Daily Archives: May 28, 2018

May 28: Through Despair

1 Chronicles 23:1–23:32; 2 Timothy 3:1–9; Psalm 88

Sometimes we go through dark periods in our lives where the misery feels never-ending. Trial hits, pain hits, and just when we think life might get “back to normal,” we are hit by yet another difficulty. At times like these, we may feel forgotten by God.

In Psalm 88, we find one of the most utter prolonged cries of despair: “O Yahweh, God of my salvation, I cry out by day and through the night before you,” the psalmist begins (Psa 88:1). This psalm never climaxes or hints of hope, and it ends even more desperately than it begins. The psalmist, feeling abandoned by God, has his loved ones taken from him. He is left to navigate the darkness alone (Psa 88:18).

How do we deal with our own misery when confronted by a tragic psalm like this? How should we respond to God?

We can start with what the psalmist, despite his prolonged suffering, acknowledges about God. Although his troubles are still present, he also recognizes God as his deliverer (Psa 88:6–9). He appeals to God’s reputation as a God of wonders, deserving of praise: “Do you work wonders from the dead? Or do the departed spirits rise up to praise you?” (Psa 88:10). He appeals to God’s loyal love, faithfulness, and righteousness: “Is your loyal love told in the grave, or your faithfulness in the underworld? Are your wonders known in the darkness or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” (Psa 88:11).

The psalmist never comes to a place where he expresses even a glimmer of hope. But through cries, questions, and torment, he holds on to what he knows to be true about God. In his very cry, the psalmist acknowledges that God will be present in his situation. While the questions in this psalm remain unanswered, we see that the psalmist lives in the awareness that God cares and will eventually act. In the meantime, he places himself in God’s faithfulness.

We see a parallel situation in Paul’s letter to Timothy; Paul addresses the difficult days that will come. He says they will be difficult for one reason: disobedience. In those days, “people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, hardhearted, irreconcilable, slanderous, without self-control, savage, with no interest for what is good” (2 Tim 3:2–3). The list goes on further, describes all types of disobedience against God—something that is absent from the psalmist’s cries. What’s most fascinating about the parallel is that it hints at the root of what the psalmist is experiencing: disobedience may not be acknowledged in his cry (he is innocent), but the world is a disobedient place. It is full of sin and oppression. Ultimately, it’s the sins of humanity that brought pain to the world.

In this life, we’ll go through dark times and struggles that may never end. We may even feel forgotten. But despite what we think or feel, we can’t abandon what we know to be true of God. Even when our state or our emotions are contrary to the desire to worship Him, we are called to trust in Him and in His love.

If He was willing to abandon His only son on a cross to redeem you, then He is certainly trustworthy. If you trust in Him, He will not forsake you.

How are you trusting God through dark times? How are you reaching out to someone who is struggling?

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 28 Jesus Purposely Selects a Traitor (Judas Iscariot)

The twelve apostles included “Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:4).

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God works all things together for His purposes.

At one time the little town of Kerioth was a relatively obscure Judean town, but all that changed when it produced the most hated man who ever lived—Judas Iscariot.

The first mention of Judas is here in Matthew’s list of disciples. We have no record of his call, but we know Jesus did call him along with the others, and even gave him authority to minister in miraculous ways (Matt. 10:1). His first name, Judas, is despised today, but it was a common name in the days of Christ. It is the Greek form of Judah—the land of God’s people. Iscariot literally means, “a man from the town of Kerioth.”

People commonly ask why Jesus would select such a man to be His disciple. Didn’t He know how things would turn out? Yes, He did, and that’s precisely why He chose him. The Old Testament said the Messiah would be betrayed by a familiar friend for thirty pieces of silver, and Jesus knew Judas was that man (John 17:12).

Some people feel sorry for Judas, thinking he was simply misguided or used as some kind of pawn in a supernatural drama over which he had no control. But Judas did what he did by choice. Repeatedly Jesus gave him chances to repent, but he refused. Finally Satan used him in a diabolical attempt to destroy Jesus and to thwart God’s plan of salvation. The Devil’s attempt failed, however, because God can use even a Judas to accomplish His purposes.

Undoubtedly there are people in your life who wish you harm. Don’t be discouraged. They are as much a part of God’s plan for you as those who treat you kindly. You must reach out to them just as Jesus reached out to Judas. God knows what He’s doing. Trust Him, and rejoice as you see His purposes accomplished even through your enemies.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for His sovereign control over every circumstance and for the promise that His purposes will never be thwarted.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 26:14–50 and 27:1–10. ✧ How did Jesus reveal that it was Judas who would betray Him? ✧ What reaction did Judas have when he heard that Jesus had been condemned?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 161). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

MAY 28 ASHAMED OF SIN

Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity… Surely every man walketh in a vain shew.

