Daily Archives: April 8, 2018

April 8: Compelled to Worship

Deuteronomy 12:29–14:29; 2 Corinthians 4:1–6; Psalm 36

When we experience God’s mercy, it shows. Our instincts change and our priorities shift from gratifying our own ego to making much of God. We stop fearing what others think of us and find our identity grounded in Christ. It’s a transformation that shows God is working in our lives. Paul recognized the transformative power of the gospel, and it drove his ministry. This is evidenced in his second letter to the Corinthian church:

“Just as we have been shown mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced shameful hidden things, not behaving with craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but with the open proclamation of the truth commending ourselves to every person’s conscience before God” (2 Cor 4:1–2).

Paul wasn’t manipulating or distorting the good news for his own gain, as some were doing in the community. He preached the good news to all people with openness and sincerity. He allowed the gospel to convict people as it should, refusing to distort it to make people comfortable. He proclaimed “Christ Jesus as Lord” and he and his disciples as “slaves for the sake of Jesus” to those in Corinth (2 Cor 4:5). Bound to Christ, they lived as free slaves for His cause. They were solely dedicated to Jesus because they wanted to be, and because of the salvation He had brought them.

Psalm 36 provides an illustration of Paul’s approach, highlighting the qualities of those who don’t fear God. This person is characterized by “rebellion in the midst of his heart” (Psa 36:1). He is self-absorbed and rejects his need: “he flatters himself in his eyes, hating to detect his iniquity” (Psa 36:2). He is deceitful (Psa 36:3).

The psalmist doesn’t contrast this picture with one of the righteous man. Instead, he honors Yahweh—His loyal love, faithfulness, righteousness, and judgments (Psa 36:5–6). The psalmist says, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psa 36:9). Paul echoes “For God … is the one who has shined in our hearts for the enlightenment of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). God’s grace puts everything in perspective. Both passages help us assess with wisdom the message and posture of those who teach. They also challenge us to take a look at our own standing before God.

Take an honest look at what motivates you. Are you transformed by the good news? Is it apparent to others around you?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]

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

April 8 Controlling Yourself

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).


Gentleness is power under control.

The Greek word translated “gentle” in Matthew 5:5 speaks of humility, meekness, and non-retaliation—traits that in our proud society are often equated with weakness or cowardice. But in reality they are virtues that identify Kingdom citizens.

The same word was used by the Greeks to describe a gentle breeze, a soothing medicine, or a domesticated colt. Those are examples of power under control. A gentle breeze brings pleasure, but a hurricane brings destruction; a soothing medicine brings healing, but an overdose can kill; a domesticated colt is useful, but a wild horse is dangerous.

Christ Himself is the epitome of gentleness. Even when officially announcing His messiahship to Jerusalem, He humbly entered the city astride a donkey (Matt. 21:5). His behavior amid persecution was exemplary: “Christ … suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats” (1 Peter 2:21–23).

Despite His humility and restraint, Jesus wasn’t weak or cowardly. He never defended Himself, but when His Father’s house was being desecrated, He made a whip and beat those who were defiling it (John 2:13–16; Matt. 21:12–13). He never shirked from pronouncing judgment on unrepentant sinners and never compromised His integrity or disobeyed His Father’s will.

The hypocritical Jewish religious leaders expected that when Israel’s Messiah came, He would commend them for their wonderful spirituality. Instead, Jesus condemned them and called them children of the devil (John 8:44). In retaliation they had Him murdered. His power was always under control; theirs wasn’t.

Our society has little use for gentleness. The macho, do-your-own-thing mentality characterizes most of our heroes. But you are called to a higher standard. When you pattern your life after Jesus, you will have a significant impact on society and will know true happiness.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the virtue of gentleness, which He is producing in you by the power of His Spirit. Follow Christ’s example today so that gentleness will mark your character.

For Further Study: Read the following passages, noting the responsibilities and blessings that accompany self-restraint: Proverbs 16:32; Ephesians 4:1–2; Colossians 3:12; and Titus 3:1–2.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 111). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Fed-Up Rev. Graham Lays Into Jimmy Kimmel… “Where Does [He] Get Off…?”

Rev. Franklin Graham believes late-night host Jimmy Kimmel has gone too far. Kimmel mocked first lady Melania Trump during his show Monday, making fun of her Slovenian accent as she she read to children during the annual Easter egg roll at the White House. “Be clever and curious, just like a cat,” Trump said as…

The post Fed-Up Rev. Graham Lays Into Jimmy Kimmel… “Where Does [He] Get Off…?” appeared first on Conservative Tribune.

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China Bans Bibles from Online Sellers Like Amazon

As atheist government pledges to promote “Chinese-style Christianity and theology,” changes at JD.com, Taobao, and Dang Dang may revive debate over Bible access.

