Daily Archives: March 1, 2018

March 1 Unceasing Prayer

“Pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18).

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Spiritual victory is directly related to the quality of your prayer life.

Prayer is communication with God; and like all communication, it can be developed to maximum efficiency or allowed to languish. Which you choose will determine the quality of your spiritual life.

Ironically, the freedom of worship we enjoy in our society and our high standard of living make it easy to become complacent about prayer and to presume on God’s grace. Consequently, many who say they trust in God actually live as if they don’t need Him at all. Such neglect is sinful and leads to spiritual disaster.

Jesus taught that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1, kjv). “Faint” speaks of giving in to evil or becoming weary or cowardly. Paul added that we should “pray at all times in the Spirit … with all prayer and petition” and “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

First Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” That doesn’t mean to do nothing but pray. It simply means to live in a constant state of God-consciousness. If you see a beautiful sunrise or a bouquet of flowers, your first response is to thank God for the beauty of His creation. If you see someone in distress, you intercede on his or her behalf. You see every experience of life in relation to God.

God wants you to be diligent and faithful in prayer. With that goal in mind, we will devote this month to a study of prayer from two texts: Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:1–19, and the Disciples’ Prayer in Matthew 6:9–13. Both are models of majestic, effective prayer.

As we study those passages together, be aware of your own pattern of prayer. Examine it carefully for strengths and weaknesses. Be prepared to make any necessary changes.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the privilege of communing with Him in prayer. ✧ Ask Him to reveal any areas in your praying that need to be strengthened.

For Further Study: Read Daniel 9:1–19. ✧ What prompted Daniel’s prayer? ✧ What was Daniel’s attitude toward God? Toward himself and his people? ✧ What did Daniel request?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 73). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

MARCH 1 GOD EXPECTS GRATITUDE WHEN HE GIVES US GIFTS

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

2 CORINTHIANS 9:15

Because we are so very human there is real danger that we may inadvertently do the human thing and turn our blessings upside down. Unless we watch and pray in dead earnest we may turn our good into evil and make the grace of God a trap instead of a benefit!

Men are notoriously lacking in gratitude. Bible history reveals that Israel often took God’s gifts too casually and so turned their blessings into a curse. This human fault appears also in the New Testament, and the activities of Christians through the centuries show that as Christ was followed by Satan in the wilderness so truth is often accompanied by a strong temptation to pride.

Among the purest gifts we have received from God is truth. Another gift, almost as precious, and without which the first would be meaningless, is our ability to grasp truth and appreciate it.

For these priceless treasures we should be profoundly grateful; for them our thanks should rise to the Giver of all good gifts throughout the day and in the night seasons. And because these and all other blessings flow to us by grace without merit or worth on our part, we should be very humble and watch with care lest such undeserved favors, if unappreciated, be taken from us!

The very truth that makes men free may be and often is fashioned into chains to keep them in bondage. Never forget that there is no pride so insidious and yet so powerful as the pride of orthodoxy.[1]


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

March 1, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

A federal court judge once accused by President Donald Trump of being biased against him because he’s “Mexican” and a “hater” paved the way for construction of a section of Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S. southern border.

Facebook wants to set the record straight: presidential candidate Donald Trump spent slightly more per ad on the site than his rival Hillary Clinton did ahead of the general election in 2016.

The House passed legislation on Tuesday intended to curb online sex trafficking, hours after the Justice Department objected that part of the measure may be unconstitutional.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani presented his most comprehensive peace plan to the Taliban in a bid to bring them to the negotiating table and end the nations near 17-year war. Ghani said he would recognize the Taliban as a political group and would initiate talks if they agreed to a cease-fire, he told delegates at a peace conference in the capital, Kabul, on Wednesday.

Senator Lindsey Graham said Iran is testing President Donald Trump and warned Israel was preparing to start a war in southern Lebanon over an Iranian-backed Hezbollah rocket factory.

In a sign of China’s growing influence in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte’s political party is holding a two-day summit in Manila to develop policies that imitate the Communist Party’s anti-poverty programs.

Justin Trudeau is bringing women’s equality to the heart of his government’s third budget. The plan, delivered Tuesday in Ottawa, includes funding to narrow the pay gap among federal employers, help women into male-dominated jobs and provide five weeks of paid leave for new fathers who stay at home.

China’s decision to repeal presidential term limits marks the moment when President Xi Jinping dropped any pretense of following the rules. The move, which may extend his tenure beyond 2023, shows just how deep the cult of Xi runs in Chinese politics. His political thought was enshrined in the Communist Party’s charter alongside his name last fall, giving Xi, 64, the same mythic status as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., the biggest sporting-goods retailer in the U.S., is immediately ending sales of assault-style rifles following the mass shooting at a Florida high school earlier this month that killed 17 people.

AP Top Stories

The U.S. Treasury has delayed a $4.7 billion post-hurricane loan to Puerto Rico and reduced the amount by more than half, and the resulting financial strain threatens to disrupt essential services, the island’s governor said in a letter asking U.S. congressional leaders to intervene.

The U.N.-backed ceasefire and civilian evacuation failed on Tuesday before they even began, with bombs continuing to fall on Eastern Ghouta.

The United States threatened unilateral action against Iran on Monday after Russia vetoed a western bid for the United Nations Security Council to call out Tehran for failing to prevent its weapons from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group.

A student tried to enter a Philadelphia high school Monday with a stolen .40-caliber handgun loaded with a dozen rounds, police said. The gun had been reported stolen from a car near the home of the student, who had no disciplinary problems or known issues with classmates. The boy may have had the gun in the bag to conceal it from his parents. The school was placed on lockdown. There were no injuries. The student faces weapons charges.

North Korea told a United Nations disarmament forum on Tuesday that sanctions over its nuclear program would “never work”, as it voiced further defiance against President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign.

Three Nobel peace laureates urged Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military on Wednesday to end the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims now or face prosecution.

Chinese electric vehicle startup NIO has hired eight banks including Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) to work on a planned U.S. stock market listing this year worth up to $2 billion, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

BBC

Tarpaulins covering two Confederate statues in Charlottesville, Virginia must be removed, a court has ruled. The city put up the sheeting in the days after a deadly far-right rally last August which left a counter-protester and two police officers dead. The city had argued the “shrouds” were meant to honor those killed and injured, but the judge found they interfered with park tourism.

Twelve days after Brazil’s President Michel Temer deployed the military to boost security in the state of Rio de Janeiro, criticism about the move continues. Officials have so far provided little detail about what has been achieved while residents complain about harassment and intimidation.

About 700 churches have been closed down in Rwanda for failing to comply with building regulations and for noise pollution. According to new regulations, all preachers must have had theological training before opening a church.

North Korea has been sending equipment to Syria that could be used to make chemical weapons.

WND

Move over Christians, there’s now a demand for pagan priests to help Wiccans and Druids behind bars. The British government is now taking out advertisements looking for seven pagan chaplains to minister across the nation. The part-time job pays the equivalent of up to $40,000 per year.

