Daily Archives: July 21, 2018

July 21: Truth and Honesty Can Be Painful

2 Samuel 7:1–8:18; 1 Peter 4:12–19; Psalm 137:1–9

A commitment to honesty and truth often puts us in unexpected spiritual situations—something David experiences in 2 Sam 7. David thinks he will build God a great house—a temple—but instead God plans to build a house for him—a legacy. Because David seeks God, God does great things through him. Yet, as David discovers, being part of God’s work and living in His will isn’t without difficulty or pain.

Consciously or subconsciously, we often cling to the notion that “If I do good works for God, He will owe me.” Isn’t that the assumption behind the statement, “I am loyal to God, but He has afflicted me with pain”? We frame our pain in light of God’s role. Instead, we should view it in relation to the sin of our world. We sin, just as people did in the past, so why should we not expect pain?

Like David, Peter and his fellow missionaries experience a great deal of pain in doing God’s work. Peter encourages them by writing, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, when it takes place to test you, as if something strange were happening to you. But to the degree that you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of his glory you may rejoice and be glad” (1 Pet 4:12–13). Peter understands that the persecution they face for Christ will be used for great glory. He reminds his audience that they shouldn’t be surprised. By committing themselves to following Christ, they will inevitably clash with those who are opposed to Christ.

In response to David’s seeking God, God makes a covenant with David. Then as now, the central principle of covenant lies in God’s loyalty to us—because of Christ’s work on the cross to suffer and die for our sin—despite how much the world hates us.

Has God taught you through persecution? In what ways is God’s covenant at work among you today?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Worldview and Apologetics in the News

Analyzing a Famous Atheist’s Claims About the Resurrection

John Lennox, Jay Richards on Seven Days that Divide the World

Bill Dembski: Machines will never supersede humans!

Franklin Graham Not Welcome on UK Bus Signs

New Batwoman TV show will star Kate Kane as a crime-fighting lesbian superhero

Netflix Announces Series About Jesus Reincarnated As A 12-Year-Old Boy

Baby born weighing 0.8lbs – LESS than a tin of baked beans – becomes the smallest ever to survive in India after miracle 4-month recovery in hospital

New Study Casts Doubt on the Shroud of Turin, Here’s Why

Abortion, Bias, and Babies with Down Syndrome; Good Argument, But We Can Do Better

Book Review: Knowing Creation: Perspectives from Theology, Philosophy, and Science Edited by Andrew B. Torrance and Thomas H. McCall

Jane Fonda Refused to Use God’s Name in Vain in Netflix Show

5 New Books on Science and Christianity

Live Discussion: Graham Oppy, Ben Arbour on Ontological Arguments

Town Bans Bible Studies in Family’s Home, Threatens $500 Fines

Pulse Survivor Recounts Shooting, Leaving Homosexuality: ‘I Gave God My Gayness, Addiction’

Why Everyone (Really) Believes in Secure Borders and Why America Needs Them

Check this out: Foundation Comparative Worldview Curriculum 

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad
Last week’s edition is here.

Source: Worldview and Apologetics in the News

America, The Insolvent

Authored by Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity.com,

A reckoning is due. One the elites are already readying for…

Watching the world these days, I’m experiencing the same fury that rises up from my gut when the driver in the car ahead me is weaving drunkenly, endangering everyone on the road.

Fury is a normal and rational human response when threatened with unnecessary harm. Women who are groped (or worse) by a disgusting predator like Harvey Weinstein, pensioners whose funds are stolen by Wall Street shysters, everyone who is being fleeced by corporations in search of a few extra dollars this quarter —  all have the right to be infuriated.

It’s been especially hard of late for those of us who are “reality”-based; who value data, fundamentals and historical context.

I earn my living by reading, analyzing and making sense of the world, and then working to help orient people’s actions to align with both the current reality and future probabilities. But that’s become pretty damn difficult in a world where the financial markets are rigged and the main news outlets are unwilling (unable?) to cover the real issues, preferring instead to focus on distractions that mainly serve to keep us isolated and divided.

The trajectory our global society is on will not end well, and that infuraties me. And the fact that most of the coming suffering is unnecessary if only we’d make better choices — that really pisses me off.

Here’s just a small smattering of the threats we’ve created for ourselves:

  1. $247 trillion of global debt, growing exponentially
  2. Off-budget liabilities well over a quadrillion dollars globally ($220+ trillion in the US alone)
  3. Massively underfunded pensions mathematically unable to meet their future obligations
  4. A coming peak in world oil supply somewhere between 2020-2030 (and around 2022 for the US)
  5. A global economy that requires perpetual growth, but can’t grow for much longer due to planetary resource constraints
  6. Huge demographic imbalances in Japan, the US, the EU and Russia that will leave too few workers supporting too many elderly
  7. Collapsing ecosystems and increasing heatwaves on both land and sea, threatening crop failures and food chain disruptions.

