Daily Archives: July 12, 2018

July 12: Eternal Hope

1 Samuel 20:1–21:15; 1 Peter 1:1–12; Psalm 121:1–122:9We don’t often realize where we put our hope. We can seek sustenance, energy, or relief in the most transient, innocuous things—from our morning coffee to a vacation we’ve been anticipating for months. These things are not bad in themselves, but if they constantly serve as minor fixes in our daily lives, they can shift our focus. We can end up trading God’s help for caffeine and a few days in the sun.The trouble arises when we fail to see the complexity in our motives. The psalmist helps us look beyond what seems comforting and shielding: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains; whence will my help come? My help is from Yahweh, maker of heaven and earth” (Psa 121:1). The psalmist uses the hills and mountains to point us beyond what we can see to the true source of help and protection. These stationary shields seem to offer protection, but God is the true source of help and refuge in our often chaotic circumstances. He is constantly present—“your shade at your right hand” (Psa 121:5).In his letter to the churches in Asia Minor, Peter addresses the “various trials” the early church faced (1 Pet 1:6). He encourages the church members to endure trials and persecution, telling them they are “protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet 1:5). In the midst of trial, their faith in the resurrected Christ gave them the ultimate security and strength (1 Pet 1:4). They had hope through suffering.We think of trials on a grand scale—sickness and persecution. But we need to meet even daily trials with this same eternal hope. We need to constantly find relief, energy, and hope in God.Where do you seek relief, energy, and hope?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.

July 12 Loving Christ

“This precious value, then, is for you who believe” (1 Peter 2:7).✧✧✧Love for Christ is the primary characteristic of a true believer.First Peter 2:7 speaks of the believer’s affection for Christ as contrasted to an unbeliever’s rejection of Him. The first part of that verse could be translated, “To you who believe, He is precious.” “Precious” means “valuable,” “costly,” “without equal,” or “irreplaceable.” Christ is all that, but only believers recognize His supreme value and regard Him with affection.Affection for Christ is the bottom-line characteristic of true believers. Believing in Him and loving Him are inseparable. In John 16:27 Jesus says, “The Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed.” In Matthew 10:37 He says, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Believers have a compelling and surpassing love for Christ.To His antagonists Jesus declared, “If God were your Father, you would love Me” (John 8:42). Anyone who truly loves God will love Christ. Those antagonists claimed to be children of God, but their deception was revealed when they tried to kill Jesus for preaching God’s truth. They were in fact children of the Devil (v. 44).In John 14 Jesus adds, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. … He who has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (vv. 15, 21, 23–24).Many people are confused about what it means to be a Christian. But you have the privilege of clarifying the issue as you esteem Christ highly, love Him deeply, and demonstrate your love by obeying His Word. May God bless you richly as you pursue that goal today.✧✧✧Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to give you opportunities to demonstrate Christ’s love in specific ways to those around you.For Further Study: Read 1 John 4:7–5:3. ✧ How did John characterize God? ✧ What effect should your love for God have on your relationships with others? ✧ How did John define love?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 206). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The State of the Bible 2018: Most Americans Want to Read the Bible — Bible Gateway Blog

More Americans are expressing interest in increasing their interaction with the Bible, according to the annual State of the Bible 2018 research—commissioned by American Bible Society (@americanbible) and conducted by Barna Group (@barnagroup).

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The State of the Bible 2018: Five Types of Bible Readers]

State of the Bible 2018

The report reveals a majority of Americans, 57%, declare they wish they used the Bible more than they currently do. While 89% of those who are considered Bible Engaged desire to increase their Bible use, 70% of those considered Bible Neutral are also interested in greater time with the Bible.

[Select a Bible Reading Plan that’s right for you from Bible Gateway]

The findings of Americans’ growing desire for more of the Bible are among a number of Bible statistics recently released about Americans’ beliefs and behaviors.

  • 48% of Americans are considered Bible users—meaning they watch, listen, pray, or use Bible content or text in any form outside of a church service three to four times a year
  • 35% use the Bible every week
  • 62% report reading the Bible because it brings them closer to God
  • 25% have read the Bible in its entirety
  • 66% express some curiosity to know more about the Bible including 29% who express a strong desire

State of the Bible 2018

  • 63% say they’re interested in knowing about who Jesus is; 31%are strongly interested.
  • 65% say their level of Bible use is the same as it was a year ago.
  • 58% say the Bible has impacted the way they live their lives
  • 85% believe the Bible has resulted in their willingness to engage in their faith more and show more loving behavior toward others (84%)
  • 71% say they’re more generous with their time, energy, or financial resources
  • After reading the Bible in the past week, 97% of adults say they gave some or a lot of thought to how it might apply to their lives.
  • Respondents say the Bible encourages: Generosity (81%), Patience (81%), and Serving the poor (78%).

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Latest Bible-Related Research]

An overwhelming majority (82%) of Americans own a Bible in their household. When asked which version of the Bible Americans prefer, the King James Version (KJV) still tops the list at 33%. But, there is growing interest in the New International Version (NIV) as 14%prefer it—up from 10% in 2011. Preference toward the King James Version dropped seven percentage points since 2016 and 12% since 2011.

via The State of the Bible 2018: Most Americans Want to Read the Bible — Bible Gateway Blog

10 Quick Yes/No Questions to Ask Corrupt FBI Hack Peter Strzok — The Gateway Pundit

Corrupt FBI Agent Peter Strzok is under oath today at a Congressional Hearing televised on national TV. He so far has not given up much information so we have offered our own list of questions.

Here is a list of yes/no questions that Congress should ask Strzok –

1. Is it a crime for an individual to destroy evidence requested by a US court or Congress?
2. Is it a crime to destroy servers by using bleach bit? To destroy emails? To not comply with court or Congressional requests to provide evidence?
3. Are you aware of any spies in the Trump campaign before July 31, 2016?(text messages suggest this indeed was the case)
4. Did you and Lisa Page have an extramarital affair involving sexual relations at any time?
5. Are you aware of anyone in the FBI or DOJ recommending harming President Trump at any time during his campaign physically or politically?
6. Was Jeff Sessions involve in spying on the Trump campaign at any time or was he used in any way at any time by the FBI to gather information?
7. Were you or anyone you are aware of involved in the transfer of US uranium to Russia in the Uranium One scandal and are any of these individuals involved in the Trump – Russia investigations, including the Mueller investigation?
8. Did you sign off on the review of the more than 300,000 emails found on Weiner’s laptop in less than a week of review?
9. id you see any evidence of crimes against children in these emails? (IG report notes that there were such emails found)
10. Did you do anything with the emails with crimes against children such as refer these emails for further investigation or review? If not, why not?

Drain the Swamp!

via 10 Quick Yes/No Questions to Ask Corrupt FBI Hack Peter Strzok — The Gateway Pundit

JULY 12 WE ARE TOO COMFORTABLE

And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.Hebrews 11:35 Is the fact that millions of Americans refuse to attend our church services only another symptom of original sin and love of moral darkness?No, I believe that explanation is too “pat” to be wholly true.Churches cannot deny they are too comfortable, too rich, too contented! We hold the faith of our fathers, but it does not hold us. God is trying to interest us in a glorious tomorrow, and we are settling for an inglorious today. God has set eternity in our hearts; and we have chosen time instead. We are bogged down in local interests and have lost sight of eternal purposes.It was the knowledge that they were part of God’s eternal plan that imparted unquenchable enthusiasm to the early Christians. They burned with holy zeal for Christ and felt they were part of an army which the Lord was leading to ultimate conquest over all the powers of darkness! Lord, there are many Christians in foreign lands who are persecuted for their faith. Some are ostracized from family and friends; some are beaten and left to die. Be especially near to these dear people today, I pray.[1]


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

Stop “Empowering” Women and Start Equipping them to Biblically Lead — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

This is a guest post by Pastor Tom Buck. Tom Buck is Senior Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas. He holds a BA in Pastoral Ministries and New Testament Greek from the Moody Bible Institute, a ThM in Bible Exposition from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is presently completing his doctoral work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Tom previously served for 12 years as the Senior Pastor of Riverside Baptist Fellowship in Florida. He has been at First Baptist Church since 2006.


 

The Ongoing Push to Empower Women

Last month, I drew attention to the redefining of complementarity occurring in the SBC (https://bit.ly/2Jkn386). Various leaders were using similar language calling for “the tearing down of all hierarchy” and “empowerment” of women in the SBC. This rhetoric began to translate into action as the election of a woman as the “first trustee chairwoman” at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary was celebrated, followed by the proposal for a woman to serve as president of the SBC.

Some pushed back against this movement with Scriptural responses. For example, I wrote several articles carefully exegeting 1 Timothy 2:12-15 in order to offer a biblical argumentation for the complementarian roles of men and women. With that Scriptural foundation, I argued that a denomination comprised of local churches should not desire a model of teaching and leadership different from God’s design for those same individual churches.

Proponents of empowering a woman as SBC president have given arguments such as the Baptist Faith and Message only prohibits a woman from serving as a pastor; the office of president is not the biblical office of pastor; and the job description for president does not prohibit a woman from serving. What they have yet to advance is an argument for the roles of men and women that proceeds from a careful analysis of Scripture. Rather than interacting with any biblical arguments offered, one writer simply concluded, “in short, there’s no reason a woman cannot be SBC president.”

The impetus behind this recent movement is critical to understand. This conversation did not arise in a vacuum but surfaced in light of the sad revelation of mistreatment of some women in the SBC. To be clear, there is no justification for the abuse of women and it is right to take a strong stand against all its forms. In addition, when such abuses come to light, we should look to Scripture to guide both our reaction to them and the solution for how to rightly move forward. However, emotional pragmatic answers have been controlling the conversation instead of ideas rooted in Scripture.

For example, in a panel discussion at SBC 2018, solutions were discussed for how to respond to the accusations of mistreatment and marginalization of women in the SBC. Repeatedly, the call to empower women and give them roles of leadership were echoed. One panelist commented that when situations arise where women have been mistreated in the church, the wisest answer is to empower women in leadership to bring about a peaceful solution. At face value, that answer might appear completely logical, but it is absolutely unbiblical.

The NT Model of Leadership

In Acts 6, the church encounters its first crisis that created a division in the church. Luke writes, “a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution” (6:1). The text does not ascribe the motives behind the marginalization of one group of widows over the other as deliberately sinful. Nevertheless, the unequal distribution among these women was serious and needed to be confronted.

