Daily Archives: April 4, 2018

April 4: Forgive, Forget, and Comfort

Deuteronomy 5:1–6:25; 2 Corinthians 2:1–11; Psalm 33

There is a subtle type of grudge that festers. When we extend forgiveness, the challenge isn’t necessarily in the moment of reconciliation. It’s extending that moment and letting it permeate the interactions that follow.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul doesn’t just ask the Corinthians to forgive. He asks them for much more: “So then, you should rather forgive and comfort him lest somehow this person should be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Therefore I urge you to confirm your love for him. Because for this reason, also I wrote, in order that I could know your proven character, whether you are obedient in everything” (2 Cor 2:7–9).

Patronizing superiority suits our selfish desires, but grudging forgiveness doesn’t heal a community. Paul calls the Corinthian church to much more. He wants them to live sacrificially. That’s why, when Paul calls for the offender in Corinth to be reprimanded, he specifically turns to address those who were affected by the sin. The solution was intentional, ongoing forgiveness and an outpouring of love. He then reminded the Corinthians of Christ’s sacrifice, which they didn’t deserve (see Col 3:13). Forgiveness is undeserved—a reminder we all need.

Are you holding on to a grudge against someone—perhaps even someone you’ve already forgiven? How can you let go of your grudge and extend the love that has been shown to you?

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.

April 4 Being Poor in Spirit

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


If you are poor in spirit, certain characteristics will mark your life.

The Puritan writer Thomas Watson listed seven ways to determine if you are poor in spirit (The Beatitudes [Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1971], pp. 45–48): ✧ You will be weaned from self. Psalm 131:2 says, “Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.” When you are poor in spirit, you will focus not on yourself but on glorifying God and ministering to others. ✧ You will focus on Christ. Second Corinthians 3:18 says that believers are “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, [and] are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” When you are poor in spirit, the wonder of Christ captivates you. To be like Him is your highest goal. ✧ You will never complain. If you are poor in spirit, you accept God’s sovereign control over your circumstances, knowing you deserve nothing anyway. Yet the greater your needs, the more abundantly He provides. ✧ You will see good in others. A person who is poor in spirit recognizes his own weaknesses and appreciates the strengths of others. ✧ You will spend time in prayer. It is characteristic of beggars to beg. Therefore you will constantly be in God’s presence seeking His strength and blessing. ✧ You will take Christ on His terms. Those who are poor in spirit will give up anything to please Christ, whereas the proud sinner wants simply to add Christ to his sinful lifestyle. ✧ You will praise and thank God. When you are poor in spirit, you will be filled with praise and thanks for the wonder of God’s grace, which He lavishes on you through Christ (Eph. 1:6).

Do those principles characterize your life? If so, you are poor in spirit and the Kingdom of Heaven is yours (Matt. 5:3). If not, you must seek God’s forgiveness and begin to live as His humble child.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart, revealing any attitudes or motives that displease Him. Seek His grace in changing them.

For Further Study: Read 3 John. Would you characterize Gaius as poor in spirit? Diotrephes? Explain.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 107). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

John 3:27

John the Baptist gave his questioners a brief sentence that I have called the “hope and the despair” of mankind. He told them that “a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”

John was not referring to men’s gifts. He was speaking of spiritual truth. Divine truth is of the nature of the Holy Spirit, and for that reason it can be received only by spiritual revelation.

In his New Testament letters, the Apostle Paul declares again and again the inability of human reason to discover or comprehend divine truth. In that inability we see human despair.

John the Baptist said, “Except it be given him from heaven”—and this is our hope! These words do certainly mean that there is such a thing as a gift of knowing, a gift that comes from heaven. Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit of truth would come and teach them all things (see John 16:13–14).

Jesus also prayed: “I thank thee, O Father, because thou hast hid these things from the wise, and hast revealed them unto babes” (see Luke 10:21).

Lord, I pray that as I read Your Word, Your Spirit will help me perceive its spiritual truth and apply it to my life.[1]

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

April 4, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


U.S. President Donald Trump said a trade war with China was “lost many years ago” by his predecessors, sounding a defiant tone amid tumult in financial markets a day after his administration slapped tariffs on 1,333 Chinese products.

Russia’s spy chief accused the U.K. and the U.S. of poisoning a former double agent to maintain Western unity against Moscow, as the European Union cleaved hard to its support for the British government’s line of blaming the Kremlin for the attack.

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, the chairman and top Democrat on that committee announced Wednesday.

President Donald Trump signaled he’ll take “strong action” Wednesday on border security after earlier promising to deploy the U.S. military to guard the nation’s boundary with Mexico and check the flow of unauthorized immigrants.

A super political action committee focused on bolstering House Speaker Paul Ryan’s agenda and Republicans’ effort to maintain control of Congress said Wednesday it raised a record $15 million during the first quarter of this year.

The triple alliance of Russia, Turkey and Iran, now the dominant actors in Syria’s war, is stepping up efforts to impose a peace. It may end up presiding over a partition.

The Trump administration’s proposed tariffs on thousands of Chinese-manufactured products would target dozens of key products used by drug makers, as well as medical devices including pacemakers and artificial joints.

For the first time, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged the existence in Washington of what appear to be rogue devices that foreign spies and criminals could be using to track individual cellphones and intercept calls and messages.

Growth in U.S. service industries cooled in March for a second month as orders settled back from the fastest pace in more than 12 years, a survey showed Wednesday.

Carmakers that used zero-percent financing offers to juice sales at the height of the American auto boom are starting to abandon them as rising interest rates lift their own borrowing costs. The average interest rate on consumers’ new-car loans climbed to 5.7 percent in March, the highest since 2009.

AP Top Stories

As the shooting unfolded at YouTube’s campus in San Bruno, California, hoaxes and other misinformation began spreading on Twitter. Various people were erroneously identified as the shooter.

President Donald Trump agreed in a National Security Council meeting on Tuesday to keep U.S. troops in Syria a little longer but wants them out relatively soon.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday shrugged off a Yemeni rebel missile attack on one of its oil tankers in the Red Sea saying it had zero impact on the kingdom’s crude exports.

Britain’s defense laboratory acknowledged Tuesday it hasn’t tracked down the source of the nerve agent that poisoned a Russian ex-spy, a statement the Kremlin said proved that British accusations of Moscow’s involvement were baseless.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet won a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday, a victory for Democrats that gives more momentum for a potential blue wave in the November midterm elections. It’s the first time in 23 years that a liberal candidate won an open Supreme Court seat in the state.

A Texan who killed four people while driving drunk as a teen, then avoided prison by blaming his wealthy upbringing, was released from jail on Monday after serving nearly two years for violating probation in the case, officials said.

A former U.S. Army sniper and two other ex-American soldiers agreed to become contract killers for an international crime boss who wanted to settle a score with a real estate agent in the Philippines he thought had cheated him on a land deal, a prosecutor said Tuesday in opening statements at the trial of the three men.

A Japanese worker has been reprimanded by her boss for “selfishly breaking the rules” after she became pregnant before it was her “turn”, according to media reports.However, the timing reportedly clashed with “shifts” drawn by the childcare center director, which listed when female staff were allowed to marry and have children.

The Navy Just Tested Its Most Deadly Nuclear Missile Ever (from a Submarine). The Navy test-fired two unarmed Trident II D5 nuclear missiles March 26, as part of an effort to assess various upgrades and sustain an undersea nuclear attack option amid a quickly-changing threat landscape.

The Interior Department is backing down from a plan to impose steep fee increases at popular national parks in the face of widespread opposition from elected officials and the public.


A major food bank in western Germany has said it will again allow foreigners to register for free food, reversing a decision that sparked a row.

New Zealand has passed legislation to allow people who were previously convicted of homosexual offences to have their criminal records wiped.


President Trump hit a 51 percent approval in a new Rasmussen daily tracking poll, showing him higher at this point than his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Border Patrol agents say they can’t be much clearer: They want more walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ouch – finger piercings replace engagement rings. At least that’s the popular trend among those intent on expressing themselves by means of pain and quasi-permanent accessories that go deeper than a new hairstyle or a fashionably cut suit.

The Briefing — Wednesday, April 4, 2018

1) 50 years ago today, history turned on a mere moment as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, TN

2) Theology and the racial crisis, then and now

3) Why it’s significant that the BBC religion editor recognizes there is more to Easter than chocolate

Mid-Day Snapshot

Apr. 4, 2018

China Tariffs: More Moves and Counter Moves

Beijing aims to hurt Trump politically as it seeks to force him to back off his demand for fair trade.

The Foundation

“Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand: neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with powers so disposed; in order to give trade a stable course.” —George Washington (1796)

News – 4/4/2018

Far-right views going mainstream in much of Central Europe

Ever since WWII, such views were taboo in Europe, confined to the far-right fringes. Today they are openly expressed by mainstream political leaders in parts of Central and Eastern Europe, part of a global populist surge in the face of globalization and mass migration. “There is something broader going on in the region which has produced a patriotic, nativist, conservative discourse through which far-right ideas managed to become mainstream,”

Pentagon: Russia Tested Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile Twice

U.S. intelligence agencies monitored two Russian tests of an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile in recent months and found both tests failed to demonstrate the novel use of a reactor to fuel long-range flight, according to Pentagon officials. The two flight tests were conducted in the Russian arctic, including one in November on the island of Novaya Zemlya, the location of a Russian air base and nuclear testing site.

Jews pray in ancient synagogue

Jews and IDF soldiers on Wednesday morning prayed the morning prayers at an ancient synagogue in Eshtemoa (now called as-Samu). The al-Samu synagogue, also known by its Biblical name of “Eshtemoa,” dates back to just after the Second Temple Period, when large Jewish communities left Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple to settle in Har Hevron. Remains of candelabras, as well as reliefs of the Temple Menorah, have been found at the site.

Sheikh who called to kill Jews to speak at Canadian conference

Sheikh compares Jews to monkeys, pigs, asks for all Jews to be destroyed – and receives invitation to speak at Canadian conference.

Israel thwarts major Islamic Jihad missile attack against naval vessels

The Shin Bet and IDF foiled the plot, which would use one boat as a decoy and two others to attack and board an Israeli navy vessel in order to kill and capture the sailors.

Five scenarios after U.S. about-face on Syria

The abrupt about-face in US policy comes after the administration spent 2017 indicating it was preparing for the long haul in Syria. It said it wanted President Bashar Assad gone and that the US would continue to work with its partners among the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that had been the main driving force behind defeating ISIS. Here are five scenarios that could develop in the coming year:

YouTube Shooter Identified As Nasim Aghdam

As it turns out, Tuesday’s shooting at YouTube headquarters, had nothing to do with domestic violence and everything to do with blowback to YouTube’s demonetization efforts – as many initially feared. The shooter was identified as Nasim Aghdam who slammed YouTube for purportedly censoring her after she claimed that they demonetized her channels, including an exercise one devoted to exercise videos and another devoted to veganism.

Republicans Might Use Arcane Budget Rule to Slash Omnibus Spending

Using this rule, the president can send a message to Congress, stipulating specific funds that the administration wants to eliminate. President Donald Trump can group multiple annulments to Congress; the legislative branch would then have 45 days to approve all, none, or part of the president’s request to impound federal spending.

Unusual forms of ‘nightmare’ antibiotic-resistant bacteria detected in 27 states

More than 200 rare antibiotic-resistant genes were found in “nightmare” bacteria tested in 2017, according to a Vital Signs report released Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”I was surprised by the numbers we found,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC. The report focused on the new and highly resistant germs that have yet to spread widely. Still, a variety of resistant germs can be found in every state.

ALL-OUT WAR: Turkey’s Erdogan calls for ‘ARMY of Islam’ to ATTACK Israel on all sides

TURKEY’S President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have announced they want to create an “army of Islam” to wage war against Israel, it has been revealed.

Geraldo Rivera: I Regret Not Backing the Palestinians During Their Intifada

Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera declared that he regrets not backing the Palestinians during their Second Intifada against Israel.

‘Gender-neutral’ Swedish preschools teach boys to wear dresses

Many government-funded Swedish preschools are “gender-neutral” and teach youngsters to reject their natural inclinations toward masculine or feminine activities, instead requiring them to do activities usually associated with the opposite sex.

Iran, Russia, Turkey team up to hold sway in Syria

Iran, Russia and Turkey have teamed up to forge a strong if brittle tripartite alliance aimed at holding ascendancy in Syria, taking advantage of the West’s reluctance to engage militarily in the country.The presidents of the three countries, long seen as regional rivals rather than strategic allies, will meet Wednesday in Ankara for their second three way summit on Syria in a striking demonstration of unity.

Russia, Assad give ultimatum to rebels northeast of Damascus

Russian and Syrian military officers have told rebels in a besieged area northeast of Damascus they must accept state rule or leave, the spokesman for one rebel group said on Tuesday.

‘Being cash-free puts us at risk of attack’: Swedes turn against cashlessness

Sweden’s central bank governor has called for public control over its payment system. Others say a fully digital system is vulnerable to fraud and attack

California Supreme Court lets stand controversial law allowing DNA collection upon arrest

For years civil libertarians hoped to end California’s practice of taking DNA from people arrested on suspicion of a felony and storing that genetic information in an offender database — regardless of whether the suspects were later acquitted or had their charges dropped.

Evangelical Leaders Launch Prayer Campaign for Dreamers; Urge Congress to Act as DACA Expires

The Evangelical Immigration Table is calling on Christians to pray for those affected by the expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince slams Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, backs Israel’s right to exist

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince affirmed Israel’s right to exist and criticized former President Obama’s Iran policy in an interview published Monday, pointedly bucking other leaders in the Arab world and signaling support for President Trump’s Middle East agenda.

Russa & China Unite to Create 100% Gold-backed Currency

China and Russia have rolled-out plans to create a new currency that’s 100 percent backed by gold.The new monetary system is designed to end the US dollar’s dominance as the world’s default currency.

CDC: Drug-Resistant ‘Nightmare Bacteria’ Pose Growing Threat

“Nightmare bacteria” with unusual resistance to antibiotics of last resort were found more than 200 times in the United States last year in a first-of-a-kind hunt to see how much of a threat these rare cases are becoming, health officials said Tuesday.

Update: Trump to Keep Troops on Border Until Wall Built

Not long after Trump announced he was bringing troops home from Syria, the president said he’ll keep the military deployed on the US border “until we can have a wall and proper security.”