A key Palestinian religious leader is warning that there will be war if the United States follows through on its announced plan to open an embassy in Jerusalem, which Washington now formally recognizes as Israel’s capital.

US Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein predicted it’ll only be a “matter of years” before American forces find themselves “fighting from space.”


The Briefing — Thursday, March 1, 2018

1) How genetic testing presents parents with a moral decision never faced by previous generations

New York Magazine (Jen Gann) –
Every Parent Wants to Protect Their Child. I Never Got the Chance.

2) Parenthood redefined: Ohio judge nullifies parental rights after parents object to teenager’s gender transition

Cincinnati Enquirer (Kevin Grasha) –
Judge paves way for transgender teen to get hormone therapy at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

3) In aftermath of ‘Emperor for Life’ announcement, Chinese censors go into overdrive

Financial Times (Yuan Yang) –
China moves to silence outcry over abolition of Xi’s term limit


News – 3/1/2018

Putin: Moscow would regard nuclear attack on allies as attack on Russia
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Moscow would regard a nuclear attack on its allies as a nuclear attack on Russia itself and would immediately respond. Putin said that Russia had tested an array of new nuclear weapons, including a new nuclear-powered missile at the end of 2017 which could reach almost any point in the world and could not be intercepted by anti-missile systems.

Gazans prepare for possible war with Israel with surprise drill
The Gazan Interior Ministry conducted a surprise drill on Wednesday for Hamas and other security and rescue forces in the strip, using information from the IDF’s Home Front Command on seeking shelter in time of attack.

California has worst ‘quality of life’ in US, study says
Awards season is in full swing in California, and the Golden State just took home a booby prize of its own. California ranks dead last among U.S. states in quality of life, according to a study by U.S. News, ranking behind New Jersey (49th) and Indiana (48th). The ignominious honor reflects California’s low marks in the sub-categories of environmental quality and social engagement. The latter category measures voting participation and community bonds. Californians scored poorly in part because they’re simply insufferable,

Soros messes with Texas
George Soros earlier this month poured nearly $900,000 into the campaign of Joe Gonzales, a Democrat running to unseat Bexar County District Attorney Nicholas “Nico” LaHood, according to reports filed Monday and reported by My San Antonio. Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted “George Soros is officially messing with Texas. He’s given almost $1 million to just one candidate. He’ll stop at nothing to make Texas liberal. We must muster the resolve & resources to fight this take over attempt.”

Volcano in southwestern Japan erupts
Mt. Shinmoe on the southwestern Japanese main island of Kyushu erupted again Thursday less than five months after its last eruption, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The agency confirmed a small eruption at the 1,421-meter high volcano straddling Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures at around 11 a.m. and ash that was spewed was observed in the town of Takaharu, located east of the mountain.

Prince William to make royal history with visit to Israel in summer 2018
His Royal Highness Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is scheduled to pay a visit to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan in summer 2018, according to an official statement released by Kensington Palace on Thursday…The visit is happening at the request of the Her Majesty’s Government, and has been welcomed by the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities.

Australians turn in 57,000 guns in national amnesty
Australians turned in more than 57,000 firearms to authorities last year during a national gun amnesty. The three-month amnesty was the first since Australia’s landmark response to a mass shooting in 1996. It aimed to reduce the number of illicit weapons by allowing people to hand them over without fear of prosecution.

Putin reveals Russia’s ‘invincible missile’ in pre-election speech
Russia has developed a new cruise missile that is invincible, according to President Vladimir Putin. Mr Putin made the revelation as he laid out his key policies for a fourth presidential term, ahead of an election he is expected to win in 17 days’ time. He showcased a range of new weapons, including a missile that could “reach anywhere in the world”.

Trump at odds with Republican lawmakers over gun reforms
US President Donald Trump has stunned lawmakers from both parties by telling them in a live broadcast not to be so “petrified” of the powerful gun lobby the National Rifle Association (NRA). In a break from his party’s stance on gun control, Mr Trump urged lawmakers to come up with a “strong” reform bill. He suggested expanding background checks for gun buyers and raising the legal age to buy rifles to 21 from 18.

Major data breach at Marine Forces Reserve impacts thousands
The personal information of thousands of Marines, sailors and civilians, including bank account numbers, was compromised in a major data spillage emanating from U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve. Roughly 21,426 people were impacted when an unencrypted email with an attachment containing personal confidential information was sent to the wrong email distribution list Monday morning.

Indonesian Christians Flogged in Rare Shariah Punishment for Non-Muslims
Two Indonesian Christians were publicly whipped for gambling, a rare case of non-Muslims being punished here under Islamic law, as the country shifts toward a more politicized brand of the religion associated with the Middle East. The man and woman are residents of Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra island, a province that has imposed strict Shariah law.

China angered with U.S.-Taiwan travel bill, adding to tensions
China expressed anger on Thursday after the U.S. Senate passed a bill promoting closer U.S. ties with Taiwan, but the step drew praise from the self-ruled island which pledged to deepen cooperation. The move adds to tensions between China and the United States, already at loggerheads over trade, with President Xi Jinping’s close economic advisor Liu He in Washington this week to try and avert a trade war.

Parent Backlash as Cross-Dressing Men Sent Into Primary Schools to ‘Promote Tolerance’
Parents have hit out at a Bristol primary school’s decision to bring “drag queens” in to condition young children against “hate crime”.

2500 American Troops Land in Israel for Massive Air Defense Exercise with IDF
The IDF has begun to prepare for a massive joint Israel-US air defense exercise in March, in which some 2,500 US troops will participate.

Delaware Proposal Would Let Kindergarteners ‘Choose’ Their Sex And Race
if the state legislature passes Regulation 225, school children as young as five will be allowed to choose their own race and sex. And parents will have no say in the matter. In fact, schools won’t even have to inform the parents of their children’s choices.

Are the Israeli Golan Heights GROUND ZERO for the coming war with Iran? 
The coming war between Israel and Iran is nearly a foregone conclusion. The Iranian drone incident and F-16 downing now over 2 weeks old was not only the first direct clash between Israel and the Ayatollahs, it outlines the course of events now unfolding on Israel’s Golan.

False Flag? UN Report: North Korea Sent Syria Chemical Weapons
A leaked United Nations report is claiming that the rogue regime of North Korea sent chemical weapons to Syria. According to the report, 40 items used in chemical warfare and ballistic missiles in the war-torn nation of Syria were sent by North Korea.

Papua New Guinea: at least 16 dead after strong earthquake hits
The impoverished Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea has been devastated by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake that has claimed at least 16 lives and brought the heartland of the country to its knees.

Saudi Arabia is building a $500 billion mega-city that’s 33 times the size of New York City
Now the Saudi Arabian government has come up with a project that could give its economy a boost: a $500 billion mega-city that will connect to Jordan and Egypt and be powered completely by renewable energy.

Venezuelan Inmates Eating Rats and Pigeons to Avoid Starvation
Venezuelan prisoners are eating rats and pigeons as a means of survival as food supplies continue to dissipate in the failed socialist state, according to a report published this weekend.