Psalm 39:5–6

Brethren, I am not ashamed of this world God created—I am only ashamed of man’s sin!

If you could take all of man’s sin out of this world, there would be nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to be afraid of.

Our apologies must be for humanity—and for our sins. I keep repeating that we have no business making excuses for God.

It is popular now to talk about Christ being a guest here. I dare to tell people that they should stop patronizing Jesus Christ!

He is not the guest here—He is the Host!

We have apologists who write books and give lectures—apologizing for the person of Christ, trying to “explain” to our generation that the Bible does not really mean “exactly” what it says. But God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and thus we know where we stand, believing that all things were made by Him and “without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).

Lord, in my own personal life I relinquish control to Your Spirit within me. Slay my vanity, Lord.[1]


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

The Roots of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Why is there such a great deal of conflict in the Middle East? Why is there constant strife between the Israelis and Palestinians?

The answer to these questions can be found in a promise which God made to Abraham almost 4,000 years ago. That promise is contained in Genesis 12:1-3:

1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The passage above is generally referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant. Abraham was 75 years old when God promised him, and his descendants, the land of Canaan (Gen.12:1,7; 13:14-15; 15:18-20; 17:8), innumerable offspring (12:2a; 15:4-5; 17:1-7; 20:17), and many blessings (12:2b-3; 22:17-18). But as yet, Abraham had no offspring.

A decade rolled by and still no child blessed the home of Abraham and Sarah. It was physically impossible for Abraham’s wife, Sarah, to bear children and so the two of them began to get impatient about God’s promised child, the one through whom God would make Abraham a great nation. When Abraham was eighty-six years old, they couldn’t wait any longer. They decided to help God out by having Abraham father a child through Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian handmaid (Gen. 16). This union had a child and they named him Ishmael.

For thirteen years Ishmael had been living beside Abraham, winding his way into his father’s heart,  and was believed by Abraham, for all this time, to be the son of promise. Then all at once things changed. God shows up again to Abraham, as we read in Genesis 17:1-2, when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, and he says to Abraham in verses 15-16:

“…‘As for Sarai your wife…I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her’ ” (Genesis 17:15-16)

Abraham fell on his face and laughed (Genesis 17:17). Not only had Sarah been childless all her life, but she was now well past normal child-bearing age! God’s promise could only happen through divine intervention. Besides, Abraham already had a son, whom he loved dearly. Shouldn’t something be said about Ishmael? Abraham, who seems up to this time to have regarded Ishmael as the promised one, must have had a feeling of anxiety instantly penetrate his breast as he utters:

18 …“If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

Why cannot he do? Why may he not be the chosen child, the heir of the Promise? Abraham essentially asks “life” for his beloved son – that is, a share in the divine favor. Note the temper in which Abraham speaks here. The very existence of Ishmael was a memorial of Abraham’s failure in faith and patience. For he thought that the promised heir was long in coming, and so he thought that he would help God. That is to say, he thinks he knows better than God. He believes his own plan is quite as good as the divine plan. But God makes it clear that Ishmael would not be the child of promise through whom all the world would be blessed in the following verses:

19 But God said, “That’s not what I mean. Your wife, Sarah, will have a baby, a son. Name him Isaac. I’ll establish my covenant with him and his descendants, a covenant that lasts forever. 20-21 “And Ishmael? Yes, I heard your prayer for him. I’ll also bless him; I’ll make sure he has plenty of children—a huge family. He’ll father twelve princes; I’ll make him a great nation. But I’ll establish my covenant with Isaac whom Sarah will give you about this time next year.”

Suddenly, Abraham finds that Ishmael is not the son of the Covenant; he is not the heir of the Promise. Sarah shall have a child, called Isaac, and from him shall come the blessings that have been foretold. It was always God’s plan for the son of promise to come from Abraham and Sarah. The use of Hagar as a surrogate was of their devising, not God’s! The assurance of this promise was the change of Sarai’s name into Sarah. Sarai signifies my princess, as if her honor were confined to one family only; Sarah signifies a princess.

Still, in his faithfulness, God promised Abraham that, although Ishmael wouldn’t be the child of the promise, he would still bless him:

  • God promised that He would make Ishmael fruitful and would multiply his descendants exceedingly, making of him a “great nation”. The father of many nations—“12 princes” to be exact (Gen. 17:19-21; 21:18; 25:12-18).
  • God also promised to give Ishmael’s descendants the land to the east of Canaan (Genesis 16:12).

God has been faithful to these promises. Ishmael took an Egyptian wife (Genesis 21:21) and became the father of the 12 tribes promised. These tribes were to become the nucleus of the Arab peoples, a people with a mixture of Semitic and Egyptian blood. These people inhabited the territory between Havilah (probably in NW Arabia) and Shur (near the Egyptian border), and were one of the several peoples who were the ancestors of the Arabians (Genesis 10:7, 25-30; 25:1-4, 13-16).

