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.

APRIL 4 HOPE—OR DESPAIR?

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)

BLOOMBERG

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.

BBC

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.

WND

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


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Wretched Radio 04/03/2018

WR2018-0403

•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.

THE REALITY OF 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?

HOW FALSE TEACHING ENTERS

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.

THE DESIRE FOR NEW TEACHING

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).

OVERREACTION TO ERROR

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.

THE DESIRE TO AVOID CRITICISM

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.

HOW FALSE TEACHING TAKES ROOT

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).

WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT FALSE TEACHING

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)

HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY

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