Daily Archives: March 27, 2018

March 27: Tongues, Prophecy, and the Thing We Call Love

Numbers 31:1–54; 1 Corinthians 14:1–25; Psalm 26:1–12

Nearly anything good can become unproductive if it’s abused or misused. Paul is all about embracing the side of spirituality that can seem a bit wacky to us today—gifts of tongues and prophecy, to name a few. But he is fully aware of the problems that can come from these gifts being used in a way that doesn’t fit within God’s will. And Paul’s primary concern is that spiritual gifts are used only within the bounds of love.

Love is what it’s all about. “Pursue love, and strive for spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For the one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God, because no one understands, but by the Spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Cor 14:1–2). By tongues, Paul is likely referencing the “tongues of angels”—some angelic language (1 Cor 13:1)—although elsewhere the term is used in reference to people speaking in a language they don’t actually know for the sake of ministering to others in their native tongue (Acts 2:3–4).

Love—as manifested in Christ’s death and resurrection and in our living sacrificially for Him and others—is central, and spiritual gifts should support that cause.

Paul goes on to say: “Now I want you all to speak with tongues, but even more that you may prophesy.… But now, brothers, if I come to you speaking with tongues, how do I benefit you, unless I speak to you either with a revelation or with knowledge or with a prophecy or with a teaching?” (1 Cor 14:5–6).

Spiritual gifts are meant to indwell believers. Christians are meant to be driven by God’s Spirit and to do miraculous things in His name. But none of it matters if it’s not for the purpose of showing Christ’s love.

What gifts do you resist using? How can you use the spiritual gifts God has given you to show love to others, and how can you correct your use of them if you’re not currently using them for this purpose?

John D. Barry[1]


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

March 27 Solving Man’s Greatest Problem

“And forgive us our debts” (Matt. 6:12).

✧✧✧

Forgiveness removes the guilt and penalty of sin and restores intimacy with God.

Man’s greatest problem is sin. It renders him spiritually dead, alienates him from God and his fellowman, plagues him with guilt and fear, and can eventually damn him to eternal Hell. The only solution is forgiveness, and the only source of forgiveness is Jesus Christ.

All sin is punishable by death (Rom. 6:23), but Christ bore the sins of the world, thereby making it possible for us to be forgiven and to have eternal life through faith in Him (John 3:16). What a glorious reality!

Scripture speaks of two kinds of forgiveness: judicial and parental. Judicial forgiveness comes from God the righteous Judge, who wiped your sin off the record and set you free from its punishment and guilt. At the moment of your salvation He forgave all your sins—past, present, and future—and pronounced you righteous for all eternity. That’s why nothing can ever separate you from Christ’s love (Rom. 8:38–39).

Parental forgiveness is granted to believers by their loving Heavenly Father as they confess their sin and seek His cleansing. That’s the kind of forgiveness Jesus speaks of in Matthew 6:12.

When a child disobeys his father, the father/child relationship isn’t severed. The child is still a member of the family, and there’s a sense in which he is already forgiven because he’s under the umbrella of his father’s parental love. But some of the intimacy of their relationship is lost until the child seeks forgiveness.

That’s the idea in Matthew 6:12. The sins you commit as a believer don’t rob you of your salvation, but they do affect your relationship with God. He still loves you and will always be your Father, but the intimacy and sweet communion you once knew is jeopardized until you seek reconciliation by confessing your sins.

As a Christian, you are judicially forgiven and will never come into condemnation. But never presume on that grace. Make confession part of your daily prayers so sin will never erode your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for His judicial forgiveness of all your sins. ✧ Ask Him to help you maintain the joy of your relationship with Him by quickly dealing with any sin that comes up in your life.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 32:1–7. ✧ How did David feel about forgiveness? ✧ What happened to David before he confessed his sin?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 99). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

MARCH 27 THE WORLDLY “VIRUS”

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour…be put away from you.

Ephesians 4:31

As Christian believers, we must stand together against some things. So, if you hear anyone saying that A.W. Tozer preaches a good deal that is negative, just smile and agree: “That is because he preaches the Bible!”

Here are some of the things we oppose: We are against the many modern idols that have been allowed to creep into the churches; we are against the “unauthorized fire” that is being offered on the altars of the Lord; we are against the modern gods that are being adopted in our sanctuaries.

We are against the world’s ways and its false values. We are against the world’s follies and its vain pleasures. We are against this world’s greed and sinful ambitions. We are against this world’s vices and its carnal habits.

We believe this spells out clearly the Bible truth of separation. God asks us to stand boldly against anything or anyone who hurts or hinders this New Testament body of Christians. Where the Church is not healed, it will wither. The Word of God is the antibiotic that alone can destroy the virus that would plague the life of the Church!

Lord, I pray that our churches will be faithful to the whole Word of God and that churchgoers will set themselves apart from the world’s ungodly values.[1]


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

March 27, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

The U.S. agreed to revise its trade deal with South Korea and spare the country from President Donald Trump’s steel tariff, as the allies sought to resolve disputes before planned meetings with Kim Jong Un.

Making trips to China and setting up liaison offices in the country, officials aim to position their states, cities and towns as desirable destinations for Chinese companies looking to invest and operate overseas.

The Trump administration is urging China to lower tariffs on cars and open its market to U.S. financial services as part of talks to resolve a rise in trade tensions that has shaken global markets, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The top executive of Turner Broadcasting and the head of Dish Network Corp.’s Sling TV are slated to testify Monday as U.S. antitrust enforcers resume their court fight against AT&T Inc.’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Inc.

A limited number of properties for sale against a backdrop of steady demand helped keep home prices elevated in January, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data released Tuesday. 20-city home-price index increased 6.4% y/y (est. 6.2%), after rising 6.3% y/y.

It’s the largest such expulsion in U.S. history. Worldwide, more than 100 Russian diplomats were sent home in a concerted effort to demonstrate NATO and European resolve to punish President Vladimir Putin’s government for the U.K. attack.

Great art investments often come down to one simple thing: holding for as long as possible. Americans Elizabeth and Frederick Stafford were in Paris in 1955 when they bought the work directly from the artist for about $5,000. Today, the 31-inch-tall piece is estimated at more than $70 million. That’s about a 1,400,000 percent return over 63 years (compared with a mere 39,000 percent for the S&P 500 Index).

After more than a decade, an Alberta businessman has finally found a buyer for his prized collection of gold castings of Nelson Mandela’s hand. The final price? Ten million dollars — in bitcoin.

AP Top Stories

Investigators looking into a fire that killed at least 64 people at a busy shopping mall in Siberia said on Monday a security guard had turned off the public address system and exits had been illegally blocked.

Cambridge Analytica, the data firm at the center of a scandal about misused Facebook information, sent dozens of foreign nationals to work on U.S. elections in 2014, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. Three of the firm’s former employees, including whistleblower Christopher Wylie, said the company was mostly staffed with non-U.S. citizens as it worked across several states to help elect Republicans.

Dozens of Chinese naval vessels are exercising this week with an aircraft carrier in a large show of force off Hainan Island in the South China Sea, satellite images obtained by Reuters show.

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile shield was launched on Sunday against Palestinian machine gun fire originating in the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip, and not against incoming militant rockets, the Israeli army said. Flaming streams of about 10 Iron Dome rockets could be seen rising into the night sky in a spectacular light show, but there was no indication that Islamist militants in Gaza had fired rockets, a military spokeswoman said.

The United States and South Korea agreed to revise a trade pact sharply criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump, Seoul said on Monday, with U.S. automakers winning improved market access and Korean steelmakers hit with quotas but avoiding hefty tariffs.

Roadside bombs disguised as rocks in Yemen bear similarities to others used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and by insurgents in Iraq and Bahrain, suggesting at the least an Iranian influence in their manufacture, a watchdog group said on Monday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday criticized Myanmar’s army chief after he declared that the Muslim Rohingya had nothing in common with the country’s other ethnic groups.

Leaders of Orange County, California, planned Tuesday to consider fighting a state law aimed at protecting immigrants from stepped-up deportations under the Trump administration.

Iraq’s prime minister said on Tuesday that he has ordered the military to take full control of the country’s borders amid escalating tensions and Turkish threats of an incursion into Iraq to chase Kurdish rebels.

The Iranian rial fell to a record-low on Monday, breaking through the 50,000-to-the-dollar mark for the first time, with analysts blaming uncertainty stemming from Washington.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott appears ready to jump into Florida’s Senate race, setting up a high-profile showdown against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

China’s 8.5-ton space station will come crashing down to Earth from Saturday onwards, the country’s space authorities said, although they cannot confirm where it is likely to hit.

BBC

A question about citizenship status will be added to the 2020 US census, for the first time since 1950. US officials say the move will help the federal government enforce the Voting Rights Act and give it the data it needs to allocate resources.

India’s state-run railways have received more than 20 million applicants for about 100,000 jobs, a railway ministry official has said. The number of applicants is expected to rise further as the deadline for applications will end on Saturday.

WND

Twitter announced Monday it will ban advertising for cryptocurrencies, joining advertising giants Google and Facebook in a wider crackdown that aims to protect investors from fraud.

Former President Obama talked about his future plans for his post-presidency life at a conference Sunday in Japan, addressing how he might shape “a million” new, young leaders in his mold.


The Briefing — Tuesday, March 27, 2018

1) The future of secularization: What trends in Europe reveal about coming generations

Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society (Professor Stephen Bullivant) –
New St Mary’s Research Shows Huge Differences in the Religiosity of Young Adults across Europe

The Guardian (Harriet Sherwood) –
“Christianity as Default is Gone”: The Rise of of a non-Christian Europe

The Telegraph (Will Heaven) –
Christianity in Britain is only decades away from vanishing — but there is hope yet

2) Does making abortion legal really reduce the number of abortions?

NBC News (Maggie Fox) –
Abortion Rates Go Down When Countries Make It Legal: Report

The Guardian (Jill Filipovic) –
Want to Lower the Abortion Rate? Support Pro-Choice Policies

3) Remembering the heroes of the past: the discovery of Juneau reminds us of true sacrifice and the value of life

New York Times (Jacey Fortin) –
Wreck of the Juneau Is Found, 76 Years After 5 Brothers Perished


News – 3/27/2018

Famous Saints’ Prophecies About the Future of Russia
“Before the birth of the Antichrist there will be a great, protracted war and a terrible revolution in Russia passing all bounds of human imagination, for the bloodletting will be most terrible: the rebellions of Ryazan, Pugachev and the French revolution will be nothing in comparison with what will take place in Russia. France will be just nothing. Italy will be judged by natural disasters. Britain will lose her empire and all her colonies and will come to almost total ruin, but will be saved by praying enthroned women. America will feed the world, but will finally collapse. Russia and China will destroy each other.

California sheriff defies state’s ‘sanctuary’ law by putting inmate info online
Orange County, Calif. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens can’t give information about inmate’s release dates directly to ICE because of a state “sanctuary” law, so she says she’ll give it to the public instead. Hutchens announced on Monday she will put all county jail inmates’ release dates online to get around SB 54, a law that took effect on Jan. 1 and now prohibits local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with immigration authorities.

IDF chief: ‘Palestinian arena is highly explosive’
Tensions have been on the rise on the Gaza border after Hamas held a large-scale military exercise on Sunday and machinegun fire from the strip triggered the Iron Dome missile defense system. In addition, Hamas is planning a mass march of Palestinians in Gaza towards the border with Israel and protests starting this Friday, Land Day, and ending on May 15, Nakba Day.

American who escaped Al Qaeda captivity says FBI, under Mueller and Comey, betrayed him
After he escaped from Al Qaeda in Syria, American photojournalist Matt Schrier investigated his own kidnapping and uncovered what he describes as a pattern of “betrayal” by FBI agents handling his case. “Not every FBI agent is bad. Some are very good people,” Schrier told Fox News. “But the ones that are bad need to be weeded out. And the ones who let them be bad, and who turn their head, need to be exposed.”

