Daily Archives: May 15, 2018

May 15: Small Starts

1 Chronicles 2:1–55; 1 Timothy 3:1–7; Psalm 75:1–76:12

In Paul’s qualifications for overseers, he mentions a necessary trait for anyone who wants to lead in a community: “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Tim 3:4–5).

Though Paul speaks to overseers, his words tell us something about our own witness. Living like Christ, showing grace, and acting with wisdom toward the people who are closest to us are often more difficult than serving on a larger scale. It’s more challenging to serve those who know our failings than it is to serve anyone else. By learning to be faithful in these relationships—by serving unselfishly and with dignity—we prove ourselves capable of serving others.

Paul understands that humility and love must be practiced at home before they can be adequately practiced in community. By extension, allowing ourselves to live an imbalanced or ungodly life will ultimately lessen our effectiveness elsewhere.

It’s easy to take the people closest to us for granted—to see them as facets of our own lives, helping us accomplish our own goals. Guiding these relationships takes maturity. And the fruits of those relationships will prove our ability to influence the lives of others.

Paul acknowledges that the desire to be a leader is a noble one. He isn’t trying to dissuade those who want to take on more responsibility; instead, he is trying to ensure that they’re adequately prepared and not prone to a major public meltdown. He is preparing them to succeed at an honorable task.

Think about two or three people who are closest to you. How can you better serve them?

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.

May 15 Speaking the Truth in Love (John)

The twelve apostles included “John” (Matt. 10:2).

✧✧✧

Seek to maintain a proper balance between truth and love.

Some people picture John as overly sentimental and egotistical, lying with his head on Jesus’ shoulder and constantly referring to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” But that’s not an accurate characterization of this “Son of thunder”! He loved Jesus deeply and was amazed that Jesus loved him—especially after he wanted to burn up the Samaritans and then secure a prominent place for himself in Christ’s Kingdom. Calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (e.g., John 21:20) was simply his way of marveling over God’s grace in his life.

As much as he loved Jesus, John never allowed his love to deteriorate into mere sentimentalism. In fact, the proper balance between truth and love is the hallmark of his ministry. In his writings we find the word love more than eighty times and witness nearly seventy times. His profound love for Christ compelled him to be a teacher of love and a witness to the truth. To him, obedience to the truth was the highest expression of love. As 1 John 2:5 says, “Whoever keeps [God’s] word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.”

John’s greatest joy was to know that his spiritual children were “walking in the truth” (3 John 4). He firmly denounced anyone who attempted to divert them from that goal by denying or distorting God’s Word.

Today media talk shows and other influences have blurred the lines between opinion and truth. One man’s opinion is purported to be as good as the next, and there’s little talk about what’s right or wrong.

Truth suffers even within the church, because many Christians are willing to compromise it to avoid upsetting people. They forget that true love flourishes only in the atmosphere of Biblical truth (Phil. 1:9).

Amid such confusion, God calls you to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). The world doesn’t need another opinion—it needs God’s absolute and authoritative Word!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the gift of His love and the power of His truth. Ask Him to make you a person of ever-increasing Biblical integrity.

For Further Study: Read Revelation 2:1–7. ✧ What strengths did the church at Ephesus have? ✧ What did it lack? ✧ What did Jesus require of it?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 148). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

After Repeatedly Denying It, Twitter OFFICIALLY Admits to Shadowbanning Users — The Gateway Pundit

After repeatedly denying it, Twitter officially admitted to shadowbanning users on Tuesday, however; they didn’t elaborate in detail. Twitter has repeatedly denied they shadowban users. They even denied this practice during Senate hearings. Project Veritas previously caught many Twitter engineers and employees on camera admitting the social media giant shadowbans Trump supporters: Steven Pierre, Twitter…

via After Repeatedly Denying It, Twitter OFFICIALLY Admits to Shadowbanning Users — The Gateway Pundit

May 15, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

The Trump administration is considering expanding Medicare’s ability to negotiate the cost of drugs by giving private payers a role in setting the price of medicines administered in hospitals and doctors’ offices, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to German, French and British counterparts in recent days to discuss cooperation over Iran, a State Department spokeswoman said on Monday a week after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

Voters head to the polls on Tuesday in crucial party primaries in Pennsylvania, a state that has become central to Democrats’ hopes of retaking control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said on Monday he is seeking to reinstate the death penalty for mass murder and killing a police officer, a move that comes when capital punishment nationwide is at lows not seen for about a quarter century.

A court in Bahrain revoked the citizenship of 115 people and gave 53 of them life sentences on terrorism charges, the public prosecutor said on Tuesday, in one of the most severe rulings yet in the Gulf island kingdom.

Thirty-four Chilean bishops summoned to the Vatican over a cover-up of sexual abuse by clergy began crisis meetings with Pope Francis on Tuesday that could result in a purge of Chile’s Catholic hierarchy.

European relations with the United States have taken a knock after Washington pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee will vote on Wednesday morning on President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the new director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, a committee aide said on Monday.

U.S. retail sales increased moderately in April as rising gasoline prices cut into discretionary spending, but consumer spending appeared on track to accelerate after slowing sharply in the first quarter.

AP Top Stories

Thousands joined funeral processions Tuesday for some of the dozens of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in a mass march on the Gaza border, as Israeli faced growing diplomatic fallout from the use of lethal force against unarmed protesters.

People nixing vacations to Hawaii’s Big island has cost the tourism industry millions of dollars as the top attraction, Kilauea volcano, keeps spewing lava.

The White House has refused to condemn Israel for shooting dead at least 55 Palestinian protesters or even call for restraint, instead seeking to put the blame on Hamas and describing the protests as a “gruesome propaganda attempt”.

President Donald Trump has fulfilled biblical prophecy by moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said over the weekend.

Taliban fighters with heavy weapons and night-vision equipment fought their way close to the center of the western city of Farah on Tuesday, as Afghan government forces backed by U.S. air strikes battled to keep control, officials and residents said.

The co-pilot of a Sichuan Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing on Monday was “sucked halfway” out of the plane after a cockpit windshield blew out, media reported, citing the aircraft’s captain.

An asteroid the size of the Statue of Liberty will zoom past Earth today. The asteroid, dubbed 2010 WC9, is about the size of a football field and will fly past Earth at about 28,655 miles per hour, according to EarthSky. It will come within 126,419 miles of Earth – the closest it has come to our planet in 300 years – though it is still considered a safe passing distance.

Wildlife rangers in Colorado on Monday shot and killed a black bear suspected of attacking and trying to drag off a five-year-old girl from her yard.

Indonesia’s chief security minister said on Monday that police backed by the military would step up security across the Southeast Asian country after a series of deadly suicide attacks by suspected Islamist militants.

BBC

US retailer Gap has apologized for selling T-shirts which it said showed an “incorrect map” of China. The design featured just the mainland and not territories that China also claims, such as Taiwan.

Six ex-employees of German gun maker Heckler & Koch have gone on trial in Stuttgart, accused of illegally sending guns to strife-torn parts of Mexico. The indictment focuses on 4,500 G36 assault rifles and smaller firearms sent in 16 batches.

A Chinese climber who lost his feet by frostbite after giving his sleeping bag to a sick teammate during a high-altitude storm on Everest more than 40 years ago has scaled the summit at the start of this year’s climbing season. Australian Steve Plain, meanwhile, set the record for the fastest climb of the highest mountains on seven continents.

Reports from Nigeria say at least 80 people have been abducted by gunmen in the north-western state of Kaduna.

WND

Disney has stirred controversy in recent years with its depictions of homosexuality in animated features for children, and now the iconic Mickey Mouse ears are available in a gay theme.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Muslims carry out jihad against the United States.

As many as a dozen Google employees quit their jobs Monday in protest over the company’s agreement to provide artificial intelligence technology to the Pentagon for use in improving weaponized drone strikes.


The Briefing — Tuesday, May 15, 2018

1) U.S. embassy in Israel officially moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as protests erupt in Gaza

New York Times (David Halbfinger) –
Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem

Wall Street Journal (Felicia Schwartz) –
U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Opens to a Fraught Climate

New York Times (David Halbfinger) –
Israel Feels Pride but Senses Peril as U.S. Moves Embassy

2) Supreme Court rules that states are free to authorize sports betting in constitutionally sound but morally fraught decision

3) Why it’s important to know that an asteroid’s near miss is no mere accident

California Democrats Push Communist Holiday Over President’s Day

Canada Free Press

California’s elected Democrats are pushing for a communist holiday, at the expense of a U.S. President’s Day. Remember during the Cold War when “better dead than Red?” was the thinking?

History repeats itself because evil never goes away.

Our Educational Horror System

FrontPageMag

Better not to go to school than go to a classroom like this. View this 10-second video.


News – 5/15/2018

Gazans bury dead after bloodiest day of Israel border protests

Palestinians rallied in Gaza on Tuesday for the funerals of scores of people killed by Israeli troops a day earlier, while on the Gaza-Israel border, Israeli forces took up positions to deal with the expected final day of a Palestinian protest campaign. Monday’s violence on the border, which took place as the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, was the bloodiest for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza conflict.

Italy anti-abortion posters spark outcry in Rome

“Abortion is the prime cause of femicide in the world,” declare the black-and-white posters that have appeared in several areas of Rome. But the campaign has provoked widespread anger and led to appeals to the mayor to get the posters removed. One feminist group condemned the posters as “disgraceful” while others objected to the use of a word often used for the killing of women by men.

Iraq election: Prime minister trails rivals

The bloc led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is trailing in third place in Iraq’s parliamentary elections, according to partial results. With more than half of votes counted, a nationalist alliance between Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr and mostly secular groups is in the lead. It is followed by a bloc linked to Iranian-backed Shia paramilitaries who fought the Islamic State (IS) group.

Face recognition police tools ‘staggeringly inaccurate’

Police must address concerns over the use of facial recognition systems or may face legal action, the UK’s privacy watchdog says. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said the issue had become a “priority” for her office. An investigation by campaign group Big Brother Watch suggested the technology flagged up a “staggering” number of innocent people as suspects.