Collectively these all point to a future of less. Perhaps even a future of nothing.

Our only option for safely navigating towards a better future is to start dedicating a huge amount of focus, time, energy and resources to addressing these threats.

But, unfortunately, that’s simply not happening right now.

Unsustainable Finances

We don’t have much time left to get prepared. Yes, it’s rare for things to suddenly fall apart overnight — so if you’re playing the odds, we probably have a few years left before the status quo as we know it begins to break down. Maybe until 2020; possibly to 2023. But not much longer after that.

The trends are just too severe. And they’re building up steam.

Setting aside for a moment the frightening ecological and energy trends, a cursory glance at the fiscal and economic data still screams: This is unsustainable!

Look at the projected deficit for the US government:

The US government is currently in fiscal tax year 2018. That means next year’s projected deficit will breach the trillion mark, and things only get worse from there. By 2028 the deficit will be at least $1.7 trillion and possibly as much as $2.4 trillion.

It bears noting that current US tax receipts are just a smidge over $2 trillion. And as the chart below shows, they tend to drop precipitously during recessions:

Delusionionaly, the government’s projection of federal deficits doesn’t include any provisions for recessions over the next decade. This is nuts; recessions are a normal and recurring part of our economic system.

And due to the Federal Reserve’s tinkering to control the business cycle by replacing it with a credit cycle, the next recession is likely to be a doozy — because when credit cycles burst, they are immediately and powerfully contractionary.

So it’s not at all unthinkable that at some point between here and 2028 the US government will find itself borrowing more than 100%(!) of tax receipts in a given year.

That, my friends, is an express ticket to Venezuela-style insolvency.

But wait, there’s more. Two other very much out-of-control elements exacerbating these fiscal deficits will be rising interest costs and Social Security.

Debt Will Become More Costly To Service

Interest costs have a bad habit of being self-reinforcing. The more you borrow the higher your interest costs. But if you’re the government, there’s an added complexity: the more you borrow, the more you tend to also drive up the interest rate, which is an additional compounding factor.

Interest payments are already 25% of tax receipts and are certain to climb as the US federal government tacks on another $13 to $17 trillion in additional debt over the next ten years. Or possibly nearly twice that if a severe recession comes along, as is highly likely.

Under the best scenario (“only” $13 trillion) and assuming a very generous average rate of interest of 3%, that will result in some $400 billion of new, incremental yearly interest payments by 2028.

Under the worst scenario, (let’s assume an incremental $25 trillion of new debt at 5%) that would balloon to an incremental $1.25 trillion in new interest costs. Per year.

Social Security Reserves Are On Their Way To $0

Social Security is now in a cash deficit.

It’s drawing down its “trust fund”, even though this “fund” doesn’t have any actual money in it (just IOU’s from the US Treasury). Put simply, every time the SS administration draws upon the trust fund, it hands some of those IOUs to the US Treasury in return for cash.

And how does the US Treasury get that cash? That’s right: by issuing more debt.

As we can see in this next chart from the SS administration, nearly $3 trillion will be required over the 2018 to 2032 period. After which point, the SS trust fund reserves are gone:

NOTE: we will be going much deeper into these kinds of data at our Summit in New York City with David Stockman on Sep 16, 2018. As former head of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, David has a near-unparalleled command of the vulnerabilities of the US economy and financial markets, as well as what likely repercussions their failure will bring. To learn more about that event, click here.

By Definition, This Will End

All of the above is simply an exercise to show that just when looking at the US economy alone — forget about the issues facing other countries and accelerating depletion of key resources (soil/aquifers/fossil fuels/pollinators/etc) around the world — the current trajectory is entirely unsustainable.

Meaning it must someday end. Whether that will manifest in a sudden castrophe, or in a drawn-out crescendo of accumulating crises, who knows?

But what won’t be happening is “more of the same”. Or a straight-line continuation of business as usual.

I can make the same trend extrapolation arguments for water aquifers and glacial flows serving billions of people. And with soil loss, and oceanic dead zones, and oil production.

None of this is sustainable.

This existential threat to our safety is the root reality, whether we’re conscious of it or not, underlying why so many of us are feeling infurated these days.

