Daily Archives: March 14, 2018

March 14: A Psalm of Confidence

Numbers 15:1–41; John 20:1–31; Psalm 16:1–11

“You are my Lord,” the psalmist acknowledges. “I have no good apart from you” (Psa 16:2).

We know that God is everything we need, but somehow the details still get in the way. We want to alleviate our troubles through other means—that vacation, the position that will bring recognition, or the spouse who will complete us. The psalmist says that anyone who places their desire in anything other than God will only increase in sorrow (Psa 16:4).

It seems radical and difficult to live out the psalmist’s simple confession. The ancient practice of idol worship is alive and well in our modern-day culture and in our own hearts. (Just look at the magazine rack or tv shows if you think I’m wrong: what is worshiped there?) We are just like the Israelites—unfaithful and prone to “hurry after another god” (Psa 16:4).

For the psalmist, however, “Yahweh is the portion which is my share and my cup” (Psa 16:5). He is all the psalmist ever needs: “I have set Yahweh before me always. Because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken” (Psa 16:8). God brings the psalmist hope, and He can do the same for us. We just need to turn to Him.

Today, pray the words of Psalm 16: “You are my Lord. I have no good apart from you.” How can we remind ourselves that He is all we will ever need?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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

March 14 Looking Beyond the Temporal

“Our Father who art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).

✧✧✧

With God as your Father, your life has eternal significance.

Author H. G. Wells wrote of a man who had been overcome by the pressure and stress of modern life. His doctor told him his only hope was to find fellowship with God. The man responded, “What? That—up there—having fellowship with me? I would as soon think of cooling my throat with the Milky Way or shaking hands with the stars.” Poet Thomas Hardy said prayer is useless because there’s no one to pray to except “that dreaming, dark, dumb thing that turns the handle of this idle show.” Voltaire described life as a bad joke. He added, “Bring down the curtain; the farce is done.” Such is the blasphemy and despair of all who insist that God is uninvolved in human affairs.

The Greek and Roman philosophers of Jesus’ day rejected the Fatherhood of God because it contradicted their philosophical systems. The Stoic philosophers taught that all of the gods were apathetic and experienced no emotions at all. The Epicurean philosophers taught that the supreme quality of the gods was complete calm or perfect peace. To maintain their serenity, they needed to remain totally isolated from the human condition.

Scripture refutes all such heresies by declaring that God is an intimate, caring Father. The significance of that truth is staggering. He conquers your fears and comforts you in times of distress. He forgives your sins and gives you eternal hope. He showers you with limitless resources and makes you the recipient of an imperishable inheritance. He grants you wisdom and direction through His Spirit and His Word. He will never leave or forsake you.

When you humbly approach God as your Father, you assume the role of a child who is eager to obey his Father’s will and receive all the benefits of His grace. Let that take you beyond your present circumstances and motivate you to dwell on what’s eternal.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the joy and purpose He gives you each day. ✧ Commit yourself to pursuing His will today.

For Further Study: Read Exodus 3:1–5 and Isaiah 6:1–5. What attitude should you have when you pray to God? ✧ What does Hebrews 4:16 say you can receive when you approach God in prayer?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 86). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

March 14, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

Stephen Hawking, the British physicist and black-hole theorist who brought science to a mass audience with the best-selling book “A Brief History of Time,” has died. He was 76.

In accepting the Republican nomination for president in 2016, Donald Trump described a nation plagued with problems and declared: “I alone can fix it.” Now, as he fires top aides who were a moderating force and replaces them with loyalists who share his world view and won’t object to his most controversial impulses, his administration is fast becoming a presidency of one.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will set out how she aims to retaliate against Russia over the nerve agent attack on a former spy and his daughter, deepening tensions between Vladimir Putin and the West.

Prime Minister Theresa May ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the poisoning on British soil of a former spy and his daughter with nerve agent, escalating tensions between Vladimir Putin and the West. May said the U.K. will move to freeze Russian state assets where necessary in response to what she said was an “unlawful use of force” by Russia against the U.K.

The White House says Donald Trump will campaign to pass legislation this year to upgrade roads, bridges and other public works, as members of Congress from both parties say it will only happen with a push from the president.

U.S. unemployment is primed to fall significantly further and could drop below 3 percent for the first time since 1953, the year central bank chief Jerome Powell was born.

U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell, 0.1%, in February for a third month, adding to signs that consumer spending will cool this quarter from the previous period’s hot pace, according to Commerce Department figures released Wednesday.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is examining the business practices of a cadre of funds set up to invest in cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings — digital-token sales that give buyers stakes in companies, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

Female doctors made about 28 percent less than their male peers last year, a gender wage gap that persisted across different medical specialties and different parts of the country, according to a survey of U.S. physicians. On average, male doctors made $380,866, while women made $275,311.

AP Top Stories

Students across the country and around the globe are coming together in a National School Walkout today in a call on Congress to pass tighter gun control laws. The ENOUGH National School Walkout is taking place exactly one month after the mass shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people and sent shock waves throughout the United States. The event, which began at 10 a.m. across every time zone, lasts 17 minutes — one minute for each of the victims gunned down in the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Two fertility clinics across the country from each other experienced equipment failures on the same day that may have damaged hundreds of frozen eggs and embryos, something that a fertility expert called a stunning coincidence and that is already producing lawsuits from crestfallen couples.

President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he was pulling the Philippines out of the treaty underpinning the International Criminal Court, which is examining his deadly drug war.

Afghanistan has deployed more troops to a restive western province where a multi-billion-dollar pipeline is planned after the Taliban launched multiple attacks against security forces, causing heavy casualties, officials said Wednesday.

Russia said on Tuesday it had information that the United States planned to bomb the government quarter in Damascus on an invented pretext, and said it would respond militarily if it felt Russian lives were threatened by such an attack.

Turkish prosecutors have demanded a life sentence for an American pastor accused of being a member of the group blamed for the 2016 failed coup, in a case that has raised tensions with Washington, reports said Tuesday.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survived an assassination attempt in Gaza on Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority said after an apparent roadside bomb targeted his motorcade.

US Air Force weapons developers plan to begin a new phase of construction and development for the emerging Long-Range Standoff Weapon in 2022, a move that will bring a new nuclear-armed, air-launched cruise missile closer to operational status amid fast-growing global nuclear weapons tensions, service officials said.

BBC

Ships sailing in the Caribbean have been told to steer clear of an underwater volcano after it started showing increased seismic activity. The volcano, called Kick ’em Jenny, is located 5 miles off Grenada.

Australia is looking into fast-tracking visas for white South African farmers who want to relocate to the country, its Home Affairs Minister Peter Minister Dutton has said, the UK Guardian reports. He said white South African farmers “deserve special attention” because of the “horrific circumstances” of land seizures and violence in the country.

Children in Japan will be considered adults when they are 18 as opposed to 20, under a new proposal that is supported by the government.

WND

A minor solar storm is traveling toward Earth and is expected to hit as early as Wednesday. If a solar storm is powerful enough, it can damage satellites and cut power.

Six in 10 millennials claim to be going through a “quarter-life” crisis, according to a new study.


The Briefing — Wednesday, March 14, 2018

1) Personnel changes in Trump administration signal the importance of worldview

The Washington Post (Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker, John Hudson and Carol D. Leonnig) –
Trump ousts Tillerson, will replace him as secretary of state with CIA chief Pompeo

The New York Times (David E. Sanger) –
Under Pompeo, a Foreign Policy That Fits the President’s Worldview

2) An old Soviet plot reappears as Russian espionage looms over Britain

The Wall Street Journal (Wiktor Szary) –
U.K.’s May Says It Is ‘Highly Likely’ Russia Was Behind Skripal Poisoning

The New York Times (Ellen Barry and Richard Perez-Pena) –
Britain Blames Moscow for Poisoning of Former Russian Spy

Business Insider (Rob Price and Shona Ghosh) –
All the times Russia allegedly carried out assassinations on British soil

3) Lies speed ahead of the truth according to new scientific study

The New York Times (Steve Lohr) –
It’s True: False News Spreads Faster and Wider. And Humans Are to Blame.

Science (Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy, Sinan Aral) –
The spread of true and false news online


Independent Journalist Exposes How Social Media Companies Are Systematically Silencing Conservative Voices

Ben Swann has done it again.  A new video that he just released about the stunning purge of conservative voices that we are now witnessing has already been viewed more than 24,000 times on YouTube alone.  I have been writing about all of this censorship quite a bit recently as well, but up until now I have not revealed the true extent to which it has hit me personally.  Like President Trump and other prominent conservatives, engagement on my personal Facebook profile has fallen dramatically.  We are working like mad to keep engagement up on our official Facebook campaign page, but it has been a real battle, and today Facebook just banned me again from posting to groups for a few days.  The funny thing is that I had barely shared anything recently.  On Twitter, I have been told by a social media expert that my account has been “shadowbanned”, and that probably explains why engagement on Twitter is only a small fraction of what it once was.  Of course dozens of other prominent conservatives are suffering the same kind of censorship, and it is absolutely imperative that we stand up against this unprecedented assault on our ability to communicate with one another. (Read More…)


Outspoken atheist Stephen Hawking has died

(Danny R. Faulkner – Answers In Genesis) “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universeBut now science offers a more convincing explanationWhat I meant by “we would know the mind of God” is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’tI’m an atheist.” – Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking 1942–2018

Famed British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking died todayInterestingly, Albert Einstein was born on the same date in 1879Furthermore, both men died shortly after their 76th birthdaysThese facts wouldn’t be remarkable if their work and writings were not so intimately related.

At a relatively young age, Einstein developed the theory of general relativity, which for a century has been the dominant theory of space, time, and gravity. Not only was Hawking brilliant, he had good timing. When Hawking was in his 20s, most astrophysicists came to embrace the existence of black holes and the big bang cosmology. General relativity is the mathematical model used to understand both. Using general relativity, Hawking contributed more to the understanding of black holes and the naturalistic big bang model than any other person.

Hawking’s 1988 popular-level book A Brief History of Time was a huge successIt was well written, and it received rave reviewsThe book sold very well, for it offered the hope to millions that they, at last, could understand black holes and cosmologyAlas, a quote attributed to Einstein is that “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” (though there is no evidence Einstein said this)This is complicated stuff, so many people who so enthusiastically began reading the book soon found that parts of it were very difficultA Brief History of Time has been described as the “least-read best-selling book of all time.” Hawking also authored the more-recent The Grand DesignMany of the views he presented in his books have been critiqued by AiG in articles such as “Stephen Hawking’s Emphasis on Universe Without God.”

While Hawking is famous for his contributions to astrophysics, his work may have escaped public notice if it weren’t for the diagnosis that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more than a half-century ago while he was in graduate schoolThis condition, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease in the United States for one of its more prominent victims, robs a person of bodily motor control.

Initially, physicians gave Hawking only a couple of years to live, but, obviously, this prognosis proved to be wrongWhile he had early onset of ALS, it proved to progress more slowly than usual in his caseHawking’s speech soon suffered, and as his control of his body continued to slip away, he was confined to a wheel chairAgain, Hawking’s timing was good, because advances in medical care extended his life far beyond what was possible only a few years beforeAnd advances in computer technology made it possible for him to continue communicating his work with others via voice synthesizers that were controlled by what few motor controls he retainedThe picture of Hawking in a wheel chair with a synthesized voice transformed him into an icon and folk hero.

As one might expect, the diagnosis of ALS had a serious impact on HawkingHe initially wanted to give up his graduate studies, thinking that there was no point in continuing, but he soon was convinced to returnIt also had a very negative effect upon his marriageHawking and his first wife, Jane, were married in 1965, shortly after his diagnosis of ALSThey remained married for 30 years, though it became increasingly strained as Hawking’s illness progressed.

After their divorce, Jane wrote her autobiography (1999), which went through an update (2007), and was adapted into the 2014 film The Theory of EverythingIn the books and in interviews, Jane described the ways in which Hawking changed during their marriage and how the Hawking she knew was very different from his public personaMost striking was Jane’s conviction that her Christian faith sustained her in all thisShe contrasted that with Hawking’s atheism.  View article →


Sorry, Ladies! Mother’s Day Is Going Gender Neutral

(DailyWire) Waitrose, a high-end grocery store chain in the United Kingdom, is going “gender neutral” for Mother’s Day (known there as “Mothering Sunday”), offering a series of cards that are “gender neutral,” just in case your mum happens to be your dad, or she prefers to be known by a series of unconventional pronouns.

The purpose of the shift, Waitrose says, is to make the holiday more “transgender friendly,” reports The Times UK. Since gender is just a fluid concept, why use an archaic word like, “mother” to represent a specific relationship a child has with its primary caregiver (or, in the case of families who don’t abide by traditional gender norms, its secondary caregiver)? View article →


Transgender employees vs. Christian business owners

(World) On the eve of International Women’s Day, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a man who identifies as a woman, ignoring appeals to religious liberty and declaring that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to those undergoing gender “transitioning.”

Wednesday’s decision marks the third time a federal appeals court has expanded the Title VII definition of “sex” beyond biological manhood and womanhood. Within the last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th and 2nd circuits both ruled that “sex” includes sexual orientation. Those decisions, until the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, stand as law, and employers in 10 states are required to recognize sexual identities as protected classes  View article →


News – 3/14/2018

Stephen Hawking, famed physicist, dead at 76
“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

NASA Twins Study Verifies Long-Term Health Effects of Space Travel
The Twins Study went a step further, including surveying the brothers’ genomes and collecting data on Scott and Mark’s physical and psychological health. In the case of Scott, some of the changes to his body disappeared only a few hours or days after landing, while some remained after six months. Here are some of the major new findings:

‘Don’t threaten a NUCLEAR power’ Putin REJECTS British ultimatum on Russian spy attack
In a further blunt warning to the Prime Minister, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova added nobody should threaten a nuclear power, according to the nation’s the state-run RIA news agency.

An Israel-Hezbollah war could draw in Iran, U.S. intelligence warns
“What if a war between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah that emerges is not solely between them but becomes a northern war that embroils more of the Levant in that?” Cattler asked. “What if Iran becomes a party to that war more directly and overtly rather than clandestinely or covertly, and that becomes a conflict that doesn’t just embroil Israel and potentially us by extension but also many of our other allies in the region? “It is a real potential that’s out there.