‘Freedom Coins’ From First Jewish Revolt Against Rome Discovered in Temple Mount Cave
Bronze coins, the last remnants of a four-year Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, were found near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They were now discovered by Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar during renewed excavations at the Ophel, located below the Temple Mount’s southern wall. These 1.5cm bronze coins were left behind by Jewish residents who hid in a large cave (21×42 ft.) for four years (66-70 C.E.) during the Roman siege of Jerusalem, up until the destruction of the Second Temple and the city of Jerusalem. “A discovery like this—ancient coins bearing the words ‘Freedom’ and ‘Redemption’—found right before the Jewish Festival of Freedom, Passover, begins, is incredibly moving,” Dr. Mazar noted.

Bolton’s Appointment is a Brilliant America First Move
President Donald Trump’s decision to appoint former UN Ambassador John Bolton to serve as his National Security Advisor is arguably the most significant single step he has taken to date toward implementing his America First foreign policy. The news hit America’s enemies and competitors — from Pyongyang to Teheran to Moscow to Beijing — like a wall of bricks Thursday night.

Israel needs to pay for damage to Gaza facilities, UN says
United Nations has demanded that Israel pay compensation for damage done to seven of its Gaza facilities by the IDF during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. “On 22 March, the UN submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel a claim for reimbursement for the losses that the UN had sustained in seven incidents in 2014,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq told The Jerusalem Post in response to an email query.

Spy poisoning: Russia to respond to ‘expulsion blackmail’
Russia has accused Washington of pressuring nations to carry out a mass expulsion of its diplomats in response to a nerve agent attack in the UK. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the US of “colossal blackmail” and said there were “few independent countries” left in modern Europe. The expulsion of around 100 Russians by more than 20 nations is thought to be the largest in history.

Russia, China eclipse US in hypersonic missiles, prompting fears
Russia and China are outpacing the United States in the development of super-fast missile technology, Pentagon officials and key lawmakers are warning. Russia says it successfully tested a so-called hypersonic missile this month, while China tested a similar system last year expected to enter service soon. “Right now, we’re helpless,” Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said…

Pakistan rapist ‘let off’ after sick deal ‘allowing victim’s brother to rape his sister’
One man had been accused of raping a woman in Pir Mahal in the Toba Tek Singh district of Punjab province, on March 20. The suspect’s family had approached the victim’s family for “pardon and reconciliation”, according to local news reports. Staggeringly the victim’s family agreed to pardon the rapist, on the appalling condition that “her brother would commit the same act with the suspect’s sister”, dawn.com reports.

LITTLE HOGGS: #MarchForOurLives Student Protesters Leave Their Trash for Someone Else to Clean Up
The Democrat funded March for our Lives protests were held Saturday in cities across the United States. The largest gathering was in Washington DC where approximately 250,000 people turned out to protest gun laws.

NYC sees largest increase in tuberculosis cases in 26 years
The number of tuberculosis cases in New York City suddenly jumped by 10 percent last year — the largest increase since 1992, according to the Health Department. TB is a highly infectious bacterial disease that largely attacks the lungs, but can also infect and spread to other organs, including the kidneys, spine or brain.

Two pilots report seeing UFO in southern Arizona skies
Pilots flying on two separate aircraft reported seeing an unidentified flying object over Arizona last month. The incident took place over southern Arizona around 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 24 between the New Mexico border and the Sonoran Desert National Monument, which is about 40 miles from Phoenix. The Drive reported that one witness, a commercial pilot flying a jet for American Airlines, said the object was above 40,000 feet and had a big reflection.

The Rise of the American Hitler Youth Movement 
Our young students are being deceived. David Hogg is affiliated with the Center for Progress (ie George Soros). We are witnessing the rise of a Hilter Youth type of movement designed to separate Americans from their guns. Schools should be educating the students on the relevant history about what happens to people when they give up their guns.

Good news! Twin wins for Christians in military
Advocates for religious freedom in the military are mostly cheering President Trump’s policy on transgenders serving in the military and are breathing a sigh of relief as the U.S. Navy rejects the push for an atheist chaplain.

U.S. pledges record $705 million in missile defense aid to Israel
Congress has dramatically increased its budget for the Israeli missile defense programs by $148 million to include ongoing Iron Dome and Arrow 3 development.

LGBT Activists Target Trump’s Pro-Life Christian Delegate at UN, Label Her ‘Anti-Trans’
Far-left activists are targeting a Christian representing the Trump administration in a U.N. delegation for her past advocacy against the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom mandate and for reportedly saying the United States is “pro-life.”

Stormy Daniels vs. Trump — Here’s why conservative Christians are sticking with the president
…No one upholds Trump as moral exemplar. He is not the most religious president we have ever had, but he may be the most pro-religion president. Christian conservatives are judging Trump not by his faith, but by his works. And when it comes to life and liberty, his works are good.

Thousands March for ‘Eternal Life’ in Palm Sunday Rally: Jesus Is the Only Hope for America
While “March for Our Lives” demonstrations across the country dominated news coverage over the weekend, thousands of Christians marched through the streets of downtown Dallas on Sunday night to send the message that the one true answer to gun violence in the United States can be found in God.

Informant provided FBI evidence Russia aided Iran nuclear program during Obama years
A former undercover informant says he provided evidence to the FBI during President Obama’s first term that Russia was assisting Iran’s nuclear program even as billions in new U.S. business flowed to Moscow’s uranium industry.

NY Churches Install Metal Detectors
No particular event led to the decision to install the devices; but an Islamic terrorist attack in Fall 2017 — a man used a truck to kill eight people at a nearby location — forced them to acknowledge the reality of the dangers present in the current state of the world, church leadership said.

‘Sinister Legislation’: Cloud Act Passes Without Fanfare
President Trump on Friday prevented another government shutdown by signing a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill. Nestled within the 2,200-page document was a controversial act, revolutionizing the way the government handles data.

Stronghold of all the world’s seeds in the Global Seed Vault reaches the one million mark
The world’s largest repository of crop seeds recently celebrated its 10th-year anniversary. And to mark the occasion, it received shipments of more than 70,000 additional crop varieties from a total of 23 different institutions for it to store. This new shipment just about bumped up its number of stored seeds over the one million mark.

New menu item coming soon: Frankenmeat grown in a lab expected by the end of the year
Just when you thought the products sold on grocery store shelves couldn’t possibly deviate any further from the real food provided by nature, Frankenmeats grown in labs are poised to join the other engineered abominations at your local supermarket by the end of the year.

When will the West Wake Up to the Clear and Present Danger that is Barack Obama?
…Lucifer-like because God created us in His image, while Lucifer wanting people to be more like him, went out on a rampage in a good-versus-evil-battle that continues to the current day.

Breaking: Trump to Expel 60 Russian Diplomats from U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered 60 Russians diplomats to leave the country over Moscow’s alleged poising of an ex-spy in Britain.

School defends links to Muslim Brotherhood front group
School officials in San Diego are claiming they are immune to a lawsuit over their decision to allow a Muslim Brotherhood front group to gain “unprecedented power and influence” to the point of editing what is taught in classrooms.

Video: Candidate For Sheriff In N.C. Suggests KILLING Americans To Take Their Guns
A candidate running for the office of Sheriff in North Carolina was caught on video advocating all manner of anti- Second Amendment policies, including a suggestion that it is ok to murder Americans to take their firearms.

Protest Signs Admit Real Agenda Behind ‘March For Our Lives’
While the ‘march for our lives’ against gun violence was ostensibly about the effort to regulate so-called “assault weapons,” protest signs seen at the event betrayed its real agenda – the end of the Second Amendment, by force if necessary.


RenewAmerica Newsletter

March 26, 2018
Alan Keyes puts into context Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent demand
ALAN KEYES — According to the headline, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks that “rich donors should ‘starve’ the GOP into becoming liberal.” This statement may seem to be about controlling the so-called Republican Party. But, logically speaking, it means erasing the putative difference between the GOP and the Democratic Party. In the context of choices monopolized by one or the other of these parties, it means leaving grass-roots American voters who reject the God-hating, morally dissolute and politically tyrannical “liberal” (actually socialist and communist) agenda, with no choice that represents their good will…. (more)

March 26, 2018
BOB UNRUH — Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, or one of his designees, has been invited to testify before Congress on the issue of customers’ personal data, and there’s word that Parliament in the United Kingdom would like to have some questions answered. The Federal Trade Commission Monday announced its own investigation into the company’s data privacy practices, and a number of privacy groups have sued…. (more)

March 26, 2018
NEWSMAX — The Trump administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats on Monday and ordered Russia’s consulate in Seattle to close, as the United States and European nations sought to jointly punish Moscow for its alleged role in poisoning an ex-spy in Britain…. (more)

March 26, 2018
BYRON YORK — Lately Democrats have accused Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee of prematurely shutting down the Trump-Russia investigation without interviewing many key witnesses. The committee “obtained either no or incomplete information about 81 percent of the known contacts between Trump officials and Russians, or groups and individuals with strong Russia ties like WikiLeaks,” NBC reported Thursday…. (more)

March 25, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — The question was a reasonable one, but the answer was not. When the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program asked why President Trump had congratulated Russian president Vladimir Putin on being reelected, former CIA director John Brennan pulled no punches. In answering the leading question that implied Trump may be afraid of Putin, Brennan said, “The Russians may have something on him personally.” The Russians, he said, “have had long experience of Mr. Trump, and may have things they could expose.”… (more)

March 25, 2018

I LOVE MY FREEDON.ORG — On Friday night, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson ripped into the media’s obsession with Parkland survivor David Hogg, who has been calling for our guns to be taken away. This deranged young man has also received unending support from the media, which has given him a bigger platform to speak on…. (more)


March 25, 2018
‘The right to the carry and bear arms is what keeps America free’
WORLDNETDAILY — Apparently not all of America’s youngsters think guns should be banned. C.J. Pearson, a 15-year-old high-school sophomore, took to social media to make the case for the Second Amendment in a video that is going viral. “My generation is full of snowflakes who have been duped into believing that the 2nd amendment should be discarded so here’s a quick history lesson,” he tweeted in introducing his cogent comments #MarchForOurLives…. (more)

March 25, 2018

SF GATE — Switzerland hasn’t had a mass shooting since 2001, when a man stormed the local parliament in Zug, killing 14 people and then himself. The country has about 2 million privately owned guns in a nation of 8.3 million people. In 2016, the country had 47 homicides with firearms. The country’s overall murder rate is near zero…. (more)


March 25, 2018
NEWSMAX — “All you need to know why this was a bad bill is to look at the roll call,” a long-time Republican lobbyist emailed me Saturday, referring to the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending law. Of course, he’s right…. (more)

March 25, 2018

MIC — On YouTube, conservatives are thriving, with innumerable videos of right wing pundits like Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk “destroying social justice warriors” rack up millions of views. Meanwhile, right wing educational channels like PragerU dole out bite-sized lectures on why socialism isn’t as cool as the kids think. But perhaps none of YouTube’s reactionary thinkers and preachers are more effective and popular than Jordan Peterson…. (more)


March 25, 2018
BOB UNRUH — School officials in San Diego are claiming they are immune to a lawsuit over their decision to allow a Muslim Brotherhood front group to gain “unprecedented power and influence” to the point of editing what is taught in classrooms. They contend the complaint is “barred, in part, by principle of non-intervention into academic affairs, as the decisions at issue rested on bona fide academic judgments.”… (more)

March 24, 2018
SUSAN FERRECHIO — President Trump’s threat to veto the next “omnibus” spending bill is putting real pressure on Congress, for the first time in years, to reform a legislative spending process that has become so completely dysfunctional, few believe it can be fixed anytime soon…. (more)

March 24, 2018
Allows limited exceptions that Pentagon says won’t damage readiness or unit cohesion
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump moved late Friday to exclude most transgender persons from signing up for the U.S. military, after his defense and homeland security chiefs said they were worried about the armed forces’ ability to handle the different challenges the troops would bring. The decision replaces Mr. Trump’s earlier ban, announced last summer, with a more thoroughly justified and somewhat tailored approach…. (more)

March 24, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — If the national news media are going to exploit a bunch of grieving children, shouldn’t they be required to at least make it interesting? For more than a month we’ve been watching a handful of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors paraded across cable news and photographed for the front pages of magazines – – but the most we’ve learned about them is that they want “change” and for Congress to “do something” about gun violence. (Sounds specific.)… (more)