Drug target for curing the common cold

UK scientists believe they may have found a way to combat the common cold. Rather than attacking the virus itself, which comes in hundreds of versions, the treatment targets the human host. It blocks a key protein in the body’s cells that cold viruses normally hijack to self-replicate and spread. This should stop any cold virus in its tracks if given early enough, lab studies suggest. Safety trials in people could start within two years.

Look at What’s Going to Happen to Sweden’s Fabled Welfare State

Sweden’s got a major supply and demand problem. Its fabled welfare state is forecast to need an extra 208,000 employees by 2025 just to keep up with growing demand. Trouble is, only 207,000 workers are projected to join the country’s entire labor force (comprising both the private and public sector) over the same period. The mismatch is one of the biggest headaches facing Sweden’s next government.

America Can’t Afford to Cede the Seas

The escalating territorial disputes in the Pacific between China and America’s allies create an ever-more-urgent need for U.S. sea power. But even as China rapidly expands and modernizes its navy, the Trump administration has not proposed enough funds to maintain America’s maritime advantage. Beginning with the coming 2019 federal budget, the president and Congress must commit to funding a full, modern fleet—or risk ceding essential U.S. and allied interests.

Supreme Court puts brakes on police searches of rental cars

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday limited the ability of police to search rental cars driven by someone other than the person who signed the rental agreement, shoring up privacy rights behind the wheel. The nine justices unanimously threw out a lower court ruling that had approved of a search by Pennsylvania police of a Ford Fusion driven by Terrence Byrd, whose girlfriend had rented the car.

Subtropical or Tropical Development is Possible in Gulf of Mexico, But a Heavy Rain Threat to Florida and the Southeast Regardless

An area of low pressure in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is being monitored for subtropical or tropical development this week as it spreads heavy rainfall across Florida and other parts of the Southeast, potentially giving the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season an early start.

40 Killed in India Dust Storm, Heavy Rains

A powerful dust storm, heavy rains and thunderstorms have killed more than 40 people across northern India.

Treason: Obama Shut Down Efforts To Stop Iran’s Nuke And Bomb Smuggling Network

Obama’s Iran deal was a boost for its weapons program. So why should any of his dirty deals with the Islamic terror state not be a vital part of the same treasonous agenda.

Human Feet Are Washing Ashore In Canada

More than a dozen human feet in shoes have washed up on the shore of British Columbia and Washington over the past 11 years.

3,000 Swedes Get Microchips Put In Skin

…The chips, which are only about as small as a grain of rice, are designed to hold entry keys, credit card information, access to vending machines and printers, and technology to collect train fair while the passenger is already on-board.

Rush Limbaugh: Why Did Obama’s FBI Place An Informant Inside The Trump Campaign?

Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh discusses Wall Street Journal columnist Kim Strassel’s report that Obama’s FBI had infiltrated the Trump campaign with a spy, and while they had that spy implanted, they were unmasking and leaking and obtaining FISA spying warrants and conducting criminal investigations on Trump advisers.

Iranian Hardliner Group Offers $100,000 to Blow Up New US Embassy in Jerusalem

A hardliner Iranian group offered $100,000 to any Islamist willing to bomb the new US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Shock Study: Major Depression Diagnoses Spike 33 Percent Since 2013

Major depression cases skyrocketed by 33 percent from 2013 to 2016, according to a study by health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).

WATCH: US Teacher Encourages Kids to Throw Rocks at 4-Year-Old for Punishment

A day care worker in Arkansas has been accused of encouraging other kids to throw rocks at a four-year-old child for not following the teacher’s directions.

Report: Doctors caught overprescribing drugs to older people as profits overtake ethics

Aging takes a serious toll on humans, and most older people take a lot of pills for various reasons. At first, it might be concerning when family members have to start taking regular medications, but eventually it becomes a new way of life and people stop questioning doctors when they add new pills to an older person’s daily regimen.

Israel says three ‘armed terrorists’ among 52 reported dead in Gaza border clashes

At least three of the 52 Palestinians reportedly killed Monday in clashes ahead of the Jerusalem opening of the U.S. Embassy to Israel were “armed terrorists” caught trying to plant a bomb near the Gaza border fence, Israel’s military said.

Bomb terror targets Christian churches in Indonesia

As the Christian minority in Indonesia celebrated Sunday services a week before Pentecost, Islamic terrorists attacked three churches with bombs, killing at least 13 and wounding scores in the worst such onslaught in 18 years.


Mid-Day Snapshot

Dear Dems: Stop Attacking the Electoral College

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact aims to undo the Founders’ system by default.

European Officials Bribed Into Accepting Iran Nuke Deal?

Iran’s foreign minister threatens to expose bribe deals if Europe follows Trump’s lead.

Democrats Love Playing Sexism Games

Hillary Clinton (again) blames sexism for why she lost votes, trashing America in Australia.

Tuesday Short Cuts

“These [Gaza] demonstrations would be better described as suicide-riots.” —Weekly Standard

Tuesday Opinion

Read Tony Perkins, Cal Thomas, Stephen Moore, Bill Wager, John Sparks and more.

Tuesday Top Headlines

Senate obstructionists, DOJ trouble, China’s jobs, Facebook’s latest data leak, and more.

Today’s Meme


Today’s Cartoon


The Foundation

“Even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.” —Thomas Paine (1776)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: May 15

  • Gazans bury their dead after bloody day of protests (Read More)
  • U.S. Embassy Move, Bloodshed Add to Friction With Allies (Read More)
  • Britain calls for investigation into Gaza violence (Read More)
  • China Data Shows a Hint of Slowdown While Factories Still Hum (Read More)
  • Iran’s Zarif meets EU foreign policy chief as Europe tries to save nuclear deal (Read More)
  • Volcker Rule Rewrite Is Said to Drop Key Trading Burden on Banks (Read More)
  • North Korea Starts to Dismantle Nuclear-Test Site (Read More)
  • Safety, verification questions hang over North Korea’s plan to close nuclear site (Read More)
  • A World Apart: Charting the Gulf Between Chinese and U.S. Tariffs (Read More)
  • US, China still ‘very far apart’ on trade: ambassador Terry Branstad (Read More)
  • Investors Are Wary as Companies Ramp Up Capital Spending (Read More)
  • Thomson Reuters to move forex derivatives to Ireland from London due to Brexit (Read More)
  • How to Lease a $50,000 BMW for Less Than a Subway Pass (Read More)
  • Soros’s Foundation Quits Hungary Under Government Pressure (Read More)
  • Second Wynn Picasso Yanked From Christie’s Sale After Mishap (Read More)
  • Uber Ends Forced Arbitration for Harassment Claims (Read More)
  • Allianz making plans to wind down Iran business (Read More)
  • Forget Florida—More Northern Retirees Head to Appalachia (Read More)
  • Japan’s SoftBank to open Saudi Arabian office (Read More)

Headlines – 5/15/2018

‘You have made history’: Netanyahu hails Trump at Jerusalem embassy opening

‘There’s a new sheriff in town’: U.S. officials say Jerusalem embassy move was long overdue

Pence: By recognizing Jerusalem, we chose fact over fiction

US Embassy opens in Jerusalem: ‘When Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’

Fox News Host: Trump Fulfilled Biblical Prophecy By Moving U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem

Watch: Opening ceremony of the US embassy in Jerusalem

57 nation OIC condemns US embassy move to Jerusalem

Turkey: Protesters burn flags over embassy move

European countries blast US embassy move to Jerusalem

Theresa May: UK will not move its embassy to Jerusalem

Abbas pans new US embassy as a ‘settlement outpost’ in Jerusalem

In video at Jerusalem embassy opening, Trump stresses commitment to peace

Jerusalem Embassy Is a Victory for Trump, and a Complication for Middle East Peace

Jared Kushner hails the new US Embassy in Jerusalem as hopes stall for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal

Jared Kushner hypes peace deal as Israel kills scores of Palestinian protesters during US embassy move to Jerusalem

Kushner: Peace deal to benefit both sides in Mideast conflict

VP Pence: US Embassy move is way to peace

Embassy move to Jerusalem will not hinder peace process: Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak

Trump Mideast envoy: Moving embassy to Jerusalem ‘necessary condition’ for peace

Senior US official: ‘Trump won’t demand anything from Israel for embassy move’ – Israel isn’t expected political ‘compensation’ for embassy move

Jewish dreams of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital go back thousands of years

‘We returned to our home and we will keep it forever’

Minister urges PM to ask for ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ to be listed on US passports

Bennett: we will never even discuss dividing Jerusalem

Israel is 70 – is hope for a two-state solution gone?