Trump gave Israel the greatest gift possible’
‘President Trump finally killed idea of making Jerusalem an international city,’ says former Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold. “When President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he gave backing to Ben-Gurion’s declaration, and effectively put to rest the internationalization idea,”

UNRWA in urgent search for cash at global gathering
Global powers will gather in Rome on Thursday to discuss the future of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which faces an unprecedented crisis after the US froze tens of millions of dollars in funding. US President Donald Trump’s administration has so far committed only $60 million to the agency this year, down from $360 million in 2017.

Did Geologists Discover ‘Fountains of the Deep’ From Genesis Flood?
A team of scientists studying diamonds found as far as 500 miles underground has discovered a form of crystallized ice that has never been observed in nature before. The discovery indicates that huge water reserves flow through the earth’s mantle in a manner that very much resembles the “Fountains of the Deep” mentioned in the book of Genesis. The findings were published Thursday in the journal, Science.

Will Turkey Lead An End-of-Days Global Islamic Jihad Against Israel And The US?
the Turkish president’s call for 57 nations to join together to form an anti-Israel army of Islam could create the most formidable military force on the planet. One Israeli expert on Islam stated emphatically, “make no mistake; this is war,” and lest the message is missed, he also emphasized that this call for jihad includes a direct threat against the US. Once warm, relations between Turkey and Israel have been shaky in the last decade. But this call for a religious war against Israel is a relatively new development.

The third nor’easter in less than two weeks is on the horizon
The Northeast is bracing for its third nor’easter in less than two weeks, while some people are still feeling the effects of the last storm that dumped more than 2 feet of snow in some areas and left hundreds of thousands of customers without power.

CIA Whistleblower Exposes Global Crime Syndicate Run By Clinton, Obama, Soros
…The Russia collusion narrative always stank, and as Obama and his officers and appointees are being exposed for their involvement in illegal wiretapping and campaign tampering, everything is starting to add up.

Report: Trump administration ready to present peace plan
Plan to solve Arab-Israeli conflict reportedly does not mention Two-State Solution

Scientists Now Resort To Calling Christians Crazy – ‘New Study’ Attempts to establish a link between religious fundamentalism and brain damage
Scientists from Northwestern University published a study in the journal Neuropsychologia attempting to establish a link between religious fundamentalism and brain impairment.

He went ‘rogue’! Real reason Trump fired Tillerson
Even though tensions had been mounting between President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for months, a new report indicates the president abruptly fired Tillerson because he went “rogue” and tried to save the Iran nuclear deal.

The Ongoing Plight of Christians
…The following is a small sampling of what Christians are facing, and the sad truth is that no one seems to be stopping the oppressors and punishing them.

Nerve Gas Scientist: 100s Of Britons At Risk, More Could Be Affected For Years
According to a Russian ‘chemical weapons’ scientist, the deadly nerve gas agent which was used to poison Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, UK, last week could endanger Britons to developing symptoms in years to come.

Human DNA found in hot dogs… 10% of veggie dogs made with meat… but private genomics lab censors brand names to appease food industry
…For starters, it found human DNA in hot dogs. “Two percent of all samples were found to have traces of human DNA in them. Veggie dogs were the worst off, accounting for 67 percent of the hygiene issues and two-thirds of the human DNA found,” reports Yahoo News.

Netflix Stock is Plummeting in Response To Obama Show
Last week, Big League Politics exposed how former President Barack Obama is in advance negotiations with video streaming service Netflix to have his own show. In response, Trump supporters across the country began boycotting Netflix by canceling their memberships.

Nobel secretary regrets Obama peace prize
Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama in 2009 failed to achieve what the committee hoped it would, its ex-secretary has said.


Mid-Day Snapshot

Mar. 14, 2018

Dems on the Lamb in Pennsylvania

Much ado about nothing? Demo/MSM tout presumed election victory to motivate the donor base.

The Foundation

“The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.” —Thomas Jefferson (1820)


Headlines – 3/14/2018

Israeli officials meet Qatari, Saudi and UAE counterparts at White House

Kushner and Greenblatt to host session on Gaza crisis

After Gaza summit, White House says ready to pursue projects there without PA

Solving Gaza ‘essential’ for peace, US envoy says at White House confab

Ex-State Department Official Skeptical of Trump’s Pending Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan

UN Palestinian agency in urgent search for cash at global gathering

Palestinian PM’s convoy hit by explosion

Assassination attempt on Palestinian PM failed, but dealt mortal blow to reconciliation

Hamas condemns assassination attempt on Palestinian Prime Minister

Palestinian Authority blames Israel for assassination attempt on prime minister in Gaza

Arabs planning ‘day of rage’ on Friday

In last-minute deal, coalition okays compromise to dodge early elections in Israel

PM only agreed to end coalition crisis under threat of party mutiny – sources

Opposition slams compromise deal aimed at averting snap poll

Netanyahu derides opposition after coalition crisis solved

Amid coalition crisis, committee pushes ‘Jewish state bill’ forward

Knesset advances ultra-Orthodox enlistment bill as coalition deal clinched

Trump fires Rex Tillerson, selects Mike Pompeo as new Secretary of State

With anti-Iran, pro-Israel stances, Pompeo may become Jerusalem’s new darling

Pompeo pick offers a window into Trump’s thinking on Israel, Iran

Tillerson sacking could spell doom for Iran nuclear deal

Tillerson: Important to ensure smooth transition, US must respond to Russia’s behavior

Democrats want next US secretary of state to be tougher on Russia

Russia doubts US nominee to replace Tillerson will take softer approach

Joel Rosenberg: Pompeo tapped as new Secretary of State. Fantastic choice. No one gets Putin threat better than he does.

Israel is one of world’s leading economies, OECD report finds

300 rabbis vow to ‘wake EU from its dangerous slumber’ to do more to combat anti-Semitism, defend religious freedom

University of Minnesota Students Narrowly Pass Pro-BDS Referendum That Fuels Discrimination’ Against Jewish Peers

An Israel-Hezbollah war could easily draw in Iran, US intel official warns

With Red Sea mega-city, Saudis eye economic unity with Egypt, Jordan

Egyptian authorities call on citizens to report on the media

Russia says U.S. plans to strike Damascus, pledges military response

Syrian military pushes for victory in Ghouta, defying international outcry

Turkey, Allies Say They Have Laid Siege To Syrian Border City Held By Kurds

ISIS’s new insurgency in Kirkuk and Hawija in Iraq

Expert: Erdogan Regime Considers Christians, Jews ‘Enemies of the State’

Suicide bombing kills at least 10 in Yemen’s Aden

U.N. official says violence and torture continues on Rohingya

UN: Facebook had a ‘role’ in Rohingya genocide

Myanmar Rejects Reports That It Committed Extreme Human Rights Violations

Saudis, Chinese Beef Up States’ Power to Target ‘Corruption’

China’s Xi further expanding power with anti-corruption body

China Unveils Superagencies to Fight Pollution and Other Threats to Party Rule

‘Not My President’: Chinese Students Worldwide Protest Xi Jinping’s Indefinite Rule

Reporter’s viral eye roll causes trouble with Chinese censors

Britain and Russia brace for showdown as deadline expires for nerve attack explanation

May Plots to Punish Russia as Crisis Over Poisoned Spy Deepens

Russia calls poisoning accusations by Britain ‘nonsense’

Snowden rips Trump’s CIA pick over torture program

John McEntee, Trump Aide, Is Forced Out Over Security Issue, but Joins Re-election Campaign

Clinton Foundation is a criminal enterprise: Judge Napolitano

ICE Director Fires Back at Nancy Pelosi: ‘How Dare You’ Call ICE Agents ‘Cowardly’

ICE spokesman resigns, citing fabrications by agency chief, Sessions about California immigrant arrests

In bow to NRA, Trump throws gun purchase age to states, courts

Florida school shooter faces death as students plan nationwide walkout

The unique terror of Austin’s deadly package bombs

Police Report 150 Calls As Deadly Package Bombings Put Austin On Edge

YouTube Will Link Directly to Wikipedia to Fight Conspiracy Theories

YouTube limits moderators to viewing four hours of disturbing content per day

US data breach victims can sue Yahoo

Why Trump blocked Qualcomm-Broadcom: It’s all about 5G

Elon Musk: ‘Mark my words – A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes’

Tech Bros Are Lining Up to Have Their Brains Preserved Forever – Nectome wants to upload your mind to a computer

Defense Agency To Begin Moving Classified Data to Amazon’s Secret Cloud After Protest

Trump floats the idea of creating a ‘Space Force’ to fight wars in space

Solar Storm to Amp Up Earth’s Northern Lights Wednesday

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Oxapampa, Peru

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 15,000ft

Kirishimayama volcano on Japan erupts to 15,000ft

This 3-D-printed house costs $10,000 and can be built in 24 hours

More kids are going to emergency rooms with severe allergies

Drug-related deaths are up more than 600 percent over 35 years, study shows

Overdose antidote availability doesn’t always mean fewer deaths, study says

New study on cancer risk in Ashkenazi Jews aims to be model for genetic testing

Why some conservatives see Pope Francis as a threat

‘Vice President Pence is right’: Joy Behar publicly apologizes for mocking Christianity

‘The View’: Joy Behar apologizes for comment comparing religion to mental illness

Stephen Hawking, physicist who came to symbolize the power of the human mind, dies at 76

Stephen Hawking Says ‘There Is No God,’ Confirms He’s An Atheist

Church of Scientology Readies to Launch a TV Network

Russia issues new threat to UK as tensions reach boiling point!

Posted: 14 Mar 2018 06:30 AM PDT

Russia issues new threat to UK as tensions reach boiling point!Russia has hit back at Britain today as the Kremlin said it would not accept “baseless accusations” against Moscow or “language of ultimatum” from the UK.   Tensions between the two nations are reaching boiling point as the Kremlin reacted this morning to the latest from London. Theresa May has this afternoon imposed harsh retaliatory measures on Russia, including the expulsion of 23 high-level diplomats – the biggest such dismissal in 30 years. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov this morningreiterated Moscow’s claim the Kremlin had “no connection” to the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury and issued a stark warning to the UK. Russian news agency Tass quoted Mr Peskov as saying: “Moscow’s stance is well-known, London was told about Moscow’s position through diplomatic channels. Moscow has no connection to the incident that took place in the United Kingdom. “Moscow won’t accept absolutely unfounded accusations against it, which are not substantiated by any evidence, and won’t accept the language of ultimatum.” READ MORE
Ex-Atheist Lee Strobel Breaks Down 4 Reasons Why Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Are Absolute FACT

Posted: 14 Mar 2018 06:18 AM PDT

Ex-Atheist Lee Strobel Breaks Down 4 Reasons Why Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Are Absolute FACTFamed author and apologist Lee Strobel recently revealed four reasons why he believes people can have confidence that Jesus truly died and resurrected.  Strobel noted in a recent video that he would have gotten a good laugh out of the fact that Easter falls this year on April Fools’ Day, as he believed that “anyone would have to be a fool to think that Jesus literally rose from the dead.” Strobel is a former

journalist who was once an atheist reporter for The Chicago Tribune, but today he is a devoted Christian who routinely writes books defending the Christian faith. In a video uploaded to Vimeo last week, Strobel broke down four reasons that he believes people can have confidence in the resurrection, as The Christian Post noted. First, he noted that scholars are in agreement and that there are early reports of Christ’s resurrection. “I found that there’s no dispute among scholars that Jesus was dead after being crucified,” Strobel said. “”We have early reports of the resurrection of Jesus — reports that come so quickly, you can’t just write them off as being a legend.” READ MORE

Mother’s Day Cards Go Gender-Neutral In UK

Posted: 14 Mar 2018 06:15 AM PDT

Mother’s Day Cards Go Gender-Neutral In UKA grocery chain in the United Kingdom has drawn media attention for selling gender neutral Mother’s Day cards to make the day more “transgender inclusive.”  Waitrose, an upscale grocery, stocked transgender-friendly cards among its selection for Mother’s Day s, which was March 11 in the U.K. Some examples of gender-inclusive card slogans and greetings include:

  • “Happy You Day.”
  • “Two Mums Are Better Than One.”
  • “Dad, thanks for being the most amazing mum.”

After The Times of London published an article March 9 on this news, Waitrose removed the cards from its website. Transgender rights campaigner Karen Pollock is credited with the push for such cards. Pollock says she is looking for ways to make Mother’s Day more gender-inclusive. She also suggests the name of the holiday be changed to “Mothering Sunday.” READ MORE

Russia warns that U.S. plans to strike Damascus could bring military response

Posted: 13 Mar 2018 03:58 PM PDT

Russia warns that U.S. plans to strike Damascus could bring military responseRussia said on Tuesday it had information that the United States planned to bomb the government quarter in Damascus on an invented pretext, and said it would respond militarily if it felt Russian lives were threatened by such an attack.  Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia’s General Staff, said Moscow had information that rebels in the enclave of eastern Ghouta were planning to fake a chemical weapons attack against civilians and blame it on the Syrian army.

