Daily Archives: April 18, 2018

April 18: Operating Standards

Deuteronomy 33:1–34:12; 2 Corinthians 8:16–24; Psalm 46

Sometimes I operate on the premise that if I’m honoring God and following Him, I don’t have to be concerned with what other people think. But carrying this too far is just as faulty as basing my identity on the approval of others. One leads to foolish pride and independence, and the other results in idolatry.

Paul, upon receiving a generous gift from believers in Jerusalem, felt called to explain his actions to the Corinthian church. He was intentional about how he would accept the gift, “lest anyone should find fault with us in this abundant gift that is being administered by us” (2 Cor 8:20). He explains why he is so concerned: “For we are taking into consideration what is honorable not only before the Lord, but also before people” (2 Cor 8:21).

In his ministry, Paul considered how his actions would be interpreted by observers. Since he experienced opposition in the community, he wanted to communicate how he would receive the gift—to be above reproach. The gospel was primary, and he wanted to avoid accusations that would impede the message of salvation.

Daily, we face situations where we can be governed by others’ opinions. We also can offend them. When are we too vigilant? How do we keep from becoming a robot, motivated by other people’s desires instead of love for God? When do we challenge other people’s faith, instead of tiptoeing around them? Answering these questions takes incredible wisdom.

In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul draws from Proverbs 3: “May loyal love and truth not forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them upon your heart. And you shall find favor and good sense in the eyes of God and humankind” (Prov 3:3–4). Acting out of love, with a foundation of truth, can help us learn to honor God and love people. Being human, we will not always carry this out successfully. But operating on both love and truth and seeking wisdom and guidance for every situation, we can trust God to work out those places where we fail.

When it comes to relationships, what is your basis for operation?

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 18 Entering the Kingdom

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).


There are basically only two kinds of religion in the world: those based on human achievement and those based on divine accomplishment.

Religion comes in many forms. Almost every conceivable belief or behavior has been incorporated into some religious system at some point in time. But really there are only two kinds of religion. One says you can earn your way to Heaven; the other says you must trust in Jesus Christ alone. One is the religion of human achievement; the other is the religion of divine accomplishment.

Those who rely on their achievements tend to compare themselves to others. But that’s a relative, self-justifying standard because you can always find someone worse than yourself on which to base the comparison.

Jesus eliminated all human standards when He said, “You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Even the Jewish religious leaders, who were generally thought to be the epitome of righteousness, didn’t qualify according to that standard. In fact, Jesus told the people that their righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees if they wanted to enter Heaven (Matt. 5:20). That must have shocked them, but Jesus wasn’t speaking of conformity to external religious ceremonies. He was calling for pure hearts.

God doesn’t compare you to liars, thieves, cheaters, child abusers, or murderers. He compares you to Himself. His absolute holy character is the standard by which He measures your suitability for Heaven. Apart from Christ, everyone fails that standard because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). But the glorious truth of salvation is that Jesus Christ came to earth to purify our hearts. He took our sin upon Himself, paid its penalty, then bestowed His own righteousness upon us (Rom. 4:24). He keeps us pure by continually cleansing our sin and empowering us to do His will.

Your faith in Christ—not your personal achievements—is what makes you pure. Let that truth bring joy to your heart and praise to your lips!


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank the Lord for accomplishing salvation on your behalf and for granting you saving faith. ✧ Pray that your thoughts and actions today will evidence a pure heart.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 24:1–5 and Ezekiel 36:25–29. ✧ Who is acceptable to God? ✧ How does God purify the hearts of His people?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 121). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Israel sees an Iranian ‘air force’ assembling in Syria — and looks ready to deal it a knockout blow

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

  • Israel is letting on that it sees an Iranian “air force” forming in Syria and that it may destroy it if it seeks to harm Israel.
  • Russia, Syria, and Iran have accused Israel of killing Iranian troops in an airstrike on a Syrian air base earlier this month.
  • Iran has announced plans to retaliate.
  • But experts say Iran’s forces in Syria are exposed to Israel’s air force and are being warned that they could get knocked out if they cross a line.

Israel’s military on Tuesday apparently let leak a series of news reports indicating that it sees an Iranian air force forming in Syria and hinting that it may be willing to deal it a knockout blow.

Iran and Israel have clashed in the air recently, with Israel downing an Iranian drone it said flew over its territory with explosives in February and amid suspected Israeli airstrikes designed to punish Iranian forces in Syria.

Earlier this month, Russia, Syria, and Iran accused Israel of carrying out a strike on an air base in Syria known as T-4 that left at least 14 dead, including Iranian troops, and Israel made no effort to deny it.

The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman quoted a senior Israeli official as saying Iran had opened up a new front in the long-simmering conflict by trying a direct drone attack on Israel.

Friedman said the strike in April killed the Iranian colonel who led the drone unit. Iran threatened to retaliate but has not.

Iran’s growing forces in Syria

REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

On Tuesday, an Israeli security official told Reuters that “the Israeli defense establishment” saw an Iranian “air force” in Syria “as the entity that will try to attack Israel, based on Iranian threats to respond to the strike on T-4.”

Though Israel doesn’t comment on its air incursions into Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear that it is willing to do whatever necessary to prevent Iranian forces there from creeping closer to its borders or seeking to arm aligned anti-Israel groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“The Iranians have been exploiting the chaos of the Syrian civil war to build up military assets there that target Israel, all the while sending advanced weaponry to Lebanon by way of Damascus, also under the fog of war,” Tony Badran and Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote in The Wall Street Journal in February.

But while Iran has used “the fog of war” in Syria to cover its moving as many as 70,000 fighters and tons of military equipment through the country, Israel could crush its forces under that fog too.

Israel is positioned to knock out exposed Iranian forces

The Aviationist

According to Reuters, Roni Daniel, the military editor for the Israeli TV station Mako, said Israel was signaling to Iran that its forces in Syria were “totally exposed to us, and if you take action against us to avenge [the T-4 strike], these targets will be very severely harmed.”

Badran previously described Iran’s military presence in Syria as “vulnerable.”

“It’s exposed to direct US fire, just like it’s exposed to direct Israeli fire,” he told Business Insider.

If Israel were to enter Iranian airspace to strike its military, it could cause a massive international incident and meet backlash from the UN and Arab countries alike.

But with Iranian forces far from home in Syria, where more than 70 countries have bombed or contributed to fighting, an Israeli strike could get lost in the noise.

“Israel is headed for escalation,” Yaakov Amidror, Netanyahu’s former national security adviser, told a Tel Aviv radio station, according to Reuters. “There could be a very big belligerent incident with Iran and Hezbollah.”

In an indication of the possible extent of fighting between Israel and Iran, Israel chose to keep its F-15 air superiority fighters home and on alert instead of sending them to the coming Red Flag military exercises, one of the world’s best jet-fighter-training programs, as planned.

With Syria’s air defenses apparently a pushover target for Israel, and exposed Iranian forces openly posturing against the Jewish state, it seems a small retaliation from Iran could launch a much bigger conflict.

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Israeli intelligence reportedly says Trump’s Syria strike failed, didn’t take out much of anything

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Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

Matthew 28:20

Do not try to short-circuit God’s plans for your discipleship and spiritual maturity here. If you and I were already prepared for heaven in the moment of our conversion, God would have taken us home instantly!

We must remember that God exists in Himself. His holy nature is such that we cannot comprehend Him with our minds. He is of a substance not shared by any other being. Hence, God can be known only as He reveals Himself!

I have found this to be a fact: Every redeemed human being needs the humility of spirit that can only be brought about by the manifest presence of God.

This mysterious yet gracious Presence is the air of life eternal. It is the music of existence, the poetry of the Christian life. It is the beauty and wonder of being one of Christ’s own—a sinner born again, regenerated, created anew to bring glory to God!

To live surrounded by this sense of God is not only beautiful and desirable, but it is imperative!

