Daily Archives: April 7, 2018

April 7: An Irrational Life

Deuteronomy 11:1–12:28; 2 Corinthians 3:9–18; Psalm 35:12–28

Love is irrational. It requires doing things that compromise every survival instinct.

Moses tells God’s people to have a memory of what God has done among them and to love Him as a result: “And you shall love Yahweh your God, and you shall keep his obligations and his statutes and his regulations and his commandments always. And you shall realize today that it is not with your children who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of Yahweh your God, his greatness, his strong hand, and his outstretched arm” (Deut 11:1–2).

The Bible doesn’t say, “Keep Yahweh’s commandments when you feel like you love Him,” or “Keep Yahweh’s commandments when things are going your way.” It says, “You shall keep [Yahweh’s] … commandments always.” God’s greatest commandments are about loving Him and others (Mark 12:28–31; compare John 15:12).

We love God and keep His commandments because He first loved us; we remember what He has done whenever things get difficult. And we teach it to the next generation. That’s what God has called us to.

When we sacrifice ourselves for others, we are doing what God was willing to do for us when He came as a man to die on a cross. Similarly, when we love Yahweh by doing His will, we often make decisions that seem irrational. But in actuality, they are the most rational of all decisions.

The Spirit’s work within us prompts us to love, and it also opens the Scriptures for us. As Paul says, “But until today, whenever Moses is read aloud, a veil lies upon their heart, but whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.… And we all, with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image … glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:15–18).

Yahweh has lifted the veil from Scripture and reveals His glory in the love He manifests among us through His Spirit. Living sacrificially, out of love, richly displays His love.

Which of God’s commands are you breaking? What can you do to change that behavior and show more love?

John D. Barry[1]


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

April 7 Maintaining Spiritual Sensitivity

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).

✧✧✧

Sin is a serious issue with God. He never winks at it or takes it lightly.

Satan desires to desensitize Christians to the heinousness of sin. He wants you to stop mourning over sin and start enjoying it. Impossible? Many who once thought so have fallen prey to its power. It usually doesn’t happen all at once. In fact, the process can be slow and subtle—almost imperceptible. But the results are always tragic.

How can you remain alert to the dangers of sin and protect yourself from compromise? First, be aware of your sin. David said, “My sin is ever before me” (Ps. 51:3). Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5). Peter said to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). Paul called himself the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). Those men shared a common awareness of their own sinfulness, and it drove them to God for forgiveness and cleansing.

Second, remember the significance of the cross. If you allow a pattern of sin to develop in your life, you’ve forgotten the enormous price Christ paid to free you from its bondage.

Third, realize the effect sin has on others. The psalmist said, “My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Thy law” (Ps. 119:136). Jesus mourned over Jerusalem, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37). Your heart should ache for those who are enslaved to sin.

Finally, eliminate anything that hinders your sensitivity to sin, such as deliberately sinning, rejecting God’s forgiveness, being proud, presuming on God’s grace, or taking sin lightly. Such things will quickly dull your spiritual senses and give Satan the opportunity to lead you into greater sin.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that He brings comfort and happiness to those who mourn over their sin. ✧ Ask Him to guard your heart from anything that will diminish your sensitivity to the awfulness of sin.

For Further Study: Read 1 Samuel 15. ✧ What was Saul’s sin? ✧ Did he mourn over his sin? Explain.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 110). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

APRIL 7 RESURRECTION: A FACT

Be established in the present truth…For we have not followed cunningly devised fables.

2 Peter 1:12, 16

The resurrection of Christ and the fact of the empty tomb are not a part of this world’s complex and continuing mythologies. This is not a Santa Claus tale—it is history and it is a reality!

The true Church of Jesus Christ is necessarily founded upon the belief and the truth that there was a real death, a real tomb and a real stone!

But, thank God, there was a sovereign Father in heaven, an angel sent to roll the stone away and a living Savior in a resurrected and glorified body, able to proclaim to His disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth!” (Matthew 28:18).

Brethren, He died for us, but ever since the hour of the Resurrection, He has been the mighty Jesus, the mighty Christ, the mighty Lord!

Our business is to thank God with tearful reverence for the cross, but to go on to a right understanding of what the Resurrection meant both to God and to men. We understand and acknowledge that the Resurrection has placed a glorious crown upon all of Christ’s sufferings!

Lord, I praise You that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact and not a fable. Because He lives, I have real purpose in this life and I can look forward to the life hereafter.[1]


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

April 7-8, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 04/07/2018

Air Force Reverses Decision Punishing Colonel for Declining to Sign Document Affirming Airman’s Same-Sex ‘Marriage’   Apr 03, 2018 11:02 am

WASHINGTON — Following receipt of an appeal from a religious liberties organization, as well as supportive correspondence from Congress, the secretary of the Air Force has announced the reversal of adverse actions against a Christian colonel who was punished for declining to sign an optional document that would have affirmed an airman’s same-sex “marriage.” The…

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Parkland Shooter Receiving ‘Piles’ of ‘Fan Letters,’ Officials Sharing Only ‘Wishes for His Soul’   Apr 02, 2018 02:32 pm

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who killed 17 people in February and wounded almost 20 others after opening fire in a public high school, is receiving “piles” of “fan letters” in jail, his defense attorney mourns. Officials will not read Cruz such material, but will only share the very few that extend “wishes for his soul and to come to…

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Boy Rescued From Sewer System Says He Prayed to God While Trapped for 12 Hours   Apr 03, 2018 09:48 pm

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A 13-year-old boy who fell down a sewer system on Sunday and was miraculously rescued after being trapped for more than 12 hours in two feet of toxic sewage says that he prayed to God throughout the ordeal. “I was praying to God to help me and to not die,” Jesse Hernandez, 13, told KNBC-TV. At around 4:30 p.m., Hernandez was spending…

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Elderly Couple Dies Together Under Oregon’s Physician-Assisted Suicide Law   Apr 06, 2018 05:44 pm

PORTLAND, Ore. — A documentary called “Living & Dying: A Love Story” details the decision of an elderly husband and wife to die together under Oregon’s controversial assisted suicide law, a report that was cheered by end-of-life “choice” proponents and lamented by pro-life advocates. Charlie and Francie Emerick had been happily married for 66 years….

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South Dakota Mother Pleads Guilty to Beating Toddler to Death for Wetting Bed   Apr 03, 2018 02:12 pm

Photo Credit: “Justice for Kylen” Facebook page RAPID CITY, S.D. — A South Dakota woman accused of beating her two-year-old son to death in 2016 for wetting his bed has pleaded guilty to murder. Katrina Shangreaux, 30, of Porcupine, reportedly made a vulgar gesture at her sister-in-law as she left the courtroom on Friday, according to the Rapid City…

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Indian Woman Murdered for Leaving Hinduism for Christianity   Apr 01, 2018 08:09 pm

(Open Doors USA) — Chadarajupalli Subbaravamma was in her mid-50s living in South India when she left Hinduism for Christianity 10 years ago. Ten years later, she was murdered for that decision to trust in Jesus and pursue her new faith. The elderly woman in her mid-60s was on her terrace reading her Bible and praying–a usual part of her evening routine–when…

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City of Philadelphia Suspends Partnership With Two Faith-Based Foster Agencies for Declining to Place Children With Homosexuals   Apr 05, 2018 04:11 pm

PHILADELPHIA — The City of Philadelphia has suspended, pending an investigation, its partnership with two faith-based foster agencies after learning that both decline to place children in homes without a mother and father. The Philadelphia Department of Human Services recently discontinued any new placements by Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social…

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Judge Rules Prison System Must Recognize Humanism as ‘Faith Group,’ Allow Humanist Inmates to Hold Meetings   Mar 31, 2018 12:19 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge appointed to the bench by then-President Ronald Reagan has ruled that the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the Lanesboro Correctional Institution were in error in declining to recognize an inmate’s religion as humanism, and prohibiting him from forming a humanist study group. “efendants have not demonstrated a…

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Algerian Man Who Spent 18 Months in Jail for Post Declaring Jesus Overcomes ‘Lie’ of Islam Now Free   Apr 04, 2018 05:47 pm

(World Watch Monitor) — The daughter of Slimane Bouhafs, an Algerian Christian who has spent the last 18 months in prison for insulting Islam and its prophet, has announced her father’s release. “Finally my father … has been allowed back to us,” his daughter, Tilelli, wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday. “Thank you for your support.” Algerian…

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Judge Orders Trump Admin to Allow Illegal Immigrant Teens to Obtain Abortions   Apr 01, 2018 11:37 am

Photo Credit: Ehsan Namavar WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice are considering their options after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Friday ordering the Trump administration to cease denying abortion access to teenagers who enter the country illegally and unaccompanied by an…

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Weekend Snapshot

Apr. 7, 2018
Top Stories This Week
Quote of the Week

“It’s been noisy and competitive since Day One, because this agency has been a bastion of liberalism since Day One. As we are making progress there and also reducing the regulatory burden, it is infuriating to those that have dominated and controlled the agency for years. … We are getting things done, and that’s what’s driving these folks crazy.” —EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt


The American Cultural Revolution

(Erick Erickson – Dailywire) “What we are seeing is an American Culture Revolution, unleashed by a narrow-minded group of leftists who have more in common with Mao than Washington. They have become dominant in the American media and have systematically purged conservative voices from the air and print. Conservative thought is more and more relegated to a ghetto and should any prominent conservative try to leave the ghetto, the leftwing mob will take action to destroy them.”

Kevin Williamson has been fired by The Atlantic. Williamson is one of the great conservative intellectuals of our times. He has a keen wit and frequently engages in heterodox opinions that make his writing and thinking intriguing. For a decade he wrote at William F. Buckley’s National Review until hired away last week by Jeffrey Goldberg, the Editor of The Atlantic.

The Atlantic fancies itself a place of intellectual diversity where the best writers across ideologies can share their views. But Williamson’s hire drew burning rage from the left. Williamson’s birth came from an unplanned pregnancy. Instead of aborting him, his birth mother gave him up for adoption. As you might imagine, Williamson has strongly held views on the matter of abortion. A week after hiring him, Jeffrey Goldberg bowed to the leftwing mob and fired Williamson for, in part, how he might make the pro-abortion women in the office feel.