He said the United States intended to use the fake attack as a pretext to bomb the government quarter in nearby Damascus where he said Russian military advisers, Russian military police and Russian ceasefire monitors were based. “In the event of a threat to the lives of our servicemen, Russia’s armed forces will take retaliatory measures against the missiles and launchers used,” Gerasimov said in a statement. He did not say when the alleged attack would take place or provide detailed evidence to back his assertions. READ MORE

Pastor of 10k member Church says believing that Jesus is only way to Heaven is “insanity”

Posted: 13 Mar 2018 02:00 PM PDT

Pastor of 10k member Church says believing that Jesus is only way to Heaven is “insanity”Michael A. Walrond Jr., one of New York City’s most influential pastors who leads the more than 10,000-member First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, is coming under fire online for telling his congregants that the belief that Jesus is the only way to Heaven is “insanity.”  Prior to preaching one of his sermons at First Corinthian just over two weeks ago, Walrond asked the congregation to recite their purpose statement, which he said “shape[s] our identity as a congregation.”  “We are an ever-evolving community of visionaries, dreamers, and doers who have been called by God to live the lives we were

created to live; commanded by God to love beyond the limits of our prejudices and commissioned by God to serve,” the statement read.  It was while explaining the statement to those who were not familiar with the church’s position that he explained his multiple ways to God concept. “If you are a person who believes in God, these words can apply to you, no matter what your faith background. We get so twisted in this country and in many cultures, to create divides and boundaries and barriers between human beings because of our faith difference,” said the pastor, who was named “One of the Lord’s Foot Soldiers” by Newsweek magazine. READ MORE

More “Prophetic Previews” Accelerating in the Headlines

Posted: 13 Mar 2018 12:44 PM PDT

More “Prophetic Previews” Accelerating in the Headlines(By Ricky Scaparo) In this special message, we will discuss some recent headlines and how they are pointing to the soon fulfillment of major prophetic events on the horizon. For the entire update, watch the video below:

Yellowstone Supervolcano mutant virus capable of surviving extreme heat discovered

Posted: 13 Mar 2018 10:36 AM PDT

Yellowstone Supervolcano mutant virus capable of surviving extreme heat discoveredA mutant virus strand found in the scorching Yellowstone supervolcano pools that could cure cancer has been found to survive the most extreme heats, scientists warned.  A scientist who has dedicated seven years of her life to studying viruses thriving in the Yellowstone Hayden Valley claims to have come across a potentially game-changing discovery.  Deep in the bubbling hot springs of the Yellowstone supervolcano, Montana State (MSU) researcher,

Rebecca Hochstein says she has found a new resilient form of the pathogen.  Ms Hochstein came across her startling findings in an 80ºC (176ºF) degree pool, where she unearthed a mysterious lemon-shaped virus strand. Her findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America – the official scientific journal of the National Academy of Sciences. READ MORE


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MARCH 14 WORSHIP—AND WORD

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men.

1 Thessalonians 3:12

I must take issue with those in the churches who insist that the worshiping saints do not get anything done but worship! Such an attitude reveals that they have not done their homework. The beautiful part of worship is that it prepares you and enables you to zero in on the important things that must be done for God.

Listen to me! Practically every great deed done in the church of Christ all the way back to the apostles was done by people blazing with the radiant worship of their God!

The great hospitals and the mental institutions have grown out of the hearts of worshiping and compassionate disciples. It is true, also, that wherever the church has come out of her lethargy and into the tides of revival and spiritual renewal, always the worshipers were back of it.

A survey of church history will prove that it was those who were the yearning worshipers who also became the great workers and the selfless servants. If we give ourselves to God’s call for worship, everyone will do more for the Savior than they are doing now!

Lord, I worship You this morning. I praise You for Your faithfulness and goodness. Glorify Yourself today in the lives of every true worshiper around the globe.[1]


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

Death Is a Pleasant Transition

Revelation 20:11–15

Code: B180314

We are all stalked by an insatiable, bloodthirsty killer. This murderer never misses—he has a 100 percent success rate. Nothing can shield us from his attention; nothing can mitigate his relentless slaughter.

Death itself will visit all of us. There are no scientific advances, no technological breakthroughs, and no miracle drugs that offer an escape from the death’s destruction. Only God can usher living men into heaven—and He does it so sparingly that we know by heart the names of those He has permitted to bypass the grave.

In some ways, those blessed with longevity know the personal sting of death more than most. They’ve often lost a spouse, parents, and many close friends—no one remains unscathed for long. However it visits you, the pain of death and loss forces you to stake out a position on your own inevitable demise. Most of the world clings to the blind and often baseless hope that its dearly departed are “in a better place.”

That’s understandable. In the face of mortality’s unstoppable march, sinful man will cling to any hope he can find—even something as empty as the familiar lie that death is a pleasant transition. That pervasive idea isn’t built on evidence or experience. People simply believe it because the alternative is too unthinkable to bear. Nobody wants to exacerbate the grief and sense of loss they already feel.

Deadly Presumption

Nobody wants to presume that a recently departed friend or family member who died in his or her sins will spend eternity in hell. We understandably don’t want to speculate about damnation—especially regarding loved ones.

But we must not make the same mistake in the opposite direction. We must not assume our loved ones are in heaven just because we want them to be there. That’s a dangerous self-deception—one that dilutes the clear teaching of Scripture and corrupts the gospel of Christ.

In the aftermath of Nelson Mandela’s death, many Christian leaders rushed to publish their lamentations of loss and presumptions of eternal reward for the fallen civil rights icon. In response, Conrad Mbewe, a Reformed pastor from Zambia, issued the following caution:

My chief concern is with the ease with which many evangelical Christians have used the words, “Rest in peace” as they have bade farewell to Madiba. I am also an evangelical. I take my Bible seriously and interpret it literally. In my understanding of the Bible, the only persons who will rest in peace in eternity are those who have repented of their sins and put their trust in Jesus Christ as their only hope of acceptance with God. The Bible says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36, ESV).

I have a friend who once worked in the Zambian High Commission in South Africa. He wrote a book entitled, Why Is God Silent About Mandela? It was a clever way of asking the question, “Why is Mandela silent about God?” He noted that although Mandela did not vilify religion in general and Christianity in particular, neither did he say anything that showed his faith in God and especially in his Son Jesus Christ. Yes, Mandela had a Methodist background. However, any evangelical will know that growing up in church does not make one a Christian. You must personally turn to God in repentance and put your trust in Jesus Christ. On this matter, Mandela was conspicuous by his silence.

As is always the case regarding those who die without any concrete evidence of saving faith, it is foolish to speculate about what we don’t know. We shouldn’t read repentance and faith into the past lives of the dead. We must not imagine that the departed’s spiritual fruit blossoms upon further inspection.

Moreover, we must not ignore the things we do know. In the rush to usher friends and heroes into sainthood, believers often whitewash the very lives they’re hoping to celebrate. But there is no spiritual benefit to such willful ignorance. Pretending lost loved ones lived better lives than they did might help us sleep better, but it dishonors the Lord and devalues His righteous standard.

If you’ve been to a funeral lately, you have likely heard at least one of those errors committed—probably both! But Jesus did not share the foolish optimism of most clergy today. He said:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13–14)

Hell is heavily populated with people who did not expect to be there. Whether through rebellion or self-deception, they will spend eternity separated from God in torment that should make us shudder. Christ made that very point in Luke’s gospel.

My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4–5)

The biblical reality is that death is not a pleasant transition for the hordes of people who end up in hell. Scripture tells us that we shall all have our day in God’s heavenly courtroom where we will have to give account for the lives we have lived. For “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Death Leads to Judgment

The book of Revelation paints a vivid and frightening picture of the Day of Judgment.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11–15)

The apostle John makes it abundantly clear that death represents the most horrifying transition imaginable for most people. John MacArthur offers the following commentary on this terrifying passage of Scripture.

The books contain the record of every thought, word, and deed of every unsaved person who ever lived. God has kept perfect, accurate, and comprehensive records of every person’s life, and the dead will be judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. Sinners’ deeds will be measured against God’s perfect, holy standard, which Jesus defined in Matthew 5:48: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” In his first epistle Peter wrote, “Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15–16). To the Galatians Paul wrote, “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them’” (Galatians 3:10)—a truth also taught by James: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10). No prisoner before the bar of divine justice will be able to claim the perfect obedience to God’s holy standards that He requires. They “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and are “dead in [their] trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). [1]

In light of Revelation 20:11–15, the question mankind must ask itself is, if the Lord perfectly knows all our thoughts, words, and deeds, and the depth of our depravity, how can we possibly escape His righteous wrath?

God’s justice demands payment for every person’s sins. Christ paid that penalty for believers: “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” (Isaiah 53:5–6). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “[Christ] Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). But unbelievers, not having Christ’s righteousness imputed to them (Philippians 3:9), will themselves pay the penalty for violating God’s law—eternal destruction in hell (2 Thessalonians 1:9). [2]

We can either spend eternity being punished for our litany of crimes against God, or place our trust in Christ as our sin-bearing substitute. And death will only be a pleasant transition for the latter.

The onus is on us as Christians to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Those who presume upon eternal life without having repented of their sins and trusted in Christ must be warned of their impending doom. Conversely, those who despair at the hopeless thought of God’s sure judgment can be comforted in the knowledge of Christ’s substitutionary work as our righteous Savior and Redeemer.

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180314
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Herescope: Another Jesus Part 4

Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3

“Sanctify them through Thy truth:
Thy Word is truth.”
(Jesus, John 17:17)
 
The Pied Piper


A Report by Barbara Wilhelm


DENIAL OF SCRIPTURE IN JESUS CALLING 
Sarah Young denies the Words of Scripture. In fact, she nullifies the entire book of Hebrews and every other book in the New Testament. Notice the clarity – and finality – of Hebrews 1:1-2 and the confirmation provided by Jude 1:3:

Hebrews 1:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 

Jude 3 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 

One of the versions of Jesus Calling

In the last of these days God has spoken to us in the Person – not the “Presence” of His Son. He has spoken “once, for all time.” Jesus in His Word has emphatically stated that He is completely finished speaking any more words for publication. How then can a “Presence” of “Jesus” contradict Jesus? These inner voices of the “Presence” are assumed by Sarah Young to be Jesus. Therefore, she encourages her readers to assume the same. She uses journaling or, more accurately, automatic writing to keep track of these voices. She encourages listening to these voices spoken by the “Presence” as a means of direct communication between the readers and the “Presence” themselves. Normally we have been told throughout our Christian walks that our Lord Jesus speaks through His Bible to us. Now we are being encouraged to listen to the mystical voice of a “Presence” whose words contradict the Bible. This will, ultimately, lead to great confusion for the readers… or worse.

The idea of following the voices of a “Presence” reminds me of the story of the Pied Piper which, as I just discovered, is based on an apparently true event. [See: https://theportalist.com/the-chilling-true-story-behind-the-pied-piper-of-hamelin] A Pied Piper is defined as someone who induces others to follow him/her by means of false promises. [Source: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/pied-piper] I often have wondered where the children went after they were lured to follow this very colorful person who was so enticing to their eyes and ears. The children listened to an enchanting sound and it led them… to where? Isaiah 53:6 comes to mind: “All we like sheep have gone astray.” 

Yet another Sarah Young book

WHY HAVE REVISIONS HAD TO BE MADE TO JESUS CALLING IF THIS IS TRULY JESUS SPEAKING? 
One of the most important characteristics of the Bible is that the Words are never to be added to or subtracted from (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19). This is because Jesus Himself is unchangeable. Considering that, the question has to be asked: why have revisions been made to Jesus Calling if this is truly “Jesus” speaking in Sarah Young’s book? Yet this is precisely what has happened. The August 23 devotion in the 2004 version of her book speaks of Abraham and Isaac and accuses Abraham of “son worship.” However, while the August 23 devotion in the 2011 edition begins the same as the 2004 edition, it changes mid-stream and talks – not about Abraham and Isaac – but about Jacob and Joseph. Has the true Jesus ever been known to edit His Own Words? Has He ever re-phrased one of the books of the Bible? The real Jesus has not, and according to His Own Word, could not revise His Words. The only assumption I think we can make is that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling is not the real Jesus.

DISCERNMENT WRITER CHALLENGES AUTHENTICITY OF JESUS CALLINGMESSAGES
Warren Smith examined the multiple versions of the Jesus Calling book that were published over the years. He has published booklets and articles that elaborate even further the problems discussed above: the authenticity and trustworthiness of the messages from the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling. Warren Smith is eminently qualified to write a detailed analysis of Jesus Calling. He is an ex-New Ager and an expert on the many false New Age “Jesus” and “God” entities whose channeled transmissions appear in popular books. The very title of one of his articles/booklets – “Changing Jesus Calling – Damage Control for a False Christ” – brings to my mind the cautionary verses below:

Warren Smith’s booklet

2 Corinthians 11:2-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-you may well put up with it! 

In his article, Warren Smith writes:

Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have been systematically deleting controversial material from Jesus Calling. Adding, subtracting, cutting, pasting and completely eliminating problematic words, sentences and even whole paragraphs, Young and her editors do not hesitate to put words in the mouth of their “Jesus,” even as they take others away. But… these tactics are doing more to expose their problems than cover them up….

The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs published by Harvest House Christian publishers specifically describes God Calling as a channeled New Age book. In their lengthy chapter on channeling and spiritual dictation, authors/apologist [Christian] John Weldon and John Ankerberg explain that channeling is a form of New Age “mediumship” and according to the Bible it “is a practice forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).” Under the subheading titled “Impersonations of Christianity,” the authors describe God Calling as a New Age book “replete with denials of biblical teaching” as it “subtly encourages psychic development and spiritistic inspiration under the guise of Christ’s personal guidance… and often misinterprets Scripture.” Yet Sarah Young wrote that it was God Calling that inspired her to receive her own messages from “Jesus.” In her original introduction to Jesus Calling, Young praised God Calling as “a treasure to me”….

Yet another Sarah Young book

The Damage Control
In recent editions of Jesus Calling – including the 10th anniversary edition–the preceding paragraph regarding God Calling – has been removed from the author’s longstanding introduction. No explanation. No apology. Nothing. Suddenly and completely gone is any mention of God Calling – how it had inspired her to receive her own “messages” from “Jesus” and how it was a “treasure” to her. Her previous praise of God Calling had become problematic as it had drawn obvious New Age comparisons to her own book. It had also become apparent that her original endorsement of God Calling was helping to popularize this New Age book among believers! While Christian leaders have been strangely silent about Jesus Calling, it was the secular media that took Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson to task for changing and deleting the problematic material in their best-selling book.

Ruth Graham, writing in The Daily Beast, a popular online American news reporting and opinion website formerly associated with Newsweek magazine, wrote an article to question the changes being made to Sarah Young’s original introduction. Graham wrote:

The latest edition of Jesus Calling includes some important changes. The paragraph about God Calling has been deleted, and references to received “messages” have been changed to the less mystically inflected “writings and devotions.” In a passage in which Young recounts her early attempts to write down what God told her, the new version characterizes this as “focusing on Jesus and His Word, while asking Him to guide my thoughts.” Thomas Nelson refers to the books as “Sarah’s prayer journal,” emphasizing that Young is not claiming to speak for Jesus. A skeptical reader, comparing the two introductions, would see an effort by a publisher to bring an increasingly controversial but lucrative best-seller into line with mainstream evangelical orthodoxy.