US has lost its status as mediator in Middle East peace process with embassy move: Erdogan

The dream of ‘peace in our time’ in the Middle East died on Monday

Jerusalem Embassy, Gaza Bloodshed Puts Trump’s Mideast Promise at Risk

A house divided: Gaza violence and embassy divides American lawmakers

Trump Just Made it Much More Likely the Next Democratic President Will Open an Embassy to Palestine in Jerusalem

Trump threw a match into Jerusalem with no plan to put out the fire

Trump moving the US embassy to Jerusalem may cause a chain reaction in the Middle East that he can’t control

Kremlin says fears US Jerusalem embassy opening to fuel M. East tensions

Kremlin urges countries to avoid action potentially destabilizing Middle East

France tells Israel to show restraint, disapproves of US Embassy move

Iranian Group Offers $100,000 to Blow Up New U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

Al-Qaida leader calls for Jihad on eve of U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem

Hamas calls for Intifada in Gaza, West Bank

Funerals for 60 Gazans killed expected to ratchet tensions on border

Defiance, then death: Gaza suffers most horrific day of violence for four years

Kushner: Gaza protesters ‘part of the problem’

Ivanka And Jared’s Jerusalem Visit Slammed On Twitter

‘Daddy’s Little Ghoul’: New York Daily News Rips Ivanka Trump Over Embassy Opening – first daughter was “all smiles” as protesters died in Gaza

UN rights experts slam Israel’s ‘disproportionate use of force’

Defending Gaza action, Netanyahu says Israel has obligation to secure border

Netanyahu calls Israeli actions in Gaza self-defense against Hamas

IDF calls Gaza riots ‘unprecedented,’ insists it followed rules as dozens killed

IDF has ‘enough bullets for everyone,’ senior MK says of deadly Gaza clashes

Israeli jets strike 5 Hamas targets in Gaza

Inside look: How Gaza protesters attempted to breach the border fence

Responsibility for Gaza deaths ‘squarely with Hamas,’ White House says

White House Blames Deadly Gaza Violence On Hamas ‘Propaganda’

Israel girds for second day of violence amid fears protests may spread

Sirens blare in West Bank to honor Palestinian Nakba Day

Egypt condemns Israel’s “targeting of Palestinian civilians” in Gaza

Kuwait seeks UN Security Council meeting on Gaza violence

US quashes Security Council call for probe of Gaza deaths

UN warns of more Gaza violence, condemns Israel’s use of force

UN rights chief demands end to Gaza killings, calls for justice

Justice minister plays down prospect of war crimes charges over Gaza deaths

Fmr. CIA chief: Gaza deaths result of ‘utter disregard for Palestinians’ rights’

After dozens of Gazans killed, Hamas leader says patience of armed factions ‘will not last’

Israel threatens to kill Hamas leaders if riots continue

Israel demands UN condemn Hamas’s use of children, civilians as human shields

Palestinian baby dies from tear gas inhalation at Gaza border protest

Israel to reopen Gaza crossing after rioters burn it for 3rd time

False alarm triggered on Gaza border, amid sky-high tensions

Turkey recalls ambassadors to Israel, US over Gaza ‘genocide’

Turkey says US Embassy move encouraged “massacre” by Israeli security forces

‘My condolences to the martyrs’ killed in Gaza protests, Erdogan says

Turkey’s president blames US for returning world to ‘dark days’

Turkish PM says US and Israel partners in crime against humanity

Turkish PM: Muslim countries should review ties with Israel

South Africa recalls ambassador to Israel in wake of ‘indiscriminate’ killing in Gaza

U.S. Marines deployed to protect American embassies in the Middle East after embassy move

Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to stand with Palestinian people

Two-thirds of UN Security Council upset by non-implementation of Mideast resolution

Palestinians to file war crimes complaint in Hague over settlements

Natalie Portman will receive the ‘Jewish Nobel’ even though she refuses to attend its ceremony in Israel

Hezbollah says rocket attack on Israel marks ‘new phase’ in Syrian war

Iran wants Israel off the map

Israeli, US finance chiefs meet, agree to keep coordinating on Iran sanctions

Iran FM in Moscow as Russia moves to save nuclear deal

Kremlin: Russia’s Putin, France’s Macron discuss Iran deal by phone

EU leaders to discuss Iran economic options on Wednesday

Pompeo reaches out to European counterparts amid Iran tensions

Trump’s Iran Decision Has Turned Allies Into Adversaries

By ending the Iran deal, Trump has put America on the path to war

US Navy chief expects Iranian behavior to enter ‘period of uncertainty’

US Navy expects ‘uncertainty’ in Gulf after Iran deal withdrawal

US concerned Iran may start harassing ships in Gulf again

Global oil supplies robust enough to cut Iran’s exports – Trump memo

UK, France, Germany to discuss ways to shield firms after US exits Iran deal

Iraq’s Sadr supporters chant ‘Iran is out’ while celebrating electoral victory

Iraq’s shock election result may be turning point for Iran

Iraq PM Abadi says ready to work with election winners

Turkish Currency Woes Put Erdogan in Tight Spot in Re-Election Bid

Bodies of 20 Egyptian Christians beheaded in Libya arrive in Egypt

North, South Korea to hold high-level inter-Korea talks on May 16

S. Korea official: Incremental N. Korean denuclearization will be unacceptable

Trump denies going soft on Beijing amid ‘make China great again’ mockery

Soros fund quits Hungary over government’s ‘repressive’ policies

Why one-third of American working-age men could be displaced by robots

‘Lost’ asteroid the size of the Statue of Liberty to buzz by Earth Tuesday

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

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

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Pamandzi, Mayotte

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Miyako, Japan

Kluchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 33,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 30,000ft

Kirishimayama volcano on Japan erupts to 25,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 13,000ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 13,000ft

18th fissure opens and lava bombs fly as Kilauea’s eruption shows no sign of slowing down

After a Record Hurricane Season in 2017, Forecasters Warn U.S. to Brace for More This Year

Violent storms in India kill at least 86

At least 15 killed, several injured in storm and flashfloods in Pakistan

B.C. town swamped by historic flood braces for melting snow

‘Already catastrophic’: Southern B.C. braces for second wave of flooding

‘This is the worst anybody has seen,’ uncertainty looms around BC floods

Major Depression Diagnoses Up 33 Percent Since 2013, Study Finds


ApostasyWatch Daily News

The prophecy clock has now run out for Dispensationalism

The Eternal Jerusalem Is In Heaven Above and Faith In Jesus Christ Is The Only Way In!

How To Deal With Those Who Teach False Doctrine – According to Scripture

Che Ahn: “The 1994 revival in Toronto restored the office of the apostle”.

Artificial Intelligence Summoning Demons According To Tech Genius – “No One Is Paying Attention.”

Two Beijing House Churches Investigated

New Mickey Mouse ears are stirring much controversy

Posted: 15 May 2018 10:15 AM PDT

New Mickey Mouse ears are stirring much controversyDisney has stirred controversy in recent years with its depictions of homosexuality in animated features for children, and now the iconic Mickey Mouse ears are available in a gay theme.  Exclusive to Disney World and Disneyland shops, “Mickey Mouse Rainbow Love,” selling for $17.99, can be customized with the wearer’s name in rainbow embroidery at an additional cost, according to the

website Hornet, reported Christian News.  A social-media post with a photo of the Mickey Mouse ears said: “Disney World got gay ears and I need to get them just to [vulgarity] off old religious people.” A Disney representative told the Huffington Post the company offers “a wide range of merchandise items that appeal to guests of diverse backgrounds.” Last October, the Disney Channel teen series “Andi Mack” featured a “coming out scene” for one of its main male characters, noted Christian News. READ MORE

Trump Fulfills His Promise to Support Israel in What Many See as a “Prophetic Event”

Posted: 15 May 2018 10:04 AM PDT

Trump Fulfills His Promise to Support Israel in What Many See as a “Prophetic Event”(By Steve Strang) As Israel marks its 70th anniversary as a modern nation today, most faithful evangelicals are familiar with the words of Genesis 12:3, in which God says to Abraham, the father of the Jewish race, “I will bless them who bless you and curse him who curses you, and in you all families of the earth will be blessed.”  The promise of this passage is simple enough: The nation of Israel is sacred in God’s eyes.

His blessings have preserved the Jewish people through destruction and disaster countless times over the centuries. He has blessed the nation and its people, and He has promised to bless those who uphold the Jewish nation and to curse those who harm His chosen people. Evangelical Christians believe this to be one of the most fundamental promises of Scripture. But not everyone agrees. Today’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem came with mass protests yesterday along the Israel border, casting a cloud over the event. MORE

Asteroid to buzz earth tonight, closest approach of this size in 300 years

Posted: 15 May 2018 09:57 AM PDT

Asteroid to buzz earth tonight, closest approach of this size in 300 yearsAn asteroid will narrowly miss striking the planet tonight, the closest an asteroid of this size has been to Earth in the last 300 years.  EarthSky reports the asteroid is 197 to 427 feet, or “as big across as a city block,” Dr. Erin Ryan, an asteroid expert at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, tells NBC News. Sky watchers can see the asteroid fly past at 6:05 p.m. Eastern Time with a telescope.  The Northolt

Branch Observatories in London began live streaming the asteroid last night on Facebook. “There are many close approaches from asteroids, [but] most are very small. Only very few objects of [this] size have ever been seen coming closer than the Moon,” NBO astronomer Guy Wells told Newsweek.  READ MORE

Tensions rise between Israel and Turkey over US Embassy move and Gaza violence

Posted: 15 May 2018 09:48 AM PDT

Tensions rise between Israel and Turkey over US Embassy move and Gaza violenceIsrael has told Turkey’s consul to leave the Jewish state, according to the Israeli foreign ministry. It comes after Ankara ordered Israel’s ambassador out of Turkey over the violence in Gaza. “The Israeli ambassador was told that our envoy to Israel was called back for consultations, and was informed that it would be appropriate for him to go back to his country for some time,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry source told Reuters.

The ambassador, Eitan Naeh, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara on Tuesday, according to Haaretz. He has served in the position since October 2015.  It comes after Turkey recalled its own ambassadors in Israel and the United States “for consultations” over the violence on Monday. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to the crackdown by Israeli forces as “genocide” and called Israel a “terrorist state,” while reaffirming his country’s commitment to standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people. READ MORE

College Orders Student to Remove Jesus From Graduation Speech

Posted: 15 May 2018 09:23 AM PDT

College Orders Student to Remove Jesus From Graduation SpeechA Colorado university was forced to backtrack after it questionably demanded a student remove Bible passages from a graduation speech she was elected to give by her classmates. Colorado Mesa University nursing student Karissa Erickson was chosen to address graduates at an event days before their commencement this month, but her speech was nearly derailed by school administrators who were concerned about the religious themes of her prepared remarks.

