Daily Archives: April 3, 2018

April 3: Your Inner Self

Deuteronomy 4:1–49; 2 Corinthians 1:17–24; Psalm 32:1–11

“Did I leave the burner on?” “Did I lock the door?” “I feel like I’m forgetting something.”

Forgetfulness is a syndrome we all experience at one time or another. Many of our forgetful moments end up being minor inconveniences. But there is one thing we should never forget: God and His instructions.

As the Israelites prepared to enter the promised land, Moses offered them a string of commandments, including this: “Take care for yourself and watch your inner self closely, so that you do not forget the things that your eyes have seen, so that they do not slip from your mind all the days of your life” (Deut 4:9).

In watching ourselves closely, we remember what we’re meant to do and who we’re meant to be. And this isn’t just a value added to our lives and our relationship with God. Moses went on: “And you shall make [the commandments] known to your children and to your grandchildren” (Deut 4:9).

Moses knew that God had chosen the Israelites to carry out His work in the world. He also knew that forgetting God’s commandments could jeopardize that work and even their very lives. He tells them to be certain about who they are—to keep themselves in line with God.

It’s precisely this point that Paul emphasizes about God’s plan in 2 Cor 1:17–24: God is about the resounding “yes.” Yes, God has affirmed us. Yes, God has chosen us. Yes, we are the receivers of His salvation. We are called—not some of us, but all of us.

And in this we should rejoice, for we can claim, as the psalmist does, “I will confess concerning my transgressions to Yahweh, and you [Yahweh] took away the guilt of my sin” (Psa 32:5).

The best way to make your “yes” be a yes and your “no” be a no is to align yourself with God’s great calling upon your life. Commandments only get us so far; identity in Christ and the Spirit’s work in us will take us where we need to go.

What can you do to constantly remind yourself of God’s will, your identity in Him, and His work in your life?

John D. Barry[1]


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

April 3 Relying on God’s Grace

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).

✧✧✧

Poverty of spirit is a prerequisite to salvation and to victorious Christian living.

In Luke 18:9–14 Jesus tells of two men who went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee boasted to God about his self-righteous efforts; the tax collector humbly acknowledged his sin. The Pharisee was proud and went away still in sin; the tax collector was poor in spirit and went away forgiven.

The Greek word translated “poor” in Matthew 5:3 was used in classical Greek to refer to those reduced to cowering in dark corners of the city streets begging for handouts. Because they had no personal resources, they were totally dependent on the gifts of others. That same word is used in Luke 16:20 to describe a “poor” man named Lazarus.

The spiritual parallel pictures those who know they are spiritually helpless and utterly destitute of any human resources that will commend them to God. They rely totally on God’s grace for salvation, and they also rely on His grace for daily living. Jesus called them happy people because they are true believers and the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.

The word translated “theirs” in Matthew 5:3 is emphatic in the Greek text: the Kingdom of Heaven definitely belongs to those who are poor in spirit. They have its grace now and will fully enjoy its glory later (1 John 3:1–2). That’s cause for great joy!

Isaiah 57:15 says, “Thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” David added, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17).

Like the humble tax collector, recognize your weaknesses and rely totally on God’s resources. Then He will hear your prayers and minister to your needs. That’s where happiness begins!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that when you come to Him in humility and contrition, He hears you and responds. ✧ Prayerfully guard your heart from the subtle influences of pride.

For Further Study: Read the following verses, noting God’s perspective on pride: Proverbs 6:16–17; 8:13; 11:2; 16:5, 18–19.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 106). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Wretched Radio 04/02/2018

WR2018-0402

•Todd saw the Paul movie and has one quibble
•Paul and Moses’s hearts for the Israelites
•Get your John MacArthur Study Bible
•Getting closer to completing the new Hermeneutics product
•Forgiveness for the many types of mockers on Good Friday
•Cheetah videos and the dominion of Man
•Ethnic diversity throughout the BibleDownload Now (right click and save)

The post 04/02/2018 appeared first on Wretched.

God keys Kris Vallotton’s Red Corvette – see the strong delusion in action.

Who wants to be a senior pastor at Bethel Church? Bill Johnson drives an Aston Martin? Reverend Anthony Wade from ‘828 Ministries’ does an excellent job exposing false teacher Kris Vallotton’s reaction to someone keying his red Corvette (and shares some other details about the cars being driven by Bethel leadership), in his latest article.

Kris Vallotton’s Red Corvette

This was the car recently bought by Kris Vollotton’s wife (pictured) for his birthday.