This matter was of such importance that the apostles summoned the entire church to address the problem (6:2). Although it was necessary for the apostles to not be distracted from leading the church in the preaching of the Word, the needs of the widows must not be overlooked. Therefore, the apostles called upon the church to choose individuals from among the body to lead in this important task to assure that these women were cared for and no longer marginalized.

The first recorded problem in the church directly involved the mistreatment of women. The apostles identified the need for individuals to lead in the task of bringing about a peaceful resolution that would result in godly care for these women. If there is any task that it would seem appropriate to place women in positions of authority, surely this would be a perfect case. Yet, the apostles directed the church to “pick out from among you seven men” (6:3).

Considering the arguments being made about empowering women, it should be striking that the apostles did not recommend for even one woman to be enlisted in the oversight of this ministry to the widows. It cannot be that the apostles lacked wisdom, failed to be sensitive, or merely acquiesced to the cultural norms of the day. When the apostles saw the need for oversight of this critical ministry in the church, they set a clear example of God’s design for authoritative leadership to be men.

The argument I am making is not that no women could have assisted these men chosen to lead. If they were wise leaders, they would have sought women to assist them in this task. However, the empowerment to lead in resolving this ministry crisis was given exclusively to men. Apparently, male authority in the church is not exclusively restricted to the teaching role of a pastor as some suggest.

It seems unreasonable to believe that the apostles did not deem it appropriate to enlist women to exercise authority in resolving the crisis of the widows, but the SBC should elect a woman as SBC president to address its problems. Perhaps the reason that individuals have not given biblical examples for their argument to “empower” women in the church is because none exist. The apostles were all men; the planting of churches was led by men; the writing of the New Testament was the work of men; and leadership in the churches was given to men.

That said, my ultimate point is not that women should have no leadership in the church. They most certainly should. In fact, I contend that this push to empower women in unbiblical ways will only serve to minimalize and discourage women from valuing the very leadership God has called upon them to exercise.

We Desperately Need Women to Biblically Lead

One of the dangers of responding to issues of this nature is appearing unbalanced. While trying to defend against the onslaught of those promoting unbiblical roles for women, it is easy to get entangled in only addressing what women cannot do. The reality is that women are a wonderful gift from God and their leadership is needed both in the home and the church.

My experience as a pastor is that we need more women, not less, leading as God calls for in Titus 2:3-5: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior… and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” In other words, God calls women in the church to lead other women in fulfilling the vital role that he has given them. Only in Scripture can God’s intended design for women be found.

Paul respected women and worked side by side with them in the work of the gospel (Rom 16). However, the only ministry in which he called upon them to lead was the discipling of children and other women. Mothers in the home should take great joy in the privilege to raise their children in godliness. Women in the church should devote themselves to the crucial role of discipling other women. Women have the unique privilege and responsibility of leading in these significant ways. It is sad and tragic that so many women feel unfulfilled in the beautiful design for which God created them. It is an even greater tragedy when the church cultivates that emotion.

Rather than enticing women with empowerment and cultivating a dissatisfaction towards their God given design, the SBC should call upon churches to equip women to serve in their Titus 2 role. I believe in the radical equality of men and women as image bearers of God. I also know that women have suffered greatly in this world at the hands of sexism. But it is the sin in this world that truly oppresses women, not the role God designed for them or the biblical authority structure of the church. Ever since Satan deceived Eve in the garden, the world has been selling “liberation” for the price of rebelling against God’s design. We should not allow them to set up shop in our individual churches or in the SBC.

Therefore, we should stop “empowering” women and start discipling them to follow Scripture.

via Stop “Empowering” Women and Start Equipping them to Biblically Lead — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

The Gender Agenda — Evangelical Magazine

Thinking Christianly about the trans revolution

Brave new world

Ten years ago, I took my finals at theological college. One of my exams was in biblical ethics, in which I was asked to reflect biblically on the topic of cross-dressing. It seemed like one of those ‘other-worldly’ ethical problems that theological students love to obsess over, but which have very little relevance to modern life.

Five years ago, while serving as an associate pastor, I received a letter from one of our students. Ellen was a regular at church, she served in the music group, and was plugged into the Christian Union (CU). She was writing to tell me that she experienced gender dysphoria, a term I’d never previously heard, which meant feelings of great discomfort with her biological sex. Ellen’s friends within the CU knew about this and had agreed to refer to Ellen as ‘they’ (the issue of pronouns being one of the biggest challenges pastorally). Would there still be welcome at our church if Ellen started living as a man?

Today, the issue of gender identity is everywhere. ‘Call me Caitlyn’ was the cover story on Vanity Fair magazine in July 2015, unveiling the coming out of former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner as Caitlyn Jenner, to rapturous public applause. This side of the pond, boxing promoter Frank Maloney transitioned to Kellie Maloney, BBC Radio Manchester DJ Simon Hirst became Stephanie Hirst, and the transgender tsunami shows little sign of slowing up. The BBC News website seems to profile a different transgender story most weeks.

Yet for all the media frenzy and political freight that lies behind the trans revolution, this is a deeply personal issue too. In my church in Cardiff, I know of at least four different church family members who have an uncle, a sibling, a child and a parent respectively who have undergone gender reassignment therapy. The days of abstract, hypothetical discussion are long gone. This is real for people in our churches, for family members and friends.

Getting under the skin (or how we got to where we are today)

We might be surprised at the scale and pace of the trans revolution before our eyes. We shouldn’t be. If only we’d had the eyes to see, we could have spotted it coming a mile off. Our cultural moment is the middle of perfect storm consisting of at least four cultural winds that conspire together.

Individualism (‘I’m free to do it’)

The Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century saw the great overthrowing of authority (particularly in the church), and the exalting of the self as the primary arbiter of truth and morality. Roll on the clock 150 years, and very quickly mantras like ‘you’re free to be who you want to be (as long as it’s between consenting adults)’ start becoming the norm.

Alienation (‘I need to do it’)

In every culture, there have been disenfranchised young people who feel dislocated and out of place with regards to the mainstream. Youth in the 1950s would have become beatniks, in the 1960s they’d join the hippy movement with mind-expanding drugs, whereas today they’re being encouraged to believe they were born in the wrong sex. Throw in growing family breakdown and the sense of existential homelessness has only increased.

Technology (‘I’m able to do it’)

Hormone therapy and advanced surgical intervention have brought the ability to transition to the mainstream. With gender reassignment therapy available on the NHS, ‘I can literally be the person I am inside.’

Education (‘Everyone else is doing it’)

Education and social media have increasingly normalised the abnormal. With ‘gender unicorns’ appearing in most primary schools, you’d be forgiven for thinking that every class had kids with gender dysphoria (whereas in reality studies have shown less than 0.1% of the population with the condition. There are around 30 times as many evangelicals.)

Taken in isolation, each cultural wind would cause more than a ripple. Combined, very quickly we feel lost at sea. Where do we turn?

False starts to avoid (or how not to respond)

We’re going to begin by considering ways not to respond.

Ignorance

That’s the classic Christian response to the big social issues of our day: totally ignore them and bury our heads in the sand. Evangelicals have been notoriously poor at thinking about such issues, and the secular liberals have stolen a march on us. But the revolution’s tidal wave is coming. Are you ready? Is your church ready?

Acquiescence

Another false start to avoid is to just go with the flow. This might seem an unlikely option for some, but I’d suggest the younger you are, the greater this temptation will be. Hands up who enjoys being politically incorrect? If school and college and TV and friends all agree that someone born in the wrong body should be able to live as the opposite sex, who are we to stop them? And yet being ‘in the world’ doesn’t mean we’re to be ‘of the world’. God’s word needs to have the final say for us, and it’s the only hope for an aching world.

Mockery

It’s possible to be so weirded out by things we read or see on TV, that in the absence of any other sensible response, the only thing we can do is laugh. Yet people suffering with gender dysphoria are dear people, made in the image of God, who need his compassion and hope in their lives. This isn’t a joke.

Outrage

Or provocatively, the ‘Daily Mail’ approach. ‘What’s happened to this country? How dare they do this to us?’ It’s an understandable response, given how far and how fast we’ve travelled. But it’s striking to reflect on gay right’s campaigner, Peter Tatchell’s reply to a group of church leaders who asked how the LGBT lobby had won the cultural battle. ‘Lots of cups of tea,’ was his reply. Less placard waving, more polite, persuasive conversation with the opinion makers of the day. Evangelicals could learn a thing or two.

Panic

‘The world is about to change forever! Help!’ Things might be tougher for the next season of church life in our culture. But Jesus is still Lord. He saw the swinging sixties coming, and he let them happen. He saw the twenty-first century arrive with all the complexities and challenges we face but he still reigns, and we worship him. We can be confident he will lead us through these choppy waters. Besides, the Christian calling has always been to live wisely as an exile in a foreign land. Perhaps the time has come that we finally feel like one.

How to respond

So how should we respond? We need to put our thinking caps on and pull out our Bibles. Unlike some moral dilemmas where one or two dominant Bible verses seem to give us most of an answer, the complexities surrounding transgender issues demand a ‘whole Bible’ response. We need to trace a path through the well-trodden biblical-theological markers of creation, fall, redemption and restoration, to help us construct an appropriately biblical response to all things trans.

Creation: the perfect original

From the beginning, God’s word affirms that sex and gender are created, given and preserved by God. We were made perfectly in his image (Gen. 1:26-28). This is not just an interesting point of ancient history. While discussing divorce and remarriage with the disciples, Jesus took the teaching of Genesis 1 and 2 as the authoritative, final word of God on the topic.

Our God is one God in three different persons, each person equally and fully God. So we shouldn’t be surprised to find plurality in God’s design. He creates a complementarian humanity, which likewise exhibits unity and diversity, equality and difference (cf. 1 Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:22-33).

And God’s concern for his creation isn’t merely ‘spiritual’. Matter matters because God made it. It all belongs to him: ‘You are not your own; you were bought a price. Therefore, honour God with your bodies’ (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Fall: the disordered breakdown

Human rebellion against God has led to the marring of God’s image and the shattering of relationships—both vertical and horizontal—for us all (Gen. 3:12-19). In twenty-first century language, we all now have distorted identities. The impulse to define ourselves and our identities apart from God is as old as Babel (Gen. 11:4).

In a fallen world, such disordered-ness affects every part of us. Our bodies are fallen (Jesus’ language of ‘eunuchs by birth’ in Matt. 19:12 recognises the reality of rare anatomical divergences from genital norms), as are our minds (Col. 1:21) and our hearts (Rom. 1:21). We might illustrate this as follows:

Scripture teaches us that in matters of gender, we are not free to define or express ourselves however we like. Our outward displays of gender (albeit no doubt culturally shaped) are not irrelevant to God (‘A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.’ Deut. 22:5, cf. 1 Cor. 11:13-15).

