Monthly Archives: March 2018

MARCH 31 SALVATION: A RIGHT RELATION BETWEEN GOD AND MAN

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

EPHESIANS 2:13

The cause of all our human miseries is a radical moral dislocation, an upset in our relation to God and to each other.

For whatever else the Fall of man may have been, it was most certainly a sharp change in man’s relation to his Creator. He adopted toward God an altered attitude, and by so doing destroyed the proper Creator-creature relation in which, unknown to him, his true happiness lay.

Essentially salvation is the restoration of a right relation between man and his Creator, a bringing back to normal of the Creator-creature relation.

A satisfactory spiritual life will begin with a complete change in relation between God and the sinner; not a judicial change merely, but a conscious and experienced change affecting the sinner’s whole nature.

The atonement in Jesus’ blood makes such a change judicially possible and the working of the Holy Spirit makes it emotionally satisfying. The story of the prodigal son perfectly illustrates this later phase.

He had brought a world of trouble upon himself by forsaking the position which he had properly held as son of his father. At bottom his restoration was nothing more than a reestablishing of the father-son relation which had existed from his birth and had been altered temporarily by his act of sinful rebellion. This story overlooks the legal aspects of redemption, but it makes beautifully clear the experiential aspects of salvation.[1]


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

March 31 Our Sinless Savior

[Christ] committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who when He was reviled, did not revile in return.

1 Peter 2:22–23

Jesus would have been prominent in Peter’s mind when he wrote today’s verses because he personally witnessed Jesus’ pain—though from afar. In spite of the severity of His pain, however, Christ committed no sin in word or deed.

Isaiah 53:9 says, “He had done no violence.” “Violence” is translated as “lawlessness” in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament). The translators understood that “violence” referred to violence against God’s law—or sin. In spite of the unjust treatment He had to endure, Christ did not and could not sin (cf. 1 Pet. 1:19).

Isaiah 53:9 adds, “Nor was any deceit in His mouth.” Sin usually first makes its appearance in us by what we say. In Jesus there was no sin, neither externally nor internally.

Jesus Christ is the perfect model of how we are to respond to unjust treatment because He endured far worse treatment than any person who will ever live, and yet never sinned.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 103). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

40 Days to the Cross: Week Six – Saturday

Confession: Psalm 42:11

Why are you in despair, O my soul?

And why are you disturbed within me?

Hope in God, because I shall again praise him,

my salvation and my God.

Reading: Mark 16:1–20

And when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome purchased fragrant spices so that they could go and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they came to the tomb after the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away (for it was very large). And as they were going into the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified. He has been raised, he is not here! See the place where they laid him! But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, because trembling and amazement had seized them. And they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

So they promptly reported all the things they had been commanded to those around Peter. And after these things, Jesus himself also sent out through them from the east even as far as the west the holy and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.

Now early on the first day of the week, after he rose, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had expelled seven demons. She went out and announced it to those who were with him while they were mourning and weeping. And those, when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, refused to believe it. And after these things, he appeared in a different form to two of them as they were walking, while they were going out into the countryside. And these went and reported it to the others, and they did not believe them. And later, while they were reclining at table, he appeared to the eleven. And he reprimanded their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen him after he had been raised. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who refuses to believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will expel demons, they will speak in new tongues, they will pick up snakes. And if they drink any deadly poison it will never hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will get well.”

Then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed everywhere, while the Lord was working together with them and confirming the message through the accompanying signs.

Reflection

He that abides in Christ the crucified one learns to know what it is to be crucified with Him—and in Him to be indeed dead unto sin. He that abides in Christ the risen and glorified one becomes in the same way partaker of His resurrection life, and of the glory with which He has now been crowned in heaven. Unspeakable are the blessings which flow to the soul from the union with Jesus in His glorified life.

This life is a life of perfect victory and rest. Before His death, the Son of God had to suffer and to struggle. He could be tempted and troubled by sin and its assaults. As the risen one, He has triumphed over sin. And, as the glorified one, His humanity has entered into participation of the glory of deity. The believer who abides in Him as such is led to see how the power of sin and the flesh are indeed destroyed. The consciousness of complete and everlasting deliverance becomes increasingly clear. The blessed rest and peace—the fruit of such a conviction that victory and deliverance are an accomplished fact—take possession of the life. Abiding in Jesus, in whom he has been raised and set in the heavenly places, he receives of that glorious life streaming from the head through every member of the body.

—Andrew Murray

Abide in Christ

Response

Christ has defeated death! If you abide in Christ, you are a partaker of His resurrection life. Spend time today—every day—praising Him for this new life. Jesus leaves His disciples with words of encouragement and empowerment. How do you see His commission playing out in your own life? What steps do you take to fulfill it?[1]


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

March 31 The Summation of Humility

“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”

Romans 13:8

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If believers fulfill their constant debt of love, they will have a continual attitude of sacrificial humility.

Origen, the early church father, wisely said, “The debt of love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. This is a debt which we pay every day and forever owe.” The primary reason you and I can pay that debt is that “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). God’s own love to us and every other believer is the bottomless well from which we can draw and then share with others.

If we have this wonderful, supernatural resource of love through the Holy Spirit, it only follows that we must submit to the Spirit. When we do so, all the enemies and impediments to humility—pride, unjustified power–grabbing, selfish ambition, partisanship, hatred—will melt away. What an overwhelming thought to consider that such humility can be ours because God Himself, through His Spirit, is teaching us to love as we yield to Him (1 Thess. 4:9).

At every turn we see humility going hand in hand with godly love. Genuine love never turns its “freedom into an opportunity for the flesh” (Gal. 5:13). It will not do anything to cause another Christian to fall into sin or even be offended in his conscience (Rom. 14:21). Love that is from God will “be kind to one another, tender–hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven [us]” (Eph. 4:32).

The greatest test of love and humility is the willingness to sacrifice for the good of others. As we have already seen in our study of humility, Jesus was the ultimate example of this (Phil. 2:5–8). Our supreme demonstration of humility is when we imitate Him: “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

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Suggestions for Prayer: Pray for an occasion today to show some facet of biblical love to another person. ✧ If nothing develops today, keep praying that the Lord would make you alert for future opportunities.

For Further Study: First John 4 is a wonderful chapter on God’s love and its meaning for believers. According to the apostle, how can we know truth from error? ✧ What benefits derive from God’s love?[1]


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

MARCH 31 GOD IS INFINITE!

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

—Psalm 145:3

God is infinite! That’s the hardest thought I will ask you to grasp. You cannot understand what infinite means, but don’t let it bother you—I don’t understand it and I’m trying to explain it! “Infinite” means so much that nobody can grasp it, but reason nevertheless kneels and acknowledges that God is infinite. We mean by infinite that God knows no limits, no bounds and no end. What God is, He is without boundaries. All that God is, He is without bounds or limits.

We’ve got to eliminate all careless speech here. You and I talk about unlimited wealth, but there’s no such thing; you can count it. We talk about boundless energy—which I don’t feel I have at the moment—but there’s no such thing; you can measure a man’s energy. We say an artist takes infinite pains with his picture. But he doesn’t take infinite pains; he just does the best he can and then throws up his hands and says, “It isn’t right yet, but I’ll have to let it go.” That’s what we call infinite pains.

But that is a misuse of the words “boundless,” “unlimited” and “infinite.” These words describe God—they don’t describe anything but God. AOG004

Lord, Your greatness extends beyond the limitations of my human ability to comprehend. You are boundless, unlimited and infinite, and You are greatly to be praised. Amen.[1]


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

March 30 Daily Help

IF any of you desire to be saved by works, remember one sin will spoil your righteousness; one dust of this earth’s dross will spoil the beauty of that perfect righteousness which God requires at your hands. If ye would be saved by works, ye must be as holy as the angels, ye must be as pure and as immaculate as Jesus; for the law requires perfection.

The power to receive is scarcely a power, and yet it is the only power needed for salvation. Come along and take what Christ doth freely give you.

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe intensely.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 93). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

March 30, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

Stewardship with Integrity Calls for Faithfulness to Complete the Commitment

But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it (8:11a)

One of the most vexing aspects of the ministry is dealing with those who make a good beginning but never finish what they start. It is not easy to carry things through to completion; it takes discipline, devotion, and faithfulness. There are many who start, even make promises to give, but fail to complete that promise. All the Corinthians’ good intentions would have meant little had they failed to complete the collection, so Paul urged them to finish doing it. Their readiness to desire to give was meaningless apart from the completion of the project. The apostle was concerned that, though they were willing, they might fail to perform. At the end of 1 Corinthians (16:2) Paul instructed the Corinthians, “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.” The giving was to be done in a systematic, orderly, routine manner on the Lord’s Day; Paul did not want hasty collections to be taken only when he arrived.

As noted above, the Corinthians’ giving was not halted by apathy or selfishness, but by the rebellion against Paul incited by the false apostles. One of their most devious lies about him was that he was in the ministry for the money; that he was “walking in craftiness” (2 Cor. 4:2). But unlike the false apostles, Paul was not guilty of “peddling the word of God” (2:17). Nevertheless, the false accusations against him had raised doubts about his integrity among the Corinthians, effectively halting the collection. Nothing cripples people’s willingness to give as much as a loss of confidence in their leaders. But since the relationship between the apostle and the Corinthians had been restored, it was time for them to complete what they had started.