University Hosts Post-Easter Workshop to Combat ‘Christian Privilege’

George Washington University is hosting a diversity workshop to battle “Christian privilege” on Thursday of Easter Week at the school’s Multicultural Student Services Center.

Air Force sued over flag-folding assault as airman mentions God

…It happened in April 2016 when, under orders, “uniformed Airmen abruptly interrupted a flag-folding ceremony at Roberson’s retirement and assaulted Rodriguez before he could use the word ‘God’ in a flag folding speech.”

DNC vice chairwoman: ‘Repeal the 2nd Amendment’

When former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens called for repeal of the Second Amendment in a New York Times op-ed last week, Democratic Party officials largely laid low. But the vice chairman for civic engagement and voter protection for the Democratic National Committee issued a tweet urging “Repeal the Second Amendment,” with a link to Stevens’ op-ed:

Netanyahu Scraps African Migrant Relocation Deal With U.N.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he was cancelling an agreement with the U.N. refugee agency to relocate thousands of African migrants, bowing to right-wing pressure to scrap the deal.

The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

RenewAmerica Newsletter

April 3, 2018
ALAN KEYES — How do we know what’s new? One of the empirical consequences of aging is that one’s perception of “what’s new” changes over time. In my experience, the fact that self-driving cars are right this instant headed toward a highway near where I live is something new. Passion-driven teenagers gathering in droves to demand changes in public policy is not. Neither is the fact that the changes they seek logically contradict the result for which they yearn…. (more)

April 3, 2018
‘Shocking’ picture cannot include ‘excessively violent content’
WORLDNETDAILY — An image of the San Damiano Cross, showing Jesus in glory, “reigning from his cruciform throne,” has been rejected by Facebook because of its “shocking content.” “This is what the monitors at Facebook consider excessively violent, sensational, and shocking,” said a statement from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio… (more)

April 2, 2018

PJ MEDIA — So maybe there is some hope for the next generation after all. About 75 students at Rockledge High School in central Florida walked out of class in support of the Second Amendment on Friday. The students say they felt “silenced” last week when students walked out in support of gun control…. (more)

April 2, 2018
DAILY WIRE — At the start of this week, former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom suggested to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that former President Barack Obama and former CIA Director John Brennan committed felonies and not Gen. Michael Flynn…. (more)

April 2, 2018
ROBERT KNIGHT — Cynics like to claim that Christians at Easter unknowingly celebrate a pagan spring fertility rite that the church co-opted for its own purposes. This is nonsense. Easter is directly related to the Jewish week of Passover. Jesus Himself was the sacrificial paschal lamb, crucified for the sins of the whole world before His resurrection on the third day. His rising and the empty tomb are the ultimate celebration of new life not just here on earth but for all of eternity…. (more)

April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018
YOUTUBE — During the Inaugural Prayer Service on Jan 21st, Marlana VanHoose performed the ancient hymn “How Great Thou Art.” Melania was clearly moved by the song, and led a standing ovation. Marlana was born blind, yet has blossomed into a talented and anointed performer…. (more)

April 1, 2018

YOUTUBE — 6 Chorale Preludes “Schübler-Chorales”: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 · E. Power Biggs… (more)

April 1, 2018
BIBLE GATEWAY — Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many…. (more)

April 1, 2018
BRYAN FISCHER — I am a Christian for one simple reason: the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. There is simply no credible alternative to the view that his grave was empty on Easter morning because of his bodily resurrection. His body wasn’t there because he wasn’t there. And he wasn’t there because he had been raised from death to life…. (more)

March 31, 2018

NEWSMAX — The United States said Friday it has secured the support of the U.N. Security Council for a new package of sanctions designations that target smuggling at sea by North Korea. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the North Korea Sanctions Committee, which comprises all members of the U.N.’s most senior decision-making body, unanimously approved designations of 21 shipping companies, one individual and 27 ships. She said it was the largest-ever set of U.N. designations against the North…. (more)

March 31, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The Trump administration’s plans for a border wall will put about 1,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border behind some barrier – – up from 654 miles right now, the Border Patrol said Friday. “That will make a major difference,” said Ronald D. Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as he briefed reporters on progress in building the wall…. (more)

March 31, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A federal judge ordered the Trump administration late Friday to grant pregnant illegal immigrant girls in U.S. custody unfettered access to abortions, ruling they have a constitutional right to the procedure. Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee to U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., who has been a thorn in the side of the Trump administration in several major cases, said that the government has been creating too many hurdles in the path of the teen girls…. (more)

March 31, 2018
NEWSMAX — Jerome Corsi’s red-hot new book “Killing the Deep State: The Fight to Save President Trump” is a runaway bestseller – – but you’d never know that from reading The New York Times. In an interview with Newsmax TV, Corsi said that he’s not entirely surprised at his book’s exclusion from the high-profile list…. (more)

March 31, 2018
Paul Kengor reminds readers of Trump-hating ex-CIA chief’s communist background
WORLDNETDAILY — Obama CIA director John Brennan, a subject of ongoing analysis at the American Spectator, recently uncorked an epic Twitter rant. Enraged by President Trump’s words aimed at FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Brennan steamed at the president: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”… (more)

March 31, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — ABC’s wildly popular “Roseanne” reboot has been renewed for another season, the network announced Friday. “We’re thrilled that America has welcomed the Conner family back into their homes,” ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said in a statement. “The show is as fresh and relevant today as it was when it left the air 21 years ago. We can’t wait to see what the ‘Roseanne’ team has in store for next year.”… (more)

March 31, 2018
BOB UNRUH — The FBI’s credibility has been challenged by President Trump and members of Congress in recent months. Its former director, James Comey, admitted handing over government documents to a member of the public to trigger appointment of a special counsel. Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, was investigating Hillary Clinton’s email scandal while McCabe’s wife’s political campaign was receiving financial donations from her associates. Several agents had to be removed from another project because of their open political bias. And evidence suggests that agents used a politically funded hit piece on Trump as a legal document to obtain search warrants from a secret court…. (more)

March 31, 2018
NEWSMAX — Byron Allen, the executive producer of the movie “Chappaquiddick,” about the 1969 scandal involving Sen. Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne, faced a struggle to release the movie. “Unfortunately, there are some very powerful people who tried to put pressure on me not to release this movie,” Allen told Variety…. (more)

March 31, 2018
NEWSMAX — A Facebook Inc. executive said in an internal memo in 2016 that the social media company needed to pursue adding users above all else, BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday, prompting disavowals from the executive and Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg…. (more)

March 31, 2018
JOSEPH FARAH — I feel like the prophet Jeremiah. He was always the prophet I did not want to be when I grew up. He not only was the bearer of bad news to Israel, but he did not exactly live a mostly comfortable life – – like Ezekiel and Daniel…. (more)

March 31, 2018

AP NEWS — Two British militants believed to have been part of an Islamic State group cell notorious for beheading hostages in Syria were unapologetic in their first interview since their capture, denouncing the U.S. and Britain as “hypocrites” who will not give them a fair trial. The men, along with two other British jihadis, allegedly made up the IS cell nicknamed “The Beatles” by surviving captives because of their English accents…. (more)

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)

Headlines – 4/4/2018

Bill Clinton: I helped Shimon Peres run against Netanyahu – Israel not making peace because it perceives PA as weak

Israeli websites hacked with ‘Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine’ homepage

‘March of Return’ puts Palestinians back in the spotlight

The ‘March of Return’ explains a lot

Abbas thanks Saudi King Salman for support

Abbas meets with Egyptian intel chief on reconciliation with Hamas

ZOA head: ‘Arab Nazi-like’ Hamas responsible for violence on Gaza border

Hamas issues ‘security recommendations’ to members for Gaza protests

EU expresses concern over Israeli use of live fire for crowd control

IDF shoots, kills Palestinian who broke through Gaza fence

Arab-Israeli man shot and killed after crashing stolen car into West Bank bus stop

Defense Ministry clears minefield near settlement, pledges new housing on site

Israeli man beaten to death in Russia in suspected anti-Semitic attack

PM pins deportation failure on New Israel Fund, demands Knesset probe

Opposition leaders blast ‘spineless’ PM after he cancels his own migrant deal

UN urges Israel to ‘reconsider’ canceled migrant deal

Netanyahu talks with Greek, Cypriot leaders about natural gas supply to Europe

Imam gunned down at entrance to Umm el-Fahm mosque

Israel thwarts major Islamic Jihad missile attack against naval vessels

Will there be war in Israel this summer?

Israel and Saudi Arabia: The relationship emerging into the open

Saudi Arabia and UAE pledge nearly $1bn in aid for Yemen at UN conference

Coalition: Houthi-Iranian attack targets Saudi oil tanker west of Hudaydah port

Top Israeli Official: We Welcome ‘Forging of a Common Front in the Middle East Against Iran’

Iran blasts Israel for ‘increasing Syria’s problems’ by interfering in war

US official: US hasn’t finished job in Syria against Islamic State

Anti-Isis alliance in doubt after Trump’s vow to pull US troops from Syria

Russia’s Putin says ISIS has been defeated in Syria

Russia, Assad give ultimatum to rebels northeast of Damascus

Russia, Turkey and Iran Are Planning Syria’s Future Without the U.S.

Russian defense minister hails teamwork with Iran in Syria

Turkey hosts critical summit on Syria war with Russia, Iran

Turkey, Russia ties grow stronger as U.S. gets elbowed out of the Middle East

Trump Refuses to Acknowledge Threat From Moscow, but Will Arm Russia’s Baltic Neighbors

Trump says he thinks he could have a good relationship with Putin

Russian spy chief says feels like Cold War is back

Mueller told Trump’s attorneys the president remains under investigation but is not currently a criminal target

Trump faces major legal perils despite not being ‘target’ of Russia probe, experts say

Facebook bans over 200 new Russian accounts

YouTube shooting: Woman shoots 3 before killing herself in San Bruno, California

YouTube Shooting: Nasim Aghdam’s Father Says He Called Police Concerned About Her Anger At Company

YouTube shooter Nasim Aghdam was vegan who complained about ‘suppression’

Fake news on YouTube shooting spreads, despite recent efforts

Silicon Valley Grapples With Security Risks After YouTube Shooting

Homeland Security finds suspected phone surveillance devices in Washington

France puts 78,000 security threats on vast police database

Half of European flights face delays after computer failure

France hit by second day of rail chaos as strike bites

India Withdraws Order to Punish Journalists Over ‘Fake News’

Trump Threatens To End NAFTA, Foreign Aid Unless “Immigrant Caravan” Is Stopped

Migrants at U.S.-Mexico border say Trump’s tough talk won’t deter them

Trump says the military will secure the southern border until wall can be built

Trump would not be first president to send National Guard soldiers to US-Mexico border

White House criticises China for $3bn tariffs on US imports

Stock futures plunge, with the Dow set for a more than 500-point drop, after China announces tariffs

‘Being cash-free puts us at risk of attack’: Swedes turn against cashlessness

America’s college students are struggling to find food and housing

Indonesia declares state of emergency as oil spill spreads

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Raoul Island, New Zealand

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 13,000ft

Cleveland volcano on the Aleutian Islands erupts to 13,000ft

Aoba volcano on Vanuatu erupts to 10,000ft

Study shows depth of Yellowstone magma plume

Galaxy-hunting tech used to stop poachers hunting endangered animals

Unusual forms of ‘nightmare’ antibiotic-resistant bacteria detected in 27 states

With Vice President Pence breaking tie, Senate passes anti-Planned Parenthood bill

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner wanted Planned Parenthood to stop providing abortions in exchange for funding: book

A woman says an Ancestry.com DNA test revealed her father – her parents’ fertility doctor

‘Gender-neutral’ Swedish preschools teach boys to wear dresses

ApostasyWatch Daily News

Invalid reasons for staying in a church you know teaches false doctrine

Theological Cliff Diving – Divine Healing Edition

Fundamentalist Baptist pastor arrested on charges he failed to report child abuse

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

Islamic State claims attack on Christian family in Pakistan

Bibles pulled from China’s online bookstores as Beijing releases white paper on religious policy

Mike Oppenheimer – Do we establish the kingdom by power or force?

God Keys Kris Vallotton’s Red Corvette — See the Strong Delusion In Action

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

Mega-Pastor, Stovall Weems, Said He Saw Jesus Face-to-Face on Friday

Local Church Donates $100,000, Eliminates $10 Million in Medical Debt

Teen needed to wake up for church on Easter. His mother tased him, Arizona police say

Meet the First Female Evangelical Presidential Candidate of Colombia

3D copy of Shroud of Turin is revealing what some say is the image of Jesus

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 06:01 AM PDT

3D copy of Shroud of Turin is revealing what some say is the image of JesusOne of the most-well known relics in archeological history is leading researchers to believe that they know “the precise image of what Jesus looked like on this earth”.  The Shroud of Turin is a 14-foot linen cloth that is believed to have wrapped the body of Jesus Christ after the crucifixion. Researchers in Padua (Italy) have unveiled a 3-D carbon copy of what Jesus looked like based on the precise measurements of the cloth.

“Science is not able to define the name of the Man that was wrapped there, but the perfect correspondence of the Gospels and of the Bible in general with the Shroud leads [me] to think that that Man was just Jesus,” Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurements at the University of Padua, told CBN News. “For example, thousands of men were crucified by Romans, but one only, Jesus, was crowned with thorns. And the Shroud shows many wounds on the forehead, temples, and nape due to a crown of thorns. READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: Will Saudi Prince’s ‘Changes’ Lead to Peace with Israel?

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 05:56 AM PDT

PROPHECY WATCH: Will Saudi Prince’s ‘Changes’ Lead to Peace with Israel?Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia declared this week that Israel has a right to its own land. This latest action by the monarch in waiting has many asking, who is this new leader and what does he mean for the world? The crown prince’s statement was a first for a Saudi leader. “I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land,” he said, adding that

“we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.” His statement is one of many changes from Prince Mohammed. He’s permitting Saudi women to drive. He opened Saudi airspace for the first time to a commercial flight to Israel and earlier, he said Saudi’s kingdom would be a place for all religions. Evangelical leader Johnny Moore believes Prince Mohammed’s changes signal a new day in the Middle East.  READ MORE

Breaking Free of Lust’s Death Grip So You Can Enter Christ’s Promised Land

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 05:48 AM PDT

Breaking Free of Lust’s Death Grip So You Can Enter Christ’s Promised Land(By Dr. Doug Weiss) The inheritance of Israel, the promised land, was going to be a cooperation between the God of heaven and the Israelites’ sweat and sacrifice. As Americans we see inheritance as our dad and/or mom working really hard, saving a bunch of money and giving it to us at their death. We did nothing for it; we just inherit or receive it.  God promised the people of Israel the promised land as their inheritance. However, God didn’t just give it to them; they had to kill and be killed to inherit God’s promised land.