Today, Arab-dominated territories are much more extensive even than in Bible times. There are 21 Arab nations with a combined population of 175 million people. The Arabs occupy a total area of 5.3 million square miles of oil rich land. By contrast, there is only one Jewish state with a population of 4 million people who are squeezed into only 8,000 square miles of space. That’s a population ratio of 43 to 1 and a land ratio of 662 to 1. The Arabs have truly been blessed.

The Lord appeared to Abraham six additional times to reaffirm this covenant (Genesis 12:7; 13:14-16; 15:1-6; 15: 8-21; 17:1-8; and 22:15-18). In these subsequent appearances, God declared that the covenant was an “everlasting” one (Genesis 17:7-8), and He spelled out the boundaries of the land in detail as encompassing most of what is referred to today as the Middle East (Genesis 15:18-21). The covenant was reaffirmed to Abraham’s son, Isaac (Genesis 26:1-5), and to Isaac’s son, Jacob (Genesis 28:3-4,13-14 and 35:10-12).

Even a thousand years later, King David affirms the continuing validity of the Abrahamic Covenant in Psalm 105:

8 He [God] has remembered His covenant forever,The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. 10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the portion of your inheritance.”

The hurt and anger of the teenage Ishmael towards this half brother Isaac led Abraham to send him and his mother Hagar into the wilderness (Genesis 21:8-21). The young man, told since childhood that he was the son of promise, found himself an outcast from his father. This set the stage for generations of strife between him and Abraham’s other son, Isaac. Ishmael went on to become the father of many Arab nations.

It’s interesting to note that, following Ishmael’s birth, Genesis 16:12 tells us that God told Hagar her son, Ishmael, would be “a wild donkey of a man” and that “his hand will be against everyone”. Today, all the Arab tribes have been characterized historically by their impulsive and violent nature. They have been involved in endless wars among themselves and against both Jews and Christians. What an amazing fulfillment of prophecy!

Furthermore, in the end times, the prophet Ezekiel says they will claim the land of Israel which God gave to their brothers, the Jews (Ezekiel 35:5,10; 36:2,5). And this is the root cause for the Arab-Israeli conflict we see today.

Source: The Roots of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Did You Know Many Christians Shy Away From The Word “Repentance?”

Every human has fallen short of the glory of God and whoever says he doesn’t sin lies. That basically means no one is pure before the LORD and that it’s only God who’s capable of purifying us to become acceptable to Him. As a Christian, therefore, you cannot despise repentance as every leap you make in your service to God is precipitated by a span of repentance.

Is there a time you can come before the LORD and feel you’re perfect? If your answer is yes, you need to re-look at your salvation. We all stumble, knowingly or unknowingly. In all such cases, we cannot receive forgiveness from our God without repentance. Even when you can’t pinpoint a sin you’ve committed, there is never enough of repentance, considering that we stray even in our thoughts.

What does the word repentance bring to your heart and mind? Does it give you a picture of sackcloth and tears? Does it make you rejoice that it’s a platform to renew and purify your walk with God? If that’s the case, know that God’s grace is sufficient and He’ll purify you so that you become acceptable to Him.

Our salvation isn’t a matter of the church doctrine, where you examine the commandments in which you’ve fallen and bring repentance. We know that when it comes to the law, we’re all condemned because we cannot make it with our own flesh and blood. What does that tell a Christian? Well, it basically means the law of grace is higher than the law of Moses. In grace, however, we’re not justified by our deeds as none can meet God’s standards on their own.

We repent everyday because we know that it’s out of grace that we’re accepted by our LORD Jesus. Grace came as a result of the Blood of the only begotten Son of God; the Holy Lamb of God who left His throne in Heaven to come live a life of trouble, so that we are redeemed. That grace is sufficient and it’s only poured to those who carry a contrite heart; a heart that’s repentant; a heart that understands it’s not worthy; a heart that constantly seeks the favor of God.

At times it’s teachers who don’t feed the sheep right. Instead of themselves being repentant, they present themselves as holy and deserving in the presence of the LORD, thinking that by appearing infallible, they’re helping the sheep. Unfortunately, everyone, regardless of whether you’re a pastor or Bishop, must always embrace repentance.

Source

Source: Did You Know Many Christians Shy Away From The Word “Repentance?”

What Are Signs You Have Genuine, Saving Faith?

Some lack assurance, some know they’re lost, but others are secure in Christ, so what are some biblical signs about having genuine, saving faith?