March 24, 2018
ART MOORE — In a Twitter dialogue with pro-lifers, a Planned Parenthood abortionist in Utah caused a social-media uproar when she explained that the unborn babies she kills “can’t scream,” because she cuts “the cord” first. Dr. Leah Torres, who works at Planned Parenthood’s Metro Health Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, is known for defending her practice on her blog and through media outlets, noted the pro-life group Live Action…. (more)

March 24, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The “lion of the Senate” is getting a posthumous close-up, and admirers of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy might not like what they see. “Chappaquiddick,” in theaters April 6, recalls the 1969 car accident in which Kennedy campaign strategist Mary Jo Kopechne died, casting a permanent shadow over his political career…. (more)

March 24, 2018
ART MOORE — NOAA has been exaggerating temperature measurements in the United States over the past century by as much as 2.5 degrees to maintain its belief that the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere is causing global warming, contends the publisher of a climate science website…. (more)

March 22, 2018
Congressman: ‘The way we negotiate in this institution is absolutely abominable’

GREG COROMBOS — The House of Representatives approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill Thursday that has fiscal conservatives fuming about the price tag and a process that left everyone but the leaders out in the cold. The House passed the bill 256-167, with 145 Republicans voting for the increased spending and 90 lining up against it. Among Democrats, 111 voted for it and 77 opposed it…. (more)


March 22, 2018

NEWSMAX — H.R. McMaster is out as President Trump’s national security adviser and will be succeeded by John Bolton. The long-rumored change was announced by Trump on Twitter on Thursday, the latest shakeup of senior staff at the White House in recent weeks…. (more)


March 22, 2018

WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — A House Intelligence Committee investigation of Russian election meddling has concluded that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper misled Congress about disclosing information to CNN. The committee’s final report on the investigation was approved on Thursday and now awaits an intelligence agency review…. (more)


March 22, 2018
NEW YORK TIMES — Sometimes we see him as other hotel guests would have seen him: as the tall gambler intent on the video poker machine across the casino floor, or as the customer standing in line in front of you at the gift shop, buying snacks, or as the guy you briefly glance at as he waits for you to get off the elevator – – polite, unhurried, unmemorable…. (more)

March 21, 2018

NATIONAL REVIEW — The suspect in the Austin bombings blew himself up in his car early Wednesday morning as a SWAT team began to close in on his vehicle. Police used cell-phone technology to track the serial bomber to a hotel in the Round Rock vicinity after investigating suspicious store receipts and obtaining a warrant to scour his Google search history…. (more)


March 21, 2018

ART MOORE — “Devastated” and “broken” relatives of suspected Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt expressed shock that he was behind the deadly attacks over the past three weeks, saying they had “no idea of the darkness” he was in. Conditt, 23, blew himself up in his car in Round Rock, Texas, Wednesday morning as authorities closed in on him…. (more)


March 21, 2018
‘6th-graders? 6th-graders? When do 6th-graders make decisions?’
WORLDNETDAILY — A California father is boiling mad, demanding to know who authorized 12-year-old children to walk out of their middle-school classes for an anti-gun protest last week. The father, identified as John Gunn, videotaped his confrontation with Anacapa Middle School Principal Barbara Boggio, with the Ventura Unified School District in Ventura, California. He posted the video on Facebook after young kids left class last Wednesday for the National School Walkout. Gunn said the school never told him that the students would be allowed to leave class…. (more)

March 21, 2018

CBS – SACRAMENTO — Last week they protested gun violence. This week, Rocklin High School students are using social media to organize a pro-life walkout using the hashtag #life. “To honor all the lives of aborted babies pretty much. All the millions of aborted babies every year,” said organizer Brandon Gillespie…. (more)

Mid-Day Snapshot

Mar. 27, 2018

Trump Plays Putin With Expulsion of Diplomats

The U.S. expels 60 Russian diplomats for poisoning ex-spy in the UK. It’s a shot across the bow.

The Foundation

“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it.” —George Washington (1793)


March for Our Lives Says Gov’t Is Our Savior — It’s Not

(Michael Anthony – FaithZette) Be very aware of what this movement is about — and how many of our freedoms are under threat

Let’s get something straight quickly, as the March for Our Lives events all across the country on Saturday, March 24, 2018, continue to spur discussion and debate: It’s not the federal government’s job to create freedom, but rather to get out of the way and let freedom happen.

Freedom comes from God, not the government.

More and more, the federal government appears to be replacing God — and so many people seem to love it.

We’ve kicked God out of schools, off football fields, out of bakeries and nearly every aspect of life, while replacing Him with more and more, and bigger and bigger, government.

Americans should be up in arms and on our knees over the vilification of God. Instead, this past Saturday, thousands marched in Washington and in cities around our nation, insisting that the government, not God, should save us.

Our nation is sick, and we don’t even realize it.

(Must watch video on the site)

On the one hand, we should be glad that students and others are concerned about violence with guns. Clearly, we can and must do much better when it comes to background checks, mental health checks, and enforcing our existing laws. On the other hand, it should concern us that an underlying objective of the March for Our Lives event was to advance the far Left’s agenda to disarm every American who isn’t part of the federal government or local law enforcement.

Not good.

The purity of Saturday’s march has been undermined. The movement is no longer organic (it likely wasn’t from the start). Many people don’t realize that former president Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action (OFA) was involved in the planning, publicizing and organizing of Saturday’s march — and on the website, you’ll see in big, bright letters, “Commit to vote.”

(Vote for what, you may ask? Or, rather, vote against what? Well, what do you think?)View article →


Headlines – 3/27/2018

Planning body waives building permit for US embassy construction work

At least 3,000 prisoners eligible for pardon in honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary

IDF Intel Chief Warns Of Palestinian ‘Explosion’ Ahead Of Israeli Independence Day

Hamas: Palestinians will not give up ‘one inch of Palestine’

German FM urges Palestinians ‘not to tear down bridges’

Israel thanks US for ‘record-breaking’ missile defense aid

$1 million worth of Iron Dome missiles fired at nothing due to ‘oversensitivity’

Iron Dome malfunction embarrasses Israel as Hamas seeks missile defense system’s vulnerability

Hamas’s ‘defensive’ drill seen as a warning to Israel, Abbas, and Trump

IDF nabs 3 armed Gazans near army base 20 kilometers from border

Israel needs to pay for damage to Gaza facilities, UN says

As Abbas blows out 83 candles, Palestinians left grasping for heir

Israeli settlers occupy Palestinian home in Hebron

Investigators again question Netanyahu over graft cases

Senators urge Poland to reconsider Holocaust restitution law

Johan van Hulst, Dutch politician who saved hundreds of Jewish children during Holocaust, dies at 107

Holocaust memorial again defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti

Two charged with anti-Semitic murder of French Holocaust survivor

Germany’s Jewish community fears anti-Semitic bullying in schools

2,000-year-old coins from ‘great revolt’ discovered in time for Passover

Police: No special domestic terror warnings for Passover

Germany and France to Netanyahu: Sanctioning Iran’s missile program better than altering nuclear deal

White House: If it’s not changed, Trump prepared to ‘potentially’ exit Iran deal

Informant provided FBI evidence Russia aided Iran nuclear program during Obama years

Iran’s Mideast actions growing bolder, intelligence chief warns

Nasrallah: Saudis offered Syria cash to cut ties with Iran

UN: War crimes evidence in Syria ‘overwhelming,’ not all can be pursued

Displaced Kurds from Afrin need help, activist says

US official: We support the right of our ally Saudi Arabia to defend itself

With first death in Riyadh, the Saudi-led war in Yemen hits home

Council of Pakistani Scholars: Time to eradicate Houthis, ‘cut off Iranian hands’

UAE says Qatari fighter jets buzzed civilian aircraft

Kim Jong Un Is Making a Surprise China Visit, Sources Say

Russian shopping mall fire kills 64; no alarms reported

Trapped schoolchildren called their parents from burning Russian mall – to say goodbye

Tragedy in Kemerovo: victims were sure that it was terrorist attack and they were taken hostage

Authorities not considering terrorist act as possible cause of Siberian shopping mall fire

Putin Blasts ‘Criminal Negligence’ Behind Deadly Shopping Mall Fire, Amid Rising Public Anger

UK PM May: More than 130 people could have been exposed in Salisbury nerve attack

US, allies band together to expel Russians over spy case

Trump orders expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats, closure of consulate in Seattle

14 EU states expelled Russian diplomats over UK spy attack

Iceland suspends high-level contacts with Russia

Russia warns of retaliation after at least 100 diplomats expelled worldwide

Russia says ‘powerful forces’ in US and Britain behind Salisbury attack

Wess Mitchell: Russia shows pattern of intolerable aggressive behavior

American who escaped Al Qaeda captivity says FBI, under Mueller and Comey, betrayed him

Watch it, Facebook: new EU data rules may have broad impact

Facebook’s FTC probe rocked the stock. But will anything rein in Facebook?

Did Facebook’s ‘favors’ for the Obama campaign constitute a violation of federal law?

Illinois county sues Facebook for fraud

Pep Boys suspends Facebook ads after data security breach

Work email ban after hours in New York City may become law

Aadhaar: Is India’s biometric ID scheme hurting the poor?

Twitter bans cryptocurrency ads on fraud fears

Mnuchin: Trump will impose China tariffs, not worried about recent market losses

Dow posts biggest one-day point gain since 2008

Dow surges 669 points as trade war fears cool

Dow’s 670-point surge belies fact that stock market is on the brink of an absolute breakdown

Wall Street bonuses jump 17% to precrisis levels

Remington seeks bankruptcy protection as gun sales appear to continue decline

Rocker who survived Paris attack says gun control marchers ‘exploiting’ victims

Multiple suspicious packages sent to DC-area military and intelligence installations

Roberts: Ducey, the governor who brought us self-driving cars, now suspends Uber testing

Yes, a Chinese space station is about to plummet to Earth. Here’s why you don’t need to freak out

Strange cloud formation over western Arizona turns heads

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Iwo Jima, Japan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Suwanosejima volcano on Japan erupts to 12,000ft

Aoba volcano on Vanuatu erupts to 12,000ft

India: Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata on alert for dangerous heat wave this week

The Paris Climate Accords Are Looking More and More Like Fantasy

Flint mayor diverted water-crisis money to political PAC, suit says

Dentist threatens to report mom for not making appointment for kids’ 7 fillings

As antibiotics fail, global consumption of antibiotics skyrockets, further driving drug resistance

NYC sees largest increase in tuberculosis cases in 26 years

Meet Pakistan’s first transgender news anchor

LGBT Activists Target Trump’s Pro-Life Christian Delegate at UN, Label Her ‘Anti-Trans’

Stormy Daniels files defamation suit against Trump attorney Michael Cohen

Trump’s Sexual History Could Imperil Him If He Testifies

Machete-wielding man tried to kidnap children at Walmart

Apostasy Watch

Pope Francis Says His Words ‘Overrule The Bible’

The Roman Catholic Mass Exposed by the Scriptures!

Come Out From Them and Be Separate

Mark Chironna Taunts John MacArthur and Says the Future Belongs to Charismatics and Tongue Talkers

Bethel Redding’s Liturgical Prayer to the God of Mammon

Bill Gothard & IBLP  – Another Member Of The Duggar Family Church Comes Forward To Detail Shocking Abuse, According To ‘In Touch’

Megachurch Pastor Michael A. Walrond Jr. Says Saying You’re Going to Hell if You Don’t Believe in Jesus Is ‘Insanity,’

Mother Crashed Into Pole To Prove To Her Kids God Is Real, Police Say

LBGT Activist rewrites ‘Little Women’ to make main character lesbian

NC County Sheriff Candidate Suggests He’s Fine With Killing People To Confiscate Their Guns……and the crowd seems to agree

Russia and China eclipse US in hypersonic missiles, Prompting fears

Posted: 27 Mar 2018 06:17 AM PDT

Russia and China eclipse US in hypersonic missiles, Prompting fearsRussia and China are outpacing the United States in the development of super-fast missile technology, Pentagon officials and key lawmakers are warning.  Russia says it successfully tested a so-called hypersonic missile this month, while China tested a similar system last year expected to enter service soon.  “Right now, we’re helpless,” Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in advocating for more investment in hypersonics, along with missile defense.

