Daily Archives: March 4, 2018

March 4 Praying According to God’s Word

“I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications” (Dan. 9:2–3).

✧✧✧

God’s sovereignty doesn’t eliminate the need for prayer.

Have you ever wondered if it’s Biblical to pray for things God has already promised in His Word to do? Is it proper to pray, say, for the salvation of sinners, knowing that God will redeem all the elect anyway, or for Christ’s return, knowing it is a sure thing? Daniel gives us a clear answer.

God prophesied through Jeremiah that the Babylonian Captivity would last seventy years (Jer. 25:11–12). When Daniel read that prophecy, he realized that the time was near for his people to return to their homeland. That inspired him to pray fervently.

In Daniel 9:19 he cries out, “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay.” He was in tune with God’s Word and understood that somehow his prayers were part of God’s plan.

The exact relationship between God’s sovereignty and our prayers is a mystery, but it is clear that somehow God’s Word and our prayers are co-laborers in achieving God’s will.

Like Daniel, you and I live in a time when many of God’s promises seem near fulfillment. Never before have world events pointed so dramatically to the nearness of the return of our Lord. Consequently, this is not the time for complacency or over-enthusiastic speculation. It is the time for careful Bible study and fervent prayer.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for His faithfulness and the sure promises of His Word. ✧ Ask Him for spiritual wisdom and insight to discern His will and then live accordingly.

For Further Study: Jeremiah 24:1–25:13 gives some background to Judah’s captivity in Babylon. After reading those verses, answer these questions: ✧ To what kind of fruit did God liken Judah? ✧ What did God say would happen to King Zedekiah? ✧ What warning did the prophets give to Judah? ✧ What was Judah’s response? ✧ How would God deal with Babylon?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 76). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

MARCH 4 SINFUL MAN: UNCOMFORTABLE IN GOD’S PRESENCE

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

GENESIS 3:9

Sin never feels comfortable in the divine presence!

Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden. Their fear and chagrin for the moment overcame their conscious need of God. Jonah, in his determined refusal to obey God’s command, rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Peter, with a sudden acute consciousness of personal guilt, sought not to flee from the Lord’s presence but begged the Lord instead to depart from him!

Men need God above everything else, yet are uncomfortable in His presence. This is the self-contradictory moral situation sin has brought us into.

The notion that there is a God but that He is comfortably far away is not embodied in the doctrinal statement of any Christian church. Anyone who dared admit that he held such a creed would be considered a heretic and avoided by respectable religious people; but our actions, and especially our spontaneous utterances, reveal our true beliefs better than any conventional creed can do.

If we are to judge by these, I think it can hardly be denied that the average Christian thinks of God as being at a safe distance, looking the other way![1]


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

March 4, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

14:19, 20 With these three offerings and the trespass offering (v. 12), the formerly unclean person had brought all the mandatory sacrifices that it was impossible to bring during the time of uncleanness.[1]


14:19–20. The sacrificial procedure was completed with the sin offering (the one ewe lamb, v. 10) and the burnt offering (v. 19, the other male lamb of v. 10), accompanied by the grain offering (v. 20).[2]


14:18–20 The priest must also bring a burnt offering in order to make atonement for the person who had been healed. The verb translated “make atonement” can mean “to wipe away,” “to purge,” “to purify,” or “to atone for.” As a result, the healed person would be pronounced clean and thus forgiven, ready to enter God’s presence with confidence. The concept is important to the sacrificial theology of Leviticus because atonement cleansed a person from all sins, known and unknown. The language used affirms that physical impurity was purified, while moral impurity had to be forgiven.[3]


[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 174). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[2] Lindsey, F. D. (1985). Leviticus. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 194). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] Matthews, K. A. (2017). Leviticus. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 178). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

TYRANNY ON PARADE=> YouTube Deletes Natural News Channel as Google Ramps Up Purge of Conservative Channels

Google YouTube shut down the Health Ranger Natural News Channel on Friday.

Natural News is a very prominent health website and the world’s top source on natural health.

Founder Mike Adams posted this shocking news on Saturday.

In the latest gross violation of free speech committed by radical left-wing tech giants, YouTube has now deleted the entire Health Ranger video channel, wiping out over 1,700 videos covering everything from nutrition, natural medicine, history, science and current events.

Over the last two weeks, YouTube has been on a censorship rampage that’s apparently run by the SPLC, a radical left-wing hate group that despises Christianity, the Second Amendment and patriots in particular. Hundreds of prominent conservative video channels have been targeted for termination by YouTube, leading many independent media leaders like myself to call for government regulation of YouTube to protect free speech and end the tyranny.

“It’s just so ironic because our videos are getting flagged for harassment and bullying… That’s the excuse they use to take them down, and eventually take the channel down,” explained Paul Joseph Watson in a Breitbart News Daily interview.

InfoWars’ channel also taken down less than 24 hours earlier
“Conservatives across the internet – including Christian and pro-Second Amendment groups – are being banned by the anti-free speech authoritarians at Google, YouTube, and Facebook in a concerted effort to shut down points of view they don’t agree with,” warns InfoWars, which was also banned at nearly the same time as the Health Ranger account.

Mike Adams asked his supporters to reach out to the Google and denounce their anti-American and illegal tactics.

Help us fight back against YouTube censorship and totalitarian oppression. Here are some actions you can take:

1) Tweet @YouTube and @TeamYouTube to denounce their censorship. Let them know how much you appreciate the Health Ranger channel.

2) Call on your members of Congress to launch a civil rights investigation into YouTube, Facebook, Google and other tech giants. Their tyranny needs to be called out, and YouTube needs to be regulated to halt their out-of-control censorship.

3) Help support our YouTube alternative website, which will be announced next week on the Alex Jones show. We are building a video community where the free speech of patriots is protected and honored. Ultimately, this video project can help make YouTube increasingly obsolete.

4) Help support us financially by shopping at HealthRangerStore.com which offers over 600+ lab-verified products for healthy living and self-reliance. We will need your funding support to fund attorneys as part of our legal effort against YouTube and other techno-totalitarians that have now declared total war on free speech.

Most of all, realize that you are now living in a content police state where the techno-giants are literally “memory holing” all the content channels they don’t like. This is not happening by sheer coincidence… it’s all part of a plan to silence conservatives, commit election fraud at the mid-terms, steal the election, impeach Trump and repeal the Second Amendment.

Tech Giants Google and Facebook are currently purging conservative content from Facebook and YouTube — They are hiding conservative stories on Google — They are shadow-banning conservative news on all social media.

In February Facebook launched a new algorithm to ensure that conservative news would not spread on the social media platform. The algorithm change caused President Donald Trump’s engagement on Facebook posts to plummet a whopping 45%.

In contrast, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) do not appear to have suffered a comparable decline in Facebook engagement.

Top conservative Facebook pages with daily traffic in the millions have seen 75% to 95% drop in traffic.
Young Cons, Western Journalism, SarahPalin.com, Independent Journal Review, Right Wing News, and several others have seen dramatic loss in traffic.

The Gateway Pundit does not rely on Facebook for our traffic numbers. Still, we saw a significant drop in Facebook traffic last month.

This is criminal behavior.

Meanwhile, liberal sites are doing fine.

Google also deleted several top Conservative channels this week.

Conservative YouTube channels were deleted in a Google purge this week.

Google later said they “accidentally” deleted conservative channels.

The post TYRANNY ON PARADE=> YouTube Deletes Natural News Channel as Google Ramps Up Purge of Conservative Channels appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

Herescope: Another God Part 2

Read Part 1 
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” 
(Exodus 20:3)
[Ad on Amazon.com]

A Report by Barbara Wilhelm

THE TEACHINGS OF GOD CALLING 

THE BIBLE

What about the contents of God Calling? Since not only Sarah Young but many others have stated that they have been ministered to from reading it, how can these positive experiences be explained if there are Scriptural errors in it? Certainly many statements can be inspiring in a book, and Scripture can even be quoted, but note that Genesis 3:1, Matthew 4:6 and 2Corinthians 11:2-4,14 are but a few Bible verses mentioning Satan’s ability to quote Scripture for his purposes.

