Daily Archives: April 15, 2018

April 15: I’ll Take the Arrow

Deuteronomy 29:1–29; 2 Corinthians 7:8–16; Psalm 42:1–43:5

“Better is an arrow from a friend than a kiss from an enemy.”

When I first heard this saying, I was struck by what a truism it is. It wasn’t until years later, though, that I began surrounding myself with wise friends who would tell me the truth even when it was difficult to hear.

Paul was a true friend to the Corinthians, and it’s for this reason that he rebuked them: “For if indeed I grieved you by my letter, I do not regret it.… For grief according to the will of God brings about a repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but worldly grief brings about death” (2 Cor 7:8, 10).

I recently felt God asking me to rebuke someone. I was hesitant at first, but I followed through. Afterward, I was tempted to lighten the weight of my words by writing a follow-up explanation, but I was certain that it wasn’t God’s will that I do so; I felt that nearly all the words I had spoken were in His will. I had to be confident that the rebuke had power to lead the person to repentance and that the repentance could lead to salvation. I shouldn’t regret what I had done, but embrace it.

Moses had a similar experience to Paul’s. He spoke harsh words into the lives of the Israelites when renewing God’s covenant with them. He said things like: “You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine and strong drink, so that you may know that I am Yahweh your God” (Deut 29:6). When the Israelites were deprived of things they thought they deserved, it was so that they could learn about God; such deprivation would force them to be dependent upon Yahweh.

I had another experience lately where I was on the receiving end of a truthful rebuke. My typical response is defensiveness, but I sensed from my friend’s voice that he was genuine. He was speaking words of experience, love, and godly wisdom. God worked in my heart and I listened. Even though they hurt, I had to be thankful for the wise words. As I’ve been tempted to fall into my old patterns since then, that rebuke continues to make a difference. I’m thankful for honest friends.

We often use the phrase “Judge not lest you be judged” as an excuse for not speaking the truth to someone (Matt 7:1). But Paul clearly didn’t use it that way. He understood that he was the worst of sinners, and he gladly admitted it. In grace, he issued rebukes.

Judging people incorrectly and out of hate or envy is a problem in our world. But so is failing to speak up when we see someone going astray. Paul didn’t judge—rather, he stated that God would judge according to His plans and oracles. Paul said it like it was, based on what God led him to say. He didn’t degrade people; he promoted godly behavior.

Do you have godly friends who speak honest words to you? If not, how can you go about making friends that will? How can you be open to speaking the truth to others without judging them?

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 15 Showing Mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).

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There are many ways to show mercy.

God delights in mercy, and as a believer you have the privilege of showing mercy in many ways. In the physical realm you can give money to the poor, food to the hungry, or a bed to the homeless. God has always wanted His people to be that way. Deuteronomy 15 says, “If there is a poor man with you … you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from [him]; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks” (vv. 7–8). Verses 12–14 instruct Israelites who release a slave to provide for the slave’s needs. That was the merciful thing to do.

In the spiritual realm you can show mercy by pitying the lost. St. Augustine said, “If I weep for that body from which the soul is departed, how should I weep for that soul from which God is departed?” (cited by Thomas Watson in The Beatitudes, p. 144). We mourn over the dead, but do we mourn as much for lost souls? When Stephen was being stoned, he pitied his wretched murderers, asking God to forgive them (Acts 7:60). Jesus did the same (Luke 23:34). That should be our attitude as well.

Another way of showing mercy is to rebuke sin. Second Timothy 2:24–25 says, “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all … with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.” It is merciful and loving to rebuke sinners because it gives them a chance to repent and be forgiven.

Prayer is also an act of mercy, as is preaching the gospel. In fact, sharing Christ with someone is the most merciful thing you can do!

There are many more ways to be merciful, but I hope these will stimulate your thinking and will encourage you to discover as many ways as possible to pass on the abundant mercy God has shown to you.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the mercies you have received from others. ✧ Take advantage of every opportunity to minister to others.

For Further Study: Determine who receives mercy according to the following verses: Matthew 6:14; Titus 3:5–6; Hebrews 4:14–16; James 2:13; and 1 Peter 2:9–10.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 118). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

APRIL 15 MEDIOCRE CHRISTIANITY

I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal.

