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.

Pope Francis and the Coming One World Religion

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

There is an organization that we are hearing more and more about, called the United Religions Initiative. Pope Francis has close ties to many members and especially to its founder, William E. Swing, a former bishop of the Episcopal Church in San Francisco. When Pope Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he invited Mr. Swing to celebrate the United Religions Initiative’s 10th anniversary in Latin America at his Cathedral.

“The URI is a United Nations project. It was heralded in June 1995 by Bishop Swing at the occult, earth-worshipping interfaith service he was invited to conduct for the UN, honoring the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. Attending the service in San Francisco’s Episcopal Grace Cathedral were political luminaries and representatives of all religions, including Britain’s Princess Margaret, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Polish President Lech Walesa, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Archbishop Renato Martino…

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CultureWatch: On Moral Absolutes and Discerning Right from Wrong

There is perhaps no greater need today in the West than for people to be able to distinguish right from wrong. Most folks have altogether lost their moral compasses and are simply roaming aimlessly in an ethical no-man’s land. Moral absolutes have been jettisoned and relativism reigns.

This is always a recipe for disaster. And we have seen it occurring throughout human history. There has always been a connection between the abandonment of morality and the abandonment of God. When we declare the nonexistence or the inconsequentiality of God, we lose the basis for moral absolutes.

In his 2005 book Unspeakable, Os Guinness describes our modern world without God: “What was once unimaginable becomes thinkable and then fashionable. What used to be abnormal is now normal. Where we were shocked, we are now indifferent. What started as soft-core ends as hard-core.”

Here he is simply repeating the wisdom of the prophet Isaiah. Two and a half millennia ago he offered this sombre warning: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Most of the great thinkers since that time have made the connection between God, moral absolutes, and the state of a nation. Numerous quotes could be offered here. Plato for example knew that some objective basis of morality was needed.

He wrote: “Any system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” The classical philosophers spoke of the importance of cultivating virtue, both private and public. As Aristotle said, “Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities.”

Sir Francis Bacon made this declaration: “All good moral philosophy is … but the handmaid to religion.” And John Locke said this: “To give a man full knowledge of morality, I would send him to no other book than the New Testament.”

The Irish political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke put it this way: “Manners [morals] are more important than laws. Upon them, in great measure, the laws depend.” President George Washington said it this way: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

President John Quincy Adams concurred: “There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments.”

In 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville made this observation: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

C.S. Lewis said this: “There is no escape… If we are to continue to make moral judgments (and whatever we say we shall in fact continue) then we must believe that the conscience of man is not a product of Nature. It can be valid only if it is an offshoot of some absolute moral wisdom, a moral wisdom which exists absolutely “on its own” and is not a product of non-moral, non-rational Nature.”

The great scientist Albert Einstein got it right when he said:

Science has provided the possibility of liberation for human beings from hard labor, but science itself is not a liberator. It creates means not goals. Man should use [science] for reasonable goals. When the ideals of humanity are war and conquest, those tools become as dangerous as a razor in the hands of a child of three. We must not condemn man’s inventiveness and patient conquest of the forces of nature because they are being used wrongly and disobediently now. The fate of humanity is entirely dependent upon its moral development.

Or as Martin Luther King Jr stated, “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

Such quotes could be repeated at length. The wisdom of the ages needs to be applied to the modern dilemmas we now find ourselves in. Everyday individuals and high-powered leaders both need to get back to morality, which means getting back to God.

The reason I have all this on my mind of late has to do with what I read in my daily Bible reading. This morning the familiar words of Solomon struck me with renewed force. Israel’s King David had died and Solomon was newly established on the throne (1 Kings 1).

In 1 Kings 2 we read about him subduing his enemies and securing his kingdom. God then appears to him in a dream and asks him what he would like. Most of you would know how the story goes. Instead of wealth or power or other selfish things, he asked for wisdom so that he might rule his people rightly.

We read about this in 1 Kings 3:5-10:

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

God did indeed answer this request, and in the very next chapter we encounter the very familiar story of his wisdom being applied to the case of two women and a baby they were fighting over. In 3:28 we read about the outcome of his ruling: “When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.”

