Daily Archives: June 28, 2018

June 28: Meet and Greet

Esther 1:1–2:23; 2 John 7–13; Psalm 116:1–19

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house and do not speak a greeting to him, because the one who speaks a greeting to him shares in his evil deeds” (2 John 9–11).

This passage is sometimes used as support for forming exclusive communities—ones that don’t interact with people who don’t believe in the gospel or who have a different faith. Based on this passage, some believe that we as Christians are not permitted to interact with nonbelievers. Is that what John is really teaching?

John issued this warning during a time when false teachers were spreading confusing doctrines about Christ. He exhorted believers to “test the spirits” to see if these teachers were actually from God (1 John 4:1). They would know if these teachers were from God if they confessed the true message of Jesus Christ—specifically that He had come in the flesh and was from God (1 John 2:1).

John wanted the community to be aware of false teachings so they wouldn’t become confused or weakened in their faith. We, too, need to be intentional about the teaching we adhere to. If we are weak and troubled in our faith, we should seek out mature believers who can teach and minister to us. However, if we are confident in our faith, we should be ready and willing to share the message of salvation with those who need to hear it—both inside and outside our communities.

How are you sharing the gospel with those who need to receive it?

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.

June 28 Dead Faith versus Demonic Faith

“Someone may well say, ‘You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’ You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (James 2:18–20).

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Even demonic faith is better than dead faith!

In recent years there has been an alarming rise in the number of professing Christians who believe there’s no necessary relationship between what they believe and what they do. They say you can’t judge a person’s spiritual condition by what he or she does because salvation is a matter of faith alone—as if requiring works violates the principle of faith.

It was that kind of reasoning that prompted James to issue this challenge: “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (2:18). The Greek word translated “show” means “to exhibit,” “to demonstrate,” or “to put on display.” His point is simple: it’s impossible to verify true faith apart from holy living, because doctrine and deed are inseparable.

Can you know if someone is a Christian by watching his behavior? According to James, that’s the only way to know! In verse 19 he says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” In other words, affirming orthodox doctrine isn’t necessarily proof of saving faith. Demons believe in the oneness of God, and its implications fill them with fear, but they aren’t saved. The phrase “you do well” is intentionally sarcastic. The implication is that demonic faith is better than non-responsive faith because at least the demons shudder, which is better than no response at all.

You can’t be a Christian in creed only—you must be one in conduct as well! James makes that very clear. Don’t be confused or deceived by those who teach otherwise. Continually aim your life at bringing glory to God through the obedient application of Biblical truth.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Reaffirm to the Lord your commitment to abide by His Word.

For Further Study: Read John 8:12–47. Make a list of doctrines and deeds that characterize dead faith and a corresponding list of those that characterize true faith.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 192). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The State Department Ministerial and Christian Persecution — Juicy Ecumenism

The persecution of Christians worldwide is, unfortunately, an uncontested fact. Though this persecution very rarely occurs in the United States, citizens of other countries experience it daily. They live in constant fear for their lives, knowing that at any moment they could be harassed, arrested, raped, beaten, or murdered. Persecution is an issue many governments either refuse to address or completely ignore. But on July 24 to July 26, 2018, the State Department is hosting a ministerial, providing the perfect opportunity to address these horrendous occurrences and begin the process of enacting necessary change.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has decided to host a Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom conference in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Topics covered are extensive, but among them are the roles of government and lessons of civil society. There will also be side events that include a reception hosted by the Save the Persecuted Christians coalition (of which IRD is a founding member), an event describing the best practices in advancing international religious freedom, and discussion on the impact of war on religious freedoms. It will be the first occasion of its kind run by Pompeo, and it is promising that the first Ministerial of his tenure is on this critical issue.

It seems Pompeo, at the very least, realizes the extent of religious persecution that takes place worldwide. This is the first step in a long process. However, the Secretary of State should be sure to have a discourse surrounding the specific persecution of Christians. With “like-minded allies” in fellowship with one another and with the leadership of Sam Brownback, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, this event creates the perfect environment  to converse about the egregious crimes committed against the followers of Christ.