Lord, I am so grateful that You have revealed some of Your nature to Your children. But I want to know You even more![1]

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

Californian Arrested For Concealed Carrying Bible Without Permit

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Local San Francsico resident Matthew Pearson was arrested Wednesday morning for concealed carrying a Bible without the proper state permits, sources at the San Francisco Police Department confirmed. California law prohibits residents from carrying any written material that contradicts far-left progressive agendas without a difficult-to-obtain permit from the state. Hurdles applicants need to […]

The post Californian Arrested For Concealed Carrying Bible Without Permit appeared first on The Babylon Bee.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Part 2: God — Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

Most people you know believe in a god—since about 90% of Americans do. References to God are ubiquitous in our culture, but not everyone who talks about “God” is talking about the God of the Bible. 21 more words

via Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Part 2: God — Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

April 18, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Some 65 years since open hostilities ended, North and South Korea are still technically at war. But after a sudden warming of relations this year, the two sides are set to meet at the end of this month for talks. According to the South Korean publication, Munhwa Ilbo, they’re planning to announce the end of military hostilities.

Barbara Bush, the wife of one U.S. president and mother of another who embodied the old-fashioned sensibility that family comes before careers or politics, has died. She was 92.

The Trump administration notified Russia’s U.S. embassy in Washington Sunday that it has no plans to impose any further sanctions soon, according to a Foreign Ministry official.

The House will hold a vote this year to make individual tax cuts permanent, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan, even though the effort is unlikely to become law during this Congress.

India’s cash machines are running dry, leaving policy makers and bankers scrambling to assuage the public and prevent perception about the nation’s fraud-hit financial system from worsening.

Goldman Sachs says that the extraordinary rally in aluminum unleashed by U.S. sanctions against United Co. Rusal may have way, way further to go, forecasting the metal may spike to $3,000 a metric ton, while raising the possibility of further curbs against Russian coal supplies.

AP Top Stories

Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of the Russian upper house of parliament, said on Wednesday that Moscow’s response to U.S. sanctions will be targeted and painful.

Russia and Assad’s regime claim it’s too dangerous for chemical inspectors to get into the suburb hit by poison gas, and that they need more permits. Meanwhile, the U.S. says Russia may be tampering with evidence.

Israel readied to mark 70 years since the country’s creation while celebrating its improbable economic success and military prowess, but facing a range of political and security challenges.

The political machine backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch is stepping in to urge lawmakers to pass legislation to help the so-called Dreamers, immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents and who benefitted from an Obama-era program that President Trump axed.

BuzzFeed News has obtained and published a database of nearly 18,000 New York Police Department disciplinary findings amid a fight over whether city police disciplinary records should remain secret.

Israel released details on Tuesday about what it described as an Iranian “air force” deployed in neighboring Syria, including civilian planes suspected of transferring arms, a signal that these could be attacked should tensions with Tehran escalate.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday that he had personally ordered the detention of an elderly Australian Catholic nun, warning that any foreign critics of his government face deportation.

South Korean security officials may visit North Korea to finalize details ahead for the first summit since 2007, where the South hopes the North will confirm a commitment to give up its nuclear program, a South Korean official said on Tuesday.

Elon Musk has said that “excessive automation” is partly to blame for the serious backlog in production of Tesla cars, noting that human beings can in some situations do a better job.

The U.S. State Department met with U.S. carriers ahead of a deadline later on Tuesday to extend an agreement with Russia that would allow for continued overflights by U.S. airlines and said it was working to prevent any disruptions.

Britain’s armed forces are ill-equipped to handle the increasing threat of cyber-attacks from Russia and a new era of “electronic warfare” because of a shortage of intelligence experts, a new report has suggested.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia would be happy for crude to rise to $80 or even $100, three industry sources said,


CIA director Mike Pompeo forged a “good relationship” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un when they met last week, US President Donald Trump has tweeted.

China is conducting live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait amid growing tension in the region.

Zimbabwe’s government has sacked more than 10,000 nurses who went on strike on Monday, in an apparently hardline attempt to quell labor unrest.

Members of Cuba’s National Assembly will gather for a two-day session in Havana later on Wednesday which will mark the end of the Castro era. President Raúl Castro, who took over as Cuba’s president from his ailing brother Fidel in 2006, will step down at the meeting. This means no Castro will be at the helm of the country for the first time since the revolution in 1959.

More than 100 people have been detained across Germany in raids against an organized crime gang involved in people trafficking and forced prostitution.


A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.

A robot has been nominated to run for the position of mayor in Tokyo, promising to be “fair and balanced” to all its constituents.

Easy access to black magic and Satanism via the Internet has led to an increase in demand for exorcisms, delegates at an annual course on exorcism at the Vatican have heard. More than 250 people from 50 countries arrived in Rome on Monday to attend a week-long course “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation” at the Catholic university, Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, in Rome.

The Briefing — Wednesday, April 18, 2018

1) Theological language shows up in European politics as Macron warns of ‘Civil War’

2) Why true community can’t exist without shared truth or morality

Wall Street Journal (William Galston) –
The Perpetual Battle for Freedom

3) British Prime Minister urges other nations to substitute their old colonialism for a new secular colonialism

News – 4/18/2018

Strong carbon fiber artificial muscles can lift 12,600 times their own weight

These muscles are capable of not only lifting up to 12,600 times their own weight, but also supporting up to 60 MPa of mechanical stress, providing tensile strokes higher than 25% and specific work of up to 758 J/kg. This amount is 18 times more than the specific work natural muscles are capable of producing.

‘Super gonorrhoea’ spreading fast as ANOTHER Brit hols hotspot struck with STI

Two people in Australia have been diagnosed with the STI for the first time as it makes the jump from South East Asia. Health officials confirmed the cases of gonorrhoea – also called the clap – were found to be resistant to antibiotics in the last month. And Australia is packed with both British tourists on their holidays along with more than 1.2 million expats from the UK.

Muslims queuing up to have demons EXORCISED by Catholic priests

Albanian priest Cardinal Ernest Simoni told almost 300 delegates he personally had performed exorcisms on Muslims. He said: “Jesus came for everyone. They remain Muslim.”Giuseppe Ferrari, who is said to be an authority expert on the subject of exorcism, said: “I don’t see why we cannot do it for Muslims if they ask.” “They say, ‘Someone has done black magic to harm me, can you help?’”

Russia puts UK on ALERT: Putin sends warships to English Channel

The Royal Navy is preparing to “take appropriate action” when the Minsk 127 approaches, the Ministry of Defence told the Daily Star Online. The ship regularly carries huge amounts of weapons and has been heavily involved in helping Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad cling onto control in his country.

‘We’re ALL racist now!’ Morrissey claims term has been stripped of meaning by ‘Loony left’

MORRISSEY has declared the word “racist” has become meaningless in today’s society because it is so widely used as a “way of changing the subject” The singer said it was far easier to “distract” by calling people a racist than to listen to or argue against their “enlightened” comments. “And as far as racism goes, the modern loony left seem to forget that Hitler was left wing!

The Southwestern Hemisphere Is Sliding Towards Its Own “Arab Spring”

South and Central America are on a crash course for regional collapse and a geopolitical disaster which could drastically alter the political landscape of the Western Hemisphere and plunge the United States into dire crisis. The past year in particular has been marked by a growing number of indications that a significant number of Latin American nations are due for some level of civil strife, which creates the real risk of a major migrant crisis for the United States….

Mike Pompeo: CIA chief made secret trip to North Korea

CIA director Mike Pompeo travelled to Pyongyang for a secret meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, US President Donald Trump has confirmed. A “good relationship” was formed at the meeting last week, Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday. News of the visit first emerged on Tuesday. US officials were quoted as saying the aim was to prepare a summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim.