Redemption: the transformed identity

The gospel of Jesus Christ transcends gender (Gal. 3:28) for we are all one in him. Only in Jesus are we free to be the people we were created to be (John 8:36). We can now know that our identity is guaranteed—whether we’re male or female. Our identity is ‘in Christ’, which means to be blessed unimaginably (Eph. 1:3-14)! Whatever our past, anyone who is in Christ is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and party to his glorious transforming work, from the inside out (Rom. 12:1-2).

Let’s pause for a moment to apply what we’re seeing. While our culture tells us we’re to change reality (our outer life, which is seen as plastic and thus malleable) to align with how we feel (our inner life, which is seen as inviolable and immune to change), the gospel works the other way around. So, for example, a gender dysphoric man thinks, ‘Inside I am a woman.’ In their heart, they long to be their inner (female) gender. And so they commence gender reassignment therapy. But in another scenario, we might consider someone with an eating disorder. In their head, they think, ‘I am fat’ (despite the physical evidence to the contrary). In their heart, they long to be thin. And so, they make themselves thin through starvation. In this second scenario, we feel no qualms about seeking intervention, and psychological help, which gets to work on the inner life. But increasingly with gender dysphoria, the inner life is considered sacrosanct. And yet in these, and indeed in every scenario, the gospel of Jesus first gets to work on our hearts (i.e. our inner life).

The fact is, Christian discipleship has always meant ‘denying self, taking up our cross and following Jesus’ (Mark 8:34), but the challenges will lie in different places for each one of us. Christian living today does often feel like a fight, as so often ‘we do not do what we want’ (Gal. 5:17).

Restoration: the renewed masterpiece

But on one glorious day, all our crying and pain and heartache will be over. Our minds and hearts and bodies will be in perfect alignment as we worship the lamb who was slain for us (Rev. 21:4, 5:6). Jesus taught there’ll be no more marriage in heaven (Matt. 22:30), but it will be a paradise beyond our wildest dreams, with the Lord Jesus at the centre. Any and every sacrifice we’ve made for our saviour will prove totally worth it.

Breaking the ice: A call for wisdom

So, with our biblical survey complete, how do begin to piece together a Christian response to the trans revolution? As we conclude, I’m going to suggest four quick-fire principles that we’d do well to have in our minds.

  1. Whoever we’re talking to, or about, we’re to do so in love (1 John 4:19). Broken and confused people need to know that we care before they care what we know. Jesus was the friend of sinners, and so should we be (Matt. 9:11). How many trans people do you know?
  2. The Lord expects us to treat (professing) believers differently from how we treat unbelievers (1 Cor. 5:9-13). This is a vital principle which we don’t have the space to unpack. But suffice to say, Paul envisages the bar of expectation to be higher for those who call themselves Christians than not (cue church discipline for when things go wrong). Paul didn’t at all envisage our keeping an arm’s length from unbelievers in our holy huddles: we’re not to hide our lamp under a bushel.
  3. Arguably the most perplexing issue of all is knowing what pronouns to use in reference to our transgendered friends. On the one hand, using an individual’s preferred (i.e. new) gendered pronouns may feel like we’re compromising our convictions; on the other hand, refusing to use their preferred pronouns will be seen by many as our outright rejection of them. We’re called to be people of both grace and Different people land in different places here, but I tentatively wonder whether there might be scenarios when, having already made our position clear, that for the sake of that current relationship and conversation we might use someone’s preferred pronouns. In other words, it’s hard to build a bridge for the gospel when you’re simultaneously pulling it down (in the eyes of the person you’re talking with). The analogy of ‘gay marriage’ might be relevant here. We might deny the very concept of same-sex marriage, but does that mean that every time the topic comes up in conversation we feel obliged to refer to it as ‘so-called gay marriage’ or ‘quote unquote gay marriage’? Probably not, even though we disagree with the premise from the outset.
  4. Top priority is going to be helping our children and young people (and their parents and our youth workers). If you’re over forty and reading this, you’re a trans revolution immigrant; our children are natives. With Gender Unicorn or Genderbread Man posters increasingly cropping up in primary schools, you’re going to want to put that conversation with the kids in the diary soon. You might even want to ask some bigger questions about education more widely, regarding how to equip our young people to engage intellectually and apologetically with the torrent of post-Christian morality.

via The Gender Agenda — Evangelical Magazine

Papa John’s Pizza CEO Forced To Step After Saying The N-Word While Rap Music Companies Make Millions Using It — Now The End Begins

To have a ludicrous double standard by which people of one color lose millions for saying it, and people of another color make millions for saying it, is something that should be offensive to people of all colors whose brains are in reasonable working order

Let me just say for the record that I have never had Papa John’s Pizza, and it’s doubtful I ever will. This article is not a defense of John Schnatter’s use of the n-word which has recently come to light. No, this article is about the unequal way that differing groups of people who use the ‘n-word’ are judged, punished, or rewarded for its use.

“A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” Proverbs 11:1 (KJV)

FROM CBS NEWS: Papa John’s Pizza’s founder John Schnatter may have resigned as chairman of the restaurant chain’s board of directors following news that he used a racial slur in a conference call, but he still owns a substantial stake in the company. Schnatter resigned as chairman on Wednesday amid a growing uproar about his comments. Papa John’s shares, which fell nearly 5 percent on Wednesday, were up 12 percent on Thursday. Schnatter acknowledged using a racial slur during a May conference call and apologized following a media report that also said the pizza chain founder had graphically described violence against minorities. “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media-training session regarding race are true,” Schnatter said in a statement released Wednesday by the company. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society,” Schnatter’s statement said. READ MORE

I was at the pool in our development yesterday, and three young kids were playing music over Echo from their smartphones. They were playing some rap song that I should recognize but didn’t, and every other word was ‘n-word’ this, ‘b-that’, and all the way down the line. In short, it was disgusting and highly aggravating. They saw me giving them the eye, and just as I was about to go over there and say something, they changed the song. Smart kids.

And just in case you were wondering, no, they were not black or ‘people of color’. They were 3 white kids ranging in age from 17 to about 25. They were playing the racist and misogynist songs of their black rap artist ‘heros’.

But as I pondered on the racist and misogynist lyrics found in your average rap song, or c-rap as I like to say, it got me thinking on the vast inequity over the use of the ‘n-word’ in our society.

CNN Loves Using the N-Word…

For example, a white CEO like John Schnatter gets fired for using it, but a black music CEO and OTO satanist like Jay-Z is allowed to make millions from using it. Black recording artists are allowed to use it in their songs which white people buy that make them rich. But if those same white people dare to sing out loud those same lyrics containing the ‘n-word’, they are attacked and persecuted as racists. It’s enough to make your head spin perpetually.

FROM FOX NEWS: Some sorority sisters at the University of New Hampshire are being investigated after a video showing them singing along to a Kanye West song containing the N-word was posted on social media. The Snapchat video shows the members of Alpha Phi Sorority dancing at a party and singing the N-word as part of the lyrics to the song. It prompted other students to condemn the sorority’s “ignorant and insensitive” behavior. “A member of Alpha Phi Sorority put up this video of girls singing along to ‘Gold Digger’ by Kanye West on her Instagram story,” the post reads. “The girls sing the N-word without thinking of the implications.” READ MORE

What was the unforgivable crime of the two college girls? They simply sang along with these words. Umm, aren’t you supposed to sing along with your favorite songs? Hmm…

“Now, I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger
(When I’m in need) But she ain’t messin’ with no broke niggas
(She give me money) Now, I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger
(When I’m in need) But she ain’t messin’ with no broke niggas” Kayne West

What a perfect topic it would have been for Arsenio Hall Show, back in the 1990’s, to do in their “Things That Make You Go Hmm” segment, right? What utter insanity, right? But I digress.

Umm..No..CNN Hates Using the N-Word

What it all comes down to is this. Either the ‘n-word’, the word ‘nigger‘, is either a good word or a bad word. Case closed. Either we can use it in polite society or we cannot. Case closed again. But to have a ludicrous double standard by which people of one color lose millions for saying it, and people of another color make millions for saying it, is something that should be offensive to people of all colors whose brains are in reasonable working order.

Don Lemon on fake news CNN has carte blanche to use the ‘n-word’ all he likes, but have a white guest on that uses the same word in a quoted comment? OUTRAGE!!!! GET OFF MY SHOW!!!! **CUE THE LIBERAL TEARS**

I do not use the ‘n-word’ in either my public or private conversations. I find it mean-spirited and derogatory. I feel the same about other words like ‘kike’, ‘wop’ and ‘cracker’. But this idea that black people are allowed to use it, and even profit from using it, while at the same time decrying racism in America, is stupidity of the highest order.

Let’s let the Bible have the last word.

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (KJV)

via Papa John’s Pizza CEO Forced To Step After Saying The N-Word While Rap Music Companies Make Millions Using It — Now The End Begins

July 12, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Zacharias’s Song of Salvation—Part 1: The Davidic Covenant