In that same article, Ruth Graham also questioned the explanations offered by Thomas Nelson publicist Katie Powell:

In an email responding to my questions, the book’s publicist at Thomas Nelson, Katie Powell, wrote that the reference to God Calling was never meant as more than “a nod,” and it was deleted because it had “created some confusion.” “The book’s theology has always been sound,” she wrote. “The changes were made to make the introduction easier to understand especially since Jesus Calling is now being read by such a wide variety of people” Thomas Nelson did not call attention to the changes, Powell wrote, because the introduction’s “content did not change” between editions. But it’s hard to square that with the similarities between Young’s book and Jesus Calling–right down to the title.

Yet another Sarah Young book

Graham’s skepticism was right on target. And contrary to the statement by the Thomas Nelson publicist, the content of the introduction has changed in recent editions. The unexplained changes have caused many former supporters of Jesus Calling to stop using the devotional. Christian online newspaper WorldNetDaily (WND) picked up on the controversy and published two articles, “Top Christian Bestseller Accused of Heresy,” and “Is Hit Book ‘Jesus Calling’ Publishing New Age?” Charisma magazine followed up with a similar article that noted the growing controversy. It was titled “Critics Accuse ‘Jesus Calling’ of Mixing Truth With New Age Error.”…

The Damage Control 
In recent editions of Jesus Calling, all ten references to the words “message” and “messages” have been deleted from her otherwise longstanding introduction. What were originally described as “messages” she “received” from “Jesus” are now being described as “writing” and “devotions” that she “gleaned” in her “quiet moments.”…

Since this unbiblical contradiction was brought to light in my book “Another Jesus” Calling, Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have eliminated this obvious contradiction in their 10th anniversary edition. In other words, they had their “Jesus” correct himself. Compare the original January 28th and October 15th statements that have been in Jesus Calling for the last ten years, with the replacement statements now inserted in the new 10th anniversary edition.

January 28th Original Statement 
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. These were the last words I spoke before ascending into heaven. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen. [bold added]

January 28th Replacement Statement 
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. I spoke these words to My disciples after My resurrection. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen. [bold added]

October 15th Original Statement
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My presence with you is both a promise and a protection. My final statement just before I went to heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception. [bold added]

October 15th Replacement Statement 
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. After My resurrection, I assured My followers: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception. [bold added]

Note: One of the 250 “messages” Sarah Young included in her yet-to-be-corrected Jesus Calling Devotional Bible (NKJV) is the original October 15th “message” from Jesus Calling–“My final statement just before I went to heaven was: Surely I am with you always.” Given that this statement is clearly unbiblical, Young’s justification for her messages to be included “alongside the biblical text” falls a little flat. She wrote:

Since my writings are rooted in the infallible, unchanging Word of God, having them appear alongside the biblical text would seem to be a natural place for them.

Yet another Sarah Young book

Jesus Corrects Himself? 
Sarah Young might argue that because Jesus never contradicts Himself, she must have heard it wrong. But if that were the case, she had to hear it wrong on two separate occasions because the unbiblical statement is in two different messages. With this in mind, an important question must be asked. Who was Sarah Young listening to when she “received” these two “messages?” Obviously the real Jesus does not contradict himself–much less correct Himself in regards to His own words and actions.

And for those who might argue that there is no longer a problem because this contradiction and other problematic areas have been corrected, several more questions must be asked. What about the ten million readers who have trusted these unbiblical messages over the last ten years? Do you just pretend it never happened? Aren’t they owed some kind of explanation as to how Sarah Young’s “Jesus” could make mistakes of this magnitude? But perhaps most importantly, how can an author and publisher–or anyone for that matter-believe they have the right to put words in and out of the mouth of Jesus Christ like He is some kind of literary device–and most especially when it is for the purpose of damage control. [Extended excerpts used with permission of the author. Read the entire piece at: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16349]

The Pied Piper

FROM MY HEART:
Before I close this report there is one more thing on my heart that I feel I must share. John 10:10 tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. How many people who previously would have gone to their Bibles when they needed comfort now go to Jesus Calling? How many who started their days reading the Bible (2Timothy 3:16, the God-breathed Word) now go to these questionable words channeled through a woman? As a result, their relationships with the true Jesus have been stolen and destroyed. He is our Shelter, our Refuge, our very present help in time of need, our Comfort, our Life, our Daily Bread, our Soon and Coming King, our Savior. This is the Jesus of the Bible. Can this “Jesus” of Jesus Calling offer all that… or is he a thief who has stolen away our relationships with the true Son of God?

Life Application: 
1Thessalonians 5:21 commands us to prove all things. This entire series of lessons is an example of obedience to that command by a variety of those in His body who care for the safety of His people. If you or someone you know have read these books, would you go back to the very beginnings of these lessons and see this action as a “kindness” that has been done to the body of Christ and share it with them to keep them safe?

Psalm 141:5 Amplified Bible (AMP) 
“Let the righteous [thoughtfully] strike (correct) me–
it is a kindness [done to encourage my spiritual maturity].
It is [the choicest anointing] oil on the head;
Let my head not refuse
[to accept and acknowledge and learn from] it;”

Bibliography: 
Bulle, Florence God Wants You Rich and Other Enticing Doctrines, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bethany House Publishers, 1983.
A.J. Russell ed. God Calling, by Two Listeners, Old Tappan, N.J., Fleming H. Revel., 1936.

The author of this 4-part series, Barbara Wilhelm, is a long-time discerner. She recently started her own blog, Holding His Word Higher: https://holdinghiswordhigher.com.Visit her site for her weekly posts.

Ex-Atheist Lee Strobel Breaks Down 4 Reasons Why Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Are Absolute FACT

Famed author and apologist Lee Strobel recently revealed four reasons why he believes people can have confidence that Jesus truly died and resurrected.

Strobel noted in a recent video that he would have gotten a good laugh out of the fact that Easter falls this year on April Fools’ Day, as he believed that “anyone would have to be a fool to think that Jesus literally rose from the dead.”

Strobel is a former journalist who was once an atheist reporter for The Chicago Tribune, but today he is a devoted Christian who routinely writes books defending the Christian faith.

In a video uploaded to Vimeo last week, Strobel broke down four reasons that he believes people can have confidence in the resurrection, as The Christian Post noted.

First, he noted that scholars are in agreement and that there are early reports of Christ’s resurrection.

“I found that there’s no dispute among scholars that Jesus was dead after being crucified,” Strobel said. “”We have early reports of the resurrection of Jesus — reports that come so quickly, you can’t just write them off as being a legend.”

He continued, “We have one report of the resurrection, including named eye-witnesses, that has been dated back by scholars to within months of the resurrection of Jesus. Friends, that is historical gold.”

Watch the video below to see Strobel break down his other points of proof:

Leftism and Degeneracy: A Beautiful Thing

Back in 2015, Tom DeLay exposed an Obama DOJ memo spelling out 12 perversions it wanted to legalize, including pedophilia and bestiality.  So don’t call me crazy for saying the movie The Shape of Water is the leftists’ step one in warming people up to legalizing bestiality.

When five out of nine SCOTUS justices basically said screw the Constitution to incorporate a redefinition of marriage into the law of the land, here is what Justice Thomas said in rebuke: “Our Constitution – like the Declaration of Independence before it – was predicated on a simple truth: One’s liberty, not to mention one’s dignity, was something to be shielded from – not provided by – the State.  Today’s decision casts that truth aside.”

Meanwhile, Obama lit up the White House in rainbow colors and tweeted #Love Wins!  Leftists celebrated the unconstitutional ruling, calling it a beautiful thing.  We dare not mention the unnaturalness of using an exit as an entrance.  It’s a beautiful thing.

I was rebuked for posting photos from gay pride parades in my column.  We’re told their lifestyle is beautiful, the new normal.  So why not show pictures of the beautiful things going on at gay pride parades – naked men performing mock sodomy in the streets, people in giant penis and vagina costumes, men and women dressed in BDSM nun outfits?

If homosexuals want to be thought of as normal, why not dress like the mainstream in their parades, rather than outfits promoting extreme deviancy and blasphemy?  Google “gay pride parade” [if you dare –ed.].

Ponder this, folks.  If a guy tells his wife of 30 years he is leaving her for a woman half her age, leftists brand him a sexist jerk.  If that same guy told his wife he is leaving her to “become” a woman and “have sex” with men, leftists would call it a beautiful thing, embracing his true nature.  Leftists would tell his devastated wife and children to support the wondrous removal of their patriarch’s penis – a beautiful thing.

At the Women’s March rally in D.C., thousands proudly wore “pussy hats.”

Leftist female speakers passionately dropped numerous F-bombs, called for violence against President Trump, and spoke of menstrual blood in gross graphic detail.  Leftist fake news media called the rally a beautiful thing.

The left’s illegal sanctuary cities like San Francisco call themselves compassionate havens for angelic illegals – a beautiful thing.  The reality is that rejecting federal immigration law is destroying California.  In San Francisco, a map was created to help people avoid mounds of feces left by the homeless.  Sanctuary cites turn a blind eye to gangs of illegals terrorizing U.S. citizens by means of murders, rape, and robberies.  The San Francisco Bay area is experiencing a massive exodus due to crime, skyrocketing taxes, insanely high housing costs, and welfare benefits for illegals.  California is the poorest state in the USA.  Still, leftists tell us sanctuary cities are saintly, beautiful things.

Leftists demand that we stop saying, “Merry Christmas,” teachers must stop addressing students as “boys and girls,” and stop saying you’re proud to be an American – all in the name of inclusion, a beautiful thing.  Most recently, leftists forbade us saying, “God bless you,” claiming that it is insensitive and intolerant.

I disagreed with a well intentioned minister on TV who said Christians should not respond angrily, saying we will not buy your coffee if you don’t say, “Merry Christmas.”  Leftist businesses are cramming their anti-God agenda down our throats.  What is wrong with us expressing our disapproval with our dollars?

Righteous anger is an act of love.  Jesus expressed anger at evil.

Decades of passivity have allowed leftists to indoctrinate our kids and transform our culture.  Who would think leftists would boldly promote lesbianism in Disney’s new animated family movie, Frozen 2, calling it a beautiful thing?

It is time for Christians to be salt as God commanded – making a difference, adding godly savor to our culture.  That truly is a beautiful thing.

— Source:  www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/03/leftism_and_degeneracy_a_beautiful_thing.html

March 14, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

2 And Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the LORD;
my horn is exalted in the LORD.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.

2  “There is none holy like the LORD:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Sa 2:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


1–2 Although 1 Samuel 2:1–10 is a prayer, as v. 1 indicates and the NIV section head acknowledges, it is commonly referred to as the “Song of Hannah” because of its lyrical qualities and similarities to other ancient OT hymns (e.g., the Song of Moses and Miriam [Ex 15:1–18, 21]; the Song of Moses [Dt 32:1–43]; the Song of Deborah [Jdg 5]; and esp. the Song of David [2 Sa 22]). Robert Lowth, eighteenth-century doyen of Hebrew poetic structure, called it a “thanksgiving ode” (Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews [London: Chadwick, 1847], 216). Sigmund Mowinckel, calling it a psalm of thank offering, stated that it was sung in celebration of victory over enemies (Samuelsboken [Oslo: Aschehoug, 1936], 152). Like the Song of Hannah, Jonah’s song of thanksgiving (though much later) is also called a prayer (Jnh 2:1, 7, 9).

John T. Willis, 139–54, has shown that the Song of Hannah is a royal song of victory/triumph that is to be classified among the other ancient hymns listed above, all of which reflect traditional combat motifs, are composed in the first person singular, and emphasize the Lord’s everlasting and universal power and sovereignty. In terms of poetic style, all contain repetitive parallelism in both bicola and tricola, exhibit a staccato effect, and tend to repeat important words in sequence (see Notes on v. 3). Characteristic expressions and ideas also recur in these victory hymns; those that appear in both 2:1–10 and 2 Samuel 22 will be especially noted in the commentary. First Samuel 2:1–10 may have originated as a song of triumph at the Shiloh sanctuary in connection with Israel’s victory over an enemy. Such songs would then have been taught to worshipers, and this one perhaps became a personal favorite of Hannah. Therefore, when she brought Samuel to Shiloh to dedicate him to the Lord, she sang it as a means of expressing her gratitude and praise to the Giver of life (cf esp. v. 5).

The Song of Hannah appears near the beginning of 1 Samuel, and the Song of David appears near the end of 2 Samuel. These two remarkably similar hymns of praise thus constitute a kind of inclusio framing the main contents of the books and reminding us that the two books were originally one. (For a convenient comparison of the songs’ similarities see Polzin, Samuel and the Deuteronomist, 33–34.) Both hymns begin by using “horn” (1 Sa 2:1; 2 Sa 22:3) as a metaphor for “strength,” referring to God as the “Rock,” and reflecting on divine “deliverance/salvation” (1 Sa 2:1–2; 2 Sa 22:2–3). Both end by paralleling “his king” with “his anointed” (1 Sa 2:10; 2 Sa 22:51).

It may well be that Hannah’s song served as the seed plot for Mary’s Magnificat (Lk 1:46–55; cf. also the Song of Zechariah in vv. 68–79). The two hymns begin similarly, and certain themes in the Song of Hannah recur in the Song of Mary (cf. 1 Sa 2:4, 7–8 with Lk 1:52; 1 Sa 2:5 with Lk 1:53; notice also that Lk 1:48a—“for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant”—is obviously dependent on 1 Sa 1:11 LXX: “if you will only look upon the humble state of your servant”). Both Hannah and Mary became pregnant miraculously (though admittedly in quite different ways), in due course each presented her firstborn son to the Lord at the central sanctuary (1:22; Lk 2:22), and both sang a hymn of thanksgiving and praise (Hannah after the birth of Samuel [1 Sa 2:1–10], Mary before the birth of Jesus [Lk 1:46–55]). Further parallels between the two hymns, as well as expansions and reappropriations of Hannah’s song in Pseudo-Philo’s Liber antiquitatum biblicarum (first century AD) and the Targum of the Prophets (second century AD), are offered in Joan E. Cook, “Hannah’s Later Songs: A Study in Comparative Methods of Interpretation,” in The Function of Scripture in Early Jewish and Christian Tradition, ed. C. A. Evans and J. A. Sanders (JSNTSup 154; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1998), 241–61. Compare further D. J. Harrington’s translation of and introduction to Pseudo-Philo in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. J. H. Charlesworth (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1985), 2:297–377, esp. 365–66.