As the Daily Sentinel reported, Erickson was to speak at the CMU nursing program’s pinning ceremony on May 10. Prior to the ceremony, the student was asked to submit her remarks to school officials—though no formal guidelines regarding what could and could not be said were reportedly ever given—and she was soon told that she would not be able to deliver her speech as written because she cited John 16:33. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace,” the passage reads. “In the world you have tribulation, but take comfort, I have overcome the world.”  MORE

Church members claim they saw Jesus in the fire

Posted: 15 May 2018 09:20 AM PDT

Church members claim they saw Jesus in the fireMoses found God in a burning bush, and some North Dakota churchgoers believe they saw an apparition of Jesus in the form of flame at an Easter Vigil mass in March. Amateur photographer Paulette Osborne captured the photo of the burning Easter candle at Holy Spirit Church in Fargo taking the shape of the a cloaked man on March 31, and, while she is cautious about using the term “apparition,” she admits to being wowed by the image.

“You have to be careful because an apparition has to be thoroughly researched and approved by the [Catholic] Church,” she told KFGO radio station. “I mean, it’s a beautiful symbol of the evening and it was so appropriate for that Easter Vigil service. It really cannot be called an apparition.”  As Osborne explained, she began snapping pictures that the vigil mass after noticing a crowd of people gathering around the flame. MORE

Did Trump Fulfill Bible Prophecy Like King Cyrus?

Posted: 15 May 2018 09:13 AM PDT

Did Trump Fulfill Bible Prophecy Like King Cyrus?ATTENTION: The following report does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of ETH

President Donald Trump is like the Bible’s King Cyrus and fulfilling prophecy in his move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a Fox News host and former judge claims.  “Donald Trump recognized history. He, like King Cyrus before him, fulfilled the biblical prophecy of the gods worshiped by Jews, Christians and, yes, Muslims, that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish

state and that the Jewish people deserve a righteous, free and sovereign Israel,” Judge Jeanine Pirro argued in an op-ed in Fox News published on Sunday.  The former Westchester County Court judge and district attorney lauded Trump ahead of Monday’s official opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, a move which has sparked protests and condemnation throughout the Muslim world, but has been hailed by Israel and several religious leaders in America. READ MORE

Officials warn catastrophic volcanic eruption imminent in Hawaii

Posted: 15 May 2018 09:03 AM PDT

Officials warn catastrophic volcanic eruption imminent in HawaiiDEVELOPING: Officials in Hawaii are reportedly warning residents of an imminent large eruption in Hawaii. When the lava lake inside Kilauea drops,

a catastrophic explosion could launch ballistic boulders the size of cars into the air and plumes of ash could rise 20,000 feet. MORE

STDs in California reach all-time high: 300,000 cases…

Posted: 15 May 2018 08:56 AM PDT

STDs in California reach all-time high: 300,000 cases…The number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases in California reached a record high last year and officials are particularly concerned by a spike in stillbirths due to congenital syphilis, state health authorities said Monday. More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were in 2017, a 45 percent increase from five years ago, according to data released by the California Department of

Public Health.  Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most common among people under 30, the report said. Rates of chlamydia are highest among young women, while men account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases.  If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. Syphilis can result in blindness, hearing loss and neurologic problems.  READ MORE

This Generation shall not pass….

Posted: 14 May 2018 02:27 PM PDT

This Generation shall not pass….In this special “Prophetic” message we will discuss the significance of Israel and the 70th Anniversary of their Independence. We will also show you 10 major prophecies regarding Israel that have or is coming to pass as we speak!


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Barna Update | Sharing Faith Is Increasingly Optional to Christians

In 1993, Barna partnered with Lutheran Hour Ministries to understand why people did and did not engage in intentional outreach. We asked follow-up questions 25 years later to see if faith-sharing is changing in a more digital, secular and contested culture—and found that spiritual conversations are increasingly rare.

Read more

May 15, 2018 RenewAmerica Newsletter

May 15, 2018
ALAN KEYES — “Heritage Foundation Defends Facebook’s ‘Right’ to Censor, Will Oppose Regulation.” So read the headline of an article at Breitbart.com reporting the opinion of “the think tank’s senior research fellow for technology,” Klon Kitchen. “I think Facebook is a private company,” said Kitchen, a former national security adviser to Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. “Facebook can ultimately make decisions about what kind of speech it wants to have on its platform.”… (more)

May 15, 2018
NEWSMAX — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday praised President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, The Hill has reported…. (more)

May 15, 2018
ART MOORE — Amid violent Palestinian protests, the U.S. officially opened a new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, drawing effusive praise from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…. (more)


May 15, 2018
THE HILL — Special counsel Robert Mueller has withstood relentless political attacks, many distorting his record of distinguished government service. But there’s one episode even Mueller’s former law enforcement comrades – – and independent ethicists – – acknowledge raises legitimate legal issues and a possible conflict of interest in his overseeing the Russia election probe…. (more)


May 15, 2018
BYRON YORK — The FBI began its Trump-Russia investigation in July 2016. Special counsel Robert Mueller picked up the probe in May 2017. This summer the investigation will enter its third year…. (more)

May 15, 2018
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — It was July 31, 2016. Just days earlier, the Obama administration had quietly opened an FBI counterintelligence investigation of Russian cyber-espionage – – hacking attacks – – to disrupt the 2016 election. And not random, general disruption; the operating theory was that the Russians were targeting the Democratic party, for the purpose of helping Donald Trump win the presidency…. (more)

May 15, 2018
NEWSMAX — A Green Beret who supports embattled CIA nominee Gina Haspel had his pals subject him to waterboarding for nearly 45 minutes and livestreamed it in a bid to prove the notorious interrogation technique is not torture…. (more)

May 15, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Monday’s historic opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is a wonderful acknowledgment from the United States of our solidarity with Israel and recognizing Jerusalem as its rightful capitol. I applaud President Trump for having the courage to follow through with this American promise after so many prior administrations would not. But one of the more bizarre criticisms of the scheduled ceremonies came from former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, focusing his ire on Robert Jeffress, a Baptist pastor who will speak at the event…. (more)


May 15, 2018
USA TODAY — The good news: We’ve made strides in shielding our children from secondhand smoke. The bad news: A Columbia University study suggests that an increase in parents smoking pot around their children could undo decades of effort to protect our kids…. (more)

May 15, 2018
NEW YORK POST — A gunman who targeted a group of families gathered for a Mother’s Day celebration at a school in Brazil was fatally shot by an off-duty cop. Katia Sastre was praised by local officials for her bravery and was credited with saving the day…. (more)


May 14, 2018
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump will address around 800 US and Israeli dignitaries at the ceremonial opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem by video on Monday, the US ambassador said. It was not immediately clear from Ambassador David Friedman’s comment, on a call with reporters, whether Trump would speak via a live videolink or a pre-recorded address…. (more)

May 14, 2018
FOX NEWS — Israel’s government prepared enthusiastically Sunday for the formal opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem with a gala party at its Foreign Ministry that included President Trump’s daughter Ivanka, her husband, Jared Kushner, and other American VIPs…. (more)


May 14, 2018
NEWSMAX — Scientists are now questioning whether Kim Jong Un’s willingness to talk denuclearization is diplomatic progress for the Trump administration or a panacea for possible nuclear fallout in North Korea, according to Forbes…. (more)

May 14, 2018
SUN SENTINEL — The Broward school district’s repeated, emphatic – – and it turns out, false – – statements that Nikolas Cruz had not been in a controversial disciplinary program fit a pattern of an institution on the defensive and under siege…. (more)

May 14, 2018
NEWSMAX — After signing the nation’s strictest abortion ban into law, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said there is still more work ahead, The Hill reported on Sunday…. (more)

May 13, 2018
NEWSMAX — North Korea has scheduled the dismantlement of its nuclear test site for sometime between May 23 and 25, depending on weather conditions, in order to uphold its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests, the country’s state media reported on Saturday…. (more)


May 13, 2018
GREG COROMBOS — The release of three Americans held prisoner in North Korea is being hailed as a sign of increased goodwill heading into next month’s U.S.-North Korea summit, but a leading group assisting persecuted Christians is imploring the Trump administration to make human rights and religious freedom an important part of the conversation as well…. (more)

May 13, 2018
The Steele-dossier author told Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson about a ‘human source’
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — Something tells me Glenn Simpson did not make a mistake. Something tells me the co-founder of Fusion GPS was dead-on accurate when he testified that Christopher Steele told him the FBI had a “human source” – – i.e., a spy – – inside the Trump campaign as the 2016 presidential race headed into its stretch run…. (more)

May 13, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — A new ad from the anti-Trump group Nextgen America, funded by billionaire Tom Steyer, implores moms on Mother’s Day Sunday to talk to their child about the dangers of the Republican Party. Steyer has aired ads that have called for President Trump’s impeachment…. (more)

May 11, 2018
A current events perspective
WES VERNON — President Trump made a logical decision in pulling the U.S. out of the never signed “Iran deal.” As Ambassador Henry Cooper notes, not only is the document not signed, it is unenforceable. His claim is best illustrated by the news that the U.S. has reportedly confirmed the authenticity of documents presented by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…. (more)

May 10, 2018
CHANNELNEWSASIA — Donald Trump on Thursday (May 10) revealed his historic summit with Kim Jong Un – the first-ever between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader – will take place in Singapore on Jun 12. The location and date of the landmark meeting were announced in a presidential tweet just hours after Trump welcomed to the United States three American prisoners released by Pyongyang…. (more)


May 10, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump welcomed home three Americans freed by North Korea early Thursday in a flag-waving ceremony before dawn, calling their release a hopeful sign that North Korea will denuclearize. “This is a special night for these three really great people,” Mr. Trump told reporters on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland shortly after 3 a.m. with the former detainees. “The true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons.”… (more)


May 10, 2018
NEWSMAX — Defense Secretary James Mattis pledged Wednesday the United States would work with its allies to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, Stars and Stripes reported. The promise came a day after President Donald Trump pulled out of a key agreement that temporarily halted the country’s nuclear program…. (more)

May 10, 2018
NEWSMAX — Reports that former Secretary of State John Kerry held talks with Iranian officials in an attempt to save the nuclear deal played a role in President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it, two White House sources told The Daily Caller on Wednesday…. (more)

May 10, 2018
NEWSMAX — John Kerry has harmed the nation’s security and ability to carry out foreign policy with his recent meetings with Iran officials, Tom DeLay told Newsmax TV on Monday. “He is undermining the security of the United States and I guess that’s going to be his legacy from here on,” DeLay, a Texas Republican and former House majority leader, told hosts Miranda Khan, John Cardillo, and Gina Loudon on Monday’s “America Talks Live.”… (more)

 

When Your Leaders Are Your Enemies

It is important for readers to understand the genesis of China’s “miraculous” growth from a poor, backward Third World communist country up through the 1960s to the second most powerful country in the world in 2017 – in less than 50 years. It didn’t happen by accident – the “miracle” was made in America by the same global socialist Establishment that helped to finance the rise to power of Soviet Russia and the rise of the Nazi Third Reich. It was about money, power, setting the stage for major wars like WWI and II (and some day WWIII), and eventually ushering in their one-world government.