In the multiple battles, there are many heroes and those who lost their lives to see this inheritance come to pass for those they loved. Our soldiers today are a prime example of this. I live in a military town with two Air Force bases, an Army base and the Air Force Academy. I see these brave men and women everywhere: restaurants, malls and at church. They are fighting to maintain our freedom. There are days the news reports the deaths of those who were stationed locally who died that day. They died for our freedom, and that is the greatest sacrifice of all—to give your life for those you love. In the book of Joshua, we are also introduced to such men. READ MORE

China strikes hard: Tariffs On 106 US Products… Stocks set to Plunge!!

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 05:40 AM PDT

China strikes hard: Tariffs On 106 US Products… Stocks set to Plunge!!China announced additional tariffs on 106 U.S. products on Wednesday, in a move likely to heighten global concerns of a tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s biggest economies.  The effective start date for the new charges was not announced, though China’s Ministry of Commerce said the tariffs are designed to target up to $50 billion of U.S. products annually. The 25 percent levy on U.S. imports

includes products such as soybeans, cars and whiskey, Beijing said.  The move comes less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump unveiled a list of Chinese imports that he aims to target as part of a crackdown on what he deems as unfair trade practices. Sectors covered by Trump’s proposed tariffs include products used for robotics, information technology, communication technology and aerospace.  READ MOREU.S. stock index futures tumbled ahead of Wednesday’s open, as concerns over a potential trade war between the U.S. and China intensified. Around 8:30 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures indicated a drop of 547 points at the start of trading in New York. The Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 futures also indicated heavy losses at the open for their respective markets. The moves in premarket trade come as China announced brand-new tariffs on 106 U.S. products, including cars, whiskey, aerospace and defense, and soybeans. READ MORE 

UPDATE: Youtube Shooter Raged At Censorship

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 05:33 AM PDT

UPDATE: Youtube Shooter Raged At CensorshipThe NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has confirmed the identity of the shooter who opened fire on YouTube’s campus in San Bruno Tuesday. Nasim Aghdam, 39, lived in Southern California and appears to have had a robust presence on YouTube.  In a video posted in January 2017, she says YouTube “discriminated and filtered” her content. In the video, Aghdam says her channel used to get lots of views but that after being “filtered” by the company, it received far fewer views.

In one online rant, she complained that YouTube censored her content by imposing an age restriction on one of her workout videos because they were too racy. She says the company failed to do the same thing for stars like Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj, whose videos, she says, are inappropriate for children. In a Facebook post from February 2017, Aghdam blasted YouTube saying, “There is no equal growth opportunity on YouTube.” READ MORE

CUP OF TREMBLING: UNESCO set to pass ‘most extreme’ Jerusalem resolution next week

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 05:22 AM PDT

CUP OF TREMBLING: UNESCO set to pass ‘most extreme’ Jerusalem resolution next weekThe United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture is expected next week to pass another resolution on Jerusalem that an Israeli official has denounced as “the most extreme and problematic text” ever proposed.  At first blush, the short text appears harmless from an Israeli perspective, devoid of any incendiary claims or designations. And yet, Jerusalem opposes it because it cites previous UN resolutions on Middle Eastern affairs, thus legitimizing more problematic

formulations “through the back door,” Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, said. The resolution, sponsored by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, consists of only four paragraphs. Two recall previous resolutions, one calls for their implementation and future discussion, and one reaffirms “the importance of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic religions.” READ MORE

2018 Hurricane Season Could Be Worse Than Last Season

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 01:40 PM PDT

2018 Hurricane Season Could Be Worse Than Last SeasonAfter a devastating hurricane season for the United States in 2017, forecasters are predicting a near normal to slightly above-normal year with between 12 to 15 tropical storms.   Of those storms, 6 to 8 are forecast to become hurricanes and 3 to 5 are forecast to become major hurricanes. “Last year we had 17 tropical storms.

This year may not be quite as active, but still probably normal to slightly above normal,” AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said. Similar to last year, sea surface temperatures are expected to remain warmer than normal across most of the basin and normal to above normal over the main developmental region, where more than 85 percent of all tropical storms form. READ MORE

Warnings Signs of an Abusive Church Leader

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 01:29 PM PDT

Warnings Signs of an Abusive Church Leader(By Dr. Michael Brown) In all settings, both secular and religious, charismatic and non-charismatic, leaders can be abusive, taking advantage of their people and using them for all kinds of fleshly purposes, from financial gain to sex to control. But we charismatics can be especially prone to abusive leadership. After all, we do believe in “the anointing,” and we don’t want to “touch God’s anointed,” to sin against the man of God who is backed by the Spirit of God. And so abusive leaders can more easily take advantage of us.

In Psalm 105:15, God says, “Do not touch not My anointed ones, and do no harm to My prophets.” Have you ever heard a pastor quote this verse, threatening you with divine judgment if you dared to differ with his authority? Has a self-proclaimed prophet warned you of the dire consequences of rejecting his words, using this very text? In reality, the verse has little (or nothing) to do with church leadership.  Now, I can’t verify this story, but I heard it firsthand from a well-known American pastor. He said that he and his wife were new believers when they attended a gospel rally in California. According to their account, when the preacher got up to speak, he said to the crowd, “You don’t need your Bibles.  READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: Barley Harvested Being Prepared for Third Temple Wave Offering

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 01:24 PM PDT

PROPHECY WATCH: Barley Harvested Being Prepared for Third Temple Wave OfferingOn the second night of Passover, this past Saturday night, dozens of men, women and children went out to the fields to harvest barley, not so much as a reenactment but a real Temple-related Passover ceremony. The following day, the harvest was brought to Jerusalem where it was turned into flour and Kohanim (Jewish men descended from Aaron the Priest) performed a full-dress rehearsal for the Wave Offering, which will take place once again in the Third Temple.

Preparations for the event began on Friday before the holiday of Passover began. Members of the nascent Sanhedrin and representatives from the United Temple Movements went out to a field of barley near Ruchama in the Negev (southern Israel). They oversaw the selection of the finest sections of grain and tied them into sheaves, leaving the stalks connected to the soil.  READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Active shooter reported at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno.

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 01:17 PM PDT

DEVELOPING: Active shooter reported at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno.KRON4 is hearing reports of an active shooter at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno. The City Manager tells KRON4 they’ve received multiple 9-1-1 calls from YouTube, however, they did not

disclose the reasons why. The headquarters is located at 901 Cherry Avenue. San Bruno Police tweeted at 1 p.m. to avoid the area due to police activity. Further details are unavailable at this time. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria detected in 27 states…

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 01:15 PM PDT

DEVELOPING: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria detected in 27 states…More than 200 rare antibiotic-resistant genes were found in “nightmare” bacteria tested in 2017, according to a Vital Signs report released Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  “I was surprised by the numbers we found,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.  The report focused on the new and highly resistant germs that have yet to spread widely. Still, a variety of resistant germs can be found in every state. “Two million Americans get

infections from antibiotic resistance and 23,000 dies from those infections each year,” Schuchat said. Testing 5,776 isolates of antibiotic-resistant germs from hospitals and nursing homes, the CDC found that about one in four had a gene that helped spread its resistance, while 221 contained an “especially rare resistance gene,” she said. During follow-up screening, nearly one in every 10 contacts also tested positive, “meaning the unusual resistance had spread to other patients and could have continued spreading if left undetected,” Schuchat said. READ MORE

Trump to Deploy US Military to protect Southern Border

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 01:11 PM PDT

Trump to Deploy US Military to protect Southern BorderPresident Donald Trump said Tuesday that he will reinforce security along the U.S. border with Mexico by using American troops because “horrible, unsafe laws” have left the country vulnerable.  At a pair of White House events, Trump called on U.S. lawmakers to “get their act together” to enforce laws that prevent people from entering the country illegally and said he would turn to the Department of Defense for help.

“We are going to be guarding our border with our military,” Trump said. “We cannot have people flowing into our country illegally, disappearing and, by the way, never showing up for court.” The president said he planned to speak with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in the coming days about the logistics of sending troops to the border, indicating that his plan is in its infancy and deployment is not imminent. READ MORE

‘Life or death’ drill for supervolcano emergency underway

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 06:56 AM PDT

‘Life or death’ drill for supervolcano emergency underwayMore than 20 police, fire and rescue vehicles descended upon the area around Yellowstone supervolcano this week to prepare for what could be a “life or death” emergency.   Yellowstone National Park Public Affairs confirmed that there could be a supervolcano eruption imminently and that they were putting themselves through their paces so that they were ready for any eventuality.

Spokesman Morgan Warthin said: “Every opportunity like this, every training opportunity reveals both where our strengths are.  “But also how we can improve.” Mr Warthin knows that emergency services will need to be absolutely prepared if a catastrophe strikes near Mammoth in Yellowstone National Park. READ MORE

Ex General to Putin warns Russia and UK heading for last war in the history of mankind

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 06:49 AM PDT

Ex General to Putin warns Russia and UK heading for last war in the history of mankindEvgeny Buzhinsky – who served in the Russian military for more than 40 years – said the row between Britain and Putin was creating a situation “worse than the Cold War”.   Buzhinsky told the BBC the expelling of diplomats by both countries over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury could lead to war.  Buzhinsky said that Britain and Russia were heading for “a real war”.  He

said: “Worse than the Cold War is a real war.   “It will be the last war in the history of mankind.”  Skripal and his daughter have been in the hospital since ingesting the deadly nerve agent novichok in Salisbury, Wilts on March 4.  Buzhinsky was asked if the poisoning of Skripal could lead directly to war. He responded: “Not the Salisbury poisoning, but the pressure. READ MORE

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Astronomers discover most distant star ever seen…

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 06:37 AM PDT

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Astronomers discover most distant star ever seen…Astronomers have spotted the most distant star ever observed that is 9 billion light-years from Earth, a new study reported Monday.  “For the first time ever we’re seeing an individual normal star — not a supernova, not a gamma-ray burst, but a single, stable star — at a distance of 9 billion light-years,” said Alex Filippenko, an astronomer at the University of California-Berkeley and co-author of the study.  The star is nicknamed Icarus, after the Greek mythological character who flew too near the sun

on wings of feathers and wax that melted. (The formal name is MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1.) . Normally the star would be too faint to view, even with the world’s biggest and most powerful telescopes. But through a quirk of nature that tremendously amplifies the star’s feeble glow, astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope were able to pinpoint this faraway star and set a new distance record. “This star is at least 100 times farther away than the next individual star we can study, READ MORE

Stocks experience worst Q2 start since Great Depression

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 06:33 AM PDT

Stocks experience worst Q2 start since Great DepressionU.S. stocks had their worst April start since 1929, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The S&P 500 index slumped 2.2 percent, a rout exceeded only by its 2.5 percent decline 89 years ago, a prelude to the devastating crash later that year that brought on the Great Depression. (Back then, the index only comprised 90 stocks.) . China’s retaliatory trade tariffs combined with President Donald Trump’s criticism of Amazon.com Inc. to send equities into a tailspin Monday. Shares in the online retailer

tumbled, encouraging a sell-off in consumer discretionary and technology stocks. The S&P 500 closed below its 200-day moving average — a key technical support — and volatility climbed.  The stock slide also looked pretty bad when compared to the beginning of other quarters. Equities lost more than on any other quarterly first day since October 2011, when stocks plummeted 2.8 percent, Bloomberg data show.  READ MORE

Don’t let your Unbelief rule your Tongue!

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 06:26 AM PDT

Don’t let your Unbelief rule your Tongue!(By Ricky Scaparo) In today’s broadcast, we discuss how many times believers allow their tongues become the snare in their own lives! Discover how the children of Israel reaped the fruits of their own words, resulting in them perishing in the wilderness in pursuit of their promise land!

NBC slammed for pushing claim Christian faith ‘is used to defend white supremacy’

Posted: 02 Apr 2018 05:42 PM PDT

NBC slammed for pushing claim Christian faith ‘is used to defend white supremacy’NBC News was bashed on Easter Sunday after the network promoted an opinion piece claiming that Christianity “is used to defend white supremacy.”  The article, written by self-described “evangelical Christian” Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, was published on Easter morning and tweeted out on NBC News’ main account in the afternoon.  “We who believe in love and justice in America this Easter must reclaim redemption from those who would use it to prop up white nationalism and bigotry,” wrote

Wilson-Hartgrove. “To fail to do so is … to reject the life and witness of the resurrected Jesus, whom Christians worship today.”  NBC News’ tweet drew thousands of responses, many of which criticized the network for promoting an article criticizing Christianity on its holiest day.  “I dare you @NBCNews to do something similar with ANY other religion,” one user wrote. “Oh wait, you wont. [sic] You are only comfortable attacking Christians because you know that they would never actually attack back. READ MORE

Saudi crown prince says Israelis have right to their own land

Posted: 02 Apr 2018 05:35 PM PDT

Saudi crown prince says Israelis have right to their own landSaudi Arabia’s crown prince said Israelis are entitled to live peacefully on their own land in an interview published on Monday in U.S. magazine The Atlantic, another public sign of ties between Riyadh and Tel Aviv appearing to grow closer.   Asked if he believes the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland, Mohammed bin Salman was quoted as saying:

“I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.” Saudi Arabia – birthplace of Islam and home to its holiest shrines – does not recognize Israel. It has maintained for years that normalizing relations hinges on Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East war, territory Palestinians seek for a future state. READ MORE

Russia & China to merge satellite tracking systems into one global navigation giant

Posted: 02 Apr 2018 05:27 PM PDT

Russia & China to merge satellite tracking systems into one global navigation giantMoscow and Beijing will team up to create an integrated navigation system based on Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) and the Chinese BeiDou. The system will cover most of Eurasia.  The countries will reportedly negotiate the merger in May at the International Conference on Advanced Technologies in Manufacturing and Materials Engineering in the Chinese city of Harbin, Izvestia daily reports.  The initiative to merge the two separate systems is the result of a proposal made

by the Chinese authorities to the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos. It is intended to create a joint global navigation satellite system, covering the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which include China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.  The new system will allow the partners to share data on the positions of navigation satellite groups, improve working efficiency in a real-time environment, and to exchange corrections, where necessary. At the same time, Russian GLONASS may significantly broaden its user base. READ MORE

Condom snorting challenge is the newest dangerous trend!