Hypersonics are generally defined as missiles that can fly more than five times the speed of sound. Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, last week described a hypersonic as a missile that starts out “like a ballistic missile, but then it depresses the trajectory and then flies more like a cruise missile or an airplane. So it goes up into the low reaches of space, and then turns immediately back down and then levels out and flies at a very high level of speed.”  READ MORE

Utah Legalizes ‘Free-Range Parenting’

Posted: 27 Mar 2018 06:09 AM PDT

Utah Legalizes ‘Free-Range Parenting’In a “common-sense” move Friday, Utah Governor Gary Herbert made his state the first to legalize a controversial practice known as “free-range parenting” that previously led to the arrest of a number of parents for negligence.  Herbert signed into law bill SB65, which becomes effective on May 8. It will now allow a child — “whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm” — to travel alone to and from school or recreational facilities by

walking, running, or biking, play outside or engage in another independent activity, and sit in a car unattended, under reasonably safe conditions. Allowing a child to engage in such independent activities will no longer be counted as “neglect.”  The bill also allows a parent or guardian “legitimately practicing religious beliefs” to “not provide specified medical treatment for a child.”  “I feel strongly about the issue because we have become so over-the-top when ‘protecting’ children that we are refusing to let them learn the lessons of self-reliance and problem-solving that they will need to be successful as adults,” Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, who sponsored the bill, told Yahoo Lifestyle.  READ MORE

Canadian Street Preacher Arrested on Accusation He Made Homophobic Comments in London

Posted: 27 Mar 2018 06:04 AM PDT

Canadian Street Preacher Arrested on Accusation He Made Homophobic Comments in LondonA Canadian Christian street preacher and nondenominational ministry leader was reportedly arrested and detained for over 20 hours in the United Kingdom last week after he was accused of making homophobic comments.  Preacher David Lynn was released from the Fresh Wharf Custody Base in East London last Wednesday without charge after he was detained a day earlier because of accusations that he called a lesbian woman “perverse” and “sinful” while preaching at a train station in Barking.

Lynn, who pastors at a church in Toronto, Canada, and has preached in the streets for 22 years, leads an organization called Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries with churches in Canada, the United States and the U.K.  According to the Christian organization that provided the legal representation to Lynn, he began preaching at the Barking station around 3:30 p.m. last Tuesday, where he was joined by a group of supporters. READ MORE

RED DAWN RISING? Kim Jong Un Makes a Surprise Visit to China

Posted: 27 Mar 2018 05:49 AM PDT

RED DAWN RISING? Kim Jong Un Makes a Surprise Visit to ChinaKim Jong Un made a surprise visit to Beijing on his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011, three people with knowledge of the visit said.  Further details of his trip, including how long Kim would stay and who he would meet, were not immediately available. The people asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information. Speculation about a possible visit by a high-ranking North Korean official circulated around the Chinese capital Monday, after Japan’s Kyodo News

reported that a special train may have carried Kim through the northeastern border city of Dandong. Nippon TV showed footage of a train arriving Monday in Beijing that looked similar to one used by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, to visit the country shortly before his death in 2011. The train believed to be carrying the North Korean delegation was observed Tuesday leaving Beijing, Reuters reported, citing a witness.  READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Leaked Images Allegedly Show US Military Tanks Arriving In Jordan

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 05:26 PM PDT

DEVELOPING: Leaked Images Allegedly Show US Military Tanks Arriving In JordanSyrian government forces have now secured most of the eastern Ghouta enclave, the last remaining rebel-held area near Damascus, the capital and the largest city of the Syrian Arab Republic. With Syrian forces nearing full control of the war-torn region, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley recently warned, Washington “remains prepared to act if we must,” if the United Nations

Security Council fails to act on Syria for its assault on eastern Ghouta. Last week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov commented on the critical situation in eastern Ghouta and called on Washington to completely abandon its plans for a military strike against Syrian government forces.  READ MORE

Scientists baffled after 49 dolphins wash up dead on beach

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 05:22 PM PDT

Scientists baffled after 49 dolphins wash up dead on beachScientists have been left baffled after 61 short-beaked dolphins were found washed ashore on a beach resort in Argentina.  The aquatic mammals were found stranded in Puerto Medryn, an Argentinian city in northern Patagonia.  According to local authorities, 49 died on the coast of the El Doradillo Protected Natural Area, while the remaining 12 were saved and returned to the sea alive.  They were discovered by a couple walking around the coastal area who noticed a higher than a normal number of

birds on the beach. When they realized they were pecking at scored of dolphins, they immediately alerted the coastal authorities.   The operation was led by Mariano Coscarella and Silvana Dans, two scientists from the Marine Mammal Laboratory for the Study of Marine Systems. Mr Coscarella said: “It is the first case of marine mammals being stranded in this region, therefore it is an unprecedented situation.”  READ MORE

 

Malaysia government proposes 10 years in jail for ‘fake news’…

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 05:14 PM PDT

Malaysia government proposes 10 years in jail for ‘fake news’…Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government tabled a bill in parliament on Monday outlawing “fake news”, with hefty fines and up to 10 years in jail, raising more concern about media freedom in the wake of a multi-billion dollar graft scandal.  The bill was tabled ahead of a general election that is expected to be called within weeks and as Najib faces widespread criticism over the scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Under the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, anyone who publishes so-called fake news could face fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($128,140), up to 10 years in jail, or both.  “The proposed Act seeks to safeguard the public against the proliferation of fake news whilst ensuring the right to freedom of speech and expression under the Federal Constitution is respected,” the government said in the bill. READ MORE

Putin ready to make ‘FINAL DECISION’ in chilling warning to Britain

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 05:10 PM PDT

Putin ready to make ‘FINAL DECISION’ in chilling warning to BritainVladimir Putin has warned he is ready to make the “final decision” on how Russia will respond to the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from the West.  Putin’s spokesman warned a decision taken by western states to expel Russian diplomats is a “mistake” following the booting out of 129 across the world – including 60 from the US.  The Kremlin branded the move “provocative” and putting the world

on a “confrontational path”. Russia now waits as Putin – who was elected to serve as president for another six years last Sunday – readies to make the “final decision” on how his nation will respond to the West. It comes amid the deepening row between the UK and Moscow over the attempted murder of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal. Britain is being backed by other NATO and EU powers over its claim that it is “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the attack on Skripal and his daughter Yulia using military grade nerve agent Novichok. READ MORE

 

DEVELOPING: Multiple Pilots separately report seeing UFO in Arizona skies…

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 04:47 PM PDT

DEVELOPING: Multiple Pilots separately report seeing UFO in Arizona skies…Pilots flying on two separate aircraft reported seeing an unidentified flying object over Arizona last month.   The incident took place over southern Arizona around 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 24 between the New Mexico border and the Sonoran Desert National Monument, which is about 40 miles from Phoenix.  The Drive reported that one witness, a commercial pilot flying a jet for American Airlines, said the

object was above 40,000 feet and had a big reflection.  “I don’t know what it was,” the pilot told Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center. “It wasn’t an airplane but it was … the path was going in the opposite direction.”   Air traffic control told an aircraft on a similar flight path to let him know if anything passes over him in the next few miles. A few minutes later, the pilot confirmed that something passed over his aircraft. READ MORE

Largest increase in TB cases reported in NYC in quarter century…

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 04:43 PM PDT

Largest increase in TB cases reported in NYC in quarter century…The number of tuberculosis cases in New York City suddenly jumped by 10 percent last year — the largest increase since 1992, according to the Health Department.  TB is a highly infectious bacterial disease that largely attacks the lungs, but can also infect and spread to other organs, including the kidneys, spine or brain. There were 613 reported cases in 2017, compared to 556 in 2016. TB has been

on the decline in the city since peaking at 3,811 cases in 1992. In an alert to medical professionals Monday, the Health Department offered no explanation for the surge. People at high risk for TB include substance abusers and people with HIV. The alert urges doctors to test high-risk patients for TB. Chest imaging is used to see if someone tests positive for the disease. Symptoms include fever, coughing and coughing up blood, night sweats and weight loss.  READ MORE

 

CDC warns of second wave of flu virus…

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 04:38 PM PDT

CDC warns of second wave of flu virus…Flu season is winding down, but the Centers for Disease Control is warning of a second wave, Flu Virus B, which is happening right now.  The CDC says that B-viruses are being reported more frequently than the A-strain, which had been more dominant recently. A CDC spokesperson says B-strain viruses tend to be more severe for younger children. Experts say it’s possible for those who have already been sick

with the flu to fall ill again with a different strain later in the season. In New York, flu cases have declined for the fourth straight week, according to the New York Department of Health. There have been more than 3,000 new cases of the flu reported this week. That’s down 19 percent from last week. Hospitalizations are down 29 percent over the same period.  READ MORE

Thousands March for ‘Eternal Life’ in Palm Sunday Rally

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 04:32 PM PDT

Thousands March for ‘Eternal Life’ in Palm Sunday RallyWhile “March for Our Lives” demonstrations across the country dominated news coverage over the weekend, thousands of Christians marched through the streets of downtown Dallas on Sunday night to send the message that the one true answer to gun violence in the United States can be found in God. Marchers in First Baptist Dallas’ “March for Eternal Life” carried a giant illuminated cross from the

12,000-member megachurch down to Klyde Warren Park in the heart of the city, where it was firmly erected to commemorate Palm Sunday. Although 2018 is the second year that the church has held the event to commemorate the beginning of Holy Week, Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress told The Christian Post that there was more enthusiasm for this year’s march in light of the demonstrations that occurred across the country Saturday.  READ MORE

Packages with explosive material sent to DC military installations

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 04:27 PM PDT

Packages with explosive material sent to DC military installationsMultiple suspicious packages containing explosive material were sent to at least three military installations in the Washington, D.C. area, a senior defense official told Fox News Monday.  Officials told Fox 5 DC a suspicious package was received at the National Defense University on Fort McNair in Southwest Washington D.C. at around 8:30 a.m. The building was evacuated and an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team from Fort Belvoir, Va. examined the package, which tested positive for black

powder and residue.  An X-ray of the package indicated a suspected GPS and an expedient fuse were attached, Army officials said. The package later was rendered safe. At approximately 11 a.m., Naval Support Facility Dahlgren in King George County, Va. also received a suspicious package that was found to be safe, officials said. Later in the day, officials at Fort Belvoir said they had also received a suspicious package, but it was rendered safe. READ MORE


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Wretched Radio 03/26/2018

•Stoning school shooters
•Why must marches happen in Washington D.C.?
•People want sin more than solutions
•Christianity as the Default worldview is gone in Europe
•Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? No!
•The Austin bomber was homeschooled and the Christian Post makes it a big deal
•Suicide rates are up, and religion is the answerDownload Now (right click and save)

The post 03/26/2018 appeared first on Wretched.

Don’t Waste Your Western Comforts

Proverbs 30:7-9 presents a way to pray for your financial state. It says,

Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.

It might sound difficult to pray for a seemingly mediocre life, to have nothing more and nothing less than your needs met by God. But if your heart cares most about God’s glory, and being on middle ground prevents you from the temptation to profane it, then perhaps it’s best to make this request, leaving your wealth in God’s hands.

Lord, give me neither poverty nor riches.

You don’t want to get to the point of having so much that you forget God and your need for him, denying him because your hands and belly are full. On the contrary, you don’t want to get to the point of desperation where you steal and profane his name, trying to gain things you need apart from his help.

Now, if you live in the Western world, you most likely aren’t poor. The poor live on less than $2 a day, and only 2% of people in the U.S. fit into this category. On a global scale, most Americans make up either the upper-middle income or high income. And many Americans who are classified as “poor” by the U.S. government would be middle income globally (Pew Research Center). The world calls you rich.

Consequently, the possession of Western comforts tends to tempt Christians in two ways.

Two Possible Temptations for the Comfortable

1. Guilt

Because you possess western comforts, Satan tempts you with guilt. You know the statistics. You see the faces of the children in your Compassion International letters. You’ve been to places in Africa or India, helping treat diseases, assisting the reconstruction of a home, digging wells for clean water, and seeing children beg. You’ve felt the dirt, smelled the stink, heard the cries.