Stewardship with Integrity Calls for Amounts That Are Proportionate to What One Has

by your ability. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. (8:11b–12)

Though Paul expected the Corinthians to give generously, he did not expect them to give beyond their means. The Greek phrase translated by your ability literally reads, “out of what you have.” As the apostle wrote in his first inspired letter to them, “Each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:2). Even the exemplary giving of the Macedonians was “according to their ability, and beyond their ability” (2 Cor. 8:3); that is, they gave out of what they had, but in sacrificial amounts, using money needed for the basic necessities of life. But if the readiness (prothumia; “willingness”; “eagerness”; “zeal”) to give sacrificially with unique generosity is present, it is acceptable to God for believers to give beyond what would be expected. But God expects giving according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. Believers should not, however, borrow to give. Going into debt to give with no ability to repay is foolish.

When believers are moved to give beyond their ability, and make sacrifices to increase their ability to give, they are following the example of the poor widow, of whom Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43–44).

Some of the Corinthians may have been using their lack of resources as an excuse not to give. It is true that those who, like the poor widow, have minimal resources can only give a little, while those with more substantial resources can give larger amounts. But with God the amount is not the issue but the attitude of the heart. He expects believers to give in pr proportion to their resources, not more, but also not less. Any ministry that attempts to pressure people to give beyond their resources is operating outside the bounds of biblical stewardship. So also are those who fail to give in proportion to their resources.[1]


10–11 Again Paul emphasizes that he is not giving orders but offering advice (cf. v. 8a), though an imperative follows in v. 11! It is clear from 1 Corinthians 7:25, 40, however, that such a considered opinion came from one who regarded himself as trustworthy.

The apostle hints at several reasons why the Corinthians should bring their contribution to a speedy completion: (1) A considerable time (cf. “last year,” v. 10) had elapsed since they had expressed an “eager willingness” (v. 11) to help. (2) Since their enthusiastic intention had already been partially translated into action (v. 10b), it was incumbent on them, having put their hands to the plow, not to look back but to bring the project to a successful completion. “Completion” needed to match intention (v. 11; cf. Php 1:6). (3) They enjoyed a twofold precedence over the Macedonians. In beginning a collection, and even before that in deciding to contribute, they were earlier (“the first,” v. 10b). But now the Macedonians themselves had completed their offering! (4) The Macedonians had contributed “even beyond their ability” (v. 3); now the Corinthians were being asked to contribute “according to … [their] means” (v. 11).[2]


8:10–11 / Paul goes from making an appeal to giving an opinion. As in 1 Corinthians 7:12, the apostle provides his advice to help the Corinthians in their practice of godly living. The Corinthians had already begun the collection a year earlier. In the meantime, the weekly collection for Jerusalem as directed in 1 Corinthians 16:2 had apparently come to a halt. Now that at least partial reconciliation had taken place between the Corinthians and their founding apostle, they should, in Paul’s opinion, finish the work, that is, complete the collection. This advice is in the Corinthians’ best interest, for the collection is the will of God (cf. 2 Cor. 8:5).

The apostle considers the willingness to give to be more important than the actual accomplishment of giving itself. Against the background of the freewill offering for the building of the tabernacle (see above on v. 3a), the reason for this seems clear: The attitude of the heart and the willingness of the spirit are the crucial factors in proper giving (cf. Exod. 35:21). The Corinthians have the same fervent willingness as the ancient Israelites had (cf. Josephus, Ant. 3.106). Hence, the Corinthians had already begun to take the collection with the proper motivation of the heart; now they are encouraged to carry through their original intention.

Paul stipulates that the Corinthians should complete the task according to your means (lit., “out of what you have”). Seen in light of the freewill offering for building the tabernacle, Paul’s phrase suggests not so much that the Corinthians should follow the example of the Macedonians by giving beyond their means (cf. 2 Cor. 8:3a; Sir. 14:11), but rather that they should give according to what they happen to have on hand in their possessions, as did the Israelites in Exodus 35:23–24. In other words, the Corinthians are encouraged to offer gifts in kind, which could include a variety of commodities and not necessarily just money (see above on 2 Cor. 8:2; cf. Ezra 7:22). On the analogy of Ezra’s mission, however, we might expect that the offering consisted mainly of silver and gold (cf. Ezra 7:15–16; 8:25–30, 33–34; Sib. Or. 3:290–294).[3]


8:11. The sequence of events behind this passage needs to be understood. After first informing the Corinthians of the need for contributions, Paul told them he would travel from Ephesus to Macedonia and then return to Corinth. After a delay, Paul visited Corinth briefly and sent a harsh letter to them through Titus. Later Titus met Paul in Macedonia with reports on the conditions at Corinth. At first the Corinthians were eager to contribute to the needs of Jerusalem believers, but troubles in the church had extinguished their eagerness. At this point Paul encouraged them to complete their commitment. Their willingness to do it needed to be matched by their completion of it.

As important as it was for the Corinthians to be willing to give at first, it was not enough. Recognizing the need to contribute and responding with commitments is easy. The true test is actually handing over the money. So Paul encouraged the Corinthians to fulfill their commitments.

Even so, Paul had no particular amount in mind. He left it up to the Corinthians to give according to their means. Many interpreters assume that these words reject the Old Testament practice of tithing (Deut. 12:6; Mal. 3:8–10), but this passage is not about money given to support the church. Rather, it is about charity for the poor above and beyond support for the church.[4]


11. But now also complete the work, so that your readiness to desire it may be matched by your completion of it, as your means allow.

The expanded repetition of verse 6 is evident at first sight. Paul again urges the Corinthian church to finish the task it once set out to do. He uses a compound verb in the imperative: “fully complete it once for all.” The contrast is between what happened the previous year and what should happen now.

The Corinthians have the desire to give, but fulfillment is lacking. Thus, they need encouragement to take up where they left off and finish the work without delay. Paul juxtaposes the verbs to desire and to complete and tells the readers: “what you desire in your hearts should also be completed with your hands.” He does not use the verb to do, because at one time the Corinthians were collecting funds to support the needy but never finished what they had begun. The time has come to complete the work, for the people show their readiness (see vv. 9, 12; 9:2).

To avoid any undue pressure in this matter Paul adds the phrase as your means allow. People should not be able to say that their resources are too scant. Calvin pertinently notes, “If you offer a small gift from your slender resources, your intention is just as valuable in God’s eyes as if a rich man had made a large gift out of his abundance.” Paul does not say that the Corinthians should give all they have to enrich the people in Jerusalem. Such advice would sow discord. Nor does he challenge the church in Corinth to follow the example of the churches in Macedonia: to give beyond their ability. That action would create unwanted rivalry. Instead, he advises them to give as much as their means allow.

At the temple treasury, rich people threw in large amounts of money, but the poor widow put in two copper coins. Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43–44).[5]


Good Advice to Complete the Collection (8:10, 11)

8:10 Now the apostle returns to the Corinthians. They had thought of making a collection for the poor saints before the Macedonians had decided to do it. The Corinthians had actually begun to do it before the Macedonians started their fund. To be consistent, they should finish what they began a year ago. It would be to their advantage, because it would prove their sincerity and consistency.

8:11 Whatever their reason for delay, Paul tells them that they should disregard it and complete the thing which they had shown a readiness to do. They should do it according to the ability which they then had and not according to what they might like to do in the future if their wealth increased.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 300–302). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 500). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 179–180). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 400). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 285–286). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1851). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

March 30: Taunting Death

Numbers 33:50–34:29; 1 Corinthians 15:35–58; Psalm 29:1–11

My best friend’s mother, a dear family friend, died of Lou Gehrig’s disease (als). Over the span of three years, the disease attacked her nerve cells, starting with her hands and feet and moving inward to her vital organs. Every time I visited her, she would be changed—her cane became a wheelchair, and her warbled words were muffled into silence. Although she was fully alert, she slowly lost the ability to communicate her feelings and needs. In the end, only her eyes displayed the tumultuous feelings underneath.

Those who confront the reality of death or the death of a loved one don’t doubt their own fallibility. They are closely acquainted with the reality that so many strangely disregard. And they cling to the hope of the resurrection that Paul eloquently relays, and that the Corinthians were slow to understand and believe: “We will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Cor 15:51–52).

Christ’s death and victory over sin and death bring this life to those who believe in Him. His victory is the cause for Paul’s subsequent taunting of death—taunts that rip through with joy for those who realize Christ’s victory: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor 15:55–57).

Lest we think we are any different, the process of death is happening to us and to those around us. Lou Gehrig’s disease is a fast-forward version of the human existence. Why, then, do we keep quiet about the hope within us? “So then … be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58).

How are you displaying and sharing the good news?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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

March 30 Avoiding Temptations

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).

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Don’t let your trials turn into temptations.

When we hear the English word temptation, we usually think of a solicitation to evil. But “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 translates a Greek word that can refer either to a trial that God permits in order to refine your spiritual character (James 1:2–4) or a temptation that Satan or your flesh brings to incite you to sin (Matt. 4:1; James 1:13–15). Both are valid translations.

I believe “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 refers in part to trials. Even though we know God uses trials for our good, it’s still good to pray that He won’t allow us to be caught in a trial that becomes an irresistible temptation. That can happen if we’re spiritually weak or ill-prepared to deal with a situation.

God will never test you beyond what you’re able to endure (1 Cor. 10:13), but resisting temptation requires spiritual discipline and divine resources. Praying for God to deliver you from trials that might overcome you is a safeguard against leaning on your own strength and neglecting His power.