Syria ‘chemical attack’: Investigators await UN green light on Douma

Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will visit the site of an alleged chemical attack on Wednesday if the UN says it is safe to do so, Syria says. OPCW experts have been in Damascus since Saturday. A UN security team visited on Tuesday, Syrian permanent representative Bashar Jaafari told the UN Security Council.

Facebook seeks facial recognition consent in EU and Canada

Facebook has started asking European and Canadian users to let it use facial recognition technology to identify them in photos and videos. Facebook originally began face-matching users outside Canada in 2011, but stopped doing so for EU citizens the following year after protests from regulators and privacy campaigners. The new request is one of several opt-in permissions being rolled out in advance of a new data privacy law.

Officials Warn Russian Hackers Targeting US Routers

Officials are warning that hackers from the Russian government are targeting an electronic item found in millions of homes and businesses across the United States. Russian spies are reportedly trying to hack into routers. They’re the devices that allow communication between the internet and your computer and other connected devices.

Political killings shake Mexico election

Magda Rubio had just launched her campaign for mayor of a small city in northern Mexico, when a chilling voice came through her cell phone. “Drop out,” the caller warned, “or be killed.” It was the first of four death threats Rubio said she has received since January from the same well-spoken, anonymous man.

Israeli F-15s won’t participate in US exercise due to tensions in north

The Israel Air Force’s F-15 aircraft will not participate in the Red Flag exercise, which is set to take place next month in Alaska, because of the high tensions on the northern border in the face of the threat of Iranian reprisal for an attack on the T-4 air base in Syria, which has been attributed to Israel. Other IAF aicraft, including aerial refuelers, will still take part in the exercise.

Israel commemorates Memorial Day

Israel is honoring the memories of 23,646 fallen soldiers, security forces members and terror victims on Wednesday, Memorial Day. According to the Family, Commemoration and Heritage Wing of the Ministry of Defense, some 1.5 million people are expected to visit the 52 military cemeteries, hundreds of military plots and thousands of graves across the country on Memorial Day.

South Korea says discussing peace deal with North Korea ahead of summit

South Korea said on Wednesday it is considering how to change a decades-old armistice with North Korea into a peace agreement, as U.S. officials confirmed an unprecedented top-level meeting with the North Korean leader.

Iran says will make or buy any weapons it needs, lambasts ‘invading powers’

President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would make or buy any weapons it needed to defend itself in a region beset by “invading powers”, as the military paraded missiles and soldiers in front of him on National Army Day. Fighter jets and bombers flew overhead as Rouhani told the Tehran crowd and a live TV audience on Wednesday that Iran’s forces posed no threat to its neighbors.

Iranian Commander: ‘Date Has Been Set’ for Israel’s Destruction

As tensions continue to rise along Israel’s northern border, Heidari said Iran’s armed forces “are much more powerful than before” and that “the date has been set” for Israel’s destruction, according to official news agency Mehr. He was speaking in Tehran ahead of Iran’s Army Day.

Israel Issues Stern Warning To Iran Fearing Independence Day Attack

Israel will respond decisively to any Iranian retribution against it carried out from Syria, Israeli security sources said Tuesday, referring to threats made by Tehran that it would respond to a missile strike the T-4 military airport in which seven Iranian military advisers were killed.

Defense Minister warns Israel’s neighbors: Don’t test us

Defense Minister Liberman warns Israel’s neighbors: Israel won’t compromise on security, don’t test us. “My advice to our neighbors, both to the north and south is: Take this [warning] into account, and take it seriously.”

Sweden’s violent reality is undoing a peaceful self-image

In a period of two weeks earlier this year, five explosions took place in the country. It’s not unusual these days — Swedes have grown accustomed to headlines of violent crime, witness intimidation and gangland executions. In a country long renowned for its safety, voters cite “law and order” as the most important issue ahead of the general election in September.

San Diego County Joins California’s ‘Sanctuary-State’ Revolt

San Diego County, California’s second-most populous county, on Tuesday joined at least a dozen other municipalities in supporting the Trump administration’s lawsuit against the state over its so-called “sanctuary” law. The county’s all-Republican Board of Supervisors discussed the issue in a closed session Tuesday and afterward announced that it had voted in favor of supporting the Justice Department’s lawsuit against the state law.

Facebook Could Face Billions in Fines over Facial Recognition Features

A federal judge has ruled that a class action lawsuit including millions of Facebook users can proceed with their claims that the social media firm violated an Illinois law relating to the collection and storage of biometric data without users consent, according to Bloomberg.

Lebanon’s Army is cooperating with Hezbollah in a bid to destroy the Jewish State of Israel

The Times of Israel reports: Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday told the army’s top brass to prepare for an Iran-led threat coalescing on Israel’s northern border, which he said includes the Lebanese Armed Forces.

PUTIN REVENGE BEGINS: Russia hacks British homes as cyber agents set to cripple laptops, phones and ‘critical’ infrastructure after secretly accessing millions of computers

Russia is targeting millions of laptops and phones in UK homes in preparation for a cyber attack on Britain’s ‘critical infrastructure’, senior security experts revealed. They added that once access has been gained, Moscow backed agents could hide undiscovered until they decide to attack.

FIGHTING WORDS: Iran boasts that the date for Israel’s destruction has already been set

As tensions continue to rise along Israel’s northern border, Heidari said Iran’s armed forces “are much more powerful than before” and that “the date has been set” for Israel’s destruction, according to official news agency Mehr. He was speaking in Tehran ahead of Iran’s Army Day.

Breaking News! Massive Military Movements-Reservists Call-Ups-Leaves Cancelled
This is a breaking news report which encompasses many recent current events, ND military movement of equipment and personnel. These events are indicative of a world that is about to war and a nation that is about to descend into terrorism and occupation.

Rand Paul: Syrian Chemical Attack A False Flag

…“In fact, for that matter, I still look at the attack and say Assad either must be the dumbest dictator on the planet or maybe he didn’t do it. I have yet to see evidence that he did do it. The intelligence agencies claim they have that evidence. But think about it: does it make any sense?”

Earthquake, hail, fierce rain rattle Bay Area — but, nope, there’s no link

Hello, Monday! A 3.8 magnitude quake jolted the South Bay this morning, in an area notorious for seismic restlessness, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Snow records toppled in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Records fell as an April snowstorm blanketed the Upper Midwest. The National Weather Service says the 14.9 inches (37.8 centimeters) at Minneapolis airport from Friday through Sunday set a record for the largest April snowstorm ever there. It’s also the snowiest April on record in the Twin Cities. And it’s the snowiest start to a calendar year there, with 70.3 inches (178.6 centimeters) since Jan. 1.

Australia flesh-eating ulcer ‘epidemic’ a mystery, doctors say

Doctors in Australia have called for urgent research into why a flesh-eating ulcer has become a “worsening epidemic” in the state of Victoria.

Depopulation already unleashed: Shocking new research finds prenatal exposure to endocrine disruptors can impact male fertility for generations

The long-term negative effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, extend far beyond just the immediate generation exposed to them, new research has found.

Homeless encampments increasingly affecting California train traffic

The explosion of homeless encampments alongside railroad tracks has contributed to a spike in delays for California’s rocketing passenger ridership, an outbreak of accidental fires and deadly collisions, frustrating executives who call the impact on passengers “unacceptable.”

77 holistic practitioners now dead since 2015: This is beyond strange, they are dropping like flies and MSM ignores them

Since June of 2015, 77 holistic practitioners, more with other deaths associated with them, have died, official causes ranging from suicide to heart attacks, with the latest woman, doctor Annie Fairbanks, found murdered in her home, along with her husband, their 3-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son, in Arizona.

Miniature human brain implants survive, grow inside mice for months 

Miniature human brains, or human brain organoids, can survive and grow after being implanted in the skulls of mice. It’s the first time human cerebral organoids have been installed inside another species.