Seasons of Doubt

The trouble with having doubts is that our feelings can fool us, but feelings must never outweigh the facts, and the facts are, for those who have trusted in Christ, there is no more separation from God possible (Rom 8:38-39). You might feel lost on certain days, but your feelings are not absolute truth like the Word of God is. Feelings are overrated, and sometimes rated higher than biblical truth, whether we know we’re doing that or not. If someone holds to the idea that you can lose what you did not gain (John 3:16; Eph 2:8-9), then they don’t understand the fact that Jesus calls it “eternal life.” If you can lose it, then it’s not eternal. I think a lot of us have seasons of doubt. That’s normal, but it’s not normal to stay in that season. One of the best remedies for doubt is reading the Word of God. Reading the Word of God brings peace of mind and assurance to the soul.

Bearing Fruit

Don’t get me wrong. We don’t bear fruit…God causes us to bear fruit by His Spirit, so it is not a fleshly or human fruit of good works, but genuine, Spirit-driven, Spirit-led works that are done for God, but by God. These works are always to be done for the glory of God; otherwise, we have earned our reward by doing works to be seen by others, and Jesus is the Vine, and we are the branch, and branches can do absolutely nothing unless they abide in the Vine (John 15:7), so abiding in Christ will naturally produce fruits of the Spirit. These are signs that you have genuine faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit of God will cause us to produce godly fruit, and “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23), but if you see fruit in your life like “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these,” then the Apostle Paul says, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-20). If you have these fruits of the flesh, and not the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace), then you may not have genuine saving faith. When God brings someone to repentance, they turn away from these previous practices and they begin to bear godly fruit by the Spirit of God (Gal 5:22-23).

Doing unto Him

When Jesus speaks to His followers about doing for others, He says they’re actually doing it to Him (Matt 25:40), but they don’t seem to notice because they say, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you” (Matt 25:37-39). Jesus tells them: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40). Now look at those who profess to have done works for Christ, and read His response: “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name” (Matt 7:22). What does Jesus tell them? He says, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). They did works to be seen or look religious, but they made sure others knew about them, but they already have their reward, but what is done is secret will be openly rewarded in heaven, but what’s done openly before others is all the reward they’ll have. What is most troubling is Jesus saying, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21), so how many believers minister to the poor, naked, hungry, those in prison or nursing homes, or make strangers feel welcome (Matt 25:35-36)? How many visit the orphans and widows (James 1:27) and make strive to disciples of those around them (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8)? Not everyone can do all those things, but everyone can do some of those things, but no Christian will avoid doing all these things.

Do Christians Go To Heaven At The Moment of Death

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Conscience and Conviction

If a person has been born again, they won’t automatically become sinless…however, they should sin less over time, but one reason for that is the Holy Spirit. He convicts us when we sin, and our conscience tells us that we must confess this sin to God and turn away from it. There is a conviction by the Holy Spirit that helps us to know what is right and what is wrong. It is that voice that tells us to stop or avoid doing something, to stop and help someone, and say something encouraging to someone who needs it. God speaks to us through Hs Word, but also through His Spirit and into our conscience. A problem arises when we suppress His voice and sin anyway. The more often we suppress the Spirit’s voice, the more likely we’ll fall into patterns of sin. We’re still a child of God, but we might feel we’re not really saved. We might have doubts about our salvation, and sin does that…it robs you not only of your joy, but also robs you of your assurance. No child of God can sin and enjoy it…if they do, they’ve either quenched the Holy Spirit’s voice, or they’re not saved at all. All Christians fall into sin, but the difference is, Christians don’t dive into it and swim around in it.

Conclusion

My hope in writing this was to help you know the signs of genuine conversion, and give some warning signs of a person that might not be saved. Only God knows for sure if they’re saved or not (1 Sam 16:7), but Jesus did say we can know them by their fruits (Matt 7:16). Fruits of love, joy, and peace will stand out in this world, but those who practice fruits like lust, greed, and sexual immorality will not be entering the kingdom of heaven. Many might think they are, but the same many will be turned away before Christ (Matt 7:21-23). The Apostle Peter said, “be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” (2 Pet 1:10), because the fact is, “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14), and we’re not the “frozen chosen,” but the chosen of God and appointed to do good works that God has determined to place before us (Eph 2:10). The question is, will we walk in them (Matt 25:35-36)? And, are we walking with Christ in the first place? Settle that question today my friend. Make that election and calling absolutely sure!

Here is some related reading for you: 7 Signs of a True Conversion

Source: What Are Signs You Have Genuine, Saving Faith?

05/28/2018 — Wretched

WR2018-0528 •The best of Wretched Radio •How the Filioque made the Reformers grow beards •Why Charles Spurgeon died poor •Still haven’t found a good Trinity analogy •Why don’t we evangelize every waking moment? Download Now (right click and save) Subscribe to Wretched Radio to receive every new episode directly to your device by selecting your…

via 05/28/2018 — Wretched

It is Okay to Call Christians Bigots But Don’t You Dare Criticize Islam: Tommy Robinson is Proof of That

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

“Where is Tommy Robinson?  A question whose answer should be demanded rather than merely asked. We all know where Prince Harry is but not where Tommy, arrested Friday outside a court in Leeds, England, is. Modern day Merry England has become far more nightmare than fairytale, as it steadily works its way toward ugly police state status.” source

Who would have ever thought that speaking Truth would become a crime, but not just any crime; a crime so hideous and unthinkable, that the person is arrested and incarcerated with NO due process of law.  He had no chance of calling anyone, or asking for a court appointed attorney. The judge even ordered the press to keep quiet about the arrest.  The world now waits to see if Tommy Robinson is even alive.