‘Frozen 2’ director open to the possibility of Elsa having a female love interest
The director of the 2013 smash hit “Frozen” is leaving the door open for the beloved character to have a romance with a woman in the upcoming sequel.

66 probes of criminal misconduct into Broward sheriff’s office since 2012

Broward County Sheriff’s deputies and employees are the subjects of more than 66 investigations – ranging from drug trafficking and sexual battery to kidnapping – since 2012, according to a new report.

HYPOCRITES: United Airlines Cuts Off NRA While Funding Planned Parenthood
Heed this: whenever a company or a prominent public figure condemns the NRA, chances are they either feel ambivalent towards the murderous actions of Planned Parenthood or outright support them with their dollars.

Blacklisted Iranian Uses UN Human Rights Platform to Bash the US
As scores of protestors demonstrated outside, the U.N.’s top human rights body on Tuesday gave a platform to an Iranian regime official sanctioned by the European Union for his role in “human rights violations, arbitrary arrests, denials of prisoners’ rights and an increase in executions.”

U.S. Has Record 12th Straight Year Without 3% Growth in GDP
The United States has gone a record 12 straight years without 3-percent growth in real Gross Domestic Product, according to data released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Even so, growth in real GDP improved in 2017 compared to 2016.

NAACP Helped Craft Sheriff Israel’s No Arrest Policy
….Rather than base the school’s disciplinary policies on keeping students safe, Broward County School District adopted an NAACP-advised, social-justice “PROMISE” program. Thanks to then President Barack Obama, politically motivated, race-based school policy wasn’t unusual. As noted by American Thinker, “In Obama era … considerations of race routinely shaped educational policy.”

South Africa Votes To Seize White Land
South Africa’s parliament voted Tuesday to move forward with an amendment to the country’s constitution that would allow the government to seize and redistribute white-owned land without compensation.

Delingpole: The Shocking True Story of How Global Warming Became the Biggest #FakeNews Scare of All Time (Pt 1)
Why do so many apparently informed, intelligent, educated people still believe in ManBearPig? For the same reason that the U.S. underestimated the Japanese threat before Pearl Harbor; that General MacArthur stupidly advanced north of the 38th parallel in Korea; that JFK got embroiled in the Bay of Pigs disaster; that LBJ dragged the U.S. deeper and deeper into the Vietnam War.


12 Years In A Row And Counting: The U.S. Has Not Had A Year Of 3 Percent Economic Growth In More Than A Decade

If the U.S. economy is in good shape, then why has economic growth been so anemic for more than a decade?  It has been 12 long years since the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and for most of that time my website has been one of the leading voices chronicling America’s long-term economic problems.  In 2017, U.S. GDP increased by just 2.3 percent, but at least that was better than the pathetic 1.5 percent figure that was posted for 2016.  With Donald Trump in the White House, we have taken some steps in the right direction, but we must never forget that our long-term economic and financial problems continue to steadily get worse. (Read More…)


MID-DAY SNAPSHOT

MAR. 1, 2018

Trump Shoots From the Hip on Gun Policy

The president held a televised meeting with lawmakers to discuss gun measures. It didn’t go well.

THE FOUNDATION

“A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.” —Thomas Jefferson (1774)


Headlines – 3/1/2018

Report: U.S. peace plan divides Jerusalem, keeps Israeli settlement blocs

US peace plan: Palestinian state with east J’lem as capital, limited sovereignty – report

PA official: EU countries trying to amend Trump peace plan

Palestinians, Europe pressure Trump over state on 1967 lines

Allies have not seen draft of Mideast peace plan, U.S. officials say

Israel group mints Trump coin to honor Jerusalem recognition

Jared Kushner’s clearance downgrade could leave him ‘flying blind’

Police to Question Netanyahu Friday as Possible Suspect in Telecom-giant Bribery Case

A politicized coup by the Israel police?

As anti-Semitic incidents in US soar, ADL says Trump is part of the problem

Europe’s Telling Silence on Polish Anti-Semitism

Polish law criminalizing some Holocaust speech takes effect

Knesset’s deputy speaker calls on Polish Jews to make Aliyah

Iran wrestling officials resign over Israel competition ban

Fear of U.S. sanctions ends German companies fueling Iranian FM’s plane

EU, US officials plan Berlin talks on Iran nuclear deal -source

U.S. slams UNHRC on Israel, Iran: “It is unacceptable that the HRC treats Israel differently from every other UN member.”

Blacklisted Iranian Uses UN Human Rights Platform to Bash the US

Iran to host ‘Hourglass Festival’ to count down to Israel’s destruction

U.S. Indicts Israeli-American Teen Hacker for Bomb Threats Against Jewish Centers

Soldiers defuse explosives planted on Gaza fence by Palestinian rioters

Facing Haredi rebellion, PM forms committee to craft new military draft bill

Amid shifting landscape, IDF unveils sweeping plan to revamp Ground Forces

The Middle East Is Marching Towards Israel’s Nuclear Nightmare Scenario

Egyptian army in Sinai Peninsula doubles in a year, with Israel’s blessing

Egypt Is Using Banned U.S.-Made Cluster Munitions in Sinai, Rights Group Says

ISIS becoming increasingly decentralized, US warns partners of threat

Hezbollah video claims to show bomb that killed Israeli general in 1999

IDF officer: Killing Nasrallah would mean victory in war against Hezbollah

Senator says Israel warned him of imminent war against Hezbollah

US, EU officials will reportedly meet in March over Iran deal

Israel said frustrated with US inaction on Iran entrenchment in Syria

Iran announces opening of another Islamic college in Syria

Russia’s Lavrov says Syria war only getting worse for terrorists

How Russia is using Syria as a military ‘guinea pig’

Russia says US has set up about 20 military bases in Syria

Russia ‘on wrong side of history’ over Syria chemical weapons – US

Report: Chemical weapons watchdog investigates Ghouta attacks

Syrian government ground forces attack Ghouta despite Russian truce plan

UN official: Hundreds killed despite Ghouta ceasefire, aid delivery “collapsed”

Syria war: Turkey ‘indiscriminately shelling civilians in Afrin’

Yemen ‘a battleground for regional powers’

UAE Minister Gargash: Clear evidence of Iranian intervention in Yemen

Bernie Sanders, GOP Senator Unveil Plan to End ‘Unconstitutional’ U.S. Support for Yemen Civil War

Saudi $3.5bn plan to allay Yemen suffering branded ‘a cynical PR exercise’

Saudi Prince’s Big Military Revamp Means Billions to Business

United States may help expand Saudi nuclear capability

China Military Joins Syria War Debate and Displays New Weapons at Home

China angered with U.S.-Taiwan travel bill, adding to tensions

China’s Censors Ban Winnie the Pooh and the Letter ‘N’ After Xi’s Power Grab

Putin Didn’t Do So Well On His Last Round of Campaign Promises

Russia’s ‘Fancy Bear’ Reportedly Hacks German Government Networks

Hillary Clinton accuses Trump of ‘surrender’ over Russian election interference

Trump Calls Sessions’s Handling of Surveillance Abuse Allegations ‘Disgraceful’