The following statement made by one of the two “listeners” of God Calling should cause a Christian reader great concern:

We were being taught, trained and encouraged day by day by HIM personally, when millions of souls, far worthier, had to be content with guidance from the Bible. (God Calling, Preface, with added emphasis in Bulle, God Wants You Rich and Other Enticing Doctrines]

The implications of this statement are that personal guidance is better than the Bible. Note that God Calling has more words of Jesus than the Bible itself. Repeatedly in Scripture God tells us of the excellence and pre-eminence of His Word: all of Psalm 119; Matthew 5:18, 24:35; 2Timothy 3:16-17; 2Peter 1:21; Deuteronomy 6:6, 11:18; Psalm 19:8; John 17:17, 20:31. I am certain that there are a great multitude of people who are indeed content with guidance from Bibles and have found guidance, moral absolutes and strong religious principles in the pages of that holy Book.

THE HOLY SPIRIT

To determine the trustworthiness of a book, it is wise to notice how it treats major Biblical topics like the Holy Spirit, for instance. Notice the comment in God Calling and the manner in which the Holy Spirit is referred:

All work here is accomplished by My Spirit and that can flow through the most humble and lowly. It simply needs an unblocked channel. (God Calling, p.70, also cited in Bulle, God Wants You Rich and Other Enticing Doctrines.) [Emphasis mine]

Would Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, ever refer to the Third Person of the Trinity as “that” or “it”? John 14:17 and 16:13 distinctly name the Holy Spirit as a Person:

John 14:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Himnor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.[Emphasis mine]

John 16:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. [Emphasis mine]

As is often true in God Calling, these words of Jesus Christ above from the Gospel of John are twisted out of their Scriptural context to violate the actual meaning of His words. John 16:13 indicates that in Christ’s absence further revelation of truth would come to the apostles through the Holy Spirit: “Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.” [Emphasis mine] However, in God Calling this is what the “Living Christ” told the “two listeners”:

“Truly, I said to my disciples, ‘I have many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.’ But to you, and those who gather to hear Me as you do, I can declare those things now, that then I left unsaid.” (God Calling, p. 69)

Therefore, while John 16:13 states that the Holy Spirit is the revealer of Truth, God Calling replaces one Person of the Trinity with another and states that Jesus is the revealer of Truth. Scripture is God’s Word. Both Revelation 22:18-19 and Deuteronomy 4:2 emphatically state penalties for adding to or subtracting from God’s Word. It is, at the least, dishonest to attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to Jesus for the simple reason that Scripture would call it a lie. Additionally, there are the statements like these attributed to the “Jesus” in God Calling that are not in Scripture:

  • “I need you more than you need Me” (p. 60)
  • “I await the commands of my children” (p. 63)
  • “Looking to Me all your thoughts are God-inspired. Act on them and you will be led on” (p. 104)
  • “See Me in the dull, the uninteresting, the sinful, the critical, the miserable” (p. 111)
  • “I do not delay My second coming. My followers delay it” (p. 177)

There is an additional problem in the following “message” from “Jesus”:

“But to you, and those who gather to hear Me as you do, I can declare those things now, that then I left unsaid” (God Calling, p. 69)

Notice the feeling of elitism that is appealed to in this quote. It seems that only to certain people can these special messages be given. This was the same problem – the same heresy – Paul encountered with the Colossians:

The Colossian church had been deeply infiltrated by teachings foreign to the Christian faith. As a result the Colossians added to Christian elements from non-Christian sources… such as Gnosticism. [One of the characteristics of this heresy] was an inordinate liking for knowledge and wisdom of a secret sort. As a result these practices and persuasions, the person and work of Jesus Christ were downgraded. These wrong customs in the [Colossian] church occasioned the writing of this letter by Paul, in which he set forth clearly and passionately the correct view of Jesus Christ and His preeminence. (Lindsell Bible Commentary)

This comment on Gnosticism holds true for both God Calling and Jesus Calling.

SPIRIT FORCES OF THE UNSEEN AND MEDIUMS

There are, however, many references in God Calling to “Spirit-World” and “Spirit-Kingdom,” both which have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. The October 23 entry reads: “Trust in the Spirit Forces of the Unseen not in those you see.” [Emphasis mine] Since the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:10) vehemently denounces associating with spirits, but soundly commands us to trust only in God (Proverbs 3:5-7), this is totally unscriptural and, therefore, could not have originated with God. Both Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and 2Timothy 3:16 clearly state one of the fundamental principles of discernment – anything that is wrong in part and presumes to say it is from God is wrong in the whole and is to be condemned.

This is not the only entry the “listeners” relate in this vein. The September 6 entry is even more extensive:

How often mortals rush to earthly friends who can serve them in so limited a way, when the friends who are freed from the limitations of humanity can serve them so much better, understand better, protect better, plan better, plead better their cause with Me…. You do well to remember your friends in the Unseen. Companying with them, the more you live in this Unseen world, the gentler will be your passing when it comes. (God Calling, p. 145) [Emphasis mine]

Does this sound like the God Who commanded His people to have no communication with the dead and decreed that those who did would be put to death (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27)? The prophet Isaiah spoke sharply to those who defied God in this manner: “When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” (Isaiah 8:19-20 NIV)

Satan is called subtle and crafty in Genesis 3, and the entries in this book are proof of that statement. Look at the craftiness of the following entry from God Calling:

February 17: “Psychic powers are not necessarily Spiritual Powers.” [Emphasis mine]

Looking at the verses in Deuteronomy 18:10, Exodus 22:18 and Leviticus 20:27, to name just a few, it is obvious that the Bible leaves no wiggle room at all for occult practices. When God calls a practice an abomination, He is using the strongest word He can use!! Here is another entry from God Calling:

March 13: “Spiritualism is wrong. No man should ever be a medium for any spirit, other than Mine.”

Let’s use a paraphrase analogy to help the reader understand the full intent of this entry: “Murder is wrong. But when I, the Lord, say to do it for My purposes, it’s okay.” Can you see a God in whom there is no darkness at all speaking out of both sides of His mouth like that?!

EASTERN RELIGION AND MYSTICAL INFLUENCES 

God Calling relates even more instances of communicating with unholy spirits. For example:

March 10: “Your five senses are your means of communication with the material world, the links between your Spirit-Life and the material manifestations around you, but you must sever all connection with them when you wish to hold Spirit-communication. They will hinder, not help.” (p. 52)

If you take this day’s entry and couple it with these two entries, the point is even clearer:

April 27: “I am beside you. Can you not feel My Presence? Contact with Me is not gained by the senses. Spirit-consciousness replaces sight.”

May 5: “Breathe in My very Spirit in pure air and fervent desire…. Empty your mind of all that limits.”

Think these thoughts through: if we were to “sever all connection” with our five senses we would either be dead, unconscious or in a mystical/meditative trance exactly like that in Eastern religions! And what sort of “Spirit-communication” is meant? Though God is Spirit, communication with Him is not mystical and ethereal. It was God Who said in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now and let us reason together.” [Emphasis mine] Eastern religions require that in order to relax, do yoga and attain a “higher level of consciousness” we must empty our minds and be in “spirit communication.” But the Bible forbids communicating with the kind of spirits you would come in contact with that way (Deuteronomy 18:10-13). [See the article “Altered States: A Different Gate” for a thorough discussion on this topic: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/04/altered-states-different-gate.html]

There are additional errors that can be listed to show the deceptions in God Calling, but the preceding should be sufficient to convince the diligent seeker of God’s truth that this book is not a Christian devotional. One need not question the sincerity of the “two listeners,” but the method of “guidance” they employ is not Scriptural.

True communication with the One True God would not contain these errors. He has no flaws and always acts in agreement with His Word. Therefore, my brethren, “touch ye not the unclean thing” and separate yourself from the dangers of this book and those like it for your own safety and so that “God may receive you as His sons and daughters.” 