Tommy Robinson was sentenced by the political authorities in London to 13 months in Jail.  His crime?  Reporting on…

View original post 1,278 more words

Did Hell Disappear? — Christian Research Network

“Is there a Hell? Is it how the Bible describes it? I read in the Bible that there is a hell and that Jesus affirmed it and warned that some will go there. I have staked my life on its veracity. “

(Herescope) The Wall Street Journal wrote last week that “Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, a friend and frequent interviewer of the pope, reported that the pontiff had denied the existence of hell.”

Sinners who die without achieving eternal salvation “are not punished,” the pope said, according to an article by Mr. Scalfari in the Itlaian newspaper La Repubblica. “There is no hell; there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”[1]

Predictably the Vatican would later release a statement that partially denied the report, but also “stopped short of a specific denial.”[2] This clever dialectic maneuver is a perfect example of two steps forward, one step back. Now the issue of hell is on the table and up for debate, once again illustrating how the Pope Francis has “shaken up perceptions of Catholic doctrine.”[3]

The Pope is merely following in the steps of other theologians and leaders who have professed orthodoxy out of one side of their mouth while teaching new doctrine.[4] Their strategies appear to be the same. The Wall Street Journal’s Vatican correspondent, Francis X. Rocca, describes it:

For more conservative critics, the pope’s approach amounts to promotion of a “low-intensity Catholicism that can be easily welcomed by those far from the faith and even hostile to it,” said Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert who writes for Italy’s L’Espresso magazine.[5]

An Editorial by Pastor Jim Jenkins

The nun turned her back on the class. (We were still not safe from scrutiny… we all knew she also had eyes in the back of her head.) Jimmy Cummings could make these strange voices and sounds and get us giggling… and then when the good sister turned around to find the culprit, Jimmy could instantly take on the countenance of a cherub and someone else would be blamed. His unique ability served him well. He is now Voice Actor Jim Cummings… the voice of Winnie the Pooh!

I digress… Back to what the nun had written on the green blackboard. She took the pointer, a weapons grade staff with a rubber tip that looked like a ballistic missile, and pronounced the phrase she had written:

Ex Cathedra 

She then went on to explain that whenever the Pope was seated in the chair (also called the throne of St. Peter) whatever he said was infallible. He was not to be questioned for he was speaking in the place of God. The Latin phrase ex cathedra means “from or out of the chair”

There was another Latin term we would learn:    View article →

See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism

via Did Hell Disappear? — Christian Research Network

May 28, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

But to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1:24–25)

Paul makes clear that he had been using the terms Jews and Greeks in a general way to represent unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. God’s called people also include both Jews and Greeks. For those who believe in His Son, the crucified Christ is both the power of God and the wisdom of God. He who is a stumbling block to the unbelieving Jew is Savior of the believing, and the One who is foolishness to the unbelieving Gentile is Redeemer to the believing.

In mentioning God’s foolishness and weakness the apostle is, of course, speaking from the unbeliever’s point of view. Ironically, and tragically, the very part of God’s plan and work that seems most ridiculous and useless from man’s natural standpoint actually exhibits His greatest power and greatest wisdom.

Paul is also saying that, even if God could possess any sort of foolishness, it would be wiser than man’s greatest wisdom. And if God were able to have any weakness, it would be stronger than the greatest strength men could muster.

God’s power is real power, power that means something and accomplishes something. It is not of men but it is offered for men. It is the power of salvation from sin, of deliverance from Satan, of life in God’s very presence for all eternity.[1]


25 Paul summarizes and brings to a conclusion this stage of his argument, that God’s revealed way of salvation, while it may appear foolish and weak, is in fact the only way to be saved. Thus “the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” The most insignificant thought of God is wiser than the most profound thought a human being can come up with. And when unleashed, the tiniest particle of earthly matter (the atom; cf. its power in the sun) created by God is more powerful than any human strength. Although Paul was not aware of the structure of the universe according to atomic theory, he certainly is expressing a profound truth here.[2]


1:25 / Finally, Paul summarizes his argument in this whole section by making a theological pronouncement in this verse. He declares that God’s wisdom or power expressed in the cross of Christ renders worldly wisdom into foolishness as a demonstration of the reality of the power of God. God shows himself to be both wiser and stronger than humans, who cannot predict or control God![3]


1:25. Paul closed this paragraph by explaining how a person could accept the way of salvation in Christ as wise when most people considered it foolish. Believers have come to recognize something about the gospel of the crucified Christ: it is wiser than man’s wisdom. In other words, the message of Christ peers into reality in ways that far exceed any human wisdom.