And at the end of chapter four we read more about how Solomon’s wisdom became known even to the surrounding nations. As we find in verse 34: “From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.”

Wow, we sure can use that sort of wisdom today. We sure need this sort of moral discernment that can distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong. That is in such short supply today. We all need it, and our political leaders certainly need it as well.

But very few seem to have it. Part of the way to get back to greatness as a people and as a nation is to have the ability to tell the difference between truth and error, between what is right and what is wrong. Would that more people – and more leaders – make the sort of prayer that Solomon did.

We sure need it bad right now.

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The post On Moral Absolutes and Discerning Right from Wrong appeared first on CultureWatch.


For l am the least of the apostles…But by the grace of God I am what I am….

1 CORINTHIANS 15:9, 10

Every humble and devoted believer in Jesus Christ must have his own periods of wonder and amazement at this mystery of godliness—the willingness of the Son of Man to take our place in judgment so that the people of God could be a cleansed and spiritual people!

If the amazement has all gone out of it, something is wrong, and you need to have the stony ground broken up again!

The Apostle Paul, one of the holiest men who ever lived, was not ashamed of his times of remembrance and wonder over the grace and kindness of God. He knew that God did not hold his old sins against him forever!

Knowing the old account was all settled, Paul’s happy heart assured him again and again that all was well.

He could only shake his head in amazement and confess: “I am unworthy to be called, but by His grace, I am a new creation in Jesus Christ!”

I make this point about the faith and assurance and rejoicing of Paul in order to say that if that humble sense of perpetual penance ever leaves our justified being, we are on the way to backsliding![1]

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

William Lane Craig debates Peter Atkins: Does God Exist?


Here is the video of a debate with Peter Atkins, from the Reasonable Faith speaking tour in the UK:

This is a must-see debate. It was extremely fun to watch.


On Wednesday 26th October 2011 William Lane Craig debated Peter Atkins on the topic: Does God Exist? This debate took place at the University of Manchester  as part of the UK Reasonable Faith Tour with William Lane Craig. The debate was chaired by Christopher Whitehead, Head of Chemistry School at the University. Post-debate discussion was moderated by Peter S Williams, Philosopher in Residence at the Damaris Trust, UK.

Dr. William Lane Craig:

William Lane Craig (born August 23, 1949) is an American analytic philosopher, philosophical theologian, and Christian apologist. He is known for his work on the philosophy of time and the philosophy of religion, specifically the existence of God and the defense of Christian theism. He has authored or edited over 30 books including The Kalam Cosmological Argument (1979), Theism, Atheism and Big…

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April 8 Our Responsibility Clarified

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

The New Testament presents a paradox concerning God’s law. On one hand, it is abolished; on the other, responsibilities to it remain. Regarding Jews and Gentiles, Paul writes that Christ “is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace” (Eph. 2:14–15). With the church’s emergence, the “dividing wall” of civil ordinances disappeared.

The ceremonial law also has terminated. While Christ was on the cross, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38). With Jesus’ death the Old Testament sacrifices became invalid and unnecessary.

In a certain sense God’s moral law seems no longer binding on His children (Rom. 10:4; 6:12–15; Gal. 5:17–18). Paul harmonizes this notion when he speaks of being “without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). In Christ, believers are anything but without the law. Whereas His law is totally different from the Old Testament moral law with its penalties for disobedience, it is not different at all from the righteous standards which that law taught.

Whenever we look at the moral law with humility and a sincere desire to obey, the law will invariably point us to Jesus Christ—as was always its ultimate intention.


What benefits do the teachings of the law continue to deposit in the life of the believer? If not for its guidance and its setting of boundaries, where would our human nature choose to live and operate?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 107). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

April 8 Christ Our Shepherd

You were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Peter 2:25

Today’s verse is the apostle Peter’s allusion to Isaiah 53:6, which says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” If the Lord had not provided a sacrifice for sin, He could never have brought us into His fold.