How can you use what comforts God has given you to the praise and glory of his name?
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With guilt you drink Dasani water, sitting on your couch, eating takeout, with a bowl of ice cream to follow. You give away old clothes, hoping to provide for someone who needs them more than you. You sponsor children in developing countries, longing for their health and a smile. Guilt remains.

I have too much.

2. Thanklessness

Because you possess Western comforts, Satan tempts you with thanklessness. You forget about the rest of the world. You’re used to the clothes in your closet. You easily acquire a new piece of clothing if needed or wanted. When hungry, you open the fridge and make a choice. You wake up in a comfortable bed, get the house cleaned, run your errands, pay every bill—all with little or no gratitude.

You do whatever you please with all that you have—perhaps wanting more. Gratitude disappears.

I have, but I want more.

Fight Temptation with Prayer

Christians in the Western world who pray Proverbs 30:7-9 wholeheartedly will see the powerful temptation of guilt and thanklessness decrease. Why?

Your petition for God to keep you from poverty and hold back riches lies before him (1 John 5:14-15). He hears you, and he will do according to his will, as he promises.


Consider yourself rich, you who have Christ, and don’t waste your comforts.
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Your heart will no longer be discontent with too much, wishing for more. Likewise, your heart will no longer be discontent with not having enough. You don’t have to feel guilty, either, because you know his provision is not based on your deserving, but on his desire to give.

You’re asking not to be hungry, yet not full either. You want the middle ground—enough.

And since you know it’s God—the Ultimate Giver—who chooses to give whatever he pleases to you, you trust that whatever you have comes from his will.

Seek God’s Glory

You may pray for just enough, but find God answers your prayer in a different way. You ask him to keep you from poverty, but you struggle to pay the bills or to feed your family. Close to the poverty line, you sit.

Lord, let me not steal and profane the name of my God, as I experience need.

Or you may pray for just enough, but God continues to bless you with more than you need. Much more than necessities, you have the opportunity to acquire.

Lord, as you’ve filled me, let me not deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”

Whether you claim poverty, live close to it, have enough money, or an overabundance, seek to glorify God’s name and to acknowledge him. The most significant aspect of a prayer like this one in Proverbs lies not in what’s given to you—or not—but in how your heart responds to the giving of the Giver.

Will you profane his name? Will you deny him?

Or will you seek him in your need, and thank him in your abundance?

Perhaps we should pray, “Lord, ‘feed me with the food that is needful for me’ (Proverbs 30:8). Whatever it is that you give, may my heart respond in a way that is pleasing to you. May I bring glory to your name.”

Deploy Your Gifts

Through prayer, flee the temptation to want more or less of the comforts God gives you, that such desire may not cause you to sin. Pray that he gives you neither poverty nor riches, but ask for all your needs to be met.

Instead, use and deploy what you have to his glory. Seek to honor and glorify God with a heart of contentment and praise for what he has given.

God sovereignly gives to each person what he desires (Matthew 20:1-16). Consider what you have. How can you use what comforts he’s given you—whether little or abundant—to the praise and glory of his name? Perhaps you can open your home, provide meals or clothing to others, give rides to someone without a car, or share the gospel with those you meet.

Consider yourself rich, you who have Christ, and don’t waste your comforts. Do not only impart goods to the poor, or anyone in need, but give the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord—the most necessary possession made available to all mankind.

[Photo Credit: Pexels]

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The post Don’t Waste Your Western Comforts appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

How to Go from Fearful to Forgiven – John MacArthur

Terrified of Sin

Isaiah 53 has to be the best news for sinners. All of us are sinners. All of us should feel the weight of guilt. It seems to be popular nowadays to make sure nobody feels guilty. True preaching and teaching wants to make the sinner feel guilty.

Beyond that, part of the role of the preacher and believers who give witness to Christ is to terrify sinners. There’s an interesting idea. We are to say what Paul said: “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

Where is the terrifying of sinners because they are guilty? The penalty of that is eternal punishment in hell. That’s what every sinner should feel.

God punished him for the sins of all who will ever believe in him.

We’re not talking about psychological guilt. We’re talking about real guilt for having rebelled against a holy God. We’re talking about the corruption and impurity that is profoundly embedded in every human being’s heart. Every sinner should feel the full weight of that guilt.

The Hope of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit works to that end, convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement. To the convicted sinner, Isaiah 53 is the best news you could ever hear.

He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. That is the greatest news. That’s why the gospel is the good news. He took our place. God punished him for the sins of all who will ever believe in him.

Since he took the sins that were ours and bore the punishment in full, you don’t need to continue to feel guilty about your sins. You don’t want to be comfortable with your sins, but you don’t want to have some kind of terrifying guilt because they’re all paid for if you’re in Christ.


6 things every Christian needs to know about sanctification

“What could an unsanctified man do in Heaven, if by any chance he got there? Let that question be fairly looked in the face and fairly answered. No man can possibly be happy in a place where he is not in his element and where all around him is not congenial to his tastes, habits and character.” –J. C. Ryle

Though oft-neglected, understanding sanctification is vital for a thriving Christian life. Those of us who have been walking with Christ for any length of time recognize that the work of sanctification is slow. There is no insta-sanctification or seven steps to become successfully sanctified. It is slow, with many twists and turns. It’s also deeply personal as we each have different areas of life in which the Spirit is working. Sanctification is also a highly corporate project as well. The “us” of sanctification is just as important as the “I” within the Christian life.

1. Sanctification takes place in two parts

Sanctification is the cooperative work of God and Christians (Phil. 2:12–13) by which ongoing transformation into greater Christlikeness occurs. Such maturing transpires particularly through the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3: 18; Gal. 5: 16– 23) and the Word of God (John 17: 17). Sanctification is not about perfection, but persistence. Fighting sin is a lifelong endeavor. The believer cooperates with the Holy Spirit working in them, their works being an expression of gratitude for their salvation. Sanctification, therefore, begins at the moment of conversion.

The Bible gives us two ways of understanding this doctrine. First, sanctification is definitive. This is God’s work of setting believers apart from non-believers. Even the newest believer who trusts in Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross is considered a “saint” (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2). In this sense, Christians are “sanctified” in the present (1 Cor. 6:11), “dead to sin” (Rom. 6:11), “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20), and similar definitive (past-tense) statements. When we trust in Christ by faith we are set apart in Christ and considered to be saints based on the work of Christ for us.

Sanctification is also progressive. This active growth proceeds from the life we live by faith in Jesus Christ. Continuing to trust in the finished work of Christ, we grow in Christlikeness by cooperating with the Holy Spirit in seeking to live more faithfully in accordance with God’s word.

2. Sanctification is hard

Sounds easy right?

Regrettably, there is no silver bullet to sanctification. In Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification, Gerhard O. Forde says our sanctification is “simply the art of getting used to justification.” While this may look good on a coffee cup or Pinterest board, it’s far from that simple.

Without a doubt, justification is a beautiful doctrine, but it is not the sum of the Christian life. All biblical doctrines are necessary for understanding our life in Christ. All the Scriptures are vital for the Christian. All of Jesus and his work is necessary, not just a part of him. Thus, the Christian faith, with all its rich theological reflection and truth, is best understood in light of our union with Christ. This essential truth of the Christian faith provides a framework for all of the Christian life.

At every turn of the Christian life, we must remember the distinction between the objective achievement of Christ’s work in redeeming us from sin and death, and the subjective response of such work by faith through the Spirit. Sanctification, in tandem with other crucial facets of faith, is simply one aspect of our union with Christ.

3. Sanctification happens because we’re united to Christ

Here’s a helpful way to understand our sanctification in light of our union with Christ: sanctification is part recognizing that our redemption has been accomplished by Christ, and part realizing that our redemption is being applied by the Spirit. We are in Christ by faith, and he is in us by the power of the Spirit. Scripture gives us numerous snapshots of what this looks like:

  • Ephesians 1:3—“In him we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21—“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. . . . For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
  • Romans 8:10—“If Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
  • Galatians 2:20—“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

Lest you think sanctification is simply an exercise in theological research, hear the words of noted theologian Sinclair Ferguson, “Of all the doctrines surrounding the Christian life this, one of the profoundest, is also one of the most practical in its effects” (Ferguson, The Christian Life, 114).

When we understand the profound nature of our union with Jesus, then we begin to see the immense riches available to us for our growth in godliness. Sanctification therefore is multifaceted and meets every one of us exactly where we are on our journey of becoming more like our Savior. Though they may be similar, no two roads of sanctification are alike.

4. Sanctification is different for everyone

We are unique human beings who have been affected by the fall in unique ways. Though we all suffer from the same disease, our symptoms are often different. We all have need of the Great Physician, but his remedies are as unique as the ones whom he created. Though sanctification is deeply personal, we must remember that the Alpha and Omega of sanctification is Christ himself.

The first spark of justifying faith sets us apart as “holy ones” of God and simultaneously lights the first flame of our growth in Christlikeness. All tributaries of the Spirit’s subjective application of Jesus’s objective work flow into this one source: to know, enjoy, delight in, and adore Jesus Christ for all time.

In his recent book, How Does Sanctification Work?, David Powlison gives us five factors towards our sanctification:

  1. God. “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13)
  2. Truth. The truth of God’s word taught, sung, preached, studied, and read is one of the surest means by which the Spirit brings about change in our lives
  3. Wise people. God mediates our change “through the gifts and graces of brothers and sisters in Christ.”
  4. Suffering and struggle. Though we don’t relish it, suffering and struggles work towards our growth in Christlikeness. Difficulties prompt us to rely on God. Writes Powlison: “People change because something is hard, not because it goes well . . . Struggles force us to need God.”
  5. You change. Scripture calls us to actively believe, obey, trust, seek, love, confess, praise, and take refuge. We are not passive. The mystery of faith is that we are 100% responsible, yet 100% dependent on outside help.

How these factors play out in each of our lives may look drastically different. The Spirit is at work, applying the objective work of Christ, yet that work touches us all differently. While journeying towards the same goal, each believer will have a distinct path which they will tread.

5. Sanctification is a community project

Though sanctification is personal, it is also deeply corporate. Christians are called into a body, a group of other believers, in order to experience the work of the Spirit in our lives together. Christ died for a people. Apart from the body of Christ, sanctification is impossible. This is the way God designed the Christian life.

There is no such thing as a growing Christian apart from an active life in the body of Christ. This is so because a clear evidence of sanctification is that we are thinking of Christ and others more than ourselves. When we are not overly preoccupied with ourselves then we can rest assured that our sanctification is progressing. Our sanctification is intimately bound up in our love for and service to others. Those who are in Christ are forgiven sinners, sufferers who find shelter from life’s storms, and saints in process. And, we are in this together.

6. Sanctification is slow

Sanctification is a slow work. There are numerous reasons for this. I conclude with two. First, we can resist the work of the Spirit. Again, one factor of our sanctification is ourselves. Therefore, when we defy the Spirit’s work, Scripture calling that “quenching” the Spirit. Another way to say this is that through our stubbornness we effectively snuff out the flame of the Spirit in our lives. The result of such “quenching” (cf. 1 Thess. 5:19) may lead to a season of spiritual dryness.

Second, there is no part of our human existence unaffected by the fall. Our bodies, minds, emotions, relationships, and more have all been spoiled by the decay of sin. Thus, to find healing and restoration is a lifelong process. Though slow, this process of sanctification is good, because it gives us numerous opportunities to lean upon God and see him consistently glorified in our lives.

Like a spouse for whom our affection grows the more we see their beauty, so too is our relationship with God as we grow in our sanctification.

The post 6 things every Christian needs to know about sanctification appeared first on Southern Equip.

Can we trust the politically correct, radically leftist FBI to protect the public?

WINTERY KNIGHT

The politically correct FBI fails and fails and fails again The politically correct FBI fails and fails and fails again

Wow, I can remember back 10 years ago when my opinion of the FBI was that they were the morally good law enforcement agency. Now it seems that the only thing they are good at is demonizing Christians and conservatives, committing adultery with each other, covering up for corrupt Democrats, and collecting fat taxpayer-funded pensions.