God tested Joseph by allowing him to be sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by an adulterous woman, and unjustly imprisoned by a jealous husband. But Joseph knew that God’s hand was on his life. That’s why he could later say to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to … preserve many people alive” (Gen. 50:20). Joseph was ready for the test and passed it beautifully!

Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil (Matt. 4:1). God wanted to test Him to prove His virtue, but Satan wanted to tempt Him to destroy His virtue. Jesus, too, was victorious.

When you experience trials, don’t let them turn into temptations. Recognize God’s purposes and seek His strength. Learn from the example of those who have successfully endured the same trials. Be assured that God is in control and is using each trial to mold your character and to teach you greater dependence on Him.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the trials He brings your way. ✧ Ask Him to help you see your trials as means by which He strengthens you and glorifies Himself.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 119:11, Matthew 26:41, Ephesians 6:10–18, and James 4:7. What do those verses teach you about dealing with temptation?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 102). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

MARCH 30 WHICH CROSS DO WE CARRY?

Having made peace through the blood of his cross.

Colossians 1:20

One of the strange things under the sun is a “crossless” Christianity. The cross of Christendom is a “no cross,” an ecclesiastical symbol. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is a place of death!

Let each one be careful which cross he carries!

Thousands turn away from Jesus Christ because they will not meet His conditions. He watches them as they go, for He loves them, but He will make no concessions.

Admit one soul into the kingdom by compromise and that kingdom is no longer secure. Christ will be Lord, or He will be Judge. Every man must decide whether he will take Him as Lord now, or face Him as Judge then!

“If any man will…let him…follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Some will rise and go after Him, but others give no heed to His voice. So the gulf opens between man and man, between those who will and those who will not.

The Man, the kindly Stranger who walked this earth, is His own proof. He will not put Himself again on trial; He will not argue. But the morning of the judgment will confirm what men in the twilight have decided!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your patience as You wait for people to repent and turn to You. I pray that this will be a day when many will respond to Your voice calling them to follow You.[1]


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

March 30, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

News – 3/30/2018

World’s CHRISTIANS in turmoil as Pope ‘admits HELL DOES NOT EXIST’
In a jaw-dropping Good Friday ‘revelation’ Pope Francis reportedly told an Italian journalist that at the moment of death the souls of “sinners” would “disappear”. Furious Catholics have suggested the claim sounds more akin to atheism than Christianity. Eugenio Scalfari, 93, said Pope Francis told him: “Hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of the souls of sinners exists.”The quotes appeared in Italian newspaper La Republica, a newspaper co-founded by Mr Scalfari. Antonio Socci, a Catholic author, accused the Pope of heresy and called for his abdication.

17,000 Gazans protest near Israeli border
This week, the IDF prepared for the Gaza march, sending reinforcements and clarifying the open-fire policies. “We will not allow any harm to Israel’s sovereignty or the security infrastructure at the border. IDF forces are prepared and at the site,” an IDF spokesman said. “The Hamas terror organization is endangering Gaza residents, and turning them into part of their terror activities. The Hamas terror organization bears full responsibility for all events and the consequences thereof.”

Turkey Breaks With NATO, Refuses To Expel Russians
Both the US and UK often pander to Turkey due to the country’s strategic location and their control of the second largest military in NATO. This, however, has become much more difficult in recent months due to the increasingly authoritarian governance of the country leading to arrests of western employees, global kidnappings, and blatant defiance of international law.

Two coalition personnel killed in Syria; Trump signals end of military presence
Two United States-led coalition personnel were killed in Syria and five others were wounded in a bomb attack, as President Donald Trump signaled ending U.S. military presence in the war-torn country. Trump contacted top officials regarding Syria Thursday, claiming the United States would soon be gone from the Arab country. “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon,” Trump said. While giving an infrastructure speech in Ohio, the president said he wanted “other people” to take care of the Islamic State

Is it Time For Prophesied Tsunami to Wipe Out Hamas?
it will happen. Everything he said would happen, happened,” Sharabi said. “I saw it so many times with my own eyes. I know that the tsunami will come to Gaza just like I know the sun will rise tomorrow.” Rabbi Berger said that such a tsunami will surely come in the end-of-days. He noted that the Prophet Zechariah hinted at a tsunami that is very similar to the one described by Rabbi Shapira and apparently connected with both Passover and the Exodus from Egypt.

Palestinians mass in thousands for protest at Gaza-Israel border
Palestinians in Gaza have marched in their thousands to the Israel border at the start of a six-week-long protest. Palestinian officials say one farmer and one protester have been killed and dozens of demonstrators wounded by Israeli gunfire. The Israeli military reported “rioting” at six places and said it was “firing towards main instigators”.

Syria war: France offers to mediate between Turkey and Kurds
France has offered to mediate in the conflict in northern Syria, where Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish fighters in January. Ankara is battling to drive out the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The French offer was swiftly dismissed by a Turkish presidential spokesman.

China’s space lab set for fiery re-entry
China’s defunct space lab, Tiangong-1, should fall to Earth over the weekend. At over 10m in length and weighing more than 8 tonnes, it is larger than most of the man-made objects that routinely re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. China has lost all communication with the module and so the descent will be uncontrolled. However, experts say there is very low risk that any parts of Tiangong that do not burn up will hit a populated area.

Higgs factory a ‘must for big physics’
A top physicist says the construction of a “factory” to produce Higgs boson particles is a priority for the science community. In an exclusive interview, Nigel Lockyer, head of America’s premier particle physics lab, said studying the Higgs could hasten major discoveries. He said momentum in the physics community was gathering for a machine to be built either in Europe or Asia.

Warning to the West: Vladimir Putin test launches terrifying 4,000mph “invincible” hypersonic missile
Vladimir Putin today answered his Western critics by demonstrating a fearsome test firing of Russia’s new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile. The “invincible” 4,000mph hypersonic weapon emerged from an underground silo, paused as if hovering above the ground and then sped away in a cloud of white smoke. The launch was at the snow -covered Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia.

Drought expands across Southwestern US
Drought is tightening its grip across a wide swath of the American Southwest as farmers, ranchers and water managers throughout the region brace for what’s expected to be more warm and dry weather through the spring. A federal drought map released Thursday shows dry conditions intensifying across northern New Mexico and into southwestern Arizona. Every square mile of Nevada and Utah also are affected by at least some level of dryness.

Federal Prosecutor Tapped by AG Sessions to Investigate FBI, DOJ Abuses First Appointed by Barack Obama
On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he will not be appointing a second special counsel to investigate crimes committed by Obama’s FBI and DOJ.

Facebook Data Scandal Delays Home Speaker Debut at Annual Developer Conference
Public outrage has dampened any potential excitement surrounding Facebook’s latest way of mining your household for information.

Obama’s Welcome for Migrants Allowed ‘Chemical Warfare’ on Americans
The “White Death” opioid crisis is caused by illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl, not by legal painkillers, and it exploded because President Barack Obama unleashed a migrant crisis in his second term, according to a new understanding of the plague.

Man has ‘world’s worst’ super-gonorrhoea
…The main antibiotic treatment – a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone – has failed to treat the disease. Dr Gwenda Hughes, from Public Health England, said: “This is the first time a case has displayed such high-level resistance to both of these drugs and to most other commonly used antibiotics.”

Nevada’s Burning Man sells out 26,000 tickets in a half hour
Burning Man tickets disappeared Wednesday faster than untethered tents in a dust storm. Within a half hour of the noon PT opening bell, 26,000 main sale tickets, which cost $425, were snapped up to participate in the temporary arts and music community although the $80 vehicle passes held out for a little longer.

Movie theaters cash in as Hollywood turns to God
Marilyn Monroe famously invoked a Hollywood “where they’ll pay you $1,000 for a kiss and 50 cents for your soul” — but these days it’s as likely to be the other way around.

Artificial Embryo Created: No Egg, No Sperm, No Problem
“In a breakthrough that redefines how life can be created, embryologists working at the University of Cambridge in the UK have grown realistic-looking mouse embryos using only stem cells. No egg. No sperm. Just cells plucked from another embryo.”

Vatican denies pope said hell doesn’t exist
Reporter quoted Francis saying unrepentant souls ‘disappear’

YouTube Is Censoring Conservatives, But Allowing Your Children to See THIS?!
…while hard-working, decent, often Christian conservatives who don’t curse or show violence have their videos removed for simply, say, questioning Islam or crashing a transgender organization meeting, like Steven Crowder recently experienced, videos made by seriously sick and twisted individuals are popping up on the auto play of small children with their mom’s iPhones.

Russia To Expel 60 US Diplomats, Close US Consulate In St. Petersburg
This is why it’s called tit-for-tat. The Kremlin had vowed to retaliate against the “provocative gesture”, denying it had any role in the attack; and now it has.

Migrant ‘baby boom’ causes highest birth rate in Germany in 40 years
In the year 2016, a total number of 792,131 children were born in Germany. Compared with 2015’s total of 737,575 new-borns, the number had increased by 7 per cent in a single year.


Red Francis Makes Headlines on Holy Thursday Saying ‘There Is No Hell’

Controversial Pope Francis, who is known for shooting off his mouth to reporters before thinking, made headlines this Holy Week.

Red Francis reportedly told an atheist reporter friend “There is no hell.”

This is a clean break from 2,000 years of Catholic teaching.

The Vatican later today released a statement saying they could “neither confirm nor deny” the pope made these remarks to his atheist friend.

Jim Hoft

@gatewaypundit

This is confusing… The Vatican neither ‘confirmed nor denied’ Pope Francis’s alleged quote that there is no hell — breaking 2000 years of Catholic teaching.