Rev Wade writes: “God allowed someone to take a key to it this weekend and I only know because you are so deluded that you thought you were being high-minded and noble by posting a picture of your damaged sports car and proclaiming enemies of God must be behind it! Let me check one more time for you; nope I have it confirmed now in my spirit. God keyed your car.”

Read more here:

http://www.828ministries.com/Diary/God-Keys-Kris-Vallotton-s-by-Anthony-Wade-Christianity-180402-316.html

Source: Rev…

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Bethel Prosperity Preacher, Kris Vallotton, Has New Corvette “Keyed”

Kris Vollotton with his Corvette sports car.

 

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. — 2Thessalonians 2: 9-12 (ESV)

There is little doubt to those who believe that we are living in the end times. The groans of childbirth grow closer and closer together. Wars, rumors of wars, frequency of earthquakes, all abound. The love of most growing colder by the day. Things that were not allowed in society just 50 years ago are mainstream television fodder today. Those who walk along the broad path to destruction grow by the minute as people continue to gather around themselves people who will say what their itching ears want to hear. That sin doesn’t matter. That they are the head and not the tail. That God wants them rich beyond their greedy dreams of avarice.

This was the car recently bought by Kris Vollotton’s wife (pictured) for his birthday.

Kris Vallotton specializes in that last one. Along with the false teachings of mandatory healing, teaching the gifts of the spirit, false signs and lying wonders and the dominionist NAR — Kris’ specialty is being a prosperity pimp. He just released a new heretical book on the matter. I bring Kris up along with the commentary on the end times in relation to the key verses today from Second Thessalonians. People are often confused by eschatology and trying to discern what will happen as we grow closer to the second coming of Jesus Christ. I understand why. I understand that reading the key verses one often is left wondering why God would send a strong delusion to ensure that people who believe falsely will continue in their unbelief. We must realize that the context reveals that they had ample opportunity to repent of their wickedness and false teachings. Read the verse! They have refused to love the truth and so be saved! Keep these in mind the next time someone asks a discernment minister if they have reached out to the wolf in question or prayed for them as opposed to exposing their lies to the body of Christ. God has sent them a strong delusion because as we read in other portions of Scripture, their destruction was settled a long time ago.

You can often see this delusion at work in the things they believe, the way they respond to things, and of course their teaching. Joel Osteen for example has said that doctrine is not his gifting. What a ridiculously inane statement for an alleged preacher to make. Without doctrine you are not a preacher to begin with. Listen to Bill Johnson talk about angel feathers randomly falling all around him at a diner and you have to wonder if he is insane or so strongly deluded that he believes this could happen and that if it did God would have anything to do with it. Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture has this demonic testimony of visiting the throne room and meeting Father God face to face. Now I believe she believes it but the Bible assures me she would be dead if such a meeting occurred; read Exodus 33. This is what the strong delusion looks like. For a more recent example, let us turn to Vallotton who had a very unpleasant experience this weekend at an Outback Steakhouse. Let us reason together through his Facebook post as we marvel at the strong delusion in action:

“Yesterday, while we were at dinner at Outback somebody keyed the side of my car from the front to the back! It’s kind of sad that people can destroy other people’s hard earned stuff.” — Kris Vallotton

Beloved, keep in mind that Kris posted a picture of the damaged side of his 2016 Corvette. The disconnect here that many in the church would probably not relate to the second pastor of Bethel church owning a $60,000 automobile to begin. Can’t really blame Kris here since his pastor, Bill Johnson, drives an Aston Martin, which start well into the six figures. The delusion is not so much in the willingness to spend so much money on carnality while preaching, but rather to think that what you have is “hard earned.” Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton have made their millions fleecing the flock of God. They have made their hard earned fortunes by robbing God’s people. For thousands of dollars per semester they will teach you the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If you are thinking, “hey I thought only the Spirit can give those,” you are correct. The other primary revenue stream for them is in the sales of their egregiously false books. Vallotton’s latest appears to be his worst yet. He falsely asserts that Jesus talked more about money in His parables than any other subject and claims that Jesus clothes were the modern day equivalent of an Armani suit. Remember; strong delusion.