To be continued. . . .

Source:

A Call to Thoughtful Vigilance

Evangelical churches today, however, are far less troubled by the serious doctrinal errors that divide them than they were in the 1920s. They are less vigilant than they were then. The church generally has not learned the lesson of confessionalism. Doctrinal knowledge, biblical understanding, and disciplined Christian living seem to have declined rather than advanced since the 1920s.

Paul warned the elders of the church in Ephesus about the critical need for them to be vigilant: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert…” (Acts 20:28–31). This apostolic warning was not just for the Ephesian church; it is a warning that is necessary for every church in every age.

Paul’s warning was taken very seriously by many churches and ministers in the controversy between fundamentalists and liberals in the 1920s. Fundamentalists seeing their churches and schools deserting historic Christianity viewed liberals as devious, deceptive, even demonic. Dr. J. Gresham Machen, in the most valuable and enduring critique of liberalism written in the 1920s, Christianity and Liberalism, concluded that Christianity was one religion and liberalism was quite another.

While Dr. Machen’s analysis was accurate and presented in a temperate manner, many in the churches of his day did not accept it. Why was that, and what can we learn in our day about being vigilant in defending and promoting biblical Christianity?

The Mind of Liberalism
In the first place, we should try to understand how the liberals saw themselves and how they communicated their convictions to others. Liberals insisted that they were evangelical Christians. They believed that they did hold to the essentials of the Christian faith. They insisted, affirming the language of the Auburn Affirmation of 1924, that they held to basic Christian doctrines and only rejected some of the theories that fundamentalists used to elaborate those doctrines. For instance, they believed that Jesus was God with them, but not in the virgin birth. The liberals sincerely believed that they alone would save Christianity in the modern world by making it more relevant. As such, they were active missionaries for their cause.

Dr. Machen was right when he stated of the liberals: “By the equivocal use of traditional phrases, by the representation of differences of opinion as though they were only differences about the interpretation of the Bible, entrance into the Church was secured for those who are hostile to the very foundations of the faith.” But the liberals denied such charges, and by using ambiguous language, they persuaded many that they were not as bad as their critics claimed.

The controversy between liberals and fundamentalists was not only about truth for Dr. Machen, it was about ethics. The liberals were not straightforward or honorable in making their beliefs clear. He wrote that “honesty is being relinquished in wholesale fashion by the liberal party in many ecclesiastical bodies today.” They had promised in their ordination vows to uphold doctrines that they did not believe.

The Conservative Mind
Dr. Machen believed that the majority of church members in his day were basically conservative. They did not want extensive changes in the doctrine or life of their churches. They were somewhat anxious about where the liberals wanted to take the church. However, they tended to be optimistic about the future and were concerned about criticism of liberalism that seemed too negative or strident.

The leadership of the conservative wing of the church did not present a united front. While the staunch conservatives like Dr. Machen were very alarmed and critical of the liberals, other moderate conservatives argued that too much negativity and divisiveness would undermine the mission of the church. Conservative church members often did not know whom to believe or follow.

The division of opinion among conservative leaders and the optimism of many conservatives disposed them to shy away from a fight. As early as 1915, Dr. Machen saw the potential danger of this situation: “The mass of the Church here is still conservative — but conservative in an ignorant, non-polemic, sweetness-and-light kind of way which is just meat for the wolves. I do not mean to use harsh phrases in a harsh way, and my language must be understood to be biblical.” As Paul had warned the Ephesian elders about wolves attacking the sheep of the church, so Dr. Machen worried that the sheep of the church in his day were very vulnerable to liberal wolves.

The Confessionalist Mind
While Dr. Machen was often seen as the greatest intellectual leader of the fundamentalist movement, he was not entirely comfortable with the fundamentalist movement. He did not believe that it was enough to defend just five fundamentals of the faith. He believed that fundamentalism was too individualistic, too reductionistic, and too unconcerned with history. For Machen, true Christianity was an historic community with a full and coherent theology. True Christianity, as Dr. Machen knew it in the Reformed tradition, came to doctrinal expression in a full confession of faith, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Dr. Machen believed a confession expressed the mind of the church and showed church members what the church confessed as the great and necessary teachings of the Bible. The confession should serve as an antidote to doctrinal ignorance in the church as the church diligently teaches its confession to its members. The confession should show the church what doctrines it must fight to uphold. It should strengthen the church as the bulwark of the truth.

Today, evangelical churches face doctrinal challenges every bit as serious as those of the 1920s. Some evangelicals reject the inerrancy of the Bible. Some reject the historic doctrine of God for what they call “open theism.” Some reject the biblical doctrine of justification that was recovered by the Reformation for some form of moralism.

Evangelical churches today, however, are far less troubled by the serious doctrinal errors that divide them than they were in the 1920s. They are less vigilant than they were then. The church generally has not learned the lesson of confessionalism. Doctrinal knowledge, biblical understanding, and disciplined Christian living seem to have declined rather than advanced since the 1920s.

Paul’s call to thoughtful vigilance is needed more today than ever. Ministers, elders, and church members today must be renewed in the truth by a full and careful knowledge of doctrine contained for us in the great confessions of the churches. Then we will know where and when to fight, as well as the truth for which we fight. As Paul wrote to Timothy: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16).

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine. This article is used with permission.

The post A Call to Thoughtful Vigilance appeared first on The Aquila Report.

CultureWatch: Oprah, Pence and Hearing From God

Anyone following American politics and the culture wars that are going on there will know of two recent cases of the concept of ‘hearing from God’ or ‘God speaking to me’ being thrown around in the popular discussion. For a largely secular country like America, there are still millions of Christians, so such discussions can still be common.

The first occurrence of this was from a few weeks ago. US Vice President Mike Pence came under attack by various lefties for his Christian faith. As one article describes the stoush:

The women of ABC News’ “The View” took a shot at Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith on Tuesday, mocking the former governor of Indiana for talking to Jesus and even calling it a “mental illness.” It all started when they played a clip from “Celebrity Big Brother,” in which former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman discussed the vice president.
“As bad as you think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence… everyone that is wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider their life,” she said in the clip. “I am Christian, I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”
The talk-show panelists pondered what Omarosa’s motive was, before Sunny Hostin chimed in, “I think what’s interesting is that she said Jesus tells Mike Pence things to say.” Hostin declared that Pence is a “hated figure” in Indiana, claiming she knows firsthand because she attended law school in the state.
“He’s not very popular at all,” she said. “I think when you have a Mike Pence who now sort of puts this religious veneer on things and calls people ‘values voters,’ I think we’re in a dangerous situation.” Hostin said she is a “faithful” Catholic but doesn’t want her vice president “speaking in tongues.”
Joy Behar then said: “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you.” Behar said hearing voices is a “mental illness” before Sherri Shepard offered a limited defense of Pence.

Of course millions of Christians instantly took offence at Behar’s remarks, and rightly so. Not only do they believe that God IS in fact able to speak to his people in various ways, but they do NOT consider this to be a sign of mental illness.

Pence also made a reply: “People of all different faith traditions, they cherish their faith in God. And to have ABC have a forum that spoke in such demeaning terms, I think it’s evidence of how out of touch some in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people.”

But a second incident all of a sudden found the hostile left to be all rather silent. This time one of their own got into the act, speaking about ‘hearing from God’. Instead of shrilly denouncing her as being mentally ill and someone to really worry about – if not lock up – the chattering classes of the left basically said nothing.

I refer to Oprah Winfrey and her rumination about running for President in 2020 – as a Democrat of course. I already penned a piece on why this would be pretty bad news if she did decide to make a run for it: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/01/09/oprah-potus-scary-thoughts/

Indeed, so frightening is the prospect of her leading the free world, that the following day I penned a second piece on her and why America does NOT need her at the top job: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/01/10/more-on-oprah-and-truth/

Anyway, the most recent statement of hers was all about – wait for it – God talking to her as to whether she should run or not. As one news item stated:

Oprah Winfrey said she’s had billionaires offer to fund her presidential campaign if she runs for the White House, but said she’s waiting for a sign from God. “I went into prayer,” she said of calls for her to run for president.
“‘God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it.’ And I haven’t gotten that yet,” Winfrey told People Magazine in an interview published Wednesday.
Winfrey emerged as a possible 2020 presidential candidate after she delivered an emotional speech at the Golden Globes earlier this year, speaking out against sexual harassment.