The Vatican’s official response reads:

“The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without however giving him any interviews. What is reported by the author in today’s article [in La Repubblica] is the result of his reconstruction, in which the textual words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

Of course, the confusing remarks from the Catholic leader made headlines around the world.

Pat Buchanan weighed in on the controversial remarks today at World Net Daily:

On the first Holy Thursday, Judas betrayed Christ. And of Judas the Lord said, “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man shall be betrayed; it were better for him if that man had never been born.”

Did the soul of Judas, and those of the monstrous evildoers of history, “just fade away,” as Gen. Douglas MacArthur said of old soldiers? If there is no hell, is not the greatest deterrent to the worst of sins removed?

What did Christ die on the cross to save us from?

If Francis made such a statement, it would be rank heresy.

Had the pope been speaking ex cathedra, as the vicar of Christ on earth, he would be contradicting 2,000 years of Catholic doctrine, rooted in the teachings of Christ himself. He would be calling into question papal infallibility, as defined in 1870 by the Vatican Council of Pius IX.

Questions would arise as to whether Francis is a true pope.

This truly was a calamitous mistake by a clumsy pope on Holy Thursday of all days.

The post Red Francis Makes Headlines on Holy Thursday Saying ‘There Is No Hell’appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.


CNN Host Baffled Over Charisma Magazine Founder’s ‘Willful Blindness’ in Placing Trump’s Policies Over Personal Character

Charismatic journalist Stephen Strang’s skilled tap-dance around CNN host’s straight-forward questions rivals that of the greatest tap dancer of all time, Fred Astaire. Heather Clark of Christian News Network has the story:

CNN “New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota grilled Charisma Magazine founder Stephen Strang on Wednesday in asking why he and other evangelicals continue to unconditionally support Donald Trump and seemingly brush aside or overlook alleged impropriety in his personal life.

Strang is the author of the book “God and Donald Trump,” in which he asserts that Trump is a changed man and ponders whether there was a “supernatural element” involved in the results of the 2016 presidential election.

“Explain to us again how it is that evangelicals are willing to overlook these reports of infidelity and other things to support president Trump,” Camerota began.

“That’s easy for me,” Strang replied. “Donald Trump has had a reputation as a Playboy going back to the 80’s. I didn’t support Donald Trump for a long time because I didn’t approve of what I knew of his lifestyle.”

“So, what changed?” Camerota asked.

“Well, I think he changed. I really do,” Strang opined. “I interviewed him in 2016, and expected sort of the brash personality that you see in the media. [But] I found him to be respectful, to actually be a little bit humble. I was amazed, and other people that deal with him say that he’s a changed man.”

He said that everyone has a past and no one is perfect, which provoked Camerota to note that owning up to wrongdoing and seeking forgiveness is a tenet of Christianity. She pointed to Trump’s statement that he’s never asked for forgiveness.

“These allegations are from a long time ago, and when we elected him, the Access Hollywood tape had just come out and people knew that he was not perfect,” Strang said. “[W]e Christians know that you have to have forgiveness, and that God can change lives, and that the leaders in the Bible that we read about from King David on were not perfect in any way, shape or form.”

“Yes, understood, and no one’s perfect, of course,” Camerota replied. “But in order to receive forgiveness, don’t you have to confess your sins?”

“Well, that’s between him and God,” Strang replied.

“Isn’t that a tenet of the Bible? I mean, don’t you have to own up to these things?” Camerota asked. “Donald Trump famously said he never asked God for forgiveness.”

Strang repeated that the matter is between Trump and God, and advised that he’s more focused on Trump’s policies that protect religious freedom.

“I’m glad you’re quoting the Bible, but I think the issue is here [is] that’s between him and God,” he said. “The issue for me and for millions of evangelicals is his policies. He supports the kinds of policies that we think are important. He’s become a champion of religious rights, of helping persecuted Christians. I could go right down the line. And then, of course, the Neil Gorsuch appointment is huge.”

“I understand, and I hear you. That one does makes sense,” Cameron replied. “But isn’t that a little bit like saying, ‘I really like Harvey Weinstein’s movies, so I’m going overlook what I know to be true about Harvey Weinstein, and I’m going to support him and give him money for his movies?’” View article →


RenewAmerica Newsletter

March 30, 2018
Declines to appoint special counsel as evidence shows Obama collusion

ART MOORE — Amid new evidence of Obama White House collusion with the FBI in the probe of alleged Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided a special prosecutor is not needed at the moment to investigate allegations of abuse of power by the bureau and by Hillary Clinton in the sale of Uranium One…. (more)


March 30, 2018

BYRON YORK — The FBI is promising swift action on a House subpoena covering three politically charged investigations after word that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has grown angry with the bureau’s slow-walking of congressional requests for information…. (more)


March 30, 2018

NEWSMAX — The White House said Thursday that Russia’s expelling of 60 American diplomats marked “a further deterioration in the United States-Russia relationship.” “Russia’s response was not unanticipated, and the United States will deal with it,” the administration said in a statement from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders…. (more)


March 28, 2018
ROBERT BARNES — Paul Manafort’s legal team brought a motion to dismiss on Tuesday, noting that Rosenstein could not appoint Mueller to any investigation outside the scope of the 2016 campaign since Sessions did not recuse himself for anything outside the campaign. I agree with this take on Mueller’s authority. If we follow that argument that would mean Sessions himself has exclusive authority to appoint a special counsel for non-collusion charges, and Sessions has taken no such action. Sessions himself should make that clear to Mueller, rather than await court resolution…. (more)

March 28, 2018
BOB UNRUH — Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has yet to produce evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia, has turned over all of the evidence regarding Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to a federal judge, according to a report. Investigative journalist Sara Carter reported two of her sources said Mueller’s office complied with a federal judge’s order regarding the former national security adviser…. (more)

March 28, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The Justice Department’s inspector general said Wednesday that he is investigating whether the FBI overstepped its bounds when it conducted secret surveillance of a Trump campaign figure in 2016 and 2017, and whether the FBI bungled its handling of the anti-Trump “Steele dossier.” Republicans last week revealed that the dossier played a significant role in getting the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to approve wiretaps of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign…. (more)

March 28, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Republican congressional investigators say it’s possible high-ranking officials in the U.S. government under the Obama administration and former Senate Democratic leadership coordinated together in the early days of the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election…. (more)

March 28, 2018
‘Christians should be outraged, once again’ by $500 million for abortionists
BOB UNRUH — Dr. James Dobson, who for decades has been the radio voice for Christians on children, family, life and marriage, first with Focus on the Family and now with Family Talk radio, says it’s an outrage that Congress has funded the abortionists at Planned Parenthood with another $500 million. “While there are multiple reasons for which conservatives should take issue with such a bill, Christians specifically should be outraged by the inclusion, once again, of half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding for the country’s number one abortion provider, Planned Parenthood,” he said…. (more)

March 28, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A lawsuit accusing the Saudi Arabian government of complicity in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and seeking billions of dollars in damages, can go forward, a judge ruled Wednesday. U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan dismissed Saudi Arabia’s motion to dismiss the case on the grounds of lack of proof of official complicity. But Judge Daniels said the plaintiffs – – victims’ relatives and their families – – can “narrowly articulate a reasonable basis for this Court to assume jurisdiction under [the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act] over Plaintiffs’ claims against Saudi Arabia.”… (more)

March 28, 2018

FOX NEWS — A Current Affair: Maury Povich interviews Leslie Leland about how the grand jury in Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick case was suppressed…. (more)


March 28, 2018

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY — The revival of Roseanne premiered to massive ratings Tuesday night. The return delivered an incredible 18.2 million viewers along with an equally impressive 5.1 rating among adults 18-49. According to ABC, this is the highest-rated comedy telecast on any network in nearly four years (since a premiere episode of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory from 2014)…. (more)


March 28, 2018

NATIONAL REVIEW — An analysis of the crowd at the March for Our Lives showed that only 10 percent of the marchers were teenagers under 18. Despite media reports emphasizing the youth of the protesters, especially the Parkland student leaders, the average marcher was a 49-year-old, college-educated woman, reported Dana R. Fisher, a University of Maryland sociology professor who surveyed the crowd at the march…. (more)


March 28, 2018

LIBERTY HEADLINES — A satirical video that overdubs fiery rhetoric of Adolf Hitler (in German) over a speech given by student activist David Hogg at Saturday’s “March for our Lives” in Washington has earned it a warning to would-be viewers on YouTube. The video channel, owned by Google, flagged the 56-second send-up of the gun control advocate – who shot to fame following his reporting and commentary at the Parkland, Fla. school shootings – as “inappropriate” or “offensive.”… (more)


March 28, 2018
Stoneman Douglas students’ passion is not wisdom.
RICH LOWRY — All you needed to know about student activist David Hogg’s speech at the “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., over the weekend was that he affixed a price tag on the microphone to symbolize how much National Rifle Association money Senator Marco Rubio took for the lives of students in Florida…. (more)

March 28, 2018
NEWSMAX — The Kentucky House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday to ban a common abortion procedure from the 11th week of pregnancy, in what would be one of the strictest abortion limits in the United States. The bill, which was approved by the state Senate last week, will now go for approval to Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican who has described himself as, “100 percent pro-life.”… (more)