The fact that Christians are the most persecuted religion in the world is hardly disputable, making it a necessary topic at the ministerial. In 2013, Huffington Post reported this to be true. Washington Examiner claimed the same thing in 2017. Express made similar reports about  a week ago.

Statistics, likewise, show that thousands are harmed throughout the year based on their religious affiliations. Every year, Open Door USA creates a world watch list, geographically displaying some of the places where the persecution of Christians is most rampant. Unsurprisingly, North Korea is at the top of the list and has been for the past 16 consecutive years. Kim Jong Un consistently deports Christians to labor camps, labels them political criminals, and kills both the supposed offender and his family. An illustration of this was on April 30, 2016, when Chiangbai Han Choong Yeol was murdered by four North Korean agents.

215 million Christians face persecution just because they claim to be followers of Jesus, according to this year’s world watch list. Among these statistics were the facts that “3,066 Christians were killed, 1,252 were abducted, 800 churches defaced, and 1,020 people raped.” 900,000 Christians have been killed between the years 2005 and 2015.

These numbers show that this problem is a pervasive one and it isn’t going to resolve itself. In fact, as the years go on, things have only gotten worse. A study conducted by Aid to the Church in Need examined Christians in places like Egypt, Sudan, Syria, and Turkey. The study noted that Sudan was the only place on the list where conditions for Christians did not worsen. That isn’t necessarily a glimmer of hope since people are still fearing for their lives in the region.

This persecution must end and that cannot happen if it’s never talked about. It deserves a national platform. The ministerial that will be hosted in July is the kind of arena where this issue can be faced, discussed, and hopefully begin a process of restoration for those who need it so badly.

via The State Department Ministerial and Christian Persecution — Juicy Ecumenism

Mueller Investigating ‘Billionaires with Ties to Russia’ Who Attended Trump Inauguration Party — The Gateway Pundit

Robert Mueller and his propaganda arm, the mainstream media were due for a ‘Trump-Russia’ headline this week to distract from the Congressional hearing over the IG report and Spygate.

So here we are.

Robert Mueller is investigating ‘billionaires with ties to Russia’ who attended Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities.

What does this have to do with the DNC server that was supposedly hacked by the Russians over two years ago?

ABC News reported:

Several billionaires with deep ties to Russia attended exclusive, invitation-only receptions during Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities, guest lists obtained by ABC News show.

These powerful businessmen, who amassed their fortunes following the collapse of the Soviet Union — including one who has since been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department — were ushered into events typically reserved for top donors and close political allies and were given unprecedented access to Trump’s inner circle.

Their presence has attracted the interest of federal investigators probing Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Matthew Olsen, a former senior national security official who now serves as an ABC News consultant, said their presence at inaugural events is “very concerning.”

“This reflects a Russian strategy of gaining access to our political leaders at a time when they are just forming a government,” Olsen said. “They don’t need to be spies in the James Bond sense. They are powerful people with significant wealth who are in a position to exert influence on U.S. policy makers. And they’re in a position to report back to Russian intelligence services on what they’re able to learn.”

The presence of people with Kremlin ties in Washington for Trump’s inaugural celebration was first reported by The Washington Post. But the guest lists obtained by ABC News offer a new glimpse at the level of access granted to several well-connected oligarchs.

It is common for high profile business moguls to attend presidential inauguration festivities.

There is nothing unusual or illegal about billionaires attending and donating to Donald Trump’s inauguration parties.

In fact, campaign donation laws do not apply to inauguration donations; they are totally separate.

Mueller obviously has nothing; he’s roving around to justify his salary and witch hunt.

Shame on Congressional oversight [and AG Sessions] for allowing this multi-million dollar witch hunt to continue.

via Mueller Investigating ‘Billionaires with Ties to Russia’ Who Attended Trump Inauguration Party — The Gateway Pundit

America Has Totally Forgotten History

America is repeating the mistakes of so many nations before it and repudiating its own founding principles. This is happening because the vast majority of the American people have lost touch with their own national history and heritage.