Never mind Williamson’s feelings on abortion and that he could have been aborted himself, the editor took the brave stand of worrying about the hypothetical feelings of pro-abortion women in the office. The left told us that the purges happening on college campuses were contained to the campus. Yet here we are today with one of the best voices of conservatism fired from a job for his conservative views.

It will only get worse. Just a few years ago, a liberal reporter walked into an Indiana pizza parlor to see if that parlor would cater a same sex wedding. The owner said he was a Christian so he could not do that. The news set off a wave of antagonism against the pizza parlor, which had to close down for several days. It faced harassment online and in the store for the owner having the audacity to answer a reporter’s hypothetical question. View article →


Facebook to Diamond and Silk: You Are Unsafe!

WND

Unsafe due to their politics . . . .

Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, also known as the hilarious duo of Diamond and Silk noticed about six months ago that their popular Facebook page was dropping in engagement.

Fans who “liked” the page were no longer receiving notifications of new content.

So they persistently wrote to and called Facebook to find out why.


News – 4/7/2018

Texas, Arizona announce troop deployments to Mexico border
The US states of Texas and Arizona on Friday announced plans to send National Guard troops to the southern border with Mexico after President Donald Trump ordered a thousands-strong deployment to combat drug trafficking and illegal immigration. The Texas National Guard said it would send 250 troops to the border within 72 hours and had already deployed two Lakota helicopters, while Arizona’s governor said he would send 150 personnel next week.

Homeland Security to compile database of journalists and ‘media influencers’
The Department of Homeland Security wants to track the comings and going of journalists, bloggers and other “media influencers” through a database. The DHS’s “Media Monitoring” plan…would give…“24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” in order to “identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”

Deficit nears $600 billion in first half of 2018
The federal budget deficit hit $598 billion in the first half of the 2018 fiscal years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, quickly outpacing the deficits of recent years. At the same point in 2017, the deficit was $78 billion lower. That year, the entire deficit amounted to $666 billion, just 11% higher than the amount the U.S. government had to borrow in the first half of 2018.

Abbas: ‘Stop Israeli barbarism, occupation army murdering innocents’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Friday night Israel’s actions against the Palestinians protesting on the Gaza border as part of “Friday of the Tires”, and claimed Israel was guilty of “repression and killing of protesters who raised their voices in peaceful protest.”

Japan activates first marines since WW2 to bolster defenses against China
Japan on Saturday activated its first marine unit since World War Two trained to counter invaders occupying Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea that Tokyo fears are vulnerable to attack by China. In a ceremony held at a military base near Sasebo on the southwest island of Kyushu, about 1,500 members of the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) wearing camouflage lined up outside amid cold, windy weather.

Oceania, For Thee: The World Of “1984” Is Forming Now
“In the end, the world will not notice its enslavement, because the generations capable of creative thought and reason will have been replaced by a stultified, obedient mass of humanity only capable of acting in a manner predetermined by the rulers. The world of ‘1984’ is forming today.”

US officials: Trump-Netanyahu call grew tense over plans to leave Syria
A phone call Wednesday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump grew tense over Israeli objections to US plans to leave Syria, US administration officials said Wednesday, adding that Trump wants to pull out all troops within six months to the dismay of the country’s main security agencies and allies.

Fallout from the Turkey-Iran-Russia meeting
Iranian regime media is boasting after a successful summit in Turkey with the Turkish, Russian and Iranian presidents. But Iran was not the only winner at the meeting designed to discuss the future of Syria. Russia and Turkey both feel that they are achieving their goals in Syria at the expense of the US. While the three leaders met, Washington was still undecided on what to do in Syria where it has soldiers and bases and is working to defeat Islamic State.

ICE carries out largest workplace raid in a decade: report
US. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Tennessee carried out the largest workplace raid in 10 years at a plant, The Washington Post reports.

Brazil’s Lula defies prison order as crowds rally for and against him
Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defied a judge’s order to report to prison Friday, setting up a showdown with authorities and triggering demonstrations around the country both for and against the charismatic politician’s stand.

China Bans Bibles from Online Sellers Like Amazon
Last week, Chinese social media users began noticing that they couldn’t find Bibles listed on some of their nation’s most popular e-commerce platforms.

Obama State Department Spent $9 Million With Soros To Meddle In Albanian Politics
“Foundation Open society-Albania and its experts, with funding from USAID, have created the controversial Strategy Document for Albanian Judicial Reform”

WIKILEAKS: Obama, Clinton & Soros Overthrew Pope Benedict
If you’ve been friends with us for a while, you know we are no fans of Pope Francis.  In fact, the entire Vatican has stunk for a long, long time. But now it appears there may have been a coup from the outside, involving three people we like on just about the same level as Pope Francis:  Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and George Soros.

Israel deploys snipers, tanks as Palestinians begin protests along Gaza border
Israel and Hamas geared up Friday for another showdown on the Gaza-Israel border with the IDF deploying snipers and tanks ahead of an expected mass protest, and demonstrators starting to set fire to tires along the tense frontier.

PressTV-Iran warns of ‘special surprise’ if nuclear deal ditched
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi warns of a “special surprise” if the Trump administration goes ahead with its threat to scuttle the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Record-challenging cold to pour into central US, threaten wheat crop this weekend
A blast of arctic air will bring frigid nights to the central United States and may cause damage to the winter wheat crop over the southern Plains this weekend.

Bob Dylan, Kesha reimagine popular love songs to honor LGBTQ couples
“Love is universal. Shouldn’t love songs be too?” Musical artists switch pronouns on popular love songs to celebrate same-sex couples.

US Phone Database to Fall Under Foreign Control, Unless Trump Stops It
America’s most sensitive phone records will soon fall under the control of a foreign-owned company that once employed a Chinese national and whose owners had given money to Bill Clinton amid a sanctions scandal.

Newsweek: ‘White People in South Africa Should Stop Panicking About Losing Their Land’ 
White people in South Africa need to stop complaining about their land being stolen because many black South Africans view seizing their property “as essential to restoring their dignity,” so says Newsweek’s Ben Cousins.

News – 4/8/2018

Senior Iranian cleric: Hezbollah will destroy Haifa and Tel Aviv
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a senior member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, threatened that Hezbollah “will turn Haifa and Tel Aviv into ghost-towns” with the group’s 70-kilometer range missiles in a sermon Friday. “You’ve tried your chances twice,” and failed, Khatami said, according to an Iranian Student News Agency report. “Despite the fact that Hezbollah is stronger today than ever, if you want Tel Aviv and Haifa razed to the ground, try your chances again.”

Former IDF Intel Chief urges grounding of Assad’s helicopter fleet
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s helicopters that drop barrel bombs should be grounded once and for all, the IDF’s former intelligence chief Amos Yadlin urged on Sunday. In a series of tweets, the retired general called on the US and Israel to take a firm position against the recent use of chemical gas against civilians.

Syria war: At least 70 killed in suspected chemical attack in Douma
At least 70 people have died in a suspected chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, rescuers and medics say. Volunteer rescue force the White Helmets tweeted graphic images showing several bodies in basements. It said the deaths were likely to rise. There has been no independent verification of the reports.

U.S. Embassy in Cuba: Diplomatic population 10
At a time when Cuba faces a significant generational shift in power with Cuban leader Raúl Castro expected to retire from the presidency on April 19, the United States has few official eyes and ears on the island. An embassy roster…lists no political or economic officers and a total of only 10 diplomats, including Chargé d’affaires Philip S. Goldberg, the chief of mission in the absence of an ambassador.

Zoabi at UN: ‘Millions of Palestinians should march on Jerusalem’
MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List) called on the Palestinians in the West Bank to join the protests on the Gaza border during a press conference over the weekend at the United Nations headquarters in New York. “We need to go on popular marches to remind the world of the siege,” Zoabi said. “We need millions of Palestinians to march on Jerusalem. That is the aspiration. But we can’t do it, because the Israelis would kill them.”

Hong Kong cardinal seeks conservative help to block a Vatican-China deal
A Hong Kong cardinal who has spearheaded opposition to the Vatican’s rapprochement with China has asked conservative Roman Catholics who are in open defiance of Pope Francis to back his cause. The plea on Saturday night by Cardinal Joseph Zen to a Rome conference on the limits of papal authority appeared to be the start of a new alliance that could help both sides bring their message of dissent across.

Yellowstone volcano ERUPTION warning: Hundreds of bison dead as fears of mega blast increase substantially
FEARS of Yellowstone volcano erupting are on the rise after authorities have culled more than 1,000 bison living in the volatile park. The bison slaughter news comes after services have been told to prepare for life and death situations.

Jews ascending Temple Mount in Jerusalem met with little Muslim terrorists-in-training brandishing plastic knives
Muslim parents in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, are teaching their children to hate Jews from a very young age, arming toddlers with plastic knives and encouraging them to “stab” Jews with them.

WATCH: Fire Breaks Out At Trump Tower In NYC; One Person Dead
ABC 7 News later reported that one person died from the fire and at least three firefighters sustained minor injuries.

Putin Is Dismantling NATO Before Starting WW III
Putin just signed trade deals with Turkey and Iran. NATO is now weaker. Further, there is a reason why Russia’s supply of natural gas to Europe will be the key reason why NATO will continue to implode. Russia just moved 70,000 soldiers in Ukraine.  These are Putin’s final chessboard moves before attacking. NATO is being destroyed right before our eyes.

U.S. gathers biometric data on migrants in Mexican jails
Department of Homeland Security officials have installed scores of screening terminals to collect migrants’ fingerprints, ocular scans and other identifying features such as tattoos and scars.

The Outbreak of Severe Bleeding Caused by Synthetic Weed Has Now Spread Beyond Illinois
A frightening outbreak of uncontrollable bleeding linked to inhaling synthetic weed products seems to have spread beyond the borders of Illinois. On Thursday, Maryland health officials reported that at least one person in the state has come down with similar symptoms, the first case reported there.

Elon Musk: ‘Immortal’ evil superintelligence could rule world
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s biggest fear is a form of artificial intelligence that could create an “immortal dictator,” a “godlike” entity that rules the world and one “from which we can never escape.”