March 28, 2018
Sheriff leads resistance by posting inmates’ release data online
WASHINGTON TIMES — Resistance to California’s new sanctuary city laws grew this week as Orange County voted to join a federal lawsuit trying to block the laws, and the county’s sheriff said he will post information on every inmate’s release so the Homeland Security Department can see if there is anyone it wants to deport. The Who’s in Jail database could provide a model for other law enforcement agencies chafing under SB54, the law that took effect this year prohibiting police or sheriffs from informing federal agencies when illegal immigrants are to be released…. (more)

March 28, 2018
Cite Obama’s ATF ruling calling particular device a ‘firearm part’ and not subject to weapons regulations
WASHINGTON TIMES — The federal government has only just begun the process of banning bump stocks for firearms, but Second Amendment groups are already lining up to challenge whatever the Justice Department produces. Americans have a right to the aftermarket gun accessory, the groups insist, and the Obama administration repeatedly said it didn’t have the power to regulate bump stocks en masse without changes to federal law…. (more)

March 28, 2018

WASHINGTON TIMES — A 22-year-old who acted in the movie “Marmaduke” and on the Disney Channel show “Shake It Up” has a new role – – in the White House press office. Caroline Sunshine is joining President Trump’s team as a press assistant, CNN reported Tuesday evening. Ms. Sunshine has recent political experience, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told CNN in a statement…. (more)


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)

Headlines – 3/30/2018

Belgian state secretary: No doubt Jerusalem is Israel’s capital

The Palestinian statehood-demographic crisis dilemma

Despite Palestinian boycott, White House insists peace plan still on the agenda

Netanyahu instructs Israeli lawmakers to avoid visiting Temple Mount due to security tensions

Two Jewish youths caught attempting to smuggle goat to Temple Mount for sacrifice

Jordanian Minister slams Israel for allowing Jewish ritual near Al Aqsa

Palestinian Authority Used Its ‘Christian’ Lobby to Push Its Agenda at the UN

UNRWA official: ‘Right of return’ will be achieved by force

Hamas calls for peaceful ‘March of Return’

US Mid-East envoy Greenblatt accuses Hamas of planning ‘hostile march” against Israel

Thousands flood toward the eastern border of Gaza

Israeli diplomats gird for Gaza Land Day clashes, warn Hamas responsible

Israel opens fire at rioters near Gaza border fence as tensions mount

Lieberman warns Gaza protesters: ‘Hamas is playing with your lives’

Liberman urges Israelis to calm down over Gaza infiltration

Caroline Glick: Western Media Are Hamas’s Partners in the War Against Israel

Defying US, PA returns to directly financing convicted terrorists

Terrorism seemingly ruled out in Beersheba ‘security incident’

3 settler brothers convicted of belonging to terrorist cell that attacked Palestinians

Ehud Olmert urges Netanyahu to step down, preserve dignity of office

Massachusetts college investigates ‘act of blatant and deplorable anti-Semitism’

France should ‘make an example’ of anti-Semites, former PM says

Report: Israeli stealth fighters fly over Iran

Israeli Security Cabinet Member Warns of Further Iranian Aggression in the Mideast

IDF Chief of Staff: Iran knows heavy price of confronting Israel

European powers face resistance to Iran sanctions to save nuclear deal

Iran, Energy hub for new Silk Road

Council of Iranian Democrats condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

Saudi Crown Prince: If we don’t succeed, likely war with Iran in 10-15 years

Saudi Crown Prince meets with UN Security Council’s Big Five

Saudi Prince Meets New York Rabbis in Rare Interfaith Gesture

Trump says the US is leaving Syria ‘very soon’: ‘Let the other people take care of it’

Syria war: France offers to mediate between Turkey and Kurds

US says airstrike killed top al-Qaida leader in Libya

The curious case of the Egyptian elections

Egyptian president wins second term after purge of challengers

Egypt’s Sissi wins second term with 92% of vote, but only 41.5% turnout

Countries abandoning UN, outgoing political chief warns

Mattis jokes to Bolton: ‘I heard you’re actually the devil incarnate’

Trump warns he may freeze SKorea trade deal for NKorea talks

Intelligence officials fear China’s global ‘kidnapping’ program has reached America

UN chief warns of new Cold War approaching

Russia to expel 60 US diplomats, close a US consulate – Lavrov

US: Russia has ‘no justification’ for expulsions

White House: Russia’s expulsion of U.S. diplomats a ‘deterioration’ in relations

Trump tells aides not to talk publicly about Russia policy moves

From Syria to Skripal’s poisoning: Russia’s ‘Mafia style’ tactics

68 dead in Venezuelan prison riot, attorney general says

France’s ex-president Sarkozy to stand trial for corruption

Austin Police Chief On Bomber: ‘He Was A Domestic Terrorist’

Trump blasts Amazon for hurting the postal service. Is that true?

Under Armour says data breach affected about 150 million MyFitnessPal accounts

Facebook is defending itself again after an internal memo suggested growth was more important than user safety

Poll: Facebook’s popularity plummets

Facebook’s fall from grace could drag Main Street down with it

Facebook starts fact checking photos/videos, blocks millions of fake accounts per day

Extreme vetting: State Dept. to demand tourists’ social media history

Marines’ ultra-powerful heavily-armed mega-drone will devastate enemies of the US

Chinese Space Station Is Tumbling Toward an Easter Sunday Crash

Re-entry points for Chinese space station include well-populated areas in California, New York

China’s failing satellite is just one example of a massive space debris problem

Two pilots say they witnessed UFO while flying plane above Arizona, audio reveals

Saturday’s Blue Moon Is the Last One Until 2020 (Don’t Miss It!)

Powerful quake shakes Papua New Guinea, month after disaster

Magnitude 6.9 quake off Papua New Guinea, tsunami danger passes

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Honiara, Solomon Islands

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Roghun, Tajikistan

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Amahai, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kimbe, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Mendi, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Oarai, Japan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 30,000ft

Aoba volcano on Vanuatu erupts to 10,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 10,000ft

Jelawat Now the First Typhoon of 2018, But Isn’t a Land Threat in the Western Pacific Ocean

Drought expands across Southwestern US

Synthetic pot warning issued after 22 people in Illinois report bleeding from eyes, ears

A pill could make your blood poisonous to mosquitoes, research shows

‘It’s getting exponentially worse’: Fentanyl behind latest spike in opioid overdose deaths

Obama’s Welcome for Migrants Allowed ‘Chemical Warfare’ on Americans

Confessions of an intimacy director: how do you direct sex scenes in the age of #MeToo?

James Dobson Says Republicans Betrayed Christians by Funding Planned Parenthood

Hawaii lawmakers pass medically assisted suicide

Pope, in Holy Thursday prison visit, says death penalty not Christian

Does Hell Exist? Pope Francis Says No In New Interview That Could Change Catholic Church Forever

Pope Francis ‘abolishes hell’, saying souls of unrepentant sinners will simply disappear

Vatican rebukes journalist who quoted pope as denying hell

51 Percent of American Churchgoers Unfamiliar With the Term ‘Great Commission’: Barna

Apostasy Watch

Ten ways false teachers ensnare people

Pope Francis: ‘There Is No Hell’

Vatican Rebukes Journalist Who Quoted Pope As Denying Hell

Prophetic? – Vatican worshippers showered with falling chunks of plaster from ceiling of St Peter’s Basilica – as Pope denies Hell exists

The Bible Truth About Hell

God Is Pouring out Umbrellas Reach up and Grab It for Protection Says Apostle Jennifer LeClaire

Mississippi Methodist Church Parts With United Methodists for Not ‘Accepting the Authority of Scripture’

2 Texas United Methodist Churches Approve of Hosting Gay Weddings

Baptism Service Violently Halted by Hindu Mob Claiming ‘Forced Conversions’

Muslim Relatives Douse Christian Convert in Hot Oil After Giving Life to Christ in Uganda

NATO Braces For Putin’s Next Military Move In Eastern Europe

Posted: 30 Mar 2018 06:47 AM PDT

NATO Braces For Putin’s Next Military Move In Eastern EuropeSince 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military aggression in Ukraine has rearranged the national defense chessboards of countries across Eastern Europe.  In turn, the NATO military alliance has deployed weapons and troops eastward, to “make clear that an attack on one Ally would be considered an attack on the whole Alliance,” said NATO’s website. And the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has approved delivery of American anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. Yet, U.S. and NATO military leaders may have it wrong when it comes to anticipating Russia’s next military move in the region, a U.S. think tank says.