“On the other hand I often feel like God can use negative things in our life to test our hearts. I like my car a lot, but it’s just a car, it’s not a Idol… I don’t live for it… and I don’t get my identity from it.” — Kris Vallotton

Not an idol from which you draw your identity? Yet you feel compelled to post a picture of it after someone keyed it? Let me proffer the notion that you do idolize your car — just like when you posted a picture of it when your wife “gave it to you.” Let me proffer another notion Kris — God keyed your car. Not out of mischief or malice but to show how the strong delusion works. Realize that because God is sovereign over everything, at the least He allowed the keying of your car through His permissive will. Maybe He was hoping you would humbly repaint the car and move onto writing your next pile of heresy about how God wants everyone to have a Corvette and to experience the valley of having it keyed. That’ll preach; well at least at Bethel.

“I pray for those people who tried to destroy my stuff. They are enemies that need love not vengeance, unforgiveness, or hatefulness. I asked God to bless them and help them to see His goodness in the world around them.” — Kris Vallotton

Wow, how magnanimous of you after posting the picture of your damaged car. You see Kris, it doesn’t sound like you are praying for them. It sounds like you are calling them out, shaming them, and then pretending to take the high road by pretending you didn’t just do that! You robbed the people of God, took their money to buy yourself a high end sports car, and did so while standing in a pulpit pretending you are a servant of Jesus Christ? While I do not condone vandalism, I can understand why someone may have viewed your car as everything wrong with the church today. I can certainly understand why God would let someone key it. It is fascinating to watch the delusion in action, as Kris concludes:

“When the officer was writing up the police report she asked me if I had any enemies? Do I have any enemies? Yes! Absolutely! Jesus said to love your enemies so you have to have some. If you’re doing anything for God you will have enemies. I hope to be doing enough good in the world that hell knows my name. I count it a privilege to have enemies for I am in good company.” — Kris Vallotton

Dude, someone keyed your car. It’s not like Isis has demanded you renounce Christ or die. Even though God allowed it, that doesn’t mean the event could not have been totally random. If it were not however, how deluded are you? To think that you have enemies because of your work in the church is ludicrous. Do not fret Kris — all of hell knows your name. They cheer you on every day. With every soul you lead astray. With every person you convince to walk down the broad path with your greed laced false gospel. They know your name for sure. I would say repent but as the key verses teach us, you are already under a great delusion sent by God. You know the true Gospel but you reject it and thus you are an enemy of it. Instead you prostitute God for a living and it has been a lucrative living you have made. Lucrative enough to own a very nice sports car. God allowed someone to take a key to it this weekend and I only know because you are so deluded that you thought you were being high-minded and noble by posting a picture of your damaged sports car and proclaiming enemies of God must be behind it! Let me check one more time for you; nope I have it confirmed now in my spirit.

God keyed your car.

Reverend Anthony Wade — April 2, 2018

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published by 828 Ministries, here]

The post Bethel Prosperity Preacher, Kris Vallotton, Has New Corvette “Keyed” appeared first on Pulpit & Pen.

John MacArthur Explains The Importance Of Believer’s Baptism

“It is a paradox that the world is full of baptized non-Christians and unbaptized Christians.” John MacArthur

Historically, the predominant form of baptism in the visible church is infant baptism; baptism by sprinkling. Most of these are unbelievers. Additionally, as odd as it may seem, a “large number” believers are not baptized.

In the following sermon, Pastor John MacArthur from Grace Community Church explains the vital importance of believers in Christ need to be baptized.

The “Opium Of The People” And The Opioid Crisis

The American population is aging and living longer. Perhaps pain management via opioids is quicker than sustained, more expensive treatments? The medical explanation leaves too much unexplained. I think that many Americans are turning to opioids (and other things) as a way of dulling the pain of disillusionment.

The late-modern period is a a time of disillusionment in the West and perhaps nowhere else is that disillusionment more acute than in America where, since at the least the early 20th century, the false promises of Modernity (human perfectibility, the universal fatherhood of God, the universal brotherhood of humanity) have proved hollow. The dreams of Modernity died in Europe in the opening months of World War I. In part because that war was not fought on American soil, the Modern dream persisted in the USA. Who can say when it died but it perhaps it was a long, slow death. The Modernists, those who assumed that man is the measure of all things, who assumed a critical stance (in the sense Marx meant “critical,” meaning, “Modern, enlightened, autonomous) toward all extrinsic authorities (God, the church, nature) laid siege to holy Scripture and did much great damage to its reception in the church. Those who continued to receive the historic, ecumenical view of Scripture were put on the defensive and spent about a century defending its truthfulness (infallibility, inerrancy) and authority while the seven sisters of the Protestant mainline (the UMC, ELCA, PCUSA, EPCUSA, ABC, UCC, and the Disciples of Christ) ingested the higher-critical toxins and began to die. The last time I looked each of them was losing about 70,000 members annually.