Video: Spine-Chilling Sounds in Hawaiian Sky Terrify Users
With weird sounds being heard in many parts of the world, scientists remain skeptical about the phenomenon being caused by supernatural factors.

A proactive answer to Israel’s drought
When one thinks of a drought, images of a barren wasteland come to mind. Israel, which is at the forefront of water technology and is fortunate enough to have water bursting out of its faucets seems the most removed from such a dire situation.

Soros Organisations Seeking to ‘Break Hungary’ Ahead of Sunday Election, Says Government
With Hungarians set to go to the polls on Sunday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister has warned organisations sponsored by billionaire financier George Soros are working to blackmail the country into accepting mass migration.


Headlines – 4/7/2018

Hamas official: Gaza protests show Palestinians are ready ‘to start revolution’

Hamas chief: We will remove the borders and implement the right of return

Gaza Hamas leader vows to ‘breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa’

Vivian Bercovici: No country would tolerate what Hamas is doing at Israel’s border

White House warns Gazans: Stay out of ‘buffer zone’ ahead of protests

Palestinian envoy slams US stance on Gaza protests, warns Strip at boiling point

Arab MK: Gaza protests were peaceful, hold Israel accountable

IDF says it thwarted Hamas, prevented ‘victory picture’ of breached border fence

10 dead, over 1000 wounded as Gaza protests wind down

Hundreds attend funeral of ‘assassinated’ Palestinian journalist

IDF denies deliberately targeting journalist killed in Gaza protest

Abbas: ‘Stop Israeli barbarism, occupation army murdering innocents’

Danon demands U.N. condemn Hamas for exploiting children

Danon calls on the Security Council to condemn Hamas

Kuwait floats Security Council statement urging probe of Gaza violence

US blocks Kuwait-led UN statement to investigate Gaza violence for second time

US blocks UN resolution on Palestinians’ rights to protest peacefully

Egypt sending mediators to Gaza in bid to save faltering unity deal

Pro-Palestinian Hacker Targets Dozens of Israeli Websites

Iran Cleric Warns Israel’s Cities To Be Flattened If Hezbollah Attacked

The Secret to Successful Arab Modernization is to Stop Hating Israel

Americans Overwhelmingly Support Israel; Do Evangelicals Play a Role?

Pivoting East: Israel’s developing strategic relationships in Asia

World bank pledges $4 bln in loans to Lebanon

Saudi Crown Prince: Iran is the cause of problems in the Middle East

Envoy Foresees Increased Iran-Russia Military Cooperation after Collaboration in Syria

Fallout from the Turkey-Iran-Russia meeting

Turkey says 108 Kurdish militants ‘neutralized’ in past week

Airstrikes return to Syria’s Ghouta, killing 40 civilians as talks sputter

Trump, UAE leader push for unity in Gulf as dispute drags on

Afghan air strike kills Islamic State commander

Afghanistan, Pakistan Jointly Call on Taliban to Enter Peace Talks

Japan activates first marines since WW2 to bolster defenses against China

Russian envoy seeks meeting with Britain’s Johnson over poisoning

White House on Trump’s silence on Putin: Sanctions put in place speak ‘volumes’

Russia promises ‘tough response’ to US sanctions

China says relations with Russia at ‘best level in history’

U.S. and China Launch War Games in Pacific As Trade Crisis Gets Worse

China will not hesitate with ‘major response’ to new tariffs: Ministry of Commerce

China Bans Bibles from Online Sellers Like Amazon

White People In South Africa Should Stop Panicking About Losing Their Land: Opinion

Texas, Arizona announce troop deployments to Mexico border

Trump signs memo ending ‘catch and release’ immigration policy

ICE carries out largest workplace raid in a decade: report

U.S. attorney general renews calls to prosecute first-time border crossers

U.S. gathers biometric data on migrants in Mexican jails

Homeland Security To Compile A Database Of Journalists, Bloggers And Influencers

Facebook to verify identities, require labels for political ads

Facebook users should expect to pay for privacy, Sandberg says

Tiny Towns, Small States Bet on Bitcoin Even as Some Shun Its Miners

Dow tumbles 572 points as trade war fears pummel stocks

White House downplays big drop in stock market

Why stocks could fall nearly 40% over the coming 18 months

Secretive X-37B Military Space Plane Wings Past 200 Days in Orbit

First Luxury Space Hotel To Offer ‘Astronaut In Training’ Experience For $9.5 Million

Earthquake measuring 6.5 magnitude strikes Papua New Guinea

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Porgera, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits the Balleny Islands region

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Kodiak, Alaska

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Napu, Indonesia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 13,000ft

Aoba volcano on Vanuatu erupts to 12,000ft

‘Pineapple Express’ storm brings record rainfall, flood concerns, flight delays to Northern California

Extreme winter weather, such as ‘Beast from the East’, can be linked to solar cycle

College student with measles had been vaccinated, health officials say

Vaping now an epidemic among US high schoolers

The Outbreak of Severe Bleeding Caused by Synthetic Weed Has Now Spread Beyond Illinois

A little-known hallucinogenic drug called DMT takes people to a place that feels ‘more real than real’ – here’s what researchers know about it

Feds charge Backpage founder after human-trafficking investigation

DEVELOPING: Outbreak of Severe Bleeding Caused by Synthetic Weed Spreading

Posted: 07 Apr 2018 06:00 AM PDT

DEVELOPING: Outbreak of Severe Bleeding Caused by Synthetic Weed SpreadingA frightening outbreak of uncontrollable bleeding linked to inhaling synthetic weed products seems to have spread beyond the borders of Illinois. On Thursday, Maryland health officials reported that at least one person in the state has come down with similar symptoms, the first case reported there. The anonymous Maryland patient was rushed to the emergency room on April 3, having developed

unexplained bruising and bleeding from different parts of their body soon after taking a synthetic pot product. The person was later hospitalized. Health officials are now calling the condition “synthetic cannabinoid-associated coagulopathy.” “We’re warning people to not use synthetic cannabinoids,” said Bruce Anderson, executive director of the Maryland Poison Center, in a statement. “While never safe, the recent increased risk of adverse effects such as synthetic cannabinoid-associated coagulopathy makes it critical for people to abstain.” READ MORE

Only Two-Thirds Of American Millennials Believe The Earth Is Round

Posted: 07 Apr 2018 05:54 AM PDT

Only Two-Thirds Of American Millennials Believe The Earth Is RoundMillennials in America sometimes get a bad reputation, this time for good reason. A recent survey found that just 66 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 years old have “always believed the world is round.” YouGov polled 8,215 US adults on February 8th, 2018 to get a representative idea of America’s views on

the shape of the Earth. What they found would make any scientist shake their heads, a surprising percentage of responders weren’t convinced the Earth is round. The question asked individuals to categorize their thoughts surrounding the shape of the Earth into one of the five buckets below: MORE

Holy Bible Removed from Amazon and Other Online Stores in China

Posted: 07 Apr 2018 05:48 AM PDT

Holy Bible Removed from Amazon and Other Online Stores in ChinaThe Holy Bible has been removed from sale on Amazon and other online stores in China, according to a report.  “On JD.com, searches for ‘the Bible’ in Chinese yielded no results, while on Taobao, Amazon.cn and Dang Dang, they led to other Christian publications, such as storybooks and Bible study aids,” reported the South China Morning Post. “While the Bible has long been categorized in China as a publication ‘for internal distribution’ – meaning that, officially at least, it can be sold only by government-sanctioned bodies that oversee Christian churches – the authorities have tended to look the

other way.”  “In China, all religious activities come under the close scrutiny of the officially atheist Communist Party. Beijing has often repeated its position that it will not allow ‘foreign forces’ to dominate the country’s religious activities,” they explained, adding, “A Christian bookstore on WeChat, China’s most popular messaging platform, based in southern Guangdong province said it was inundated with ‘notice of punishment’ warnings from the social media app on Tuesday, and that most of its content – including the Bible, and Christian books and gifts – had been deleted overnight.”  READ MORE

Dow plunges more than 550 points to end the week as trade war fears rattle Wall Street

Posted: 06 Apr 2018 03:15 PM PDT

Dow plunges more than 550 points to end the week as trade war fears rattle Wall StreetStocks fell sharply on Friday as worries of a trade war brewing between the U.S. and China grew. Wall Street also digested disappointing employment data.  The Dow Jones industrial average fell 572.46 points to 23,932.76, closing back in correction. Boeing and Caterpillar were the biggest decliners in the 30-stock index.

The S&P 500 declined 2.2 percent to 2,604.47, with industrials as the worst-performing sector. The Nasdaq composite dropped 2.3 percent to close at 6,915.11. Equities hit their session lows in the final two hours of trading — with the Dow falling as much as 767.02 points — after Fed Chief Jerome Powell indicated the central bank would continue hiking rates this year. Some traders were hoping the Fed Chief would acknowledge the recent market volatility caused by the trade dispute. READ MORE

China launches massive navy drills with 40 warships in the South China Sea

Posted: 06 Apr 2018 02:33 PM PDT

China launches massive navy drills with 40 warships in the South China SeaChina launched a massive navy drill in the South China Sea with 40 warships in an overt display of military muscle- as three US carrier battle groups passed by.  Chinese state media says the exercises are centered on the aircraft carrier Liaoning, with warships combining from the North, East and South Sea fleets.  This is the first time China’s refurbished Soviet-era aircraft carrier, Liaoning, has engaged in large-scale live-fire drills. It comes as the United States has three aircraft carrier battle groups

converging on the contested waterway for its own exercises. Both sets of military maneuvers are being held as an Asian economic forum gets underway on the Chinese island of Hainan, which borders the disputed South China Sea. Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming told the South China Morning Post: “China wants to show the outside world its determination to defend the fruits of its economic reforms over the past 40 years. READ MORE

Hamas Vows ‘Millions of Martyrs’ and Cash for Injuries and Deaths in New Gaza Border Clashes

Posted: 06 Apr 2018 11:02 AM PDT

Hamas Vows ‘Millions of Martyrs’ and Cash for Injuries and Deaths in New Gaza Border ClashesAs expected, thousands of protesters backed by Hamas burned hundreds of tires, sending plumes of black smoke billowing over the border with Israel.  The Gaza Health Ministry reports seven Palestinian protesters died, at least one of them a member of a terror group, as the rioters tried for a second week to cross into Israel. They also claim several hundred were injured, but those numbers could not be confirmed.