Moreover, the gospel is stronger than man’s strength. People cannot rescue themselves from bondage to sin or its punishment by their own power. Human wisdom is unable to conquer “the wages of sin” (Rom. 6:23), that is, death. Even so, the good news of Christ rescues and delivers. It overcomes even death (2 Tim. 1:10). Those who believe the gospel know the reality of its wisdom and power. For this reason, they exalt nothing above Christ and his saving work.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (p. 47). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 270). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (p. 43). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, pp. 22–23). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

May 28 The Plea for Forgiveness

And forgive us our debts.—Matt. 6:12a

God will not forgive our sins if we do not confess them. John makes that condition clear when he declares, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Confession simply means we agree with God that our sins are evil and defiling and we do not want them to taint our walk with Christ.

Our sinful pride makes it difficult to confess sin, but it is the only way to the free and joyful Christian life (cf. Prov. 28:13). John Stott said, “One of the surest antidotes to the process of moral hardening is the disciplined practice of uncovering our sins of thought and outlook as well as word and deed and the repentant forsaking of the same.”

We must never take God’s promise of forgiveness as a license for sin or as an excuse to presume on His grace. Instead we must view forgiveness as an aid to our sanctification and be constantly thankful to the Lord for His loving forgiveness.

Your prayer ought to coincide with the Puritan one: “Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, and the exceeding wonder of grace. I am guilty but pardoned. I am lost but saved. I am wandering but found. I am sinning but cleansed. Give me perpetual brokenheartedness. Keep me always clinging to Thy cross.”

ASK YOURSELF

How can one walk in an awareness of his own wretchedness while also living in the confidence of Christ’s righteousness and salvation? Actually, it is only by realizing our great need for Him that we can enjoy the grace that overwhelms our sin. Seek this biblical balance in your own life.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 157). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

The False Gospel of Expressive Individualism

What is Expressive Individualism?

Borrowing from the work of Charles Taylor, James K.A. Smith speaks about expressive individualism when he writes, “Emerging from the Romantic expressionism of the late eighteenth century, it is an understanding ‘that each one of us has his/her own way of realizing our humanity,’ and that we are called to live that out (‘express’ it) rather than conform to modes imposed by others (especially institutions).”

To say it another way, expressive individualism believes that each and every single person has the right to feel, believe, and think about themselves however they so choose. But even more, after you discover yourself (if you like the phrase), you’re free to express yourself. In fact, you must express yourself. Forget about what everyone else thinks. Forgot about any moral compass of right and wrong. Life is about you and your fulfillment. The goal of expressive individualism is to find yourself and express the desires you find.

In some circles, expressive individualism is being mixed with Christian thought. The logic goes a little something like this: “God is good. God made me. God gave me my desires. Since God is good and gave me my desires, then the desires I have from God must be good. And since God gave me these good desires, I have a right to express them.”

Why do I bring this up? Because it’s everywhere. In the music, the magazines, and other forms media — expressive individualism is being sold to many as some sort of religion, and many are buying into it.

There are multiple problems with expressive individualism  — especially when it’s mixed with Christianity. Here now I want to mention a few of them.

The Problems with Expressive Individualism

First, the point of the Christian life and the point of expressive individualism are not the same. Expressive individualism sees personal expression as the highest form of reality. The Christian life, however, is not about expressing yourself, but dying to yourself. The highest form of reality for the Christian is when we die to ourselves to magnify God for all of his worth. And in turn, paradoxically, we gain life. You might say that we get life by dying.

Discipleship is costly (Matthew 16:24). The footnote on this verse from the ESV Study Bible says, “Crucifixion is a shocking metaphor for discipleship. A disciple must deny himself (die to self-will), take up his cross (embrace God’s will, no matter the cost), and follow Christ.”

This is a far cry from this so-called expressive individualism. Life is about Christ and his glory. We exist to make him look good, not the other way around.

Second, let’s talk about desire. Expressive Individualism advocates desires — all of them. But the Bible doesn’t affirm every desire. Just the opposite, in fact: we are told over and over that our desires can be bad (James 1:14-15, Jer. 17:9). Desires can be good, though. Don’t get me wrong. There are certain desires that our hearts want and that’s fine. But not all of our desires are good. And not all of them should be expressed. The Bible is the Christian’s compass for morality, and if one of our desires doesn’t align with God’s will, we shouldn’t act on it regardless of how bad we want to.

Finally, expressive individualism is ambiguous about finding reality. The definition mentioned above says “each one of us has his/her own way of realizing our humanity.” If this is true, how? How do I know if and when I’ve found reality? And who’s to say what’s right and wrong?