Hmm, so let me see if I got this straight: if Mike Pence talks about hearing from God, he is a nut job deluxe, and a danger to us all. Yet when Oprah, who has as much influence and perhaps almost as much power as Pence does – says the same thing, we have complete silence from the left.

Yep, makes perfect sense to me. Just more hypocrisy and double standards from the left.

Hearing God’s voice

So what does the biblical Christian mean when he or she speaks of “hearing God’s voice” and the like? The Bible often speaks about God’s people hearing from God, and God talking to his people – especially the leaders. So God can and does communicate with his own.

Obviously today we must be careful with this. For the most part when believers now speak of hearing from God, they are not necessarily referring to hearing an audible voice, but to getting inward impressions, convictions or leadings from God via the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, all this is part of the bigger issue of finding the will of God for your life. How do we know what God wants us to do? How can we be sure about certain career paths, life partners, or ministry calls? Christians want to know what God’s will is for them in these various areas, and they believe God can guide them.

One obvious rule of thumb always must be adhered to here. Anything we may think God has told us, or is his will for us, must always line up with his revealed Word. If there is any contradiction or discrepancy between what we think we are hearing from God, and what he has clearly revealed to us, then the former must go.

Thus God will never “lead” a believer to do that which is clearly sinful. For example, he will never tell a believer to, say, have sex with someone other than her own husband or his own wife. He will not tell a believer worried about finding funds for his Christian ministry to go out and rob a bank.

So how should we think about hearing from God and discovering his will? Some years ago I wrote a two-part article on this very topic: “On Finding God’s Will”. In the second part of it I offered ten general principles that we should consider as we seek God’s will. Here they are in abbreviated form:

One. The Bible is not a book of magic. We should not take a ouija board approach to divine guidance.
Two. Much of divine guidance is really all about knowing God.
Three. God’s will for our lives is more of a life-long goal than a specific blueprint.
Four. Related to this, finding out God’s specific will in a particular situation is really not all that difficult. What is difficult is getting us to bend the knee.
Five. Following on from the above, having a humble spirit and a clean heart are indispensable for clearly discerning God’s will for your life.
Six. We need to remember that not every activity or incident recorded in the Bible is condoned or approved of.
Seven. We must realise that specific and express commands given to individuals in Scripture may not be for anyone else.
Eight. We always have to be quite careful about subjectivity. We must make sure our leading lines up with God’s word.
Nine. Do not always expect the sensational, the extraordinary, or razzamatazz when we seek his leading.
Ten. Don’t always expect individual guidance. The truth is, God has put us in a body of believers, and God often guides in a corporate fashion.

Yes I believe God does speak to his people today. But we must be careful in how we are to understand this. The main thing is personal guidance to us must always be in accord with his divine will as expressed in Scripture. And the first requirement for that is that we be in right relationship with God through Christ.

Given that Oprah is the world’s biggest promoter of the anti-biblical New Age Movement, we can be fairly certain that if she does hear voices or get impressions, they will more than likely not be those of the one true and living God.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/02/13/view-panel-mocks-mike-pence-s-christian-faith-that-s-called-mental-illness.html
thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/375969-oprah-if-im-supposed-to-run-for-president-god-has-to-tell-me#.WpgMloIULYk.facebook
billmuehlenberg.com/2011/05/20/on-finding-god%E2%80%99s-will-part-two/

[1427 words]

The post Oprah, Pence and Hearing From God appeared first on CultureWatch.

Stunning: Google Lists Planned Parenthood as Top Pro-Life Organization

Google is currently shadow-banning conservative websites and content.

Google-YouTube is shutting down prominent conservative and right-leaning channels.
Google-YouTube is also blocking conservative channels — Like the Official Gateway Pundit channel — from posting.

And Google is also altering search results to portray far left websites and organizations as conservative.

Today if search Google for a list of pro-life organizations you get this…

Google lists Planned Parenthood as the top Pro-Life website.

Planned Parenthood is the top pro-Life site?

Planned Parenthood performs 328,000 abortions a year.

You get the same results if you search by iPhone.

This is the same organization that is shutting down conservative websites.
If there is no conservative site listed then even Planned Parenthood makes the list.

Hat Tip AB

The post Stunning: Google Lists Planned Parenthood as Top Pro-Life Organization appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

MARCH 4 PREACH A WHOLE CHRIST

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:9

I reject the human insistence among us that Christ may sustain a divided relationship toward us in this life.

I am aware that this is now so commonly preached that to oppose it or object to it means that you are sticking your neck out and you had best be prepared for what comes.

But, I am forced to ask: How can we insist and teach that our Lord Jesus Christ can be our Savior without being our Lord?

How can so many continue to teach that we can be saved without any thought of obedience to our Sovereign Lord?

I am satisfied in my own heart that when a man or a woman believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he or she must believe on the whole Lord Jesus Christ—not making any reservation! How can a teaching be justified when it encourages sinners to use Jesus as a Savior in their time of need, without owing Him obedience and allegiance?

I believe we need to return to preaching a whole Christ to our needy world!

Heavenly Father, I humbly acknowledge Your saving grace in my life, and it is an honor to obey and serve You.[1]


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

March 4 Practicing Mercy

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

The most obvious way we can show mercy is through physical acts. Jesus specifically commands us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, and offer any other practical help to those who need it. When we serve others in need, we demonstrate a heart of mercy.

The way of mercy did not begin in the New Testament. The Old Testament law taught, “You shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks” (Deut. 15:7–8).

Mercy is also to be shown in our attitudes. Mercy does not hold a grudge, harbor resentment, capitalize on another’s failure or weakness, or publicize another’s sin.

Mercy is also to be shown spiritually. First, it is shown through pity. The sensitive Christian will grieve more for lost souls than for lost bodies. Second, we are to show spiritual mercy by confrontation. Paul says that, as Christ’s servants, we should gently correct “those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25). Third, we are to show spiritual mercy by praying. The sacrifice of prayer for those without God is an act of mercy. Finally, we are to show mercy by proclaiming the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the most merciful thing we can do.

ASK YOURSELF

How has your life been transformed by being the blessed recipient of these various acts and expressions of mercy? What might occur in the lives of your children, your spouse, your parents, your friends—anyone to whom you begin to show consistent compassion?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 72). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

March 4 Maturity in Suffering

May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

1 Peter 5:10

A Christian’s call to glory necessitates walking the path of suffering. Today’s verse explains why. Suffering is God’s way of maturing His people spiritually. He is pleased when we patiently endure the suffering that comes our way. Suffering is a part of God’s plan to prepare His people for glory.

The apostle Peter said this regarding the value of suffering: “You greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6–7). God allows suffering as a validation of our faith. It also produces patience, though patience is a quality we won’t need in eternity—there will be no reason for impatience there. But beyond those benefits, suffering increases our capacity to praise, honor, and glorify God—and that’s something we will use throughout eternity.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 77). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

March 4, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

Responding to the Will of God

(James 4:13–17)

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. (4:13–17)

The Scriptures give many marks of a true Christian, such as love for God, repentance from sin, humility, devotion to God’s glory, prayer, love for others, separation from the world, growth, and obedience. But nothing more clearly summarizes the character of a genuine believer than a desire to do the will of God. In Psalm 40:8 David wrote, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart”; in Psalm 143:10 he added, “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God.” Jesus taught that “whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35), while in John 7:17 He declared, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” In Matthew 7:21 He gave the sobering warning, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Peter exhorted Christians to “live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Pet. 4:2). The apostle John described believers as those “who [do] the will of God [and live] forever” (1 John 2:17).