The task of a shepherd is to guard sheep. The Greek term for “shepherd” in 1 Peter 2:25 can also be translated as “pastor.” That, along with the word translated as “overseer,” describe the responsibilities of elders (cf. 1 Pet. 5:2). Jesus guards, oversees, leads, and supervises His flock. He said, “The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). That’s exactly what He did to bring us to Himself.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 113). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

April 8 The Need for a Priest

The Lord said to Moses, Bring Aaron and his sons, their garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, the two rams and the basket containing bread made without yeast, and gather the entire assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Moses did as the Lord commanded him, and the assembly gathered at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Lev 8:1-4

These verses give us an introduction to priesthood by describing in very brief compass the ingredients which make it possible. First comes the word of God. A true priesthood never originates from man’s conception of what he needs. It comes from God’s word, God’s thoughts. God knows us and he has designed this for us. It doesn’t come from a pope, nor a council, nor a convention, nor a synod of bishops, nor any other form of human committee.

The second element is Aaron and his sons. Aaron was the brother of Moses. He and his descendants were the only family in the entire Old Testament authorized to serve as priests. In this family Aaron himself was to be the high priest. As the book of Hebrews makes very clear, we too have a high priest. Aaron is the picture of that great high priest, Jesus Christ our Lord. And his priesthood is as necessary to us as Aaron’s was to the Israelites. Aaron’s sons represent every believer in Jesus Christ. Everyone who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is constituted a priest to the other members of the human family. John says that Jesus has made us a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:6).

The third ingredient of the priesthood is the garments. In the symbolism of Scripture, garments are always a revelation of the character of the individual who wears them. So as we examine the list of garments we will understand what a priest is, what he does, and how he functions.

The fourth ingredient of the priesthood is the anointing oil, which, in Scripture, always speaks of the Holy Spirit. This means that a priest, to be effective, always must be walking in the Spirit. You will never be an effective priest unless you learn the ministry of the Holy Spirit, learn how he works in you and through you, imparting the life of Christ to others through you.

The next ingredient is the sacrifices. These always speak of redemption, of the need for dealing with the problem of sin and guilt. Since Aaron and his sons were but men, they too needed sacrifices.

The sixth element of the priesthood was the fact that God told Moses to bring all the congregation together. God insisted that all the adults and children be there. He wanted the humblest and the greatest in Israel to be present. Moses had to assemble the whole congregation — more than a million people. That must have created quite a seating problem! Perhaps they erected grandstands. But in any event they were all to be there in order that God himself might teach them what a priesthood meant.

Our Father, help us to lift our eyes unto this great high priest who is within us, ready to release to us all the mighty resources available to him. Help us to begin to lay hold of these resources and to understand that you have made provision to meet all our needs.

Life Application

Every aspect of God-ordained Priesthood has been fulfilled in our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. When He enters as our Savior and Lord, He ministers to all our need, and invites us to serve as His representative priests. Have we entered into this amazing inheritance?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message: The Need for a Priest

April 8, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

Affirmation of God’s Knowledge (69:5)

5 Suddenly the psalmist turns again to the Lord in prayer with an emphatic expression, “you know” (cf. v. 19). God knows that the psalmist has acted without wisdom, i.e., foolishly (“folly”; cf. 38:5), and that he has committed acts of wrongdoing (ʾašmâ, GK 873, “guilt”; NEB, “guilty deeds”; a unique word in the psalms; cf. Lev 4:3; 6:5, 7). Thus, while he humbly admits his humanness in the presence of the Lord, the psalmist also declares his innocence regarding the accusations and asks the Lord to deliver him.[1]

69:5 We must understand verse 5 as referring to oursins which Jesus voluntarily took upon Himself. He had no folly or wrongs, but “He took our sins and our sorrows, and made them His very own.” It was wonderful grace that He would identify Himself so closely with us that He could speak of our sins as His sins.[2]

69:5O God, you yourself know my foolishness While his enemies’ accusations were unfounded, the psalmist admits that he has done wrong. He argues that God knows his wrongdoings, which are not the cause for his current affliction (see Psa 38:13).[3]

69:5 the wrongs I have done. Although the psalmist is innocent of the charges alluded to in v. 4, he does not claim to be without sin.[4]

69:5 This amounts to a confession of sin so that there is no hypocrisy (nothing hidden) that becomes a barrier in the psalmist’s relationship with God (17:1; 26:1; see note at 66:18–20).[5]

[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 528). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 653). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 69:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 795). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[5] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 876). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

A Biblical Guide to the Prosperity Gospel

These are Bible verses that “Prosperity Preachers” hope you never read.