Trump’s tweet on ‘disgraceful’ DOJ puts Jeff Sessions in a bind

Comparing America to Israel on gun laws is dishonest – and revealing

Republican lawmaker blames Holocaust on gun control

Florida High School Gunman Had Swastikas Etched Into His AR-15 Magazines

United Airlines severs ties with NRA, continues to contribute to Planned Parenthood: Watchdog

Trump publicly spars with Republicans over concealed carry, NRA influence at school safety session

In startling about-face, Trump tells lawmakers they’re afraid of gun lobby

Trump on dangerous people with firearms: ‘Take the guns first, go through due process second’

Walmart raises to 21 minimum age to buy firearms, ammo

Heavily guarded, Florida students return to school 2 weeks after massacre

Georgia teacher in custody after allegedly opening fire in classroom, police say

After their teacher fires a gun at school, Georgia students use opportunity to challenge Trump’s proposal

New Jersey high school mulls cancellation of Nerf gun tournament over shooting fears

Australians turn in 57,000 guns in national amnesty

Asian stocks slide, dollar hits six-week high as Powell revives Fed rate fears

Boris Johnson: Irish border row being exploited to stop Brexit

Bill Gates says another financial crisis ‘a certainty’

A Bus-Size Asteroid Will Whiz by Earth Friday

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Padangsidempuan, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Padangsidempuan, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Ile Hunter, New Caledonia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Porgera, Papua New Guinea

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erutps to 23,000ft

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 14,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 12,500ft

Mayon volcano in the Philippines erupts to 10,000ft

‘Beast from the East’, Storm Emma to deliver one-two punch of snow to the UK

Fresh blizzards sweep across Europe, travellers stranded

At least 24 people in Europe are dead from freak winter storm

Splitting Of The Polar Vortex: The Arctic Is Melting In The Dead Of Winter – Professors are grappling with an extreme melting event many thought was decades away

The Worst Drought in 30 Years Adds to Argentina’s Economic Woes

Delingpole: The Shocking True Story of How Global Warming Became the Biggest #FakeNews Scare of All Time

Barbra Streisand Has Cloned Her Dog

After a deadly year, the race to outsmart an ever-mutating flu virus

Doctors Think They’ve Nabbed Culprit Behind Mysterious Polio-Like Illness Paralyzing Kids

Billy Graham Honored at US Capitol Memorial Service; Trump Recalls Dad’s Love for ‘America’s Pastor’

Billy Graham and the topsy-turvy holiday of Purim

Coming Soon to Your Church — The Tithing Propaganda Movie

The Fringe: Episode 1 Rich Vera’s Failed Benny Hinn Tribute Show – LeClaire’s Apostolic Red Rover, and More

Necromancing & Remote Viewing With Sid Roth – Going Full Throttle With the Occult

Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles hold commitment ceremony

Evangelicals Still Want to Evangelize Jews, But Not for the Same Reasons

12 Christians Murdered in Nigeria for Trying to Protect Girls From Forced Islamic Conversions

Bible Burning in Southern India Shows Depth of Hostility toward Christians

25 Years Ago – Inside the bizarre world of Waco cult leader David Koresh


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Leighton Flowers Accuses MacArthur of Inclusivism…Phil Johnson Responds

(Pulpit & Pen) Leighton Flowers, defending Billy Graham’s assertion that people can be saved without knowing Jesus, has made the waters of Synergism even muddier. Flowers himself espoused the idea that it was possible to be saved without having heard of or believing in Jesus or the Gospel. He said…

Would God show Cornelius grace even prior to when Peter showed up with the Gospel? Of course…why…of course He would. He obviously showed him enough grace to send him the Gospel. Why wouldn’t He show him enough grace to save him if he perished prior to hearing the specifics of Jesus’ work? Again, I don’t think that’s unreasonable and that’s not beyond orthodoxy to hold to that worldview. 

We provided the video, pertinent timestamps, and verbatim quotations from Flowers in post 1 on this topic (linked below).

Flowers then posted a video accusing us of lying (we quoted him…that’s it) and saying that we needed to be sued for defamation. In that video, he doubled-down on the idea that one could be saved without faith in Jesus. He butchered the Gospel in the video, saying…

I wanted to give some clarity because people are asking a few honest questions about that, how do you explain those things with regard to those who don’t hear the specific news about Jesus Christ, his death, burial and resurrection. Some people have called that, in itself, the Gospel. Now, the Gospel is more generally speaking the news that God is good, and that he desires mercy over justice, that he desires to show mercy, that he’s a good God, and that if you believe in the Lord, you will be saved. That’s the basis of the Gospel.

Flowers also claimed that God has already given every person the necessary knowledge to be saved through general revelation (timestamp 23:00). For the first post on this topic click here and for the second post on this topic click here. At those links you’ll find all the video, excerpts with timestamps, and in-context quotations.

Flowers, still in damage control, did another lengthy video trying to put distance between the directness of his original claims and his continued, more-nuanced insistence that it’s possible to be saved without faith in Jesus. To do so, he invoked a 38 year-old sermon from John MacArthur, alleging that MacArthur similarly believes it’s possible to be saved without ever hearing the Good News. You can find his video below. View article →

Source: Leighton Flowers Accuses MacArthur of Inclusivism…Phil Johnson Responds

The Gospel, the Christian, and the Past | For The Church

Every person has a past. I do. You do. Everyone does. By past, I mean things we have done at a previous point in our lives that cause regret and embarrassment, if not outright shame. It is that laundry list of attitudes, actions, and events you aren’t proud of.

How do you view your past? Has it held you captive, fearfully awaiting punishment from God?

Here’s the thing: it’s not just you. Everyone’s past is marked by, at least to some degree, foolish words, reckless decisions, and sinful acts. Everyone’s! Many would-be followers of Christ and even many Christians live with persistent, suffocating guilt. They question whether Christ will truly forgive them for what they have done. They feel they will never measure up spiritually, and thus are assigned to second-class Christian status. But nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, the apostle Paul’s life proves it. 

We know Paul as the man who wrote thirteen New Testament letters and traversed the Mediterranean region on three major missionary journeys. This mighty man of the faith planted numerous churches, won multitudes to faith in Christ, and laid the doctrinal foundation on which the church has ministered for nearly two millennia. The apostle Paul was a missionary-theologian unlike any other the world has ever known.

But before we meet the Paul in Acts 9 where he encounters the risen Christ, is gloriously converted, and then commissioned as an apostle, we hear of him in Acts 7. This passage records one of the most diabolical scenes in all the Bible—the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr of the early church. In that setting, we find Paul, then known as Saul, holding the coats of the stone throwers, rooting them on.