The greatest example of one who did the will of God was the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 6:38 He defined His messianic mission when He said, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (cf. John 5:30). To His shortsighted disciples, focused as they were on earthly things, Jesus explained, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). In agony in Gethsemane, facing the awful reality of the cross, the Lord nonetheless prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39; cf. v. 42; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42). The Lord Jesus Christ perfectly modeled the most essential element of a relationship to God—obedience to His will.

For James, doing the will of God identifies another test of genuine saving faith. True Christians are characterized by “doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:6). They joyfully, willingly pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done” (Matt. 6:10). The apostle Paul’s delight in God’s law (Rom. 7:22) is another way of expressing the same attitude. The words of the familiar hymn “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” reflect the desire of every true Christian:

Have Thine own way, Lord!

Have Thine own way!

Thou art the Potter;

I am the clay.

Mold me and make me

After Thy will,

While I am waiting,

Yielded and still.

—Adelaide A. Pollard

On the other hand, a constant disregard for or disinterest in God’s will is a certain mark of the presence of pride—the ugly sin also underlying conflict, worldliness, and slander (4:1–12). To disregard God’s will is tantamount to saying, “I am the sovereign ruler of my own life.” Such a prideful attitude is antithetical to saving faith; as James has already pointed out “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (4:6). Those who refuse to submit to God’s will give evidence that their lives have not been transformed by His saving grace (cf. Titus 2:11–12).

True to the pattern he has followed throughout his epistle, James takes a practical approach to the issue of responding to God’s will. In a fascinating passage built around the seemingly mundane illustration of businessmen’s plans, James gives significant insights into how people respond to God’s will. In so doing, he presents three negative responses and one positive one.

The Foolishness of Ignoring God’s Will

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (4:13–14)

The first negative response to God’s will is foolishly ignoring it, living as if God did not exist or was indifferent to and benign toward human behavior. James addressed such people in familiar Old Testament prophetic style (cf. Isa. 1:18); his words come now are an insistent, even brash call for attention. They also indicate disapproval for the conduct they address. James is in effect saying “Listen up!” or “Get this!” The phrase come now appears in the New Testament only here and in 5:1.

The targets of James’s rebuke are those who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” The Greek text literally reads “the ones who are saying,” indicating people who habitually live without regard for God’s will. The underlying Greek verb, legō, means to say something based on reason or logic. James rebuked those who habitually think through and articulate their plans as if God did not exist or care (cf. 4:11–12).

The specific illustration James chose was one that would have been familiar to his readers. Many Jewish people dispersed throughout the ancient world were successful businessmen, itinerant merchants who naturally sought out the flourishing trade centers in which to do business. Wise planning and strategizing in business is not, of course, sinful in and of itself but commendable. No spiritual principles are violated by anything the businessmen said. The problem lies in what they did not do. They did extensive planning, but in the course of their planning, they totally ignored God; God was not part of their agenda.

Like Satan’s five self-centered “I wills” (Isa. 14:13–14) that caused his fall, the businessmen’s statement contains five presumptuous elements indicating their ill-advised confidence. First, they chose their own time, today or tomorrow. Second, they chose their own location for doing business, such and such a city. Third, they chose their own duration, deciding to spend a year there. Fourth, they chose their own enterprise, to engage in business (literally, “to travel into an area for trade”). Finally, they chose their own goal or objective, to make a profit. James is not attacking their profit motive, but their exclusion of God. Allowing for no contingencies, they planned as if they were omniscient, omnipotent, and invulnerable.

In Luke 12:16–21 the Lord Jesus Christ told a parable illustrating the folly of presumptuously leaving God out of one’s planning:

And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

In verse 14, James gives two important reasons those who presumptuously leave God out of their planning are foolish. First, James says to such people, You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. Like the rich fool in our Lord’s parable, they were ignorant of the future. Proverbs 27:1 expresses the same principle: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Life is far from simple. It is a complex matrix of forces, events, people, contingencies, and circumstances over which we have little or no control, making it impossible for anyone to ascertain, design, or assure any specific future. Despite that, some people foolishly imagine that they are in charge of their lives. Sadly, such people ignore not only the existence of God’s will, but also its benefit. Christians have the comfort of knowing that the sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent God of the universe controls every event and circumstance of their lives and weaves them all into His perfect plan for them (Rom. 8:28). David wrote, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Ps. 37:3–5). In a similar vein, Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5–6).

James gave those tempted to do so a second reason that leaving God out of one’s planning is foolish: the brevity of life. You are just avapor that appears for a little while, James reminded them, and then vanishes away. Life is as transitory as a puff of smoke from a fire; the steam that rises from a cup of coffee; or one’s breath, briefly visible on a cold day. How foolish, in light of the brevity and frailty of earthly life, to plan and live it without consideration for God’s will.

The Bible repeatedly stresses the shortness of human life. Job, possibly the first book of Scripture to be written, says much about life’s ephemeral nature. In 7:6 Job lamented, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and come to an end without hope,” while in 7:9 he added, “When a cloud vanishes, it is gone, so he who goes down to Sheol [the abode of the dead] does not come up.” “We are only of yesterday and know nothing,” said Job’s friend Bildad the Shuhite, “because our days on earth are as a shadow” (8:9). Continuing his lament, Job said, “Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good. They slip by like reed boats, like an eagle that swoops on its prey” (9:25–26). Job’s complaint to God in 14:1–2 aptly summarizes the frailty and brevity of human existence: “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.”

The Psalms also stress the transitory nature of human life. “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,” wrote Moses, “or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away” (Ps. 90:10). “My days are like a lengthened shadow,” the psalmist mourned, “and I wither away like grass” (Ps. 102:11). Summing up the Bible’s teaching on the brevity of human life, David wrote, “As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer” (Ps. 103:15–16; cf. Isa. 40:6–8; 1 Pet. 1:24).

Their ignorance of the future and the frailty and brevity of human life should give pause to those who foolishly ignore God’s will.

The Arrogance of Denying God’s Will

But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. (4:16)

The first wrong response to God’s will is presumptuously ignoring it, living as though God and His will do not exist. But there are also those who, while acknowledging that God exists and has a will, nevertheless arrogantly reject it. Those in the first group are practical atheists—living as if God did not exist. Those in this second category are self-theists—refusing to submit the uncertainties of life to God, they set themselves, their own goals, and their own wills above God. God’s will, though acknowledged, simply is not as important to them as their plans. Though such disdain does not characterize the life of a believer generally, even Christians are often guilty of setting aside God’s will in favor of their own plans.

Those who deny God’s will, James says, boast in their arrogance.Kauchaomai (boast) can mean “to be loud-mouthed,” or “to speak loudly,” either in legitimate rejoicing (e.g., Rom. 5:2–3, 11) or in touting one’s own accomplishments (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:19). The context indicates James has the latter meaning in mind in this passage. Alazoneia (arrogance) comes from a root word meaning “to wander about” and reflects empty pretense. It was sometimes used to describe charlatans who traveled around selling phony goods. Taken together, the two words picture someone bragging pretentiously about something he doesn’t have and can’t obtain. Such is the arrogance, James says, of those who deny the will of God.

Perhaps no one has expressed this defiant attitude toward God any more clearly than William Ernest Henley in his famous poem “Invictus”:

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

That poem clearly reflects the attitude of those who know God exists, but arrogantly defy His will.

Isaiah 47:7–10 gives another example of arrogant denial of God’s will, recording the proud, defiant words of Babylon:

[Babylon said] “I shall be a queen forever.”

These things you did not consider

Nor remember the outcome of them.

Now, then, hear this, you sensual one,

Who dwells securely,

Who says in your heart,

“I am, and there is no one besides me.

I shall not sit as a widow,

Nor know loss of children.”

But these two things shall come on you suddenly in one day:

Loss of children and widowhood.

They shall come on you in full measure

In spite of your many sorceries,

In spite of the great power of your spells.

You felt secure in your wickedness and said,

“No one sees me,”

Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you;

For you have said in your heart,

“I am, and there is no one besides me.”