In the early 1970s, the Establishment in America (with leaders like the Rockefellers, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Bush family, and many more) came up with the “Convergence Theory,” which formulated the strategy for moving the world toward their one-world government (which Bush Sr. and Gorbachev later labeled as the New World Order). They concluded that it would be difficult to merge the nations of the world into one giant world government with one nation (America) more powerful than all the others put together. America had to be brought down and several other nations or blocs of nations raised up to approximate equality with the US.

How would they do this? They would reach out to, build up, modernize, industrialize, and finance the rise to power of the most populous nation in the world – China. Up until the early 1970s when Nixon and Kissinger went to the PRC and launched rapprochement with that backward communist giant, China was as much a pariah state as North Korea is today. But all of that was to change as the American Establishment began to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into the country to build infrastructure and thousands (and later tens of thousands) of factories.

The Establishment goals in their buildup of China were fourfold: 1. To build China into a superpower over three or four decades – a power that could rival America; 2. To intentionally transfer tens of millions of US factory jobs to China – thus greatly weakening America, dramatically downsizing the American middle class, and moving the world’s only superpower at that time down much closer to the other power blocs; 3. To weaken America’s heretofore massively overwhelming industrial power – which enabled us to rearm and go on to defeat the Axis powers during World War Two; and 4. To put hundreds of billions in profits into the pockets of Establishment insiders.

They have used this strategy of building up our competition (or enemies) with variations over the past hundred years. We have already alluded to their buildup of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. But another classic example of this globalist strategy is the “miraculous” rise of Islam (from Medieval obscurity) from 1979 right up through the present. The modern fundamentalist Islamic revolution (like the Chinese “miracle”) has stamped on its underside – Made in America.

(Excerpt from McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, September 2017)

Pastor asking SBC to vote down ‘social justice’ — OneNewsNow

A pastor is urging the Southern Baptist Convention to take a stand next month against the social justice movement and its liberal worldview.

Grady Arnold, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Cuero, Texas, has submitted a proposal to the SBC resolutions committee for the annual meeting, scheduled for June 12-13 in Dallas.

The proposals are given to the committee which can accept them and present them to the convention “messengers” that represent South Baptist congregations. View article 

— Read on onenewsnow.com/church/2018/05/15/pastor-asking-sbc-to-vote-down-social-justice

Too Wretched For Radio 05/14/2018 — Wretched

TWFR2018-0514 •Phil answers your email; Role of women in worship, Singing songs written by heretic, and a new MacArthur Study Bible Translation? Download Now (right click and save) Subscribe to Wretched Radio to receive every new episode directly to your device by selecting your device type or by copying the RSS feed link and pasting…

via Too Wretched For Radio 05/14/2018 — Wretched

Todd Friel – The history of Postmodernism — Wretched

– Episode 2290 – Todd Friel – The history of Postmodernism Segment 1 (00:00) – Pre-Modern and Modern Era Segment 2 (10:23) – Counter-Reformation and Post-Modern Era Segment 3 (18:57) – The past could play out today again. Wretched Surprise! (27:32) – Bible Verse, 1 Timothy 4:8 The post Todd Friel – The history of…

via Todd Friel – The history of Postmodernism — Wretched

May 15 True Healing

The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. Acts 5:12-14

This sounds like the days of Jesus all over again, does it not? Here is a tremendous display of physical healing power at the hands of the apostles. The result was that multitudes were added to the church, increasing it far beyond the five thousand we had already noted before. Here is obvious evidence of the power of God at work.

But there are many people who are troubled by this account. They say, What is wrong with the church now? Why don’t we have signs and wonders and mighty events like these taking place? Many people, feeling that such signs are the mark of power, have tried to reproduce these signs and wonders, and the result has been certain of the healing movements of our day, with faith healers who travel about declaring that they are able to heal as the apostles did.

We must notice some things about this account that are carefully given to us by Dr. Luke. First, he says, these were done by the hands of the apostles. These were not done by all believers. They constitute what the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 calls the signs of an apostle… (2 Corinthians 12:12). He said to these Corinthians, You are questioning my apostleship. You’re asking if I really am an apostle because I’m not one of the twelve. Well, let me ask you this. Have you not seen the signs of an apostle that I have done among you? These signs you see were specifically to accompany the ministry of the apostles to whom was assigned the task of laying the foundations of the church, of giving the Scriptures upon which the church must rest.

Not only were the Apostles to manifest the power of God in physical ways, but this physical manifestation was to be a symbol, a sign, of the spiritual power that God would release among the people. It is always a mistake to put emphasis upon a physical miracle. Physical miracles, although they attract attention, also confuse people so that ultimately they miss the point of what God is saying. God wants to heal the whole of man, the hurt in man’s spirit most of all. That is where the problem really lies. Every person ever healed by the Lord Jesus, or by the disciples in the days of the early church, died. The physical healing was a temporary thing, with no exceptions: they all died. But when God heals the spirit, it is an eternal event. There is an inward change that is never lost. When God heals a man from the inside out, he makes him a whole person. It does not really matter what happens to the physical — at best it is only a temporary thing. The great thing that God is after is the healing of the hurt of humanity in its spiritual sickness, its evil, its darkness and its desperateness. That is always where he desires to start. I do not mean that God has stopped healing physically; he has not. But the deepest need of man is spiritual healing, not physical. That is what this passage is saying. And when spiritual healing happens, multitudes will be added to the church.

Father, thank you for your power to heal, not just in the physical realm but in the deeper realm of the heart.

Life Application
Are we trivializing God’s healing at the deepest level of our souls by focusing primarily on physical healing? Do we trust His power to heal and His wisdom to choose both how and when?
Related Message
For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:
Confrontation!

May 15 Tuesday: Low Deeds in High Places

By James Boice on May 15, 2018 12:00 am

Yesterday I mentioned Charles Colson’s address at Harvard Business School, in which he spoke of the lack of ethics in our culture. The audience that heard the address I am referring to was mostly passive, however, as many Americans seem to be today. Americans tend to dismiss corruption, saying simply, “Well, that’s just the way people are.” And they are, of course! That is what original sin is all about. G.K. Chesterton said that the doctrine of original sin is the only philosophy that has been empirically validated by 3,500 years of human history. But the fact that “all have sinned” and that low deeds in high places are so frequent does not mean that we are to accept sin or corruption passively. Especially not in our leaders! And not in ourselves!

Read more…

MAY 15 MORE THAN RELIGION

Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

1 Thessalonians 2:12

Contrary to much that is being said and practiced in churches, true worship is not something that we “do” in the hope of appearing to be religious!

True worship must be a constant and consistent attitude or state of mind within the believer, a sustained and blessed acknowledgment of love and admiration. If we have this awareness in our own lives and experience, then it is evident that we are not just waiting for Sunday to come to church and worship.

Having been made in His image, we have within us the capacity to know God and the instinct that we should worship Him. The very moment that the Spirit of God has quickened us to His life in regeneration, our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition!

That response within our beings—a response to the forgiveness and pardon and regeneration—signals the miracle of the heavenly birth without which we cannot see the kingdom of God. Thus the primary work of the Holy Spirit is to restore the lost soul to intimate fellowship with God through the washing of regeneration.

Lord Jesus, many people in our country and around the world are not yet born again. I pray that Your Spirit will restore many lost souls to intimate fellowship with God today.[1]


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

May 15, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Know

Even so (6:11a)

The first key word (know) has to do with the mind and is implied in the transitional phrase even so. Those two words are crucial to Paul’s explanation, referring back to the truths he has just given in the first ten verses of the chapter. The idea is, “You must know and fully believe what I have just said, or else what I am about to say will make no sense. The truth that you are spiritually dead to sin, and the reality that you are spiritually alive to Christ are not abstract concepts for your finite minds to attempt to verify. They are divinely-revealed, foundational axioms behind Christian living, apart from which you can never hope to live the holy lives your new Lord demands.”

Realizing the importance of the truths he presents in verses 1–10, Paul uses forms of know and believe some four times (vv. 3, 6, 8, 9), and in other places he implies that his readers know about certain other truths (see, e.g., vv. 2, 5, 7).

Scriptural exhortation is always built on spiritual knowledge. Although God would have been perfectly justified simply to have given men a list of unexplained do’s and don’ts, in His grace and compassion He did not choose to be autocratic. The basic reason He reveals as to why men are to live according to His standards was summarized in His declaration to ancient Israel: “Be holy; for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44). Quoting that very command, Peter admonishes Christians: “Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’ ” (1 Pet. 1:15–16).

Scripture is replete with specific commands and standards for conduct, and behind all of them are divine truths, explicit or implicit, upon which those commands and standards are founded.

Paul has just declared that, as believers, we are united with Jesus Christ in His death and have through Him had the penalty paid for our sin. We have risen with our Lord Jesus Christ in His resurrection and therefore are able to walk in newness of life. Because Christ will never die again to sin, we will never die again to sin.