Mid-Day Snapshot

Apr. 18, 2018

Trump Makes Progress on North Korea

CIA Director Mike Pompeo lays groundwork for a Trump-Kim summit on denuclearization.

The Foundation

“Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” —George Washington (1796)

Headlines – 4/18/2018

‘A Fulfillment of That Great Prophecy’: Israel Turns 70, a Light to the Nations

At 70, Israel’s population is 8.842 million, 43% of world Jewry

Intel CEO, and 300 of his drones, to attend Israel’s independence celebrations

Israelis bow heads in silence as siren signals start of Memorial Day

Israel prepares to remember 23,646 fallen soldiers and 3,134 terror victims

8,000 join Israeli, Palestinian bereaved families for Memorial Day ceremony

French mayor refused entry to Israel over support for BDS and a Palestinian state

IDF fires tank shells at Palestinians trying to cross Gaza border fence

Iranian general: ‘Date set’ for destruction of Israel

Bennett to Iran: Don’t test us

Israel ‘struck advanced Iranian air-defense system’ in Syria, not just attack drones

Israel planning for direct retaliatory attack from Iran

IDF preparing for Iranian retaliation in the air, abroad or through a cyber attack

Israel hints it could hit Iran’s ‘air force’ in Syria

Israel is concerned about Iranian retaliation from Syria. So it will keep its fighter jets at home.

EU fails to agree new Iran sanctions as Trump deadline nears

Iran says will make or buy any weapons it needs, lambasts ‘invading powers’

Rouhani: We’ll produce any weapons we need, won’t wait for world’s consent

US, Syria give conflicting accounts on global chemical weapons experts

Russia claims to find Syrian rebel chemical weapons lab in Douma

Syria ‘chemical attack’: Investigators await UN green light on Douma

Chemical weapons experts press for access to Syria attack site

France says proof likely disappearing from Douma, inspectors must have full access

France earmarks EUR 50 million for new Syria aid projects

Syrian medics ‘subjected to extreme intimidation’ after Douma attack

Assad prepares to assault last rebel enclave near Damascus

Trump administration reportedly seeks an ‘Arab force’ to replace the U.S. military in Syria

Saudi Arabia Would Send Troops To Syria As Part Of “Islamic Coalition”

Arab Coalition downs two Iranian drones in Yemen’s Midi

Erdogan, Rouhani agree to maintain Turkey, Iran, Russia cooperation in Syria

Six dead in Iran armed clash near Pakistan border

Turkey’s security council advises to extend state of emergency

Imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson rejects terror charges in Turkey trial

Trump rebukes Turkey for espionage trial of pastor Andrew Brunson, tweets ‘I am more a Spy than he is’

Don’t trust Qatar PM: Terror expert, author advises Trump administration

Macron warns of European ‘civil war’ over growing East-West divide

China sends warning to Taiwan with naval drills near island

Trade And Nukes On The Agenda As Trump Meets Japan’s Prime Minister

Trump says US had ‘high level’ talks with North Korea, cites possible summit

CIA Director Pompeo secretly met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend

South Koreans may visit North again ahead of first summit in decade

The Supreme Court just handed the Trump administration a loss on immigration – and Gorsuch was the tiebreaking vote

As GOP balks, McConnell shuts down bill to protect Mueller

Washington, D.C., may allow 16-year-olds to vote for president in the 2020 election

IRS grants one-day extension after website suffers technical difficulties on Tax Day

Sandy Hook Parents Sue Radio Host Alex Jones for Calling Shooting a Hoax

A Southwest Airlines Passenger Has Died After An Engine Explosion Caused Her To Be Nearly Sucked Through A Window

‘Sheer panic’ grips cabin in first fatal U.S. flight since 2009

As Southwest plane dropped in sky, frantic passengers tried to send out final messages to loved ones

Weekend Asteroid Flyby Confirms We’re Worrying About the Wrong Space Rocks

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Fais, Micronesia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Tual, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits South of Panama

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Fuego volcano in Fuego erupts to 15,000ft

Kanlaon volcano in the Philippines erupts to 12,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 10,000ft

Volcano may force permanent relocation of more than 10,000 people in Vanuatu

More than 95% of world’s population breathe dangerous air, major study finds

New viruses, superbugs found in study of New York house mice

There’s a 24-fold rise in organ transplants from drug overdose donors

Family Research Council Subpoenaed in Lawsuit Against Trump Over Transgender Military Ban

Starbucks to close all company-owned stores on the afternoon of May 29 for racial-bias education day

Easy access to black magic and Satanism via Internet increases exorcism demand

Exorcism: Vatican course opens doors to 250 priests

ApostasyWatch Daily News

Costi Hinn – The Top Three Questions Readers are Asking

Benny Hinn’s Nephew Calls Bethel Church Leader Kris Vallotton ‘False Prophet’ Who ‘Deceives People’

Apostolic Twirling Picnic Blanket Sports Coat Is Coming to a City near You!

Publishers Suspend Publication of Bill Hybels’ Books After Misconduct Allegations

Exorcism by cellphone: Beating the devil in the 21st century

Sandy Hook parents hit Alex Jones with defamation lawsuits

DEVELOPING: Multiple earthquakes have been felt beneath volcanoes across the world

Posted: 18 Apr 2018 05:53 AM PDT

DEVELOPING: Multiple earthquakes have been felt beneath volcanoes across the worldA large number of earthquakes have been felt beneath volcanoes across the world, sparking fears of major eruptions, so are any volcanoes erupting and could there be a violent explosion?  In Hawaii, a total of 18 earthquakes have been measured under Kilauea volcano during the last 18 hours. The largest earthquakes measured on the Big Island was a magnitude 2.2 earthquake measured on Wednesday, 6km southwest of the volcano.

Kilauea is showing increased signs of activity, as the summit lava lake remains at a high level and continues to rise. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory spokeswoman Janet Babb said: “Overall, it’s been on the high side. With this latest inflation, it’s just pushing up even higher.”  A swarm of earthquakes has been detected under the Clear Lake volcano in California – 16 have been measured during the past 21 hours at depths ranging between 4.4 and 0.2km. READ MORE

‘Super gonorrhoea’ spreading fast…

Posted: 18 Apr 2018 05:41 AM PDT

‘Super gonorrhoea’ spreading fast…Health officials confirmed the cases of gonorrhea – also called the clap – were found to be resistant to antibiotics in the last month.  And Australia is packed with both British tourists on their holidays along with more than 1.2 million expats from the UK. One case was uncovered in Queensland, while the second was found in Western Australia. Tourists were feared to be at risk after a UK man became the world’s

first to be diagnosed with super gonorrhea after a holiday in Asia. Gonorrhea is spread through all forms of sex and can leave women infertile if untreated.  Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendon Murphy said: “Drug-resistant gonorrhea exists in many countries, including Australia. “However, these latest cases and a recent one in the UK appear to be the first reported that are resistant to all of the antibiotics that have been in routine use against gonorrhea.”  READ MORE

NYC Mice Are Carrying Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

Posted: 18 Apr 2018 04:44 AM PDT

NYC Mice Are Carrying Antibiotic-Resistant GermsPeople who live in cities are used to the company of furry vermin. But a new study reveals that mice and men may be sharing much more than just living quarters.  In a study published in the journal mBio, researchers led by Dr. Ian Lipkin, professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, studied the gut microbes of 416 mice collected from mostly residential buildings all over New York City.

