus breaking the Sabbath, He was equating Himself with the Father and thus claiming to be God. He was presenting the people with a choice.

Jesus provides compelling insight into His relationship with God. Jesus’ authority stems from His relationship with the Father, which is one of complete submission. In fact, He can do nothing on His own. Whatever the Father does, He does likewise. There is complete trust and openness—the Father loves the Son and shows Him all that He is doing. Both the Father and the Son give life. But with authority, the Father has also given the Son judgment.

Jesus presents His audience with an ultimatum as He carries out God’s will on earth: “The one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly I say to you that the one who hears my word and who believes the one who sent me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment” (John 5:23–24). His claims require bold acts—total faith or total rejection. He is not merely a prophet sent from God.

How do you respond to Jesus’ claim? Are you completely and solely devoted to following Him?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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