The crowd appeared to be “significantly smaller,” according to Israeli Defense Forces estimates, than the 30,000 who took part last Friday in “March of Return” protests to take back Arab villages lost to Israel in the 1948 war. Hundreds of Hamas supporters gathered around their shadowy leader Yehiyeh Sinwar at the border and chanted, “We are going to Jerusalem, millions of martyrs.” In a defiant public threat, Sinwar vowed to “breach the borders.” READ MORE

Caldera map shows US covered in volcanic ash after eruption scenerio

Posted: 06 Apr 2018 10:47 AM PDT

Caldera map shows US covered in volcanic ash after eruption scenerioA Yellowstone volcano eruption could be the most catastrophic natural disaster to strike the modern world, volcanologists have warned as terrifying Yellowstone caldera maps now reveal the true extent of damage the US would suffer.   The Yellowstone volcano rumbles away in the heart of the Yellowstone National Park, at a towering elevation of 2,804m. The active volcano is one of the biggest on the planet

and typically rears its ugly head once every few million years or so. Volcanologists who have tracked Yellowstone’s past eruptions two million, 1.3 million and 630,000 years ago, fear another eruption might be overdue. This is why scientists have attempted to forecast the extent of damage a Yellowstone eruption would incur today – and the results are terrifying. READ MORE

Popular new drug called “Spirit Molecule” causing spiritual encounters with entities that have characteristics of demons

Posted: 06 Apr 2018 10:33 AM PDT

Popular new drug called “Spirit Molecule” causing spiritual encounters with entities that have characteristics of demonsIt’s one of the most popular new hallucinogenic drugs being smoked by young people around the world, with many users reporting “spiritual encounters” with entities that sound a lot like demons.  And now, Johns Hopkins University is studying the alarming effects of DMT, or Dimethyltryptamine, asking volunteers who have taken the drug about encounters they may have had with “seemingly autonomous beings or entities.”

One researcher characterized DMT as a “spirit molecule.” So bizarre are the effects that users have described crossing into another world and seeing “machine elves,” aliens or cartoon cats. One woman reported being swarmed by apparently alive Slinky toys.The research team is headed by Roland Griffiths, a behavioral biologist with a history of studying psychedelic substances that produce “mystical-type and  near-death experiences.”  READ MORE

Headlines – 4/8/2018

West Bank’s apathy amid Gaza chaos shows Palestinians becoming a divided people

The IDF believes Hamas hijacked the Gaza protests, and sees no end in sight

Report: Egypt, Saudi Arabia urge Hamas to end ‘Great March of Return’ protests

PA calls to invalidate American vetoes at Security Council

EU asks whether Israel used ‘proportionate’ force in Gaza

France condemns ‘indiscriminate fire’ by IDF in Gaza

‘Terrorists also disguise themselves as journalists’

Liberman on journalist’s death: Fly drone above soldiers, you endanger your life

Hamas Vows ‘Millions of Martyrs’ and Cash for Injuries and Deaths in New Gaza Border Clashes

Netanyahu: They speak of human rights while holding a Nazi flag – Gaza riots motivated by desire to destroy Israel

France: Soon with No Jews?

Senior European rabbi: Jews could flee UK if Corbyn elected PM

Syria war: At least 70 reported dead in suspected gas attack

Syrian rebels accuse Assad forces of chemical attacks on civilians, Damascus denies

Iran hit by global cyber attack that left US flag on screens

Hackers warn Iran: ‘Don’t mess with our elections’

Iran to quit nuclear deal if US exit; MP rejects Haley’s claim

Secret, direct talks underway between US and North Korea

Japan activates first marines since WW2 to bolster defenses against China

Responding to Trump’s call, Mattis authorizes 4,000 National Guard troops for U.S.-Mexico border

ICE arrests 97 suspected illegal immigrants at Tennessee meat processing plant

Richest 1% on target to own two-thirds of all wealth by 2030

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Aoba volcano on Vanuatu erupts to 12,000ft

Is The ‘Ring Of Fire’ Becoming More Active?

Storm-battered Fiji to face renewed flood danger from budding tropical cyclone

Vatican Arrests Its Own Diplomat After Child Pornography Probe

California Democrat Introduces Bill to Force Websites to Use ‘Fact-Checkers’

Posted: 08 Apr 2018 10:04 AM PDT

California Democrat Introduces Bill to Force Websites to Use ‘Fact-Checkers’California State Senator Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) has proposed a bill, the “Online False Information Act,” that would require anyone who posts news on the Internet to verify their information through “fact-checkers.”  The bill, filed quietly in late February as SB 1424, requires all California-based websites to develop a plan to fight “fake news,” to use “fact-checkers,” and to warn readers — including

via social media — of “false information.”  The bill would arguably impose onerous costs on individuals and businesses alike, and would serve as a tool for censorship by subjecting dissenting opinions to review via “fact-checkers.”  It is not clear who would appoint the “fact-checkers.”  READ MORE

Japan activates first marines since World War 2

Posted: 08 Apr 2018 09:59 AM PDT

Japan activates first marines since World War 2Japan on Saturday activated its first marine unit since World War Two trained to counter invaders occupying Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea that Tokyo fears are vulnerable to attack by China.  In a ceremony held at a military base near Sasebo on the southwest island of Kyushu, about 1,500 members of the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) wearing camouflage lined

up outside amid cold, windy weather. “Given the increasingly difficult defense and security situation surrounding Japan, defense of our islands has become a critical mandate,” Tomohiro Yamamoto, vice defense minister, said in a speech. The troops conducted a 20-minute mock public exercise recapturing a remote island from invaders. READ MORE

Facebook penalizes pro-Trump Diamond & Silk: ‘Unsafe to community’…

Posted: 08 Apr 2018 09:49 AM PDT

Facebook penalizes pro-Trump Diamond & Silk: ‘Unsafe to community’…The hilarious duo of Diamond and Silk is a danger to society.  That’s according to Facebook. The pro-Trump pair posted on the embattled social media platform on Friday night, saying after months of correspondence, they were deemed to be “unsafe to the community.” “Diamond And Silk have been corresponding since September 7, 2017, with Facebook (owned by Mark Zuckerberg), about their bias censorship and discrimination against D&S brand page,” they wrote.

“Finally after several emails, chats, phone calls, appeals, beating around the bush, lies, and giving us the run around, Facebook gave us another bogus reason why Millions of people who have liked and/or followed our page no longer receives notification and why our page, post and video reach was reduced by a very large percentage,” echoing the complaints of many conservative and pro-Trump pages. READ MORE


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Wretched Radio 04/06/2018

WR2018-0406

•Did Todd misunderstand the dominion of man over large cats?
•Easter shenanigans continue
•Did Todd miss a joke in the Paul movie?
•Don’t Stub Your Toe is bearing fruit
•Excrement-themed toys
•How thorough must I be in giving credit in a sermon?
•Easter production values; how much is too much?
•Roseanne loves Trump, so Evangelicals love Roseanne
•Drunk in the Spirit opens the eyes of Todd’s critics
•Do I need to rectify academic dishonesty before I was saved?
•Gospel proclamation and publication in BelarusDownload Now (right click and save)

The post 04/06/2018 appeared first on Wretched.

Pulpit & Pen: The SBC Should Not Want Black Leadership

The Southern Baptist Convention should not want black leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want white leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want Eskimo leaders, Pygmy  leaders, or polka-dotted leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should want godly leaders. And that, it seems, is in the shortest supply of all.

The Southern Baptist Convention should not want black leadership. The very idea is doctrinally bothersome, theologically incoherent, ethnically untenable, and morally perverse.

After the MLK50 veneration conference, hosted by The Social Gospel Coalition and the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Southern Baptists are calling for the white-guilted apologies offered to the world on behalf of past Southern Baptist sins to be proven by appointing black leaders to two openings at Southern Baptist entities. Both the International Mission Board (IMB), upon the resignation of David Platt, and the Presidency/CEO of the Executive Board of the SBC, upon the resignation of Frank Page, have openings which some feel should be filled based not upon the content of one’s character, but by the color of their skin.

I’m offering a few thoughts on the subject of filling race-based denominational appointment vacancies for barter here in the Marketplace of Ideas.

First, I understand the manufactured excitement that comes from a conference like MLK50, which was organized and hosted by radical Cultural Marxists and mission-drifting Critical Race Theorists. Neither The Gospel Coalition nor the ERLC are primarily religious organizations; they are political organizations funded by leftist billionaires and unsuspecting small-time donors whose chief ambition is to radically revolutionize the way evangelical Christians think about race and to change the political alliance between conservatism and Christianity. The Gospel Coalition (TGC) was founded by Tim Keller, a Marxist who self-professes to be influenced by the Frankfurt School of Social Theory, as written about in detail in E.S. William’s book, The New Calvinists. Daily on the cyber-pages of TGC, the ideas of intersectionality, globalism, and social justice are regularly promoted. They do so in the name of Jesus and the Gospel, which I find especially repugnant. Under the guise of being theologically astute, under the faux-imagery of Gospel-promotion, TGC promotes Affirmative Action, open borders and amnesty, reparations, and even lent their blog for explicit endorsements of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. Russell Moore at the ERLC works for the George Soros-funded Evangelical Immigration Table, calls border walls a “golden calf” (likening it to idolatry), and is a former Democratic staffer who never left the Democratic party. It should only be expected that any bastardized offspring of these two organizations should bear the DNA of progressivism. Any conference hosted by the two organizations – especially that designed to venerate a Communist whoremonger who denied the deity of Christ and His resurrection, should certainly be expected to create an army of Useful Idiots eager to atone for sins they didn’t commit and vicariously apologize for sins of others. This is, after all, the goal of intersectionality.