“The Russian military is well-positioned to launch a short-notice conventional war in Ukraine and a hybrid war in the Baltic states, the opposite of what Western leaders seem to expect in each theater,” Catherine Harris and Frederick Kagan wrote in a March report for the Institute for the Study of War.  That assessment challenges U.S. and NATO military orthodoxy about what Russia’s next military offensive might look like. “U.S. leaders and their European allies are unprepared for the ways in which Putin is poised to wage war in Ukraine and the Baltics,” Harris and Kagan wrote. READ MORE

Joyce Meyer Defends Tattoos, Says She Might Get One to Make Religious People Mad

Posted: 30 Mar 2018 06:37 AM PDT

Joyce Meyer Defends Tattoos, Says She Might Get One to Make Religious People MadDuring a recent conference, Christian speaker Joyce Meyer made a biblical case for getting tattoos and admitted she has been thinking of getting one herself just to shut the mouths of religious people.  The video clip posted by Joyce Meyer Ministries on March 14 kicks off with Meyer explaining the difference between being holy and religious.  “Holiness is not legalism,” Meyer declared.  She went on to explain that religious people have made a mess of holiness by putting a bunch of rules and

regulations on people. She listed drinking, dancing, wearing makeup and more among those rules. Meyer quoted Isaiah 44:5 in defense of getting permanent markings. The scripture says, “One will say, I am the Lord’s; and another will call himself by the name of Jacob; and another will write [even brand or tattoo] upon his hand, I am the Lord’s, and surname himself by the [honorable] name of Israel.”  READ MORE

51 Percent of American Churchgoers Unfamiliar With the Term ‘Great Commission’

Posted: 30 Mar 2018 06:27 AM PDT

51 Percent of American Churchgoers Unfamiliar With the Term ‘Great Commission’A little over half of American churchgoers are not familiar with the term “Great Commission,” according to a study conducted by the Barna Group and the Seed Company.  The “Great Commission” is a term used to describe Jesus’ call to evangelism in Matthew 28:18-20: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In a report released Tuesday, Barna found that 51 percent of church attendees in the United States were unfamiliar with the term “Great Commission.”  From there, 25 percent of respondents said they heard of it but did not recall its “exact meaning,” 17 percent knew for sure, and 6 percent said they were not sure.  “The data indicates that churches are using the phrase less, which may reveal a lack of prioritizing or focusing on the work of the Great Commission, but may also indicate that the phrase, rather than the scriptures or the labor, has simply fallen out of favor with some,” noted Barna.  READ MORE

Baptism Service Violently Halted by Hindu Mob Claiming ‘Forced Conversions’

Posted: 30 Mar 2018 06:23 AM PDT

Baptism Service Violently Halted by Hindu Mob Claiming ‘Forced Conversions’Around 20 Hindu extremists in saffron-colored clothes barged inside a church in eastern India’s Uttar Pradesh state yesterday (March 28), violently assaulting the pastor and two church members.  Shouting in extremely offensive language, they entered the Evangelical Churches of India (ECI) building in the Fatehpur district of the city, and bolted it from the inside.  The church had gathered for a monthly baptism and fasting-prayer service, as Pastor Jose Prakash from Uttar Pradesh

Missions explained to World Watch Monitor: “We don’t have a baptism tank at Fatehpur central. We only assemble in the community hall of the Missions’ hospital regularly.”  Like every month, Pastor Jose Prakash sent invitations for the prayer and fasting to be conducted at Fatehpur Central prayer hall. “At least 550 people accepted the invitation and joined in worship and the Bible-study sessions that followed,” he said.  READ MORE

Catholic Church in turmoil as Pope ‘admits HELL DOES NOT EXIST’

Posted: 30 Mar 2018 06:15 AM PDT

Catholic Church in turmoil as Pope ‘admits HELL DOES NOT EXIST’Millions of Catholics across the world had their faith shaken to its foundations after reports the Pope admitted HELL DOES NOT EXIST and that bad people simply cease to be.   In a jaw-dropping Good Friday ‘revelation’ Pope Francis reportedly told an Italian journalist that at the moment of death the souls of “sinners” would “disappear”.  Furious Catholics have suggested the claim sounds more akin to atheism than Christianity.  Eugenio Scalfari, 93, said Pope Francis told him: “Hell doesn’t exist, the

disappearance of the souls of sinners exists.”  The quotes appeared in Italian newspaper La Republica, a newspaper co-founded by Mr Scalfari.  The Vatican suggested the quotes in the report were questionable – but seem to have stopped short of an outright dismissal.  The shock revelation from the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic faith overturns more than 2,000 years of orthodoxy. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Several killed and 500 wounded amid massive border protests in Gaza

Posted: 30 Mar 2018 06:03 AM PDT

DEVELOPING: Several killed and 500 wounded amid massive border protests in GazaSeven Palestinians were killed and some 500 were wounded by Israeli rubber bullets and live fire in the Gaza Strip on Friday, as a series of massive protests intensified along the security fence surrounding the Hamas-controlled enclave, Palestinian sources said.  The Israel Defense Forces estimated that 17,000 Palestinians were taking part in “March of Return” demonstrations along the Gaza border, focused at five main protest sites where rioters threw petrol bombs and stones at troops, and burned tires.

Six were reported killed in escalating violence by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, hours after a Gaza man was killed at the border in disputed circumstances.  The IDF did not confirm the Hamas death toll figures. In a statement reported by Israeli Kan TV, the army said organizers of the protests were deliberately trying to place civilians in harm’s way, and cited an incident in which it said a seven-year-old girl was sent to the security fence in an apparent cynical attempt to draw Israeli fire, but was spotted by troops who realized what was happening and ensured she was not hurt. READ MORE

Is humanity being prepared for a “Mass Deception” event?

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 02:25 PM PDT

Is humanity being prepared for a “Mass Deception” event?(By Ricky Scaparo) In today’s broadcast, we discuss how a very taboo and controversial subject regarding UFO’s and unexplained events that have taken place over the years and how they can be explained from a Biblical perspective. We also propose the possibility of a coming mass deception that will deceive all those who have not put their trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! For the full message, watch the video below:

RUMORS OF WAR: Hamas to Swarm Israel’s Border, Sparking Fear of New ‘Passover War’

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 01:46 PM PDT

RUMORS OF WAR: Hamas to Swarm Israel’s Border, Sparking Fear of New ‘Passover War’The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is planning a mass demonstration along Israel’s border on Friday, prompting fears of a new war with the Jewish state ahead of the Passover holiday, according to regional experts and U.S. officials who say they are closely monitoring the situation.  On the heels of a recent military exercise that observers described as “unprecedented,” Hamas leaders have called for some 100,000 Gaza Strip resident to engage in six weeks of mass demonstrations along the Israeli

border as Jewish families gear up for the Passover holiday, which begins Friday evening. Regional experts closely tracking the situation say the demonstrations are meant as cover for a mass military campaign to swarm Israel’s border and stoke violence against the Jewish state. The situation is being closely monitored by Trump administration officials, who outlined concerns that Hamas could use civilian protesters as human shields as cover for attacks on Israeli forces. READ MORE

Israeli Stealth Fighters Fly Over Iran

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 01:39 PM PDT

Israeli Stealth Fighters Fly Over IranTwo Israeli F-35 fighter jets entered Iranian airspace over the past month, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Thursday. The act is a signal of heightened regional tensions, especially in light of recent Israeli military attacks in Syria, including against Iranian bases in the country.  Sources quoted

in Al-Jarida stated that two stealth fighters flew over Syrian and Iraqi airspace to reach Iran, and even targeted locations in the Iranian cities Bandar Abbas, Esfahan and Shiraz.  The report states that the two fighter jets, among the most advanced in the world, circled at high altitude above Persian Gulf sites suspected of being associated with the Iranian nuclear program. READ MORE

13 Year-old suspended after drawing stick figures holding a gun and knives

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 11:02 AM PDT

13 Year-old suspended after drawing stick figures holding a gun and knivesA 13-year-old boy in North Carolina was reportedly suspended after he drew a picture of stick figures holding guns and knives.  Roseboro Salemburg Middle School in Sampson County suspended the unidentified seventh-grader for two days over the doodle, which portrayed one stick figure holding

Watch the latest video at foxnews.comwhat appeared to be a rifle and another carrying two large knives. James Herring, the boy’s father, was surprised his son was suspended for “just expressing himself.” “I see a guy in a race car souped-up. I see a tower that he built. I see him holding his gun; he’s a deer hunter. I see him with a magician and I see him as a Ninja Turtle … nothing violent,” Herring told WRAL.  READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Russia to expel 60 US diplomats and close US consulate in St. Petersburg

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 10:53 AM PDT

DEVELOPING: Russia to expel 60 US diplomats and close US consulate in St. PetersburgRussia announced Thursday it will expel 60 U.S. diplomats and close the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg in retaliation for U.S. measures taken in response to the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.  Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Thursday, where he was given notice that Russia is responding quid pro quo to the U.S. decision to order 60 Russian diplomats out. Lavrov said Moscow will also retaliate to the U.S. decision to shut the Russian consulate in Seattle by closing the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg.

The United State’s decision to close the Russian consulate in Seattle prompted the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., to tweet a poll asking social media users which U.S. consulate should be closed in Russia, USA Today reported. St. Petersburg appeared to get the most votes in the poll. Lavrov said like the U.S, other countries that also expelled Russian diplomats will also be on the chopping block. Two dozen countries, including the U.S., many EU nations and NATO, have ordered more than 150 Russian diplomats out this week in a show of solidarity with Britain. READ MORE

Did Pope Francis Claim that Hell Doesn’t Exist?

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 10:41 AM PDT

Did Pope Francis Claim that Hell Doesn’t Exist?Pope Francis in a recent interview with his longtime atheist friend stated that hell does not exist and that souls just disappear after death.  Scalfri says to the Pope, “Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?”