(Luke 1:67–71)And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant—as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; (1:67–71)One expression of the joy that marks the redeemed (cf. Neh. 8:10; Ps. 16:11; Rom. 14:17; Gal. 5:22; 1 Peter 1:8) is “singing and making melody with [the] heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19; cf. Col. 3:16). That theme that runs throughout Scripture. Psalm 5:11 declares, “Let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy”; in Psalm 13:6, the psalmist exults, “I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me”; Psalm 30:4 exhorts, “Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones”; and Psalm 92:1 affirms that “it is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High” (cf. v. 4; 7:17; 9:2, 11; 18:49; 27:6; 28:7; 33:1–3; 40:3; 47:6–7; 57:7; 59:16–17; 61:8; 63:7; 66:2; 68:4; 69:30; 71:22–23; 75:9; 81:1; 84:2; 89:1; 90:14; 95:1; 96:1–2; 98:1; 104:33; 105:2; 108:1, 3; 119:54, 72; 132:9, 16; 135:3; 138:1; 144:9; 146:2; 147:1, 7; 149:1, 3, 5; Ex. 15:1, 21; Judg. 5:3; 2 Sam. 22:50; 1 Kings 4:32; 1 Chron. 16:9, 23; Ezra 3:11; Isa. 12:2, 5; 42:10; Jer. 20:13; Zech. 2:10; Rev. 5:9; 14:3; 15:3–4).In addition to those exhortations to sing praise, the Bible records numerous songs of praise to God. After God miraculously delivered them from the pursuing Egyptians by drowning Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea, Moses and the Israelites sang a song celebrating that deliverance (Ex. 15:1–21). Deborah and Barak also sang of God’s deliverance of His people, this time from the Canaanite forces led by Sisera (Judg. 5:1–31). At the dedication of the templeall the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. (2 Chron. 5:12–14)Hannah sang a song of praise to the Lord for delivering her from the stigma of barrenness (1 Sam. 2:1–10). The book of Psalms, Israel’s hymn book, is filled with songs celebrating the delivering, saving, redeeming acts of God toward His people. The book of Revelation records songs of praise sung in heaven (5:9–10; 15:3–4).In the first two chapters of his gospel, Luke records five tributes of praise: those of Elizabeth (1:41–45), Mary (1:46–55), Zacharias (1:67–79), the angels who announced Christ’s birth (2:13–14), and Simeon (2:25–32). And though her words were not recorded the devout “prophetess, Anna” (2:36), who “never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers” (v. 37), gave “thanks to God [for the infant Jesus], and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (v. 38). We have no information as to whether they were ever sung, or intended to be sung, but they were clearly outbursts of praise.Verses 67–79 of chapter 1 comprise the third of those five anthems, that of Zacharias. Mary’s praise, the Magnificat, emphasized personal salvation; Zacharias’s praise, known as the Benedictus (from the first word in the Latin Vulgate), focuses on collective salvation. It is a tribute of praise to God for the salvation of sinners, and, therefore, omits any mention of divine judgment. As was fitting for a priest, who devoted his life to the study and teaching of the law, Zacharias’s praise, like Mary’s, was deeply rooted in the Old Testament. It focused especially on the three great covenants: the Davidic, Abrahamic, and New covenants, and thus is a major bridge from the Old Testament to the New. Zacharias’s words plainly reveal that Christianity is not a new religion, but rather the fulfillment of everything promised in the Old Testament through the power and work of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.Zacharias’s outburst of praise and worship was prompted by the astounding events that had just taken place. Briefly summarizing, about nine months earlier the angel Gabriel had appeared to Zacharias while he was ministering in the temple. Gabriel made the stunning announcement that Zacharias and Elizabeth, who were barren and well past childbearing age, would nevertheless have a child—and not just any child, but the forerunner of the Messiah. When Zacharias’s skeptical reply revealed his lack of faith, he became, at Gabriel’s word, deaf and unable to speak. But Elizabeth became pregnant, just as God had promised through Gabriel. Eight days after she gave birth to their son, Zacharias was asked what to name him. When he wrote emphatically, “His name is John” (Luke 1:63; cf. v. 13), “at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God” (v. 64). Zacharias’s Benedictus in verses 68–79 is an expression of that praise.But Zacharias’s song was not merely a reflection of his understandable joy at becoming a father when all hope seemed to have long vanished. It expressed the far more significant truth that the redemption God promised in the Old Testament was about to be accomplished. Zacharias’s son, John, would be the forerunner announcing the coming Messiah, through whom God would deliver Israel and fulfill His covenants. Those promises and covenants were, no doubt, part of his teaching through the years, so he was very familiar with the texts of the Old Testament that contain them. That fact becomes obvious as his praise unfolds. It is with three of those covenants that Zacharias’s reflections are chiefly concerned.There are six covenants in the Old Testament that are specifically referred to by that term. Three of them, the Noahic (Gen. 9:9–17), Mosaic (Ex. 19:5; 24:7–8; 34:27–28; Deut. 4:13), and the Priestly (Num. 25:10–13) covenants, are non-salvific; eternal, spiritual salvation is not in view in any of them. The other three covenants, the Davidic, Abrahamic, and New, do relate to salvation. The Davidic covenant is universal; it involves the eternal rule of Jesus Christ over all. The Abrahamic covenant is national; it designates God’s promised blessing of Israel. The New covenant is personal; it refers to God forgiving sin in the lives of individuals. Of course no one will enter into the full blessings of the Davidic and Abrahamic covenants apart from the salvation provided in the New covenant.It was important for Luke to include this anthem of praise at the outset of his gospel story since, as noted above, it inseparably links Christianity to the Old Testament salvation covenants. More specifically, the coming of Messiah’s forerunner, John the Baptist, announced the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise of redemption through the Messiah, Jesus Christ.Like his wife (1:41) and son (1:15) before him, Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit. The divine power of the Spirit of God came upon him so that he prophesied. The verb translated prophesied (prophēteuō) means, “to speak forth,” “to proclaim and expound God’s Word.” Zacharias was filled with and inspired by the Holy Spirit so that what he spoke was the very Word of God.Zacharias’s introductory phrase, “Blessed be the Lord God,” was a common way to introduce praise in the Old Testament (e.g., Gen. 9:26; 24:27; Ex. 18:10; Ruth 4:14; 1 Sam. 25:32, 39; 2 Sam. 18:28; 1 Kings 1:48; 8:15, 56; 1 Chron. 16:36; 29:10; Ezra 7:27; Pss. 28:6; 31:21; 41:13; 66:20; 68:19; 72:18–19; 89:52; 106:48; 113:2; 124:6; 135:21; Dan. 2:19–20; cf. Luke 2:28; Rom. 1:25; 2 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3).Zacharias rightly viewed God’s plan of redemption as the unfolding of His promises to Israel. The Lord reminded a Samaritan woman that “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22), while Paul wrote that to the “Israelites … [belong] the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, [and] whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever” (Rom. 9:4–5).Zacharias praised God first because He had visited His people. The concept of God visiting His people, whether for judgment (cf. Ex. 32:34; Job 35:15) or for blessing (cf. Ruth 1:6; 1 Sam. 2:21; Jer. 29:10) is a familiar Old Testament theme. Heaven had come down to earth; the supernatural had invaded the natural; God was working out His eternal plan.Specifically, Zacharias glorified God because He had accomplished redemption for His people (cf. 2:38; 24:21). Lutrōsis (redemption) and its related terms comprise one of the word groups used in the New Testament to express the rich theological truth of salvation. It refers to the payment of a price to release someone from bondage. (Another word group, agoradzō and its related terms, adds the idea of ownership, that God redeems sinners for Himself.) Redemption frees sinners from slavery to sin (John 8:34; Rom. 6:6, 17, 20), the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13; 4:5), the sinful ways of fallen men (1 Cor. 7:23), false religion (Gal. 4:3), and Satan, who wielded the power of death (Heb. 2:14–15) subject to God’s will (Job 2:6). The purchase price paid to redeem the elect was the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:24; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18–19).When Zacharias spoke these words, redemption had long been granted, but the covenant that secured it had not been ratified. His son, Messiah’s forerunner, was only eight days old. And the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, was not even born yet. But Zacharias was so certain that God would do what He had promised that he spoke of redemption as if it had already taken place. He knew that the birth of his son, John, signaled that God was about to visit His people and bring the provision that made salvation possible.The people of Israel fervently longed for Messiah to come and deliver them from their bondage to Rome, as God had delivered their ancestors from slavery in Egypt (cf. Ps. 106). They viewed their deliverance primarily in earthly, political terms, expecting Messiah to establish His earthly kingdom and fulfill the promised blessings to David and Abraham. They overlooked the reality that those blessings would not be fulfilled apart from the forgiveness of sin provided in the New covenant. Sadly, when John and Jesus preached the necessity of that personal salvation, the majority of the people rejected their message. Zacharias, of course, had no way of knowing that would happen, and rejoiced as he saw the day of redemption dawning.Zacharias described redemption as God’s raising up a horn of salvation. That picturesque Old Testament expression (cf. 1 Sam. 2:10; 2 Sam. 22:3; Pss. 18:2; 89:17, 24; 92:10; 112:9; 132:17; 148:14; Mic. 4:13) spoke of power to conquer and kill, like that of a large, horned beast. Here Zacharias used it to refer to the Messiah, picturing Him as a powerful animal, who would lower His horns, drive out His enemies, and deliver His people.This was the greatest moment in Israel’s history, the culmination of all redemptive hope and anticipation. And at the center of that monumental moment in the unfolding saga of redemption was a common, ordinary priest from a small, insignificant village. As befits a man steeped in the Old Testament, Zacharias’s anthem of praise considers first the Davidic covenant, revealing its background, promise, and fulfillment.The Background of the Davidic Covenantin the house of David His servant (1:69b)Zacharias knew that the Old Testament clearly taught that Messiah would be from the house of David. Through Jeremiah the prophet, God said, “ ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land’ ” (Jer. 23:5). In Jeremiah 33:15, He repeated that promise: “In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.” In addition, Isaiah 11:1 and 10 speak of Messiah as a descendant of David’s father, Jesse (cf. Rom. 15:12), while Psalm 132:17 refers to Messiah as “the horn of David” (“Mine anointed”; cf. Ps. 2:2).Zacharias would also have known that Jesus’ mother, Mary, was of the line of David. She had stayed with him and Elizabeth for three months and had undoubtedly told them of Gabriel’s promise to her: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (1:31–32). Since she was a descendant of David (see the discussion of 3:23–38 in chapter 21 of this volume), Mary passed the royal bloodline to Jesus.David, God’s servant (cf. 2 Sam. 3:18; 7:5, 8; 1 Kings 8:66; 11:13, 38; 14:8; Pss. 18:1; 36:1; 89:3; Jer. 33:21–22), the man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14), and the “sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23:1), was arguably Israel’s greatest king. The kingdom of Israel began under his predecessor, Saul, and declined under his successor, Solomon, splitting shortly after the latter’s death. It was the fervent hope and expectation of the Jewish people that Messiah would fulfill the Davidic covenant and restore the kingdom of Israel to its former glory.The Promise of the Davidic Covenantas He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old (1:70)In the closing decade of his forty-year reign David, having finished building his palace, wanted to build a temple to house the ark of the covenant. Accordingly, “the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains’ ” (2 Sam. 7:2). What David had in mind sounded good to Nathan so he gave the project his blessing: “Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you’ ” (v. 3). But neither Nathan nor David had consulted God, who had something else in mind:But in the same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, “Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’ ” ’ ” (vv. 4–7)Instead of David building a house for God, God would build a house for David:“Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth. I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you.” ’ ” (vv. 8–11)Those verses record God’s irrevocable, unconditional covenant promise to David and his household (though it is not called a covenant here, it is in 2 Sam. 23:5). God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets concerning this covenant repeatedly in the Old Testament; it has been estimated that more than forty other passages are directly related to these verses (e.g., Pss. 89; 110; 132). Isaiah alone has much to say about the future Davidic kingdom that will be ruled by the Messiah (cf. the discussion of 2 Sam. 7:12–13 below). According to Isaiah’s prophecy the Lord will restore the faithful remnant of Israel to the land to inhabit the kingdom. He will defeat all of Israel’s enemies, providing protection for His people. In the kingdom, Israel will enjoy great prosperity of many kinds. The city of Jerusalem will rise to world preeminence. Israel will be the center of world attention, and her mission will be to glorify the Lord. Gentiles in the kingdom will receive blessing through the channel of faithful Israel. Worldwide peace and righteousness will prevail under the rule of the Prince of Peace. Moral and spiritual conditions in the kingdom will reach their highest plane since the fall of Adam. Governmental leadership will be superlative with the Messiah, the perfect dictator who is just and true, in charge. Righteousness will prevail as the King swiftly judges overt sin. Humans will enjoy long lives; those who die at one hundred years of age will be considered mere youths. Knowledge of the Lord will be universal. The world of nature will enjoy a great renewal. Wild animals will be tame; the lion will lie down with the lamb, and children play with poisonous snakes. Sorrow and mourning will not exist. Finally, an eternal kingdom as part of God’s new creation will follow the millennial kingdom. (For further information, including verse references for the above points, see the chart “Isaiah’s Description of Israel’s Future Kingdom” in John MacArthur, author and gen. ed., The MacArthur Study Bible [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, various publication dates], in the notes to Isa. 65.)The Fulfillment of the Davidic Covenantsalvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; (1:71)Like many Old Testament predictions, the Lord’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:12–14 has both a near and a distant fulfillment. In the short term, David’s descendant, whose kingdom God promised to establish (v. 12) was his son Solomon. He was granted the privilege of building the temple that was denied to David (v. 13a).But neither Solomon’s kingdom nor the temple he built were to last. As Solomon grew old, he sank deeper and deeper into sin. As a result, after his death the kingdom split into two kingdoms: the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah. Eventually, after centuries of rebellion and disobedience, Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians (722 b.c.). Little more than a century later Judah fell to the Babylonians, who in 586 b.c. destroyed Solomon’s magnificent temple.God’s covenant promise, however, did not fail. It extends to the One greater than Solomon (Luke 11:31)—the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His kingdom that God promised to establish forever (2 Sam. 7:13, 16). He will one day return to establish His earthly kingdom in fulfillment of the promise made to David, and “there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore” (Isa. 9:7).It was that messianic kingdom, with its hope and expectation of salvation from Israel’s enemies, and from the hand of all who hate the Jewish people (cf. Ps. 106:10), that elicited Zacharias’s praise. As noted above, he believed the kingdom’s arrival was imminent (as indeed did Jesus’ own disciples, even after His resurrection [Acts 1:6]); he knew that his son was the forerunner of the Messiah, and that Mary was pregnant with the Messiah. Zacharias did not foresee that the unthinkable would happen—that Israel would reject and execute her King.But Israel’s disobedience cannot nullify the promises of God (Rom. 3:1–3). The King will one day return to establish His earthly kingdom, just as God promised David. In that day the remnant of Israel will come to repentance and faith and, says the Lord, “will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (Zech. 12:10). They will cry out joyously, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matt. 23:39). “In that day,” Zechariah prophesied, “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east” (Zech. 14:4). The most detailed description of the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to judge His enemies and establish His earthly kingdom is found in Revelation 19:11–21:And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.The hope of Zacharias and the future remnant of Jews, as well as all true believers, is sure and will certainly come to pass. God will not forget His covenant with David. The redeemed will experience the blessed joy of serving and worshiping the King during the millennial kingdom and the eternal kingdom that will follow it. Only then will the fervent longing of the children of Israel for salvation from their enemies, and from the hand of all who hate them be realized.[1]