For a Christian to live out the fullness of his new life in Christ, for him to truly live as the new creation that he is, he must know and believe that he is not what he used to be. He must understand that he is not a remodeled sinner but a remade saint. He must understand that, despite his present conflict with sin, he is no longer under sin’s tyranny and will never be again. The true understanding of his identity is essential.

Through Hosea the Lord lamented, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hos. 4:6). Isaiah declared, “Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; for the Lord speaks, ‘Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me. An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand’ ” (Isa. 1:2–3). Paul admonished believers in Philippi, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8). He reminded Colossian believers that they had “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Col. 3:10). Faithful divine living without divine knowledge is impossible.

Consider

consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (6:11b–12)

The second key word (consider) has more to do with what we would call the heart. In its literal sense, logizomai means simply to count or number something. Jesus used it of Himself during the Last Supper when He disclosed to the disciples that He was the One “numbered with transgressors” of whom Isaiah prophesied (Luke 22:37; cf. Isa. 53:12). But the word was commonly used metaphorically in the sense of fully affirming a truth, of having unreserved inner confidence in the reality of what the mind acknowledges. Though both aspects actually occur in the mind, we think of this matter in the sense of being “heart felt.”

In the next chapter of this epistle Paul will illustrate from his own life how difficult it is for a Christian to realize experientially that he is free from sin’s bondage. As we look honestly at our lives after salvation, it is more than obvious that sin’s contamination is still very much with us. No matter how radical our outer transformation at the time of salvation may have been for the better, it is difficult to comprehend that we no longer have the fallen sin nature and that our new nature is actually divine. It is hard to realize that we are actually indwelt by the Holy Spirit and that God now calls us His children and deems us fit to live eternally with Him in His heaven.

To help us consider, it is advantageous to note that there are a number of reasons believers often find it difficult to comprehend that they are now free from sin’s bondage. Many of them do not realize that marvelous truth simply because they have never heard of it. They assume, or perhaps have been wrongly taught, that salvation brings only transactional or forensic holiness—that because of their trust in Christ, God now regards them as holy but that their basic relationship to sin is the same as it always was and that it will not be changed until they go to be with Christ. That view of salvation often includes the idea that, although trust in Christ brings the believer a new nature, the old nature remains fully operative, and that the Christian life is essentially a battle between his two resident natures. This makes salvation “addition” rather than “transformation.”

A second reason Christians often find it hard to believe they are actually free from the tyranny of sin is that Satan does not want them to believe it. If the enemy of our souls and the accuser of the brethren can make us think he still dominates our earthly lives, he weakens our resolve to live righteously by making it appear hopeless.

A third reason Christians often find it difficult to believe they are free from sin’s compulsion is that the reality of the new birth in Christ is not experiential, it is not physically observable or verifiable. Redemption is a divine and spiritual transaction that may or may not be accompanied by physical or emotional experiences. A believer cannot perceive or experience in any humanly verifiable way the moment of his dying and resurrection with Christ.

A fourth and perhaps the most common reason why Christians find it hard to believe they are freed from sin’s tyranny while they are still on earth is that their continued battle with sin seems almost constantly to contradict that truth. If they have a new holy disposition and sin’s control has truly been broken, they wonder, why are they still so strongly tempted and why do they so often succumb?

Paul’s answer follows, Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. He was not speaking of a psychological mind game, by which we keep affirming something over and over until we are convinced against our better judgment or even against reality that it is true. We know we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus because God’s Word declares it is so. In other words, those are truths of faith and they must be affirmed in faith.

David C. Needham wrote, “What could be more frustrating than being a Christian who thinks himself primarily a self-centered sinner, yet whose purpose in life is to produce God-centered holiness?” (Birthright: Christian, Do You Know Who You Are? [Portland: Multnomah, 1979], p. 69). Until a believer accepts the truth that Christ has broken the power of sin over his life, he cannot live victoriously, because in his innermost being he does not think it is possible.

Commentator Donald Grey Barnhouse said,

Years ago, in the midst of a Latin-American revolution, an American citizen was captured and sentenced to death. But an American officer rushed before the firing squad and draped a large American flag entirely around the victim. “If you shoot this man,” he cried, “you will fire through the American flag and incur the wrath of a whole nation!” The revolutionary in charge released the prisoner at once. (Romans: God’s Freedom [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961], p. 118)

In a similar way, Christ’s righteousness is draped over every believer, protecting him from sin’s deadly attacks.

We believe we are in God’s eternal purpose, plan, presence, and power because His Word assures us we are. Paul assured the Ephesian believers that God “chose us in Him [Christ Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4). And to the church at Philippi he wrote, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.… So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 1:6; 2:12–13).

There are many important and practical results of our considering ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. First, we can have confidence in the midst of temptation, knowing that with sin’s tyranny broken we can successfully resist it in God’s power. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Second, we have confidence that we cannot sin our way out of God’s grace. Just as we have been saved by God’s power alone, we are kept by His power alone. “My sheep hear My voice,” Jesus said, “and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27–29).

Third, when we truly consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ, we have confidence in the face of death. “I am the resurrection and the life,” our Lord said; “he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25–26; cf. Heb. 2:14).

Fourth, we know that, regardless of what happens to us in this life, no matter how disastrous it may be, God will use it not only for His glory but also for our blessing. “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

All of those things, and many more, are true because we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. No religion in the world can or does make such a claim. Even the most ardent Muslim does not claim to be in Mohammed or in Allah. Buddhists do not claim to be in Buddha or Hindus to be in any of their multitude of gods. As Christians, however, we know that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3; emphasis added).[1]


You Can Count on It

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I want to start this study with a brief quiz on the early chapters of Romans, and the question I want to ask is this: How many times in the letter up to this point has the apostle Paul urged his readers to do something? That is, how many exhortations have there been?

More than ten? Thirty? Less than five?

How many imperative statements occurred in chapter 1? Were there more exhortations in chapter 5 than in chapter 4?

What do you think? How many exhortations has Paul made so far?

The answer to this question is that there have been none at all! And the reason I emphasize this is to call attention to the most significant thing to be noted about Romans 6:11. This verse is an exhortation, and it is the first in the epistle. This is the first time in five and a half chapters that the apostle has urged his readers to do anything.

What are they to do? The text says: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

This is an important enough statement in itself, but it becomes even more so when we realize that Romans 6:11 is also a turning point in the letter. I mean by this that, having gotten the first olive out of the bottle, so to speak, the other exhortative olives now tumble out naturally. The next verses are full of them: “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body. … Do not offer the parts of your body to sin … but rather offer yourselves to God … and offer the parts of your body to him …” (vv. 12–14, emphasis added).

What God Has Done

Most modern Americans are activists. So we are inclined to think, as we come to this verse, that we are at last getting to what matters. But, at the risk of prolonging our discussion of the earlier chapters beyond the limits of most people’s tolerance, I need to say that the point I am making—that this is the first exhortation in the letter—is of great practical importance.

Let me approach it this way. We live in an age of self-help books and seminars, in Christian circles as well as in the world at large, and these small books (they are usually small) and short (perhaps weekend-length) courses promise the consumer great things. The Christian versions offer formulas by which we are supposed to be able to move ahead quickly in our Christian lives. They teach us how to become great prayer warriors, perhaps even “change the world” through prayer. They show us how to relate to others successfully. They promise quick and effective methods of Bible study.

I do not want to suggest that these “quick fix” offerings are useless, of course. They are not useless. They are helpful to many, and I am sure they have their place, particularly in our fast-paced, solution-oriented culture. Still, if you have read any of these books or attended these seminars, isn’t it the case that you have generally been disappointed at some level, perhaps even deeply frustrated? Perhaps you have even been frustrated enough to write off completely these methods for growing strong in the Christian faith. You have said, “I am sure they must work for other people, but not for me. They help, but not enough. Probably nothing will help me. I am probably called to be just a normal [read ‘second-class’] Christian.”

What is wrong here? I suggest that because of our characteristic North American impatience with matters of basic substance or with anything requiring hard and prolonged work, we have jumped ahead too quickly to the “exhortation” parts of Christianity and have not taken sufficient time to understand and appropriate the fundamental teachings. If this is so, then Paul’s procedure in Romans should be of great help to us. Was Paul not interested in the spiritual growth of the Roman Christians? Of course, he was. But he knew that there was no use rushing ahead to tell them how to live the Christian life until he had first fully instructed them on what God had done for them in Jesus Christ. This is because the work of God in Christ is foundational to everything else about Christianity.

What Paul principally wanted his readers to understand here is what theologians call the mystical union of believers with Jesus Christ. Paul’s way of talking about this is to say that Christians are “in Christ,” “in Jesus Christ” or “in him.” Those who count such things tell us that those phrases occur 164 times in Paul’s writings. One of them is in our text, and it is the first time this exact phrase has occurred in Romans. Yet it is what Paul has really been talking about for several chapters. Romans 5 dealt with it directly, contrasting our former state of being in Adam with our present state of being in Christ. In Romans 6 this has already been presented indirectly in terms of our having died to sin and having been united to Jesus in his resurrection.

This has been done for us by God. It has been his work, not ours. We have no more joined ourselves to Jesus in his resurrection than we have died for our own sins. If we are Christians, everything that is necessary has been done for us by God.

A Bookkeeping Term

What we learn in a general way, by reflecting on the amount of teaching Paul has given in chapters 1–5 of Romans, is reinforced by the verb he uses in Romans 6:11. It is the word count (or “reckon,” as some of the other versions have it). The Greek word is logizomai, and it is related to the more common term logos, meaning “word,” “deed,” or “fact.”

In classical Greek, logizomai had two main uses:

  1. It was used in commercial dealings in the sense of evaluating an object’s worth or reckoning up a project’s gain or losses. In other words, it was a bookkeeping term. We have preserved a bit of this in our English words log, logistics, and logarithm. A log refers to the numerical record of a ship’s or airplane’s progress. Logistics is a military term dealing with the numbers and movement of troops or supplies. A logarithm is the exponent to which a base number is raised to produce a given number.
  2. Logizomai was also used in philosophy in the sense of objective or nonemotional reasoning. We have preserved this meaning in our English words “logic” and “logical.”