Second, for the life of me, I cannot understand how four thousand people could gather in the name of Martin Luther King and Jesus (which is as absurd as gathering in the name of Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus) and overlook the message of King. In a disgraceful treatment of King’s actual legacy – as shameful as walking across his grave – MLK50 used his decaying, rotting corpse as a means to a political end that King himself would have opposed. Although King was funded by and sympathetic to economic Marxism, he promoted the notion of “color-blindness,” which both the ERLC and The Gospel Coalition have told us in recent days is “racist.” King, in spite of all of his theological and moral failings, taught that the difference between black and white was little more than color. MLK50 taught that racial differences were not only non-superficial but to assume them superficial is in itself racist. The greatest irony of all is that MLK50 would likely have been opposed by Martin Luther King, as much as Al Sharpton would be making King roll over in the grave, if corpses could respond to sacrilege. King wrote in his famous I Have a Dream speech:

“I have a dream, my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” and the desire to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood…And when this happens…and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”

King, of course, was paraphrasing Scripture he didn’t believe inerrant, but did look to it for a degree of inspiration. King was echoing the words of Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” King was echoing the words of Colossians 3:11, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”  King was echoing the words of 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Of course, the Scripture speaks of integrated harmony for those who are in Christ, but King’s paraphrase was not far off base. There are only two races on the planet; there is the race of Adam, in which all die, and there is a race of Christ, in which all will live. We are not baptized as black men, white men, or red men. We are baptized as men, and we are made alive in the representative of men, Jesus Christ. The very notion promoted by MLK50 and now being lauded in the Southern Baptist blogosphere is as repugnant to King as it is to the Apostle Paul who wrote those three passages.

Third, and this is the point of my contention, calling for vacancies in the SBC to be filled as proof of our repentance is morally obtuse. It is not wise, it is not thoughtful, and it is not original. It is racist. The echo-chamber and SBC pep-rally known as SBC Voices posted an article by Alan Cross entitled Why We Can’t Wait: The SBC’s Continual Need to Pursue Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Leadership. With all the short-lived but fiery enthusiasm of a youth group drop-out fresh out of church summer camp, Cross opined his thoughts after coming back from MLK50. And what did Cross come away with? Cross, proving that computers are not the only data processors that can be programmed, came away with the notion that to best live out the ethos of Martin Luther King, we need to promote people to denominational office NOT based upon the content of one’s character, but by the color of their skin. This is not genius; this is mentally deficient, morally deluded, and intellectually vapid. Cross writes:

Over the past 3 years since 2015, progress has been made. There have been more appointments, resolutions have been passed addressing white supremacy, and a heightened awareness has been raised of the need for Southern Baptists of all backgrounds to work together, serve together, and submit to one another as we all submit to and follow Jesus. We have seen progress with appointments and more of an open door for participation. I am grateful for this and what has come before. But, while good, this work is only seen as progress relative to the abysmal situation that preceded it.

Cross defeats his own argument in the course of giving it. The SBC nominated and elected Fred Luter as its first black president (largely based on the color of his skin). H.B. Charles was elected the first black president of the SBC Pastor’s Conference. Dwight McKissic – a Bernie Sander’s supporting racist who puts dead babies at the bottom of the list of his ethical priorities – strong-armed SBC leadership into condemning the “alt-right,” after holding up his own denomination in scorn to the national media as purportedly racist for not following through on his race-baiting, politically-motivated propaganda tactics. Just today it was reported that a Georgia church was unilaterally kicked out of its convention for not allowing a little black girl to use the restroom. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a Malcom X read-in this year (good grief). Southern Baptist institutions like Ouachita Baptist University have a department of Social Justice, ostensibly funded by Clinton financier and globalist, James Riady. Cross needs to understand – as do all 45 of SBC Voices readers – that it will never be enough. The goal is not equality. Blacks and Whites are equal under both United States law and Southern Baptist polity. This is an undeniable fact. What racism remains is thoroughly repudiated and regularly expunged, and in a denomination with a tent as wide as the SBC, finding a church with truly “institutional racism” is rarer than finding Southern Baptist churches who handle snakes (that is not hyperbole). Neither is it unrealistic to say that being black in the Southern Baptist Convention (or any theologically conservative evangelical organization) is a matter of extreme privilege and puts one at the front of the line to share the spotlight. The reason it will never be good enough is because the goal is political. The goal is to change our worldview, our ideological positions, and even our theology.

Fourth, acting as though appointing minority ethnicities to denominational leadership would cure racism is woefully unbiblical. It is anti-gospel. Is racism not a sin? Is righteousness legislated? Is morality induced by executive fiat? Could that change hearts and minds? The answer to these questions is that racism is a sin, righteousness cannot be legislated, morality cannot be mandated by executive decision, and that hearts and minds aren’t changed by twisting arms to put men or women of color in charge our entities. Instead, appointing a person of minority status to a denominational position would be a worthless symbolic overture we’ve already done before, and done it again and again.

Fifth, acting as though appointing minority ethnicities to denominational leadership would cure racism grossly overlooks the real reason for the deficiency of minority leadership. Here are some inconvenient facts. Black churches are disproportionally rife with liberation theology. They are disproportionally tainted by Word-Faith, charismatic, and prosperity theology that is starkly at odds with traditional Southern Baptist values and doctrine. Black churches are disproportionally rife with many of the same family and cultural plagues of out-of-wedlock births, higher abortion rates, and fatherless homes as is the black community at large. Nothing in the groveling, pleading, bleeding commie-hearts on display at MLK50 even made a tangential effort to address the reason why there seem to be so few quality black leaders in the SBC; it is not racism. It is because there is, in reality, so few quality black leaders in the SBC. To propose filling agency positions with people merely based upon the color of one’s skin is not good for the denomination and it is not good for the black community because it doesn’t address the real reasons for those deficiencies which start with character and not with color.

By the way, for the sake of the weeping and gnashing of teeth I can already hear, there are plenty of quality and qualified men of color who could run our convention entities (in the same way there are many – I presume – “good” Southern Baptist churches comprised of primarily of black people). The argument, of course, is that raising race to the preeminent qualification for appointment is as racist as it is unhelpful.

Sixth and finally, none of this conversation – that started by MLK50 or that is being finished in the blogosphere – has been stained with the blood of Jesus. None of it. Throwing in the word “gospel” once in a while doesn’t make something saturated with the Good News. The Gospel mandates that forgiveness is given upon repentance, and with forgiveness must come restoration. The “white community” has apologized – profusely – and it needs to be said in the most pastoral way possible that making forgiveness contingent upon giving denominational appointments, scholarships or reparations is sinful on the part of the black person withholding forgiveness. Repentance does not have to be “proven,” it has to be confessed, and not to give forgiveness when it is requested is as wicked as the sin of slavery.

In conclusion, when Paul told the Colossians, the Galatians and the Corinthians that there were no slaves or free men, male or female, or Jews or Greeks, he was not implying that these “classes” or categories did not exist. In fact, Paul reaffirms these classes in Colossians and Corinthians when he orders slaves to obey their masters, for masters to be kind to their slaves, for wives to submit to husbands and husbands to love their wives. It is perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that one man is black and another is white, that Caitlyn Jenner is actually a man and if you have an XX chromosome you’re a woman. Neither was Paul arguing that there weren’t people born Jews or born Greeks. Paul’s point is that there is ultimate equality in the singular baptism that we receive in Christ, because Christ wasn’t an atonement for classes of people, but for the whole swath of believing humanity.

What should make us weep is that MLK50 and the Critical Race Theory imposed upon this generation of evangelicals through TGC and ERLC has set back a Biblical perspective of race to at least the days of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Following the ultimate prohibition of the Jim Crow laws and granting of equal rights in the Civil Rights Movement, there was a time and place (believe it or not) that the “races” (as terrible a term as that is) had far more harmony than today. What we must understand is that the Cultural Marxists who operate the ERLC and TGC are intentionally sowing discord and division between the races to accomplish their ultimate political purposes.

The Southern Baptist Convention should not want black leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want white leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want Eskimo leaders, Pygmy  leaders, or polka-dotted leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should want godly leaders. And that, it seems, is in the shortest supply of all.

The post The SBC Should Not Want Black Leadership appeared first on Pulpit & Pen.

TruthXchange: When Psychological “Science” Defines Biblical Cosmology

When Psychological “Science” Defines Biblical Cosmology

The great danger is that the state, in classic Marxist fashion, and in the name of psychological science, will take on the religious role of defining the “true” mystery of human life and will impose that definition on other religious views of human life, punishing by the power of the state those who disagree. A totalitarian state always claims religious authority.

Assembly member Evan Low (D-Cupertino), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, has recently introduced Assembly Bill 2943, declaring “homosexual conversion therapy” a fraudulent and therefore unlawful practice in the state of California.

Advertising or practicing such therapy would be fraudulent practice under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and treated as consumer fraud. As a lawyer of the Alliance Defending Freedom noted, “the breadth of this censorship is staggering.” This bill not only limits personal choices at the deepest level but closes off debate regarding the nature of existence.

Speaking of fraud, the CA bill is based almost entirely on what some consider to be a fraudulent report of the American Psychological Association Task Force of 2009, entitled: “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.” (The page numbers in this text refer to the full report, which you can download here, on the right side of the webpage.)

A now deceased, highly respected clinical psychologist, Joseph Nicolosi (who saw hundreds of homosexual clients in his long career and saw many of them abandon their unwanted homosexual desires), wrote an essay on the APA report entitled “APA Task Force Report—A Mockery of Science.”

In this article he points out a series of scientific anomalies:

  • The Task Force was composed entirely of activists in gay causes.
  • In choosing members for this committee, the APA rejected the application of every practitioner of sexual-reorientation therapy.
  • Prior to any research, the committee stated as “scientific fact” that homosexual attractions and behavior are no different from those of heterosexuality.
  • The Task Force did not study individuals who reported treatment success.

This report by the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States, knew what it would find before it began and thus concluded what the members had presupposed, namely that same-sex attractions, behavior, and orientations per se are normal and positive variants of human sexuality. In other words, they do not indicate either mental or developmental disorders. This deeply flawed report recommended “that researchers and practitioners investigate…treatments for sexual minorities that do not aim to alter sexual orientation” (7). This conclusion is what AB 2943 now proposes as state law.

Denial of therapy for those who seek it is hardly “democratic,” especially since therapy works in a number of cases. Reparative therapist, Dr. David Pickup, a licensed Marriage and Family Counselor, recently declared in public that every week, at the end of the counseling process, he sees once-homosexual men delivered from homoerotic feelings. Dr. Pickup lectured at the Nov, 2017 MassResistance Teens4Truth Conference in Ft. Worth, TX.