The songs of Hannah and Mary, together with their contexts, have in turn influenced a second-century-AD pseudepigraphal work known as the Protevangelium of James. It tells the story of Mary’s elderly parents independently praying for a child. The old woman vows that the child will be “a gift to the Lord my God” (cf. 1 Sa 1:11). Mary is born in response to the prayers, and at the age of three she is presented by her parents to the priests in the temple at Jerusalem. The name of Mary’s aged mother—Anna—is the same as that of Samuel’s aged mother, Hannah.

The Song of Hannah begins on a note of grateful exuberance: “Heart, strength, mouth—all that she thinks and does and says is centered in the great act of God on her behalf” (Hubbard, 13). Like that of the psalmist (Ps 9:1–2; cf. also 5:11), Hannah’s heart rejoices in the Lord—and in his deliverance (or salvation) as well (see Pss 9:14; 13:5; 35:9; Isa 25:9). The metaphor of one’s horn being lifted high (see also Pss 89:17, 24; 112:9) perhaps comes from the animal world, where members of the Cervidae family (deer et al.) use their antlers in playful or mortal combat (cf. Dt 33:17; Ps 92:10). “Horn” thus symbolizes strength (see NIV note). Whereas here Hannah is grateful that her own “horn” is lifted high (i.e., that Samuel has been born—cf. 1 Ch 25:5 NIV note; so McCarter, I Samuel), in 2 Samuel 22:3 David refers to God himself as “the horn of my salvation.”

For Hannah, the Lord is holy, unique, and mighty (v. 2). She therefore celebrates God’s holiness, his otherness, in righteous victory (as in Ex 15:11; Ps 99:3, 5, 9; Isa 5:16). She then connects his uniqueness with the metaphor of the “Rock,” exactly as David later does (2 Sa 22:32). However rocklike others—human or divine—may consider themselves, “their rock is not like our Rock” (Dt 32:31). God as the Rock is one of the most recognizable and familiar images of divine refuge and strength, not only in the OT (cf. Ge 49:24; Dt 32:4; Isa 26:4; Hab 1:12; frequently in the Psalms) but also in Christian hymnody (“Rock of Ages,” “O Safe to the Rock That Is Higher Than I,” et al.).[1]


2:2No one is holy like the Lord: That which is holy (Heb. qadôsh) is marked off, separated, and withdrawn from ordinary use. Holy is the opposite of profane or common. The image of a rock when applied to God, speaks of His eternality, stability, and reliability (Deut. 32:4; 2 Sam. 22:2, 3).[2]


2:2 rock. A metaphor for God that emphasized His strength and the security of those who trust in Him (see Dt 32:4; Ps 18:1, 2).[3]


2:2 The first and third lines of this verse are parallel: holy is parallel to rock, and the Lord is parallel to God, with different structure but similar meaning. The formula “there is no … like …” denotes incomparability. Thus, there is none besides you states that there is no absolutely holy being besides the Lord; moreover, only the Lord is God, i.e., “monotheism” is true (see Deut. 4:35; 32:39; 2 Sam. 22:32). “Rock,” a common OT epithet for God (e.g., Deut. 32:4, 15; 2 Sam. 22:2; 23:3), indicates God’s protection and strength. In Ps. 118:22 and Isa. 8:14; 28:16; as well as in 1 Pet. 2:6–8, “rock” has a messianic significance (see note on 1 Sam. 2:10). With “our God,” Hannah speaks as a member of the covenant community, whom she addresses in the next verse.[4]


2:2 rock. As a metaphor for God, this term is concentrated in poetic passages such as the song of Moses in Deut. 32; the song of David in 2 Sam. 22; Psalms; and Isaiah. The metaphor suggests God’s strength and sovereignty, and the security of those who trust in Him. Here the focus is on the uniqueness of the one true God as opposed to false sources of security (compare the contrast with false gods, also called “rock,” in Deut. 32:31, 37; Is. 44:8).[5]


2:2 The twofold occurrence of no one emphasizes God’s uniqueness. Rock denotes an immovable, jutting cliff, not a mere stone. This word commonly occurs in the Bible to describe God’s support and defense of his people (Ps 18:2; 95:1; Is 44:8).[6]


[1] Youngblood, R. F. (2009). 1, 2 Samuel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, pp. 54–55). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 348). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Sa 2:2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 493). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 379). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[6] Beyer, B. E. (2017). 1 Samuel. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 413). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

MARCH 14 MEN WILL NOT PRAISE YOU FOR GENUINE SPIRITUALITY

But as we are allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men but God….

1 THESSALONIANS 2:4

What we do for God must be done in the power of the Holy Spirit and we know and accept the fact that we may have little praise from men.

But what we do accomplish for Him as true spiritual work done with eternity in view will have His praise written across it!

Most of us have never heard, or do not remember, the name of the humble sixteen-year-old girl whose singing ministry brought such spiritual results in the Welsh revivals with Evan Roberts.

This quiet, humble girl would sing the gospel songs and much has been said about her spiritual gift—the Spirit-given ability to glorify Jesus Christ as Saviour when she sang. Not too much has ever been said about her voice, but the record is clear that she was a gifted soul—that the Holy Spirit seemed to be singing and moving through her yielded expression.

Evan Roberts would then rise to preach and there was little left for him to do. He said that he would quote from the Scriptures and add an exhortation and the people were ready to come to Christ. She had melted them with the warmth and the power of the Spirit!

Oh, what we would be tempted to do with her ministry in this day! We would put her on the coast-to-coast network and show off her talent—and spoil her! Thank God that they knew better than to start writing her life story.

She was a beautiful example of the humble use of our spiritual gifts for the glory of Jesus Christ—a simple Welsh girl willingly controlled by the Holy Spirit of God![1]


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

March 14 Characteristics of Peacemakers, Part 2

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.—Matt. 5:9

Continuing from yesterday, let’s look at two more characteristics of peacemakers.

First, a peacemaker helps others make peace with others. Once you see your duty as a peacemaker in the world, you’ll be looking for ways to build bridges between people and God and then to build them between persons.

By definition, a bridge can’t be one-sided. It must extend between two sides or it can never function. And once built, it continues to need support on both sides or it will collapse. In any relationship our first responsibility is to see that our own side has a solid base. But we also have the responsibility to help the one on the other side build his base. Both must be built on righteousness and truth or the bridge will not stand.

Often the first step in the process is to confront others about their sin, which is the supreme barrier to peace (Matt. 18:15–17). Such confrontation usually causes turmoil, yet the way of righteousness is the only way to peace. Sin that is not dealt with is sin that will disrupt and destroy peace.

Finally, a peacemaker finds a point of agreement. God’s truth and righteousness must never be compromised or weakened. But we are to contend without being contentious, to disagree without being disagreeable, and to confront without being abusive. The peacemaker should speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

When you hunger and thirst for holiness in your own life, you’ll have a passionate desire to see those virtues in the lives of others. That’s a true peacemaker.

ASK YOURSELF

If the desire for peacemaking is missing from your heart, it points to a deeper problem—that your love for others is not what it should be. Would you say this might be true of you? What are the usual symptoms of a heart that’s grown at least somewhat cold toward others?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 82). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

March 14 Are You Available?

Here am I! Send me.

Isaiah 6:8

God desires a heart that is available at the appointed place and time to hear His orders. He also desires a heart full of true worship. The believer’s whole affection and mind is to be set on Christ. All his goals are directed toward Him. He is his all in all.

So are you available? Are you a worshiper? Is your intent and purpose in life focused on the Person of Christ? Having those attitudes means being controlled by the Holy Spirit, who is the only One who can cause you to call Jesus Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). All your possessions, time, energy, talent, and gifts are to be under His control.

That also means being centered on the Word because the Word is where Christ is seen. You gaze at His glory in the Word. As Christ came into the world to give His life to bring people to Himself, so you must do likewise.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 87). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

40 Days to the Cross: Week Four – Wednesday

Confession: Psalm 6:1–5

O Yahweh, do not rebuke me in your anger,

and do not discipline me in your wrath.

Be gracious to me, O Yahweh, because I am feeble.

Heal me, O Yahweh, for my bones are terrified.

My soul is also very terrified.

But you, O Yahweh, how long?

Turn, O Yahweh; deliver my life.

Save me for the sake of your steadfast love.

For there is no remembrance of you in death.

In Sheol, who will give thanks to you?

Reading: Mark 13:24–37

“But in those days, after that tribulation,

‘the sun will be darkened

and the moon will not give its light,

and the stars will be falling from heaven,

and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’

“And then they will see the Son of Man arriving in the clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels, and will gather the elect together from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also you, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the door. Truly I say to you that this generation will never pass away until all these things take place! Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

“But concerning that day or hour no one knows—not even the angels in heaven nor the Son—except the Father. Watch out! Be alert, because you do not know when the time is! It is like a man away on a journey, who left his house and gave his slaves authority—to each one his work—and to the doorkeeper he gave orders that he should be on the alert. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or early in the morning—lest he arrive suddenly and find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be on the alert!”

Reflection

O may the Angel of the Lord come upon you, and the light shine into your prison! And may you feel the stroke of an almighty hand, raising you, with, “Get up quickly … gird yourself and put on your sandals … wrap your cloak about you and follow me” (Acts 12:7–8).

… Did not God create you for Himself? Then you cannot rest till you rest in Him. Return, you wanderer! Fly back to your ark; this is not your home. Do not think of building tabernacles here. You are but a stranger, a sojourner upon earth, a creature of a day—just launching out into an unchangeable state. Make haste. Eternity is at hand, and it depends on this moment. An eternity of happiness, or an eternity of misery!

In what state is your soul? Was God, while I am yet speaking, to require it of you, are you ready to meet death and judgment? Can you stand in His sight, who is of “eyes too pure to see evil” (Hab 1:13)? Are you “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you for a share of the inheritance of the saints in light” (1 Col 1:12)? Have you “fought the good fight” and “kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7)? Have you secured the one thing needful? Have you recovered the image of God, even righteousness and true holiness? Have you put off the old man, and put on the new? Are you clothed upon with Christ?

Have you oil in your lamp? Grace in your heart? Do you “love the Lord your God from all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27)? Is that mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus? Are you a Christian indeed, that is, a new creature? Are old things passed away, and all things become new?

—John Wesley

Awake, Thou That Sleepest

Response

How can you live a life of alertness, ready for Christ’s return? Reread the passage and John Wesley’s questions, and respond to them in the space below.[1]


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

March 14, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

Unified in One Body

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. (12:12)

Paul again (cf. 10:17) uses the human body to illustrate the unity and interrelationship of the members of Christ’s Body, the church. Through verse 27 of chapter 12 Paul uses the term body some 16 times, and he uses the metaphor many other places in his writings (Rom. 12:5; Eph. 1:23; 2:16; 4:4, 12, 16; Col. 1:18; etc.).

The human body is by far the most amazing organic creation of God. It is marvelously complex yet unified, with unparalleled harmony and interrelatedness. It is a unit; it cannot be subdivided into several bodies. If it is divided, the part that is cut off ceases to function and dies, and the rest of the body loses some of its functions and effectiveness. The body is immeasurably more than the sum of its parts.

Christ’s Body is also one. There are many Christian organizations, denominations, agencies, clubs, and groups of every sort. But there is only one church, of which every true believer in Christ is a member. Paul is so intent on driving home the point of oneness in the church that he refers to Christ as the church: so also is Christ. We can no more separate Christ from His church than we can separate a body from its head. When Christ is referred to as the head of the church it is always in the sense of mind, spirit, and control. When a body loses its mind and spirit it ceases to be a body and becomes a corpse. It still has structure but it does not have life. It is still organized but it is no longer a living organism.

Through another figure for the church Jesus tells us the same truth. “I am the vine, you are the branches,” He said. “He who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). A severed branch not only is an unproductive branch but a lifeless branch.

It is for that reason that the New Testament speaks of our being in Christ and of Christ’s being in us. He is more than simply with His church; He is in His church and His church is in Him. They are totally identified. The church is an organic whole, the living manifestation of Jesus Christ that pulses with the eternal life of God. The common denominator of all believers is that they possess the very life of God. Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19). “He who has the Son has the life” (1 John 5:12), because “the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17).

While He was on earth Christ was incarnate in a single body. Now He is incarnate in another body, the great, diverse, and precious Body that is His church. Christ is now incarnate in the world through His church. There is no true church life without Christ life. Paul did not say, “For to me, to live is being a Christian,” but “For to me, to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). He could say, in fact, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). This same Christ life is possessed by every believer, and every believer therefore is a part of Christ, a part of His Body, the church. The church is one body because so also is Christ. For illustrations of the implications of this solidarity, see Matthew 18:5 and 25:31–46, where our Lord teaches that what one does to a child of God he does to Christ Himself.

Baptized by One Spirit

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (12:13)

In this verse Paul presents two important truths about Christ’s Body: its formation and its filling.

the forming of the body

The church is formed as believers are baptized by Christ with the Holy Spirit. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. The Holy Spirit is the agent of baptism but Christ is the baptizer. At Jesus’ own baptism John the Baptist tells us that it is Jesus Christ, “He who is coming after me [and] is mightier than I,” who would baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11; cf. Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). As explained in the following verse, the baptism of fire is the judgment of hell, the burning of “the chaff with unquenchable fire.” As Savior, Christ baptizes with the Holy Spirit; as Judge, He baptizes with fire. All believers receive baptism with the Holy Spirit; all unbelievers will receive baptism with fire. Therefore every living soul will be baptized by Christ.

Parenthetically, it should be noted that Paul is not speaking here of water baptism. Water baptism is an outward, physical ordinance believers submit to themselves and which is performed by other believers, in obedience to Christ’s command (Matt. 28:19; cf. Acts 2:38). Water baptism plays no part in conversion, but is a testimony to the church and to the world of conversion that has already taken place inwardly. Spirit baptism, on the other hand, is entirely the work of God and is virtually synonymous with salvation. The term baptizō (“to baptize”) is used in the New Testament to refer to figurative immersion in trouble (Matt. 20:22–23, KJV) or to spiritual immersion (Rom. 6:3–5) in Christ’s death and resurrection. As one can be immersed in water, so a believer is immersed spiritually into the Body of Christ.