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.

Shoppers who searched the word Bible on retailers such as Taobao, Jingdong, Dang Dang, and Amazon.cn began receiving a “no results” response, reported the South China Morning Post.

Search analytics revealed a significant spike in the keyword Bible on March 30. But by April 1, analytics showed a zero, suggesting that the word may have been censored, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Two days before the Bibles were banned from online purchase, the Chinese government released a document outlining how it intends to promote “Chinese Christianity” over the next five years. According to the document, one of the government’s key objectives is to reinterpret and retranslate the Bible in order to enhance “Chinese-style Christianity and theology.”

Among China’s main religions—which include Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, and folk beliefs—Christianity is unique for having its holy text banned from commercial brick-and-mortar bookstores. Until the internet, Bibles could only be obtained via church bookstores (because they lacked a barcode), a reality that in the past has dissuaded house church Christians wary of official Three-Self churches from purchasing the text.

A joint venture between the Amity Foundation and the United Bible Societies, Amity Printing Company is the only press in China allowed by the government to print Bibles.

As CT reported in 2003:

Legal Bibles are not in short supply. The Red Guards confiscated Bibles, so that after the Cultural Revolution, the most pressing need of Christians in China …

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John MacArthur is Still the Man

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On this program, JD discusses John MacArthur and Grace Community Church disinviting The Gospel Coalition from hosting a conference there, answers a few sincere questions, talks about Todd Bentley, has audio trouble and then picks up with Piper audio at MLK50 in which he discusses King’s heresy.

The post John MacArthur is Still the Man appeared first on Bible Thumping Wingnut.

Secular Humanism and genuine Christian faith

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day…

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That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.

Philippians 3:10

Do we really believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is something more than making us the “happiest fellows in the Easter parade”?

Are we just to listen to the bright cantata and join in singing, “Up from the Grave He Arose,” smell the flowers and go home and forget it?

No, certainly not!

It is truth and a promise with a specific moral application. The Resurrection certainly commands us with all the authority of sovereign obligation—the missionary obligation!

I cannot give in to the devil’s principal, deceitful tactic which makes so many Christians satisfied with an “Easter celebration” instead of experiencing the power of Christ’s resurrection. It is the devil’s business to keep Christians mourning and weeping with pity beside the cross instead of demonstrating that Jesus Christ is risen indeed.

When will the Christian church rise up, depending on His promise and power, and get on the offensive for the risen and ascended Savior?

Lord, Your resurrection is a call to action. No other religion can claim the power You displayed on that first Easter morning. You are the one, true God! Give me opportunities to tell others about Your saving power.[1]

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

Diamond and Silk ‘If a Private Bakery Has to Go Against Their Christian Values to Bake a Cake Then Zuckerberg Has to Allow us to Speak Our Truth’ (VIDEO)

Diamond and Silk unloaded on Facebook Friday night after the social media giant finally responded to their many inquiries as to why Facebook is censoring their content and brand.

The dynamic duo boast over 1.2 million Facebook followers on their main Diamond and Silk page.

Diamond and Silk say their reach on Facebook has dramatically reduced prompting them to seek answers from Facebook.

After giving them the runaround for months, Facebook responded with, “The Policy team has came to the conclusion that your content and your brand has been determined unsafe to the community.”

Even worse, Facebook said their ‘decision is final and it is not appeal-able in any way.’

Diamond and Silk appeared on Fox News to discuss the latest development from Facebook Fascistbook.

“We are two women of color, so how are we and our content, our brand unsafe for the community? We don’t sell drugs, we’re not laying out in the streets, we’re not thugs, we don’t belong to no gangs, so how are we unsafe to the community? It bothers me. It’s offensive. It’s appalling,” Diamond and Silk said.

“Why are you censoring two women of color, two black women?” the ladies continued.

Silk dropped a truth bomb at the end of the segment, “If a privately owned bakery has to go against their Christian values to bake a cake, then Mark Zuckerberg is going to have to suck it up buttercup and allow Diamond and Silk to speak our truth.”


The ladies did not confirm whether they are moving forward with litigation against Facebook, however; they clearly stated they will not stand for the censorship.

Diamond and Silk rose in popularity during the 2016 presidential election.

They regularly appeared on Fox News and other outlets showing their support for Donald Trump.

The two ladies were also seen on the campaign trail stumping for Trump.

YouTube also recently demonetized Diamond and Silk’s videos.