If the bill is applied, such therapy as that of Dr. Pickup or Dr. Nicolosi will be punishable by law: such is the power of this ideology and its intention to silence all opposition. Based on a mockery of science, the bill will become a mockery of Constitutional law. Why? Read on.

Kevin Snider, of the Pacific Justice Institute, a lawyer and professing Christian, sees where all this is going. He cites Supreme Court Justice Jackman who wrote in 1943:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be the orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

Snider concludes: “This bill will suck the state deeper into the black hole of political and religious orthodoxy.”[1] The great danger is that the state, in classic Marxist fashion, and in the name of psychological science, will take on the religious role of defining the “true” mystery of human life and will impose that definition on other religious views of human life, punishing by the power of the state those who disagree. A totalitarian state always claims religious authority. Marx claimed that “Communism begins where atheism begins.”[2] A few elements will show just how ultimately “non-scientific” and perversely religious this approach is.

  1. In its report, the APA includes a “Resolution Rejecting Intelligent Design as Scientific and Reaffirming Support for Evolutionary Theory” (19). This resolution is completely sure that there is no original divine rationality. It puts in its place chance evolutionary irrationality, and then expects one to accept this explanation on the basis of totally believable human rationality. The resolution, trying to sound objectively scientific, is in fact a religious affirmation of monumental faith, and a prodigious sign of human hubris, especially since scientists know so little about origins. How could one keep a straight face and even threaten punishment for those who refuse such a preposterously silly argumentation? As human beings, we are faced with only two logical choices: Oneism (the material cosmos miraculously, by accident, creates itself) or Twoism (an intelligent, personal Creator made the cosmos and is separate from all things created).[3]
  2. A similar religious commitment is expressed in the report’s understanding of ethics. It declares that counselors “strive to provide interventions that are consistent with current ethical standards.” By this, the committee means standards based on an evolutionary, changing view of ethics. One is forced to ask: Who decides? Who establishes what is ethical? How can the notion of ethics exist in an impersonal, evolving universe? These are massive religious questions that go unanswered by the APA report.
  3. The APA, seeking to show a certain openness, admits that “psychology can explore and understand religious beliefs and faith in an evidence-based and respectful manner.” It even says: “psychology has no legitimate function” in “arbitrating matters of faith and theology” or to “adjudicate religious or spiritual tenets.” However, the APA report seems to weigh in on one side of the religious debate about homosexuality, arguing that while some religious options see homosexuality as a sin, a “growing body of evidence” suggests that other “religious denominations’ beliefs and practices have changed over time, reflecting evolving scientific and civil rights perspectives on homosexuality and sexual orientation” (17).

Here, we find “science” adjudicating religions according to whether they agree or disagree with the evolutionary psychology, which has “proven” that homosexuality is normal. A religion is valid if it expresses “tolerance”; it is to be silenced if it expresses “prejudice.”

The APA report, on which the proposed California law is based, does recognize worldview differences and identifies two:

  1. “Some religions give priority to telic congruence (i.e., living consistently within one’s valuative goals) but that life-style “produces stigma and shame” (16).
  2. “Affirmative and multicultural models of LGBT psychology give priority to organismic congruence (i.e., living with a sense of wholeness in one’s experiential self),” giving “priority to the unfolding of developmental processes, including self-awareness and personal identity” (17).

In some odd way, the APA report is accurate. Theologically, these two religious options are the only ones on offer. One worldview, Twoism, presupposes a world with a telos—an established goal given to it by an all-wise, personal Creator, who made human identity in his own image and for his glory. The other, Oneism, is its own arbiter, needing only to have congruence with itself. Human beings are autonomous and self-defining, unhindered by the “stigma and shame” that answering to a holy God entails. In the words of the report, this second worldview represents “Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity, including self-determination, [which] is the process by which a person controls or determines the course of her or his own life” (6).

The deep conflict between these two views of existence is more precisely and accurately described by the Bible: either people self-define by “worshiping and serving creation” or they conform their identity to God’s image by “worshiping and serving the Creator” (Romans 1:25). This is ground zero for the definition of life. You cannot get more religious than to define life! This same biblical text immediately states in verse 26: “For this reason…,” then describes logically how the practice of homosexuality, as an embodied expression of the worship of creation and the self, is the denial of God the Creator. AB 2943 is not as innocent or limited as it might first appear.

The question is not whether worldview is involved. Everyone puts the world together using a worldview based on a religious stance of faith. The report itself implies this by showing the two possible ways of approaching the homosexuality issue. “Non-religious” worldviews claim to be objective and scientific, but they are ultimately religious because they have to create an overarching view of existence that cannot be proven by our human minds. Can you get your mind around the fact that there are at least one hundred billion galaxies? We need an overarching, religious view of existence that can only be expressed in a cautious and humble way.

The question posed by AB2943 is whether the state has the right to impose on each citizen, under threat of punishment, a worldview of pure materialism. Christian believers will no longer have a legal right to their own worldview. If the state does this, we will find ourselves living either in a new form of oppressive totalitarian Marxism (a living hell), or in our ultimate state—the new heavens and new earth at the end of time, when God’s justice will finally reign. Before that time, some Christians, even here in the USA, may suffer under state oppression. We will need confidence, joy, commitment and courage. In Christ, we have already died, been raised and are glorified. Yet we live in a “not yet” stage. As we wait for his return, we must love him and others through the power of the Spirit, maintaining faith in his Word and praying for true repentance and revival. Are we ready?

[1] Pacific Justice Institute: Center for Public Policy, March 23, 2018.

[2] Paul Kengor, Takedown, (Washington, D.C.: WND Books, 2015), 21.

[3] See Peter Jones, One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference (Escondido, CA: Main Entry, 2010).

The post When Psychological “Science” Defines Biblical Cosmology appeared first on TruthXchange.

Thou Shalt Have No Other gods Before Me

For the worship of God alone (against the invocation of saints and the worship of creatures), the orthodox saints is rejected contend: First, with express command of God by which by Exod. 20:3 and he forbids having any other gods before himself—“thou shalt have no other gods before me” or as the Septuagint has it “besides me.” Here the Lord decrees that nothing should be religiously worshipped except himself, the alone and supreme God. For that is said to be God to us and to be regarded as God whatever we adore and serve with religious worship, whatever that may be otherwise, either in itself or with us—namely because we transfer to it the honor which belongs to God alone. This is confirmed by Christ disputing against Satan: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Mt. 4:10). Now although the exclusive particle “alone” does not occur in Deut. 6:13 and 10:20 (whence the quotation is made), yet necessarily from the nature of the thing it is included (as it is expressed in 1 Sam. 7:3, “serve him only”). And if there was no other reason, the expression of the Savior is sufficient for us to conclude that religious worship must be paid to God alone..

Source: Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology (Vol. 2), 42.

Source: Thou Shalt Have No Other gods Before Me

CultureWatch: Worshipping a God Made In My Own Image

We have only two choices: we either worship the one true and living God, or we worship one of our own devising. There are no other options. We either run with God and his self-revelation to us about who he is and what he expects of us, or we just make things up as we go along.

There are countless millions of people who have chosen the latter path. It is the easy path to follow. Following the true God means letting him call the shots, and recognising that we are not the centre of the universe. Following a god of your own devices is easy – you effectively are just worshipping yourself.

Even more tragic, many of these folks actually think they are worshipping the real God, and that they are real Christians. But when you reject God and his revealed truth as found in Scripture, and substitute a god who simply represents the spirit of the age, then you are worshipping an idol, a false god.

Examples of this are of course everywhere to be found. We see it happening all the time, and the social media provides us with endless cases of this. Consider just one example of this that I found on a friend’s post. He made a comment about the Israel Folau case.

It had to do with the star rugby player speaking biblical truth about homosexuality, and how repentance is what is needed to keep sinners out of hell. I wrote about that here: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/04/06/folau-and-unacceptable-truth/

But a person seeking to pass himself off as a Christian was not at all happy with this, and offered this comment in response:

“It’s not a question about voicing an opinion. To oppose same-sex marriage is voicing an opinion. To state that God’s plan for gay people is Hell, is stupid. My God teaches me love and forgiveness. My God does not teach hate and discrimination. My God does not tell me that loving somebody else is a sin.”

I offered a brief reply of my own to this fellow:

“It seems that the god you worship is really just yourself, and certainly not the God of the Bible who has made it clear what he thinks about these matters. There is no forgiveness without repentance; we are of course to discriminate between good and evil, just as God does; and God clearly does tell us that homosexuality is a sin.”

But it is worth expanding a bit more on what he said, since it is such a clear case of a person making a god in his own image, and that of the surrounding secular culture. First, how could any Christian say that what God has told us is stupid?

That hell is the destiny of all those who reject God and cling to their sin is fully affirmed throughout Scripture. So it is never stupid to simply share what God has said about such important matters. It is however stupid to imply that God is wrong, and that mere man knows better.

And notice that the God he projects is simply a partial God of the Bible. Is God a God of love? Of course, but never in isolation from his holiness, his justice and his righteousness. And does God forgive? Of course, but only when we come to him on his terms.

And those terms, as Jesus and the disciples made perfectly clear, is repentance and turning from our sin. There is no forgiveness without this. This is the heart of the gospel message, and no one honestly reading the gospels and epistles could miss this.

And does God really not hate or discriminate? Um, no. Anyone reading the Bible knows how foolish these claims are. They are patently false. God hates sin, he hates false religious worship, he hates evil, he hates that which turns people away from him.

Since we are talking about idolatry here, let me mention just one passage – of many dozens – that speak of the things God hates. Consider Deuteronomy 12:31: “You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates.”

False gods and idolatry are at the top of the list of what God detests. And because of this, God is the most discriminating being there is. He always discriminates between right and wrong, true and false. He expects his people to discriminate as well.

And when this guy keeps talking about “my God,” as if he owns God, he is making it pretty clear that he means ‘the god of my liking and my point of view’. This is a god that fully approves of and endorses everything this guy says and does. This is a god which happens to be fully in alignment with what he and the world believes.