Then, overflowing with hatred and rage, Saul goes to Damascus to persecute even more Christians. On that roadway, the resurrected Christ appears to Saul, confronts him, and subsequently calls Saul to himself and commissions him into ministry.

The Apostle Paul, perhaps the greatest Christian to ever live, was also the man with worst past.

So what was Paul’s secret to overcoming his past? The key is that he looked forward to Christian service, not backward in guilt, shame, or regret.

Paul testified, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13–14).

However, there is also a difference—a massive difference— between overlooking your past and forgetting about it. Paul never overlooked his past. He wrote extensively about man’s sinfulness, including his own.

So what does that mean for you and your past?

  • View your sin as God views it: God has separated your sin as far as the east is from the west; he’s cast it into the sea of his forgetfulness. Remember, Jesus did not reluctantly accept Paul. On the contrary, he intentionally sought Paul and enlisted him into Christian service.
  • Rejoice in God’s providence: Whatever your background, whatever your past, rejoice in God’s plan for your life. He led you by superintending your steps and bringing you to a point of conversion. His providence is always good, beyond improvement. Thus, he crafted your story, including your past, for his own, optimum glory.
  • Own your testimony: Do not see your past as an embarrassing prologue to be buried, but as a glorious story to be leveraged for the kingdom. Remind people, as you remind yourself, that if God can save you, he can save anyone. Rejoice in the mire from which you were saved; celebrate publicly God’s goodness in your life. As you do, you’ll encourage others and embolden yourself.

Friend, be encouraged. The grace of God overcomes your past and enables your growth in the future.

Source: The Gospel, the Christian, and the Past

— Read on ftc.co/resource-library/1/3484

Photos: President Trump and First Lady Melania Pay Respects to Evangelical Icon Billy Graham

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump participated in a ceremony honoring Reverend Billy Graham in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries said of Billy Graham, “he was always someone I had looked to as an example and someone I greatly admired in Christ. That is until troubling quotes and questionable associations he’d been making through the years kept coming up in research.” In a piece he wrote entitled John MacArthur on Roman Catholicis, Billy Graham, and ‘Evangelical’ Inclusivism, Silva posted a video clip of John MacArthur talking about how evangelicals, including Billy Graham, are accepting apostate Roman Catholicism as genuine Christianity. Silva also included a video of an appearance by Rev. Graham on Hour of Power with the late Robert Schuller that shows him saying some rather disturbing things about the future of Christianity.

So with this backdrop in place, here are Breitbart’s photos:  View article →

See also:

Bill Clinton Pays Respects to Billy Graham, Who Claimed Former President Had a Heart to ‘Do God’s Will’ 

Source: Photos: President Trump and First Lady Melania Pay Respects to Evangelical Icon Billy Graham

March 1, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Skin or Fig Leaves

Genesis 3:21

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

We have already seen that there are no unrelated thoughts in the Word of God, only in our own understanding of those thoughts, and we have looked at Genesis 3:20 as an example. At first glance, the naming of Eve by Adam seems to be entirely unconnected with what has gone before; it does not seem to follow on God’s judgment of the serpent, Eve, and Adam. Yet it is related, as we have seen, and so is the verse to which we come now. In fact, taken together these verses contain the first example in the Bible of what has come to be called in theology the ordo salutis or “steps of salvation.”

In its full form the ordo salutis has many parts, for the steps by which a man or woman is brought to faith and is sustained in faith are many. The beginning point is election. Verses like John 1:13 and James 1:18 put the determination of God to save a particular individual before the person’s rebirth. John 3:3, 5 speak of “seeing” and “entering” the kingdom of God and show that these are not possible until one is born again. They correspond to conviction of sin and quickening of faith in Christ. In 1 John 3:9 we read of sanctification. Romans 8:28–30 add justification and glorification, and these verses say, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” If these various steps are put together, the sequence is: foreknowledge, predestination, effectual calling, rebirth, faith and repentance, justification, sanctification, and glorification.

Not all these steps are present in Genesis 3, of course. But the suggestion of a sequence is there, as I have indicated. The sequence is: conviction of sin, following on the pronouncement of judgment by God; faith, expressed in the naming of Eve by Adam; and now, finally, justification, symbolized by the clothing of Adam and Eve with the skins of animals. It is because of the faith of Adam, disclosed in verse 20, that God does what verse 21 records.

Need for Clothing

There are four points to be made about God’s clothing of Adam and his wife in skins. First, a covering of some sort was needed. We hear people speak of prostitution as the oldest human profession, but they are wrong when they say this. Their view throws light on the guilt with which our contemporaries view many sexual relations, but it is misleading. The oldest of all professions is not prostitution but the clothing industry. Later, sin showed itself in sexual sins among others. But we are told in Genesis that the first effect of sin was the opening of the eyes of Adam and Eve to perceive their nakedness, in response to which “they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Gen. 3:7). God confirmed this need when he made garments from the skins of animals.

I do not need to repeat the details of this principle, which we considered earlier in our treatment of Genesis 2:25 (“Camelot, O Camelot”) and Genesis 3:7 (“Carnal Knowledge”), except to say that the nakedness of Adam and Eve, which required clothing, was psychological as well as physical. That is, it was related to sin and the fact that as a result of sin the man and woman now stood in a wrong relationship to God, one another, and themselves. They felt exposed. The psychological exposure was intolerable. So they tried to cover themselves up. In the beginning they used fig leaves. Later, when God appeared in the garden to confront them with their sin, they used evasions, excuses, and at last tried to put the blame on God.

People do the same today. They use clothes and other means, but the underlying desire is to appear as something they are not. They want to hide their shame and put on a front before others.

Fig Leaves

The second point to be made about this verse is that the coverings we are capable of making for ourselves are inadequate. This is seen in the case of Adam and Eve, but it is evident of us all.

The most common covering is good works. We have many people coming to God like the moralist described by Paul in the second chapter of Romans (vv. 1–16). He is one who would readily agree with Paul’s description of the need of the pagan world. He would agree that it is indeed corrupt, in need of renewal. But he would exclude himself from Paul’s description, claiming that he is better by virtue of his moral attainments. “I am not corrupt,” he would maintain. “I want to be accepted by God on the basis of my good works.”

God’s judgment is that a man’s good works are fig leaves (Eph. 2:8–9).

It is not that good works are without value from a human point of view. It is just that they are no good from God’s point of view, and that is because they do not deal with the basic sin problem. Good works are a bit like Monopoly© money. It is good for the game of Monopoly©, but it is no good in the real world. Suppose your family has a good Monopoly© player and that every time you play the game this person tends to accumulate all the property and collect all the money. Suppose further that after one of these games he takes his Monopoly© money and goes down to the First National Bank to open an account. He steps up to the teller and says, “I’d like to open an account in your bank.”

“Very good,” says the teller. “How much would you like to deposit?”

“$472,984!” He pushes the Monopoly© money across the counter. If that ever happened, I am sure the teller would quickly call someone to come and take this person away. Monopoly© money serves well in the game of Monopoly©, but it has no value in the real world. In the same way, although good works are sufficient to make ourselves acceptable before other men and women, they are not sufficient to gain an acceptable standing before God.