68 The NIV uses “praise” to translate eulogētos (GK 2329) here. The word eulogētos can refer both to a human being on whom God has showered his goodness (i.e., “blessed,” v. 42) and to God, to whom we return thanks for that goodness (i.e., “praise”; cf. Robert J. Ledogar, Acknowledgment: Praise-verbs in the Early Greek Anaphora [Roma: Herder, 1967]). A form of the same word occurs in v. 64 (eulogeō, “praising”). It is as though vv. 68–79 provide the content of the praise expressed in the earlier verse (v. 64). “Israel” is paralleled by “his people” in vv. 68, 77, carrying along the promise of v. 17 (see comments there).The action centers in two verbs: “has come” and “has redeemed.” The first is from the verb episkeptomai (GK 2170). In secular Greek it means simply “to look at, reflect on,” or “to visit” (often in a charitable way, such as a doctor’s visiting the sick; cf. Mt 25:36, 43; Jas 1:27). The element of special concern is deepened to the spiritual level in the LXX’s use of the word. A particular example is that of God’s “visiting” people in grace or in judgment (Ex 4:31; Zec 10:3; cf. TDNT 2:599–605). The idea of God’s graciously “visiting” or “coming” to his people in the sense of vv. 68, 78 appears also in 7:16. In these three verses, as well as in Acts 15:14, where episkeptomai is translated “showed concern,” the word “people” also occurs. Tragically, Jerusalem did not recognize the day of her “visitation” (Lk 19:44; NIV, “the time of God’s coming”).The second verb, “redeemed,” represents two Greek words: epoiēsen lytrōsin (“accomplished redemption”). The idea of redemption runs throughout Scripture, with the exodus being the great OT example of rescue from enemies and captivity. Luke 24:21 shows the expectation Jesus’ followers had that he would do a similar work of freeing God’s people. Luke, though committed to the universal application of the gospel, includes these words of redemption that apply especially to Israel (see esp. v. 69). This not only reflects his emphasis on the Jewish roots of Christianity; it also underlines the sociopolitical aspects of redemption foremost in the minds of Zechariah’s contemporaries.[2]


68. Blessed (be) the Lord, the God of Israel,Because he has looked after his people and brought about redemption for them …Zechariah begins with a doxology. He praises Jehovah, Israel’s covenant God, for his concern about, and saving intervention in, the affairs of his people. He says that God has “looked after” them. Here he uses the same verb that occurs in Matt. 25:36, “I was sick, and you looked after me.” See also the note on this verse on page 131.He adds, “and brought about redemption for his people.” Is this redemption political? Is it, for example, deliverance from bondage to a foreign oppressor? The decision will have to be made in the light of the context. Verse 71, taken by itself, affords little help, for the question remains, “Are these enemies and haters political or spiritual?” Verse 77, however, states, “to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.” See also verses 74, 75: “that we … should serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness,” and verse 79, “to guide our feet into the path of peace.” In such a context the “redemption” to which verse 68 refers would seem to be of a spiritual nature; at least to be basically and predominantly spiritual; probably redemption from Satan, sin, and all the consequences.Another approach to the answer would be to ask, “What does the same word redemption (Greek lutrōsis) mean in the only other New Testament passages in which it occurs?” In Luke 2:38 we read, “Now coming up at that very hour, Anna was … speaking to all those who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Must we believe that the emphasis of this aged and devout child of God and of those whom she addressed was on deliverance from the Roman yoke? Or from Herod’s cruelties perhaps? Was it not rather on restoration to favor with God? And when the inspired author of the book of Hebrews states that Jesus “entered once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption” (9:12), did he not add “through his own blood”?We can reach no other conclusion but that Zechariah had in mind salvation through Christ. If to some this explanation ascribes to Zechariah too high a Christology, the answer is that this priest was “filled with the Holy Spirit” as he spoke these words.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2009). Luke 1–5 (pp. 93–101). Chicago: Moody Publishers.[2] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 70–71). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, pp. 123–124). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

July 12, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

The U.S. government must convince a judge on Thursday that it has complied with a court order for reuniting the youngest migrant children who were separated from their parents by U.S. officials after they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acting chief said on Wednesday he would push to cut regulations on industry and speed up decisions on permits, echoing the policies of former head Scott Pruitt who stepped down last week.

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee may not have to wait too long for controversial cases if he is confirmed to the job, with disputes involving abortion, immigration, gay rights, voting rights and transgender troops possibly heading toward the justices soon.

The U.S. Senate made a minor effort to push back against President Donald Trump’s trade policies on Wednesday by backing a non-binding motion to give Congress a role in his decisions to impose tariffs for national security reasons.

A U.S. push for new global standards to kick start its fledgling supersonic jet industry is facing resistance by European nations that want tough rules on noise, according to documents and people familiar with the situation.

Iraqi police fired into the air to disperse protesters demanding jobs and better public services at one of three demonstrations outside major oilfields in the southern oil hub of Basra on Thursday, police sources said.

Britain published on Thursday its proposals for future trade with the European Union after it leaves the bloc next March, seeking a new arrangement that would offer less generous access than under today’s EU “passporting” regime.

Donald Trump claimed a personal victory at a NATO summit on Thursday after telling European allies to increase spending or lose Washington’s support, an ultimatum that forced leaders to huddle in a crisis session with the U.S. president.

Syrian state vehicles, accompanied by Russian military police, entered part of Deraa city on Thursday to raise the national flag over an area held by rebels for years, witnesses said, leaving President Bashar al-Assad poised for another big victory in the seven-year-long Syrian conflict.

AP Top Stories

The staggering $20 million raised via Facebook to support immigrant families separated at the border will be used to post bail bonds for mothers, recipient organization Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services announced Tuesday. RAICES aims to reunite 2,500 migrant children with their mothers, citing bond costs ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.

President Trump criticized Germany for its pipeline deal with Russia and called on NATO allies to double their commitment to defense spending on Wednesday.

An Afghan man deported from Germany has been found dead in a hotel room in Kabul after committing suicide, officials said Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has received the Iranian leader’s top adviser hours after conferring with the Israeli prime minister about Iran’s presence in Syria.

The Buddha of Swat, carved on a cliff in the seventh century, was dynamited by the Pakistani Taliban in 2007. Now it has been restored, a powerful symbol of tolerance in the traumatised Pakistani valley.

A British man poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent 10 days ago has regained consciousness and is now in a critical but stable condition, Salisbury District Hospital said on Tuesday.

A mammoth wildfire that has blackened more than 140 square miles and destroyed at least 20 structures in two Northern California counties was ignited by an improperly installed electric livestock fence, fire managers said on Wednesday.