By the late 60s the disillusionment with and loss of confidence historic Christianity was fairly widespread. The first sexual revolution of the 1920s was followed by a second and more sustained sexual revolution in the 1960s and 70s in which marriage was implicitly re-defined. No fault divorce was adopted leading to a spike in divorce in the mid-late 70s and signalling a loss of confidence in the institution. Roe v Wade was the sacrament of the second sexual revolution, hence the implacable, unreasoning, unyielding, intransigent defense of abortion at any stage, for any reason by its supporters. In the third sexual revolution what was implicit became explicit and the Supreme Court recognized that reality (but in defiance of any genuine legal or historical basis) by announcing that marriage is now to be regarded as disconnected from nature. The minority on the court has predicted the outcome.

Today, unless the proportionally few Americans actually attend church weekly. Years ago George Barna argued that the actual figure is about 10%. More recently, The The Pew Research Center puts the number south of 35% and dropping. Even among “evangelical Protestants,” those with whom religious fervor is most closely associated, only 58% attend services weekly. Consider the state of the second service in the confessionally and (largely) culturally conservative NAPARC world. The anecdotal evidence suggests that the second service is, as they say in boxing, on the ropes.

Read More

The post The “Opium Of The People” And The Opioid Crisis (2) appeared first on The Aquila Report.

The Challenges Facing Young Christians In University (Video)

In this presentation before an audience of Summit Worldview Ministry supporters, J. Warner Wallace describes the secular worldview waiting for many young Christian believers as they enter university life. For more information about Summit Ministries and their amazing two-week immersion experience for students, please visit their website.

Source: The Challenges Facing Young Christians In University (Video)

Stop Taking Sin So Lightly

Faced with Sin

There are some people who take sin lightly—it’s kind of a trendy thing today. There are lots of churches and lots of churchgoers who are never really confronted by the wretchedness of their own hearts and the sinfulness of their own sin.

You cannot take sin lightly if you read Isaiah 53. Because was your sin and my sin that put Christ on the cross. How can you treat lightly what he suffered?

If you look at the cross, you understand the sinfulness of sin.

He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised or crushed for our iniquities. The divine chastening, the wrath of God was put on him for our well-being. All we, like sheep, have gone astray, but God has laid on him the iniquity of us all. How can that be a light thing?

Your Sin in Fullness

All your sins—if you put your trust in Christ—were laid on Jesus Christ. In those hours of darkness on the cross, after which he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?,” he absorbed all the divine wrath, all the sins of all the people who would ever believe through all of human history.

You might say, “How could he have possibly have absorbed all the wrath for all the sins of all those people?” It’s because he was an infinite person. He could absorb an infinite amount of divine fury. That’s why everything went black and dark for those hours.

If you look at the cross, you understand the sinfulness of sin. You can’t make light of it when you see it in that fashion.



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Pray for North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

North Korea flag

On March 27, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) released a statement urging Christians everywhere to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula.  Evangelicals can surely unite on the issue of peace. But unfortunately, it seems the NAE’s call to prayer glosses over North Korea’s egregious human rights violations, including the persecution of Christians.

The statement reads:

We pray for wisdom for our political, diplomatic and military leaders as they work across differences toward a goal of peace, security and freedom. We pray that God will bless the efforts of citizens who seek to bridge the vast differences between our countries.

And:

Decades of people-to-people contact between North Korea and the United States- through business, educational and other humanitarian exchanges – have put a human face on those who are sometimes characterized by one another as enemies. So, we pray with empathy and in a spirit of friendship, noting the image of God in every human being. However profound the differences between our governments, we do not view the North Korean people as our enemies. On the contrary, we desire only the best for the people of North Korea.

(You can read the full statement here.)

Signatories include the left-leaning Jim Wallis, founder and CEO of Sojourners, Robert Zachritz, Vice President of World Vision, Pastor Lee Younghoon, senior pastor of a megachurch in South Korea, as well as several Korean-American church leaders. Others include Kyle Healy, pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and more.

While Evangelicals differ in their approaches to justice and security, surely all agree the threats posed by North Korea exceeds the definition of “differences.” The NAE is correct in noting there are profound differences between the United States government and North Korea’s oppressive regime. North Korea’s government views the spread of Christianity as a pernicious, criminalizes evangelism, and tosses Christians into cruel labor camps where they are starved, beaten, and worse.