There is another type of person, which Paul also discusses (Rom. 2:17–29). He is a religious person. His confidence is in the careful performance of his religious duties. “I keep the law,” he would say. “I have been baptized, confirmed. I teach in Sunday school; I serve on the church boards; I pay my tithe.”

God says that these are fig leaves too, no less than the pagan’s good works.

“But why?” someone asks. “Aren’t the sacraments, Christian education, tithing, and service good things?” Yes, they are. Later in Romans Paul is going to say, using the most eminently religious person of his day, the Jew, as an example, “Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised” (Rom. 9:4–5). Paul means that there are great advantages in the outward forms of true religion, primarily because they are intended to lead us to Christ. But they are useless so far as our standing before God is concerned, because they do nothing about the state of our heart. (“A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit,” Rom. 2:28–29.)

Years ago, when I lived in Switzerland, I got an illustration of this principle from the Salvation Army. Each year at Fashnacht, the Swiss equivalent of the Mardi Gras, the citizens of Basel (where I lived) donned masks and costumes and presumably did things, covered by their masks, that they would not normally do at other times of the year. I say “presumably” because the Swiss themselves presumed so and made many jokes about it. They would joke about how many illegitimate babies would be born nine months after Fashnacht, to give just one example. Each year at this time the Salvation Army would advertise on billboards throughout the city. The advertisements would display the Salvation Army seal, a number where it could be reached, and then in large letters this inscription: Gott sieht hinter deine Maske. That means “God sees behind your mask.” And it is true. He does. Therefore, the outward acts of religion without Christ are just fig leaves.

“But,” says someone, “I have worked hard at self-reformation. I used to be a drunkard, and I shook the habit of drink and now have a good job and …”

“Fig leaves,” says God.

“But I read my Bible every day and I go to church twice on Sunday and I always try to say hello to the person sitting next to me in the pew and …”

“Fig leaves,” says God.

“But I give to the United Fund.”

“Fig leaves.”

“I give blood.”

“Fig leaves.”

“I … I …”

“Fig leaves,” says God. “These are all fig leaves. None of them deal adequately with sin.”

Covering of Skins

The third and main point of our text is that God must provide the covering, for only God is adequate to deal with the sin problem. The text says, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (v. 21).

It does not say here what animals God killed to get the skins with which he then clothed Adam and Eve. But I tend to think, though this is a guess and may well be wrong, that the animals were probably lambs and that the skins were lambskins. This incident is meant to point to Jesus as our only sufficient Savior and to his righteousness as our covering. Jesus is pictured as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). During those long ages before the coming of Jesus, when the promises of his coming were passed on from generation to generation among those who waited for it, the promises in the words of Scripture were preserved upon skins, generally lambskins, which were carefully prepared and sewn together to make large rolls of writing known as scrolls. With this imagery and practical matter to go on, it is reasonable to suppose that God killed lambs to clothe our first parents. But whatever the case, we are to know that God killed animals, made garments from their skins, and then clothed Adam and Eve after taking their inadequate fig-leaf clothes from them.

Death for Life

This brings us to the fourth and final point: in order for Adam and Eve to be clothed in the skins of animals the animals had to die. In a similar way, in order for us to be clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is what the skins symbolize, Jesus had to die. The Bible says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). It was necessary for the innocent One to die in order that the guilty might live.

This truth must have appeared quite wonderful when it was first revealed to Eve and Adam. They had been warned that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil upon penalty of death. God had said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:16–17). Yet up to this point no one had died. Adam and Eve had sinned. They must have expected death as the immediate penalty for their sin. When God came to them in the garden they must have shivered at the prospect of this judgment. But they did not die (though their spirits died, which they showed by attempting to run away from God when he called them). In fact, not even the serpent died. Up to this point there had been no death at all. And now, the death that occurs is not their death, though they richly deserved it, but the death of innocent animals—lambs. And the One who killed those animals was God.

Two thoughts must have gone through Adam’s and Eve’s minds. First, an instinctive horror of death. “So this is what death is,” they must have exclaimed as they looked down in horror at the bodies of the slain animals. “How horrible!” In that instant it must have dawned on them that if death is the result of sin (“the wages of sin is death”), then sin is far worse than they could possibly have imagined it to be. And they must have determined, so far as possible, to refuse to sin and to be obedient to God.

The second thought, mingling with their awareness of sin’s horror, must have been a deep and growing wonder at the mercy of God who, though he had every right to take their lives in forfeit of his broken commandment and had said that death must follow sin, was nevertheless showing that it was possible for an innocent victim to die instead.

We know as we look back on this event from the perspective of later revelation that it was not the blood of the slain animals that actually took away the sin of Eve and Adam. It was not the death of animals that permitted God to forgive sin and proclaim sinners just. The only death that could possibly do that was the death of Jesus, and the only blood that could cleanse was his blood. On the other hand, we understand that the death of the animals pointed to his death.

On this occasion, God was showing that it was possible for one animal, an innocent substitute, to die for one sinning individual—one animal for Eve, one animal for Adam. Later in Jewish history, at the time of the Exodus from Egypt, God commanded each Jewish family to take a lamb into the house, examine it for the space of three days, kill it, and then spread its blood on the doorposts and lintel of the house as a sign to the angel of death, who that night would pass through the entire land and slay the firstborn of every household that was not so covered. This was the Passover, and the symbolism was now broadened to show how one animal could die for one family. A little later, when God gave the law, he also gave instructions for the Day of Atonement, on which day the high priest was to kill an animal on behalf of the nation and then sprinkle its blood on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant within the Holy of Holies of the Jewish tabernacle. Now it is one animal for one nation. At last the day came when John the Baptist was standing beside the Jordan and, seeing Jesus, pointed him out for the benefit of his disciples, saying, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

One substitute for one individual, one substitute for one family, one substitute for one nation, one substitute for the world!

Two Religions

That is God’s religion. It is the only religion by which anyone is ever going to get to heaven. In the last analysis there really are only two religions, whatever nation, tribe, place, or period of history you consider. There is the religion of fig leaves, the religion of works. Or there is the religion of skins, the religion of God’s perfect provision through the death of Christ.

Most people come to God with fig leaves. They may not be much; but they are something they have done for themselves, and they want God to recognize them. They will acknowledge his grace, they will accept his help—so long as there is that little bit of their own good works mixed with it. But this is precisely what God will not accept. Good works may please other men and women; fig leaves may look beautiful. But they will not please God because there has been no death, and “the wages of sin is death.” If you have been coming to God with fig leaves—if you are coming with fig leaves now—I urge you to throw them aside, admit they are useless, and accept the clothing God offers. Then the nakedness of your sin will be covered, and you will be able to sing with the redeemed from every place and century:

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

And especially the last verse:

When he shall come with trumpet sound,

O may I then in him be found,

Dressed in his righteousness alone,

Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

Do not delay! The Lord told a story about a man who came to a king’s feast without a wedding garment. He said, “When the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:11–14). Actually, all are invited. The question is: Are you among the chosen? Are you clothed with the righteousness of Christ?[1]


21 In striking contrast to God’s rest in ch. 2, after God’s judgment of the man and woman, the narrative returns to God at work: “The Lord God made [wayyaʿaś] garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” After—and because of—the fall, there is still work to be done. The specification of the type of clothing that God makes—“garments of skin [ʿôr],” i.e., tunics—recalls the nakedness of the man and woman before the fall: they “were both naked [ʿarûmmîm], and they felt no shame” (2:25). There may also be some hint of the sacrificial slaying of the animals in making these garments of skin.