We know that the FBI failed miserably to follow up on public death threats made by the Florida school shooter under his own real name. Apparently, this might have been due to the fact that the shooter was non-white, and law enforcement became very politically correct under the past Democrat administration. They certainly don’t want to make Muslim terrorists a priority.

Michelle Malkin explains:

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by the Palm Beach County police, 17-year-old Corey Johnson bought a knife last…

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Tuesday: The Arrival of the King

By James Boice on Mar 27, 2018 01:00 am

In thinking about how to summarize the person and work of Christ, the Protestant reformers used a very handy and concise tool for doing just that. It was comprehensive because the reformers were thoughtful men and they went back into both the Old Testament and the New Testament to do it. And it was biblical because it was expressed in the Bible’s own language.

Read more…

March 27, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Sacrifice

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (13:15–16)

Sacrifice was extremely important to the Jew. It was God’s provision for cleansing of sin under the Old Covenant. Many Christian Jews were no doubt wondering if God required any kind of sacrifice under the New Covenant. They knew Christ offered the one and only sacrifice for sin. But they were used to many kinds of sacrifice, and perhaps God still demanded some offering, some sacrifice, even of Christians.

Yes, He does, they are told. He demands the sacrifice of our praise and of our good works in His name. He demands sacrifice not in the form of a ritual or ceremony, but in word and in deed—in our praise of Him and in our service to others.

in word

God no longer wants sacrifices of grain or animals. He wants only the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. The psalmists knew a great deal about this sort of sacrifice. If their writings could be characterized by any single word it would be praise. “I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High” (Ps. 7:17). “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him” (43:5). “I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord, among the peoples; and I will sing praises to Thee among the nations” (108:3). All of the last five psalms begin with “Praise the Lord,” which in Hebrew is hallelujah. The sacrifice God desires is the cry of our lips in praise to Him.

The Christian’s sacrifice of praise is to be offered continually. It is not to be a fair-weather offering, but an offering in every circumstance. “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

in deed

John warns us that “the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). In other words, if our praise of God in word is not accompanied by doing good and sharing, it is not acceptable to Him. Worship involves action that honors God.

Isaiah gave a similar warning to Israel. When the people asked God, “Why have we fasted and Thou dost not see?” the Lord replied, “Is this not the fast which I chose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isa. 58:3, 6–7).

Praise of God in word and deed are inseparable. Lip service must be accompanied by life service. “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). The only acceptable sacrifice we can offer to God with our hands is to do good to one another, to share, to minister in whatever ways we can to the needs of others in His name. “Little children,” John says, “let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).[1]


A Sacrifice of Praise

Hebrews 13:15–19

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Heb. 13:15)

Often a single verse captures the message of a book of the Bible, especially one of the New Testament epistles. The Book of Romans gives its theme up front, in one of the Bible’s great statements: “In [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’ ” (Rom. 1:17). The message of Galatians is succinctly given in 2:16, “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.” First John 2:3 gives the message of that letter: “We know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” If we were to pick a single verse to synthesize the Book of Hebrews, it might well be the first verse from our passage in this chapter: “Through him,” that is, Jesus, “let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.”

Sacrificial Living

Unlike Romans or Galatians, Hebrews is not focused on the doctrine of justification. It certainly agrees with that great teaching, and even advances beyond it. But as William Newell accurately states:

The subject of Hebrews is not our justification, not our being delivered from condemnation: but our being brought into the glad company who are worshiping and praising God, Christ leading this worship.… In Hebrews as in no other book, is set forth a believing human being left here for a few years of pilgrim existence as to earth, but really occupied with Heaven, with the throne there … with the Great High Priest there, Jesus, the Son of God.

This can be demonstrated by a brief summary of the book’s contents. No sooner does chapter 1 establish the supremacy of Christ than chapter 2 gives Jesus his main designation in this book, the forerunner or pioneer of our salvation (2:10; 12:2). This is what Hebrews teaches about Christ, that he goes before us, blazing the trail we are to follow into the presence of God, removing every obstacle, satisfying every requirement, actually bringing all those he saves as worshipers before the Father in heaven. Hebrews 2:12–13 places the words of Psalm 22 on Jesus’ lips: “ ‘I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise’.… And again, ‘Behold, I and the children God has given me.’ ”

In chapters 3 and 4 the main exhortation is that we should not do as the Israelites did before us, turning back from the Land of Promise, but rather we should press on in faith, following Christ to our heavenly destination. Chapter 6 tells us that God’s covenant oath is anchored in heaven as our great hope, and it is secured by Jesus, who has gone before us (vv. 19–20). Chapter 9 uses the illustration of the tabernacle, with the inner sanctum sealed off by the veil from the outer room; the point is that now Jesus has opened up the way to the holy of holies, where God himself dwells. Unlike the Jewish priests, who brought only the blood of bulls and goats, which could not remove the curtain, Jesus opened the way once for all by bringing his own blood. His own perfect sacrifice not only removes the barrier, but also sanctifies us to draw near to God; it serves to “purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (9:14). Hebrews 10:19–22 concludes from this: “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain … and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” That being the case, the author now says, “Through [Jesus] then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God” (Heb. 13:15).

These words, together with the whole body of teaching in Hebrews, make clear how futile it is to offer service or sacrifice to God except “through Jesus.” Apart from the trail he has blazed by his life and his death, apart from the access he has won for us with his blood, all the obstacles of our sin and God’s holiness stand firm against us. God’s wrath remains in deadly opposition to us, so that no one is received by God except “through him.” This verse makes clear what “through Jesus” the Christian life is all about: drawing near to God and living sacrificially unto him, offering a sacrifice of praise.

This statement comes on the heels of yet another defense of Christianity against the accusations of Judaism. This has been a constant concern in this book, that the Hebrew Christians should not fall back into former ways, ways that no longer provided access to God because of their rejection of Jesus. The Jews, it seems, had been deriding Christianity because it lacked the outward rites in which they took so much confidence. Hebrews 13:9 indicates that the Jews scoffed because the Christians did not partake of their sacred feasts and observe their scrupulous laws concerning food. But the writer says in verse 10, speaking of faith in Christ, “We have an altar from which [they] have no right to eat.” Apparently the Christians were ridiculed because they offered no sacrifices to God. Our writer responds by pointing out the all-sufficient sacrifice already offered by Jesus in our place: “Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood” (Heb. 13:12). Nevertheless, he now points out, Christians do have a sacrifice we offer to God, namely, the spiritual offering of our whole lives, a sacrifice not for forgiveness of sin but of gratitude and praise.

In terms of Old Testament Judaism, this sacrifice refers to the thank offering, which was offered not to make atonement for sin but in gratitude for salvation and for the many gifts God has given. In fact, the Greek words used in verse 15 for “sacrifice of praise” are the exact words used by the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament used by the early church) in Leviticus 7:12–13, which prescribes the performance of such thank offerings. Jews wishing to express gratitude to God offered bread or cakes or grain to be used by the priests in God’s service. This is the kind of sacrifice Christians offer to our Lord: we freely offer our goods and our selves for his service and praise. This was the highest expression of religion in Judaism, an occasional and special mark of piety, but now it is to characterize the whole of our lives as children of God. Paul, in Romans 12:1, speaks in this way of our whole response to the grace of God in the gospel: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

What a contrast this is to the way many view Christianity. For many, the highest aspiration is simply to “get saved.” If they can just make it into heaven, that will be good enough for them. But this is not all that Christianity is about. Justification, a doctrine we rightly emphasize, is not the end of our salvation, but rather the means to a life of pleasing service unto God. Justification is often called the hinge on which the door of the gospel turns, and that is certainly true, but it is a door that is meant to be opened, to give us entrance into the presence of God, that we may live with joy and awe as royal children in this world, and offer our lives as sacrifices of praise for his service and pleasure. Jesus said that the Father is seeking worshipers to worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23–24). It is for this that we are saved, to live sacrificially unto him, to offer a lifestyle of worship, for the blessing of others and for the glory of his name.

Does this mean that Christians are to engage only in religious work, that all of us are to quit our secular careers and enter vocational Christian ministry? The answer is No. Instead, this means that all work really is religious, involving the worship of one god or another. For followers of Christ, it means we can no longer live for ourselves, but as Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

People complain that some Christians are “too heavenly-minded to be of any earthly good.” But the opposite is more accurate, that many professing Christians are “too earthly-minded to be of any heavenly good.” Our passage says, “Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God”—that means seven days a week and in every kind of human endeavor.

The Calves of Our Lips

When Paul spoke in Romans of our lives being offered as living sacrifices, he went on to make the general statement that we are to live in a godly rather than a worldly manner. “Do not be conformed to this world,” he wrote, “but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). The writer of Hebrews focuses this specifically on the manner of our speech: “Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Heb. 13:15).

The basic point is that we are to praise God and profess the Christian faith with our lips. This is not just about our gatherings for corporate worship, but encompasses our whole manner of speaking, all of which either confesses or denies his name. Through our speech, our whole attitude is revealed with devastating accuracy. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). What is in your heart will come out your mouth; the only way, therefore, to have a clean mouth is to have a clean heart. Clean and wholesome speech, therefore, indicates a whole life lived to the praise of God.

So powerful is our speech as a gauge of our true spiritual condition that Paul used it in Romans 3 as a summary of natural man’s depravity: “ ‘Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.’ ‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness’ ” (Rom. 3:13–14). That alone sufficiently describes Western culture today; behind the veneer of our prosperity, the common manner of speech reveals a rot of the soul.

Some of the worst sins committed against God are committed by the tongue. Some of the greatest harm done to other people is done by the tongue. “Sticks and stones may break my bones,” we say, “but words can never hurt me.” That is simply untrue. James says, “The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.… It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:6, 8). All of us can think of things said to us, perhaps recently, perhaps years ago, that have scarred us deeply, that have created a whole world of evil in our lives. We likely have done the same to others. Words are powerful weapons, but also powerful instruments of blessing and worship.

Verse 15 uses the expression “the fruit of lips.” This is a quote from Hosea 14:2, which speaks of God’s people offering him “the calves of our lips” (kjv). The obvious reference is to sacrificial offerings, and our lips are seen as altars upon which our hearts give worship to the Lord.

Far more valuable to God than any outward religious display we offer, is that we should sacrificially devote our speech to him. This is something we should seek in prayer and cultivate as a Christian duty. Ask God to sanctify your lips, that they would be servants of his will and a source of pleasure to him. Of course, this will require the sanctification of your heart, which is the whole point. In large part we measure our heart sanctification by the sanctity of our speech, as gossip and coarse joking and cursing and complaining give way to encouraging, edifying, wise, and God-praising words.

One hard-driving, foul-mouthed military officer was converted to faith in Jesus Christ. Right away he realized that his mouth required a radical renewal, and he turned to the Lord for grace. A few years later a junior officer who had served under him years before was transferred into his unit. After some weeks the younger officer asked to meet with him and said this: “I used to hate you because you were so hard on us and you spoke so harshly. But I have been watching you and from the way you interact with people and the way you speak, it is obvious that some radical change has come over your life. I wanted to ask you what it is.” Obviously, the Christian officer was greatly encouraged by this assessment of his changed life and was glad for the opportunity to speak about Jesus Christ and his power to save and transform. In the same manner, Christians are to testify to Christ, whether we happen to be talking about him or not.

The Goodness of Sharing

Verse 15 speaks of our lips as instruments of worship, but verse 16 turns to practical deeds of love and kindness, and especially to generosity with our material wealth: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” This includes an eagerness to act kindly toward others, and to work for the spiritual and temporal benefit of other people. It especially speaks, however, of a readiness to show generosity to those in need, to give freely of our wealth because we know that this pleases and glorifies God, and because we love others more than our money.

False religion is always exposed by its attitude toward possessions. “You cannot serve God and money,” Jesus said (Matt. 6:24). James 1:27 adds, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” This is not works-righteousness, but the true and spiritual worship that God demands all through the Bible. The prophet Micah also dealt with this contrast between external religion and true religion. Micah is asked, “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?” To this he replies, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:6–8).