In the end, weird, ambiguous ways of navigating to truth don’t help. It creates more confusion than clarity. All of the clarity that we need to know about humanity is in the Word. The Bible, as some say, doesn’t tell us everything we want to know, but it does tell us everything we need to know. In God’s Word, we discover the truth about ourselves and about him.

Be on the lookout for expressive individualism. And when you notice it, remember that it’s false and remember what God’s Word says is true.

Source: The False Gospel of Expressive Individualism

The Dummies Guide To The Russia Collusion Hoax: Who, What, Where, When, & Why

Article Image
• zerohedge.com by Roger Kimball

Who, what, where, when, why? The desiderata school teachers drill into their charges trying to master effective writing skills apply also in the effort to understand that byzantine drama known to the world as the Trump-Russia-collusion investigation.

Let’s start with “when.” When did it start? We know that the FBI opened its official investigation on 31 July 2016. An obscure, low-level volunteer to the Trump campaign called Carter Page was front and centre then. He’d been the FBI’s radar for a long time. Years before, it was known, the Russians had made some overtures to him but 1) they concluded that he was an “idiot” not worth recruiting and 2) he had actually aided the FBI in prosecuting at least two Russian spies.

But we now know that the Trump-Russia investigation began before Carter Page. In December 2017, The New York Times excitedly reported in an article called “How the Russia Inquiry Began” that, contrary to their reporting during the previous year, it wasn’t Carter Page who precipitated the inquiry. It was someone called George Papadopoulous, an even more obscure and lower-level factotum than Carter Page. Back in May 2016, the twenty-something Papadopoulous had gotten outside a number of drinks with one Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat in London and had let slip that “the Russians” had compromising information about Hillary Clinton. When Wikileaks began releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in June and July, news of the conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos was communicated to the FBI. Thus, according to the Times, the investigation was born.

Source: The Dummies Guide To The Russia Collusion Hoax: Who, What, Where, When, & Why

Mark Penn: Deep State Conducted a Sting Operation on Trump

Former Clinton pollster Mark Penn examined the “out of hand” Robert Mueller investigation into President Donald Trump, saying the “deep state is clearly in a deep state of desperation.” “Every day we discover more and more potential abuses — that the investigation didn’t have a foundation, that they used this flaky dossier, you know, that was never substantiated as part of their investigation,” Penn told New York AM 970 radio’s “The Cats Roundtable” host John Catsimatidis on his Sunday broadcast.

Source: Mark Penn: Deep State Conducted a Sting Operation on Trump

Memorial and Veterans Day Reality: Glorifying War, Deploring Peace

They’re days of shame, dishonoring countless US men and women who died needlessly in wars that never should have been waged – so bankers, war profiteers, other corporate predators, and high-net-worth individuals could benefit from the slaughter of countless millions, along with vast destruction from all wars.

US servicemen and women gave their lives in vain, advancing the nation’s imperium since the mid-19th century – from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli to today’s ongoing wars of aggression, raping and destroying one country after another on the phony pretexts of democracy building, combating terrorism Washington supports, humanitarian intervention, and whatever other false reasons are given.

America is a warrior state, devoting an inordinate amount of its resources for militarism, its global empire of bases, and endless war on humanity at home and abroad.

Its so-called war of independence substituted new management for old. Everything changed but stayed the same.

Civil war had nothing to do with freeing slaves, everything to do with keeping the nation intact, maintaining dirty business as usual.

From inception to today, America’s history reflects a nation dedicated to endless wars, disdaining peace and stability, extermination its native people, enslaving Black Africans, colonizing and/or otherwise controlling lands belonging to others, seeking dominion over planet earth, its resources and people.

It’s America’s longstanding tradition, the shame of the nation, an insatiable quest for conquest and dominance, risking eventual catastrophic war to end all future ones with super-weapons able to destroy planet earth and its people – victims of mushroom-shaped cloud madness if things go this far.

Memorial and Veterans Days warrant condemnation, not celebration – symbols of national depravity for committing the highest of high crimes.

The dead died in vain. A new birth of freedom never came. Government of, by and for the people is just a figure of speech belied by reality – a nation dedicated to exploiting the many worldwide to benefit the privileged few.

The horror of endless wars, the stench of mass slaughter and destruction, the suffering of living survivors bear testimony to US rage for conquest and control at the expense of peace on earth, good will toward all – a nation dedicated to right over wrong instead of might makes right.

A Peace Day should replace Memorial and Veterans Day, honoring the living “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which (endlessly) in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to” countless millions worldwide.

Survival may depend on it!