Posted: 02 Apr 2018 05:21 PM PDT

Condom snorting challenge is the newest dangerous trend!A warning for parents about a dangerous trend – the “condom snorting challenge” is making a comeback.  Teenagers are recording themselves putting unwrapped condoms up their nostrils and inhaling them until the condom comes out of their mouth.  The challenge has reportedly been around for several years but has recently regained popularity.

Bruce Y. Lee is an associate professor of international health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He wrote a column about the dangerous trend for Forbes magazine. “Gee, what could go wrong when inhaling an object made of latex rubber and covered in lubricant and spermicide?” Lee wrote in Forbes. READ MORE

Google snubbed Easter with no doodle for 18th year in a row

Posted: 02 Apr 2018 05:15 PM PDT

Google snubbed Easter with no doodle for 18th year in a rowFor the 18th year in a row, Google has no doodle to celebrate Easter, and Christians are angry on this holy day.  Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars editor-at-large, tweeted Sunday about Christianity’s most joyful day: ‏”So Google has a doodle for every obscure ‘woke’ person/event imaginable, but nothing for Easter? #EasterSunday” . James Woods retweeted it, saying: “They loathe Christians. Plain and simple.”

The search giant did find room to celebrate April Fool’s Day — by inserting a “Where’s Waldo?” game into Google Maps.  Many took to Twitter with jokes about Google’s erasure of Easter, which celebrates Christianity’s core belief — that Jesus rose from the dead following crucifixion. Lots of users sent snarky tweets showing the blank Google homepage of the day ignoring Easter. READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: King of Turkey calls Netanyahu a “Terrorist” and “Butcher”

Posted: 02 Apr 2018 10:53 AM PDT

PROPHECY WATCH: King of Turkey calls Netanyahu a “Terrorist” and “Butcher”Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday with slaughter in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, taking off his gloves and responding in kind to Erdogan’s sharp criticism of Israel’s reaction to Friday’s march in Gaza.  “Erdogan is not used to people responding to him, but he should start getting used to it,” Netanyahu said. “Anyone who occupies northern Cyprus, invades the Kurdish strip and slaughters citizens in Afrin, should not lecture us about values and ethics.”

On January 20, Turkey began a cross-border military operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin, an operation for which Turkey has come under widespread international criticism. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 289 civilians have been killed since Ankara began this military operation. Other estimates put that number as high as 510, amid allegations of indiscriminate Turkish artillery fire. There have also been reports of Turkish border guards shooting refugees fleeing the fighting and seeking shelter inside Turkey. READ MORE

Powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes in Ring of Fire

Posted: 02 Apr 2018 10:35 AM PDT

Powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes in Ring of FireIt occurred near Tarija in the south of the country at a depth of 344 miles.  The USGS estimates there is a 34% chance of damage and fatalities.  Its website states: “Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though vulnerable structures exist. “The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and rubble/fieldstone masonry construction.” One Twitter user called Yurka Tbiliski wrote: “I was rocked by a Magnitude 6.8 earthquake in 10km

NNE of Carandayti, Bolivia!!!”  Another called dbaBlockchain added: “That was a really strong earthquake that just hit Bolivia!” The South American country is located in the Ring of Fire, a basin of the Pacific Ocean prone to seismic activity. Last month, another 6.0 magnitude quake struck off the southern coast of Papua New Guinea. It occurred 96 miles from the town of Kokopowhich, home to about 20,000 people.  READ MORE

Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Wretched Radio 04/03/2018


•By request: George Street; corrected and updated
•Is youthful zeal an accurate indicator for faith?
•How to help your kids see that Church is valuable
•Minced oaths, peanut allergies, and boycotts make for a long tangent
•Dennis Prager thinks the 10 commandments can save America
•Is capital punishment moral?Download Now (right click and save)

The post 04/03/2018 appeared first on Wretched.

Our Deadly Obsession with Celebrity Culture

I know we’ve had “famous” evangelists and televangelists in the past, and I know there’s nothing new under the sun. Celebrity pastors have been around ever since the Corinthians debated the merits of Paul, Apollos, and Peter. Nevertheless, I do think today’s cultural environment has provided conditions that are particularly toxic. The ubiquity of social media and celebrity culture in the United States has led to the rise of a new class of Christian celebrities. Millions look to these gurus for guidance, validation, talking points, and dare I say it entertainment.

Evangelicals have a deadly problem. Our obsession with celebrity culture is a cancer destroying our churches from the inside out.

You can see this obsession on display in a number of places. For one thing, every celebrity or an athlete who mentions God or stands up for conservative values becomes an instant poster child for many of us. Acceptance speeches, victory speeches, and interview sound bytes are replayed and reposted on social media to the delight of many.

Are we looking to celebrities to gives us some sort of validation for what we believe? Are we ready to embrace any pop culture icon who says “Jesus” because we’re so tired of the elites running our faith into the ground? Are we hoping to find religious street cred simply because some actor, athlete, or pundit said something with which we agree? Are we simply wanting to find someone to give us a voice in the cultural conversation?

Our eagerness to embrace celebrity can also be seen within our churches. Publishing, conferences, blogs, and podcasts have produced an entirely new class of Christian celebrity. Additionally, social media provides just about everyone with access to these celebrities who are otherwise far removed from our daily lives.

I know we’ve had “famous” evangelists and televangelists in the past, and I know there’s nothing new under the sun. Celebrity pastors have been around ever since the Corinthians debated the merits of Paul, Apollos, and Peter. Nevertheless, I do think today’s cultural environment has provided conditions that are particularly toxic. The ubiquity of social media and celebrity culture in the United States has led to the rise of a new class of Christian celebrities. Millions look to these gurus for guidance, validation, talking points, and dare I say it entertainment.

What’s the problem with a Christian class of celebrities? Well, just watch the news. On a weekly basis, you’ll find stories of another Christian leader caught in a scandal. On a weekly basis, you’ll find stories of another prominent Christian who has been accused of wrongdoing. On a weekly basis, you’ll find stories of another celebrity-of-the-month whose actions have betrayed the gullible trust we placed in them. On a weekly basis, you’ll find stories of another Christian celebrity whose faith has “evolved” away from that which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Our celebrities repeatedly let us down, and these celebrity implosions are no respecter of theological conviction. Those falling from prominence come from each and every theological tribe. There are several critical lessons to be learned from our deadly obsession with celebrity culture.

First, we don’t really know the celebrities we connect with via social media.

Read More

The post Our Deadly Obsession with Celebrity Culture appeared first on The Aquila Report.

The Origin and Presence of False Teaching

If we expect that a sudden and dramatic falsehood will enter the church, we will not be looking in the right place. It is true that great falsehoods have been found in the church, but not typically in a sudden fashion. The enemy of our souls prefers a subtler approach, sowing doubts and twisting the truth to make falsehood acceptable. After all, the first attack on man was not, “How can you possibly believe that?” but, “Did God really say that?”

Following the true teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ is central to what it means to be a Christian. The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20), perhaps the most well-known passage on the purpose of the church, has at its core this concept: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” As a result, the church has always made great efforts to teach the Bible. But efforts do not always bring about results. Interaction with culture, difficult passages in the Bible, and the power of sin to affect the mind have contributed to the formulation and dissemination of false or incorrect teaching. Churches and individual believers make a serious mistake if they think to themselves, “It can’t happen here.” Thinking we are immune to error places us in a very dangerous position. It is exactly what the enemy wants—for us to be asleep and unaware of his efforts to attack believers through false teaching.


False teaching is a real threat to the church. False teaching is not a threat only in certain circumstances, or only in churches with certain governmental structures, or only in certain places and cultures in the world. We must recognize it as a threat because the Bible continually warns us that it is a threat. Jesus warns us that false teachers will come from outside the community of believers, trying to hide their true intentions (Matt. 7:15–20). Peter tells us that false teachers can also arise from within the community of believers, bringing doctrine that is destructive and poisonous (2 Peter 2:1). The Apostle Paul continually warned the churches that he served that if false teachers in their midst were left unchecked, the results would be disastrous (Gal. 1:6–9; 2 Cor. 11:1–21; 1 Tim. 6:3–5). Simply put, false teaching is not just a problem for other people and churches out there; it is a problem about which all believers must be vigilant and against which they must be on guard.

The Bible’s testimony about false teaching should make it clear that we are not invulnerable to this threat. When we are tempted to think we are beyond such threats because we have it all together, we will do well to remember the Apostle Paul’s warning to the Corinthian church, which thought it was beyond the errors that had sprung up during the days of Old Testament Israel: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). If doctrinal aberrations can spring up in churches that were nurtured with the teachings of the Apostles, what makes us think we are immune? Paul had to warn the Galatians about false teaching on the central doctrine of the faith—how man is justified before God—when the generation of disciples that were taught directly by Jesus was still walking the earth. How, then, can we afford to be complacent?


Since we are called to be alert to the threat of false teaching in our midst, for what should we be looking? Should we expect someone to stand up in the middle of a worship service and declare: “The church has had it all wrong for years and years. Let me tell you what the Bible really teaches.” Do we expect bold declarations that strike at the heart of the Bible’s teachings such as “God is not real” or “Jesus is not God”? If we expect that a sudden and dramatic falsehood will enter the church, we will not be looking in the right place. It is true that great falsehoods have been found in the church, but not typically in a sudden fashion. The enemy of our souls prefers a subtler approach, sowing doubts and twisting the truth to make falsehood acceptable. After all, the first attack on man was not, “How can you possibly believe that?” but, “Did God really say that?”

Another thing we need to remember is that false teaching does not always come into the church as a result of deliberate attempts to deceive Christians and trick them into denying the faith. Such tactics certainly are possible, for the New Testament does record instances of “the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 2:4) and those who “crept in unnoticed . . . ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). We should not be naive and ignore signs of such attacks. But more often, the danger of false teaching comes from other avenues. Three avenues to which we must be especially alert are the desire to find some new and interesting teaching or doctrine, an overreaction to other teaching errors in the church, and a desire to avoid criticism, particularly criticism from the world around us.


Perhaps the most “innocent” way that false teaching can come into the church is when someone attempts to find a new and innovative way to understand the Bible. The Bible is an ancient book that pastors, elders, and scholars have studied for millennia. It is hard to think of a biblical topic about which hundreds of books have not been written. On the most controversial of topics, such as baptism or eschatology, virtually every theological position has been staked out. Not every teacher is satisfied with describing various historical interpretations or presenting historically biblical truth in a clear and convincing fashion. For some, there is a need to blaze a path where no one has gone before, teaching the Bible in a way that is not dependent on any predecessor.

One example of this was John Nelson Darby, whose desire to organize the Bible and its prophecy into a single definitive system produced what is now known as dispensationalism. His teachings led to deviations from historical understandings of the church, the sacraments, and, in some ways, original sin.

For others, there is a desire to solve definitively a thorny biblical issue over which theologians have wrangled for centuries. This leads them into uncharted territory—expressing untested ideas and interpretations of the Bible. The Jesuit scholar Luis de Molina thought that he had discovered a way to reconcile the age-old conflict between theologians about free will and predestination in the new teaching of “middle knowledge.” In the end, all he accomplished was to confuse people about God’s will and His providential care. A more modern example would be those who have put forward the idea of “open theism” in an effort to protect God from being accused of responsibility for evil in the world. The result has been to present a God who is weak, unable to provide for His people, and ultimately at the mercy of the actions of men. We should be aware of this entry point for false teaching, both when others come up to convince us of a great new insight that has never been heard before and when we are tempted to make a name for ourselves with some new teaching. It is far better to be thought of as boring when we stand fast and “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3).


A second way that false teaching can enter the church is when teachers try overzealously to protect the church from error. By saying “overzealously,” I am referring not to the mere effort made to protect the church from error, but rather to the extent to which some go in the name of protecting the church. The greatest and most precious truths of the Bible have been explained and understood with great care throughout the centuries. Doctrines such as the Trinity, the person of Christ, and the relationship between faith and works have been developed from an understanding of the totality of Scripture and with the knowledge that there are equal and opposite errors that someone can fall into. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan described the Christian’s journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death as walking between two dangers: a deep ditch on the right, and a dangerous quag on the left. If one moves too sharply in one direction to avoid one danger, one can fall into the other opposite danger.

Perhaps the best historical example of this is the way that false teaching on the person of Christ came into the church. In trying to understand how Christ can be both human and divine, Nestorius and his followers taught a sharp division in Christ that essentially made Him two persons, one human and one divine. The church took issue with this teaching and condemned it at the First Council of Ephesus. But in an overzealous attempt to correct the Nestorian error, Eutyches and his followers taught that the way to avoid conceiving of two persons in Christ was to understand the divinity of Christ as overwhelming the humanity of Christ, essentially denying His true humanity. They had successfully avoided one false teaching only to fall headlong into another. Another example is when various false teachers throughout history have sought to deal with the supposed problem of tritheism in the doctrine of the Trinity (that the doctrine appears to teach there are three Gods). From Sabellius in the third century, to Michael Servetus during the Reformation, to oneness theologians today, attempts to “ensure” that the church teaches monotheism have often resulted in false teaching about the Trinity.


A third way that false teaching enters the church is when teachers are overly desirous to avoid criticism, especially when that criticism comes from the surrounding culture. This is where human nature, especially our sinful pride, comes in. People do not like to be thought of as ignorant, uncultured, or uneducated. They do not enjoy being looked down on by others for things they believe or say. And yet this is a fundamental part of being a Christian.

To be a Christian means to believe that what God says in His Word is true even if everyone around you disagrees. “Let God be true though every one were a liar,” the Bible tells us (Rom. 3:4). Martin Luther put it with his characteristic wit: “One with God is a majority.” But often this is easier said than done. Teachers within the church can become afraid that they will have no effect on the world around them unless they teach in a way that is acceptable to the culture.