We see from this how practical, how earthy, true spiritual worship is. George Guthrie writes, “Money is an area that tests the authenticity of our devotion to God. The heart that is too close to the back pocket is out of place and grows numb to the good gifts and provisions of God. [Our use of money] provides an arena in which great spiritual vitality can be grown and demonstrated.” Just as with our speech, it is only when the heart has been weaned from the world and drawn close to God that we can use our money as an instrument of sacrificial worship and service.

Ultimately, it is for God that we seek to live like this, since such true spiritual worship will often go unnoticed and unheralded in the world and even in the church. It is God we serve when we minister to others, and put their well-being ahead of our own financial gain. Corrie ten Boom tells a story about the example set by her father, a poor but godly shopkeeper. One morning their family had gathered for prayer, asking God to send them a customer to buy a watch, so they could pay bills that had come due. A customer did come, picking out a quite expensive watch, casually remarking as he paid that another merchant had sold him a defective watch. Casper, Corrie’s father, asked to examine that watch, and pointed out that only a minor repair was needed. Assuring the man that he had been sold a fine-quality watch by the other merchant, Corrie’s father refunded the money as the man returned the watch he had intended to buy.

Little Corrie asked, “Papa, why did you do that? Aren’t you worried about the bills you have due?” Her father replied, “There is blessed and unblessed money,” adding that God would not be honored if he allowed another man’s reputation to be wrongly harmed, especially since the other merchant was also a believer. He assured the little girl that God would provide, and just a few days later a man came and bought the most expensive watch they had, the sale of which not only paid their bills, but also paid for two years of Corrie’s education. What an excellent reminder this is that in the context of financial pressures and temptations our godly use of money will teach our children what it is to trust the Lord, while also revealing to God the fervency of our own trust and devotion.

Follow the Leader

Our passage ends with an exhortation to submit to spiritual leaders established in the church. This seems to be distinct from the calling to offer spiritual sacrifices, and serves to conclude the exhortation that began in verse 7 with an earlier reference to leaders. Especially in a self-reliant culture like our own, submission to God-ordained authority is a true spiritual exercise and an element of our worship of the Lord.

In the Bible, all submission, whether of citizens to rulers, children to parents, or wives to husbands, is done unto the Lord. It is a sacrificial act of worship and trust. Verse 17 gives two commands, accompanied by compelling reasons for godly submission: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

The first of these commands—“obey”—mainly speaks of receiving the teaching given by spiritual leaders. The Greek verb (peithesthe) is also used for “being persuaded.” “Submit” speaks of yielding to proper authority established by God. These we offer to God as worship, receiving the truth and yielding to our leaders.

Six reasons are given for this obedience and submission. The first is found in the word “leaders,” which may also be translated as “guides.” True spiritual leaders are those who go before the flock into the Word of God, into prayer, and into the Christian life. Just as the great message of Hebrews is that Jesus is our all-sufficient guide leading us to God, so also our Lord has appointed leaders in the church to guide us on his behalf. This is especially linked to the idea of being persuaded, because Christian leaders are guides into the Word of God. We should not say, “I believe it because Reverend or Doctor So-and-so said so,” but rather, “I have been taught that this is the Word of God, it has been explained to me by my pastor, and my conscience now is bound to God to believe and obey.”

Second, we submit to spiritual leaders because their authority comes from Christ. Ephesians 4:11–12 says, “He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” This authority is spiritual and moral, not temporal or worldly. As Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Since Christian leaders, particularly deacons and elders, are called to serve the church, we are to receive them as authorities established by Jesus himself.

Third and fourth, these leaders “are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” Many people have a security company to help them protect their possessions. When the company gives advice about the security of the house, the homeowner obediently responds. Others have a financial advisor who watches over their wealth. If the advisor sends information, the investor reads it and takes action on it. If advised to change investments, the investor does so. But the leaders mentioned in Hebrews watch over our very souls. They are gifted by God for rule and Christian teaching. They lie awake at night—that is what the verb “keeping watch” literally means—pondering our spiritual well-being, how they might help and support us in the faith. What better reason could there be for us gladly to follow their teaching and rule? Furthermore, as undershepherds they must give an account to the Chief Shepherd. They are not serving for their own benefit but for ours, and they are called to give an account. Our response, then, is to help them through obedience and faith.

Fifth, our obedience is what makes spiritual leadership a joy and not a burden. Without a doubt, the single greatest discouragement any pastor faces is a congregation that will not believe what he is teaching from the Word of God. This is what wears a minister down: not hard hours of labor, but frustration with a hard-hearted flock. The greatest gift a Christian can give to a spiritual leader is a readiness to believe and to obey God’s Word.

Finally, this verse concludes that it is no advantage to us for our ministers to be burdened by division and strife and unbelief in the church. The text uses a market term and says, “That would be of no advantage to you.” Surely there are few richer blessings in life than a unified, godly, spiritual church to which we belong, and each of us plays a vital role in building up such a body.

If we turn this verse around, it serves as a useful primer for those who would undertake spiritual leadership. We are to be guides in the Word of God and the Christian life, practicing what we preach and setting a godly example. We bear the burden of authority and therefore of responsibility. It will keep us up at night, thinking about the sermon to preach and the sheep who may be going astray, knowing the sorrows of many hearts and weeping for those who suffer. No wonder that the church has long considered as a prime illustration of Christian leadership the shepherds who were keeping watch over the flock on the night Jesus was born. Hugh Latimer, the great English Reformer, said, “Now these shepherds … they keep their sheep, they run not hither and thither, spending the time in vain and neglecting their office and calling.… I would that clergymen … would learn this lesson by these poor shepherds; which is this, to abide by their flocks and by their sheep, to tarry amongst them, to be careful over them … and feed their sheep with the food of God’s Word.” To this we add the knowledge that we will give account for our care of our flocks. Ministers should think about that when tempted to sin or neglect; though we bear authority, it is in Christ’s name and therefore must be Christ-like.

Even the strongest of men realizes his need of grace for a calling like this. Paul himself said, “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16). No wonder, then, that the writer of Hebrews goes on to say, “Pray for us” (Heb. 13:18). If obedience is our duty to Christian leaders, surely prayer is the greatest ministry anyone can offer for a pastor or elder or deacon. The writer of Hebrews adds, “We are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things” (Heb. 13:18). Surely this comment only thinly veils a desire for prayer in just these matters. “I see what is the duty of a pastor and I think I am on target,” the pastor is saying, “but please pray that I might be faithful, serving God with a clean conscience and living honorably as an example to the others.”

If you do not pray for these things regularly for your pastors, then you fail to realize both their importance for the church and the frailty of their sinful nature, which like yours is flesh in all its weakness. We are living in a time marked by gross sins among spiritual leaders, the damage of which has been inestimable, and we should cry to God that such a thing should not occur in our church. We need to pray for the protection of our leaders, both from spiritual attack and the normal dangers of life in this world. After the death of a famous and outstanding Christian leader, a member of his congregation said to me, “It never occurred to me that a man like him needed my prayers.” Let the lesson sink in, and pray for your leaders.

Heaven on Earth

At the funeral of the great Puritan Richard Sibbes, Izaak Walton remarked, “Of this blest man, let this just praise be given: heaven was in him, before he was in heaven.” This should certainly be true of Christian leaders whom God provides to teach and lead his flock. Whenever the church is strong, whenever she boldly stands for God, there always are such leaders, bold and true to his Word, setting the example and preaching persuasively in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The writer of Hebrews was able to direct his readers to the memory of such leaders among them, “who spoke to you the word of God” and whose example was worthy of imitation (Heb. 13:7). But the best of leaders will always be frustrated in ministry unless the people of God gladly hear what is taught from the Word, believe and put it into practice, committing their lives to God through prayer and worship and service. This is the whole of the Christian life, and it is a mighty, blessed thing. Indeed, when shepherds and sheep live in harmony before the Lord, what Walton said of Sibbes may be true of us all, that heaven will be in us even while we walk upon the face of this earth.[2]


13:15–16 / There are forms of sacrifice—spiritual, and not literal—that are still pleasing to God. To these the author now calls his readers. The first he mentions, utilizing ot language, is a sacrifice of praise. This expression is used a few times in the ot to indicate a particular category of literal sacrifice (e.g., 2 Chron. 29:31), but it also becomes a figure of speech for a grateful heart (e.g., Ps. 50:14, 23). This continual sacrifice is to be made through Jesus (lit., “him”), and it is further defined as the fruit of lips that confess his name. Barclay’s translation is appropriate: “which publicly affirm their faith in him.” In this instance, the sacrifice of praise first called for will be the readers’ faithfulness to their Christian confession. Only in this way can they show their thankfulness to God for what he has done. There are, however, other sacrifices with which God is pleased, the spiritual counterpart of the sacrifices of the old covenant. These include actions such as to do good and to share with others. The readers are not to forget these common Christian virtues. This, and not through the sacrifice of animals (cf. 9:8f.), is the way that faithfulness to God is to be manifested.[3]


Be worshipful (13:15–16)

When these great personalities of Old Testament times offered sacrifices, they did so anticipating a better sacrifice (9:23). But, says the writer, although the one perfect, complete, unrepeatable sacrifice has been made by our great high priest, other sacrifices ought to be presented to God day by day. These offerings are made not in order to secure redemption, but to please God. It may not be too fanciful to see in these verses four sacrifices which Christians need to offer continually.

The first is the sacrifice of thankful praise. Through him, that is through Christ who suffered for us and lives for ever, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God. The busy rush of modern life often robs us of time for quiet reflection about all that we owe to God. The godless do not ‘give thanks to him’ but Christians should do so. Just to reflect on the teaching of his chapter alone surely inspires praise to God. Do we not want to praise him for the ‘brotherly love’ (13:1) which has been shown to us in our Christian lives and for the generous hospitality we have often received (13:2)? Have people not cared for us in our needs, and shown compassion when we were in trouble (13:3)? Some of us thank God especially for loyal and loving partners in marriage, or for the fine example of a happy relationship we have seen in our own parents (13:4). Do we not want to praise God that he has met our material needs (13:5a) and assured us of his providential and protective care (13:5b–6)? Many of us bless God for outstanding preachers, teachers, Bible class leaders, Sunday School teachers, Christian parents and friends, who shared with us ‘the word of God’ and we praise him not only for the imperishable things they proclaimed, but also for their radiant Christian example (13:7). Every believer wants to offer a sacrifice of praise for the gift of Jesus, the changeless Lord, for his saving death, his present help, and his future plan (13:8). Can we not praise him for the sound doctrine imparted to us in the past and available to us today in holy Scripture, and for the fact that so many times our hearts have been ‘strengthened by grace’ (13:9)? All this, and so much more, should inspire our adoration and prompt our thanksgiving so that, not occasionally, but continually, that is whenever these great facts cross our mind, we should offer a sacrifice of praise to God. Sacrifices of this kind were not unknown in Old Testament times and ought to have a prominent place in our own lives.

Secondly, we can offer the sacrifice of unashamed witness. Such sacrifices are represented as the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Here is another aspect of our sacrificial worship. If the sacrifice is made by our lips and not only in our hearts, then it becomes vocal and public; other people are soon aware of it. Although the phrase obviously amplifies the sacrifice of praise, it does express another aspect of Christian gratitude, and one which might have been specially relevant to the first readers of this letter. They are to use their lips, literally ‘to make confession’ (homologountōn, the verbal form of the noun used in 4:15; 10:23). Possibly, as Manson suggests, they did not want to expose themselves to the kind of harassment which would inevitably come their way if they openly confessed their faith and acknowledged Christ’s name. It is one thing to express one’s indebtedness to God; it is quite another to allow other people to know how much he means to us. In a spiritually ignorant society, like our own, regular attendance at Christian worship presents the Christian with an opportunity to witness. As we too offer the fruit of our lips, people with no clear faith may become aware that we too acknowledge his name.