The known death toll from a four-month crackdown on anti-government protests in Nicaragua has risen to 264, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said Wednesday.

BBC

US President Donald Trump has said he thinks it is “presently unnecessary” to consider quitting NATO. He has previously been highly critical of the alliance, complaining the US pays more than others. However, no other country has confirmed any increased commitments as yet.

The cave complex in northern Thailand where 12 boys and their football coach were trapped for more than two weeks is set to be turned into a museum. Rescue officials said the museum would showcase how the operation unfolded, predicting it would be a “major attraction” for Thailand. At least two companies are also looking to make a film telling the story of the rescue.

Archaeologists scanning a Mexican pyramid for damage following September’s devastating earthquake have uncovered traces of an ancient temple. The temple is nestled inside the Teopanzolco pyramid in Morelos state.

Research carried out in Sierra Leone shows that some survivors of Ebola suffer from neurological and psychiatric conditions long after they recover from the initial disease.

Two of four Indian priests charged with allegedly raping a woman have handed themselves in for police questioning in the southern state of Kerala. The Kerala high court denied bail to both of them and one other priest, who is also expected to give himself up later on Thursday. Police are yet to arrest the fourth priest.

India has adopted recommendations strongly backing net neutrality that experts say could be the “strongest” in the world. Net neutrality means service providers must treat all traffic equally, and not charge differently based on content.

WND

An organization fighting Islamic indoctrination in the San Diego Public schools – it’s already in court over the issue – is now insisting on access to communications between Seattle school officials and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.


News – 7/12/2018

Archaeologists’ DNA Testing May Have Identified Jonah’s Whale
Using ancient DNA analysis and collagen fingerprinting, the researchers identified the bones as belonging to the North Atlantic Right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and the Atlantic Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus). Until their findings brought proof these species were common in the region, it was assumed that the Mediterranean Sea was outside of the historical range of the Right and Gray whales.

Trump says Putin meeting may be easiest on Europe’s trip
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday a meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week may be the easiest on his Europe trip, saying Moscow was a competitor and not an enemy. Asked if Putin presented a threat, Trump said, “I don’t want him to be and that is why we have NATO,” following a summit of the military alliance in Brussels. “He is a competitor,” Trump told reporters. “Is he my enemy? He is not my enemy … Hopefully someday maybe he will be a friend. I just don’t know him very well.”

Japan flood toll nears 200, sun scorches thousands battling thirst
Intense heat and water shortages raised fears of disease outbreaks in flood-hit western Japan on Thursday as the death toll from the worst weather disaster in 36 years neared 200. More than 200,000 households had no water a week after torrential rains caused floods and set off landslides across western Japan, bringing death and destruction to decades-old communities built on mountain slopes and flood plains.

Trump calls out Sessions over FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s no-show at Congress
President Trump in an early morning tweet Thursday nudged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to act over FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s refusal to comply with subpoena and testify before Congress. “As I head out to a very important NATO meeting, I see that FBI Lover/Agent Lisa Page is dodging a Subpoena & is refusing to show up and testify,” Trump tweeted early Thursday morning. He continued, “What can she possibly say about her statements and lies. So much corruption on the other side. Where is the Attorney General?”

South Korea’s Moon says North Korea-U.S. talks ‘on track’, criticism a ploy
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that North Korea’s criticism of the United States after recent talks on denuclearisation was part of its strategy and negotiations between them are on the “right track”.

Justice Dept pulls virtual trigger for online 3D guns
In its settlement of a free speech lawsuit, the federal government has agreed to acknowledge that popular semi-automatic sporting rifles such as the AR-15 are not inherently military weapons. “Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” explained Alan M. Gottlieb, the founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation.

South Korea wants formal end to the Korean War this year
“The goal of our government is to declare an official end of the Korean War this year, which marks the 65th anniversary of signing the truce agreement,” he said in an interview with Singaporean media The Straits Times, according to Yonhap. Moon is on a three-day state visit in Singapore.

Alt-Left Melts Down Over “Unmasking Antifa” Act
It seems the new “Unmasking Antifa Act” has ruffled a few feathers among the alt-left. Introduced in the House last month by Rep Dan Donovan (R-NY), H.R. 6054 is a response to a spate of violent attacks provoked by masked members of Antifa, and would punish anyone wearing a mask who “injures, oppresses, threatens or intimidates” a person “in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege” with a fine and up to 15 years in prison. The law is effectively a modern take on anti-mask laws dating back to the mid-20th century in order to stop the violent activities of the Ku Klux Klan…

Netanyahu: Israel completely coordinated with U.S. regarding Syria
Israel is completely coordinated with the US regarding the situation in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Thursday, hours after US Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted that Israel should be “very careful making agreements with Russia re Syria that affect US interests.” Graham is one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in the senate.

Israel strikes three Syrian regime posts following drone infiltration
The Israeli military struck three Syrian military targets overnight on Wednesday in retaliation for a Syrian drone that infiltrated into northern Israel hours earlier. “The IDF holds the Syrian regime accountable for the actions carried out in its territory and warns it from further action against Israeli forces,” read a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Nato states to up defence spending – Trump
US President Donald Trump says Nato countries have agreed to increase their military spending. Speaking after a two-day summit in Brussels, he said allies had committed to spending more than 2% of their annual output (GDP) on defence budgets. The president has been highly critical of the alliance, complaining the US pays more than others.

Israeli unmanned spacecraft to land on Moon in 2019
An Israeli non-profit organisation has announced plans to send the first privately-funded unmanned spacecraft to the Moon. SpaceIL said the probe would be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in December on a Falcon 9 rocket built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company. It is expected to land on the Moon in February 2019.

TSA screeners win immunity from abuse claims: appeals court
Fliers may have a tough time recovering damages for invasive screenings at U.S. airport security checkpoints, after a federal appeals court on Wednesday said screeners are immune from claims under a federal law governing assaults, false arrests and other abuses…the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said…(TSA) screeners were not “investigative or law enforcement officers,” and were therefore shielded from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

Lieberman calls to shut down Israeli Embassy in Ireland over boycott bill
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on Thursday for Israel to shut down the Israeli Embassy in Dublin in response to the Irish Senate voting overwhelmingly to approve a proposal to boycott companies and imports of goods from the West Bank settlements, a move that Israel warned Dublin not to implement in January.

Israel to impound Gaza flotilla ships to benefit terror victims
The Jerusalem District Court issued a temporary confiscation order Wednesday for two Norwegian ships set to partake in a solidarity flotilla to Gaza in the coming weeks. The court order allows for the Karstein and Freedom, worth approximately 75,000 euros, to be used for monetary compensation for victims of Hamas terrorism the moment they enter Israeli waters.

How You And I Are Helping Facebook ‘DeepFace’ Facial Recognition Create The Global Surveillance System
Facebook is how you get from social medial to societal dominance. This is how go from a Harvard kid hacking college databases to rate female students as ‘hot or not’, to installing real-time Facial Recognition tracking systems on a global scale.

UK Government Hires George Soros to Give Police ‘Hate Crime Training’
The UK has announced it will use taxpayers money to pay for George Soros’s “hate crime” training programme, which will be used on Police officers tackling “anti-Muslim hate crimes.”

New Satellite Images Show Russia is Secretly Preparing for War
New satellite images have revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is secretly preparing his country for war.

Marvel Announces 2 Openly Gay Heroes Coming To Movie Screens Soon
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently confirmed to The Playlist that not one, but two, openly gay characters would be coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some lauded the decision as a landmark example of diversity in movies. Others have pegged the move as a PR stunt and little else.

Deadly Parasitic Worm Coming To Europe Due To Third-World Migration
Hundreds to thousands of eggs are produced daily by each female worm. One of the many benefits of open borders! Karl Hoffmann, a professor of parasitology at Aberystwyth University, writes in The Independent:

Amazon patent admits it will listen in real-time for “trigger words” that could get you arrested and imprisoned 
Amazon patent admits it will listen in real-time for “trigger words” that could get you arrested and imprisoned.

Soros Associates Gain Control Of 90% Of U.S. Computerized Voting Machines
Breaking- #RogerStone reports two Globalist British Royals, both billionaires protected by the Queen have partnered with Soros to get control of 90 % of US computerized voting machines.

Bill Gates Invents Human Microchip with Wireless ‘On/Off’ Birth Control Switch
Billionaire globalist Bill Gates and his team have invented a disturbing new human microchip that is due for launch this year.

Trump administration to dump Obama-era rule allowing unions to siphon Medicaid money
The Trump administration announced Tuesday it planned to end what it suggested was an illegal Obama-era rule allowing unions to collect dues from state subsidies intended for home health workers — including family caregivers.

Pedophiles Demand to be Part of LGBT Community, Call for ‘Normalization’
Pedophiles are now attempting to ‘rebrand’ themselves as ‘MAP’ (Minor-Attracted Persons) in a strange effort to be accepted int to LGBT community and ‘normalizing’ pedophilia.

10 most evil people in the world today who lie about science, pharmaceuticals and GMOs
…You may be a religious person who treats others the way you want to be treated, but that won’t stop evil scientists and M.D.s from selling you dangerous chemical-based drugs that slowly poison you and your innocent children until death does you part. That’s why you need to know exactly who the ten most evil people are in the world today, because they lie about science, pharmaceuticals and GMOs, and the only way to protect your family from them is to never buy, consume or inject what they’re selling.

Samoa Bans All Children’s Vaccinations After Sudden Deaths Of Multiple Toddlers
Health authorities have banned all children’s vaccinations in Samoa following the sudden deaths of multiple toddlers minutes after receiving the MMR vaccine. A full inquiry into the circumstances of the deaths has also been launched at the request of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.

Report: Obama Admin ‘Shelved’ Plan to Prosecute Taliban Heroin Traffickers
The Obama administration, citing “political concerns” in 2013, derailed a plan to prosecute Taliban drug kingpins in U.S. courts that could have curtailed unprecedented heroin operations in Afghanistan that fueled the deadly opioid crisis across the United States, a Politico investigation found.

U.S. Seeks to Thwart Iran Flying Millions in Cash Out of Germany
Top Trump administration officials are working to stop Germany from allowing Iran to fly more than $350 million in cash out of the country and back to Tehran as part of a bid by the Iranian regime to restock its coffers ahead of a major financial crackdown by America, according to conversations with senior U.S. diplomats and officials on Capital Hill.

African Migrants Threaten to Kill Italian Cargo Vessel Crew Who Rescued Them
African migrants threatened to kill the crew of the Italian cargo vessel who rescued them because they wanted to travel to the welfare havens of Europe and not be returned to a Libyan detention center.