Lipkin and his team did a thorough genetic analysis of the microbes they extracted from the feces of the mice, and found that they contained a number of disease-causing bacteria.  Nearly 40% of the mice carried at least one potentially disease-causing bacterium, including C. difficile, Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, Klebsiella pneumonia, Clostridium perfringens and Leptospira. (One mouse carried five of the bacteria.) The disease-carrying mice lived in higher income and lower income neighborhoods in similar concentrations. READ MORE

Mysterious Gatherings of Nearly 1,400 Sharks Spotted Off Northeast Coast

Posted: 18 Apr 2018 04:39 AM PDT

Mysterious Gatherings of Nearly 1,400 Sharks Spotted Off Northeast CoastAerial photos have captured odd gatherings of almost 1,400 basking sharks and researchers aren’t totally sure what it is the animals are up to.  It’s not uncommon to see the sharks individually, but seeing them in large groups is rare. It’s still unclear why the animals are coming together, but researchers suggest they are likely gathering in the waters from Long Island to Nova Scotia to grab a bite, according to recent findings published in the Journal of Fish Biology.

The scientists studied aerial photos taken between June 1980 and November 2013 and found 10 large groups of the sharks circling an area and acting as if they were feeding, a release on the findings said. After studying more than three decades’ worth of aerial photos collected during studies of North Atlantic right whales, the scientists found that the sharks tend to gather in the summer and fall when temperatures on the sea’s surface ranged from 55 to 75 degrees. READ MORE

Nebraska struck with 6 rare earthquakes in less than a week

Posted: 18 Apr 2018 04:23 AM PDT

Nebraska struck with 6 rare earthquakes in less than a weekMore earthquakes have hit in central Nebraska. The U.S. Geological Survey say that an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.1 hit around 4:48 p.m. Monday. With this most recent earthquake, there have now been a total of six earthquakes that hit that area in less than a week! Although earthquakes are not a new thing here in Nebraska, there have only been 46 since 1975.

Six earthquakes have shaken Nebraska already this week. That is really a lot knowing that just 46 hit the state since 1975.  The quakes are most likely due to fault lines that run a few miles underneath the ground. But it’s certainly not a fault that officials can map at the surface because if you know anything about this area of Nebraska, you know that there aren’t any rock-out crops and mostly when seismologists map faults they map them in bedrock. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Mysterious flesh-eating bug spreading at unprecedented levels in Victoria, Australia

Posted: 18 Apr 2018 04:17 AM PDT

DEVELOPING: Mysterious flesh-eating bug spreading at unprecedented levels in Victoria, AustraliaIt’s pretty much tripled over the last five or six years,’ Victoria’s deputy chief health officer Brett Sutton told reporters on Monday. Cases are also becoming more severe and occurring in new areas, but efforts to control the outbreak have been thwarted because it’s not known how humans become infected. Native and domestic animals, including dogs, cats, possums and koalas, have all developed the disease, but it’s unknown whether they spread it.

Researchers are appealing for government funding so they can figure out how to contain the bacteria, which causes a disease called Buruli ulcer. Most commonly found in tropical Africa and usually associated with stagnant water, it can have devastating impacts on sufferers, including long-term disability and deformity. In the following video, Victorian health authorities warn of flesh-eating ulcer spreading. READ MORE

North Korea joins forces with Syria to defend ‘just cause’

Posted: 17 Apr 2018 11:04 AM PDT

North Korea joins forces with Syria to defend ‘just cause’North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has spoken out in support of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad after a US-led coalition launched a strike on chemical weapons factories in retaliation for an alleged gas attack on the city of Douma.   North Korea’s state news agency KCNA reported leader Kim Jong-un had congratulated dictator Bashar Assad for the “big achievements” he made to defend Syria’s sovereignty despite the recent coalition missile strike.

The United States alongside the UK and France unleashed a bombing on chemical weapons’ factories in response to a reported chemical attack on the city of Douma on April 7.  KCNA said: “Kim Jong-un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, sent a message of greeting to Bashar Al-Assad, president of the Syrian Arab Republic, on Tuesday.  “In the message, Kim Jong-un extended warm congratulations to the Syrian president on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the independence of the country. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Russian cyber attacks coming for phone, computer and internet

Posted: 17 Apr 2018 10:55 AM PDT

DEVELOPING: Russian cyber attacks coming for phone, computer and internetVladimir Putin, the bear-riding Bond villain, is listening into your inane conversations about picking up milk from the shop or who is shagging who in the office… or so the mainstream media would have you believe.  According to sections of the British press – who, let’s be honest, don’t often get carried away like this – are insistent that Russia is about to launch a full-scale cyber attack on the United Kingdom… or they already have, depending on who you ask.

And all because the UK, USA and France launched a missile attack against the Syrian Bashar Assad regime. If you ask the Express, “Russia is ‘SPYING’ on THOUSANDS of UK households in ‘RETALIATION to Syria strikes.” Apparently, your home could become a part of a Russian “botnet,” used to launch large-scale cyberattacks. No explanation was provided as to what a botnet is though… but when you’re whipping the British population into a fearful frenzy, who has time to explain?  READ MORE

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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

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The Gospel for Single Moms — Practical Theology for Women

I don’t want to be a single mom, but I am one. I am in good standing with my elders, and if anyone has a concern about that, my elders welcome questions on my behalf. But the fact that I have to add that last sentence highlights why we don’t see many orthodox Christian writers…

via The Gospel for Single Moms — Practical Theology for Women

Famed War Reporter Robert Fisk Reaches Syrian ‘Chemical Attack’ Site, Concludes…

Article Image
https://www.zerohedge.com, Tyler Durden

Robert Fisk’s bombshell first-hand account for the UK Independent runs contrary to nearly every claim circulating in major international press concerning what happened just over week ago on April 7th in an embattled suburb outside Damascus: not only has the veteran British journalist found no evidence of a mass chemical attack, but he’s encountered multiple local eyewitnesses who experienced the chaos of that night, but who say the gas attack never happened.

Fisk is the first Western journalist to reach and report from the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack widely blamed on Assad’s forces. Writing from Douma in eastern Ghouta, Fisk has interviewed a Syrian doctor who works at the hospital shown in one of the well-known videos which purports to depict victims of a chemical attack

Barna Infographic | How Spiritual Americans Practice Self-Care


Talk about “self-care” has entered the mainstream as many seek out ways to unplug or pursue personal health through nature, journaling, solitude and more. To see how spiritual Americans are being mindful of their well-being, Barna asked them to identify their regular self-care practices.

View Infographic >

Exposing the Word of Faith (Youtube)

B.R.I.D.G.E. Ministries writes: “John Samson joins BRIDGE Radio again to give the testimony of his time and immersion in the word of faith movement for many years before leaving. John was not only a prosperity preacher but also a TBN host who was friends with well-known figures of the movement. We address the word of faith’s false teaching of the ‘little gods’ doctrine, faith healing (1 Peter 1:24), and the right to riches as a Christian (John 10:10; Romans 8:32). John says, ‘I feel so much regret over being so caught up in this thing for years… and it is a comfort to my soul to perhaps be used to pull even one soul out of this deception…’ and ‘This doctrine of the word of faith cannot stand up to Biblical scrutiny and Biblical context!’ You will not want to miss this episode!”

April 18 The Day of Atonement

When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites — all their sins — and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry all their sins on itself, to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness. Lev 16:20-22

All the iniquities, all the transgressions, all the sins were placed upon the head of this goat. The goat is a picture of Jesus: He is represented as satisfying the heart of God for us and rendering God free to love us without any restraint at all by his justice. God’s justice has been satisfied. He is free to forgive us at any time and to love us. Christ also bears the whole weight and load of our guilt, all that which the Devil tries to use as a basis upon which to ground his accusations against us. All this is to be sent back to him from whence it comes. When our Lord died he went into the wilderness of death like this goat, and returned to Satan all the accusations which he has against any believer at any time.

This passage is teaching us what we are to do with these accusations. In Ephesians 6:16, Paul calls them the fiery darts of the wicked one, i.e., all those little suggestions to us that we really aren’t accepted and loved by God. They tell us that he still has a reservation about us and that we still aren’t able openly and boldly to come before his presence. These are all the haunting memories of our past shame, our feelings of unworthiness, our filthy thoughts, and the flashes of fear that come upon us. What are we to do with them? We are simply to put them right on the head of Jesus and say, Lord, take them back to Satan. They don’t belong to me. They belong to him. That is where they came from and I am sending them back.