Writing at Providence magazine, Robert S. Kim noted, “North Korea’s efforts to eradicate Christianity in Pyongyang and elsewhere in its territory have been so ruthless and systematic that today few outside of Korea know that it was ever there.” American Evangelicals can’t imagine the horrors our fellow Christians face in North Korea, but we should work to understand their reality and highlight their plight.

I am thankful for the NAE’s well-intentioned call to pray for peace but am disappointed the statement is silent on Christians suffering under the oppressive regime.

As a Korean-American, I have witnessed the emotional pain of a divided Korean Peninsula. I’ve listened to my grandparents tell of their families separated by the Korean War. My grandparents routinely remind me to pray that one day Korea will unite as a peaceful nation state. I have met North Korean defectors and heard their stories of fear and torture experienced in labor camps. I have listened to fellow Christians testify of the pain and misery they faced because of their faith. Although it is emotionally distressing to hear of their suffering, it encourages me to know that they held even tighter to their faith in Jesus Christ.

I join the NAE in prayer for peace on the Korean Peninsula. But I also pray that North Korea’s government leaders are convicted of their sinful human rights abuses and that they find salvation in the Prince of Peace. I earnestly pray that God is with our fellow Christians persecuted by an oppressive regime. May the Lord watch over them, protect them, and reward them for their undaunted faith in the midst of persecution. May the Lord bless them and keep them as they spread the Gospel in North Korea.

Source: Pray for North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

Beth Moore’s Legalism: A Discernment Lesson applicable to any teacher

Elizabeth Prata of The End Time reminds us that popular Bible study teacher, author, and speaker Beth Moore’s theology is off the rails. (Prata has a page on her blog that contains past critiques of Mrs. Moore’s teaching.)  In this piece she addresses Moore’s legalism and admonishes us not to listen to Moore “or any teacher who imposes conditions on your walk that are absent from the Bible. Or who uses absolute words like unless, can’t, always, never, all the time, and so on.”  In this “refresher course” Elizabeth Prata once again takes on Beth Moore:

I have written about Beth Moore’s legalism in the past (2011). It’s hard to believe that was 7 years ago. Here is a refresher course on how, while seeming to speak a Gospel-infused sermon, Beth Moore’s speeches are really just a try harder legalism. This is a lesson in discernment.

You have to listen carefully and do a lot of note-taking because Moore speaks so fast, or if you listen online, use the pause button a lot. Her ‘try harder’ theology is also in her books as you will see, so the issue is not just her speaking style, but her theology. You will hear that Beth Moore shapes the scriptures away from pure faith and toward legalism. She splits sentences, putting a crowbar between words and inserting things you’ve ‘got’ to do. There is a lot of ‘do this or else’. There are also lots of warnings about the dire conditions of our walk, without real explanations. Like this from a few days ago.

It seems she is trying to say that we shouldn’t be too busy. Too busy for what, Moore never says. Yet after more than three successive tweets (yes, it went on) she never got to any clear point. Milk meaning from graffiti? Huffing and puffing? And what does it mean, exactly, that we are ‘blowing our houses down’? A teacher is supposed to be “able to teach.” (2 Timothy 2:24). Not vaguely warn. Or be so in love with her writing that plain meaning is obscured…

Our precious Lord gave salvation as a gift. No matter how we stumble, or no matter how many times we enter a sin-repent-forgive cycle, we are saved and effective for His glory. He gave us a GIFT of salvation. It is the gift of redemption, a gift of imputed righteousness. Here are some examples of how Moore diminishes the gift of the Gospel and makes it a confusing, burdensome, treacherous walk among the heavy stones of the Law.

Example #1:

 Her contemplative prayer quote: “[I]f we are not still before Him, we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.”

According to Moore, we will “never” “truly” know who God is UNLESS we are still. Beware of Bible teachers who frequently use absolute words.

Example #2:

In one study, Beth Moore is speaking of ‘confidence and competence’ that Christ gives us. The study is based on Hebrews 10:19-20 but her interpretation of the verse is wrong from the beginning. Once the basic interpretation is wrong it is no surprise that what follows falls into even worse error. Watch carefully as she inserts conditions to salvation. She even outlines the effect of not believing the new add-ons that she includes.

 …but what can happen is this … If we receive Christ as our Savior but we never recognize and by faith believe Him to also be our healer and our restorer then we just stay just as cracked as when we got here.