It was this way of thinking that led to a departure from the biblical truth about the atonement and Christ’s sacrifice. Cries against “cosmic child abuse” and a “harsh, vengeful Father” have led some to teach against the substitutionary atonement of Christ. This, in turn, has led to the redefinition of sin, repentance, and holiness. Once the thread starts to unravel, the whole cloth begins to tear.

Another example of this tendency is the way that teachers within the church have shied away from the biblical doctrine of creation as set forth in Genesis 1–2, Isaiah 40, and Colossians 1, among other places. Rather than seem to go against a scientific “consensus,” such teachers will deny that God is the Creator of all things.

What is especially dangerous is that false teaching can come into the church from the culture because people have good intentions—they want to reach the lost, so they try to remove anything that they think is a barrier. We should not make a point of intentionally attacking our neighbors, but we must also never be afraid to stand on the Word of God—even when such a stand is unpopular. That also means we must be wary of those within the church who are constantly trying to accommodate the latest cultural thinking.


We have seen some of the ways that false teaching arises in the church. How, then, does it take root and continue, despite being contrary to the truth of God’s Word and the mission of the church? If we can see how false teaching spreads and becomes accepted, we will be more prepared to confront it. There are a variety of factors involved here, but for brevity’s sake, let us look at three: one educational, one institutional, and one related to leadership.

One of the most common contributors to the spread of false teaching in the church is a general lack of Bible knowledge and discernment among the people. It might seem counterintuitive to say that students should be able to correct teachers when they bring falsehood into the church, but that is exactly what the Bible teaches us. When Paul was in Berea, his teaching was not merely accepted on his own authority, but his listeners examined it daily by the Scriptures to see whether it was true (Acts 17:11). For this, they were praised by Luke as being “more noble.” All believers must read the Scriptures for themselves and compare what is being taught to the Scriptures. This does not require a radical skepticism, but it does mean that believers are not to unhesitatingly trust every word of mere men. They are to trust only the Scriptures in such a way. A problem arises when believers do not have the willingness or the ability to search the Scriptures for themselves. This leads to a dependence on human authority and allows false teaching to take root and spread. The educational goal of the church should be not just to transmit knowledge of the Bible but also to transmit a love for the Bible and an eagerness to study it.

A second contributor to the spread of false teaching is institutional—the failure to hold people accountable for their false teaching. It has often been noted that there are three marks of the true church: the right preaching of the Word, the right administration of the sacraments, and the exercise of discipline. The third mark exists to make sure the first two marks are maintained. When the church turns a blind eye to false teaching because its proponents are popular or have “successful ministries” (one thinks of more people or more money), or simply to avoid conflict in the church, it allows false teaching to spread and to be the source of further division and conflict. Church discipline exists to uphold the glory of Christ and His truth and also to protect the people of God from error and its consequences.

There is a third contributor to the advance of false teaching in the church, and it is related to leadership. Even when the people of God are eager to study His Word and the church is prepared to exercise discipline, false teaching can flourish when the leadership of the church is ill prepared and poorly trained. The lower we set our standards for training pastors and elders for the ministry, the less prepared they will be to recognize false teaching. Pastors and elders who are untrained in historical theology will miss the reappearance of ancient false teaching in modern clothing. Those who have not been trained well in the Bible, its languages, and principles of its sound interpretation may fall prey to novel teachings that seem to explain away problems or contradictions. To combat false teaching, the church needs pastors, elders, and teachers who are both willing and able to confront falsehood (Titus 2:8; 1 Peter 2:15).


False teaching is a danger to the church of Jesus Christ, and it can arise from different quarters and flourish if not confronted. How does knowing the origin and presence of false teaching help us combat it? Briefly put, such knowledge keeps us from being complacent about false teaching and the danger it presents. Being aware of where false teaching comes from keeps us alert. And perhaps most importantly, if we are mindful of false teaching, we will be driven to study our Bibles more and more, to be prepared to stand for the truth that the Lord has given to us and impresses on our hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Ligonier © 2018. Used with permission.

The post The Origin and Presence of False Teaching appeared first on The Aquila Report.

God’s Sovereignty and Our Responsibility

God is sovereign in creation, providence, redemption, and judgment. That is a central assertion of Christian belief and especially in Reformed theology. God is King and Lord of all. To put this another way: nothing happens without God’s willing it to happen, willing it to happen before it happens, and willing it to happen in the way that it happens. Put this way, it seems to say something that is expressly Reformed in doctrine. But at its heart, it is saying nothing different from the assertion of the Nicene Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty.” To say that God is sovereign is to express His almightiness in every area.

God is sovereign in creation. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Apart from God, there was nothing. And then there was something: matter, space, time, energy. And these came into being ex nihilo—out of nothing. The will to create was entirely God’s. The execution was entirely His. There was no metaphysical “necessity” to create; it was a free action of God.

God is sovereign in providence. Traditional theism insists that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent—all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present. Each assertion is a variant of divine sovereignty. His power, knowledge, and presence ensure that His goals are met, that His designs are fulfilled, and that His superintendence of all events is (to God, at least) essentially “risk free.”

God’s power is not absolute in the sense that God can do anything (potestas absoluta); rather, God’s power ensures that He can do all that is logically possible for Him to will to do. “He cannot deny himself,” for example (2 Tim. 2:13).

Some people object to the idea that God knows all events in advance of their happening. Such a view, some insist, deprives mankind of its essential freedom. Open theists or free-will theists, for example, insist that the future (at least in its specific details) is in some fashion “open.” Even God does not know all that is to come. He may make predictions like some cosmic poker player, but He cannot know absolutely. This explains, open theists suggest, why God appears to change His mind: God is adjusting His plan based on the new information of unforeseeable events (see Gen. 6:6–71 Sam. 15:11). Reformed theology, on the other hand, insists that no event happens that is a surprise to God. To us it is luck or chance, but to God it is part of His decree. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). Language of God changing His mind in Scripture is an accommodation to us and our way of speaking, not a description of a true change in God’s mind.

God is sovereign in redemption, a fact that explains why we thank God for our salvation and pray to Him for the salvation of our spiritually lost friends. If the power to save lies in man’s free will, if it truly lies in their unaided ability to save themselves, why would we implore God to “quicken,” “save,” or “regenerate” them? The fact that we consistently thank God for the salvation of individuals means (whether we admit it or not) that belief in absolute free will is inconsistent.

God is sovereign in judgment. Few passages of Scripture reflect the sovereignty of God in election and reprobation with greater force than Romans 9:21: “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” On the face of it, this might appear unfair and arbitrary—as though God were playing some vindictive child’s game with the petals of a flower: “He loves me; He loves me not. He loves me; He loves me not.” In response, some people have insisted that God has the right to do whatever He pleases and it is none of our business to find fault with Him—a point that Paul himself anticipates (Rom. 9:20). Others have taken the view that if God were to grant us what we deserve, we would all be damned. Election is therefore a gracious (and not just a sovereign) act. Both are true. But in any case, our salvation displays God’s glory: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36)


The assertion of divine sovereignty is not without further questions that should be addressed.

First, there is the question of evangelism. If God is sovereign in all matters of providence, what is the point of exerting human effort in evangelism and missions? God’s will is sure to be fulfilled whether we evangelize or not. But we dare not reason this way. Apart from the fact that God commands us to evange-lize—“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19)—such reasoning ignores the fact that God fulfills His sovereign plan through human means and instrumentality. Nowhere in the Bible are we encouraged to be passive and inert. Paul commands his Philippian readers to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12–13).

Second, there is the question of ethics. We are held responsible for our actions and behavior. We are culpable in transgression and praiseworthy in obedience.

Third, in relation to civic power and authority, there is the question of God’s sovereignty in the determination of rulers and government. God has raised up civil governments to be systems of equity and good and peace, for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of them who do well (Rom. 13:31 Peter 2:14). But this is also true of evil powers and corrupt regimes that violate the very principles of government itself; these are also under the sovereign government of Almighty God.

Fourth, in the question of both the origin and continued existence of evil, the sovereignty of God meets its most acute problem. That God does not prevent evil from existing seems to call into question His omnipotence or His benevolence. Some non-Christian religions try to solve this problem by positing that evil is imaginary (Christian Science) or an illusion (Hinduism). Augustine and many medieval thinkers believed part of the mystery could be solved by identifying evil as a privation of the good, suggesting that evil is something without existence in and of itself. Evil is a matter of ontology (being). Reformed thought on this issue is summarized by the Westminster Confession of Faith:

God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain what-soever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the crea-tures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (3:1)

God is the “first cause” of all things, but evil is a product of “second causes.” In the words of John Calvin, “First, it must be observed that the will of God is the cause of all things that happen in the world: and yet God is not the author of evil,” adding, “for the proximate cause is one thing, and the remote cause another.” In other words, God Himself cannot do evil and cannot be blamed for evil even though it is part of His sovereign decree.

God is sovereign, and in His sovereignty He displays His majestic glory. With out it, we would have no being, no salvation, and no hope. Soli Deo gloria.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

Source: God’s Sovereignty and Our Responsibility

Scammed by a Black, a Woman, and Now a 17-Year-Old

(Lloyd Marcus – American Thinker) “My fellow Americans, leftists view you only as pawns.  Your lives are mere tools to use to further their anti-God, anti-freedom, and anti-America agendas.  Leftists are willing to sacrifice your well-being, best interests, and lives to further their extreme causes and ideas.  This is why leftists use everything that happens in life – every accident, every tragic event, even the weather, to move the ball toward their goal.”

The I.D. (Investigation Discovery) channel re-enacts real-life crime stories.  I watched two stories in which single female homeowners heard men breaking into their homes. …


In both incidents, the best the unarmed women could do was grab their phones, hide in their closets like scared rabbits, and dial 911.  My heart went out to the terrified, defenseless women.  If they had had guns, the playing field would have been much more level.

Tragically, both women were found by their home invaders.  While she screamed, cried, and begged for her life, the burglar pressed his pistol against one woman’s head and pulled the trigger, killing her instantly.  In the second home invasion, the burglar shot the woman over ten times.  She survived and praises God for her miraculous survival.

In both cases, these women would have had a fighting chance had they been armed.  I asked myself, why on Earth does the American left so passionately want such women disarmed, defenseless, and at the mercy of evil criminals.  With leftists claiming to be extreme advocates for women, desiring to disarm women does not make logical sense.  And yet disarming every law-abiding citizen in America is exactly what leftists are trying to do, campaigning to demonize the NRA and gun-owners.

My fellow Americans, leftists view you only as pawns.  Your lives are mere tools to use to further their anti-God, anti-freedom, and anti-America agendas.  Leftists are willing to sacrifice your well-being, best interests, and lives to further their extreme causes and ideas.  This is why leftists use everything that happens in life – every accident, every tragic event, even the weather, to move the ball toward their goal.

Exploiting the Florida school shooting, wacko leftist retired justice John Paul Stevens and other leftist nuts have called for the repeal of our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.View article →

Source: Scammed by a Black, a Woman, and Now a 17-Year-Old

Invalid reasons for staying in a church you know teaches false doctrine

Recently we posted “10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers” by Rick Becker. Now Becker lays out 8 reasons believers shouldn’t remain in a church. One of the reasons people often cite for staying is that they feel they play a valuable role in the church, such as secretary, worship leader, Bible teacher, or even one of the pastors. Becker isn’t buying it.  He believes that those who stay are compromising. So, your choice “is between contending for the faith, or remaining content with a distortion of the faith.” You can read Becker’s piece over at Famine In The Land:


When the scales of deception are removed from their eyes, many find themselves in a dilemma.  They realise that the church that they love, attend, and where they were possibly even saved, teaches false doctrine.  False doctrines such as word of faith, the prosperity gospel, dominion theology and of course the unhealthy mixture of all three found in the New Apostolic Reformation are working their leaven in the visible church.  Furthermore, accompanying these false doctrines are false practices and manifestations.  Individuals are torn in two.  Should they leave? or should they stay and attempt to navigate the spiritual minefield that  they find themselves in?  This post looks at invalid reasons that some use to justify their refusal to walk away from a poisoned well.

If you are not familiar with the false doctrines mentioned above, here are some examples of people and ministries that teach them: Bethel church (Bill Johnson & Kris Vallotton), Hillsong (Brian & Bobbie Houston, Carl Lentz), Randy Clark, Lance Wallnau, Todd Bentley, Georgian Banov, Heidi Baker, Joyce Meyer, John & Lisa Bevere, Christine Caine, Rick Joyner, Patricia King, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, Craig Groeschel, Rick Warren, Paula White, T D Jakes, Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Todd White, Beth Moore, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Mike Bickle, Ann Voskamp, and many more. In South Africa – CRC churches (At Boshoff) Breakthru Life church (John Crumpton), Rivers church (André Olivier) River ministries (Andre Roebert) Oasis Christian Church (Sarel van der Merwe) Christian Family Church (Theo Wolmarans) and many more.  If your church uses material from any of these folk or promotes them in anyway, you should be concerned!

The following  reasons are not legitimate reasons to stay in a church that teaches false doctrine:

1.  I’ll simply ignore the bad teaching – eat the meat and spit out the bones To put it another way – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There is no biblical mandate for this argument.  Those who teach contrary to the gospel need to be marked and avoided, not marked and ignored. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them Romans 16:17

In his letter to Timothy, Paul explains that someone approved by God “rightly divides the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)  He then gives an example, of two teachers who did not rightly divide God’s word: Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” (vs 18) 

Finally, Paul tells us what our response should be: “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (vs 19)

By sitting under a pastor who twists the word of God, you are submitting yourself to someone God has disqualified and submitting yourself to someone who is responsible for damaging the faith of their followers.  You pastor should in fact be the one rebuking those who teach false doctrine. He  must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it  Titus 1:9

The church at Thyatira was rebuked for “tolerating that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants..” Revelation 2:20. We must avoid the irreverent babble of those who distort the word of God to suit their own carnal appetites. False teachers need to be silenced, not supported: “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.  They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” Titus 1:10-11

A ravenous wolf has nothing to offer you:  they come to steal, kill and destroy.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking the situation is static in the sense that the current level of false doctrine will remain constant.  It begins with singing Hillsong or Jesus Culture songs, and before you can say “heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss” your pastor will be introducing the doctrines of Hillsong and Bethel.