Church Mounts Billboard Atop Gay Bar Telling LGBT Community ‘God Takes Pride in You’
A Disciples of Christ Church in San Diego that describes itself as “radically inclusive” has purchased a billboard atop a gay bar with a message to the LGBT community, declaring, “God takes pride in you, so do we!”


Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“Whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them… The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it.” —Federal Farmer (1787)

In Today’s Edition

  • Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has an impressive 2A record.
  • Trump leaves NATO having accomplished his goals.
  • Young conservative women are excited about the future of conservatism.
  • Trump is aggressively working to bring about efficiency to government.
  • A feminist writer urges America to stop calling Kavanaugh “a good dad.”
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

Kavanaugh — a Strong Defender of Americans’ 2A Rights

His impressive record on Second Amendment-related cases and his judicial philosophy should make conservatives rest easy.

SCOTUS: It’s Not About Right v. Left. It’s About Liberty v. Tyranny.

Democrats frame the contest for the Supreme Court as “conservative v. liberal,” but it’s about judicial authority v. judicial despotism.

Trump Reassures NATO After Winning Concessions

Based on Trump’s final remarks at the NATO summit, he managed to get what he was after.

The Courage to Think

Hundreds of young women attended a Turning Point USA summit, excited about the future of conservatism and their place in it.

Trump Bringing Reform to Washington Bureaucracy

He is aggressively working to bring about great efficiency to government.

Feminist Writer: Stop Calling Kavanaugh ‘A Good Dad’

Apparently, being “a good dad” loses its luster when a conservative jurist is nominated to SCOTUS.

Thursday Short Cuts

“Pro-tip: If you don’t want one unelected justice to be worth so darn much, don’t used the court to make laws.” —@hale_razor

Thursday Top Headlines

Brett Kavanaugh’s view on 2A, NATO allies up spending, ISIS’s Afghan “capital” captured, new rules on asylum, and more.

Today’s Opinion

Ann Coulter
Kavanaugh Threatens the Left’s Right to Cheat
Gary Bauer
NATO Knockdown
Victor Davis Hanson
Reciprocity Is the Method to Trump’s Madness
R. Emmett Tyrrell
How Perkins Coie Plans to Get Congressman Jim Jordan
Edwin J. Feulner
The Facts About Fact-Checkers

Today’s Meme


Today’s Cartoon

ApostasyWatch Daily News

Joel McDurmon – Is the world really waxing worse and worse?

Here we go again – Blood Moon 2018: Christian pastor preaches end of the world is near

Differences Between Salvation in the Qur’an & the Bible

Please Don’t Repeat Fake News, Here’s How to Spot Fake News

YouVersion Bible App Reaches 330M Devices, Offers 1,700 Different Bible Versions on 10th Anniversary

SC Baptist Convention Leader Resigns, Charged With Sexual Assault From 20 Years Ago


Headlines – 7/12/2018

IDF intercepts Syrian drone that penetrated 10 kilometers into Israel

IDF strikes three military targets in Syrian Golan heights

To rule out a Russian link, IDF waited 16 minutes before downing Syrian drone

IDF opens fire near Gazans flying incendiary balloons into Israel

House Dems demand ‘transparency’ over Trump’s review of US aid to Palestinians

California state assembly candidate accuses Israel of ‘genocide’

Ireland moves to criminalize trade with settlements, drawing Israeli ire

Arab Knesset party backs Irish bill to criminalize trade with settlements

Norwegian hospitals refuse to assist in circumcisions

Netanyahu departs for ‘very important’ meeting with Putin in Moscow

Pledging not to oust Assad, Netanyahu urges Putin to ‘get Iranians out’ of Syria

Israel to Russia: Assad’s safe from us, but Iran must quit Syria

Netanyahu to Putin: Israel will prevent all attempts to violate border

Top US senator warns Israel against deal with Russia over Syria

Russia’s Putin meets Iran Supreme Leader’s aide in Moscow

Argentina asks Russia to arrest Iran official over 1994 Jewish center bombing

Ex-intel. official: Iran footprint in Syria may be to hide nuke scientists

Iran official says US sanctions will ‘undoubtedly’ affect economy

Family of Kurdish female fighter seen naked, mutilated in graphic viral video speaks out

After Trump’s spending demands, NATO summit turns to Afghanistan

Some Britons welcome Trump, renewal of ‘special relationship’ amid Brexit jitters

Trump questions the value of NATO, assails Germany

Trump at NATO summit says Germany is ‘totally controlled’ by Russia

Trump and Merkel Exchange Barbs in Showdown Over Russia’s Pipeline

Russia Accuses NATO of Having Bases ‘Snuggled’ Up to Its Borders

Schumer: ‘Trump Should Not Meet With Putin Alone,’ Is More Loyal to Russia Than NATO

Anti-Trump Protest at NATO Draws Only a Couple Dozen

Trump’s barrage of attacks ‘beyond belief,’ reeling NATO diplomats say

Most People Think World Is More Dangerous Under Donald Trump, New Survey Finds

Michael Cohen’s Lawyer Says Trump May Have Committed ‘Impeachable Offense’ for ‘Lying’ About Michael Flynn

Is another election being hacked? That’s the claim against a Chinese group in Cambodia

Battling Fake Accounts, Twitter to Slash Millions of Followers

Stolen U.S. Military Drone Documents Found for Sale on Dark Web, Researchers Say

TSA screeners win immunity from abuse claims: appeals court

Flying Trains Could Be Coming Your Way

OPEC’s oil output jumps in June as Saudi Arabia opens the taps to tame crude prices

Heads up! It’s a month of eclipses

A Supermoon Will Eclipse the Sun on Friday the 13th

Solar eclipse tomorrow, longest lunar eclipse in century and date with Mars later this month

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits South of the Fiji Islands

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Volcano, Hawaii

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Iwo Jima, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Iwo Jima, Japan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Negra, Sierra volcano in Galapagos erupts to 12,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 12,000ft

Ebeko volcano on the Kuril Islands erupts to 12,000ft

Typhoon Maria wreaks havoc along China’s east coast

Dozens Still Missing In Japan Floods As Death Toll Reaches 176

U.S. plans to remove backup power generators in Puerto Rico. Officials worry it’s hurricane season.

What Is Mycoplasma Genitalium? British Doctors Are Warning That This Sexually Transmitted Infection Could Be the Next Big Superbug

Hormone Therapy For Transgender Women Increases Risk Of Blood Clots And Strokes

Parents appeal after judge denies transgender teen name change

Church Mounts Billboard Atop Gay Bar Telling LGBT Community ‘God Takes Pride in You, so do we!’

Russia pursues Jehovah’s Witnesses as ‘extremists’

Turkish police arrest Islamic ‘televangelist’ with anti-Semitic history

Don’t lose heart in your season!

Posted: 12 Jul 2018 06:07 AM PDT

Don’t lose heart in your season!In this message, we want to encourage to not lose heart during whatever season you are in and that just as in the natural seasons come and go, Your current season will eventually pass and transition to a new season as well!

RUMORS OF WAR: Ex-diplomat warns World War 3 could break out following another chemical attack in Syria

Posted: 12 Jul 2018 05:30 AM PDT

RUMORS OF WAR: Ex-diplomat warns World War 3 could break out following another chemical attack in SyriaSyria could face a major crisis in the event of another chemical attack as it may justify US-led military intervention in the country, a former Foreign Office official has warned. Peter Ford, the UK’s former ambassador to Syria, said a situation similar to the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April could spark a widespread military operation against the Syrian regime and Bashar al-Assad’s army.

Speaking to RT, Mr Ford said: “The real potential flashpoint is a return to a Douma-like situation. “Remember in April, we were close to World War 3. We were talking in those terms. “It’s perfectly foreseeable that the same conditions will be produced, and I believe there will be another fake chemical attack, which will trigger a really dangerous crisis.” US-led airstrikes in Syria following the April attack were carried out before formal investigations were conducted to determine whether chemical weapons were used. CONTINUE 

‘We Prayed…and I Cried’: Porn Star Accepts Jesus and Immediately Quits the Industry

Posted: 12 Jul 2018 05:22 AM PDT

‘We Prayed…and I Cried’: Porn Star Accepts Jesus and Immediately Quits the IndustryEx-porn star Crissy Outlaw has gained quite a bit of attention over the past few years speaking about how she found Jesus and immediately left the adult film industry.  Outlaw recently told Lucas Miles, host of “The Lucas Miles” podcast, that she “never planned on going into the sex industry,” though that’s where her path tragically led her. Now, after leaving the money and fame behind, Outlaw is an outspoken

Christian who has repeatedly said that she feels “called” to tell people why she left the industry in an effort to help prevent others from making the same mistakes she did. “Most people can think about their pasts and can easily hide it … never sharing it with anyone for the rest of their lives. The evidence and consequences of my past mistakes will never go away,” Outlaw writes on her website. “I have to deal with this daily, and it isn’t easy. I find happiness in using my past to help others who might be going down a similar path.” READ MORE

DEVELOPING: More than 500 sick as E. coli found at TN zipline attraction

Posted: 11 Jul 2018 06:50 PM PDT

DEVELOPING: More than 500 sick as E. coli found at TN zipline attractionE. coli was found in water at a zipline attraction after nearly 550 visitors to the attraction reported illness, and authorities think the estimate may be low.  Initials tests confirmed the presence of E. coli and other bacteria in a well water sample at Climb Works Zip Line Canopy Tour, health officials told the Knoxville News Sentinel. People who became ill drank water served out of coolers along the course, WVLT reported.

The Tennessee Department of Health sent more than 2,000 surveys to those who reserved tours online, to determine if they became sick after visiting. Of the 808 who responded, 548 indicted they had become ill. People who became ill had visited the attraction between mid-June and early July. The company also said 80 to 100 people called them to say they became sick with gastrointestinal illnesses after visiting the attraction, WVLT reported. READ MORE

Mosaic of Moses’ Spies Who Explored Canaan Discovered in Israel

Posted: 11 Jul 2018 06:37 PM PDT

Mosaic of Moses’ Spies Who Explored Canaan Discovered in IsraelA team of specialists have discovered several mosaics in Israel, including one depicting two men carrying a pole with a cluster of grapes, believed to be the two spies Moses sent to scout the land of Canaan, as found in the book of Numbers in the Bible.  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill team announced on Monday that the first mosaics were discovered at the site of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee,

where the synagogue excavations are taking place, in 2012 by a team led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Professor Jodi Magness. With the assistance of Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University, they have uncovered additional mosaics every year, including that of Samson carrying the gate of Gaza, Noah’s Ark, the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah being swallowed by fish, and the building of the Tower of Babel. READ MORE

Communist-Hired Thugs Block Christians at Beijing’s Largest House Church, Call Their Faith a ‘Cult’

Posted: 11 Jul 2018 06:31 PM PDT

Communist-Hired Thugs Block Christians at Beijing’s Largest House Church, Call Their Faith a ‘Cult’A group of “thugs” hired by local Communist authorities barricaded last week the campus of Zion Church, the largest house church in Beijing, threatening Christians and calling their faith a “cult.” International Christian Concern reported that Yizhuang campus worshipers have been calling for prayers over their situation via the WeChat messaging app.