All such empty, arrogant, foolish boasting, James warns, is evil. Scripture uses ponēros (evil) as a title for Satan (Matt. 13:38; John 17:15; Eph. 6:16; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 John 2:13–14; 3:12; 5:18–19), the original boastful (cf. Isa. 14:13–14) sinner. Those who arrogantly deny God’s will emulate Satan’s sin, and may suffer his doom.

The Sin of Disobeying God’s Will

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. (4:17)

Those guilty of this third negative approach to God’s will affirm God’s existence and acknowledge the supremacy of His will—then proceed to disobey it. James rebuked such people with the axiomatic statement that the one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. Those in this third group know God’s will, and affirm that it is right.Kalos (right) describes what is qualitatively good, morally excellent, worthy of honor, and upright.

In the broadest sense, God’s will is expressed in all the commands and principles of Scripture. Specifically, the Bible says that God’s will is that people be saved (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9), Spirit-filled (Eph. 5:17–18), sanctified (1 Thess. 4:3–8), submissive (1 Pet. 2:13–15), and suffering (1 Pet. 3:17). To the person obeying those five aspects of God’s will, the Bible says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4)—that is, He will both plant the desires, then fulfill them.

Those who know God’s will are responsible to obey it, and if they fail to do so, they sin. They will find no comfort in the fact that they have not actively committed sin. Just leaving God out is itself sin. The sin of disregarding and disobeying God’s will is one of omission, of not doing what one knows is right (cf. Luke 12:47). Sins of omission are rarely isolated from sins of commission.

The sin of this third group is actually more serious than that of the first two groups. At the conclusion of the parable of the faithful steward (Luke 12:41–48) Jesus warned,

That slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. (vv. 47–48)

The wayward prophet Jonah provides a classic illustration of one who knew the will of God, but refused to do it. Called by God to preach to Nineveh, the reluctant prophet instead attempted to flee to Tarshish—about as directly in the opposite direction as possible. Only after being severely disciplined by God did Jonah finally submit to His will. Those who disobey God’s will likewise suffer the consequences (cf. Rom. 1:21–23).

The Blessing of Acknowledging God’s Will

Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (4:15)

In contrast to the negative, sinful responses to God’s will discussed above, James gives the positive side. Instead of the practical atheism, self-theism, or flagrant disobedience of the first three responses, James exhorts his readers to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that. This fourth alternative and positive response to God’s will, that of acknowledging and obeying it, generally marks true believers. The present infinitive form of the verb translated to say reveals that submission to God’s will must be habitual and continual. In every aspect of their lives and in every decision they face, believers’ response is to say “If the Lord wills.” Simply put, the will of God is central to all their plans (cf. Acts 18:21; Rom. 1:10; 15:32; 1 Cor. 4:19; 16:7; Phil. 2:19, 24; Heb. 6:3).

Acknowledging God’s will affirms His sovereignty over all aspects of life. We live only because God so wills it, for He controls life and death (Deut. 32:39; Job 12:9–10; Pss. 39:4–5; 104:29; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 1:18). God also controls everything people do and all the circumstances of life.

For the Christian, doing God’s will is an act of worship (Rom. 12:1–2). It is to be done from the heart (Eph. 6:6), as a way of life (Col. 1:9–10; 4:12), recognizing that He must energize us to do it (Heb. 13:20–21). In John 13:17 the Lord Jesus Christ pronounced the reward given those who do God’s will: “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Responding to God’s will is yet another test of a living and true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. A strong desire to do the will of God is a sure mark of a transformed life.[1]


Planning without regard to God (vv. 13–17)

James could see his readers doing exactly that. They would talk about going to ‘such and such a city’, about spending a year or so there and about the various transactions they would conduct while they were there (v. 13). They were talking as if they were in charge of their lives, and they weren’t.

James tells them that they had not factored into the equation the brevity and unpredictability of life. They could talk about one place, that city over there, and, before they could get there, end up in another place—eternity. They could talk about a period of time, this year or next, and, before that period began, find themselves in the realm of the timeless.

How easily we forget what life is like! It is a vapour! It is like the morning mist that lingers only in the early morning hours and vanishes when the sun rises. And when the sun rises, it doesn’t take long for the vapour to vanish!

So James tells his readers to quit acting as if they are in control. That is proud living! He says, ‘Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” ’ (v. 15).

No, he is not suggesting that we actually have to say those exact words every single time we are planning to go somewhere or to transact some business—although it would not be a bad idea to say them frequently! Rather he is talking about always keeping in mind that God is in control, and none of our plans ever supersedes or overrides his plans.

The eternal God has made us for eternity, and to eternity we must go. And the eternity that awaits us is one either of bliss or of woe!

So let us live with God and eternity weighing much on our minds. We constantly have the tendency to make this life the main event and eternity a footnote. Eternity is the main event, and only a fool lives as if this life is all that there is.

Don’t count on your time. It is passing! Don’t count on your possessions. They will soon belong to someone else. Don’t count on your career. It will soon be over. But count on this: eternity is rapidly approaching, and only those who have taken refuge in Jesus Christ can face it.[2]


Against presumptuousness (4:13–17)

James turns to a second area of high risk. He has shown us that by a wrong understanding of other people, and of their significance as brothers and neighbours, we can jeopardize our humility before God, which is the key to the whole situation. But there is also the sin of presumptuousness, which comes from a wrong understanding of ourselves in relation to our own lives and ambitions. It is interesting—and typical of James—that this sin too is put before us as a sin of speech. We are not now, however, defaming a brother; we are talking with a like arrogance to ourselves. We assure ourselves that time is on our side and at our disposal (today or tomorrow). We make our plans as if personal ability (and trade) and the profit motive (and get gain) were the only issues to take into account. We overlook frailty (a mist), and ignore the fact that even the small print of life is in the hands of a sovereign God (if the Lord wills). Yet we know better all the time (knows what is right), but self-confidence makes us boast, and all such boasting is evil and a sin against knowledge.

What is this presumptuousness of which James speaks? It first touches life: today … tomorrow … a year (13). It is the presumption that we can continue alive at will. Secondly, it touches choice: today or tomorrow we will go … spend a year … trade. It is the presumption that we are masters of our own life, so that we need to do no more than decide and, lo and behold, it will happen like that. Thirdly, it touches ability: and trade and get gain. Of course we shall succeed if we want! We can do it!

Once more it is all so ordinary, indeed so natural. That is exactly the point. When James exposes the blemish of presumptuousness, he exposes something which is the unrecognized claim of our hearts. We speak to ourselves as if life were our right, as if our choice were the only deciding factor, as if we had in ourselves all that was needed to make a success of things, as if getting on, making money, doing well were life’s sole objective.

Now how do we guard against presumptuousness? The three verbs in verses 14–15 will put us on our guard against presumptuousness. First, there is our ignorance, you do not know. James indulges here in a little irony. He is talking about a person who was busy laying out his programme for next year (13) and he quietly notes that you do not know about tomorrow (14). This fact alone is enough to keep us low before the God who created, controls and apportions time. Then there is our frailty—you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. We are insubstantial (mist), transient (a little time) and gone without trace (vanishes). Finally there is our dependence, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills …’. We come here to the heart of the matter.

James is not trying to banish planning from our lives, but only that sort of self-sufficient, self-important planning that keeps God for Sunday but looks on Monday to Saturday as mine. Certainly the words ‘God willing’ or their equivalents are not to become a fetish, or used as a protective talisman. John Calvin aptly notes that ‘we read everywhere in the Scriptures that the holy servants of God spoke unconditionally of future things, when yet they had it as a fixed principle in their minds that they could do nothing without the permission of God’. C. L. Mitton goes to the central point when he contrasts ‘evil doers’ who make the transience of life ‘an excuse for snatching all the pleasure out of it while there is time’, while ‘others use it as an excuse for doing nothing’, but ‘James refers to it as a reason why men should be humble before God’. Once more it is this key factor of the lowly walk with God that is threatened. Our initial determination is to commit ourselves decisively to God’s side (7), to live in close fellowship with him (8a), to purge our lives and our hearts (8b), to come to the place of wholesale repentance (9) and so to humble ourselves before God. All this can be lost, however, if, once outside the doors of our private room, we take the reins of life into our own hands, we forget our ignorance, frailty and dependence and plan our day, our week and next year as if we were lords of earth and time, and there was no God in heaven. To be sure the words ‘If the Lord wills’ can be a protective superstition; but they can also be the sweetest and most comfortable reassurance to a humble and trustful spirit.