Soon your leaders will find it necessary to attend a Bethel or Hillsong conference, and then new materials and courses such as Sozo or a school of supernatural ministry will be introduced.  You will probably observe new terminology coming from your pulpit, as new teachings come with some catch phrases.  These words, for example, accompany NAR teachings: “shift, alignment, presence, atmosphere, impartation, acceleration”

God’s word is ignored or twisted beyond it’s original meaning, resulting in progressive error: “while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom  you learned it  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.   All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God  may be complete, equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:13-17

2.  I’ll just stay and be a witness

That may work for a short while, but at some point you are going to be accused of “sowing division” and your “rebellious spirit” will be dealt with by your leaders.  Your first port of call in any case should be your leaders.  A meeting with them, explaining your concerns, will quickly determine whether your discernment is appreciated.  There were no undercover believers in the early church; they broke away from the various sects and teachings of the pharisees.  If you want to be a testimony then you need to leave and have no fellowship with darkness.  Those who are interested in truth, will come and ask you for the reasons you left and that will be your opportunity to present the truth. View article →

Source: Invalid reasons for staying in a church you know teaches false doctrine

Edward Snowden: Facebook Is “Most Successful Deception Since The Department Of War …

Article Image

NSA leaker Edward Snowden is calling out Mark Zuckerberg and his social media company Facebook for their surveillance activities throughout the world.

“Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as ‘surveillance companies,'” Snowden said in a tweet. “Their rebranding as ‘social media’ is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.”

Snowden’s words follow an echo of prominent individuals who have criticized Facebook for its data-harvesting services. Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-supporting firm that allegedly harvested data illegally in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Snowden is not necessarily buying that it is Cambridge Analytica who is at fault for this scandal. He blames Facebook for how the organization has been operating since its inception.

“Facebook makes their money by exploiting and selling intimate details about the private lives of millions, far beyond the scant details you voluntarily post,” Snowden said in a different tweet. “They are not victims. They are accomplices.”

There have been increased calls to regulate the tech giants in recent months, as they are being accused of massive censorship in addition to being a hub for fake news and disinformation to spread. It is not only privacy advocates and concerned consumers who are targeting Facebook and other massive tech companies, but also the global elite as well.

“The owners of the platform giants consider themselves the masters of the universe, but in fact they are slaves to preserving their dominant position. It is only a matter of time before the global dominance of the US IT monopolies is broken,” progressive financier George Soros said at a meeting of prominent globalists in Davos earlier this year.

The honeymoon is clearly over for Facebook and other big tech companies, as they are getting hit from all angles in the age of Trump.

Originally Published at Populist Brief.

Source: Edward Snowden: Facebook Is “Most Successful Deception Since The Department Of War …

April 4, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Complaint

Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shallall be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” (6:41–50)

Because their unbelief kept them from understanding, the Jews (this term has a negative connotation here as it frequently does in John’s gospel [cf. 1:19; 2:18–20; 5:10, 15–16, 18; 7:1; 8:48, 52, 57; 9:18, 22; 10:24, 31, 33; 19:7, 12, 14, 20, 21, 38; 20:19]) were grumbling about Jesus (as their ancestors had grumbled against God; Ex. 16:2, 8–9; Num. 11:4–6). Specifically, they were disturbed by two things He had said. The first was His claim to be the source of eternal life (v. 35). The verb translated grumbling (gogguzō) is an onomatopoetic word that both means and sounds like muttered complaints and whispers of displeasure. They were also outraged at His declaration that He came down out of heaven. They thought of Him merely on the human level, as a fellow Galilean, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother they knew (cf. 4:44; 7:27; Matt. 13:55–57). They also knew that He came from the despised town of Nazareth (cf. 1:46). And so, like the Jews in Judea (5:18), these Galileans hardened their hearts against their Messiah, who called for repentance and faith as a prerequisite to entering His kingdom (Matt. 4:17) and who outrageously, in their view, claimed equality with God.

Those who continually reject the truth may find that God will judicially harden their hearts. For those who refused to believe His teaching, Jesus made the truth more obscure by means of parables. To His disciples’ question, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (Matt. 13:10) the Lord replied,

To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.” (vv. 11–15; cf. Isa. 6:10)

John 12:37–40 says of those who rejected Jesus after witnessing His miracles,

But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.”

In the end times, those who will “not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thess. 2:10) will find that “God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false” (v. 11). At the present time, there is a partial hardening of Israel (Rom. 11:25), leading to the salvation of the Gentiles (v. 11). But one day, during the future time of tribulation, God will remove Israel’s blindness, and all the believing remnant of the Jewish people will be saved (v. 26; cf. Zech. 12:10–13:1).

Rather than answer their confusion, Jesus commanded the Jews, “Do not grumble among yourselves.” He called for them to stop the mumbling complaints that reflected their rebellious and hard hearts. He had said and done enough, if they had been open and willing. Thus, there was no point in responding to their muttering discontent and disrespect with a detailed defense. They had willfully hardened their hearts, and would have only rejected the truth of His heavenly origin had He elaborated on it.

Then Jesus uttered some very solemn words: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him,” emphasizing man’s helplessness and utter inability to respond to Him apart from God’s sovereign call. Unbelievers are unable to come to Jesus on their own initiative (cf. the discussion of verse 37 above). If God did not irresistibly draw sinners to Christ, no one would ever come to Him.

To explain how lost sinners supposedly have the power to accept or reject the gospel of their own free will, some theologians introduce the concept of prevenient grace. Millard J. Erickson explains,

As generally understood, prevenient grace is grace that is given by God to all men indiscriminately. It is seen in God’s sending the sunshine and the rain upon all. It is also the basis of all the goodness found in men everywhere. Beyond that, it is universally given to counteract the effect of sin.… Since God has given this grace to all, everyone is capable of accepting the offer of salvation; consequently, there is no need for any special application of God’s grace to particular individuals. (Christian Theology [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985], 3:920)

But the Bible indicates that fallen man is unable, of his own volition, to come to Jesus Christ. Unregenerate people are dead in sin (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13), slaves to unrighteousness (John 8:34; Rom. 6:6, 17, 20), alienated from God (Col. 1:21), and hostile to Him (Rom. 5:10; 8:7). They are spiritually blind (2 Cor. 4:4) captives (2 Tim. 2:26) trapped in Satan’s kingdom (Col. 1:13), powerless to change their sinful natures (Jer. 13:23; Rom. 5:6), unable to please God (Rom. 8:8), and incapable of understanding spiritual truth (1 Cor. 2:14; cf. John 14:17). Although the human will is involved in coming to Christ (since no one is saved apart from believing the gospel—Mark 1:15; Acts 15:7; Rom. 1:16; 10:9–15; Eph. 1:13), sinners cannot come to Him of their own free will. (Moreover, a comparison of verse 44 with verse 37 shows that God’s drawing cannot apply to all unregenerate people, as proponents of prevenient grace argue, because verse 37 limits it to the redeemed whom God has given to Christ.) God irresistibly, efficaciously draws to Christ only those whom He chose for salvation in eternity past (Eph. 1:4–5, 11).

Once again, Jesus repeated the wonderful promise that all whom the Father chooses will be drawn, will come, will be received, and He will raise them on the last day (vv. 39–40, 54). Everyone who comes to Christ will be kept by Him; there is no possibility that even one elect person given to Him by the Father will be lost (see the discussion of v. 39 above).

In verse 45 the Lord paraphrased Isaiah 54:13 to emphasize that His teaching was consistent with the Old Testament. What was written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught of God,” restates the truth of verse 44 in different terms. Those who come to saving faith do so because they are supernaturally instructed by God. Drawing and teaching are merely different aspects of God’s sovereign call to salvation; it is through the truth of His Word that God draws people to embrace His Son (Rom. 10:14, 17; cf. 1 Peter 1:23–25). As a result, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Christ. Jesus’ statement was also a subtle rebuke of His Jewish opponents, who prided themselves on their knowledge of Scripture. But had they truly understood the Old Testament, they would have eagerly embraced Him (5:39).

As the only way to God (John 14:6), Jesus hastened to add that no one has seen the Father (1:18; 5:37; Ex. 33:20; 1 Tim. 6:16) except the One who is from God. Because He was eternally in heaven one with the Father, and then sent to earth by the Father, the Son can speak authoritatively about the Father (cf. Heb. 1:2). No one else can rightly make such a claim. Thus, only the Son is qualified to speak firsthand about the expectations of the Father and the truth of salvation.

Jesus’ solemn statement, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life” (cf. v. 40; 3:15–16, 36; 5:24) sums up the importance of trusting God’s self-revelation in Christ. Those who believe in Jesus not only have the hope of eternal life in the future, but also enjoy the possession of that life even now, as the present tense of pisteuō (believes) indicates.

The Lord concluded this portion of His sermon by restating the truth that He is the bread of life (cf. v. 35). He then contrasted Himself as the true bread of heaven (cf. v. 33) with the manna (cf. v. 31) that the Hebrew fathers ate … in the wilderness. Although it was miraculously provided by God to sustain the Israelites’ physical life, the manna could not impart eternal life, since the fathers who ate the manna … died (Heb. 3:17; cf. Jude 5). Jesus, however, is the true bread which comes down out of heaven (vv. 33, 35), so that one may eat of it and not die. Eat refers metaphorically to believing savingly in Jesus, which alone rescues sinners from eternal death (cf. 3:16; 11:26). Appropriating Jesus as the Bread of Life is the theme of the next section of this sermon.[1]

Murmurs of Disbelief

John 6:41–47

At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”

It is one of the surest facts of Christianity that when the doctrines of man’s total spiritual depravity and the necessity for God’s electing grace in salvation are preached there will be resentment by many who hear them. That was true in Christ’s day, and it is true in our own. Moreover, we do not have to go far to find either contemporary or historical examples.

The Jewish Leaders

In Christ’s day this is precisely what happened. So we are not surprised to find that Jesus’ teaching about the necessity for God’s grace in salvation, which we have in John 6:35–40, is immediately followed by an outbreak of protest and resentment by certain of the leaders of Israel. The author of the Gospel reports the moment by writing, “At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he say, “I came down from heaven?” ’ ” (vv. 41–42).

In these verses we have a change of persons from the verses that have gone before, and probably a change of place. Up to this point Jesus has been speaking in the open to the crowds that had followed him from the other side of the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. Now he is speaking to the leaders who had heard his teaching, and probably speaking in the synagogue of Capernaum, as is suggested by verse 59. In this discussion Jesus restates his teaching and supports it by evidence both from the Old Testament and from experience.

The first thing we are told, however, is that the Jewish leaders “grumbled about him.” The King James Version uses the word “murmur.” What does that mean? To understand what that means and to understand how close it comes to what we do in our relationship to the gospel, we must realize that the word “murmur” is one of those unique words in the English language that exist solely because they sound like the thing they describe. “Hiss” is such a word. “Tinkle” is another; “buzz” is a third. Such words are often used in poetry because of their unique character. One of the earliest examples of this device (known technically as onomatopoeia) is in Aristophenes’ play The Frogs, in which one of the lines given to those who represent the frogs sounds like frogs croaking. Aristophenes wrote:

Brekekekex co-ax, co-ax!

A better known example in the English language is Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Bells.” To some degree the whole poem is built on this device, but these lines will be an example:

Hear the tolling of the bells,

Iron bells!

What a world of solemn thought their monody compells!

In the silence of the night

How we shiver with affright

At the melancholy menace of their tone!

In this stanza the words chosen by Poe suggest the matter being described. In exactly the same way then, murmur suggests by its sound what people do when they disagree with someone and protest what he is saying. Murmuring is the confused sound that runs through a crowd when people are angry and in opposition to some teaching. This is what the leaders of Christ’s day were doing in regard to Christ’s teachings. Others do it in our day. In fact, it is a sin that few, if any, are preserved from.

Christ’s Answer

It is interesting, too, that the objections of the Jewish leaders took the form of a criticism of Christ’s person rather than a direct criticism of his teachings. They did not say, let us notice, “There are three reasons why we cannot agree with you and why we consider your views to be wrong.” Christ’s teaching was too consistent and too self-authenticating for that. Instead, they attacked him personally, saying, in effect, “Don’t listen to him. He is a nobody from the sticks of Galilee, the son of a carpenter named Joseph. Listen to us.” In this they revealed their consummate snobbishness, demonstrated their pride, and revealed their ignorance. The irony is that they did not recognize at all that there had been a virgin birth and that Christ’s true Father was God.

What did Jesus answer? It is important to notice that Jesus did not answer by defending himself on the personal level, as we might like to do. He could have done it, of course. But instead of this he returned to his teaching and restated it, giving two proofs. This was a challenge to his hearers to investigate his teaching for themselves. Finally, after having restated his teaching and given his proofs, Jesus stated the doctrine again for the final time. The verses that contain this read as follows: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes in me has everlasting life” (vv. 44–47).

We need to take these statements one at a time. First, Jesus repeats what he had said earlier, but here he does so in even sharper language. Before, he had said, “You have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me” (vv. 36–37). This implies that no one can come, apart from a special act of God on his behalf, but it does not say this negatively. Now Christ does. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

This verse is so straightforward in its language that it has always been a battleground between those who are willing to accept the doctrine of election here taught by Christ and those who resist it on rational or humanistic grounds. It was discussed by Augustine and Pelagius, by Calvin and Arminius, by Luther and Erasmus.

The latter case is particularly interesting. Erasmus had been led to attack Martin Luther’s teaching on the total spiritual depravity of man in a volume centering on the nature of the human will and on whether it can function in turning a man or a woman to God. Erasmus said it could. Moreover, he answered the obvious objection based on the argument of Christ in this verse—the objection that no one can come to Christ except the Father draw him—by saying that God draws people in the same way that an owner of a donkey might get it to move by holding a handful of carrots before its nose. The man draws, but obviously the will of the donkey is involved. According to this theory, God originates salvation but man nevertheless cooperates in it.

This may make good sense to the natural human way of thinking. But it is not what Scripture teaches, and Luther said so quite openly. What better drawing could there be, Luther argued, than the drawing of the Lord Jesus Christ himself? He was present among the people. He taught them personally. Still they did not come. In fact, they killed him. Luther concluded, “The ungodly does not ‘come’ even when he hears the word, unless the Father draws and teaches him inwardly; which he does by shedding abroad his Spirit. When that happens, there follows a ‘drawing’ other than that which is outward; Christ is then displayed by the enlightening of the Spirit, and by it man is rapt to Christ with the sweetest rapture, he being passive while God speaks, teaches and draws, rather than seeking or running himself.”