It should also be noted that the phrase “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is not a correct translation of any passage in the New Testament, including this one. En heni pneumati (by one Spirit) can mean “by or with one Spirit.” Because believers are baptized by Christ, it is therefore best to translate this phrase as “with one Spirit.” It is not the Holy Spirit’s baptism but Christ’s baptism with the Holy Spirit that gives us new life and places us into the Body when we trust in Christ.

It is not possible to be a Christian and not be baptized by Christ with the Holy Spirit. Nor is it possible to have more than one baptism with the Spirit. There is only one Spirit baptism, the baptism of Christ with the Spirit that all believers receive when they are born again. By this the Son places all believers into the sphere of the Spirit’s power and Person, into a new environment, a new atmosphere, a new relationship with others, and a new union with Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 10:2, where Paul shows how the nation of Israel left Pharaoh and Egypt to become immersed and identified with a new leader, Moses, and a new land, Canaan).

The pouring forth of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost also reveals that this baptism was by Jesus Christ (Acts 2:32–33), in fulfillment of John the Baptist’s prediction (Matt. 3:11; etc.) and of Jesus’ own promise (John 7:37–39; 15:7–15; Acts 1:5). We are not told exactly how this is done, any more than we are told exactly how God can give a person a new heart and new life. Those are mysteries beyond our comprehension. But there is no mystery as to the divine roles in salvation. The Father sent the Son and the Son sends the Spirit. The Son is the divine Savior, and the Holy Spirit is the divine Comforter, Helper, and Advocate. The Son is the baptizer and the Holy Spirit is the agent of baptism.

Paul’s central point in 1 Corinthians 12:13 is that baptism with the one Spirit makes the church one Body. If there were more than one Spirit baptism, there would be more than one church, and Paul’s whole point here would be destroyed. He is using the doctrine of baptism with the Spirit to show the unity of all believers in the Body. Many erring teachers today have used a wrong interpretation of the baptism with the Spirit to divide off from the Body an imagined spiritual elite who have what the rest do not. That idea violates the whole teaching here.

For by one Spirit we were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free. The apostle could not have stated the truth more clearly. One Spirit baptism establishes one church. There are no partial Christians, no partial members of Christ’s Body. The Lord has no halfway houses for His children, no limbo or purgatory. All of His children are born into His household and will forever remain in His household. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:26–27). All believers in Jesus Christ become full members of His Body, the church, when they are saved. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4–6).

It is interesting that those who advocate Christians’ seeking the baptism by the Spirit in order to belong to the spiritual elite cannot seem to agree on how that is to be done. They have many ideas and many theories but no scriptural method. The reason is simple: Scripture contains no command, suggestion, or method for believers to seek or receive the baptism of the Spirit. You do not seek or ask for that which you already possess. The believers in Samaria who were converted under the ministry of Philip had to wait a short while to receive baptism with the Holy Spirit, until Peter and John came up to Samaria and laid hands on the converts (Acts 8:17). In that unique transitional situation as the church was beginning, those particular believers had to wait for the Holy Spirit, but they were not told to seek Him. The purpose for that exception was to demonstrate to the apostles, and to bring word back to the Jewish believers in general, that the same Holy Spirit baptized and filled Samaritan believers as baptized and filled Jewish believers—just as a short while later Peter and a few other Jewish Christians were sent to witness to Cornelius and his household in order to be convinced that the gospel was for all men and to see that “the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also” (Acts 10:44–45). Those special transitional events did not represent the norm, as our present text makes clear, but were given to indicate to all that the Body was one (Acts 11:15–17).

the filling of the body

When we were born again the Lord not only placed us into His Body, but placed the Holy Spirit in us. At salvation we are all made to drink of one Spirit. We are in the Spirit, who is in us. Just as there are no partially saved Christians there are no partially indwelt Christians. The Spirit is not parceled out to us in installments. God “gives the Spirit without measure” (John 3:34).

Like being baptized with the Spirit, being indwelt by the Spirit is virtually synonymous with conversion. It is a separate facet of the same glorious, transforming act. “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Rom. 8:9). A person who does not have the Holy Spirit does not have eternal life, because eternal life is the life of the Spirit. Thus Peter can affirm “that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:3–4; cf. Col. 2:10; 1 Cor. 6:19).

Well-meaning and otherwise sound Christian leaders have caused great confusion, frustration, and disappointment in the lives of many believers by holding out the prospect of a second working of grace—which is called by many names. Time and energy that could be used in simply obeying the Lord and relying on what He has already given is spent striving for that which is possessed completely and in abundance. A person cannot enjoy what he has if he is forever seeking a nonexistent second blessing. An inadequate doctrine of salvation will always lead to an erroneous doctrine of sanctification. It is an ironic tragedy that those who seek a second blessing of grace cannot enjoy either. They do not enjoy the first blessing, although it is complete, because they are continually seeking the second, which does not exist.

The idea of the second blessing probably originated in the Middle Ages with the teaching that a person is saved when baptized, even though as an infant, and later receives the Holy Spirit at confirmation after coming of age. Sincere and otherwise biblical evangelicals modified the idea as a means for trying to enliven lifeless Christians. Because the church was lethargic, carnal, worldly, and fruitless, they sought to infuse vitality by encouraging believers to seek an additional work of God. But the problem has never been the insufficiency or incompleteness of God’s work. Christ gives no salvation but perfect salvation. And it is tragic that so many are seeking some “triumphalistic experience” of “deeper life,” some formulized key to instant spirituality, when the Lord calls for obedience and trust in what has been given in His perfect work of salvation (Heb. 10:14).

The being “filled up to all the fulness of God” of which Paul speaks in Ephesians 3:19 has to do with living out fully that which we already possess fully, just as does the working out of our salvation (Phil. 2:12). When we trust in Christ we are completely immersed into the Spirit and completely indwelt by Him. God has nothing more to put into us. He has put His very self into us, and that cannot be exceeded. What is lacking is our full obedience, our full trust, our full submission, not His full salvation, indwelling, or blessing.[1]


12 The extended comparison Paul uses here is between how the human body functions and how the church should function as the body of Christ (note that Paul does not use the word “church” [ekklēsia, GK 1711] until v. 28). He is thinking here of the church not as the body of Christ spread throughout the Greco-Roman world (as he does with the “body” metaphor in Eph 4:11–16; Col 1:18–20) but as the local church as it gathers for worship. Nor is he concerned here, as he is in Ephesians and Colossians, about the headship of Christ in the church. (Note the fact that ears, eyes, and nose are all parts of the head; cf. vv. 16–17; also, Paul refers to the head simply as a body part in v. 21.) Rather, Paul’s emphasis here is the parallel between how the human body functions and how the church should function.

The human body has many members or parts, even though there is only one body. Each part has a different function, but they all work together to make the body function as a unit. This is the way the church ought to function.

13 The sacrament that has incorporated us into Christ, i.e., into the church as his body, is the sacrament of baptism. All believers are baptized by one and the same Spirit into one body. In order to stress how wide a diversity is actually incorporated into that one body, Paul picks out two of the most obvious social distinctions in ancient society: Jews and Gentiles, and slaves and free people. If these sorts of people can all come together into one body, then anything that divides us as human beings—such as social status, economic level, ethnic distinction—should play no role in dividing us in the church.

Moreover, we have “all” (pantes, repeated from v. 12 and used twice in this verse) been given the same Spirit “to drink” (potizō, GK 4540). There is no special blessing of the Spirit that only some Christians receive; we all receive the Spirit and his blessings. The number of times Paul stresses in this section the universal gift of the Spirit to all Christians hints that some in Corinth may have claimed a “greater measure of the Spirit” than others. But according to Paul, the Spirit is a person, not a substance. We either have the Spirit or we do not, and if we have received Christ as Lord and been baptized into him, then we have been made to drink of the Spirit. Paul refers to God’s pouring out his love into our hearts by the Spirit (Ro 5:5), and Jesus refers to drinking of him as though drinking water (Jn 4:7–14; 7:37–39). This latter passage also relates our drinking of Jesus to our reception of the Holy Spirit.[2]


12:12 / Paul starts with a simple statement that a body is a unified entity. He recognizes the complex make-up of the body with its many and various parts, but he points above all to the oneness of the body. Thus, he establishes an initial point of reflection for the use of the ensuing metaphor, “body of Christ.” By referring to the body as a unit, Paul forms an image that serves to explicate a powerful theological thesis, So it is with Christ! Christ means variety, but more importantly Christ means essential unity. Paul’s theme becomes “diversity in unity, and unity over diversity.” Modern interpreters sometimes read Paul’s vision in an artificially balanced way, so that “unity in diversity” and “diversity in unity” become equal and synonymous statements. They are not. According to Paul, in Christ unity dominates diversity and makes diversity genuinely meaningful and constructive. The problem in Corinth was diversity run wild.

12:13 / From the outset of this discussion it is clear that this metaphor is possible because of the unifying work of the Spirit. The emphasis on unity cuts sharply across all social boundaries. Then, as Paul develops the metaphor, he ponders the significance of “body” from alternating points of view.

Paul expands, or perhaps even mixes his metaphors, with the additional reference to being baptized by one Spirit into one body. Nevertheless, this expansion of the basic image of the body makes it clear that the power of the Spirit is at work, so that one sees that God creates the unity of the body despite the original complexity or even seeming incompatibility of the constituent parts. Ethnicity (Jews or Greeks) and social class (slave or free) are superseded and even consolidated by the power of the Spirit at work among humanity. In Christ, as a body, believers may come from one group or another—and in worldly terms those origins might be irrelinquishable or irrevocable—but in Christ such diversity finds meaning (or is made meaningless) as believers are unified despite differences. Paul’s ultimate concern is to emphasize unity.[3]


Unity in diversity (12:12–13)

The phrase the body, introduced in verse 12, perfectly illustrates these two themes of variety and unity. Many members … one body is Paul’s summary of the matter. The way he ends verse 12 is highly significant. We would expect him to say: ‘Just as the body is one and has many members …, so it is with the church.’ In fact, he says, so it is with Christ. It is important not so to identify Christ with his church that we lose sight of his pre-eminence and transcendence. Nevertheless, Paul is clearly referring here to the way Christ today manifests himself by the Spirit to the world through his church. Bittlenger comments: ‘In order to accomplish his work on earth, Jesus had a body made of flesh and blood. In order to accomplish his work today, Jesus has a body that consists of living human beings.’ Paul is affirming both the rich variety and the deep unity in Christ himself. In this all Christians share as members of this one body (13) through this one Spirit.

This particular verse (13) has been the focus of much diverse and contradictory interpretation. Its context makes it clear that there can be no legitimate exegesis which divides Christians into two (or more) groups, let alone into first-class and second-class Christians. This by itself precludes the classical Pentecostal interpretation, which asserts that Paul here describes a two-stage initiation into Christ: regeneration (the first part of the verse) followed by ‘the baptism of the Spirit’ (the second part). John Stott has argued cogently against this position, stressing that the experience described in this verse is one shared by all Christians. The Greek preposition en, translated ‘by the Spirit’ at the beginning of the verse, ought to be rendered either ‘in’ or ‘with’ the Spirit. This then brings this verse into line with the six other passages in the Gospels and Acts where being baptized with/in the Spirit is clearly said to be the distinctive work of Jesus. Jesus is the baptizer, the Holy Spirit is the ‘element’ in which all Christians are baptized.

There is another side to the discussion aroused by verse 13. John Stott, for example, says that the two parts of the verse refer to the same event and experience. ‘The being baptized and the drinking are clearly equivalent expressions.’ If it is true that Paul is here talking of being baptized by Jesus with/in the Holy Spirit, we need to note the meaning of the word ‘baptized’ in such a context. It is likely that the word carries the double connotation of ‘being initiated into’ and ‘being overwhelmed by’. For example, contemporary secular Greek sources spoke of a submerged ship being ‘baptized’. That ship was not merely ‘initiated into’ water; it was thoroughly ‘overwhelmed by’ water. Indeed, we can go on to say that it was ‘made to drink of’ the water: i.e. the water was inside the ship as well as the ship being underneath the water. Paul seems, then, to be saying both that Christians are in the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit is in Christians, parallel to our being in Christ and Christ being in us. By reverting to another metaphor used to describe the Holy Spirit, wind or air or breath, we can see the same truth: a new body is surrounded by air, but must also breathe in the air, if it is to carry on living and growing.

If all Christians have been initiated into and overwhelmed by the Spirit through the work of Jesus the baptizer, if Jesus has made all Christians drink of the Spirit, it is legitimate to ask today whether the church as a whole or a particular local church or an individual member is genuinely experiencing what Paul is describing. It is certainly not pastorally sensitive to assume this to be happening, let alone ‘to tell believers who know themselves to be spiritually inadequate that rivers of living water are pouring from them, to tell those who feel futile and fruitless in their Christian service that the outpoured energy of the Holy Spirit is freely at work in them’. ‘This is to run into complete unreality’, says Smail, and he goes on to show that the Corinthians had both received the preaching of the cross in faith (2:1ff.) and experienced the powerful results of that preaching in lives totally transformed: ‘you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God’ (6:9–11).

In verse 13 Paul can appeal, not just to an event, but to an experience in the life of every Corinthian believer. This event, this experience, transformed them from pagans to Christians, introduced them into the community of Christian believers, and began ‘an experiential participation in the Spirit’s presence and power’. We need today to point one another with expectancy to Jesus the baptizer as the person who longs to take us all deeper and deeper into the reality of the Spirit’s power and presence. It is not a question of one special experience to be imposed upon all; but it is a reality to be experienced, and that experience can be continuous and daily. This expectant openness to experience the Spirit more and more on the part of every Christian will unite the body in eager dependence upon Jesus. We must not allow fear of wrong or superficial experiences to keep us from the birthright of the church from Pentecost onwards: ‘they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.’