All up, his beliefs are fairly evident here: there is no hell; god judges no one; homosexuality is just peachy; and anyone disagreeing with me is a hater. That is the god he has created – one in his own ungodly and unbiblical image. Thus when he speaks about “my God” he is really just speaking about himself.

The bitter fruit of idolatry

Idolaters love to justify themselves. It seems this fellow was another one of those trolls who just loves to argue, but is never willing to learn. He came back with plenty of comments that I and some others tried to respond to. He even asked where the Bible condemns homosexuality.

After we supplied some passages for him, he simply changed tack, and started accusing us of being judgmental and hateful. Yep, that is how the other side argues! Forget the evidence and the truth, and just lash out when people dare to differ and offer biblical responses!

Of interest, early on in his comments he even admitted that he did not know the Bible very well. Yeah, well that much was obvious. I encouraged him to spend less time in public arguments with others, and to spend more time actually reading and studying the Bible.

But it seems his preference was to do the former. As I said, he has made God into his own image, and he alone will decide what is right and wrong, true and false. That is the epitome of idolatry, and that is exactly what will send a person to a lost eternity.

So I finished by telling him it was rather futile discussing this with him any further, and that I instead would pray for him. Sometimes that is all we can do with such folks. They refuse to listen to Scripture, and they have hardened themselves to any biblical correction, so we just pray for them.

Let me close with a few terrific quotes on idolatry and why it is so pernicious. We must avoid like the plague this strong tendency to try to remake God into our own image:

“Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols.” John Calvin

“Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him… To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our moribund souls.” R. C. Sproul

“Idolatry is of all sins the most hateful to God because it is in essence a defamation of the divine character.” A. W. Tozer

“The religions that man creates are actually attempts to escape having to face the true God. We invent religion — not because we are seeking God, but because we are running away from Him.” James Montgomery Boice

“If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.” Tim Keller

“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to exist side by side on earth, and will make no distinction between good and bad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own creation as real as Jupiter or Moloch; as true an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple; as true an idol as was ever moulded out of brass or clay. The hands of your own notions and emotions have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and aside from the God of the Bible there is no God at all.” J. C. Ryle

[1484 words]

The post Worshipping a God Made In My Own Image appeared first on CultureWatch.

The Dividing Line Webcast: White Supremacy, MLK Jr.’s Theology, Imputed Guilt by Race, Kyle Howard, Racialism

Spent the first hour going over developments over the past few days, including discussions of the Washington Rally with the National Council of Churches, the MLK50 Conference, Martin Luther King’s own professed theology, Thabiti Anyabwile’s imputation of guilt to our grandparents, and finally Kyle J. Howard’s public statement that he would not feel “safe” meeting with me alone “as a black man.” Then we opened the phones with all sorts of calls—none of which were on the topic of the first hour!

04/07/18 Resting in His Care

READING: 1 Samuel 21-24, Psalm 91

“When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.”

Psalm 91:15

Each day that I read the newspaper, I can’t avoid the realities of danger and death all around the world. From the front page to the back page are stories of anguish and pain.  Obituaries speak of old and young alike; all of us die, and some at surprisingly young ages. I have occasionally heard it said that “religion is just for the weak,” and I deny that conclusion overall – but I also admit that my faith in Jesus does indeed give me hope and strength in a world I can’t control. I admit that I find comfort in scriptures like Psalm 91.

I need to know that God is “my refuge and my fortress” (Psa. 91:2), the one who grants me safety under His wings. It does me good to know that he can protect me from traps, battles, plagues, and enemies. He may choose to do otherwise, of course, but I can always trust that He loves me enough to allow what is best for me and for His glory. If I have a long life, it will be because He has chosen to grant it to me.

My prayer today is that God will say of me what He said of the psalmist: that I have made the Lord my dwelling place, that my heart is set on Him, that I know His name, and that I call out to Him in times of trouble. I want to rest in Him.

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Use the latter paragraph of this devotion to evaluate your life. Would God say of you what He said of the psalmist?
  • Whatever you face today, call out to God quickly.

PRAYER: “Father, be my dwelling place today.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Catch up and review

Source: 04/07/18 Resting in His Care

April 7, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

27:3 John tells us that the gang who came to arrest Jesus in the Garden consisted of a detachment of troops, several officers from the chief priests, and numerous Pharisees. They came with lanterns, torches, and weapons (John 18:3). As He watched them approaching, He could say with perfect composure:

Though an army may encamp against me,

My heart shall not fear;

Though war may rise against me,

In this I will be confident.[1]


[1] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 585–586). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

APRIL 7 OUR LORD JESUS WAS BRUISED FOR OUR INIQUITIES

…He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities….

ISAIAH 53:5

The word “iniquity” is not a good word—and God knows how we hate it! But the consequences of iniquity cannot be escaped.

The prophet reminds us clearly that the Saviour was bruised for our iniquities.

We deny it, and say “No!” but the fingerprints of all mankind are plain evidence against us—the fingerprints of man found in every dark cellar and in every alley and in every dimly lighted evil place throughout the world. God knows man from man, and it is impossible to escape our guilt and place our moral responsibility upon someone else.

For our iniquities and our transgressions He was bruised and wounded—and Israel’s great burden and amazing blunder was her judgment that this wounded one on the hillside beyond Jerusalem was being punished for His own sin!

The prophet foresaw this historic error in judgment, and he himself was a Jew, saying: “We thought He was smitten of God. We thought that God was punishing Him for His own iniquity for we did not know then that God was punishing Him for our transgressions and our iniquities.”

For our sakes, He was profaned by ignorant and unworthy men![1]


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

April 7 Positive Response to God’s Law

Whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.—Matt. 5:19b

Those saints who uphold every part of God’s Word in their lives and in what they teach exhibit a most positive response to His law and receive from Him the commendation “great.” They see Paul as their pattern, when he told the Thessalonians, “You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:10–12; cf. 1 Tim. 4:11–12; 6:11–12).

The apostle kept and taught the entire purpose of God (Acts 20:27) and therefore ranks among the greatest in God’s kingdom. If we do the same, we too will be among the greatest in heaven.

One key to our positive response to God’s moral law is knowing that it’s changeless and eternal. In heaven, the traits it requires will not need to be commanded, for they will simply be manifested as part of God’s own character. But we do not naturally reflect those characteristics while still on earth. Thus His moral standards must continue to be taught and heeded so that we might bear Spirit-produced fruit while we wait for its ultimate fulfillment (cf. Rom. 8:2–4).

Greatness does not come by gifts, success, or popularity but by our reverence for, respect of, and obedience to the Word in daily life and how we encourage those attitudes in others.

ASK YOURSELF

What specific, noticeable things are “great” about a person who deliberately pursues obedience to the Word? How do they distinguish themselves from others in expression, attitude, and outlook?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 106). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

April 7 The Transformation

We also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:4

The purpose for Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice was that “we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness” (1 Pet. 2:24). Peter doesn’t say Christ died so we could go to heaven, have peace, or experience love. He died to bring about a transformation: to make saints out of sinners. Christ’s substitutionary work enables a person to depart from sin and enter into a new life pattern: a life of righteousness.

The apostle Paul said, “Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Rom. 6:6). We have died to sin; thus it no longer has a claim on us. First Peter 2:24 echoes that thought: our identification with Christ in His death is a departure from sin and a new direction in life.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 112). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

April 7, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

a genuine imitation of the lord

You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, (1:6a)

The fifth identifying mark proving the Thessalonians’ election was that they became imitators of Paul and of the Lord. Imitators (mimētai) is the word from which the English term mimics derives. This transforming work occurred at the moment of salvation when the Thessalonian believers became new creations (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). Patterns of holy living immediately began replacing the old sinful ones (cf. Eph. 4:22, 24). The Thessalonians, in the middle of a pagan environment, without any veteran church leadership, had in the power of the Holy Spirit become imitators of the apostle, his co-laborers, and—most important—Christ. Salvation starts the work of sanctification (cf. 1 Peter 1:1–2). As Paul reminded the Romans, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3–4; cf. 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15).

The Thessalonian believers’ lifestyles started becoming far different from the sordid, idolatrous paganism of their past and from the legalistic self-righteousness of the Jews in their city. They had become imitators of Jesus Christ. Paul commanded believers to pursue that reality as a way of life: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). He told the Corinthians that it was a progressive experience of sanctification by the Holy Spirit that moved them upward to increasing levels of glory, more and more into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

a joyful endurance in tribulation

having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, (1:6b)

A sixth identifying mark that confirmed the Thessalonians were truly elect was their joy in the midst of suffering and hardship. No matter how difficult circumstances become, true Christians do not lose their ultimate joy because the Holy Spirit dispenses it to the elect. The kingdom of God is joy (Rom. 14:17).

Paul again noted that the Thessalonians had received the word, which was simply a reiteration that they had believed the gospel and been converted. But they did so in much tribulation, that is, in severe suffering that began when Paul first preached. As recorded in Acts 17:1–4, and noted earlier, Paul and his fellow missionaries launched an effective evangelistic ministry spanning three Sabbaths in the Thessalonian synagogue, after which they continued their work in another location for several months—long enough to receive two collections from Philippi (cf. Phil. 4:16), be employed (1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:8), and care for the church in depth (1 Thess. 2:7–11). As a result of the transforming impact of that gospel ministry, the Jews hurled tremendous persecution and opposition against the apostle:

But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them. The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. (Acts 17:5–10)

After Paul and his company had left Thessalonica, it is likely the unbelieving Jews and pagan Gentiles intensified the persecution. Paul later reflected on that assault: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out” (1 Thess. 2:14–15).

The Greek word rendered tribulation is thlipsis, which means “intense pressure,” as opposed to something mild. So the new believers in Thessalonica experienced severe persecution, but the genuineness of their salvation transcended that affliction so that they never lost their joy (cf. 1 Thess 3:4; 2 Thess. 1:4; in contrast, see Ps. 51:12).

The Thessalonians’ responding to persecution and suffering with the joy of the Holy Spirit was reminiscent of the apostles’ reaction early in the book of Acts. After the Sanhedrin flogged them, ordered them not to preach the gospel again, and released them, “they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41).