If you follow Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Brian Houston, Jesse Duplantis, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Todd White, T. D. Jakes, Steven Furtick, and most of the other “Super Pastors” of today, you will not hear these verses hardly at all.

  (Kenneth Copeland)  (Kenneth Copeland)

If you believe that all Christians are supposed to be rich and successful, you’ve been lied to in the name of God. And if you think that pastors can get rich by peddling the Word of God, you’ve really been bamboozled!

Here’s what Jesus said about earthly riches:

Matthew 6: 19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 13: 22  “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”

Mark 8: 34-37   “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their crossand follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

Mark 10: 17-25  “As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

81JxZWx-IBL.jpgLuke 6: 20-26  And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”

Luke 12: 13-21  “Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Luke 12: 13-15  “Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’

Luke 12: 16-21  “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Luke 12: 32-34  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Luke 16: 13-14  “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were scoffing at Him.”


Here’s what the Apostle Paul said about preachers getting rich:

2 Corinthians 2:17  “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”

1 Timothy 6: 5, 9-11  “…and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. (9) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.

1 Corinthians 5: 11-13  “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of a brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those on the outside. Remove the evil person from among you.”

Titus 1:7-11  “For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.”


Here’s what the Apostle Peter said about preachers getting rich:

2 Peter 2:1-3  “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

  Benny Hinn  Benny Hinn

Here’s what the book of Hebrews says about getting rich:

Hebrews 13: 5  “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”


Here’s what the Apostle John says about getting rich:

1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. And this world is fading away, along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Todd White: How Much Money Does He Actually Make?

The Word of Faith Cornucopia of False Doctrine

Source: A Biblical Guide to the Prosperity Gospel

God Is Holding On To You

Our Father is perfectly wise and good and he knows how to uphold his children so that we persevere. That illness, that disappointment, that conflict, that setback, that failure—in God’s hands don’t we see these things bringing us to a new sense of our helplessness apart from the Lord, a new lease of life in our praying, a fresh humility and dependence on the Lord?

Over and over again God reassures his people that he is holding on to us by his right hand. In Isaiah 41.10, for example: ‘…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ That is a wonderful promise to comfort us—our heavenly Father will not let us go. Even if we might try to break free of his grip and let go of him, he is holding on to us tightly and keeping us safe.

This is one way of picturing the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Every true believer will inevitably make it safely home to glory because the Lord is preserving him or her. We persevere because he preserves us; we keep on going because he goes on keeping. The two halves of Psalm 63.8 reflect the two sides of the doctrine of perseverance: ‘My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.’ Our souls go on clinging to God in faith because his right hand is upholding us.

How do you see this picture in your mind’s eye? God’s right hand upholding you? Perhaps we think of a Father and child strolling along hand in hand; perhaps we think of a comforting arm around the shoulder to give support. It’s a beautiful, and biblical, idea. But sometimes God’s grip can be painful.

A couple of years ago our family was on the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede off the north coast of Ireland. It’s accessed by a rope bridge and its sides are sheer cliffs all around. I was holding one of our younger daughters tightly by the hand as we walked near (but not too near) the cliff edge. At one point she tried to get closer to look down, but I wouldn’t let her. Frustrated, she started to try to pull away. Fearful that she might end up yanking free and falling under her own momentum I exerted a lot more force and pulled her sharply back. My daughter’s tears that followed were partly due to her desires being thwarted, but mainly due to the pain in her wrist from being hauled back. I explained that it was far better to have a sore wrist than for her broken body to be lying at the bottom of the cliff, and, in due course, she agreed!

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