It is worth pointing out that people in cultures less dominated by the analytical and cerebral emphasis of western education seem far more free to enter expectantly into such experience of the Spirit. Africans and Latin Americans, in particular, are far less prone to extricate their minds from the rest of their persons: they respond as persons. The Corinthians tended to set great store by the non-cerebral (see chapter 14), and they needed to be taught the importance of a proper use of the mind (nous): a timely reminder that their experience of being baptized in the Spirit by Jesus did not guarantee either their wholeness or their spiritual maturity.

It is probable that the African/Latin American understanding (however instinctive) is far closer to that of the Judaeo/Christian perspective of the Bible.

The reference in verse 13 to Jews and Greeks, slaves and free, reminds us of the many-coloured diversity of the body of Christ. Corinth was a cosmopolitan seaport full of people from many different cultures. That presented difficulties, but it offered immense potential for a full-blooded testimony to Christ. The more we today draw on the richness of the world-wide community of believers, the more pungent and attractive will be our testimony.[4]


12:12–13. The apostle issued three statements which set up the basic structure of his analogy. First, the human body is a unit. It is one body, even though it has many parts. Second, just as one human body has many parts, so it is with the body of Christ. Paul often called the church “the body of Christ” (Rom. 7:4). Here he pointed to the unity in diversity that exists in the church as Christ’s body. Third, Paul explained how Christ’s body resembles the human body. To emphasize the diversity within the church, he mentioned racial and social diversity first; Jews, Greeks, slave, and free all contribute to the church. No matter what had previously separated these people, they all had been joined together in one body by means of the one Spirit.

Paul emphasized two experiences of the Holy Spirit that all believers share and that bring unity among them: (1) they are all baptized by one Spirit; and (2) they are all given the one Spirit to drink. Many interpreters argue that Paul was not referring to baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They divide baptism of the Holy Spirit from water baptism, and note that drinking of the Spirit is a metaphor for receiving the Spirit at conversion (John 7:37–39).

Also, in the modern church people often profess faith in Christ and remain unbaptized for long periods of time. As regenerate believers they have the Holy Spirit even though they have not been baptized. Thus, interpreters hesitate to equate baptized too closely with given the one Spirit. Further, no account of the Lord’s Supper refers to partaking of the Holy Spirit in the cup.

Even so, the text implies these ordinances and the New Testament church could hardly have conceived that followers of Christ would remain unbaptized or refrain from participating in the Lord’s Supper. Such believers would have been considered odd (Acts 10:47–48). These ordinances were signs and seals of the new covenant that all true believers were expected to undergo. For this reason, Paul spoke of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as experiences shared by all true believers that symbolized their union with one another in the Spirit and in the body of Christ.

Note the way these verses present Paul’s argument. Specifically, Paul assumed the unity of the church on the basis of the Spirit. Verses 14–24a especially do not argue for the church’s unity so much as they assume it. They argue for diversity. In the modern, fragmented church, many people consider diversity an obstacle to be overcome in the quest for unity. But from Paul’s perspective, unity was to be sought in the Spirit, not in uniformity. The church’s fullness and ability to function properly depend upon its diverse manifestations of the Spirit.[5]


The Body and the Spirit

12:12–13

12. For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, thus also is Christ.

  • “For as the body is one and has many members.” With the conjunction for, Paul bridges a break between the present passage and the preceding verses and elaborates on his teaching. In the previous part, Paul noted that individual members of the church received a variety of spiritual gifts. He looked at the proverbial trees but failed to call attention to the forest. Now he takes in the totality of the individual members, refers to the body, and demonstrates its basic unity.

Paul compares the body, that is, the human body (see vv. 14–26), with Christ. We would expect Paul to compare the body and the church, not the body and Christ, but for him the church is the body of Christ (v. 27). Elsewhere Paul writes that Christ is the head of the church, which is his body (Eph. 1:22–23). In short, with the word Christ Paul presents a compressed theological thought of bringing body and head together. Paul uses a figure of speech, called metonymy, in which a part represents the whole unit. In other words, Christ represents the entire church. He identifies himself completely with the church, as is evident from Jesus’ question to Paul on the way to Damascus: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). Jesus taught that he and his people are one (Matt. 10:40; 25:45).

  • “And all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, thus also is Christ.” The human body is a highly diversified organism. Each member has its own distinct function but also contributes to the working of the entire body. So it is with the body of Christ, in which every member has received some spiritual gift. In this body, the employment of each gift is designed to serve not the individual member but the entire church.

13. For indeed by one Spirit all of us were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

This text presents a number of difficulties that stem from the expressions by one Spirit, baptized, into one body, and all were made to drink. The combination of these terms is unique. What did Paul have in mind when he wrote that all of us are baptized by one Spirit? And what is the significance of making everyone to drink of one Spirit? We comment on the italicized terms but admit that problems remain.

  • By one Spirit. The Greek text has the preposition en that can be translated either “by” or “in.” Most translators have adopted the reading by to reveal means or agency. They think that this interpretation is the better of the two, for it avoids the awkwardness of having two quite similar prepositional phrases in the same clause: “in one Spirit … into one body.” I prefer the translation by.

Conversely, other translators believe that the Greek preposition en denotes sphere or place and thus translate it “in.” They point out that in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is never described as the baptizer. Rather, the Spirit is the sphere into which the baptismal candidate enters. The Gospels declare that Jesus baptizes his followers with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8).

  • Baptized. When Paul writes, “all of us were baptized,” is he referring to a literal or a figurative baptism? If taken literally, Paul is talking about water baptism. However, the verb to baptize often conveys a metaphorical sense. For instance, Jesus asks James and John whether they are able to be baptized with a baptism similar to his own (Mark 10:38). Jesus is alluding not to his baptism in the Jordan but to his death on the cross (see also Luke 12:50; Acts 1:5; and 1 Cor. 10:2). It is preferable to state that Paul has in mind a figurative use of baptism.

Paul writes, “all of us were baptized,” and “all were made to drink of one Spirit.” These words extend to a circle that is far broader than the Corinthian community and includes all believers. This means that all true believers in Jesus Christ have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. The text teaches that regenerated Christians are incorporated into one body by the Holy Spirit but it says nothing about a subsequent baptism of the Spirit.

Some scholars interpret the text as a reference to the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But this is difficult to maintain. First, in the present context Paul gives no indication of introducing a discussion on the sacraments. Next, the text simply does not allude to water baptism. Third, the assertion that the verb to make to drink refers to the drinking of the Communion cup cannot be sustained. And last, the Greek verb tense calls for a single occurrence of drinking, which is incongruent with the repeated observance of the Lord’s Supper.

The flow of this verse intimates that to be baptized means to become a living member of the church upon conversion. When spiritual regeneration takes place in individuals, they enter the body of Christ, that is, the church. Not the external observance of water baptism but the internal transformation by the Holy Spirit brings people into a living relationship with Christ.

  • Into one body. Here Paul stresses the unity of the church in its diverse forms. He notes the racial, cultural, and social differences that existed in the Corinthian church: there were Jews and Greeks, slaves and free. Regardless of their status and position in life, these people came together to worship God in one church. If the church should practice discrimination, it would be in direct conflict with the law of love. All people who are spiritually renewed in Christ are equal to one another.

The preposition into denotes movement from the outside to the inside. Persons who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit leave the world when they become living members of the church. “For Paul to become a Christian and to become a member of the Body of Christ are synonymous.”

  • All were made to drink. In verse 13, the adjective all appears twice not to indicate two distinct stages of the Christian experience but to reinforce the new status. In fact, the verse itself “rules out any interpretation of baptism which requires it to be complemented by a later rite for the impartation of the Spirit. For this reason, Paul once more writes the expression one Spirit and says that all believers were made to drink of this Spirit. We sense that the two verbs baptize and drink have much in common. By looking for a parallel, we see similar wording in one of Paul’s epistles: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:27–28).

In the Corinthian and Galatian passages, Paul stresses the unity in Christ Jesus regardless of racial, cultural, social, and sexual differences. He states that all were baptized by one Spirit into Christ. And he adds that the believers have been made to drink of the Spirit (v. 13) and have clothed themselves with Christ (Gal. 3:27). Just as Christians are clothed with Christ, so they are saturated with the Holy Spirit. The Greek verb potizoō can mean either “I give to drink” (Matt. 25:35) or “I irrigate” (1 Cor. 3:6–8). The second meaning is appropriate, for Jesus also connects the Holy Spirit to the concept living water flowing from the believer (John 4:10; 7:38–39). When this spiritual saturation occurs, the individual believer enjoys a bountiful harvest, namely, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23).[6]


The church is, like the human body, one (12:12–13)

That is to say, it is an organic whole. Verse 12 states this fact: “The [human] body is a unit, … so it is with Christ.” We would expect this to read, “… so also is the church,” and that is the idea. “Christ stands by metonomy for the community united through Him and grounded in Him” (Heinrici, quoted by Findlay). Since the church is the body of Christ, “Christ himself may be said to be a body made up of many members” (Barrett).

What is stated in verse 12 is confirmed in the verse following: “For we were [the word is emphatic] all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Through baptism in/by the Spirit all believers have become members of Christ’s body. The emphasis is on the oneness of all who are in Christ—whether they are Jews or Greeks, slaves or free men. The Greek expression translated “by one Spirit” should be understood as a locative construction, denoting the sphere (element) of the action, not its agency. A comparison of this verse with Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; and John 1:33 suggests that Christ is the baptizer. “Were … baptized” refers to “a definite act in the past, probably to the inward experience of the Holy Spirit symbolized by the act of baptism” (Robertson). It is the experience of every believer (“we … all”); therefore Christians are never commanded in the New Testament to be baptized in (with/by) the Spirit. Gould says the baptism referred to is water baptism, but it is thought of “not merely as an outward act in water; it has a spiritual side, the outward rite symbolizing an inward, spiritual reality. And just as the body is baptized in water, so the soul is baptized in the Spirit of God.” Bruce, who sees the matter differently, explains that “faith-union with Christ brought his people into membership of the Spirit-baptized community, procuring for them the benefits of the once-for-all outpouring of the Spirit at the dawn of the new age, while baptism in water was retained as the outward and visible sign of the incorporation ‘into Christ’ (cf. Gal. 3:27).” Stott says that the verbs “baptized” and “given to drink” must both “be taken as an allusion, not just to the Pentecost event, but also to its blessing personally received by all Christians at their conversion.” The two verbs probably describe the same experience under different figures. Findlay speaks of it as “an outward affusion and an inward absorption.” Believers are at once “immersed in” and “saturated with the Spirit.” Similarly, Barrett comments that “the Spirit not only surrounds us but is within us.”[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 310–314). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 367). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (pp. 263–264). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Prior, D. (1985). The message of 1 Corinthians: life in the local church (pp. 210–212). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[5] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, pp. 217–218). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, pp. 428–431). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[7] Vaughan, C., & Lea, T. D. (2002). 1 Corinthians (pp. 130–131). Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press.

MARCH 14 THE STUDY OF THEOLOGY

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

—1 John 5:20

That theology probably receives less attention than any other subject tells us nothing about its importance or lack of it. It indicates rather that men are still hiding from the presence of God among the trees of the garden and feel acutely uncomfortable when the matter of their relation to God is brought up….

It is precisely because God is, and because man is made in His image and is accountable to Him, that theology is so critically important. Christian revelation alone has the answer to life’s unanswered questions about God and human destiny. To let these authoritative answers lie neglected while we search everywhere else for answers and find none is, it seems to me, nothing less than folly.

No motorist would be excused if he neglected to consult his road map and tried instead to find his way across the country by looking for moss on logs, or by observing the flight of wild bees or watching the movement of the heavenly bodies. If there were no map a man might find his way by the stars; but for a traveler trying to get home the stars would be a poor substitute for a map. TIC093, 095

Lord, there are so many questions in this life that cry out for answers. Be my road map, Lord, that I might find You and know You more. Amen.[1]


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

March 14 Threats to Humility: Strength and Boasting

“Walk … with all humility.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

✧✧✧

Satan will tempt us to be proud of our abilities and accomplishments, but we must remember that every good thing we have is from God.

We’ve just studied three steps to humility. Let’s look at the issue from another angle: What kinds of pride threaten to destroy our humility? Where will we struggle to be humble? There are several areas in which Satan will attack us.

The first area I call ability pride. We’re often tempted to be proud of our strong points, not our weak ones. I’ve never been tempted to boast of my fantastic mathematical ability because I have none. But I am tempted to be proud of my preaching because it is my spiritual gift. Thankfully, the Lord helps me deal with such thoughts. It might come in the form of a letter saying, “I was in your church Sunday, and I violently disagree with everything you said.” Or someone might tell me, “We came to hear you for the first time, but we like our pastor better.” Times like those help me keep the proper perspective.

The key to overcoming ability pride is remembering that every gift you have is from God. All the credit belongs to Him. As Paul said to the Corinthians, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7).

Another temptation is verbal pride, or bragging. There is a tendency in human nature to tell people what good we have done or plan to do. People get into a conversation, and soon they’re trying to top each other with their accomplishments. In contrast, Hannah asserts, “Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge; and with Him actions are weighed” (1 Sam. 2:3). God knows the truth about what you have done. Proverbs 27:2 instructs, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth.”

As a test, try to get through an entire week without talking about what you’ve done. Perhaps for a starter, try to last an afternoon. When people don’t talk about themselves, the absence of boasting tells volumes about their character.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Repent of any pride in your own abilities or accomplishments.

For Further Study: The apostle Paul had tremendous advantages and abilities but refused to boast about them. Read Philippians 3:4–11. What were Paul’s accomplishments? ✧ How did he consider them? ✧ What was most important to him?[1]


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

March 13 Daily Help

THE death of the saints is precious in the sight of the Lord. On their account we have cause rather to rejoice than to weep. Yes, we have the fond and firm persuasion that already their redeemed spirits have flown up to the eternal throne. We do believe that they are at this moment joining in the hallelujahs of paradise, feasting on the fruits of the tree of life, and walking by the side of the “river, the streams whereof make glad the heavenly city of our God.” We know they are supremely blest; we think of them as glorified spirits above, who are present with the Lord Jesus.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 76). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

March 13, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Preparation: Strength in the Lord

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. (6:10)

Basic to the effective Christian life is preparation. The unprepared believer becomes the defeated believer who seeks to serve the Lord in his own wisdom and power. The strength of the Christian life is dependence on God, being strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Any other strength proves to be impotent.