The post Diamond and Silk ‘If a Private Bakery Has to Go Against Their Christian Values to Bake a Cake Then Zuckerberg Has to Allow us to Speak Our Truth’ (VIDEO) appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

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April 8, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Evaluation of the Minister

But to me it is a very small thing that I should be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. (4:3–4)

Paul was not bragging or placing himself above other ministers or above any other Christian. What he said about his own attitude toward himself should be said by every minister and every Christian. It should be a very small thing to any of us when our ministry or our spiritual life is criticized or praised, whether by fellow Christians, by any human court, or any other of man’s tribunals. We can benefit greatly from the counsel of a wise, spiritual friend, and sometimes even from the criticisms of unbelievers. But no human being is qualified to determine the legitimacy, quality, or faithfulness of our work for the Lord. We are not even qualified to determine those things for ourselves. Matters of outward sin are to be judged as 1 Timothy 5:19–21 indicates. But apart from the discipline of sinning servants, we can make no absolutely accurate judgment as to the faithfulness of heart, mind, and body of any servant of God.

Examined and examine are from anakrinō, which means “to investigate, question, evaluate.” It does not mean to determine guilt or innocence, as the King James (“judged, judge”) suggests. Human court (anthrōpinēs hēmeras) literally means “human day,” that is, a day in a human court. No human being, or group of human beings, is qualified to examine and evaluate God’s servants. No Christian, and in this context especially God’s ministers, should be concerned about any such evaluation. Only God knows the truth.

others’ evaluation

We should not be offended when people criticize us, or show false modesty when they praise us. We should simply say with Paul, “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). Our focus is on our Lord Jesus Christ. We know that we are being transformed into His image because He says we are, not because of what we can see or what others can see.

A caring minister of Christ cannot be insensitive to the feelings, needs, and opinions of his people. He should not try to be. A sincere word of appreciation after a sermon is encouraging, and reflects spiritual concern and growth in the listener’s life. A word of helpful criticism can be a needed corrective and even a blessing. But no minister can remain faithful to his calling if he lets his congregation, or any other human beings, decide how true his motives are or whether he is working within the Lord’s will. Because their knowledge and understanding of the facts are imperfect, their criticisms and compliments are imperfect. In humility and love, God’s minister must not allow himself to care about other people’s evaluations of his ministry.

his own evaluation

Nor must he allow himself to care about his own evaluation of his ministry. All of us are naturally inclined to build ourselves up in our own minds. We all look into rose-colored mirrors. Even when we put ourselves down, especially in front of others, we often are simply appealing for recognition and flattery. The mature minister does not trust his own judgment in such things any more than he trusts the judgment of others. He agrees with Paul that his own evaluation may be as unreliable as that of anyone else.

Spiritual introspection is dangerous. Known sin must be faced and confessed, and known shortcomings are to be prayed about and worked on for improvement. But no Christian, no matter how advanced in the faith, is able to properly evaluate his own spiritual life. Before we know it, we will be ranking ourselves, classifying ourselves—and discover that a great deal of time is being spent in thinking of nothing but ourselves. The bias in our own favor and the tendency of the flesh toward self-justification make this a dangerous project.

Paul knew of no serious sin or deficiency in his own life. I am conscious of nothing against myself (cf. 2 Cor. 1:12). But he knew he could be wrong in that assessment; even as an apostle he could be wrong about his own heart. He, too, needed to remember to take heed when he stood, lest he should fall (1 Cor. 10:12). So he continued explaining to the Corinthians, yet I am not by this acquitted. But that did not let him matter either. He was not proud that he knew of nothing wrong, and he did not worry because he might be mistaken. His own evaluation, favorable or unfavorable, made no difference.

The only evaluation that makes a difference is the Lord’s. The one who examines me is the Lord. Only His examination counts. Paul had long followed the counsel he gave to Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God” (2 Tim. 2:15). He was not concerned about presenting himself to others for approval, or even to himself for approval, but only to His Lord.

A minister serves his people spiritually only when he is a faithful servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God. And God alone is the judge of the true spiritual value of that service.[1]

4 Paul feels confident that he has been functioning appropriately in the discharge of his duties; his conscience “is clear.” He does open the door, however, to the possibility that he may not have been doing as good a job as he thinks; but it will be up to the Lord (kyrios, GK 3261) to make that final assessment. That is the only judgment he is concerned about. One would hope that every pastor could line himself or herself up with Paul’s perspective here. Sometimes we spend too much time worrying about what others might say about how we are doing, whereas our real concern should be with the Lord’s evaluation.[2]

4:4 / The initial portion of this verse explicates Paul’s eschatological freedom from concern with judgment. The niv again fails to signal that Paul connects this statement to the preceding lines as a word of explanation by leaving the word “for” untranslated. Paul literally starts out, “For I am conscious of nothing against myself.” The statement registers a profound eschatological conviction, namely, that human consciousness (or “conscience”) is neither a valid nor an ultimate arbiter of divine truth. Even one who was attuned to the eschatological work of God in Christ was not in a position to allow conscience to pronounce a final verdict. Only the Lord can make the final judgment concerning the faithfulness of the steward.