The Gospel is now Law. According to Moore, we have to believe some things above and beyond what the Bible says we need to believe for salvation. According to Moore, we must believe in a different Christ than the Jesus presented in His Word. I certainly don’t see anything in His word about having to believe that Jesus is our Savior AND our Healer AND our Restorer or else we stay “cracked”. And what does cracked mean, exactly? This is some vague warning of looming disaster, the kind of warnings Moore loves to issue.

Now as for this cracked business, the Bible does speak of being cracked:

For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13).

The cracked ones were the ones who forsook God. They were the evil ones.

But when Jesus saves us, we are sealed!

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

There is no in-between in the New Testament, being saved but leaking through a crack.View article →

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APRIL 3 SPIRITUAL UNANIMITY

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren.

1 Peter 3:8

The Holy Spirit knew what He was doing when He moved the Apostle Peter to write to the early Christian church about the reality of being “of one mind” in their fellowship.

Peter was not asking all the brothers and sisters to settle for some kind of regulated uniformity. He was recommending a spiritual unanimity—which means that the Spirit of God making Christ real within our beings will also give us a unity in certain qualities and disposition.

Peter leaves little doubt about the fruits of genuine Christian unanimity within: “Be alike in compassion. Be alike in loving. Be alike in pity. Be alike in courtesy. Be alike in forgiving!” Then he sums it all up: “Finally, be ye all of one mind!”

God’s love shed abroad in our hearts—compassion and love which can only be found in Jesus Christ—these are the only elements of true unity among men and women today!

Lord, I want to pray for spiritual unity among all true believers and for spiritual harmony among all Christ-honoring churches.[1]


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

April 3, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

20:8 sabbath. Cf. 31:12–17. Each seventh day belonged to the Lord and would not be a work day but one set apart (i.e., holy) for rest and for time devoted to the worship of Yahweh. The term “Sabbath” is derived from “to rest or cease from work.” The historical precedent for such a special observance was the creation week; a span of time equal to what man copied in practice. Each Sabbath day should have reminded the worshiper that the God whom he praised had indeed made everything in both realms of existence in 6 twenty-four hour days. The Sabbath would also stand, therefore, as a counter to evolutionary ideas prevalent in false religion. Moses, in the review of the Decalogue, also linked the observance of the Sabbath with Israel’s exodus from Egypt and specified that this was why Israel was to keep it (Dt 5:12–15). Significantly, the command for the Sabbath is not repeated in the NT, whereas the other 9 are. In fact, it is nullified (cf. Col 2:16, 17). Belonging especially to Israel under the Mosaic economy, the Sabbath could not apply to the believer of the church age, for he is living in a new economy.[1]


20:8Sabbath The Hebrew word used here, shabbath, relates to the Hebrew verb shavath (which may be rendered “to rest” or “to cease”). The verb can also mean “to observe the Sabbath,” so it is debated whether the verb derives from the noun shabbath or vice versa.

consecrate it See Exod 19:10 and note; 19:14 and note. The holiness of the Sabbath depends on the people remembering and observing it. Since the Sabbath is for the people, it is the people who make it “holy” or “set apart.”[2]


20:8 Sabbath. The Hebrew word (shabbat) apparently derives from the verb meaning “to cease”—the Sabbath being the day that regular labor ceased. Exodus cites God’s work of creation as the basis for the command (v. 11), while Deuteronomy bases the Sabbath ordinance on the deliverance from Egypt (Deut. 5:12 and note). The Sabbath ordinance is rooted in both the orders of creation and of redemption—it looks backward to God’s good creation (Gen. 2:2, 3) and forward to the final redemptive Sabbath rest for God’s people (Heb. 4:1–11). Just as circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 17), so the Sabbath becomes the sign of the Sinai covenant (31:13), reminding God’s people of their place within God’s purposes for creation and of their salvation from physical bondage in Egypt. Ultimately, the Sabbath points to Christ, our Creator and Redeemer, who brings rest to the people of God (Matt. 11:28; Col. 2:16, 17).[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ex 20:8). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ex 20:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 122). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

April 3 We Must Receive, Honor, and Obey the Word

For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.—Matt. 5:18

To be a follower of Jesus Christ is to accept what He says about Scripture and to wholeheartedly echo Peter’s sentiment: “You have words of eternal life” (John 6:68). The privilege of knowing Christ and His Word also carries with it certain essential obligations.

First, we must receive God’s Word exactly for what it is, “the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). We should be completely receptive because the Word is the highest standard of truth, joy, and blessing, and it tells us of the way to salvation.

Second, we are obliged to honor the Scripture. The psalmist wrote, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103; cf. Jer. 15:16). The great Reformer Martin Luther did not fear his human opponents. However, when he stood in the pulpit to expound Scripture, his knees often knocked under a sense of awe and duty to honor the Word.