This was a good answer, of course. But we can go even further than this on the basis of Christ’s statement. Luther’s key word in answering Erasmus was “passive.” He said that man was passive spiritually, inert, as inert as a dead man might be, if we may use that image. In John 6:44, however, there is in addition to this truth the thought that man also actually resists the work of God within. That is, he is not only passive; he also is perverse and obstinate.

We see this truth in the word that is chosen to speak of the Father’s work in “drawing” a man or a woman to Christ. This word always implies resistance to the power that draws. William Barclay gives a number of examples of this in his devotional studies on John’s Gospel. He shows that it is the word for drawing a heavily laden net to the shore, a net filled with a great number of fish (John 21:6, 11). It is the word that is used of Paul and Silas being dragged before the civil authorities in Philippi (Acts 16:19). It is used for drawing a sword from the belt or from its scabbard (John 18:10). Always there is the idea of resistance. So here also there is the idea that men and women resist God.

Curiously, however, Barclay adds that “God can and does draw men, but man’s resistance can defeat the pull of God.” The curious thing about this statement, though, is that not one of his examples shows the resistance to be successful. The fish do get to shore. Paul and Silas are dragged before the magistrates. The sword is withdrawn. Indeed, we can go even further than this. As Leon Morris notes in his commentary, “There is not one example in the New Testament of the use of this verb where the resistance is successful. Always the drawing power is triumphant, as here.” People resist. In this their depravity is seen. But the power of God always overcomes the resistance in those whom he has determined before the foundation of the world to give to Jesus.

Is this discouraging? Not at all. Actually, the fact that God does draw men and women to Christ in spite of themselves is our hope.


At this point the Lord Jesus Christ gives two points of evidence to support his teaching. He did not need to give evidence, of course. His word was sufficient. Nevertheless, in speaking to these religious leaders he does support his statement—first, by a reference to the Old Testament, and then, second, by an appeal to experience.

His reference to the Old Testament actually is a partial quotation of Isaiah 54:13. Jesus says, “It is written in the Prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God’ ” (John 6:45). As it stands in John’s Gospel, we might read this verse with the thought that the “all” in the quotation applies to all men, thereby thinking that somehow God illuminates all, and men either come to Christ or refuse to come to Christ on their own volition. The full text, as Isaiah wrote it, shows that this is not the case. Actually, Isaiah wrote, “And all your children will be taught by the Lord.” We see at once that the verse applies to God’s children only, not to all men, and that it implies that one must first be a child of God through the new birth before one can really understand about Christ and come to him.

Jesus then goes on to show that this truth is also confirmed by experience: “Everyone who listens to and learns from the Father comes to me.” Why is it that you and I can present the gospel to some people and never seem to get anywhere, even when the circumstances seem entirely favorable? And why is it that others with maximum problems and limited understanding believe? The only answer is that God has taught the one person and has not taught the other. Moreover, all whom God has taught do come to Jesus.

Life Before Faith

Finally, after having stated his teaching and having given two points of evidence to support it, Jesus repeats his teaching about the necessity of God’s grace in election a final time. He says, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life” (v. 47).

I know there are many who have interpreted this verse in direct opposition to all that I have been saying. They have supposed that we are first to believe, after which, as a result of our having believed, we are given eternal life. But this would mean taking the verse in a way that would contradict all Christ’s previous teaching. Actually, it is a summation of it all.

Perhaps this illustration, often used by Donald Grey Barnhouse, will help. We must imagine a battlefield over which troops are advancing in order to take a ridge that is just before them. Suddenly heavy fire opens up, and immediately the soldiers fall to the ground and hold their prone position until the enemy fire is silenced. Imagine further that all the soldiers are either dead, or alive and unwounded. When the firing stops the command comes once again to advance. Naturally, some of the soldiers do get up and move forward while others, the ones who are dead, do not. Why is it that the ones who do get up and advance get up? It is because they are alive and hear the voice of their commander. Does their getting up give them life? Of course not! It is rather the other way around. In the same way, he that “believes” on Christ does so because he already has “everlasting life.” The hearing and believing are the marks of the existence of the new life of God implanted within the individual.

If you are not yet a Christian, this doctrine applies to you in the sense that the grace of God in election is your hope. There is no hope in yourself, either in your spiritual attainments or in your ability. In yourself you cannot even choose Christ. How wonderful, then, that God is able to do what you cannot do. He can draw you. Be cheered by that and prove that he is already at work in your life by coming to him.

On the other hand, if you are a Christian already, I challenge you to allow these great doctrines to have their proper and transforming place in your heart. I am convinced that to accept the principles of Christ’s teaching in this chapter of John’s Gospel would necessarily involve both a mental and spiritual revolution for many thousands of Christians at the present time. It would certainly involve a radically different approach to preaching and the practice of evangelism, as well as to most other parts of church life and theology. The great question is this: Will the Almighty God of the Christian Scriptures be our God? Or will our God be something less, something tailored to our own greatly limited horizons? Let us have the God of the Lord Jesus Christ, of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and countless others, as our God. Let us stand with them in giving all might, majesty, dominion, power, and all glory in the matter of our salvation from beginning to end to that God only.[2]

Unless the Father Draws Him

John 6:41–47

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)

It is remarkable how much Jesus’ encounter with the hungry crowd in John 6 resembles Moses’ experience with Israel in the desert. Then, the Israelites grumbled when God gave them manna from heaven. Likewise, the Jews who were fed by Jesus grumbled against him. In both cases, the people cared only for earthly satisfaction. The Israelites responded to the manna by demanding of Moses, “Give us meat” (Num. 11:13). The people in Jesus’ day demanded, “Give us this bread always” (John 6:34). The Israelites’ dissatisfaction with Moses led to a rebellion; the crowd of John 6 rejected Jesus, and ultimately, their leaders handed him over to be killed.

The way in which the Israelites reacted to Moses and the Jews reacted to Jesus mirrors how people react to God’s Word today. These episodes reveal not a Jewish problem but a human problem when it comes to the Word of God. It is especially the Bible’s doctrines of grace, which Jesus emphasized in this chapter, that stir up carnal opposition. James Montgomery Boice writes, “It is one of the surest facts of Christianity that when the doctrines of man’s total spiritual depravity and the necessity for God’s electing grace in salvation are preached there will be resentment by many who hear them.”

We need to realize this as we minister the gospel today. And being sinners ourselves, we need to recognize the tendencies of our own sinful natures so that we might be careful to believe the Bible’s teaching.

Isn’t This Joseph’s Boy?

When Jesus first called on the crowd to believe in him, they evaded the issue by asking for yet another sign (John 6:30–31), showing that an unbelieving heart never has enough reasons to believe. Jesus replied that their unbelief would not thwart his mission, since “all that the Father gives me will come to me” (6:37). This led to another appeal for them to believe on him as the Savior from heaven.

This produced only another tactic of unbelief: unable to refute the message, the people focused on the messenger. This happens often today, as people put off a Christian witness by arguing the failings of Christians they know. Certainly, Christians should present a living witness that commends the gospel we preach. But the imperfections of believers are hardly a reason to reject God’s revealed truth.

In Jesus’ case, the problem was not his conduct or character, both of which were perfect. The problem was what the people knew—or thought they knew—about his origins. “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (John 6:42). These were Galileans, and Jesus’ birth had taken place in Bethlehem of Judea. It seems that the virgin birth had remained a secret, so that the people assumed that Joseph was Jesus’ natural, rather than adopted, father.

The people were sure that Jesus’ statement to have “come down from heaven” could not have been true. How sure they were—and how wrong! The problem with human reasoning is that it is often misinformed. How often our thinking proceeds from false assumptions that we fail to question. People today say, “The Bible just contains what certain people experienced or thought.” In today’s postmodern culture, it is popular for skeptics to argue, “The Bible says only what the church wants you to believe.” Such reasoning keeps people from seriously considering the Bible, but if they were sincerely to consider God’s Word, they would find their reasoning to be in error. George Hutcheson writes, “Men need to subject their reasonings to divine revelation in the things of God, lest they wrong him and themselves both.”

The humanity of Christ is a doctrine that especially offends human reason. “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?” they asked. This shows that they understood that Jesus was claiming a divine origin: “How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” It is always hard to admire someone you knew growing up, which is why Jesus said, “A prophet has no honor in his own hometown” (John 4:44). But to think that a humble carpenter’s son might be the eternal, divine Son is beyond reason. Yet the humanity of Christ is one of the great glories of the gospel; that God’s eternally existing Son would take up flesh to live and die for us is, John Calvin says, “the shining example of His boundless love toward us and of His wonderful grace.”

The English poet Thomas Hardy was entertaining his friend T. E. Lawrence, the celebrated “Lawrence of Arabia.” Instead of exploiting his fame, Lawrence had enlisted in the Royal Air Force to lead a life of humble service. During Lawrence’s visit, the Mayoress of Dorchester arrived. Offended by the presence of an apparent commoner, the Mayoress whispered in French to Mrs. Hardy that never in all her life had she had to sit to tea with a mere private soldier. No one replied, until Lawrence said in perfect French: “I beg your pardon, Madame, but can I be of any use as an interpreter? Mrs. Hardy knows no French.” What a shock for the Mayoress of Dorchester! How much greater will be the shock of those who despise the manhood of Christ when he is revealed at the end of the age in all his heavenly glory!

Jesus’ response to the murmuring is telling: “Do not grumble among yourselves” (John 6:43). Some Christians need that rebuke, as they grumble about one thing or another in the church. But the need is greater among unbelievers. Trading in human reasons not to believe can lead only to death; instead of subjecting the Bible to the folly of our murmuring, we must submit our reasoning to the revealed Word of God.

The Bondage of the Will

Jesus responded with a spiritual assessment of these grumbling people. What can account for their obstinate unbelief? He explained, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). Persistent unbelief results from man’s spiritual inability. Jesus says that man in his sinful condition not only does not or will not come to him, but cannot come to him.

This points to a matter in which the Bible sharply conflicts with worldly thinking. If human reason murmurs against Jesus’ incarnation, it rails against his denial of free will. Even Christians are divided on this issue, despite our Lord’scin church history have centered on the supposed freedom of the human will, including Augustine’s battle with the heretic Pelagius and that between Calvinists and Arminians.

A classic confrontation occurred between Erasmus of Rotterdam and Martin Luther at the dawn of the Reformation. Erasmus was the great scholar whose Greek New Testament was so helpful to the Reformers. But Erasmus was too much of a humanist, and over the question of free will he and Luther crossed pens. Erasmus defended free will partly by appealing to John 6:44. He said that God draws people in the same way that a donkey’s owner holds carrots under its nose to get it to move. He argued that “though sin has weakened man, it has not made him utterly incapable of meritorious action.… There is, he affirms, a power in the human will … ‘by which man may apply himself to those things that lead to salvation.’ ”

Luther replied with one of his greatest books, The Bondage of the Will. He did not deny that man has a will or that man makes choices. What he denied is that sinful man does so “freely.” For Luther, this was an essential question: “whether sinners are wholly helpless in their sin, and whether God is to be thought of as saving them by free, unconditional invincible grace[;] … whether, in the last analysis Christianity is a religion of utter reliance on God for salvation and all things necessary to it, or of self-reliance and self-effort.”

Erasmus understood the “drawing” of which Jesus spoke to consist of simple outward persuasion: sufficiently enticing carrots to win over men’s free will. But Luther replied that in John 6 Jesus employed the most potent persuasions and got nowhere with his Jewish hearers. “The ungodly does not ‘come,’ ” he wrote, “even when he hears the word, unless the Father draws and teaches him inwardly; which He does by shedding abroad His Spirit.”

Undoubtedly, the majority of evangelical Christians today insist on human free will. To argue otherwise, they think, is to look on people as mere puppets who make no choices at all. They often insist that God cannot or at least would not violate our “free will.” This inevitably shapes their approach to evangelism, and accounts for the way in which persuasions of almost any kind are used to induce unbelievers to “decide” for Christ.

How do we respond to the defense of “free will”? Like Luther, we agree that men and women make genuine choices. What we deny is that their choices are free from the overwhelmingly controlling influence of sin. As Jesus plainly states, man in sin is not free to come to Christ. A. W. Pink explains:

To talk about exerting the will is to ignore the state of the man behind the will. Man’s will has not escaped the general wreckage of his nature. When man fell, every part of his being was affected. Just as truly as the sinner’s heart is estranged from God and his understanding darkened, so is his will enslaved by sin.… To predicate the freedom of the will is to deny that man is totally depraved. To say that man has the power within himself to either reject or accept Christ, is to repudiate the fact that he is the captive of the Devil.

The Bible stresses that man is not merely sick and weak, but “dead in … trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Spiritually speaking, unbelievers are no more able to come to Christ than a dead man is able to rise and walk. Paul teaches: “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7–8). Jesus insisted, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Luther therefore argued, “Free will, after the fall, exists in name only.… For the will is captive and subject to sin.… Hence Augustine said … ‘Free will without grace has the power to do nothing but sin’, and … ‘You call the will free, but in fact it is an enslaved will.’ ”

Returning to John 6:44, it is helpful to study the meaning of the word draws (Greek helkuso). The same word is used in John 21 for hauling or dragging a net full of fish onto the shore. In Acts 16:19, it is used when Paul and Silas are “dragged” before the civil authorities. Again, it is used in John 18:10 when Peter “drew” his sword from its scabbard. In each case, there is the idea of resistance that is overcome by superior force. By nature, man in sin is resistant to God, and unless overcome by God’s inward working, he cannot and will not come to Christ.

All this means that conversion to Christ is a supernatural work that relies on God’s power alone. “No one can come to me,” Jesus said, “unless the Father … draws him” (John 6:44). And it is because salvation depends utterly on the inward working of God’s sovereign grace that we know that the glory for our salvation goes to God alone. When Elijah wanted to show who is the true God, he doused the wood of his offering in water, until “the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water” (1 Kings 18:35). His point was to make the offering as unsuitable as possible for lighting. Then, when the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the offering, licking up even the water in the trench, all the people fell before him and cried, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God” (18:38–39). In the same way, God gathers glory to himself by drawing people doused and drowned in sin to faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Drawn by the Father

What, then, does it mean to be “drawn” to Christ by God? Does God violate the will, dragging sinners to the Savior by outward force? Is conversion like a man who is arrested in his home, placed into handcuffs, and dragged into the police car? The Bible contains no examples of conversion that look like this.