Download free computerized mp3 audio file of this column

The Spanish-American philosopher Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás (known in English as simply George Santayana) famously said in his book The Life Of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

For all intents and purposes, America is in the process of fulfilling Santayana’s proverb. If America’s founders were to rise from the grave and look at the country they sacrificed so much to create, they would think they were looking at King George’s England instead of the free and independent republic they birthed.

The only references to America’s past nowadays seem to be those that either condemn our Founding Fathers or glorify Abraham Lincoln. That is pretty much the sum total of what most Americans (including conservatives and Christians) are taught about their history. It is no hyperbole to say that virtually the entire country (with very few exceptions) has thoroughly and completely lost touch with its history. And the consequences of this travesty are everywhere.

For the most part, real American history is not taught in America’s grammar schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges or universities. Neither is it taught in America’s churches, Bible colleges or seminaries. Most Americans will graduate from high school, college and post-graduate school and never learn their own history. Most Christians will go through Sunday School, Christian grade school, high school and college and never learn their own history. Ditto for most private and parochial schools and colleges. Most Americans will live their entire lives and die at a ripe old age having never learned their own history. And even worse: most of them seem to have little desire to learn it. They seem very content to spend untold numbers of hours listening to radio and television talk shows and Internet podcasts rather than studying their own history for themselves.

The only thing most “conservatives” and Christians know is the Republican versus Democrat, conservative versus liberal and “right” versus “left” paradigm. (The same is true for liberals, of course.) That’s it! I mean, THAT’S IT! It’s Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow, FOX News or CNN and Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. That’s it! I mean, THAT’S IT!

Face it, folks: Donald Trump doesn’t know The Federalist Papers from The Cat in the Hat. His constitutional IQ is about 30—and that’s probably being generous. The same goes for the vast majority of our congressmen and senators—from either party—in Washington, D.C. And the biggest problem is that the people who keep electing and reelecting these constitutional morons to the highest political offices in the country don’t even recognize that it’s a problem.

With Independence Day coming up, I am again reminded of the root cause of America’s woes: vast ignorance of the constitutional, historical and Natural Law principles that birthed this country. So, at the risk of sounding self-serving, I am going to strongly urge readers to become familiar with the following literary works.

The first book every serious student of American history needs to read is THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS. This is the finest compilation of America’s great historical documents in ONE VOLUME in print. These documents contain the actual words of America’s founders, words which explain and expound the laws and principles of liberty, words that came from the hearts and minds of the men who brought the greatest free nation on earth into existence. These documents form the cornerstone of our nation’s liberties. One cannot possibly understand the significance of Independence Day and be ignorant of these documents at the same time.

This fantastic collection of America’s greatest documents is only available here—and we only print twice a year (for Independence Day and Christmas)—and this special summer printing will only last for another week or so. Therefore, to receive a copy of THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS, you need to order NOW.

Order THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS here:

THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS

The second book I urge readers to obtain is Lex, Rex, Or The Law And The Prince by Samuel Rutherford. Originally published in 1644 by Scottish Presbyterian Minister Reverend Samuel Rutherford, this is a copy of the 1843 printing. Lex, Rex defends the rule of law and the lawfulness of defensive wars and advocates limited government and constitutionalism in politics. This book contains masterful, in-depth research. It is one of the most scholarly works on liberty ever written.

Order Lex, Rex here:

Lex, Rex, Or The Law And The Prince

The third book I urge readers to get is Second Treatise Of Government by John Locke.

John Locke was the Father of America’s Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson borrowed heavily from Locke’s Second Treatise when he penned the Declaration of Independence. This is the first book one should read to learn the liberty principles of Natural Law.

Order John Locke’s Second Treatise Of Government here:

Second Treatise Of Government 

And since modern America (including Christians and conservatives) have an ongoing idolatrous love affair with Abraham Lincoln—a love affair that has thoroughly tainted and twisted their understanding of liberty and constitutional government—I urge readers to get the bookThe Real Lincoln by Thomas DiLorenzo.