The words are also intended for practical application to the hard details of real life. James addresses himself here to the Christian businessman, planning the expansion of his company into a new area, engaged in forward budgeting for a year’s trading. Too often Christians leave God in the church or at home with their wives when they take the train to their offices. James sees that either God is honoured as Lord in the place of business, or else the crucial factor of the humble spirit has been sacrificed on the altar of presumptuousness. In verse 14 it was the contents of tomorrow which were unknown, but in verse 15 it is the very existence of tomorrow and our own existence which is in question. We may take tomorrow for granted, thinking of it as a mark on the rim of time’s wheel, coming on inevitably as the circling years proceed. But in the Bible the years do not circle. They go in a straight line from eternity to eternity, and on that line we receive another day neither by natural necessity, nor by mechanical law, nor by right, nor by courtesy of nature, but only by the covenanted mercies of God. The very existence of tomorrow is as much part of our dependence on him as is our life itself5 and our ability.

The sin of presumption

Finally we must ask, with James, how serious the sin of presumptuousness is, even though in essence we have already faced the issue. It is, as we have seen, a most direct challenge to the life of lowliness before God, for it involves taking into our own hands the reins of planning and command. It involves seeing life itself as a continuing right rather than as a daily mercy. All this, however, is by implication from verses 13–15, and it would seem that James sees here something too serious to be left to implication. He uses verses 16–17 to drive his point home.

The verb ‘to boast’ (kauchaomai) is often used in the New Testament in a good sense for exultant, abounding joy in something, as when, for example, we are encouraged to boast in our hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2). But what an unholy, unacceptable thing this exulting becomes when it arises from your arrogance! Here is a word (alazoneia) used elsewhere only in 1 John 2:16, and translated the ‘pride’ of life. In other words, when even in little, secret, almost unrecognized ways we forget how frail we are, and stop short of conscious dependence on our God, it is an element of the proud, boastful, vaunting human spirit, flaunting its supposed independence and self-sufficiency. As such it is evil (16)—and James offers no qualification of the word: he merely says evil, the word which other scriptures use of the devil, the ‘evil one’.

Verse 17 finds James at his abrupt best! He moves without preparatory warning from the particular of verse 16 to the general of verse 17, from the evil of the sin of arrogance to a searching statement of the principle of the sin of omission. In fact, the whole idea of sinning by default has never been given more pointed expression. It is a principle which exposes the insufficiency of even our best accomplishments, and makes us realize that we are never more than unprofitable servants. ‘We may be able’, says C. L. Mitton, ‘to avoid committing forbidden evil; but who can ever seize positively every opportunity of doing good?’

Verses 16 and 17 are not, however, as unconnected as rsv might suggest. In the Greek the connective ‘therefore’ (oun) appears at the opening of verse 17. It must not be overlooked: ‘All such boasting is evil. Whoever, therefore, knows.…’ To James the sin of presumptuousness is so important, so basic, that it is as if the category of sins of omission had been deliberately devised in connection with it: that is the force of the ‘therefore’ of verse 17. We might consider it a small thing, a passing feature of life, if we forget how dependent we are and act in mere self-will. He sees it as the hard core of vaunting pride which is the mark and curse of fallen man. Here, above all places, we cannot afford to fall into the sin of omission.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 229–237). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Ellsworth, R. (2009). Opening up James (pp. 141–142). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[3] Motyer, J. A. (1985). The message of James: the tests of faith (pp. 160–163). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

MARCH 4 LORD GOD, THOU KNOWEST!

And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

—Ezekiel 37:3

To those who have (unintentionally) degraded their conception of God to the level of their human understanding it may appear frightening to admit that there are many things in the Scriptures and more things about the Godhead that transcend the human intellect. But a few minutes on our knees looking into the face of Christ will teach us humility, a virtue whose healing qualities have been known by God’s elect from time out of mind.

Coleridge gave it as his considered belief that the profoundest sentence ever uttered by human lips was the spontaneous cry of the prophet Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones when asked by the Lord whether those bones could live: “And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.” Had Ezekiel answered yes or no he would have closed off his heart to the mighty mystery which confronted him and would have missed the luxury of wonder in the presence of the Majesty on high. For never forget that it is a privilege to wonder, to stand in delighted silence before the Supreme Mystery and whisper, “O Lord GOD, thou knowest!” ROR088-089

Lord, today I stand in wonder as I contemplate Your person and Your working. I delight in Your mystery and cry with Ezekiel, “O Lord GOD, thou knowest!” Amen.[1]


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

March 4 Seeking a Closeness to God

“Draw near to God.”

James 4:8

✧✧✧

The sincerely humble will want a closer relationship with God.

The expression “draw near” was originally associated with the priesthood in Israel. Under the regulations of the Old Covenant, the priests represented the people before God. Prior to coming near God’s presence, the priest had to be washed physically and be ceremonially clean. That meant he had to bathe, wear the proper garments, and offer sacrifices that made his own heart right with God. Then he could draw near to God on the people’s behalf.

Eventually the Hebrew word for drawing near meant anyone who approached the presence of God in worship and prayer. The term became synonymous even of those whose hearts were far from God when they “worshiped” Him. For example, Isaiah 29:13 says, “This people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.”

But the sincere believer, one who has truly humbled himself before God, knows that God wants worshipers to draw near with true and pure hearts: “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22). This applies the language of the Old Testament ceremonial system to us and says that as the priests prepared themselves to be near God, we also should prepare ourselves spiritually to worship Him.

So far this month we have seen that the humble person will come to God for salvation, submit to Him as Lord, and take a stand against the Devil. But the truly humble person will see that his relationship to God is inherently more than those actions. If you claim to be one of the humble, one who has a saving relationship to the Father through the Son, be sure you can also agree with the psalmist Asaph: “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works” (Ps. 73:28).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for His grace and mercy in salvation that make it possible for us to have a close relationship with Him.

For Further Study: Read Hebrews 4. What sort of rest is the writer referring to? ✧ How does it compare to the rest that the people of Israel sought during Joshua’s time?[1]


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

March 3 Daily Help

THE saints in Jesus, when their bodies sleep in peace, have perpetual fellowship with him—ay, better fellowship than we can enjoy. We have but the transitory glimpse of his face; they gaze upon it every moment. We see him “in a glass, darkly;” they behold him “face to face.” We sip of the brook by the way; they plunge into the very ocean of unbounded love. We look up sometimes, and see our Father smile; look whenever they may, his face is always full of smiles for them. We get some drops of comfort; but they get the honeycomb itself. They are full of peace, full of joy forever. They “sleep in Jesus.”[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 66). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

March 3, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Exhortation to Constant Prayerfulness

pray without ceasing; (5:17)

Joyful believers will also be prayerful believers. Those who live their Christian lives in joyful dependency on God will continually recognize their own insufficiency and therefore constantly be in an attitude of prayer. Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing is thus a divine mandate to all believers. Pray is from proseuchomai, the most common New Testament word for prayer (e.g., Matt. 6:5–6; Mark 11:24; Luke 5:16; 11:1–2; Acts 10:9; Rom. 8:26; 1 Cor. 14:13–15; Eph. 6:18; Col. 1:9; 2 Thess. 3:1; James 5:13–14, 16). It encompasses all the aspects of prayer: submission, confession, petition, intercession, praise, and thanksgiving. Without ceasing means “constant” and defines prayer not as some perpetual activity of kneeling and interceding but as a way of life marked by a continual attitude of prayer.