Do you want to worship God? Well, how do you do it? Simply by believing that he has accepted you the way you are and has already dealt with everything that is wrong — everything — and is now ready to use you without any hesitation whatsoever. Say to the Lord, Here I am. I am counting on it. Thank you for it. What are you going to do through me today? What are you going to do this next moment in the relationship I am entering into with this person? How are you going to handle it? And your mind and heart can be at peace.

Father, thank you for this promise, and for the beauty of this ceremony which in Israel of old could only occur once a year, but which for me is to be momentary, daily, over and over again. I come boldly into your presence with joy, with a heart washed from an evil conscience, and with gladness and thanksgiving, not on my merit but on the merit of Another. How I give thanks for this and pray that it may be my experience, not only this moment but every day of my life!

Life Application
Does this incredibly awesome picture of Jesus — as the ‘scapegoat’ bearing our sin and guilt–cause us to worship, with unending gratitude? Have we even begun to grasp the magnitude of this gift of pure Grace?
Related Message
For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:
The Need for Presentation

April 18 Wednesday: Betrayed

By James Boice on Apr 18, 2018 12:00 am

What does David mean when he asks God to save him “by your name” in verse 1? That idea does not have a great deal of importance for us, because we do not often think of the “name” itself being particularly significant. We think of God but not the name of God. For the Old Testament saints it was different. For them names were important. They were understood to sum up the character and personality of the person named.

Read more…

April 18, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Benedictory Intercession

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (15:13)

Paul closes this passage with a beautiful benediction of intercession for all the people of God, not mentioning Jew or Gentile, but addressing the entire, unified Body of Jesus Christ. He petitions the God of hope to graciously fill His people with His divine joy and peace and hope. It expresses the apostle’s deep desire for all believers to have total spiritual satisfaction in their beloved Savior and Lord.

It is essentially the same benediction with which Paul blessed the church at Philippi: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7; cf. 1 Pet. 1:3, 8). It is a prayer for satisfied souls in Christ to know and experience the peace, the hope, the love, the victory, the joy, and the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, who makes them one in Jesus Christ their Lord.[1]

The First Benediction

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is a sense in which the Book of Romans ends with the thirteenth verse of chapter fifteen, because what follows is essentially personal in nature. Paul did not always end his letters with such remarks, and this one would have been complete without them. Besides, Romans 15:13 would have been a great ending.

I have called this study “The First Benediction” because there will be two more benedictions before we end—Romans 15:33 and Romans 16:20—followed by a doxology in Romans 16:25–27. Each benediction is important, but this is a particularly important and comprehensive one.

Donald Grey Barnhouse devoted six studies to this verse in his radio series on Romans. (They were reduced to one in book form.) He says, “This verse is a great summary of the blessed life in the brotherhood formed by our oneness in Jesus Christ. The source of that life is the God of hope. The measure of that life is that we shall be filled ‘with all joy and peace.’ The quality of that life is joy and peace which he desires for us. The condition of that life is faith—we enter it by believing. The purpose of that life is that we might abound. The enabling of that life is divine power. And the director of that life is the Holy Spirit.” So clearly, this is a very practical verse.

Romans 15:13 is a prayer, which leads Leon Morris to say, “We should not think of Paul primarily as a controversialist; he was a deeply pious man and it is characteristic that he finishes not with some equivalent of Q.E.D. [quod erat demonstrandum, meaning ‘which was to be demonstrated’] nor a shout of triumph over the antagonists he has confronted but with a prayer.”

The God of Hope

The obvious place to begin this study is with the word hope, because it is the first key word and occurs twice, once at the beginning and once at the end.

What is striking here is that Paul links hope to God, speaking of “the God of hope.” This can point to God as the source of hope (a subjective genitive), or it can point to God as the object of hope (an objective genitive). Both are true. God is the source of hope because he is the source of every good thing. But he is also the object of hope, since we have hope in him and not in the weak things advanced as objects of hope by our secular sinful world.

Paul is not saying to “keep a stiff upper lip” or “look for the silver lining” or “never, never, never give up” when he speaks of the Christian’s hope. To be hopeful is a human characteristic possessed in large measure by great men and women, and we admire it. But if that is all we are talking about in terms of our spiritual state, it would be utter deception and delusion. This is because without God our condition is literally, thoroughly, unmistakably, and unalterably hopeless. We are indeed “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).

As soon as we bring God into the picture the situation is reversed. Now we have hope through the work of Jesus Christ, because God himself is our hope and has given hope to us.

Nothing else can be that or do that. If you put your hope in other people, they will let you down. If you trust your stocks or bonds or bank accounts, you will find that they can disappear overnight. In any case, they are not ultimately satisfying. Health will fail. Houses can burn. Jobs can be lost. Even great nations enter periods of economic and moral decline. But the one who has his or her hope from God and trusts God as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ can stand firm in anything. Edward Mots expressed it in one of our best-known hymns:

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, his covenant, his blood

Support me in the whelming flood;

When all around my soul gives away,

He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

Paul spoke of this hope when he wrote to the Christians at Corinth, describing himself as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor. 6:10).

Abounding in Joy

Joy is one of Paul’s great concepts since, as Leon Morris points out, “the term occurs in his writings twenty-one times and no other New Testament writing has it more than John’s nine times.” He links it to faith in Philippians 1:25 (“I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith”) and with the other fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22–23 (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”).

Yet Paul didn’t invent the idea. He received it from Jesus, who spoke of it, along with peace, as his gift to his disciples before his departure. Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). Speaking of his death he added, “Now is your time for grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22). Later in his high priestly prayer, recorded in John 17, Jesus said to his Father, “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (v. 13).

This joy has its source in God, since “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

This means that the Christian’s joy is not a matter of natural human endowments or nice circumstances. It is supernatural in origin and in the way it expresses itself in spite of circumstances. Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote, “It is not a question of being an extrovert or an introvert. Some people are by nature gloomy and morose. In the days of superstition it was thought that such had been born under the influence of Saturn, and so they were called saturnine. Other people are buoyant and outgoing, and this was attributed to their being born under the influence of the planet Jupiter, so they were called jovial. But jovial people are sometimes plunged into the deepest despair and gloom when something goes contrary to their selfish desires. And contrariwise, some who are naturally despondent learn to settle upon the eternal Rock, and are filled with a deep and steadfast joy, which does not have its spring in this natural life.”

In the prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus indicated that we should have “the full measure” of this divine joy within. But we don’t always; that is why he prayed for it on our behalf.

We find much the same thing in our text in Romans, for Paul is praying that God might fill the Roman believers with “all joy and peace as you trust in him.” This teaches that there are degrees of these blessings for Christians; and this must mean that although many have them, not all are filled with them. Instead of being mostly empty of blessings, you should be filled to the brim.

Two Kinds of Peace

Two kinds of peace are spoken of in the Bible: peace with God and the peace of God. Thus far in Romans the first meaning has dominated, because Paul has been trying to show how sinners, who are naturally at war with God, might find peace with God through the cross of Christ. Here, however, he is talking about personal peace, the peace of heart and mind that God gives.

William Barclay in his commentary on Romans writes about how people naturally want peace but lose it due to inner tensions or disturbing circumstances:

The ancient philosophers sought for what they called ataraxia, the untroubled life. They wanted above all serenity, that serenity which is proof alike against the shattering blows and the petty pinpricks of human existence. One would almost say that today serenity is a lost possession.