Through extensive research and meticulous documentation, DiLorenzo portrays the sixteenth president as a man who devoted his political career to revolutionizing the American form of government from one that was very limited in scope and highly decentralized—as the Founding Fathers intended—to a highly centralized, activist state. Standing in his way, however, was the South with its independent states, its resistance to the national government and its reliance on unfettered free trade. To accomplish his goals, Lincoln subverted the Constitution, trampled states’ rights and launched a devastating Civil War, whose wounds haunt us still. According to this provocative book, 600,000 American soldiers did not die for the honorable cause of ending slavery but for the dubious agenda of sacrificing the independence of the states to the supremacy of the federal government, which has been tightening its vise grip on our republic to this very day. This book is MUST-READING.

To order Thomas DiLorenzo’s book The Real Lincoln, go here:

The Real Lincoln

The last book I am going to recommend in this column is a modern book (written just last year) that needs to be read by EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN. If it was read and taken to heart by enough people, this book could literally change the course of history and save the American republic. The book is entitled The War On Terror: The Plot To Rule The Middle East by Christopher Bollyn.

From the book’s back cover:

The government and media have misled us about 9/11 in order to compel public opinion to support the War on Terror.

Why have we gone along with it? Do we accept endless war as normal? Are we numb to the suffering caused by our military interventions?

No. We have simply been propagandized into submission. We have been deceived into thinking that the War on Terror is a good thing, a valiant struggle against terrorists who intend to attack us as we were on 9/11.

Behind the War on Terror is a strategic plan crafted decades in advance to redraw the map of the Middle East. 9/11 was a false-flag operation blamed on Muslims in order to start the military operations for that strategic plan. Recognizing the origin of the plan is crucial to understanding the deception that has changed our world.

If you don’t read any other book (besides the Bible) this year, read Christopher Bollyn’s The War On Terror: The Plot To Rule The Middle East. Order it here:

The War On Terror: The Plot To Rule The Middle East

America is repeating the mistakes of so many nations before it and repudiating its own founding principles. This is happening because the vast majority of the American people have lost touch with their own national history and heritage.

I dare say that if one were to read the five books I recommend in this column, he or she would be far more educated in the historic liberty principles upon which America was founded than the vast majority of college graduates, TV talking heads, radio talk show hosts, newscasters, university professors, congressmen, senators and pastors in this country.

There are many more excellent resources, of course. But unless the American people start turning off their radios and televisions long enough to do some serious independent study into the great principles of liberty and constitutionalism, they will be totally ineffective in helping to restore America to its former glory.

Donald Trump will not save America; but George Washington could.

Source: America Has Totally Forgotten History

Representative Jim Jordan Confronts Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein During House Judiciary Committee Hearing… — The Last Refuge

Representative Jim Jordan and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein get into a heated exchange surrounding the ongoing efforts of the DOJ and FBI to conceal the content of documents and evidence from congressional oversight.

via Representative Jim Jordan Confronts Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein During House Judiciary Committee Hearing… — The Last Refuge

JUNE 28 THE SPIRITUAL ESSENCE

By the…renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ.

Titus 3:5–6

We who are the disciples of Jesus Christ often need to be reminded that God is allowing us to live on two planes at the same time.

He lets us live in this religious plane where there are preachers and song-leaders and choirs, teachers and evangelists—and that is religion. It is actually “religion in overalls”—it is the external part of religion and it has its own place in God’s work and plan.

But beyond that and superior to all of the externals in our religious experience is the spiritual essence of it all! It is that spiritual essence that I want to see enthroned in our communion and fellowship in the Church of Jesus Christ!

We need the caution that much theology, much Bible teaching and many Bible conferences begin and end in themselves. They circle fully around themselves—but when everyone goes home, no one is any better than he was before. We sorely need this caution about holding truth that begins and ends in itself. The danger is that we teach and live so that truth is given no opportunity of moral expression!

Dear Lord, I pray today for Your blessing upon all national pastors and Bible study leaders abroad. Bestow upon their hearts and minds a true understanding of Your Word so that many listeners will mature in their faith.[1]


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

Are You a Mary or a Martha?