In the laws of the Pentateuch the people are instructed to make tunics for the priests who enter God’s presence at the tabernacle. The tunics are to cover the priests’ nakedness (ʿerwâ) lest they incur guilt and die (Ex 28:42). The author may be anticipating this “lasting ordinance” (28:43) in drawing attention to the importance of covering the nakedness of the man and the woman. The role of the priests as developed in the Pentateuch is thus foreshadowed in God’s past work—his work of restoring to man the blessing of his presence and fellowship.[2]


3:21 / God graciously gave the couple garments of skin to replace the flimsy coverings they had made from fig leaves. These new garments clothed them, providing warmth and protection. God was preparing them for the harsher environment outside the garden as well as providing them sufficient covering to be in the divine presence. With this gift God, acting as their sustainer, expressed his intention to continue to support and fellowship with humans.[3]


[1] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (pp. 234–240). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Sailhamer, J. H. (2008). Genesis. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis–Leviticus (Revised Edition) (Vol. 1, p. 94). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hartley, J. E. (2012). Genesis. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 72). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

MARCH 1 BEGIN WITH GOD

Not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

I am really sad for the great throngs of men and women who have never known the satisfaction of believing what God says about all of the good things He has created—and everything having its purpose!

This is an area in which you must begin with God. Then you begin to understand everything in its proper context. All things fit into shape and form when you begin with God!

In Christian circles, there is now an undue deference to intellectual knowledge and accomplishment. I insist that it ought to be balanced out. We appreciate the efforts and hours that go into academic progress, but we must always keep God’s wisdom and God’s admonitions in mind.

Search and study as we will and we discover that we have only learned fragments of truth. On the other hand, the newest Christian believer has already learned many marvelous things at the center of truth. He has met and knows God!

That is the primary issue, my brother and sister. That is why we earnestly invite men and women to become converted, taking Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord!

Lord, I am privileged to know You—the beginning and the end of everything in this world. Allow me to share Your truth with someone who needs to hear it today.[1]


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

40 Days to the Cross: Week Two – Thursday

Confession: Psalm 32:6–7

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you

at the time for finding you.

Surely at the flood of many waters they will not reach him.

You are my hiding place;

from trouble you preserve me.

With cries of deliverance you surround me. Selah

Reading: Mark 11:12–19

And on the next day as they were departing from Bethany, he was hungry. And when he saw from a distance a fig tree that had leaves, he went to see if perhaps he would find anything on it. And when he came up to it he found nothing except leaves, because it was not the season for figs. And he responded and said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you any more forever!” And his disciples heard it.

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered into the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple courts, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who were selling doves. And he did not permit anyone to carry objects through the temple courts. And he began to teach and was saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations,’ but you have made it a cave of robbers!” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it, and began considering how they could destroy him. For they were afraid of him because the whole crowd was astounded by his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.

Reflection

We see in the beginning of this passage one of the many proofs that our Lord Jesus Christ was really man. We read that “he was hungry” (Mark 11:12). He had a nature and bodily constitution, like our own in all things, sin only excepted. He could weep and rejoice and suffer pain. He could be weary and need rest. He could be thirsty and need drink. He could be hungry and need food.

Expressions like this should teach us the condescension of Christ. How wonderful they are when we reflect upon them! He who is the eternal God—He who made the world and all that it contains—He from whose hand the fruits of the earth, the fish of the sea, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field, all had their beginning—He, even He was pleased to suffer hunger when He came into the world to save sinners.

—J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on Mark

Response

The book of Hebrews tells us that we do not have a great high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. How is it an encouragement to know that Jesus experienced weakness and temptation just as we do?[1]


[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

March 1 Mercy Compared to Forgiveness, Love, and Grace

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.—Matt. 5:7

To understand the significance of mercy, let’s compare it to three amazing attributes of God. First, mercy has much in common with forgiveness, although it is distinct from it. God’s forgiveness of our sins flows from His mercy. But mercy is greater than forgiveness, because God is merciful to us even when we do not sin, just as we can be merciful to those who have never done anything against us. God’s mercy does not just forgive our transgressions but reaches to all our weaknesses and needs.

Just as forgiveness flows out of mercy, mercy flows out of love: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4–5). Love is greater than mercy—it can manifest itself even when there is no wrong to forgive or need to meet.

Finally, mercy is also related to grace, which flows out of love. Grace and mercy have the closest possible relationship, yet they are different. Mercy deals with the consequences of sin, while grace deals with sin itself. Mercy offers relief from punishment; grace offers pardon for the crime.

Just look at what the Good Samaritan did. When he found a Jewish traveler who had been robbed and beaten, he held no animosity toward him. Love motivated him to show the man mercy when he bound up his wounds. And when he took him to an inn and cared for him, he showed grace. Such is the expression of mercy working with forgiveness, love, and grace.

ASK YOURSELF

Is there someone to whom you need to show God’s mercy, expressed through your love, your grace, your forgiveness? Think of how you can turn your merciful intentions into practical action.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 69). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

March 1 Who Is a Disciple?

He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

Matthew 10:38

A disciple is someone who confesses Christ as Lord and Savior, believes that God has raised Him from the dead, and declares that belief publicly through baptism. He is not some sort of “upper–level” Christian.

You don’t have to wait to become a disciple at some future time in your Christian life when you have reached a certain level of maturity. According to Matthew 28:19–20, a disciple is made at the moment of salvation.

Some claim that there are many Christians who are not disciples. They recall today’s verse and say that in order to be a disciple, one has to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Christ. If one is not up to that level of commitment, they think, then he is not worthy to be Christ’s disciple. But you cannot separate discipleship from conversion.

When someone is saved, he receives a submissive spirit that manifests itself by a willingness to make a public confession and obey whatever else Christ commands. Are you, then, a disciple?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 74). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

March 1, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

4  “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
To him who lacks sense she says,
5  “Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6  Leave your simple ways, and live,
and walk in the way of insight.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Pr 9:4–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


4–6 The call goes out to the simple (mî-petî; “who are simple,” NIV), to those “who lack judgment” (asar-lēb), to turn aside to Wisdom (v. 4). A close analysis of the lines indicates two aspects of the appeal: she calls to the gullible to turn, and she calls to the brainless to come (Waltke, 1:427, n. 9). Carrying the figure of eating forward, the writer invites people to eat the food and drink the wine, i.e., to appropriate the teaching of wisdom (v. 5). This acceptance would necessarily prompt the simpleton to abandon the “simple ways” (petāʾyim) and live (v. 6).