Pope Francis says, “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot, therefore, be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.” – In yet another absurd twist of scripture Pope Francis, formerly Jorge Mario Bergoglio, allegedly made the claim that hell does not exist as is evidenced in the paragraph above. The interview was conducted by Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari the founder and former editor of Italian newspaper La Repubblica.  READ MORE

Milwaukee Officials Vote to Ban Psychological Counseling for Minors Struggling With Homosexuality, Gender Dysphoria

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 06:33 AM PDT

Milwaukee Officials Vote to Ban Psychological Counseling for Minors Struggling With Homosexuality, Gender DysphoriaOfficials in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have voted to ban what is called “conversion therapy” for minors struggling with homosexuality or gender dysphoria.  The passed ordinance claims that “being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, disorder, or illness.” It bans any practice, including psychological counseling, that would seek to help

youth resist homosexual temptations or assist those who struggle with desires to present themselves as the opposite sex.  However, the measure permits counseling that would offer “acceptance” and “support” of homosexuality, and would not criminalize anyone who “provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition.”  Violators may be charged up to $1000 for each instance. READ MORE

China rolls out AI and facial recognition to fine jaywalkers via text

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 06:23 AM PDT

China rolls out AI and facial recognition to fine jaywalkers via textTraffic authorities in the Chinese city of Shenzhen have teamed up with an AI firm named Intellifusion to carry out the rather dystopian policing, reports the South China Morning Post. Already traffic police in the city have been using Intellifusion software and cameras to identify passing jaywalkers and project their faces and identifying information on large screens located near

intersections for all to see, but now Intellifusion is taking its surveillance a step further. The company is partnering with social media platforms including WeChat and Sina Weibo and local mobile phone carriers so it can text jaywalkers the second they offend. Police will also have the option of delivering a ticket and fine on the spot for people who are picked up by the AI system for repeat offenses. READ MORE

The Prophetic Significance of the Passover Lamb

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 06:18 AM PDT

The Prophetic Significance of the Passover Lamb(By Rabbi Pesach Wolicki) Tomorrow evening, Jews the world over will gather in their homes for the ritual feast known as the Passover Seder. The Seder rituals and liturgy are among the earliest of all Jewish texts and practices, dating from second temple times. Of course, after the destruction of the temple almost 2000 years ago, the Seder underwent one major change. Without a temple in Jerusalem, no longer would there be a Passover lamb. This roasted lamb was the centerpiece of the Seder in temple times. Today a

festive meal, minus the lamb, sits at the center of the evening. Psalms of praise are sung both before and after the meal is eaten. A close look at these psalms will reveal a powerful message about the true meaning of Passover. The psalms in question, Psalms 113 through 118, are well known to Jews as Hallel—the Psalms of Praise. They are sung as part of the synagogue worship on all major Jewish holy days. They are a set; a series that is always recited together—except at the Passover Seder. READ MORE

Brain implants intended for humans to be tested on animals

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 06:14 AM PDT

Brain implants intended for humans to be tested on animalsNeuralink, a company co-founded by Elon Musk that aims to develop brain implants for boosting people’s mental capabilities, had plans to test products on animals, according to a new report. The new information provides rare insight into Neuralink’s earliest plans for executing on its bold vision, which could ultimately diversify Musk beyond cars with Tesla and space travel with SpaceX.

The report on Wednesday from Gizmodo points to a letter Neuralink employee Jared Birchall sent to a San Francisco city department last year that mentions plans for “a small operating room for in vivo testing, and a small room to house rodents.” Musk hasn’t spoken much about Neuralink in the past. But he has said that before the company would seek to deploy its technology for a wider population — which could be seven to nine years away — Neuralink would first try to help people with certain kinds of disabilities. READ MORE


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Justified Today, Damned Tomorrow? Never! (Sibbes)

The Reformed Reader

 We are weak.  Our faith is often feeble and barely flickering.  We have doubts; despair sometimes is a dark cloud in the Christian life.  “Prone to wander” is an understatement at times!  I appreciate how Richard Sibbes discussed this hard reality in the Christian life.  He met it with the gospel, with the comforting truths of the doctrines of grace:

Objection: “Oh… says the poor soul, I am a poor weak creature, and ready to fall away every day.”

Answer: “Yes, but Christ’s love is constant.  ‘Whom he loves, he loves to the end.’  What does the apostle say (Rom. 8:38-39)? ‘Neither things present, nor things to come, shall be able to separate us from the love of Christ.’  Therefore be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; do not trust yourselves, nor trouble yourselves for things to come.  If you be free from…

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Ten ways false teachers ensnare people.

Rick Becker from ‘Famine In The Land’ continues to warn believers of the greatest enemy of the cross – false teachers. We are warned to guard ourselves against false teachers by being armed with the best weapon against the ‘peddlers of error who masquerade as teachers of truth’ – by rightly discerning the Word of God.


Rick Becker writes:

The greatest threat to the church are not those who oppose the gospel, but those who distort it.  Many in the visible church are fearful that the growth of other religions, godless governments, and the ongoing calamities of this world pose a threat to the church.  These serve to distract from the greatest threat which comes from within – false teachers.  Jesus described them as ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing –  they look like sheep but feed on sheep.  How do these false teachers manage to captivate and deceive millions within…

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Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Exchanging Living Death for Dying Life”

Ephesians 2:1-10

Code: B180330

This Sunday, the church will celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His triumph over sin, death, and the grave. In his sermon “Exchanging Living Death for Dying Life” (which he originally delivered on Easter Sunday twenty years ago), John MacArthur declares,

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is . . . the most determinative event of all time because by it, the destiny of every person is ultimately determined. It is the most impactful thing that ever happened in the history of this world. How you respond to the resurrection will determine whether you spend forever in heaven or hell.

The sermon focuses on Ephesians 2:1-10, and the apostle Paul’s vivid description of God’s redeeming work for those lost and dead in their sins. As John explains, this powerful passage of Scripture assaults the way unbelievers like to think of themselves. “People like to think they’re free. Oh, they love to think they’re free. That’s the biggie nowadays. Everybody is free to do his own thing, do whatever you want, do whatever feels good.” On the contrary, he explains that the sinner’s freedom is an illusion.

Man is not free. You don’t do your own will. You are locked in spiritual death. You are utterly insensitive to the realities of God, to the divine realm. You are hypersensitive to the influences of the evil world system around you. You are engulfed in your own personal sin.

Paul’s description of unrepentant man’s status is utterly hopeless; “Dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) does not leave a lot of room for nuance or interpretation. Dead is dead.

But thankfully Paul does not leave it there.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

As John MacArthur explains, “Here is the great, wonderful truth of Easter. . . . Dead people can come to life.”

This Sunday, our congregations will swell with unsaved people making one of their biannual trips to church. It’s a day when many lost and dead men and women pretend to be spiritually alive. That pantomime of faith only serves to deepen their own self-deception. They need to be brought face to face with the resurrected Lord, and understand the depth of their depravity and their spiritual needs that only He can meet.

Whether you want to remind yourself of the rich grace and mercy that has been poured out in your salvation, or you want to point a friend or loved one to the truth that only God can resurrect and redeem lost sinners, “Exchanging Living Death for Dying Life” is a powerful, timely message.

To download or listen to “Exchanging Living Death for Dying Life,” click here.

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180330
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You Can’t Love Jesus with a Heart Full of Hate: 7 Reasons to Love and Forgive Your Enemies

Michelle Lesley

Human beings are capable of egregious depravity toward one another. The atrocities of war. Horrifying crimes. The cruelty of torture and persecution. All in an attempt to fill a wicked heart’s insatiable lust for evil, power, money, or the approval of a god.

And no one knew more about that than Jesus.

Jesus was born into a tumultuous and oppressive world. Long gone were the golden days of David and Solomon when Israel was a self-governing nation at the peak of power and opulence. In Jesus’ time, subjugation and sorrow were the order of the day as God’s people writhed under the iron boot of the Roman Empire.

Even from Jesus’ birth narrative, we catch a glimpse of the terrorism running roughshod over his homeland. The first event Matthew relates to us about Jesus’ life is what is often called “the massacre of the innocents.”

Herod the Great…

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10 Things You Should Know about the Cross

March 30, 2018 
This article is part of the 10 Things You Should Know series.

1. The cross is a Trinitarian event.

The Christian faith is distinctively Trinitarian and cross-shaped. Therefore, the cross must reveal the Trinity. God the Father sent the Son to save the world, the Son submitted to the Father’s will, and the Spirit applies the work of redemption to Jesus followers. Redemption is predestined by the Father (Eph 1:3–6), accomplished by the Son (Eph 1:7–10), and applied by the Spirit (Eph. 1:13–14). God did not withhold the Son, and the Son surrendered to the Father. Yet the Father is not sacrificing the Son. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit all possess a single will. The sacrifice, while uniquely the Son’s work, is also the will of the three persons.

2. The cross is the center of the story of the Scripture.

A Bible without a cross is a Bible without a climax, a Bible without an ending, a Bible without a solution. The spiral of sin that began in Genesis 3 must be stopped; the death of Jesus terminates the downward spiral. In Jesus’s body, he took on the sin of the world and paid the price of all humanity. At the cross the new Adam, Abraham, Moses, David arises to create a new humanity, family, and kingdom. That is why Paul doesn’t say he decided to knowing nothing except the incarnation, resurrection, or the ascension of Jesus, but the nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). Wisdom was found not beyond the cross, not above the cross, not below the cross, but in the cross.

3. The cross redefines power in the kingdom.

Jesus’s announcement that the kingdom of God has come is conclusively revealed in the Christ-event on the cross. The Scriptures narrate how God will manifest his kingship on the earth. He gives Adam and Eve the task of ruling and reigning over the earth as his representatives, but they attempt to seize power for themselves (Gen. 3:5). In fact, all of their children do the same. Babel (or Babylon) is the city opposed to the reign of God. Jesus comes as the true Son and redefines power by displaying strength through weakness. He does not exploit his power like Adam, but empties himself (Phil. 2:5–6). He becomes a servant of all, and thereby is exalted as ruler of all (Phil. 2:9–11).

The cross is not only where our sin is paid for, where the devil is conquered, but the shape of Christianity.