Third, we must obey God’s Word. The apostle Paul commanded Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). A key to genuine obedience in the Christian walk is to “let the word of Christ richly dwell within” (Col. 3:16).

ASK YOURSELF

In what ways is the Scripture honored in your home? If this is an area in your family life that has been allowed to slip, what could you begin doing right away to restore the Bible to a place of regular reflection, instruction, and prominence?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 102). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

APRIL 3 PLAN OF REDEMPTION: GOD HAS NOT ABANDONED MAN

…God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

1 TIMOTHY 3:16

For mankind, the earth has become the symbol of death and mortality, but in the very face of this, the Christian still knows for certain that God has not forgotten him. Man who was made in the image of God has not been forsaken—God promised a plan to restore that which had been made in His image.

Only that creature whom He called “man” did God make in His own image and likeness. So, when man failed and sinned and fell, God said, “I will go down now.”

God came down to visit us in the form of a man, for in Christ Jesus we have the incarnation, “God manifest in the flesh.” God Himself came down to this earthly island of man’s grief and assumed our loss and took upon Himself our demerits, and in so doing, redeemed us back unto Himself. Jesus Christ, the King of glory, the everlasting Son of the Father, in His victory over sin and death opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers!

Beyond His death and resurrection and ascension, the present work of Jesus Christ is twofold. It is to be an advocate above—a risen Saviour with high priestly office at the throne of God; and the ministry of preparing a place for His people in the house of His Father and our Father, as well.

That is what the Bible teaches. That is what the Christian church believes. It is the essence of the doctrines of the Christian church relating to atonement and salvation![1]


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

April 3 Let God Handle It

Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.

Luke 23:46

The apostle Peter instructed Christians not to be “returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9). That was Jesus’ attitude. He was able to do that because He “committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (2:23). The word translated as “committed” means “to hand over for someone to keep.” In every instance of suffering, our Lord handed over the circumstance and Himself to God. That’s because He was confident in the righteous judgment of God and the glory that would be His. That confidence allowed Him to accept tremendous suffering calmly.

That’s the way you should respond when confronted with unjust persecution on the job or in your families or other relationships. When you retaliate, you forfeit the blessing and reward that suffering is meant to bring. Retaliation shows you lack the confidence you ought to have in God’s ability to make things right in His own time, which will include punishing the unjust and rewarding those who are faithful in suffering. So give it over to God and let Him handle it.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 108). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

April 3, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

5 This verse is addressed to a plural audience. The hearers, by implication Judeans, are treated as distinct from the “nations” (or Gentiles), at whom they are to “look.” To be “amazed” is humanity’s response to an event (lit., “a work that I am working,” “a deed that I am doing”) that utterly confounds all previous expectations (cf. Ge 43:33; Ps 48:5; Isa 13:8; 29:9; Jer 4:9); it runs counter to what the listeners “believe.” The destruction of Jerusalem is such an event, creating both a national crisis and a theological crisis among God’s people.[1]


1:5 Look among the nations: The international scene during Habakkuk’s lifetime was full of turmoil, with Assyria on the decline and Babylonia on the rise. work a work: The Hebrew words suggest that something ominous and impressive was about to occur.[2]


1:5. Look at the nations and watch was God’s reply. The change in speakers is apparent from the verbs “look” and “watch,” which in Hebrew include the plural “you.” God addressed both the prophet and the people. Habakkuk had complained about being made to look at injustice. But the prophet and people suffered from myopia. They were too nearsighted. God instructed them to get their eyes off the immediate havoc and look out on the international horizons. They needed to develop a world view that included “the nations.” As they did so, they would be utterly amazed. The political developments about to be revealed to Habakkuk and the people would stun them (the verb tāmâh means “to be astounded, bewildered, or dumbfounded”). In fact Habakkuk was dumbfounded (vv. 12, 17). What God was about to perform would be hard for them to believe, even though God would reveal it to them.[3]


1:5 Look … Observe … Be astonished! The series of commands is plural, indicating that the wider community of Judah and Jerusalem was to take note of this imminent invasion. Paul quotes this text in Ac 13:41.[4]


1:5 Look among the nations. Habakkuk lived in a time of political turmoil—the Assyrians were losing power, whereas the Babylonians were gaining it. you would not believe. Habakkuk refused to believe that a just God would allow the cruel Babylonians to punish his people.