There are two things which make serenity impossible. (a) There is the inner tension. Men live a distracted life, for the word distract literally means to pull apart. So long as a man is a walking civil war, so long as he himself is a battleground, so long as he is a split personality, there can obviously be no such thing as serenity. There is only one way out of this, and that is for self to abdicate to Christ. When Christ controls the tension is gone. (b) There is worry about external things. There are many who are haunted by the chances and the changes of life. H. G. Wells tells how in New York harbor he was once on a liner. It was foggy, and suddenly out of the fog there loomed another liner, and the two ships slid past each other with only yards to spare. He was suddenly face to face with what he called the general large dangerousness of life. It is hard not to worry, for man is characteristically a creature who looks forward to guess and fear. The only end to that worry is the utter conviction that, whatever happens, God’s hand will never cause his child a needless tear. Things will happen that we cannot understand, but if we are sure enough of love, we can accept with serenity even those things which wound the heart and baffle the mind.

What that is all about, if we speak in theological terms, is faith in the sovereignty of God—that God is in control and that he never lets anything come into the lives of one of his children that he has not ordained for that person for his or her ultimate good. A person who really trusts in God’s sovereignty will have a peace that others cannot even comprehend.

Trust in Him

The fourth of the key terms Paul puts together in this verse is faith, or trust as the New International Version has it. Faith is the indispensable channel for blessings, as they come from God but become ours only as we trust in him.

This is not so mysterious. It is simply a matter of believing God when he tells us who he is and what he has done and will continue to do for his people. I am convinced that the most important of all differences between people is precisely at this point, not whether they are intelligent or unintelligent, kind or unkind, joyful or taciturn, people-oriented or loners, but whether or not they will trust God. Christians by very definition are believers; non-Christians are unbelievers. But I mean more than this. I mean that even professing Christians differ fundamentally in regard either to trusting or not trusting God, either believing him or questioning what he says.

In his study of this verse Donald Grey Barnhouse illustrates this by citing the way some Bible critics reacted when so-called errors they believed they had found in the Bible were explained. They began by creating a series of arguments for why intelligent people could no longer trust the Bible—call them arguments A, B, C, and D. These stood for a while because biblical scholarship is slow. Yet as the years went by arguments A and B were refuted by a better knowledge of the Bible and of the times of the writing of the biblical documents. By this time these same unbelieving critics had developed arguments E, F, G, and H. Scholarship crawled on and eventually explained these problems. But now the critics had arguments I, J, K, L, and M. And so it has gone. Eventually they ran out of letters and had to start again!

We might expect that such people would learn from what has happened, but they do not. In the meantime, however, as Barnhouse writes, “While this parade of doubt passes by, there is the quiet march of men of faith who are filled with all joy and peace in believing, because they have been filled by the God of hope who establishes, strengthens and settles them.”

I have often called attention to Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s remark that he was willing to be thought a fool today, knowing that in twenty or thirty years his faith in the Word of God would be vindicated, and chiding those who aspired to seem wise now by attacking the Scriptures but who would look foolish in a decade or so’s time.

Learn to trust God. You will find that as you trust him you will grow stronger in your faith and that you will become ever more firmly settled in the wonderful doctrines taught us in the Bible. Moreover, you will discover something of the perfect joy and peace of believing God. Hymn writer Thomas Kelly (1769–1855) wrote this:

Trust in him, ye saints, forever;

He is faithful, changing never;

Neither force nor guile can sever

Those he loves from him.

Powered by the Holy Spirit

The fifth and last of the great biblical words found in Romans 15:13 is power, in the phrase “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” In the Greek it is the word dynamis, not exousia (which is sometimes also translated as power but actually means authority). It is a power that gets things done.

This phrase reminds us that nothing of any spiritual value is possible in and of ourselves since, as Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We cannot believe unless we are enabled to believe by God (Eph. 2:8). We cannot find peace unless we submit our requests to God by prayer and earnest petition (Phil. 4:6–7). Joy comes only from God and is a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work within (Gal. 5:22). Hope is impossible (Eph. 2:12). But while these blessings are impossible for any of us to achieve by ourselves, everything is possible for God who makes them possible for us and in us by his Spirit’s power. In fact, God promises to bless us in all these ways if we will trust him, and it is for this that Paul is praying in Romans 15.

By ending with a reference to “the power of the Holy Spirit,” the prayer that is our text both begins and ends with God. This is an important point, and it is one that should be familiar to us by now since it is exactly what we found in Romans 11:36, which closed the long doctrinal section of the epistle. It ended with a doxology, the final words of which were:

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Everything in this whole universe begins with God, is accomplished by God’s agency, and exists for God’s glory. But if that is true of the inanimate universe—the world of plants and trees, of suns and planets, of quasars, quarks, and black holes—it is certainly true of salvation. It is true of you, if you are a Christian. You exist because God created you. You believe because he worked faith in you and sustains it in you by the power of his Holy Spirit. He does this that you might live to his glory now and indeed forever.

Left to ourselves we can do nothing. Even as saved people we would fall at the first wisp of temptation or the first blast of Satan’s death-dealing blows. But because God is for us we can stand firm and triumph. That is why Thomas Kelly continues, in the hymn from which I quoted earlier:

Keep us Lord, O keep us cleaving

To thyself and still believing,

Till the hour of our receiving

Promised joys from thee.

Finally, we note that according to our text, all this is so Christians “might overflow with hope.” That is Paul’s emphasis, his conclusion. To put it in temporal sequence: God, who is the source of hope, is asked to fill believers with joy and peace through their learning to trust in him, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit’s working they might overflow with the hope of which God the Father is the source.

This is the fourth mention of hope in this chapter (vv. 4, 12, 13 twice) and the third since verse 12. So obviously it is Paul’s main concern and should be ours also, especially since we live in an age that is so lacking in hope. As I look around me today I sense that people have lost hope in nearly everything. They have no faith in politicians or the economy or justice from the courts or even safety from those authorized to provide it. They do not even have faith in themselves. And they are without God, and therefore there is no hope for them in this world.

What an opportunity for God’s people! Robert Haldane says, “The people of God have high hopes.” Indeed we do. We have divine, uplifting, great, overwhelming, and overpowering hopes. So let’s be hopeful. Abound in hope—and let the world know why.[2]

13 As he had done at the close of the first section in this chapter (v. 5), Paul expresses his desire that God will meet the needs of his readers. Although eschatology is a significant feature of ch. 8, eschatology in a formal, structured sense has little place in Romans. Its subjective counterpart, “hope” (elpis, GK 1828), however, is mentioned more often than in any other of his letters, especially in this portion (vv. 4, 12–13).

The expression “the God of hope” means the God who inspires hope and imparts it to his children. “Hope” in the NT does not mean “wishful thinking”; quite to the contrary, “hope” in the NT connotes “a confident expectation.” The confidence of Christian hope derives from the fact that God can be counted on to fulfill what yet remains to be accomplished for the church (5:2; cf. 13:11). Likewise, in the more immediate future and with the help of Paul’s letter, they can confidently look to God for the working out of their problems, including the one Paul has been discussing. Hope does not operate apart from trust; in fact, it is the forward-looking aspect of faith (Gal 5:5; 1 Pe 1:21). Paul prays that the Romans might be filled “with all joy and peace”—words that remind us of key traits of the kingdom of God according to 14:17. Peace, of course, is very pertinent to the concerns of this portion of Romans.

Paul in his pastoral zeal is not satisfied with anything less than a rich experience of hope that “overflows” (perisseuein, GK 4355), even as elsewhere he desires his readers to abound in love (Php 1:9; 1 Th 3:12), in pleasing God (1 Th 4:1), and in thanksgiving (Col 2:7). The reason for this emphasis in Paul is that the God who is supplicated here has so wonderfully abounded in the exercise of his grace (5:15) that he can also be expected to enable his people to increase in the manifestation of Christian graces, especially as this is ensured “by the power of the Holy Spirit,” who indwells and fills the inner life.[3]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 2, p. 324). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The New Humanity (Vol. 4, pp. 1834–1841). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[3] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 216). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Whitefield’s Sin Exposing Spotlight

Whitefield was convinced that any presentation of the gospel must begin by exposing the listener’s sin and his dire need for salvation. This necessitated the preacher’s confronting his hearers’ rebellion against God and warning of the eternal consequences of their rejection. Whitefield plainly understood that none rightly desire the gospel of Christ until they know of their own condemnation before God. Whitefield preached those truths that reveal sin, namely, the holiness of God, the fall of Adam, the demands of the law, the curse of disobedience, the certainty of death, the reality of the final judgment, and the eternality of punishment in hell.