But one should not consider those Spirit-filled responses of joy strange or incomprehensible—joy is a divine benefit of the Christian’s standing in Christ, one of the “spiritual blessing(s) in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Romans 5:1–4 declares:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope. (Cf. Acts 16:22–25; Gal. 5:22; Phil. 4:4.)

Mere human joy will die under persecution; the joy of the Holy Spirit will transcend it and grow. Yet again, though such joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), all believers are called on to pursue greater and greater joy (Phil. 4:4).[1]


6 The kai hymeis at the beginning at this verse carries the connotation “and you on your part.” These words introduce a new point in Paul’s explanation of how he knew God had “chosen” the Thessalonians (v. 4). In a relatively short time they “became imitators.” Egenēthēte (“became,” GK 1181) is the same verb and tense as egenēthēmen, “we lived” (lit., “we became”), in v. 5. Now their lifestyle was completely different from what it was before the gospel came to them, because their conversion led them to imitate Paul and his companions.

Paul repeatedly encouraged such a wholesome following of examples (1 Co 4:16; 11:1; Gal 4:12; Eph 5:1; Php 3:17; 4:9; 1 Th 3:12; 2 Th 3:7, 9). He did not hesitate to present himself as one to be copied because he was patterning his own life after Christ’s (1 Co 11:1). That is why he adds “and of the Lord” here. The notion of imitating God and Christ applies especially to holiness (1 Pe 1:15–16), love (Mt 5:43–48; Lk 6:36; Jn 13:34; 15:12), and suffering (Mt 16:24–25; Mk 10:38–39; Lk 14:27; Jn 15:18–20; 1 Pe 2:18–21)—three areas touched on later in Thessalonians (holiness in 3:13; 4:3, 7; love in 3:12; 4:9–10; suffering in 3:2–4).

Spiritual advance was possible for the Thessalonians only after they first “welcomed the message” preached by the missionaries (“words,” v. 5, and “message,” v. 6, are both from logos, GK 3364). Even after their conversion, their response to the message was just as enthusiastic, though this response entailed “much tribulation” (NASB; NIV, “severe suffering”). “Tribulation” (thlipsis, GK 2568) plays a large part in these letters (1 Th 1:6; 3:3–4, 7; 2 Th 1:4, 6–7) because persecution was so common (Ac 17:5–9) and grew so intense as to be comparable to the bitter opposition by the Jews against the Lord Jesus and the Judean church (1 Th 2:14–16). There was no extreme to which Christ’s enemies would not go in making life miserable for Christians. Yet instead of misery the Thessalonians displayed the “joy of the Holy Spirit (NASB; NIV, “joy given by the Holy Spirit”). Such a response defies natural explanation. The same One who gave Paul and his companions power for proclaiming the gospel (v. 5) lived within those who received the gospel and transformed them with joy.[2]


1:6. Jesus showed Paul how to live, and even personally instructed him (Gal. 1:12). Paul lived, led, and taught by the example he had received from Christ. In the same manner, the people Paul taught along the way—those in the churches he planted—got their signals from him. He became the model to others, just as Christ was the model to him.

In their letter to the Thessalonians Paul, Silas, and Timothy appealed to the Thessalonians memory, drawing them back to the lifestyle of the three men when they lived in Thessalonica: You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord. This pattern forms a great circle of discipleship and leadership which still applies today.

Leaders and teachers in the church are to follow Christ; those in the leader’s care follow after his example; they, in turn, become models of Christlikeness to people outside the church. It was the manner of Christ in Paul, Silas, and Timothy which helped inspire the Thessalonians to follow Christ.

It is a reminder to all of us that it is the image of Jesus in us—the way we model him—that attracts people to become like Christ.

Furthermore, the Thessalonians followed Paul and Christ with determination, in spite of severe suffering. Paul and Silas’s stay in Thessalonica was shorter than planned due to a riot which the Jews staged (Acts 17:5–10). Friends were arrested, the community shouted accusations, government officials became uneasy, and Paul and Silas escaped to the neighboring town of Berea under cover of darkness. With this background, the church in Thessalonica undoubtedly suffered under suspicion and community unrest. But the Holy Spirit gave them the joy and ability to receive the full message of Christ and to follow him.

Suffering and joy are almost always linked. It is the confirmation of John 15:18–21, that those who follow Christ will suffer as Christ did. As Paul later wrote in his letter to the Philippians, there is fellowship in suffering for Christ, a fellowship with Christ himself (Phil. 3:10). This brings a joy sustained by the Holy Spirit.[3]


1:6 Thus Paul could say, “You became followers of us and of the Lord.” One would have expected him to say “of the Lord and of us,” mentioning the Lord first. But here he is giving the order of their experience. Their first introduction to the Lord Jesus was in the life of the apostle.

It is sobering to think that people are supposed to be able to see Christ in us. We should be able to say with Paul, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).

Notice that they received the word with affliction and joy. This is how they had imitated the Lord and the apostles. Externally there was affliction; internally there was joy. It is an unusual combination! For the man of the world, it is impossible to experience joy and affliction simultaneously; to him, sorrow is the opposite of joy. The Christian has a joy of the Holy Spirit that is independent of circumstances; to him, the opposite of joy is sin.

The affliction they endured was the persecution which followed their conversion.[4]


1:6 followers of us and the Lord: Everyone needs teachers, especially new converts. At times, Paul encouraged new believers to imitate him (1 Cor. 11:1) as he was imitating Christ. All the writers of the NT lead their readers back to the footprints of Christ as shown in the Gospels (Phil. 2:5; Heb. 12:2; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 John 2:6). This should be our goal also, to lead others to Christ by our own virtuous example. As we focus on Jesus, we will reflect His image to others (2 Cor. 3:18). Having received is not the usual word for reception, but a word expressing a warm welcome. The Thessalonians seized the gospel with joy, even if it meant facing persecution.[5]


1:6. The outstanding fruit of faith in the gospel was the Thessalonians’ change of behavior. They became imitators of their spiritual parents, the missionaries. This is normal Christian experience. But they also went on to imitate the Lord. This too is natural, and the order is true to life as well. A new Christian first looks to other believers as his pattern, but then as he matures he realizes that Jesus Christ is his best “model” (cf. 1 Peter 2:21).

Despite severe suffering the Thessalonians welcomed the message. The Jews among them must have felt the hatred of their unbelieving brothers in the flesh who, as has been pointed out, were especially antagonistic to the gospel in that city. The Gentile converts must have had to swim against the swift current of paganism that flowed like a torrent through the conduit of commercial Thessalonica. And the city’s chief men’s wives, who had become Christians, had to go home to unbelieving husbands who would not have appreciated their newly sensitized consciences. Yet in spite of trials without, the Thessalonian believers possessed joy within, the joy of sins forgiven. It is interesting that Christians who have tribulations in their daily walks often seem to have greater joy in the Lord than those who live in more comfortable spiritual climates. A Christian’s joy should be determined not by his circumstances but by his relationship with Christ. This was true of the Thessalonians. The source of their joy was the indwelling Holy Spirit.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2002). 1 & 2 Thessalonians (pp. 23–25). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Thomas, R. L. (2006). 1 Thessalonians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 381). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 9). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2024). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1573). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[6] Constable, T. L. (1985). 1 Thessalonians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 692). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

April 7 The Sinful Captors

“… A great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people.”

Matthew 26:47

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The crowd that captured Jesus at Gethsemane illustrates the world’s sinful, hateful rejection of Jesus Christ.

A crowd can have a positive, uplifting influence, as when a large group of neighbors bands together to help someone in need. But crowds can also have a negative impact, such as when they incite riots or heckle someone who is trying to give a speech.

The multitude that came to the Garden of Gethsemane to capture Jesus is a prime example of a crowd that formed for an evil purpose. That throng was not at all like the spontaneous groups of admirers that often sought the Lord. Instead, it was a carefully selected group whose only purpose was to arrest Jesus and ensure that He was executed.

Judas most likely rushed away from the upper room and informed the Jewish leaders that now was the time they had long waited for—an opportunity to seize Jesus, convict Him of rebellion against Rome, and force the Romans to put Him to death. By now the conspiracy against Jesus had grown very large and involved the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the entire Sanhedrin. In their desire to guarantee Jesus’ capture, the leaders gathered perhaps a thousand men that night.

This evil group was a prophetic portrait of the world’s opposition to Christ through the ages. The crowd illustrated sinful disobedience by falsely accusing Him of crimes, by mindlessly and selfishly participating in His arrest (even without an informed opinion about Him), and by cowardly using the cover of darkness and the safety of an obscure location to implement the leaders’ plot.

The unbelieving world has always disdained God’s kingdom and the mission of His Son. Instead of coming in repentance and faith and reverently embracing Christ’s work on the cross, the world wants to find any excuse to do away with the Savior. In contrast, believers are called to stand apart from any unbelieving crowd and defend the name of Jesus Christ.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Pray for the discernment and courage not to follow the mind–set of the world’s crowd, but to rather be obedient to the Lord Jesus.

For Further Study: The large crowds that followed Jesus earlier in His ministry were not always sincere. Read John 6, and note the various ways the people misunderstood Jesus’ message. ✧ How did He answer their objections and grumblings?[1]


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

APRIL 7 THE GOODNESS OF GOD

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

—Psalm 68:19

The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men. He is tenderhearted and of quick sympathy, and His unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open, frank and friendly. By His nature He is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people….

The goodness of God is the drive behind all the blessings He daily bestows upon us. God created us because He felt good in His heart and He redeemed us for the same reason….

The whole outlook of mankind might be changed if we could all believe that we dwell under a friendly sky and that the God of heaven, though exalted in power and majesty, is eager to be friends with us. KOH127-129

Lord, as I face this new day, help me remember that You delight in me and desire to bring blessings into my life. May I always be receptive and grateful. Amen.[1]


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

April 6 Daily Help

BY the sweet drawing of the Spirit, the sinner finds “a peace with God which passeth all understanding, which keeps his heart and mind through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now, you will plainly perceive that all this may be done without any compulsion. Man is as much drawn willingly, as if he were not drawn at all; and he comes to Christ with full consent, with as full a consent as if no secret influence had ever been exercised in his heart. But that influence must be exercised, or else there never has been and there never will be, any man who either can or will come to the Lord Jesus Christ.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 100). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.