1:5 The unbelievability of God’s use of a wicked people, the Chaldeans, prefigures the unbelievability of the way in which the injustice of the crucifixion of Christ is used by God for salvation.[5]


1:5 in your days The Babylonians likely first arrived in Jerusalem in 605 bc. However, the news of the rise of the Babylonians would have reached Israel shortly after their conquest of Nineveh in 612 bc.

that you will not believe The news of the rise of the Chaldeans (or Babylonians) would have come as an absolute shock to the prophet. At the time of Habakkuk, Assyria dominated the ancient Near East. The Assyrian Empire was experiencing its golden age led by Ashurbanipal, one of the empire’s most successful kings.[6]


1:5 astounded … not believe. God’s method—the victory of the wicked over those “more righteous” (v. 13)—would pose a stumbling block to faith among Habakkuk’s audience.[7]


[1] Armerding, C. E. (2008). Habakkuk. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, p. 614). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1088). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[3] Blue, J. R. (1985). Habakkuk. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1509). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Hab 1:5). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1721). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Hab 1:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1310). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

April 3 The Start of Jesus’ Final Challenge

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane.”

Matthew 26:36

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The agony of Jesus’ death, beginning with His ordeal in the Garden of Gethsemane, is something finite believers will never fully comprehend.

C.H. Spurgeon, in an 1880s sermon, said this to his congregation: “It will not be enough for you to hear, or read [about Christ]; you must do your own thinking and consider your Lord for yourselves…. Shut yourself up with Jesus, if you would know him.” However, even those who most conscientiously follow Spurgeon’s admonition to meditate on Jesus’ Person and ministry find the effort reveals much about Him that is beyond human understanding.

As we continue our study of the events leading up to the Lord’s sacrificial death, we also realize that it’s difficult to grasp the full meaning of many of them. Even with the aid of the Spirit’s illumination, we find the weight of Jesus’ agony and suffering more than our minds can completely fathom. As the sinless God–man, He could perceive the full scope of sin’s horror in a way we never can.

Like every other aspect of Jesus’ life, though, His agony in Gethsemane was part of God’s foreordained plan of redemption. Christ’s intense sorrow and mental wrestling in the face of His mission to take away the sin of the world fit perfectly with Scripture’s portrait of Him. The prophet Isaiah predicted that He would be “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). In John 11:35 “Jesus wept” at Lazarus’ grave. Luke 19:41 tells us that at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, “He saw the city and wept over it.”

The Lord Jesus’ experience in Gethsemane was the final accumulation of all the hardships, sorrows, and griefs He had to deal with in His earthly ministry. And our Lord, through His dark struggle in the Garden, is the best role model we will ever have of a godly response to trials and temptations. In view of His sacrificial death for us, His response to adversity should cause us to stand in awe of our great Savior and desire to follow His example.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that the Lord would strengthen your resolve to follow His example in dealing with trials.

For Further Study: Read John 11:1–46, and list some parallels you see in verses 30–44 between Jesus’ reactions to Lazarus’s death and how He would respond to His own suffering and death.[1]


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

But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21 (NKJV) 

There are many false teachings in our time within the visible Church. What we must never forget is that there is nothing new under the Sun. The heresies we encounter now are actually very old. Some have been around a long time in their current form while others are recycled versions of an older heresy that was dealt with hundreds of years ago. Why should our enemy and his seed come up with new attacks when the old ones wreak havoc, deepen spiritual blindness, and keep people mired in man-made religiosity instead of becoming spirit-filled, obedient Christians?

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APRIL 3 A JOURNEY INTO GOD

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.

—Ephesians 1:18

The Church will come out of her doldrums when we find out that salvation is not a lightbulb only, that it is not an insurance policy against hell only, but that it is a gateway into God and that God is all that we would have and can desire. Again I quote [Lady] Julian: “I saw that God is to us everything that is good and comfortable. He is our clothing; His love wrappeth us and claspeth us and all encloseth us for His tender love, that He may never leave us, being to us all that is good.”

Christianity is a gateway into God. And then when you get into God, “with Christ in God,” then you’re on a journey into infinity, into infinitude. There is no limit and no place to stop. There isn’t just one work of grace, or a second work or a third work, and then that’s it. There are numberless experiences and spiritual epochs and crises that can take place in your life while you are journeying out into the heart of God in Christ. AOG003-004

Lord, whether we’ve been Your children for five months or fifty years, many of us are just beginning our journey through the gateway of Christianity. Open my eyes to all that You are and can be to me. Amen. [1]


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