1 Corinthians 3:1

Read your New Testament again and you will agree that mediocrity in the Christian life is not the highest that Jesus offers. Certainly God is not honored by our arrested spiritual development—our permanent halfway spiritual condition.

We all know that the Bible tells us that we honor God by going on to full maturity in Christ!

Why, then, do we settle for those little pleasures that tickle the saintlets and charm the fancy of the carnal?

It is because we once heard a call to take up the cross and instead of following toward the heights, we bargained with the Lord like a street huckster! We felt an urge to be spent for Christ, but instead of going on, we started asking questions. We began to bicker and bargain with God about His standards for spiritual attainment.

This is plain truth—not about unbelieving “liberals”—but about those who have been born again and who dare to ask, “Lord, what will it cost me?”

O Lord, in my heart of hearts I desire to honor You by going on to full maturity in Christ. Help me not to be satisfied with mediocrity.[1]


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

All the Messages and Panels from T4G posted in order

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264621513

The messages from T4G are already posted on the T4G website. All the plenary sessions and the panels posted in order below. Lig Duncan’s is one you’ll want to listen to, so I featured it above.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264308282

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264315328

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264326037

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264350899

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264356256

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264437032

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264476858

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264542072

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264542226

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264621513

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264633726

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264641696

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264674255

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264678728

https://player.vimeo.com/video/264688416

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Returning to Rome: How Mystical “Contemplative Spirituality” is Drawing Evangelicals Into the Cult of Catholicism

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

My research on a pastor who insists that our God and Allah are one and the same, made me curious as to what other errant teachings might also abound in the Evangelical churches. Suddenly, I realized that I was seeing only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30 (KJV)

It seems that the Emergent Church which teaches Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) has slithered its way into our Evangelical churches. The proper spirituality of the Christian, being sola Scriptura, is being replaced by Spiritual Mysticism, which can be traced back to the Roman Catholic church.

When preachers lose sight of their need to depend on and teach from the Word of God alone, their lofty and contrived ideas land them on a slippery slope which eventually leads to total apostasy.

What is Contemplative Spirituality?

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Putin: History pinned blame on US for ‘bloody carnage’ in Yugoslavia & Iraq, same will be with Syria

History will set things straight on Syria for the US, which is already responsible for a chain of “bloody carnage” in other countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said following the US-led attack on the country.
Read Full Article at RT.com

‘Double standards: US, UK, France stand by Saudis in Yemen but pose as moral crusaders in Syria’

The Syria attack reveals the hypocrisy of the West – which fuels the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen despite documented abuses – but relies on unverified claims to punish Syria, journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark told RT.
Read Full Article at RT.com

AS WAR DRUMS BEAT FOR SYRIA, REMEMBER, LIES AND PROPAGANDA STARTED NEARLY EVERY WAR IN US HISTORY

Article Image
• thedailybell.com By John Vibes

 

Unfortunately, as we are seeing with the Syrian escalation, governments thrive on war, as it gives them a pressing excuse to grab more power and take extrajudicial measures—both at home and abroad.

To get around the obstacle of public opinion, governments have an extensive history of lying their way into war. This is hard to believe for people who think that government has their best interest in mind, but it is something that rulers have been doing since the beginning of time. In the modern United States, people are led to believe that the establishment accidentally flounders its way into war with the good intentions of protecting the country from harm or liberating an ally in distress.

Laura Ingraham, Alex Jones and Other Right-Wing Media Allies Turn on Trump…

https://www.yahoo.com, Tom Porter

 

Some of Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters in the media turned on the president Friday over his decision to launch military strikes against Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack.

On Fox News, hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham were uncharacteristically critical of the president, questioning Trump’s decision to launch the strikes.

Fox News’ Laura Ingraham criticised Trump over his decision to launch airstrikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Screen grab

“I guess it feels good because there are horrible things happening there,” Ingraham said, sparring with former White House official Sebastian Gorka. “But what do we really accomplish here tonight in Syria? This is not why Donald Trump got elected.”