The understanding of this last term is difficult. Some translations have interpreted the plural as simpletons—do not keep company with simpletons (meaning the peer group). Waltke, 2:427, has “leave your ways, you gullible ones.” The proper direction is on the way of understanding, but to follow that way requires repentance and turning away from folly.[1]


9:4–6 The actual words of the invitation are given. It is issued to the simple, that is, to impressionable people who are prone to go astray and therefore need help and guidance. It is not issued to the wise because they are already inside the palace.

The menu includes the finest foods and the most exquisite wine, mixed by Wisdom herself.

Those who come are expected to part company with foolishness, and show that a moral change has taken place in their own lives.[2]


9:4–6 Wisdom makes a point of inviting the simple, meaning those who have not yet made up their minds about their course in life (1:4; 7:6). bread … wine: Wisdom promises life. Forsake foolishness: The person who comes to wisdom has nothing to lose but naiveté. Read Heb. 5:14, which speaks of a mature person as one who is able to eat and to enjoy solid food, in contrast to the naive who is able only to drink milk (Heb. 5:13).[3]


9:4–6. The words of Wisdom’s invitation include at least verses 4–6 (and possibly also vv. 7–12, as indicated by the quotation marks in the niv). Those invited to Wisdom’s fare were the simple (peṯî, “naive, gullible”; see comments on 1:4; cf. 8:5; 9:16) and those who lack judgment (see comments on 6:32). Those most needing her attention were invited to be Wisdom’s guests. They were to come and eat and drink, that is, people without wisdom should acquire it and benefit from it. They were to leave their simple ways (peṯā’îm, 9:6, the pl. of “simple” in v. 4). This could mean “simple ones.” But the second part of the verse which invites the guests to walk in the way of understanding suggests that “simple ways,” referring to the habits of the naive, is preferable. As already stated (3:18; 4:4; 7:2) the result of wisdom is life (you will live; cf. 9:11; 19:23).[4]


[1] Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 104). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 812–813). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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

[4] Buzzell, S. S. (1985). Proverbs. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 924). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

MARCH 1 THE CONCEPT OF MAJESTY

For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD  made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

—Psalm 96:5-6

I refer to the loss of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind. The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.

The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.

With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. KOHvii-viii

Lord, fill Your Church with a renewed sense of Your majesty. We may have lost the awe little by little, but we need to recapture it quickly! Amen.[1]


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

March 1 Grace to the Humble

“He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ ”

James 4:6

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A person cannot be saved unless he comes to God with a humble attitude.

Today’s verse is a challenge and a promise to anyone who is not sure about his salvation, or who thinks he is saved but does not measure up to the tests of faith in James’s letter. Even the worst sinful character traits—relying on worldly wisdom, having enmity against God, lusting after fleshly and selfish desires—are no match for God’s abundant grace.

The kind of grace James is referring to here is simply God’s saving grace—His undeserved favor of forgiveness and love bestowed on all sorts of sinners. Included within that favor is the Lord’s promise of the Holy Spirit, an understanding of God’s Word, Heaven, and all spiritual blessings. Such grace is available to all who will come in faith to Christ. Nothing in this universe can prevent the truly humble and repentant person from receiving grace—not the strength of sin and depravity, not the might of Satan, not the pull of the flesh, not even the power of death.

Scripture often links humility with saving faith. That’s why James quoted from Proverbs 3:34 (“God is opposed to the proud”) to support his point in verse 6. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us: “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (18:3).

If you are confused or doubtful regarding your salvation, just ask yourself, “Have I humbly submitted myself to God in faith and repentance?” If you have humbled yourself before God, rejoice! You are by definition a believer, one of the humble. Otherwise, you need to pray with the attitude of the tax gatherer in Luke 18:13, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” and receive His abundant grace.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for His continual grace, which He pours out to those who are humble before Him.

For Further Study: Read James 1–2. What tests of true faith are discussed there? ✧ How are we to respond to each of them? ✧ Reflect on your response to these issues in the past. How could you improve?[1]


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

February 28 Daily Help

OH! ye kind and affectionate hearts, who are not rich in wealth, but who are rich in love—and that is the world’s best wealth—put this golden coin among your silver ones, and it will sanctify them.

The love of Christ casts not out the love of relatives, but it sanctifies our loves, and makes them sweeter far. Remember the love of men and women is very sweet. Oh! to have the love of Christ! for his love is “strong as death and mightier than the grave.”

The most overpowering thought of all is that He loved us when there was nothing good in us whatever.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 63). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

February 28, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

145:4One generation shall commend your works to another. This is the biblical pattern for households (cf. Gen. 18:19; Deut. 6:1–9; Ps. 78:4), and the Passover makes this a ritual (Ex. 12:26–27; 13:8).[1]


145:4mighty deeds This term usually refers to God’s rescue of Israel from enslavement in Egypt (see Exod 7:1–5). Israel regularly worshiped God by remembering His saving actions.[2]


145:4 One generation … to another. See Ps. 78:4. Parents had the duty of instructing their children in the ways of the Lord (Deut. 6:20–25).[3]


145:4One generation … to another: The expectation is that the message of God’s wonder and mercy will be known throughout the land and will be taught for generations.[4]


145:4 One generation … to the next is literally “generation to generation.” The construction resembles “day after day” and “night after night” in 19:2. Both passages emphasize continuous praise of the Lord.[5]


[1] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1123). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 145:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 865). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4]The NKJV Study Bible. (2007). (Ps 145:4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 940). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

February 28: Neon Gods

Leviticus 26–27; John 10:22–42; Song of Solomon 8:10–14

Idolatry seems archaic. Who worships idols anymore?

We all know that in other countries, traditional idol worship of gold and wooden statues still goes on, but we often forget about our own idols. What does all our furniture point toward? Why do we care who is on the cover of a magazine? How do you feel if you miss your favorite talk show? If we’re really honest, what do we spend the majority of our time thinking about?

Idols are everywhere, and most of us are idol worshipers of some kind. When we put this in perspective, suddenly the words of Lev 26 become relevant again. The problem that is addressed in Leviticus is the same problem we’re dealing with today.

Leviticus 26 and its harsh words against idolatry should prompt each of us to ask, “What are my idols?” and then to answer with, “I will end my idolatry.” And if the temptation is too great with these things present in our lives (like the tv), we should say, “I will exile them from my home and presence.”

It’s not put in these terms often enough, but it should be. The “noise” of idols is keeping us away from God, and even more so, our worship of the noise is doing so. Likewise, our obsession with possessions and celebrities is standing between God and us.

In their song “The Sound of Silence,” Simon and Garfunkel described the same situation in modern culture: “The people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made.”

What neon god are you worshiping? And what are you going to do about it?

John D. Barry[1]


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