The common ground in these two uses of the word is that logizomai has to do with reality, with things as they truly are. In other words, it has nothing to do with wishful thinking. Nor is it an activity that makes something come to pass or happen. It is an acknowledgment of or an acting upon something that is already true or has already happened. In bookkeeping, for example, it means posting in a ledger an amount corresponding to what actually exists. If I “reckon” in my passbook that I have $100, I must really have $100. If not, “reckoning” is the wrong word for me to be using. “Deceiving myself” (or others) would be more like it.

It will also help us in our understanding of Romans 6:11 to recognize that logizomai has already been used several times in Romans and that in every case it has referred to recognizing something that is factual. In fact, logizomai has appeared fourteen times before now, and it will occur again (in Romans 8 and 9). The chief use has been in chapter 4 (eleven occurrences), where Paul employed it to show how our sins have been reckoned to Christ and punished there, and how his righteousness has been reckoned (“credited”) to us. These two “reckonings” are the two parallel sides of justification, and when we studied them (in volume 1) we saw that their strength comes from knowing that they concern realities. They are not just imaginary transactions. Jesus really did die for our sin; he suffered for our transgressions. Similarly, his righteousness really has been transferred to our account, so that God accounts us righteous in him.

This has bearing on Paul’s exhortation to us in Romans 6:11. For although he is proceeding in this chapter to the area of what we are to do and actions we are to take, his starting point is nevertheless our counting as true what God has himself already done for us.

This is so critical that I want to ask pointedly: Do you and I really understand this? We cannot go on until we do.

Can I possibly say it more clearly?

Try this: The first step in our growth in holiness is counting as true what is, in fact, true.

And this: The key to living the Christian life lies in first knowing that God has taken us out of Adam and has joined us to Jesus Christ, that we are no longer subject to the reign of sin and death but have been transferred to the kingdom of God’s abounding grace.

And this: The secret to a holy life is believing God.

The First Reality: Dead to Sin

In our text Paul says there are two things God has done that we are to count on. First, that we are dead to sin if we are Christians. We have already seen how this is to be taken. It does not mean that we are immune to sin or temptation. It does not mean that we will not sin. It means that we are dead to the old life and cannot go back to it.

That is the reality Paul first stated explicitly at the beginning of Romans 6, in verse 2. “We died to sin,” he said. In verses 3 and 4, he restated it: We were “baptized into his death” and “buried with him through baptism into death.” It was also said in verse 5: “We have been united with him in his death.” Verse 6 said it, too: “Our old self was crucified with him.” Verse 7 again made the point that we “died” with Christ. All those statements have been factual. They describe something that has happened.

On the basis of this truth, Paul now tells us to “count” ourselves as having died to sin in Christ Jesus. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones renders it: “Consider, and keep constantly before you, this truth about yourself.” In other words, learn to think of yourself as one who has been delivered from sin’s realm.

This is such a pivotal text that it is worth adding a number of things that this statement does not mean. Lloyd-Jones lists six of them:

  1. It does not mean that it is my duty as a Christian to die to sin. The text has nothing to do with duty. It is concerned with fact.
  2. It is not a command for me to die to sin. How can I be told to do what has already been done to me?
  3. It does not mean that I am to reckon that sin as a force in me is dead. That would not be true. Sin is a force in me, though it is a force whose effective power over me has been broken (v. 6).
  4. It does not mean that sin in me has been eradicated.
  5. It does not mean that I am dead to sin as long as I am in the process of gaining mastery over it. That would make the statement refer to something experimental, and it does not do that. It refers to a past event.
  6. It does not mean that reckoning myself dead to sin makes me dead to sin. That is backwards. What Paul is saying is that, because we have died to sin, we are to count on it.

The Second Reality: Alive to God

The second reality Paul says we are to count on is that we are now “alive to God in Christ Jesus.” This statement completes the parallel to verse 5, in which Paul said, “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” It explains how the earlier verse is to be taken. You may remember that when we were discussing verse 5 in the previous study, I stressed that the resurrection referred to there is not the future resurrection of believers at the end of time but rather a present experience of Christ’s resurrection life now. That is exactly where verse 11 has brought us. It tells us that just as we have died to sin (and must count on it), so also have we been made alive to God in Jesus Christ (and must count on that also).

This is the positive side of the matter, the side we were beginning to open up in the earlier study. But we only touched on it there. Here we can ask: “Just what does being made alive to God in Jesus Christ mean? What changes have taken place?” Let me suggest a few of them.

  1. We have been reconciled to God. In the earlier chapters of Romans there has been a grim sequence of terms: sin, wrath, judgment, death. But God has lifted us out of that downward-spiraling sequence by a set of opposing realities: grace, obedience, righteousness, eternal life. This means that we were subject to the wrath of God but that now, being in Christ, we are in a favorable position before him. Before, we were God’s enemies. Now, we are his friends and, what is more important, he is a friend to us. There is a new relationship.
  2. We have become new creatures in Christ. Not only is there a new relationship between ourselves and God, which is wonderful in itself, but we have also become something we were not before. In 2 Corinthians, Paul puts it like this: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ …” (2 Cor. 5:17–18).

Another way of putting this is to speak of regeneration, or of being born again, which was Jesus’ term for it. He told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This was a deliberate backward reference to the way in which God breathed life into our first parent Adam, so that he became “a living being” (Gen. 2:7). Before that, Adam was utterly inert, a lifeless form. But when God breathed some of his breath into him Adam became alive to God and all things. Likewise, this is what happens when God breathes new spiritual life into us in the work known as regeneration. We become something we were not before. We have a new life. That life is responsive to the one who gave it.

Before this, the Bible meant nothing to us when we read it or it was read in our hearing. Now the Bible is intensely alive and interesting. We hear the voice of God in it.

Before this, we had no interest in God’s people. Christians acted in ways that were foreign to us. Their priorities were different from our own. Now they are our very best friends and co-workers. We love their company and cannot seem to get enough of it.

Before this, coming to church was boring. Now we are alive to God’s presence in the service. Our worship times are the very best times of our week.

Before this, service to others and witnessing to the lost seemed strange and senseless, even repulsive. Now they are our chief delight.

What has made the difference? The difference is ourselves. God has changed us. We have become alive to him. We are new creatures.

  1. We are freed from sin’s bondage. Before we died to sin and were made alive to God, we were slaves of our sinful natures. Sin was ruining us. But even when we could see that clearly and acknowledge it, which was not very often, we were still unable to do anything about it. We said, “I’ve got to stop drinking; it’s killing me.” Or, “I am going to ruin my reputation if I don’t stop these sexual indulgences.” Or, “I’ve got to get control of my temper, or curb my spending [or whatever].” But we were unable to do it. And even if we did get some control of one important area of our lives, perhaps with the help of a good therapist or friends or a supportive family, the general downward and destructive drift was unchanged. We really were non posse non peccare (“not able not to sin”), as Saint Augustine described it.

But, being made alive to God, we discover that we are now freed from that destructive bondage. We still sin, but not always and not as often. And we know that we do not have to. We are now posse non peccare (“able not to sin”). We can achieve a real victory.

  1. We are pressing forward to a sure destiny and new goals. Before, we were not. We were trapped by the world and by its time-bound, evil horizons. Being saved, we know that we are now destined for an eternity of fellowship and bliss with God. We have not reached it yet. We are not perfect. But we echo within what Paul said in describing his new life in Christ to the Philippians: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12–14).
  2. We can no longer be satisfied with this world and its offerings. To be sure, the world never did really satisfy us. The world, which is finite, can never adequately fill beings who are made with an infinite capacity for fellowship with and enjoyment of God. But we thought the world and its values were satisfying. We expected to be filled.

Now we know that it will never work and that all we see about us, though it sometimes has value in a limited, earthly sense, is nevertheless passing away and will one day be completely forgotten. Our houses will be gone; our televisions will be gone; our beautiful furniture and cars and bank accounts (even our IRAs and Keoghs) will have passed away. So these tangible things no longer have any real hold on us. We have died to them, and in their place we have been made alive to God, who is intangible, invisible, and eternal, and of greater reality and substance than anything else we can imagine.

Therefore, we know ourselves to be only pilgrims here. We are passing through. Like Abraham, we are “looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).

“A Man Like Me”

Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I think of Nehemiah as an illustration of what this means and of what our attitude should be. Nehemiah had determined to rebuild the wall of the ruined and abandoned city of Jerusalem, and he was being opposed by the rulers of the rival city-states around him. Two of his opponents were Sanballat of Samaria and Geshem the Arab. They invited him to a conference to be held about a day’s journey from Jerusalem on the plain of Ono. This was a ploy to slow down Nehemiah’s project and perhaps even to kidnap or murder him. Nehemiah refused to stop the work and go to the meeting. His words were classic: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (Neh. 6:3).

Later when the same people tried to frighten him with rumors of a plot on his life, Nehemiah replied, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” (v. 11).

It is that courageous, self-aware attitude to life that I commend to you. “Shall I go on sinning so that grace may increase?” You should be able to answer, “How can such a one as I do it—I who have died to sin and been made alive to God in Christ Jesus?” For that is what has happened to you, if you are a Christian. You have been removed from your former state to another. Your job is to reckon it so, to count on it. You must say, “A person like me has better things to do than to keep sinning.”[2]


11 In the previous verses, Paul has been imparting information on the subject of union with Christ, and in keeping with this he has three times used the word “know” (vv. 3, 6, 9), as a way of focusing on what is true. Now he employs a different key word—“count” or “reckon” (logizomai [GK 3357], the same term used so often in ch. 4 in connection with righteousness), used in the imperative. We encounter here the oddity of the juxtaposition of the indicative and the imperative—i.e., something is flatly affirmed to be true, and then immediately we encounter the command to act in a way that manifests this truth. This interesting feature of Pauline thought is the result of the tension between what is sometimes called “positional” truth and “experiential” truth and is not unlike that between present and future eschatology. The challenge of Christian living for Paul can be stated in the maxim, “Be what you are,” or, “Act out your true identity.”