The incident at the church took place on July 5, ICC noted, when the thugs prevented the Christians from entering the third floor of the campus to gather in worship and called the Christian faith a cult. The government-hired group also stopped church members from attempting to unlock padlocks they had put in place, and blocked church administrators from trying to retrieve computers and other church documents. READ MORE

‘Miracle Baby’ Survives 9 Hours Buried Alive in Montana Woods

Posted: 11 Jul 2018 06:25 PM PDT

‘Miracle Baby’ Survives 9 Hours Buried Alive in Montana WoodsA 5-month-old baby was found buried alive in the mountains of Montana over the weekend, and the sheriff’s deputy who found him says he had just given up hope when he heard a small cry.  “All night long I was preparing myself to find a dead baby,” Deputy Ross Jessop told HLN’s Mike Galanos.  The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that they were called to the area Sunday night

following reports of a man acting aggressive and threatening nearby campers saying he had a gun.
Deputies later learned the man, identified as Francis Carlton Crowley, was caring for his girlfriend’s son at the time, but witnesses hadn’t seen the infant for several hours. Officers searched for more than six hours for the 5-month-old after Crowley told them the baby was “somewhere in the mountains.” READ MORE

Hail Satan,’ and Other Demonic Symbols Carved Into South Carolina Church

Posted: 11 Jul 2018 06:19 PM PDT

Hail Satan,’ and Other Demonic Symbols Carved Into South Carolina ChurchA vandal carved “Hail Satan” and other demonic symbols into a South Carolina church porch. “Do I get angry? I haven’t had that response,” Care and Mission Director at Welcome Baptist Church David Berry tells a CBS affiliate. “We’re broken-hearted that somebody would do that to the church.” Workers at the Union, South Carolina, church discovered the message,

along with an upside-down cross and an anarchy symbol, burned onto the front columns of the building that houses an addiction recovery group, according to an incident report, Fox reports. “When you see something like that, you know that person doesn’t know the Lord,” Berry says. Police estimate the vandal created about $600 worth of damage, and no immediate suspects have been named. READ MORE


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Jesus Calling Devotional Bible—Putting Words in Jesus’ Mouth—And in the Bible — Lighthouse Trails Inc

Jesus Calling Devotional Bible—Putting Words in Jesus’ Mouth—And in the Bible By Warren B. Smith One of the many spin-off products from Sarah Young’s best-selling book, Jesus Calling, is the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible. It is a New King James Bible filled with “messages” Young claims to have “received” from Jesus Christ. In the original…

via Jesus Calling Devotional Bible—Putting Words in Jesus’ Mouth—And in the Bible — Lighthouse Trails Inc

July 12 Response to the Greatest Sermon

When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.—Matt. 7:28–29The response to the best and most astounding preaching ever—the Sermon on the Mount—was in itself very remarkable. Likely some among our Lord’s audience that day believed in Him for salvation. But quite probably the number converted was small, affirming Jesus’ assertion about the narrow gate: “there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:14).The verb translated “were amazed” means to be struck out of oneself, or to be beside oneself with astonishment. The crowd was utterly flabbergasted by the power, comprehensiveness, and extraordinary insight of Christ’s words. Never had people heard such a penetrating description of true righteousness or such a relentless condemnation of self-righteousness.Even more remarkable is the way Jesus spoke with a power (“authority”) that proved and reflected His sovereignty. Unlike the Jewish teachers, who quoted the rabbis words and additional sacred writings, He quoted only Scripture and spoke as the final authority on truth.The Sermon on the Mount is important for everyone to hear. But the response to it must not conclude with mere amazement but real, saving faith. If we have read it and meditated upon its instructions and imperatives, we also need to move from astonishment to obedience. Such obedience entails moving from intellectual knowledge of the narrow gate and way to actually entering the gate by faith and following the way to eternal life.

ASK YOURSELF

Think back on the many lessons taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Which have struck you with new force? Which are your children in greatest need of hearing? Don’t let His Word grow quiet within you.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 202). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

JULY 12 OUR POSITION: BELIEVING GOD, DEFYING THE DEVIL

…Resist the devil and he will flee from you.JAMES 4:7It is a gracious thing to be humbled under the loving, chastening hand of God, but when the devil starts tampering with you, dare to resist him!Brethren, God never meant for us to be kicked around like a football. I stand for believing in God and defying the devil—and our God loves that kind of courage.It is for us to trust, to trust wholly in the Lord Jesus! This is the only way in which we can conquer fear and live in blessed victory.I have had times in my life and ministry when the burdens and the pressures seemed to be too much. At these times it seems that even in prayer it is impossible to rise above the load. More than once, by faith that seemed to have been imparted directly from heaven, the Lord has enabled me to claim all that I needed for body, soul and spirit.On my knees, I have been given freedom and strength to pray, “Now, Lord, I have had enough of this—I refuse to take any more of this heaviness and oppression! This does not come from God—this comes from my enemy, the devil. Lord, in Jesus’ name, I will not take it any longer—through Jesus Christ I am victor!”Will God answer?At these times, great burdens have just melted, all at once! As the burden rolls away, He answers: “Child, I have waited long to hear you confess that Jesus is victor and in Him you overcome!”[1]


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

LEARNING TO SHARE JESUS: How To Become A Witness For God By Sharing The Gospel For The One Who Died For You : These Christian Times

If it’s a love worth finding, wouldn’t you agree it’s a love worth sharing? No matter what else you may do, there’s no substitute for sharing your faith with other people and bringing a soul to Christ. You will experience one of the greatest rewards that life can ever know.

— Read on www.thesechristiantimes.com/2018/07/12/learning-to-share-jesus-how-to-become-a-witness-for-god-by-sharing-the-gospel-for-the-one-who-died-for-you/

July 12 Honoring One Another

In honor giving preference to one another.Romans 12:10 If you are devoted to brotherly love, it goes without saying that you’ll give preference to other believers. That means you’ll have genuine humility and will not “think of [yourself] more highly than [you] ought to think” (Rom. 12:3; see also Phil. 2:3). It also means you will give honor to fellow Christians and take the initiative to put them first.You will not flatter another believer merely in the hope of having the compliment returned or to gain favor with them. Instead, you’ll express to them real appreciation, respect, and love as a fellow member of the family of God.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 213). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

BUSTED FAKING NEWS: ABC And NBC News Deceptively Edit European Council Speech To Make Trump Look Bad : These Christian Times

What can we say about the Liberal Media that hasn’t already been said. They love to make a lot of Fake News about President Trump to cast him in a bad light. They purposely omitted the part of the speech that echos Trump’s concerns over NATO members lack of defense spending and relying on the US too much. They just wanted their viewers to hear the criticism of Trump. We can only hope that someday the Deep State’s propaganda liberal media will someday do some actual reporting.

— Read on www.thesechristiantimes.com/2018/07/12/busting-faking-news-abc-and-nbc-news-deceptively-edit-european-council-speech/

If I Could Show You What Communism Is

Canada Free Press

Bernie Sanders is selling socialism to you, young and old Americans, a failed ideology of violence, confiscation of property and land, starvation, poverty, political oppression, and loss of freedom.

If I could show young people today what communism is, those clamoring for socialism and communism to be brought to American shores,  those who are tired of capitalism because they are so fat and happy, they want the challenge of poverty and want, the challenge of the communist code-speak of “social justice” and “egalitarianism,” I would send them to Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea for a few months so that they could experience first-hand what the utopia they see as paradise is like.
— Read on canadafreepress.com/article/if-i-could-show-you-what-communism-is

Media ignores latest wave of horrific attacks on Christians around the world – LeoHohmann.com

Christians are coming under increasing pressure in Nigeria, where they make up a slim majority of the country’s population in face of a fast-growing Muslim population.

Trump should open US doors to the truly persecuted in Mideast, Africa

By LEO HOHMANN

Have you ever wondered why the U.S. accepts so few Christian refugees, when studies consistently show that Christians continue to be the most persecuted faith-group in the world? Just last week we heard reports of deadly attacks on Iranian Christians…

Just last week we heard reports of deadly attacks on Iranian Christians at a UN refugee camp in Greece, and continued attacks on Christian villagers in Nigeria [you must look for these reports at Christian websites such as OpenDoors.orgPersecution.org and the Barnabas Fund because they are almost never covered by the mainstream media.]

— Read on leohohmann.com/2018/07/09/media-ignores-latest-wave-of-horrific-attacks-on-christians-around-the-world/

DEEP STATE ALERT: Former Corrupt FBI Agent Lisa Page Who Wanted To Take Down Trump Defies Subpoena And Lies To Avoid Testifying Before Congress : These Christian Times

Former FBI lawyer Page was subpoenaed to appear before the Congress by the House Judiciary Committee. She was expected to appear before the Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Wednesday, Fox News reported Monday. However, on Tuesday, Page showed signs of cold feet when her lawyer, Amy Jeffress, issued a statement complaining about Committee staff. Page and fellow FBI employee Peter Strzok were involved in an extramarital affair. During the 2016 presidential campaign they exchanged text messages that suggested they would take whatever action was necessary to prevent Donald Trump from being elected President and to secure Hillary Clinton’s election.

Page had been subpoenaed to appear for a closed-door deposition in front of the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee. “A subpoena to testify before Congress is not optional, it’s mandatory,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said. He added that Page had the option of showing up and invoking her Fifth Amendment privilege to avoid incriminating herself. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Page had known for months about an interview, and that the GOP-led committee would use “all tools at our disposal” to obtain it.

Watch the latest video at foxnews.com

— Read on www.thesechristiantimes.com/2018/07/12/deep-state-alert-former-corrupt-fbi-agent-lisa-page-who-wanted-to-take-down-trump-defies-subpoena-and-lies-to-avoid-testifying-before-congress/