One cannot begin to understand Paul’s command to continual prayerfulness without considering how faithfully Jesus prayed during His earthly ministry. As the Son of God, He was in constant communion with the Father, and the Gospels provide many examples of the Lord’s consistent prayer life (Matt. 14:23; Mark 1:35; 6:46; Luke 9:18, 28–29; cf. John 6:15; 17:1–26). During times when He went to the Mount of Olives to pray all night (Luke 21:37–38; John 8:1–2) He undoubtedly prayed with a kind of intensity that believers know little or nothing about. The classic example of such intensity is when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. “And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray.… And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:41, 44). Matthew 26:38–46 records that Jesus’ prayer in the garden was a prolonged experience in which He pleaded three times for the Father to spare Him from “this cup” (v. 39)—the divine wrath against sin, which He would have to bear the next day in His substitutionary death on the cross for sinners. (For a complete exposition of this passage, see Matthew 24–28, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 1989], 167–78.) That level of intense agonizing is beyond anything Christians have to face, but it illustrates the persistence Jesus spoke of in the parables of the friend in need (Luke 11:5–10) and the relentless widow (Luke 18:1–8). It also uniquely exemplifies what the apostle Paul meant when he instructed the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing.

From its inception, the early church demonstrated a Christlike earnestness and constancy in its prayer life. Luke wrote how devoted Christ’s followers were to prayer, even before the Day of Pentecost: “These all [the apostles] with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:14). Later they gave themselves regularly to prayer (Acts 2:42). In their role as leaders of the young church, the apostles determined to devote themselves “to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Also, diligent prayer by believers played a part in Peter’s release from prison (Acts 12:11–16; cf. 4:23–31).

The New Testament emphasis on the importance of prayer cannot be overstated. Already in 1 Thessalonians, Paul had written, “As we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face” (3:10). Many of Paul’s other epistles also indicate the importance of prayer (Rom. 12:12; 1 Cor. 7:5; Eph. 6:18–19; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; 2 Thess. 3:1; 1 Tim. 2:8).

The strong scriptural emphasis on prayer suggests a substantial list of motivations for Christians to pray without ceasing. First of all—and the highest of all motives for believers—is their desire to glorify the Lord. Jesus taught the disciples in His model prayer, “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ ” (Matt. 6:9–10; cf. Dan. 9:4–19). Second, the desire for fellowship with God motivates believers to pray: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1–2; cf. 27:1, 4; 63:1–2; 84:1–2). Jesus said believers’ prayers would be answered in order that “the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13; cf. v. 14).

Third, believers will pray for God to meet their needs: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11; cf. Luke 11:9–13; 1 John 5:14–15). Fourth, Christians will pray persistently for God’s wisdom as they live in the midst of a sinful world: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5; cf. Matt. 6:13; 1 Cor. 10:13). Fifth, the desire for deliverance from trouble motivates prayer. Jonah is a vivid example of such motivation: “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, ‘I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice’ ” (Jonah 2:1–2; cf. Ps. 20:1).

Sixth, all Christians desire relief from fear and worry. Paul encouraged the Philippians: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7; cf. Ps. 4:1). A seventh motive is gratitude for past blessings, as the psalmist prayed:

O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work that You did in their days, in the days of old. You with Your own hand drove out the nations; then You planted them; You afflicted the peoples, then You spread them abroad. For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them. You are my King, O God. (Ps. 44:1–4a; cf. Phil. 1:3–5)

Eighth, believers pray to be freed from the guilt of sin. David expressed this when he wrote, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin” (Ps. 32:5; cf. Prov. 28:13; 1 John 1:9). Ninth, believers’ concern for salvation of the lost causes them to pray. Paul captured this motivation in his words to Timothy:

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1–4; cf. Matt. 9:37–38; Rom. 10:1)

Finally, and certainly as important as any of the motivations for Christians to pray without ceasing, is their desire for spiritual growth—for themselves and for fellow believers. Paul’s petition to the Lord for the Ephesians is a model in this regard:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:14–21; cf. 1:15–19; Col. 1:9–12)[1]


17 Intimately related to constant joy is incessant prayer—the only way to cultivate a joyful attitude in times of trial. Uninterrupted communication with God keeps temporal and spiritual values in balance. Adialeiptōs (GK 90, “continually”; cf. Ro 1:9; 1 Th 1:2–3; 2:13) does not mean some sort of formal, nonstop praying. Rather, it implies constantly recurring prayer growing out of a settled attitude of dependence on God. Whether words are uttered or not, lifting the heart to God while occupied with miscellaneous duties is the vital thing. Verbalized prayer will be spontaneous and will punctuate one’s daily schedule, as it does Paul’s writings (3:11–13; 2 Th 2:16–17).[2]


Pray continually! (5:17)

The disciples of Jesus, he said, ‘should always pray and not give up’, and he added his parable of the wicked judge and the persistent widow in order to enforce his dictum. His teaching did not relate, however, to private individual prayer only (entering our room, closing the door and speaking to the Father in secret),33 for he went on in the Sermon on the Mount to give us the ‘Our Father’, which can only be prayed with others. So, if praise is one indispensable element of public worship, prayer is another, especially in the form of intercession. Each congregation should accept the responsibility to engage in serious intercession, not only during the Sunday services but at a midweek prayer meeting as well. We should be praying for our own church members, far and near; for the church throughout the world, its leaders, its adherence to the truth of God’s revelation, its holiness, unity and mission; for our nation, parliament and government, and for a just, free, compassionate and participatory society; for world mission, especially for places and peoples resistant to the gospel; for peace, justice and environmental stewardship; and for the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, the homeless and the sick. I sometimes wonder if the comparatively slow progress towards world peace, world equity and world evangelization is not due, more than anything else, to the prayerlessness of the people of God.[3]


5:17. The next staccato note follows: pray continually. This means never stop praying. Paul was a busy missionary, and he wrote about the Christian’s duty to fulfill daily responsibilities, so this is not a command about speaking non-stop prayers. It refers, however, to the attitude of prayer, or reverence before God. The Christian’s life of righteousness and his approach to relationships and responsibilities should be such that he maintains a constant attitude of being in God’s presence. Such a person will pray often and about many things, including requests, praise, and thanksgiving. This command also means that we should never quit praying.[4]


5:17 Prayer should be the constant attitude of the Christian—not that he abandons his regular duties and gives himself wholly to prayer. He prays at certain regular times; he also prays extemporaneously as need arises; and he enjoys continual communion with the Lord by prayer.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2002). 1 & 2 Thessalonians (pp. 185–188). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Thomas, R. L. (2006). 1 Thessalonians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 431–432). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Stott, J. R. W. (1994). The message of Thessalonians: the gospel & the end of time (p. 125). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[4] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 74). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2043). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

March 3: It May Seem Bland

Numbers 3:1–39; John 12:1–19; Psalm 3–4

Let’s just admit it: genealogies and lists, like the one in Num 3:1–39, are the most boring elements of the Bible. But they do something for us that other formats cannot—they give us a sense of history and lineage.

With a genealogy, we can do more than just trace people; we can map their relationships to others and to the events that happen through those relationships. We can also determine who was involved in those major events.

Genealogies and lists give us a small glimpse into God’s providential work, even though we may not recognize them as such. God worked among the people in those lists. He chose to use them. They didn’t deserve to be used by God in mighty ways, but they were. Some of the people in Num 3:1–39 were given seemingly insignificant tasks: “The responsibility of the sons of Merari was the supervision of the frames of the tabernacle, its bars, pillars, bases, and all its vessels and all its service,” among other things (Num 3:36). If most of us were given this assignment, we would probably think it lame and ask for another. But the sons of Merari likely understood that anything God asks of us should be followed through with honor.

The people listed in Num 3:1–39 were likely selected because they believed they would see God’s glory. God may ask us to do things that seem insignificant or crazy, but if we don’t, we will miss out on seeing His glory.

What is God asking of you that seems insignificant or crazy?

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.