Counting something as true does not create the fact of union with Christ but makes it operative in one’s life. The charge to consider oneself “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” is thus in the present tense, stressing the necessity to keep up the process if one is to avoid reactivating the body of sin. Paradoxically, the Christian is dead and alive at the same time, as in Galatians 2:20—dead to sin and self but alive and responsive to God. The Christian is to give no more response to sin than a dead person can give. On the other hand, all the potential afforded by redeemed life is to be channeled godward: “alive to God.”

Paul seems to lay considerable stress on the importance of this process of counting true or reckoning. It is not a matter of attempting to convince oneself of something untrue, thus amounting to self-deception. Rather, it is a matter of letting the truth of union with Christ have its intended effect. What is factually true must be allowed to become a matter of experience. Christians are “to arm themselves with the mentality that they are dead to sin; for that is what happened to them in the baptismal experience” (Fitzmyer, 438).[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 1, pp. 332–336). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, pp. 673–680). 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, pp. 107–108). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 15 The Lord’s Prayer: An Overview, Part 1

Pray, then, in this way: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]” For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.—Matt. 6:9–15

In the words of this passage, Jesus provides a concise but comprehensive model outline of genuine prayer. First our Lord addresses God’s glory (vv. 9–10), then He speaks to humanity’s needs (vv. 11–13a). Three petitions make up each of the sections. The first three deal with God’s name, kingdom, and will; the second three appeal to the Father concerning daily bread, forgiveness, and protection from temptation.

Jesus says nothing specific about where we should pray. During His earthly ministry, He prayed in many different places and situations, both public and private. Paul instructed his readers to pray “in every place” (1 Tim. 2:8).

There is also nothing specific about a time to pray. Jesus prayed at many different hours, around the clock. Scripture pictures believers praying at every conceivable occasion—at regular, habitual prayer times; at times of special danger and special blessing; before and after meals; and when arriving at or leaving a certain location.

At any time and under any circumstance, prayer is appropriate. It should be a continual, comprehensive way of life—an open communion with God (Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17).

ASK YOURSELF

As we embark on several days of devotional discussion concerning the Lord’s Prayer, try to articulate what this passage has meant to you through the years. What is in this pattern of prayer that has ministered to you in deep, unforgettable ways?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 144). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Should we expect to know what God’s reason is for allowing evil and suffering?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Lets take a closer look at a puzzle Lets take a closer look at a puzzle

Here is an article by Steven Cowan about the problems of evil and suffering.

Intro:

The problem of evil is no doubt the most serious challenge to belief in God. Even religious believers find it troubling that evil exists in the world—and so much evil! It is puzzling, to say the least, that an all-powerful, absolutely good being would allow evil to exist in his creation. And yet it does. Evil and suffering exist and they are often overwhelming in their magnitude.

Now let’s find out what a noseeum is, and how it relates to the existence of evil and suffering:

However, perhaps God’s existence is incompatible with a certain kind of evil that exists. For example, the atheist William Rowe has argued that God’s existence is inconsistent with pointless or gratuitous evil. By “pointless evil,” Rowe means evil that does not and…

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Obedience Is Better than Sacrifice

Michelle Lesley

Saul was a lousy king. There are just no two ways about it. He was a crudmuffin.

In 1 Samuel 10, Saul gets his first instruction as king. God didn’t ask him to go out and perform some fantabulous deed of derring do, He told Saul to go to Gilgal and wait seven days for Samuel to arrive and tell him what to do. Just…wait. That was it.

But Saul started getting nervous. He didn’t wait. He acted. He unlawfully took matters into his own hands and offered the burnt offerings and peace offerings.

In 1 Samuel 15, God told Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites. Everything. Every living creature and all their stuff. All means all.

Strike number two for Saul- he destroyed all the worthless stuff and all the people, but he saved the king and all the valuable stuff.

Here’s the interesting part…

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10 Reasons Why I Will Never Go to Rome

The Reformed Reader

 I’ve been re-reading parts of Rome’s Catechism and the Canons/Decrees of Trent again recently, which reminded me why I’m Reformed and not Roman Catholic.  Here’s a post I wrote in February 2013 on this very topic:

For the past eight years or so, I’ve had the opportunity to read, study, and observe the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.  Most specifically, I’ve read extensively from The Catechism of the Catholic Church and The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent.  Having studied these resources, I have thought of many reasons why I believe Rome is unbiblical and why I will never go there.  I thought it might be helpful to give our readers citations along with ten of my reasons why I am a Reformed Protestant and not a Roman Catholic (though I do have more reasons than ten).  I will never go to Rome because:

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The 10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity #3: Are Christians Allowed to Judge? — Canon Fodder

I’ve been working my way through a series entitled “The 10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity.”  It’s an examination of 10 core tenets of progressive (or liberal) Christianity offered by Richard Rohr, but really based on the book by Philip Gulley.

Now we come to the third commandment: “The work of reconciliation should be valued over making judgments.”

Gulley is concerned here with broken or estranged human relationships.  The church should do more to repair/restore these relationships, but is too busy condemning people’s behavior. Christians need to stop judging and start helping.

Now, we can begin by acknowledging that the goal here is commendable.  Bringing reconciliation to broken human relationships is a fundamental biblical value. The Bible has much to say on topics like forgiving one another (Luke 17:4) , being reconciled to one another (Matt 5:24; Acts 7:26), husbands and wives reconciling (1 Cor 7:11), and the removal of hostility between groups (Eph 2:16).

So, Gulley is correct that horizontal reconciliation between humans is an important aspect of Christianity.

The problem, though, is how Gulley thinks that reconciliation is best achieved.  And it is here that Gulley takes a biblical value and puts a decidedly progressive/liberal spin on it.  Reconciliation between humans is best achieved, he argues, when the church is less concerned with “making judgments.”

If only the church would get rid of its “culture of judgment” (54), stop offering “judgment and blame” (57), and “surrender its fondness for black-and-white, either-or thinking” (61), then it could better help people reconcile with one another.

Now, again, it depends again what one means by such statements. If the concern here is merely with a church’s overall tone or attitude, then point made. Churches need to careful, even in the midst of dealing with sin, to be gracious, patient, and charitable.

But, if these statements mean that the church should not be in the business of calling out people’s behavior as sinful or wrong, then that is something very different. Indeed, that sort of approach has a number of problems:

1. To say we can never declare a behavior to be wrong is profoundly unbiblical. 

The Scriptures are packed with examples of God’s people calling out certain behaviors as wrong. Jesus did this. Paul did this.  And even we are called to do this: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault” (Matt 18:15).

At this point a person might object, “But who am I to tell someone they are wrong? I am a sinner too.”   But, the Bible never requires a person to be sinless before they speak out against sin. Personal perfection is not a prerequisite to standing up for what is right (otherwise no one would ever be able to condemn sin, including those who want to condemn those who judge!).

The proper basis for calling something sinful is not personal perfection, but simply whether God calls it sinful.

2. To say we can never declare a behavior to be wrong is ultimately self-defeating. 

The rich irony for those people who say we shouldn’t judge is that they themselves are judging. They are declaring a behavior to be “wrong” (in this case, the behavior of judging), while at the same time insisting we shouldn’t declare that behaviors are wrong!

Thus, this approach proves to be profoundly inconsistent.  It is equivalent to sawing off the branch you’re sitting on.

 3. To say we can never declare a behavior to be wrong is ultimately selective.

One curiosity of the progressive insistence that we should not be people who “judge” is that it is selectively applied.  When it comes to sexual ethics, for example, we are told we should not judge others.  But when it comes to racism, environmentalism, abuse, or other similar issues, then apparently judging the behavior of others is allowable–indeed it is required!

4. To say we can never declare a behavior to be wrong undercuts the process of reconciliation.

The fundamental problem with the progressive approach to judging is that it undercuts the very goal it is trying to achieve, namely human reconciliation.  Such reconciliation can only happen when wrongs are acknowledged, owned, and repented of.  And in order for that to happen, judgments must be made about people’s behavior.  And that behavior must really be wrong–not just wrong in someone’s opinion. Otherwise, reconciliation is just a mirage.

In the end, we can affirm that human reconciliation is an important biblical value.  And we can also affirm that churches should not have a judgmental tone or attitude–they should always operate with grace, patience, and a spirit of love.  But, none of that requires us to abandon God’s clear teaching that some things should be declared right and other things declared wrong.

That is the proper form of judging.  And it is not something to avoid, but something we are called to do. As the prophet Isaiah said, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” (Isa 5:20).

via The 10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity #3: Are Christians Allowed to Judge? — Canon Fodder

MAY 15 THE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE PROPHET IS ALWAYS LOVE

…We were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

1 THESSALONIANS 2:8

If evangelical Christianity is to stay alive she must repudiate the weaklings who dare not speak out, and she must seek in prayer and much humility the coming again of men of the stuff prophets and martyrs are made of! God will hear the cries of His people as He heard the cries of Israel in Egypt. And He will send deliverance by sending deliverers. It is His way among men.

A characteristic of the true prophet has always been love. The free man who has learned to hear God’s voice and dared to obey it has felt the moral burden that broke the hearts of the Old Testament prophets, crushed the soul of our Lord Jesus Christ and wrung streams of tears from the eyes of the apostles.

The free man has never been a religious tyrant, nor has he sought to lord it over God’s heritage. It is fear and lack of self-assurance that has led men to try to crush others under their feet. These have had some interest to protect, some position to secure, so they have demanded subjection from their followers as a guarantee of their own safety.

But the free man—never; he has nothing to protect, no ambition to pursue and no enemy to fear. For that reason he is completely careless of his standing among men. Whether accepted or rejected he will go on loving his people with sincere devotion, and only death can silence his tender intercession for them![1]


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