When addressing the unregenerate masses, Whitefield sought to ensure that their depravity was fully laid bare. Martyn Lloyd-Jones aptly stated, “No man could expose the condition of the natural unregenerate heart more powerfully than George Whitefield.” Only when confronted with their sinfulness, Whitefield insisted, would unbelievers seek to embrace Christ as their Savior and Lord. He peeled back the outer layers of people’s self-righteousness in order to bring about self-awareness of their sinful hearts.

The work of evangelism mandated that he address the eternally devastating effects of sin in his preaching. Whitefield, like a watchman on the tower, warned of sin, death, and judgment. He sought to disturb his listeners with their lost condition before a righteous Judge in heaven. “The sin of your nature, your original sin, is sufficient to sink you into torments, of which there will be no end,” he preached. “Therefore unless you receive the Spirit of Christ, you are reprobates, and you cannot be saved.” He believed the lost must be driven to the brink of utter desperation before they will come to faith in Christ.

Whitefield was a master at sweeping away all useless rhetoric in order that the unconverted would recognize their desperate need to repent. He implored them, “You are lost, undone, without Him; and if He is not glorified in your salvation, He will be glorified in your destruction; if He does not come and make His abode in your hearts, you must take up an eternal abode with the devil and his angels.” None who heard Whitefield were put to sleep with a false sense of security.

Pointing back to Adam’s transgression, Whitefield emphasized that all are born with an inherited sin nature from the first man. He declared, “We all stand in need of being justified, on account of the sin of our natures: for we are all chargeable with original sin, or the sin of our first parents.” It was this strong belief in original sin and total depravity that caused his every sermon to drive his listeners to grasp a sense of their desperate condition in sin. All humanity is born spiritually dead, he believed:

Can you deny that you are fallen creatures? Do not you find that you are full of disorders, and that these disorders make you unhappy? Do not you find that you cannot change your own hearts? Have you not resolved many and many a time, and have not your corruptions yet dominion over you? Are you not bondslaves to your lusts, and led captive by the devil at his will?

Whitefield’s sermons were filled with vivid warnings of the horrific dangers of remaining in a state of sin. In his sermon “Walking with God,” he warned that hell may be but one step away for them: “For how knowest thou, O man, but the next step thou takest may be into hell? Death may seize thee, judgment find thee, and then the great gulf will be fixed between thee and endless glory for ever and ever. O think of these things, all yet that are unwilling to walk with God. Lay them to heart.” Whitefield understood that gospel preaching must include the threat of hell, which is intended to drive men to flee to Christ and escape His terrors.

By such strong statements, Whitefield shined a sin-exposing spotlight into the dark crevasses of depraved hearts. Only then would sinners flee to the foot of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ to hear about a Savior who died for their guilty souls.

This excerpt is taken from The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield by Steven Lawson.

Source: Whitefield’s Sin Exposing Spotlight

Two publishers suspend publication of books by megachurch pastor Hybels in wake of misconduct allegations

(Manya Brachear Pashman – Chicago Tribune) Two Christian book publishers have suspended publication of books by Bill Hybels, the megachurch pastor and best-selling author who stepped down from the helm of Willow Creek Community Church amid allegations of improper conduct with women.

Tyndale House Publishers in Carol Stream has suspended its plans to publish “Everyone Wins When a Leader Gets Better,” which was scheduled for release in August. That month, Hybels was to have hosted the renowned Global Leadership Summit, a conference sponsored by the related nonprofit Willow Creek Association, but Hybels bowed out of that as well.

“We will make a final decision regarding potential publication after we absorb the facts and implications related to these allegations,” Todd Starowitz, a spokesman for Tyndale House, said in a statement.

“We take allegations of misconduct seriously, and we are deeply concerned for all involved, both those who have brought forth these allegations as well as the Hybels family.”

Westmont-based InterVarsity Press also announced it would not reprint Hybels’ book titled “Who You Are When No One’s Looking,” a book about the importance of maintaining consistent moral character, and its companion study guide.

A third publisher of Hybels’ titles, Zondervan, said in a statement: “We take these allegations seriously and we continue to sort through the information as it is presented.”View article →

Former Willow Creek Pastor Releases More Details on Bill Hybels Misconduct Inquiry — Christian Post (Disclaimer)

Hybels Steps Down From Willow Creed Following Allegations of Misconduct

Megachurch Pastor John Ortberg Calls Bill Hybels’ Misconduct Investigation ‘Poorly Designed’

Source: Two publishers suspend publication of books by megachurch pastor Hybels in wake of misconduct allegations


And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.


To go along with Christ step-by-step and point by point in identical suffering of Roman crucifixion is not possible for any of us, and certainly is not intended by our Lord.

An earnest Christian woman long ago sought help from Henry Suso concerning her spiritual life. She had been imposing austerities upon herself in an effort to feel the sufferings that Christ had felt on the cross. Things were not going so well with her and Suso knew why.

The old saint wrote his spiritual daughter and reminded her that our Lord had not said, “If any man will come after me let him deny himself, and take up MY cross.” He had said, “Let him…take up his cross.” There is a difference of only one small pronoun; but that difference is vast and important.

Crosses are all alike, but no two are identical. Never before nor since has there been a cross experience just like that endured by the Saviour. The whole dreadful work of dying which Christ suffered was something unique in the experience of mankind. It had to be so if the cross was to mean life for the world. The sin-bearing, the darkness, the rejection by the Father were agonies peculiar to the Person of the holy sacrifice. For anyone to claim that experience of Christ would be sacrilege.

Every cross was and is an instrument of death, but no man could die on the cross of another; hence Jesus said, “Let him…take up his cross, and follow me!”[1]

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

April 18 Bridging the Gap to True Worship

Leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.—Matt. 5:24

No matter who is responsible for a severed relationship—and often both sides bear some guilt—it’s essential to reconcile before going to God in worship. Even if you have nothing against the other person and the fault lies entirely with them, you should do everything possible to settle things. You can’t change another’s heart attitude, but you should desire to close the gap between yourself and the other person and hold no grudge against him or her—then you can enter freely and fully into divine worship.

Better music, more eloquent prayers, or more classic architecture—none of these will enhance true worship. Even better or more biblical preaching will not of itself improve our worship experience. However, a contrite and righteous attitude toward God and our brothers and sisters will enhance genuine worship. Sometimes the drastic measure of staying away from church for a time until a broken or strained relationship is right is the only action that will make our worship God-honoring.

Long before Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22). After that the psalmist said, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66:18). If sin remains unconfessed and relationships broken, there will be no integrity in our worship.


Again, you are responsible only for the condition of your own heart, not another’s. But can you honestly say today that you have made peace in your heart with those who have been at odds with you? Have you forgiven? Have you sought renewed relationship?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 117). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

April 18 Tranquility in Criticism

If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you.

1 Peter 4:14

A pure conscience provides tranquility and vindicates you when you are slandered. It will be free from the task of pointing out any sin, and your godly life will prove any criticisms to be false. When you have a pure conscience, the verbal abuse and insults against you bring shame to your accuser, not you.

The world self–righteously condemns Christianity when it can point to a Christian who has scandalized the faith. Unbelievers enjoy drawing attention to a sinning Christian so they can justify their own sinful behavior. Therefore, live above reproach so that the unbeliever’s accusations will be without any foundation.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 123). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.