Noting Trump’s criticism of the Iraq war on the 2016 campaign trail, Carlson remarked “This is clearly not something he ran on, and and it’s inconsistent with a lot of things that he’s said over the years.”

Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria and Skripal False Flag

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (MZ below) commented on Syria before overnight Friday US-led aggression.

Conditions in the country remain hugely dangerous and deplorable, liberating East Ghouta entirely from US-supported terrorists the only good news.

MZ: “(O)n April (al-Qaeda-linked) White Helmets) report(ed) on (an alleged) chemical attack (in) Douma” – the Big Lie used as a pretext for overnight Friday US-led aggression on Syrian targets.

MZ described “the absurd video sequence shot by the…White Helmets in which children and adults are seen spraying water on each other.”

“They presented it as evidence that chemical weapons were used. News agencies that pretend to be respectable also took on face value another astoundingly fake report showing a half-ton bomb lying on a neatly made-up bed against the background of a shattered window with intact glass.”

“All the opponents of Syria’s legitimate government called on the international community and primarily the US to interfere and punish…Damascus…What a classical scenario” – the aftermath now known.

“Russian military personnel, including doctors and experts in protection against chemical weapons visited Douma where the chemical weapons attack allegedly happened, but did not find neither any signs that chemical weapons were used  nor any victims of the mythical attack.”

Facts on the ground don’t deter ruthless US imperial aims or tactics. Multiple Syrian targets were terror-bombed – based on a Big Lie.

MZ: “At the same time, major international media outlets and official representatives of foreign capitals remain silent on the discovery of large stockpiles of chemical weapons in warehouses of the terrorists in liberated parts of Eastern Ghouta.”

Facts conflicting with or exposing the official narrative are suppressed, disinformation alone featured.

The World Health Organization (WHO) disgraced itself by supporting the Big Lie about Douma, its information coming from White Helmet terrorists and scoundrel media propaganda.

Its top officials were unavailable for comment, MZ explained.

On April 11, a bus with Russian journalists aboard was attacked returning to Damascus from East Ghouta after filming the enclave’s liberation, said MZ – one journalist and two cameramen wounded.

MZ: “Everyone knows about the information campaign, or rather warfare of the UK authorities against Russia over the so-called Skripal case.”

“They are using all the propaganda means and methods they can get their hands on. It is a long time since we last saw an ill-disguised and unscrupulous anti-Russia campaign of this dimension.”

“The UK authorities are disregarding the standards of international law, diplomatic rules and principles, and elementary human ethics.”

“New versions and more discrepancies are coming to light” – exposing official Big Lies.

Following MZ’s report, Swiss state Spiez lab analysis of the substance harming father and daughter Skripal revealed it’s an incapacitating 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ toxin – not a novichok military-grade nerve agent as falsely reported.

BZ is harmful but not lethal – why Yulia Skripal and UK detective Nick Bailey recovered enough to be discharged from hospitalization, Sergey Skripal markedly improved.

The Swiss lab analyzed samples provided to the OPCW by Britain. The organization shamefully rubber-stamped the official UK claim, falsely calling the toxin novichok.

Swiss lab analysis proved otherwise. London continues stonewalling Russia, refusing to answer key questions on the Salisbury incident.

MZ: “We do not see any intention on the part of the UK authorities to disprove false information planted in the media and blatant lies.”

“(T)his massive propaganda campaign involving all types of media is fully in keeping with London’s anti-Russia strategy.”

“The UK authorities are actually encouraging the deliberate distortion of facts. It is clear why they are doing this.”

“If government agencies and (Western) media…decided to get to the bottom of this case, if they started questioning (the official narrative), this would have rocked the European public’s belief in Russia’s alleged involvement.”

“And the people would have asked the question that should have been addressed to London earlier on in the case: What has really happened at Salisbury?”

It was a US/UK false flag demonizing Russia – followed by the Douma false flag and aftermath.

More of the same is virtually certain to come, likely making a bad situation far worse.

Is East/West confrontation just a matter of time? Is global war unavoidable? Humanity holds its breath fearing the worst.

The lunatic in the White House surrounded and influenced by crazies makes the unthinkable possible.

Source: Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria and Skripal False Flag