Instead, the Bible shows that God draws men and women to Christ by graciously changing their hearts, setting them free from their bondage in sin. Acts 16:14 describes the conversion of Lydia by saying, “The Lord opened her heart.” This is what God does in conversions: he opens hearts. Ezekiel prophesied, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26).

Theologians associate conversion with the “effectual call” of Christ. A good example is the conversion of Matthew. He was “sitting at the tax booth” in Capernaum, when Jesus came up and called, “Follow me.” Matthew must have heard Jesus’ gospel many times, since he was situated at a crossroads in Jesus’ base of ministry. This is the general call that goes out to all who hear, just as Jesus sent his gospel call generally to the crowd of John 6. But when Jesus called directly and personally to Matthew with the effectual call, “he rose and followed him” (Matt. 9:9). Matthew then came willingly and, no doubt, joyfully, his heart changed by the power of God. Pink says that the effectual calling or drawing of God

is the power of the Holy Spirit overcoming the self-righteousness of the sinner, and convicting him of his lost condition. It is the Holy Spirit awakening within him a sense of need. It is the power of the Holy Spirit overcoming the pride of the natural man, so that he is ready to come to Christ as an empty-handed beggar. It is the Holy Spirit creating within him an hunger for the bread of life.

In John 6:45, Jesus elaborates, “It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ ” This seems to quote Isaiah 54:13, where God promised to give his children “the true knowledge of salvation that they so directly lack.” Jesus might also have been referring to the great promise of the new covenant made in Jeremiah 31:33–34: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.… And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me.” To be taught by God is to have the truth of his Word impressed on your mind and heart. When Peter made his Great Confession of faith in Christ, Jesus exclaimed, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17).

It is clear from this that the effectual call, and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, precedes and produces faith. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life” (John 6:47). Jesus speaks in the present tense to show that whoever believes already has eternal life. We believe as we are born again through the Word; just as a new baby responds to his birth by crying, the one drawn by God expresses his new life by professing faith in Jesus.

Moreover, those who are drawn by God always come to Christ. Jesus adds, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father” (John 6:45–46). The only way to know God is through his Son who reveals him. And the way to know that you have been savingly called by God is to come to his Son.

This is an emphasis that Christians greatly need to recover. An article in Christianity Today magazine touted a “cutting-edge” scholar who offered a “fresh” theological perspective. The author, Amos Yong, urged that Christians should discern God’s grace in non-Christian faiths. He spoke of “the universal work of the Spirit … outside Christianity’s borders,” and insisted that “the Spirit of God cannot be imprisoned within Christian walls.” But in direct contrast, Jesus said, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me” (John 6:45). John Calvin notes, “From this it follows that none of God’s elect shall be outside the faith of Christ … [since] the only wisdom that all the elect learn in the school of God is to come to Christ.”

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,” Jesus says, “and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). What confidence this gives us for salvation if we have come to Christ in faith. Luther spoke boldly and profoundly when he wrote:

I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want “free-will” to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavour after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities, and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground and hold fast my “free-will” (for one devil is stronger than all men).… But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him.

Hope in the Lord

In applying this passage, let us first consider the implications for our ministry. If no one can come to Christ unless drawn by the Father, then we should commit to those means of grace given and approved by God. We are living in a day of many false conversions, precisely because people have been persuaded to call themselves Christians without having understood the gospel. I realize that it is possible to move the natural will by means of worldly persuasions. But since salvation depends on God, we must employ methods that are commanded by him and that alone have power to bring spiritual life, especially the preaching and witness of the gospel.

This means that our witness must focus on the Word of God. I mentioned God’s promise in Ezekiel 36 to give new hearts to his people. The next chapter dramatizes how this happens. In Ezekiel 37, the prophet comes to a valley of dry bones—human corpses devoid even of flesh—a most vivid picture of man’s spiritually dead condition. The prophet was appalled, but God commanded him, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord” (Ezek. 37:4). So Ezekiel began preaching. The bones began to move, and flesh came upon them as God’s Word was preached, and then “the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet” (37:10). What a vision of the power of God’s Word! Peter said, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). If we are to be used by God to bring spiritual life to others, it will be through the witness and teaching of God’s Word.

Second, Jesus’ teaching induces us to a greater commitment to evangelistic prayer. If only God can open the heart of our child, parent, spouse, or friend, then let us appeal to God. The general call of the gospel, without God’s effectual drawing, saves no one, even when Jesus himself is the One preaching. Likewise, our witness can have no effect without God’s drawing people through it, making the general call effectual by the sending of his Holy Spirit. Therefore, let us pray to God for his power to bring new life to those who hear his Word.

Third, while we might face the kind of frustration that Jesus felt with this Jewish crowd, we must not despair. For when he said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,” Jesus knew that the Father draws many, including the least likely of converts. Just as the lack of food did not keep Jesus from feeding the five thousand, human limitations today do not hinder the sovereign working of God in salvation. Let us look at no one and say, “He cannot be saved.” Instead, let us keep preaching God’s Word, pointing to Christ, living in a way that commends our witness, and let us keep praying, never giving up on anyone.

And do not give up on yourself, if you have not yet come to Christ. None of the things keeping you back from Christ can stand against God’s mighty grace, if he is drawing you. If God is speaking to your heart, come to Jesus Christ. Then rejoice, for Jesus says, “Whoever believes has eternal life” (John 6:47). Then you will be free from the bondage of sin over your mind, heart, and will. For as Jesus taught, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (8:36).[3]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 251–254). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 511–516). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 1, pp. 412–421). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

April 4 We Must Defend and Proclaim 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

In considering our obligations to the divine Scripture, two other major obligations are crucial for the Christian. First, he or she must defend the Word of God. We should strive for the integrity, authority, and purity of the Bible. As Jude exhorts us, we must “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3). Charles Spurgeon wrote this about defending the Word:

The everlasting gospel is worth preaching even if one stood on a burning fagot and addressed the crowds from a pulpit of flames. The truths revealed in Scripture are worth living for and they are worth dying for. I count myself thrice happy, to bear reproach for the sake of the faith.

Lastly, those who love the Lord live to proclaim God’s Word. Spurgeon is again relevant:

I would stir you all up to be instant in season and out of season in telling out the gospel message, especially to repeat such a word as this: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Whisper it in the ear of the sick, shout it in the corner of the streets, write it on your tablet, send it forth from the press, but everywhere let this be your great motive and warrant.


If you’re not a preacher, you may feel somewhat excluded from this biblical mandate. But in what ways can proclamation be a part of your life? What opportunities are available for you to inject God’s truth into discourse or conversation?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 103). Chicago: Moody Publishers.


…Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?


In the world’s markets, something which has no value for a disinterested person may be considered of great value to another who desires it and purchases it. In this sense, we may learn how dear and precious we are to Christ by what He was willing to give for us!

Many Christians are tempted to downgrade themselves too much. I am not arguing against true humility and my word to you is this: Think as little of yourself as you want to, but always remember that our Lord Jesus Christ thought very highly of you—enough to give Himself for you in death and sacrifice!

If the devil comes to you and whispers that you are no good, don’t argue with him. In fact, you may as well admit it, but then remind the devil: “Regardless of what you say about me, I must tell you how the Lord feels about me. He tells me that I am so valuable to Him that He gave Himself for me on the cross!”

So the value is set by the price paid—and in our case, the price paid was our Lord Himself, and the end that the Saviour had in view was that He might redeem us from all iniquity, that is, from the power and consequences of iniquity.

One of Wesley’s hymns speaks of “the double cure” for sin. The wrath of God against sin and the power of sin in the human life—both of these were dealt with when Christ gave Himself for us. He redeemed us with a double cure![1]

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

April 4 Vindicated

Lord, do not charge them with this sin.

Acts 7:60

We live in a day when Christianity is becoming increasingly unpopular with secular society. Strong stands for the truth of Scripture and the gospel message may soon become intolerable. That will result in the unjust treatment of Christians.

The prospect of such treatment ought to drive us to passages like 1 Peter 2:21–25 for reassurance. There we learn that like our Lord, we are to walk the path of suffering to attain the glory of reward and exaltation in the future. That realization surely prompted Stephen to fix his eyes on Jesus in glory and ask God to forgive his murderers (Acts 7:54–60). He entrusted Himself to God, knowing that He would vindicate him. If you do the same, God will also vindicate you.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 109). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

April 4, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

7:10 God promised to provide Israel a secure dwelling place in the land of Israel. No longer would the Israelites be exposed to repeated attacks from their enemies, as had happened during the time of the judges.[1]

7:10 God promised to provide Israel a secure dwelling place in the land of Israel. No longer would the Israelites be exposed to repeated attacks from their enemies, as had happened during the time of the judges.[2]

7:10 The Lord’s promises of lasting security meant everything to people whose lives were subject to foreign invasions or raids by local tribes.[3]

10 A lively debate concerning the best translation of mqwm (GK 5226) emerged in the 1990s. It was touched off by A. Gelston (“A Note on II Samuel 7 10,” ZAW 84 [1972]: 92–94), who proposed that the word in question sometimes means “cultic centre” or “temple” in the OT and that here it should be understood “as referring to the projected temple” that Solomon would build. D. F. Murray (“mqwm and the Future of Israel in 2 Samuel VII 10,” VT 40/3 [1990]; 298–320) responded belatedly and at length to Gelston by affirming the traditional rendering (“place”) followed by most translators and commentators. He in turn elicited a detailed response from David Vanderhooft (“Dwelling beneath the Sacred Place: A Proposal for Reading 2 Samuel 7:10,” JBL 118/4 [1999]: 625–33), who translates 2 Samuel 7:10a literally as follows: “I will establish a place [= temple] for my people Israel, and I will plant him, then he will dwell beneath it and will not tremble any more” (625), comparing this nuance of “place” with numerous passages in Deuteronomy 12, 14, etc., where, he says, “the reference is to the place of worship” (629)—that is, the future temple.

All three articles present strong arguments favoring their positions. But since mqwm can in any event refer to a sacred site on occasion (cf., e.g., HALOT, 1.627—although not citing 2 Sa 7:10), it would seem that the default rendering “place” is preferable here. Vanderhooft’s “beneath it” for the Hebrew tḥtyw, which leads to his understanding of the verse as referring to the idea that Israel will “dwell beneath God’s sacred precinct, in its protective shade” (631), is clever but both tendentious and unnecessary since the preposition tḥt is often used as a substantive (NIV here, “a home of their own”). Indeed, the substantives mqwm and tḥtyw are both found (coincidentally, to be sure, as well as in reverse order) in 2:23 (“on the spot … place”). When all is said and done, then, it would seem safest to render mqwm neutrally as “place” and to agree with Eslinger, 33, that here the Lord “combines the language of the book of Deuteronomy about the place that Yhwh would place his name and the language of verse 6 about his own itinerant past.… The party to be anchored to a ‘place’ is Israel; the place to be ‘established’ (śm) is that for Israel, not a temple for God (as per Deuteronomy)” (cf. also 33 n. 4: “Yahweh’s point here is to rebut absolutely any notion of staking him down to a sacred locale. The hyperbolic reversal of the deuteronomic ‘place ideology’ is aimed only as far as saying that it is God who will situate Israel, not an Israelite [David] who will situate God. The language of Deuteronomy is a convenient tool [since it treats of the temple] for restating the central point of covenantal ideology from God’s point of view: divine control over his people”).[4]

[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 399). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[2] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 399). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[3] Beyer, B. E. (2017). 2 Samuel. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 469). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[4] Youngblood, R. F. (2009). 1, 2 Samuel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, pp. 392–393). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

April 4 Jesus’ Struggle in Gethsemane

“Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’ ”

Matthew 26:38


In His time of greatest distress, Jesus realized His human weakness and His need to depend on the Father.

As Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane with Peter, James, and John, He experienced a more profound anguish over sin and death than ever before. His deep and desolate distress was made more severe when He considered the many personal disappointments that confronted Him. First, there was the betrayal by Judas, one of His own disciples. Then there would be the desertion by the Eleven and Peter’s threefold denial of his Master. Jesus would also be rejected by His own people, Israel, whose leaders would subject Him to all kinds of injustices before His death.

It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that Christ tells His three trusted disciples, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death.” A person can die from such heavy sorrow, which in God’s providence did not happen to Jesus. However, the magnitude of Jesus’ sorrow apparently caused the blood capillaries right under His skin to burst. As more and more capillaries burst from the extreme emotional pressures Jesus endured, blood escaped through His pores, “and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44). Such sweating was just one outward result of what our Lord felt at the excruciating prospect of His having to become sin for us. His holiness was completely repulsed by such a thought.

It was because Jesus did keep watch and look to His Father in prayer that He endured and passed this test in the Garden. Right up to the end, Christ lived His earthly life in total, sinless submission to the Father. As a believer, you also will face times of severe testing and trial when only direct communion with God will give you the strength to prevail. And you also have the added encouragement of Jesus’ example in Gethsemane, the climax of His experiences through which He became a High Priest who can fully “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15).


Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God today that Jesus was divinely enabled to withstand the trials and temptations that assaulted Him at Gethsemane.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 4:1–11. Write down several key differences between Jesus’ encounter in the wilderness and His experience in Gethsemane. ✧ What similarities do you see in Christ’s response to the two situations?[1]

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

Unbelief and the hardened heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” Matthew 11:20-24 (NKJV) 


View original post 1,668 more words


Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

—Jeremiah 23:24

God is immanent, which means you don’t have to go distances to find God. He is in everything. He is right here.

God is above all things, beneath all things, outside of all things and inside of all things. God is above, but He’s not pushed up. He’s beneath, but He’s not pressed down. He’s outside, but He’s not excluded. He’s inside, but He’s not confined. God is above all things presiding, beneath all things sustaining, outside of all things embracing and inside of all things filling. That is the immanence of God.

God doesn’t travel to get anywhere. We may say in prayer, “Oh God, come and help us,” because we mean it in a psychological way. But actually God doesn’t have to “come” to help us because there isn’t any place where God is not. AOG022

What an encouragement, Lord, to know that You are here with me as I seek to meet with You. Give me a clear sense of Your presence, both now and as I move through the day. Amen.[1]

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