The cardinal reality presented in the book of Ephesians is that, as believers, we are in Christ and are one with Him. His life is our life, His power our power, His truth our truth, His way our way, and, as Paul goes on to say here, His strength is our strength.

The Lord’s strength is always more than sufficient for the battle. When Jesus told the church at Philadelphia, “I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Rev. 3:8), He was affirming that even a little power was enough to preserve them, because it was the Lord’s supernatural power. Our own strength is never strong enough to oppose Satan, but when we are strong in the Lord, even a little of His strength is sufficient to win any battle. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” Paul said (Phil. 4:13). It is not the amount of the strength we have that is important—only its source.

In the ultimate sense, the church’s battles with Satan are already won. In his crucifixion and resurrection Jesus destroyed Satan and his power of sin and death (Rom. 5:18–21; 1 Cor. 15:56–57; Heb. 2:14). Trust in Jesus Christ initiates a person into that victory. To the extent that a Christian is strong in the Lord, his victory over the worst that Satan has to offer is guaranteed. We are in a war—a fierce and terrible war—but we have no reason to be afraid if we are on the Lord’s side. Appropriation of that strength comes through the means of grace—prayer, knowledge of and obedience to the Word, and faith in the promises of God.

After several years of ministry, Timothy became fearful and timid. He faced stronger temptations than he had expected and considerably more opposition. Paul wrote to him, “I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.… You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:6–8; 2:1).[1]


Our Enabling (6:10)

With the simple word “Finally” (Eph. 6:10), the apostle reminds us that there has been instruction preceding this immediate plan for spiritual battle. This plan cannot operate in isolation but presumes a grasp of matters previously addressed in the book of Ephesians. These matters include an understanding of the divine source of our relationship with the God who eternally loved us and made us his own (chaps. 1–2), the need for a unified relationship with others in the church whose varying gifts help make us spiritually mature (chaps. 3–4), and the beauty of loving and sacrificial relationships in our families that help us incorporate and reflect Christ’s grace (chaps. 5–6). Implicit in these preceding instructions are all the patterns of belief and behavior that we would expect the apostle to say equip us for godly living.

Godly Patterns

There are no shortcuts to the spiritual battle preparation identified here but, thankfully, there is no mystery either. Doing as Paul has instructed in preceding passages—putting ourselves under sound teaching, seeking prayerful association and accountability to others in the church, and serving one another in healthy family relationships—nourishes Christlikeness in us. Following these well-worn paths to godliness informs and aids Christian living. Ours is not a magic religion full of mysterious incantations, secret handshakes, and arcane codes. Thus we have a duty to challenge others and ourselves to be faithful in these ordinary patterns of spiritual preparation if we are to progress and persevere in spiritual maturity as God intends. Our immersion in, and integrity with, these patterns of Christian association and accountability are the ordinary means by which we grow in godliness.

Of course, we fear that these ordinary means of growth are not enough. And, in truth, they are not. If all we are depending on to help us overcome Satan are our own right beliefs and behaviors, then we are in grave danger. Perhaps we have discovered this when we have altered our patterns and renewed our personal resolve to master a sinful practice in our lives, only to struggle and fall again. Then what should we do? Paul answers in what follows with his gentle reminder of the necessity of godly patterns in our lives. Paul does not annul the necessity of the patterns, but he places them in their proper context.

Godly Power (6:10)

Ultimately God’s power alone equips us to grow spiritually by motivating our hearts and enabling our wills to follow the patterns of godliness his Word commands. God expresses this power by embracing us and energizing us so that we can do as he requires.

We can begin thinking how this empowering process works by acknowledging the reservations we may have about the biblical patterns already mentioned. We may feel cautious about these ordinary means of grace not because we question their goodness, but because we fear that we are not good enough to practice them faithfully enough. Our Lord’s care shines in how he deals with this concern in Paul’s initial words.

The apostle begins his instruction by urging us, “Be strong in the Lord” (Eph. 6:10). The “in the Lord” phrase is Paul’s common way of referring to our relationship with God made possible through our union with Christ. We are in him: covered by his blood, robed in his righteousness, members of his household, sons and daughters, in union with him, beloved. We may dread the exposure of our weaknesses in our battle against sin, but the apostle reminds us that the strength of our relationship with our God is provided by Christ. Because we are in him, we have access to a power that is greater than we.

My five-year-old daughter decided to play soccer with her much older siblings and cousins at a Thanksgiving gathering. She quickly tripped and got trampled. In tears she ran off the field, determined to enter the fray no more. So I picked her up, hugged her to my chest, and played the rest of the game with her in my arms. Knowing that she was in my embrace renewed her zeal for the battle, and she could not have been a more enthusiastic team member. In a similar way we gain strength for spiritual battle from knowing that even if we have failed and fallen, we are “in the Lord.” Because knowledge of our unchanging relationship grants us the will to fight and to reenter the fray when we have fallen, we understand why Paul first urges that we “Be strong in the Lord.” In God’s embrace we will battle with renewed zeal and strength.

After these words of relational encouragement, Paul identifies the source of the power that we will need for spiritual battle: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (lit., “the power of his might,” Eph. 6:10). God not only provides us support but also the actual strength that we need for spiritual battle. The nature of this strength that comes from God should not be mistaken for mere internal energy, as though God were promising to dispense spiritual vitamins or pep pills. Paul’s specific wording indicates that God does not want us merely to supplement our strength with his, but so to invigorate the new life that he has regenerated in us that he is our strength.

The phrase that Paul here uses to refer to God’s might, he has used previously in this epistle. In the first chapter, Paul writes that he wants the saints to know God’s “incomparably great power for us who believe” (Eph. 1:19a). That incomparable power the apostle then describes as “the power of his might” (Eph. 1:19b) that God “exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 1:20). Then Paul goes on to say that this power also “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.… And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5–6). All of this background makes it clear that the “mighty power” in which Paul urges us to “be strong” is resurrection power—the divine power that makes the dead live and reign in heaven.

The powers of resurrection and rule have special significance in this passage where Paul indicates that believers war not against flesh and blood but against authorities and powers of this dark world (Eph. 6:12). Since Paul has earlier said that the risen Christ is above all authorities and powers (Eph. 1:21), then we who are in union with Christ are spiritually seated with him in heaven and thus have rule with him over the authorities and powers of Satan. The present effects of this power have been carefully described in the early passages of Ephesians. Because of the power of God’s might, we who were once dead in our transgressions and sins are now alive (Eph. 2:1, 5). Once we followed the ways of this world and were under the dominion of the ruler of the kingdom of darkness, but now by virtue of the definiteness of his sovereign choice we reign with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:2, 6). Once we were by nature objects of wrath, but we are now his glorious inheritance (Eph. 2:3; 1:18). Once we were foreigners and aliens, but now we are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household (Eph. 2:19).

We can further understand the power of God’s mighty work in us by identifying the differences that distinguish our past spiritual status (before Christ indwelt us) from our present status (due to his indwelling Spirit):

Once We Were

Now We Are

Dead (2:1)

Alive (2:5)

Under the dominion of Satan (2:2)

Seated in heavenly realms (2:6)

Objects of wrath (2:3)

His glorious inheritance (1:18)

Separate (2:12)

Brought near (2:13)

Foreigners (2:19)

Fellow citizens (2:19)

Aliens (2:19)

Household members (2:19)

Denied gospel mystery (3:5)

Understanding gospel mystery (3:4)

Infants (4:14)

Maturing in Christ (4:15)

Old self (4:22)

New self (4:24)

Darkness (5:8)

Light (5:8)

These contrasting descriptions reiterate with startling clarity that God’s resurrection power has made us fundamentally different creatures than we were in our unregenerate state.

Through the power of God’s might, we have a new nature. Whereas the old nature was not able to resist the wiles of Satan and the lusts of our flesh, the new nature operates with the power of the risen Lord and thus has abilities never before attainable nor apprehensible. Sinclair Ferguson summarizes,

While we continue to be influenced by our past life, “in the flesh,” it is no longer the dominating influence in our present existence. We are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit (Rom. 8:9). Christ’s past (if we may so speak) is now dominant. Our past is a past “in Adam”; our present existence is “in Christ,” in the Spirit. This implies not only that we have fellowship with him in the communion of the Spirit, but that in him our past guilt is dealt with, and our bondage to sin, the law, and death has been brought to an end.

Biblical truths examined previously in this epistle now ring with greater clarity and significance (see Eph. 1:21–22; 2:4–10, 22; 3:16; 4:7; 5:8, 18). Because of Christ’s resurrection power at work in us, greater is he that is in us than the Evil One who tempts us (1 John 4:4). We enter spiritual warfare with strength born of the confidence that no temptation will assault us that is greater than our ability to resist—because we face our trials with that same indomitable force that raised Christ from the dead (1 Cor. 10:13). Isaac Watts wrote of the resurrection victory that we have over Satan’s attacks:

Hell and your sins resist your course;

But hell and sin are vanquished foes:

Your Jesus nailed them to the cross,

And sang the triumph when he rose.

Our minds protest, “This is not the way that I feel. I feel that I am not able to resist. I have fallen before and have resolved with all my willpower that I will not fall again, but then I have. I do not feel that this resurrection power is mine.” We feel this way because no greater vestige of our former nature clings to us than the doubt that our new nature is real and that the God who gave it is more powerful than any foe. That is why the apostle prepares us for spiritual battle with the truth of God’s certain relationship and the reality of our resurrection power. Faith in these is essential if we are to enter the battlefield with confidence.

Faith that God has made us new, has made us his, and has made us able is essential before we will experience God’s victory over compelling and compulsive sin. I thought of these truths as I listened recently to my wife working with a thirteen-year-old doing an algebra problem. The answer was not coming easily, and before too long my straight-A-student daughter was crying, “I will never get this. I can’t do it. I’m so dumb.”

My wife, with a voice made stern enough to cut through the tears, said, “You are not dumb, and I never want to hear you say that. Now look back two pages in your book and see what you already know is right and then come back to this problem.” Our daughter is not dumb. The sternness in her mother’s voice was actually a loving affirmation of our daughter’s true nature and ability. Only the lack of confidence that she could handle the problem kept her from pushing through to the answer. When her mother refused to allow this child to characterize herself by that powerless nature, the capability our daughter actually had came to the fore and she solved the problem.

God speaks in a similar fashion to his children through the apostle Paul. The Lord hears us crying, “I am so weak, evil, stupid, and incapable that I cannot overcome this sin.” We are lovingly corrected: “ ‘Be strong in the Lord and his mighty power.’ The One who has loved you gives you a nature that makes you capable. You must have faith in the power of his might. Your Adversary, who says that you cannot resist, lies and seeks your harm. Do not believe him.”[2]


10 Paul introduces his final point with a customary “finally” (tou loipou; cf. Gal 6:17; Php 3:1; 1 Th 4:1). Returning to the language of power employed earlier in his prayers for his readers (1:19; 3:16, 20), Paul urges them to be strengthened continually (present, probably passive, imperative verbal form). The verb endynamoō (GK 1904; “strengthen”; NIV, “be strong”) is a favorite of Paul (six out of its seven uses in the NT are Paul’s) and one he often uses to describe God’s empowerment for his own ministry and for surviving hardship (Php 4:13; 1 Ti 1:12; 2 Ti 2:1; 4:17). In the same way, the church needs to appropriate God’s empowerment to fortify it for the spiritual ordeals it encounters. The call to “be strong” is natural in calling soldiers to battle (recall Jos 1:6–7, 9). To this appeal, Paul appends two prepositional phrases. First, they must be strengthened “in the Lord.” This comes as no surprise: only in union with Christ do the church and believers within it find the power to live the life to which God has called them. No human power alone can resist the devil’s designs. Second, and redundantly, they need to be strengthened “through the power of his [the Lord’s] strength” (en tō kratei tēs ischyos autou; NIV, “in his mighty power”). Paul first used the terms in this phrase in 1:19, where he told his readers of the “mighty strength” available to them in Christ. The capacity to fight spiritual battles lies in appropriating God’s strength. We are strong as we allow ourselves to be continually strengthened by God.[3]


“Be strong in the Lord” (v. 10)

The main idea in this paragraph is that Christians must “put on” (v. 11) or “take up” (v. 13) “the full armor of God.” Beginning in verse 14, in fact, Paul gives a point-by-point set of instructions for how we must do this. Notice, however, that Paul begins the paragraph with an even more basic idea. The first thing he says is not “Take up the … armor” but “be strong in the Lord” (v. 10). That command, it seems, is foundational. The Christian must “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” This is the main thing—indeed, the goal which the armor of God serves: that we “be strong in the Lord”; that we have the courage and capacity to enter the fracas and engage the “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Let the self-sufficient among us remember, however, to put no confidence in our own power and abilities. For we are to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”

“Be strong in the Lord,” Paul says. That is the most basic thing we must do as we engage the dark forces around us. But why? What are we trying to accomplish in our skirmishes with the devil? Our goal is to …[4]


6:10 / Finally, that is, this is the last or concluding exhortation. The phrase be strong in the Lord is not a plea for self-effort. The present passive verb endynamoō literally means “be made strong in the Lord continually.” The next phrase indicates that this empowerment is possible because of the resources that the Lord supplies—in his mighty power.

Within this verse there are three Greek words for power—dynamis, kratos, and ischus. Distinctions between these words are not always possible or necessary; the message that comes through is that God’s resources enable the believer to face evil. These same words in 1:19 described the spiritual gifts of the believer (indicative); now believers are exhorted to experience the effect of that power in their daily life (imperative).[5]


6:10. Paul introduces his final subject by urging the Ephesian believers to be strong in the Lord. When it comes to spiritual warfare, we cannot be sufficiently strong by ourselves. If we are going to have adequate strength for the spiritual battles of life, it must be the Lord’s strength. Only he has the mighty power sufficient to win spiritual battles against the demonic enemy.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 337). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 329–334). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 162–163). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Strassner, K. (2014). Opening up Ephesians (pp. 136–137). Leominster: Day One.

[5] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 285). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, p. 190). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.