Thirdly, there is the sacrifice of compassionate service. Another offering ‘which God approves’ (neb) is that of doing good to others: ‘Never forget to show kindness’ (neb). Such loving ministry to the needs of others was characteristic of this church’s past (10:33–34) and present (6:10) life. Here our writer pleads that this form of daily sacrifice must be offered devotedly and regularly. ‘Doing good’ is an important aspect of the New Testament doctrine of the Christian life. In their understandable fear of ‘salvation by works’, evangelicals have sometimes minimized this important feature of biblical Christianity. Jesus expected his disciples to do good works and the early Christian people were deeply influenced by this practical aspect of Christ’s teaching. The apostle Paul clearly taught that God has ordained that his people should practice good works.24Finally, Christians are expected to offer continually the sacrifice of generous giving. They are to share what they have. The fact that this word share (koinōnias) is used may suggest that its author is thinking of those monetary offerings which were made in New Testament times on behalf of needy people. The term soon came to be employed in this technical sense, much as we might talk about a ‘fellowship fund’. Our imaginative financial support of the Lord’s work is a Christian sacrifice still to be offered, not only regularly, methodically and proportionately, but cheerfully as well. It is not at all necessary or even wise, however, to restrict this form of sacrifice to ‘the collection’. Christians have other opportunities to offer this sacrifice by sharing with others, believers and unbelievers, some of the good things that God has so generously given to them.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 443–444). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Phillips, R. D. (2006). Hebrews. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 609–619). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (pp. 243–244). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Brown, R. (1988). The message of Hebrews: Christ above all (pp. 259–262). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Why Francis Schaeffer Matters: Consequences of Pitting Rationality Against Faith – Part 4

Veritas et Lux

scaf 3The decisive result of falling below the line of despair is a pitting of rationality against faith.  Schaeffer sees this as an enormous problem and details four consequences in his book, Escape From Reason.

Pitting Rationality Against Faith

First, when rationality contends against faith, one is not able to establish a system of morality.  It is simply impossible to have an “upstairs morality” that is unrelated to matters of everyday living.

Second, when rationality and faith are dichotomized, there is no adequate basis for law.  “The whole Reformation system of law was built on the fact that God had revealed something real down into the common things of life” (Escape From Reason, 261).  But when rationality and faith are pitted against one another, all hope of maintaining any semblance of law is obliterated.

The third consequence is that this scheme throws away the answer to the problem…

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Why Francis Schaefer Matters: The Line of Despair – Part 3

Veritas et Lux

francis_schaeffer-1



The Loss of Antithesis

The loss of antithesis in American culture led to what Dr. Schaeffer coined the “line of despair” or giving up all hope of achieving a rational unified answer to knowledge and life.  Schaeffer outlines what he believes are the various steps below this line of despair.  He begins with the German philosopher, Georg William Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) who became the first man to open the door into the line of despair.  Hegel taught  what we really have is a thesis, and an opposite antithesis, with the answer of their relationship not a horizontal movement of cause and effect, but a synthesis, or dialectical thinking.  In the end result, Hegel’s philosophy produced a synthesis as opposed to antithesis which could be arrived at by reason.

Schaeffer believes that while Hegel opened the door to the line of despair the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard was the first one…

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March 27 True Salt and Light Are Pure

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.—Matt. 5:13–15

With great responsibility, there is often great danger. We can’t be an influence for purity in the world if we have compromised our own purity. We can’t sting the world’s conscience if we continually go against our own. We can’t be used of God to retard the corruption of sin in the world if our lives become corrupted by sin. To lose our saltiness is not to lose our salvation, but we will lose our effectiveness.

Light, too, is in danger of becoming useless. Like salt, it can’t lose its essential nature. A hidden light is still light, but it is useless light. That’s why people do not “light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” A light that is hidden under a basket can’t even be used to read by; it helps neither the person who hides it nor anyone else.

Don’t hide your light for fear of offending others, whether out of indifference or lovelessness or any other reason. If you do, you demonstrate unfaithfulness to the Lord.

ASK YOURSELF

The demands of purity call for more than merely the eradication of sin and shameful habits, but also for replacing impurity with active, living, breathing righteousness. What are some specific acts of obedience and service to which God is calling you at this hour, in this generation?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 95). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

MARCH 27 THE NEW MAN IN CHRIST IS A PERPETUAL MIRACLE

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

ROMANS 8:14

The man of God, the true Spirit-filled man of God, is a perpetual miracle!

He has come to his knowledge of God by the wonder of the new birth and the illumination of the Spirit. Therefore his life is completely different from the world around him.

Consider with me the words of 1 John 2:27: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

John was a teacher and he says that your knowledge of God is not taught you from without—it is received by an inner anointing!

What are we going to do with this truth? Are we going to open the door of our personality—fling it wide?

Let us not be afraid of the Holy Spirit—He is an illuminator. He is light to the inner heart. He will show us more of God in a moment than we can learn in a lifetime without Him. He will not throw out what we have learned if it is the truth—He will set it on fire, that’s all! He will add fire to the altar.

The blessed Holy Spirit waits to be honored. He will honor Christ as we honor Christ. He waits—and if we will throw open our hearts to Him, a new sun will rise on us! I know this by personal experience in my own life and ministry.[1]


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

March 27 Identifying with Christ’s Suffering

It was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 2:10

Christians can identify with their Master because like Him, they suffer to enter their glory.

Christ said to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25–26). Our Lord had to explain that future glory required that He suffer. We should expect the same.

The path to glory for Christ was the path of unjust suffering. That’s our path also. Jesus endured suffering with perfect patience and was exalted to the highest point of glory. He is our example of how to respond to suffering.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 99). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

40 Days to the Cross: Week Six – Tuesday

Confession: Psalm 123:1–2

I lift up my eyes to you,

the one enthroned in the heavens.

Behold, as the eyes of servants

look to the hand of their master,

as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,

so our eyes look to Yahweh our God,

until he is gracious to us.

Reading: Mark 15:21–32

And they forced a certain man who was passing by, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), who was coming from the country, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place Golgotha (which is translated “Place of a Skull”). And they attempted to give him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots for them to see who should take what. Now it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him was written, “The king of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” In the same way also the chief priests, along with the scribes, were mocking him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he is not able to save himself! Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Even those who were crucified with him were reviling him.

Reflection

The Passion of Christ was very bitter for three reasons:

  1. The goodness of Him suffering is marked by three circumstances—First, He harmed no one: “He committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22 nrsv). Second, He most patiently sustained the injuries laid upon Him: “When he was abused, he did not return the abuse” (1 Pet 2:23 nrsv); “I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter” (Jer 11:19 nrsv). Third, He was doing good to all: “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38 nrsv); “I have shown you many good works from the Father” (John 10:32 nrsv).
  2. The indignity of His death is marked by three things—First, He was judged, which was the most wicked of all: “But they kept shouting, ‘Crucify, crucify him!’ ” (Luke 23:21 nrsv). Second, He suffered many indignities: “They gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head … and they spat on him” (Matt 27:27–30 nrsv). Third, because He was condemned to a most shameful death: “Let us condemn him to a shameful death” (Wisdom of Solomon 2:20 nrsv).
  3. The cruelty of those who crucified Him is seen from three things—First, He was very cruelly flagellated before death: “… after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified” (Matt 27:26 nrsv). Second, at the point of death He was given vinegar and hyssop to drink: “So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth” (John 19:29 nrsv); “For my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psa 69:21 nrsv). Third, He was wounded even after death: “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear” (John 19:34 nrsv).

—Thomas Aquinas

The Lord’s Work and Ours

Response

In His final moments on the cross, Jesus experiences total isolation and rejection. Spend time rereading and quietly reflecting on the details of this passage in Mark.[1]


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

March 27, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eze 36:22–23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


22–23 In OT times one’s name and person were equivalent. A name represented the person (cf. TWOT, 2:934–35). Through Israel’s rebellion against God, the people had defamed God’s person; therefore, not only will God’s covenantal faithfulness be displayed in restoring Israel to her land, but God will also bring honor and sanctity to the divine name and person among the nations through the supernatural regathering of Israel. Then the nations will know that the righteous and loving God of Israel is the only true God (vv. 22–23).[1]


36:22, 23 Paul quotes verse 22 in Romans 2:24 in his indictment of Jewish inconsistencies in relation to the Gentiles and the law. In order to vindicate His own name, and not for Israel’s sake, God would restore the people to their homeland.[2]


36:22–23. Other nations viewed the sovereign God through the actions of Israel, thus besmirching His holy name. Therefore God said He would restore Israel … not for her sake … but for the sake of His holy name. Israel had no intrinsic value which prompted God to act on her behalf. He would restore the nation because His character was at stake. He would show the holiness of His great name (cf. 20:41; 28:22, 25; 38:16; 39:27). God had shown His justice when He punished Israel for her sin; He will show His grace and faithfulness when He restores her and renews His covenant promises.[3]


36:21–23 for My holy name. Restoring Israel to the land that God pledged in covenant (Ge 12:7) will sanctify His great name, and move other peoples to “know that I am the Lord.” This glory for God is the primary reason for Israel’s restoration (cf. v. 32).[4]


36:23 I will consecrate my great name Yahweh’s repeated insistence that His deeds will cause Israel and the nations to know He is Yahweh (the recognition formula) stems from His desire to vindicate His holiness. Israel’s behavior tarnished Yahweh’s reputation and required His judgment, but the nations interpreted that judgment as weakness (see v. 20). He acts to restore His reputation, not because Israel had done anything to deserve salvation.[5]


36:23 The ultimate purpose of God’s plans for Israel was that Israel and the whole world would know the true God.[6]


[1] Alexander, R. H. (2010). Ezekiel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah–Ezekiel (Revised Edition) (Vol. 7, p. 844). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1062). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Dyer, C. H. (1985). Ezekiel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1297). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Eze 36:21–23). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eze 36:23). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Rooker, M. F. (2017). Ezekiel. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1300). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

March 27 Enemies of Humility: Selfish Ambition

“But Jesus answered and said, ‘You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ ”

Matthew 20:22

✧✧✧

Selfish ambition in spiritual things shows that we are ignorant of the real path to God’s glory.

Yesterday we saw that James and John, with their mother, posed a bold power–play question to the Lord Jesus. Now, as He answers them, they display another attitude at odds with the humble spirit: selfish ambition.

If the brothers’ power–play request was brazen, it was also very foolish. They did not have a clue about what was involved if Jesus granted their request. “The cup that I am about to drink” was His way of referring to His suffering and death. When He asked James and John if they were prepared to drink that cup, Christ was saying that if you are His disciple, you must be prepared for suffering and hardship.

In fact, Jesus’ words “to drink the cup” indicate that something very difficult lay ahead. Not only do those words refer to the Savior’s own painful suffering and death (Matt. 26:39), but they mean we must stay the course to the end, enduring whatever is necessary. James, John, and the other disciples initially did not have such staying power.

James and John, thinking they would always persevere, overconfidently declared, “We are able.” Peter brashly promised never to forsake the Lord, and all the other disciples echoed that pledge. But Peter denied Jesus three times, and the ambitious brothers, along with the rest of the disciples, fled after Jesus’ arrest.

The disciples eventually did finish well and shared in the “fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). James became the first martyred apostle, and John was exiled to the island of Patmos. But such faithfulness was not attained in their own strength, nor by their ambitious maneuvering, but by the Spirit’s power. This is a strong reminder to us that no position in God’s kingdom is rewarded because of selfish human ambition, but only by His sovereign choice of “those for whom it has been prepared” (Matt. 20:23).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that God would give you a view of service in His kingdom that is unclouded by your own ambitions.

For Further Study: Read and compare Psalms 15 and 75. What do they say about pride and humility? ✧ Meditate on several verses that relate to that theme.[1]


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

MARCH 27 WHAT A SEA TO SWIM IN!

There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

—1 Samuel 2:2

What a broad world to roam in, what a sea to swim in is this God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is eternal. He antedates time and is wholly independent of it. Time began in Him and will end in Him. To it He pays no tribute and from it He suffers no change.

He is immutable. He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure. To change He would need to go from better to worse or from worse to better. He cannot do either, for being perfect He cannot become more perfect, and if He were to become less perfect He would be less than God.

He is omniscient. He knows in one free and effortless act all matter, all spirit, all relationships, all events. He has no past and He has no future. He is, and none of the limiting and qualifying terms used of creatures can apply to Him.

Love and mercy and righteousness are His, and holiness so ineffable that no comparisons or figures will avail to express it. POG037

I’m overwhelmed when I even try to comprehend Your attributes, Father. I worship You, for there is indeed no God like You. Amen.[1]


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

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