As the niv translates, a clean conscience does not make me innocent. While that rendering is accurate, it stops short of the full sense of Paul’s statement. The verb translated “make … innocent” is often rendered “to justify,” “to make righteous,” or “to put in a right relationship [with God]” (Gk. dikaioō). Paul at least means to say that having a clean conscience does not guarantee that he is right with God. Human opinion can never guarantee such a relationship. Only divine action achieves and ensures that humanity and God are in a right relationship. This theological conviction has stimulated Paul’s engagement with the Corinthians from the beginning of this letter, as he denied the value of their quest for human wisdom over against an absolute confidence in the work of God in the cross of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the best way to render this important verse is as follows: “For I am conscious of nothing against myself, but in this I am not made right with God—the one judging me is the Lord.”

Paul informs the Corinthians that he was accountable to the Lord for his faithfulness to the gospel. His point is clear, although as interpreters recognize, the identity of the Lord is not immediately apparent. Paul mentioned God in 4:1 and refers to God explicitly in 4:5, so that some commentators argue that the Lord is God. That conclusion seems ill-advised, however, for it is Paul’s normal pattern to use “the Lord” (without an identity specified) in reference to Jesus Christ. Moreover, in the following verse Paul writes of the coming of the Lord, a clear indication that one should understand “the Lord” in this section to refer to Christ. Thus, in 4:4 Paul informs the Corinthians that because Christ is his judge, he does not judge himself, for although he is not aware of failure in his faithfulness, his own opinion does not justify him in God’s sight.[3]

4:4. Paul admitted that his conscience was clear, but this did not support his own innocence. It did not matter if Paul thought he was blameless, just as it did not matter if the Corinthians thought he was blameworthy, because it is the Lord who judges. He did not reject the appropriate use of discernment between good and evil people. In fact, he went on to judge one of the Corinthians in the very next chapter (5:3) and to instruct the Corinthians to judge between matters within the church (5:12; 6:2). Rather, as the next verse makes clear, he spoke of the ultimate judgment of a person’s life—the judgment of one’s eternal destiny.[4]

4. I am not aware of anything against myself, yet not for this reason have I been justified. But the one who judges me is the Lord.

  • “I am not aware of anything against myself.” In the Greek, the word nothing is placed first for emphasis, and so Paul is saying emphatically that his conscience is clear; he is unaware of any wrongdoing (see Job 27:6). The comment should not be interpreted that he has silenced his conscience. Rather, he means that with respect to his apostleship, he has been a faithful servant who dutifully has fulfilled all his tasks. By contrast, John Albert Bengel keenly observes, “He whom conscience accuses, is held to adjudge his own cause.”
  • “Yet not for this reason have I been justified.” The lucid wording of this clause expresses a profound truth. If Paul had been justified on the basis of his apostolic faithfulness, he would be teaching a righteousness that could be earned. Justification, however, can never rest on good works performed by man (Titus 3:5), for then the mediatorial work of Christ would have been insufficient or incomplete. On the basis of Christ’s perfect work, man is fully justified.

Paul writes the verb to justify in the perfect tense: “I have been justified.” He indicates that he has already been declared righteous, not because of his own works, but because of Jesus Christ. In his life, Paul demonstrates that he is diligent in his apostolic work, yet with his diligence he did not achieve perfection (compare Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:12–13).

  • “But the one who judges me is the Lord.” Jesus Christ is the judge, who himself has fulfilled the law (Matt. 5:17) and is the end of the law (Rom. 10:4). He has a right to judge Paul, for through the Holy Spirit Jesus commissioned him as an apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 13:1–3). Jesus judges Paul with respect to the apostolic service Paul performs in his ministry. The Lord assigns, supervises, and evaluates the work Paul must accomplish, whether in periods of frustration (see Acts 18:6–10) or in times of impending hardship (Acts 23:11). Hence, Paul tells the Corinthians, he is responsible to the Lord (compare 2 Cor. 5:10).[5]

4:4 When the apostle says “I know of nothing against myself,” he means that in the matter of Christian service, he is not conscious of any charge of unfaithfulness that might be brought against him. He does not mean for a moment that he does not know of any sin in his life or any way in which he falls short of perfection! The passage should be read in the light of the context, and the subject here is Christian service and faithfulness in it. But even if he did not know anything against himself, yet he was not justified by this. He simply was not competent to judge in the matter. After all, the Lord is the Judge.[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 100–102). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 291). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (pp. 87–88). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, pp. 60–61). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, p. 131). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1757). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.