4. The cross inaugurates the new covenant.

At the Last Supper Jesus interprets his death as bringing in the new covenant. It is by his body and blood that his new community is formed. Just as the people of Israel were sprinkled with blood as they entered a covenant with Yahweh, so the disciples are members of the new community by the pouring out of Jesus’s blood. The new covenant community now has the Torah written on their hearts and they all know the Lord because of the gift of the Spirit (Jer. 31:33–34).

5. The cross conquers sin and death.

The cross cancels the record of debt that stood against humanity (Col 2:14). On the cross Jesus bore our sins in his body, so that we might die to sin and death (1 Pet. 2:24). The curse of sin and death was placed on Jesus so that we might obtain the blessings of Abraham (Gal 3:13). Understanding the cross and resurrection as a single event is important here, for it is through the death and resurrection of Christ that death is swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:54–55).

6. The cross vanquishes the devil.

On the cross, Christ did not only conquer sin and death, but he conquered the spiritual forces of darkness. A cosmic eruption occurred at Golgotha; a new apocalyptic force entered the world and the old magic was conquered by a deeper magic. He disarmed the power and authorities, putting them to open shame, and triumphs over them on the cross (Col. 2:14). When Christ rises from the dead he is seated at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power (Eph. 2:20–21).

7. The cross is substitutionary.

The cross is for us, in our place, on our behalf. He laid down his life for His sheep. He is our sacrificial lamb. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Just as Abraham raised his eyes and looked and saw a ram to offer as a burnt offering in the place of his son (Gen 22:13), so too we look up and see Jesus as our replacement. He became a curse for us (Gal 3:13), meaning he takes the place of all the enslaved, the rebels, the idolaters, and the murderers. If the conquering of the spiritual forces is the goal, then substitution is the ground or basis for this conquering (Gal. 1:4). “The cross represents not only the great exchange (substitutionary atonement), but also the great transition (the eschatological turn of the ages).”

8. The cross is foolishness to the world.

In a PBS television series the narrator said, “Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central focus the suffering and degradation of its God.” And Paul acknowledges that this message of Christ crucified will be a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles (1 Cor 1:23). It is not an inherently attractive message, until spiritual eyes of sight are granted. The world looks at the cross and sees weakness, irrationality, hate, and disgust. In the early decades of the Christian movement the scandal of the cross was most self-evident thing about it. It was not only the death of the Messiah, but the manner of his death that is an offense.

9. The cross brings peace, reconciliation, and unity.

At the cross the whole world has the opportunity to be reconciled to the Father. The peace that the world has been seeking, the unity of all people is found in blood. “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph. 2:14). Reconciliation for the world, peace, shalom, and unity comes only by the blood of the cross (Col 1:20). No blood means no harmony.

10. The cross is the marching order for Christians.

After Jesus explained to his disciples that he must suffer, he tells them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24). Paul embodies the cross in his ministry, becoming the fragrance of death as he is lead on the triumphal procession (2 Cor. 2:14–17), and he evens says he has been crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20). But Paul does not merely apply the cross to his own ministry, but he instructs the new community at Philippi to have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5) which is defined by Jesus’s humility on the cross (Phil. 2:8). The cross is not only where our sin is paid for, where the devil is conquered, but the shape of Christianity. As Rutledge has said, “the crucifixion is the touchstone of Christian authenticity, the unique feature by which everything else. . . is given true significance.”



Popular Articles in This Series

8 reasons the resurrection matters more than you think

I had a conversation with a close friend a few years ago, and he asked me a question that I chewed on for days afterward: Do those of us who adhere to the doctrines of grace tend to downplay the resurrection of Christ? Do we, in our drive to make everything gospel-centered and cross-saturated unintentionally underemphasize the final miracle in the doctrines of grace, the vindication of the Son by the Father in the empty tomb?

The more I have thought about it, the more I wonder if perhaps there is not some subtle truth in this notion, though there is no way to empirically substantiate it. As adherents to historic evangelical orthodoxy, we love to proclaim Good Friday and its staggering implications for fallen humanity. Rightly, we cherish the great truth of Christ’s substitutionary, effectual death on behalf of His people. We exalt His propitiating the wrath of the Father—the wrath that we deserved to bear, Christ bore. How could we not exult in so glorious a truth?

Centrality of preaching the cross

We speak often of Christ’s active and passive obedience and the application of both for the imputation of His righteousness to sinners: “God made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” That may be the Olympus of theological truths.

As I thought of these things and my friend’s question, I realized that in my own speaking of the gospel, I always frame as the “person and work of Christ” or His substitutionary atonement, but invariably, I (unintentionally, of course, I’m not suggesting any of us does this on purpose), leave off the resurrection.  In the past few days, I have found myself saying “Christ’s death…and resurrection in our place.” After all, His resurrection secured our resurrection and Paul tells us that we are raised in Him.

The resurrection has been the focal point of attack from atheists and liberals throughout the history of the church. Jesus contended with the Sadducees whose central theological thrust was a denial of the resurrection. In the Enlightenment, British empiricist David Hume virtually made a career out of attacking the validity of Christ’s resurrection in his assault on the Christian faith. Hume, the Sadducees and all skeptics know that if one proves the resurrection of Christ false, then the Christian faith and its supernatural power collapses like a house of cards.

8 devastating results if we lose the empty tomb

Of course, we who cherish sound evangelical doctrine certainly also cherish the resurrection of Christ, for without it, the cross is void of significance. With Good Friday looming in a matter of days, Paul’s exposition of the centrality of the resurrection of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:12-22 serves as a good reminder for us all of the catastrophic consequences for our fallen world if Christ “be not raised.” If the resurrection is not true, then Paul says eight awful truths emerge that renders false the Christian faith. If Christ is not raised, then:

1. Not even Christ is raised.

This is the first and most obvious consequence. This is nuclear fallout. If there is no resurrection from the dead, as Hume and the Sadducees claim, then Christ’s body was eaten by dogs or taken by thieves or secretly removed by Jesus’s disciples or there exists another naturalistic explanation for the claim by hundreds of witnesses to have seen the risen Lord.

2. The preaching of the gospel is useless.

The good news is then no news. Actually, it is bad news. For, apart from the resurrection, Jesus has not conquered suffering, sin or death and these three evils will forever be our conquerors. As Barney Fife always loved to tell people while dispersing a crowd in Mayberry, there is nothing to see here.

3. Faith in Christ is worthless.

Faith in a lifeless corpse buried somewhere in the Middle East will save no one. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then Hebrews 11 would better be dubbed the “hall of fools” instead of the hall of faith.

4. Every witness to the resurrection and all preachers of the resurrection are liars.

To deny the resurrection is to call the apostles and every other New Testament leader liars. They are not simply mistaken, but are peddling a whopper of a myth. Jesus, too, is a liar, for it was He who said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

5. Christianity is a fairy tale

Scripture is nothing but a book of history comingled with superstition and myths. Missions and evangelism are a colossal waste of time, energy and money. We do not waste effort and resources peddling Mother Goose and we should not waste our time on this ancient myth.

6. All of humanity is still in its sins.

What Paul says remains true, “The wages of sin is death.” Our world is still fallen, still captive to sin, still enslaved to death.

7. Everyone who died is in hell.

There remains no sacrifice for sins, if Christ be not raised. This consequence follows from the sixth one and means that every human being will face the full, unmediated wrath of God for all eternity.

8. Christians are the most pathetic people on earth.

Paul puts it this way, “If Christ be not raised, then we are of most men to be pitied.” Indeed. And this is why the world, as Paul says so well in 1 Corinthians 1, sees the cross of Christ as foolishness. If every part of the Gospel is not true, then we will have spent our days pursuing a God who will not be able to benefit us beyond the grave. Not only are we objects of pity, the skeptics around us are correct. Blaise Pascal’s famous “wager” will do little to make us feel better in eternity.

Soon, the Christian world will celebrate both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In all the teaching, talking and theologizing we who march behind the banner emblazoned with the five solas tend to do, let us remember that we cannot have the one without the other.

The post 8 reasons the resurrection matters more than you think appeared first on Southern Equip.

Good Words on Good Friday

Unfathomable Grace

Good Friday

The Son came to earth and lived a holy and loving life. He loved his Father with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and he loved his neighbors as himself. He was the obedient son who often heard his Father say, “You are my Son, and in you I am well pleased.” He was so humble, helpful, and honorable, and what did he receive as payment for his life of perfectly loving both God and loving man?

His neighbors mocked and slandered him. Seeking his demise, they plotted and schemed behind his back. False witnesses gave testimonies and false friends gave kisses. He was arrested, illegally tried, mocked, whipped, and tortured. Then he was instructed to carry his own cross towards the place of crucifixion. There he was nailed to the cross and hoisted naked for all to see. This was the reciprocal treatment he received from the neighbors…

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William Lane Craig explains the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement

WINTERY KNIGHT

Probably one of the most common questions that you hear from people who don’t fully understand Christianity is this question: “why did Jesus have to die?”. The answer that most Christians seem to hold to is that 1) humans are rebelling against God, 2) Humans deserve punishment for their rebellion, 3) Humans cannot escape the punishment for their rebellion on their own, 4) Jesus was punished in the place of the rebellious humans, 5) Those who accept this sacrifice are forgiven for their rebelling.

Are humans rebellious?

Some people think that humans are not really rebellious at all, but it’s actually easy to see. You can see it just by looking at how people spend their time. Some of us have no time for God at all, and instead try to fill our lives with material possessions and experiences in order to have happy feelings. Some of us embrace just…

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