Source: Memorial and Veterans Day Reality: Glorifying War, Deploring Peace

Geert Wilders Releases Statement in Support of Tommy Robinson: “Lights of Freedom Going Out All Over Europe” — The Gateway Pundit

UK activist Tommy Robinson was arrested on Friday for suspicion of breaching the peace while livestreaming a report on the trial of a  child grooming gang. He was immediately sentenced to serve 13 months in prison.

Friends and supporters of Robinson, 35, say his notoriety and stance on Islam places his life in great danger in prison.

According to UK independent reporter Caolan Robertson, Robinson was arrested outside the Leeds Crown Court where ten men are on trial for offenses including child rape, trafficking, and supply of class A drugs to children.

For this Tommy Robinson was jailed for 13 months on Friday.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders came to Tommy’s defense on Friday.


Geert Wilders with US activist Pamela Geller during a visit to the US

Geert, who has been threatened by violent Islamists for several years, called on the UK to “come to your senses” and release Tommy before he is murdered in prison.

Geert Wilders posted a video in defense of Tommy on Monday from outside the British Embassy in The Hague.
Via Andrew Bostom:

Wilders calls Tommy’s jailing “an absolute disgrace” and states “freedom of speech is being violated all over Europe.”

Here is a transcript of Geert’s comments.

via Geert Wilders Releases Statement in Support of Tommy Robinson: “Lights of Freedom Going Out All Over Europe” — The Gateway Pundit

God’s Special People? (Nick Batzig) — Reformation21 Blog

I attended a highly patriotic Christian school from kindergarten to fifth grade. It would definitely have been categorized as a nationalistic, God-and-country school. We pledged allegiance to the American flag and then to the Christian flag (which seems awfully Charlemagne-esque in hindsight). At the same time, I grew up in a home that was highly appreciative of the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens–but one that was certainly not nationalistic per se. My father wasn’t comfortable with some of the nationalistic expressions they taught us at school. I distinctly remember feeling uncomfortable pledging allegiance to a national flag when I was a very young boy. Still, I spent very little time questioning how much, if any, national adherence is appropriate in the life of a believer. When I was in my late 20’s, I moved to Philadelphia to start an internship at Tenth Presbyterian Church. The church happened to be celebrating its mission conference when I began my time there. Flags from countries all around the world hung down from the balcony, awaiting the participants. As I stood there witnessing what was part of the preamble to an incredible mission conference, one of the pastors on staff asked me a question that I had never been asked before: “What do you think,” he said, “about having an American flag behind the pulpit in the church building?” Being caught off guard, I quickly responded, “I haven’t ever really thought about it. Why?” What he said next continues to have an impact on my thinking today. “We have so many people from so many different nations of the world living here in Philadelphia that I would hate to give the sense that if you are going to become a Christian, that means that you will be have to become a patriotic American. If a Middle Easterner was invited to one of our services, would we want them to have to identify Christianity with American patriotism?” This very difficult issue is one that the church has needed to work through over t…

Continue Reading at Reformation21 Blog

via God’s Special People? (Nick Batzig) — Reformation21 Blog

MAY 28 THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TO US ALL JESUS WOULD BE

…Be filled with the Spirit.

EPHESIANS 5:18

When we think of the Person of the Holy Spirit, we should think of Him as gracious, loving, kind and gentle—just like our Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

When the Scripture says, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,” it is telling us that He loves us so much that when we insult Him, He is grieved; when we ignore Him, He is grieved; when we resist Him, He is grieved; and when we doubt Him, He is grieved.

Thankfully, we can please Him by obeying and believing. When we please Him, He responds to us just like a pleased father or loving mother responds. He responds to us because He loves us!

Think of the tragedy and the woe of this hour—that we neglect the most important One who could possibly be in our midst! He is the Holy Spirit of God—yet many are guilty of ignoring and neglecting Him!

Let me assure you that this is the most important thing in the world—that this blessed Holy Spirit is waiting now and can be present with you this minute. Jesus, in His body, is at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, interceding for us. He will be there until He comes again.

But He said He would send another Comforter, the Holy Ghost, His Spirit. We cannot be all that we ought to be for God if we do not believe the Comforter, the Holy Spirit has been sent to be to us all that Jesus would be if He were here now![1]


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

The Mailbag: Should Christians listen to “Reckless Love”?

Michelle Lesley

Should Christians listen to the song Reckless Love? Should churches use this song in their worship services or other activities? Aren’t songs like this OK if they point people to Jesus and the lyrics don’t blatantly contradict Scripture?

Goodness, I have never seen so much buzz over whether or not a particular song is OK to listen to or use at church. Regardless of your opinion of the song itself, I think we could all agree that one awesome thing that has come out of the Reckless Love debate is that it has encouraged Christians to actually look at the lyrics of, and think theologically about, the songs they listen to on the radio or sing in their worship services.

That’s phenomenal. We should be analyzing every song we sing that way whether it comes to us via a dusty antique hymnal or Pandora. There are hymns, and gospel…

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