I don’t know why this segment of scripture has been on my mind so much lately, but earlier this week, I read a little deeper into the verses in Luke (Chapter 10, verses 38-42), and I’ve been thinking about myself and my constant doing, being “busy.” I have also been thinking about my “presentness” in certain situations. Am I truly being present, or am I just going through the motions because what I am doing is on my continuously growing list of things to do?
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Reading and studying these verses, there are a few things that are important to remember.
1. Jesus did not stop Martha from completing her responsibilities. Jesus knew very well that the things Martha was doing were necessary and important. However, he also knew that because she was wrongly emphasizing her necessary labor that her inner communion with Him was suffering.
2. He didn’t admonish her, but spoke to her in a loving way, that he had only done with a few others. When Jesus said, “Martha, Martha…” it was disapproving, but in a loving and affectionate way. As a matter of fact, Martha is the only woman in the bible who receives this type of reproof from Jesus. In Luke 22:31, Jesus did this to Simon, in Acts 9:4, he did this to Saul and in Genesis 22:11 he does this to Abraham. In the repetition of their names, I think Jesus was expressing his earnestness to them in what words were coming afterward.
When Jesus says “she is worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one.” it is important to see that He is rightly giving a cure for worry and busyness: Himself. Which is absolutely ironic considering that while we are rushing around busy and completing our lists frantically, oftentimes stressed, that the only thing that can take that mentality away is sitting at our Lord’s feet and being fed spiritually. While worry can make a busy woman feel like the many things in her planner are priorities, putting Jesus first can alleviate this way of feeling!
So, are you a Mary or a Martha?
xoxo
Marlena

(originally published HERE)

Source: Are You a Mary or a Martha?

[VIDEO] Trey Gowdy: “We’ve Seen the Bias, Now We Need to See the Evidence”

During Thursday morning’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Trey Gowdy used his time with the two witnesses, FBI Director Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to run through a list of FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s anti-Trump actions and comments and blast the FBI for what he believes is foot-dragging by the agency.

“It’s important to know what Russia did to our country in 2016. When a foreign state interferes in our democratic electoral process, it should be the chance of a lifetime for a law enforcement agent to investigate that, except, apparently, the one that was actually picked to investigate it. That was FBI Agent Peter Strzok.

Gowdy also noted that at the same time Strzok was supposed to be investigating any attempts by Russia to interfere with the 2016 election or collude with either presidential campaign:

  • Strzok called Trump a “disaster” and “destabilizing for the country.”
  • In response to his girlfriend’s comment that Strzok was “meant to protect the country,” Strzok told his girlfriend, “I can protect the country at many levels.”
  • Strzok was talking about an “insurance policy” with Andy McCabe and Lisa Page in the event Donald Trump became president.
  • Strzok said he could smell the Trump support in southern Virginia.
  • Said a Trump presidency would be “effing terrifying,” and that “It will never happen. No, no, we’ll stop it.”

Gowdy alleged that the Russia investigation was only important to the FBI agents involved to the extent that they could use it against Donald Trump.

“So while investigating Russia and their attempt to subvert our democracy may have been important to the rest of the country, it wasn’t all that important to about a half a dozen FBI agents and lawyers who were assigned to the case. For them, it was an investigation to stop Donald Trump.”

Noting that the investigation has been going on for almost two years and that Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation has been going on for more than a year, Gowdy passionately admonished the FBI to finish their investigation.

Gowdy’s closing remarks were blunt, passionate, and, unfortunately, necessary.

“I’m going to say this to you, Mr. Wray, Mr. Rosentein. I realize that neither of you were there when this happened, but you’re there now.

If Russia attacked this country, they should be the target. Russia isn’t being hurt by this investigation right now. We are. This country is being hurt by it. We are being divided. We’ve seen the bias. We’ve seen the bias. We need to see the evidence. If you have evidence of wrongdoing by any member of the Trump campaign, present it to the damn grand jury. If you have evidence that this president acted inappropriately, present it to the American people.

There’s an old saying that justice delayed is justice denied. I think right now all of us are being denied. Whatever you’ve got, finish it the hell up, because this country is being torn apart.

He is absolutely correct.

Source: [VIDEO] Trey Gowdy: “We’ve Seen the Bias, Now We Need to See the Evidence”