And while that fury often takes a partisan bent, our predicaments have nothing whatsoever to do with any particular political party. All are the same when it comes to fostering business as usual. All are identical in their support for endless growth. They merely argue over which misguided steps to take in pursuit of those doomed goals.

As the video below explains, everyone buying into the false ‘left vs right’ framing is being manipulated. Just as two rats in a cage, shocked by an unseen scientist, will direct their anger at each other, oblivious to the true assailant:

The Elites Are Already Making Preparations

The sheer obviousness of our collective predicaments combined with the near complete absence of any collective conversation about them is infuriating.

Worse, the powers that be are very busy propping markets in order to send the signal that “all is well” when everything is very much not well. Far too many people fall for this deception for my comfort.

As we can plainly see in the data presented above, the US is now utterly insolvent and headed towards bankruptcy. Most other nations are just as bad off, or worse. All are pursuing the same insane, impossible policy: Grow exponentially. Forever.

Which makes the current crop of politicians and monetary authorities no better than heavily-intoxicated truck drivers, drunkenly weaving their gigantic rigs in front of your family’s car. Their recklessness to everyone else’s well-being is infuriating.

The few paying attention, like you, can see that all of this falls apart sooner or later. The critical question to ask ourselves is: What should we prioritize doing now, in advance of the reckoning?

That’s the question an increasing number of elites are asking themselves. Yes, these are the people controlling the system today and benefitting the most from it, usually at our expense. But they can see that the racket they’re running has an expiration date. And they’re extremely worried about the hell that may break loose when it arrives.

You may have read some of the recent news stories about billionaires drawing up emergency plans for the social disorder they fear will erupt when the status quo breaks down. I can tell you from first-hand experience these stories are true. We’ve had a number ultra-wealthy individuals and families approach Peak Prosperity for consultations on the same topic.

In Part 2: The Rich Are Planning For Catastrophe, we explain what the wealthy are doing and what frightens them the most. Like them or not, these people have access to the best information and the most resources with which to take action. We’d be foolish not to pay attention to what they’re planning for and how they’re planning for it.

Time is short. The elites are making their own preparations. Be sure to get your own in place soon.

Source: America, The Insolvent

July 21 Remembering Your Inheritance

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3–4).

✧✧✧

Victory over present circumstances comes when you focus on your eternal inheritance and praise God for it.

One amazing privilege you have as a Christian is to be the beneficiary of a rich and exciting spiritual inheritance. Jesus gave us a glimpse of its magnitude when He said, “The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’” (Matt. 25:34). The Kingdom itself is part of your inheritance!

This inheritance is shared by every child of God. Hebrews 9:15 says that Christ “is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that … those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Jesus commissioned Paul to preach to the Gentiles “so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in [Him]” (Acts 26:18).

No one can fully understand “all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Consequently, at times you might forget you’re a child of the King and begin to act like this world is all you have to live for. God may even have to discipline you from time to time to correct your behavior. But someday you will be all God created you to be and will know the full glory of your inheritance. In the meantime, be diligent to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). Focus on your inheritance, and praise God for it. That will help you see beyond your present circumstances to the glory that awaits you when Jesus calls you home.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the rich inheritance that is yours in Christ.

For Further Study: Read 1 Peter 1. ✧ What spiritual privileges did Peter mention? ✧ What commands did he give? ✧ Is there any connection between those privileges and commands? Explain.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 215). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

WATCH: Pastor Robert Jeffress Defends Trump After Tape Revelations; Says, ‘We Backed Known Womanizer Ronald Reagan Too’

On Friday night, pro-Trump Rev. Robert Jeffress defended the president amid controversy of a tape that documented a conversation between Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen regarding a payoff to a former Playboy model during the election.

In the report from The New York Times, Rudy Giuliani confirmed the existence of a tape that that has Trump and Cohen discussing the form of payment that was to be made to Karen McDougal, who alleges she had an affair with the president back in 2006.

The Fox News contributor began by dismissing remarks made by an anti-Trump reverend who insisted that congressional leaders have “sold their souls” in order to make deals with this president.

“This is not an unusual thing. We’ve been here before,” Jeffress told Fox News’ Ed Henry. “Back in 1980, evangelicals chose to support a twice-married Hollywood actor who was a known womanizer in Hollywood. His name was Ronald Reagan. They chose to support him over Jimmy Carter, with a born-again Baptist Sunday school teacher who had been faithfully married to one woman. The reason we supported President Reagan was not because we supporting womanizing or divorce. We supported his policies. And that’s true here, Ed. We are choosing to support his policies. We’re not under any illusion that we were voting for an altar boy when we voted for President Trump. We knew about his past. And by the way, none of us has a perfect past. We voted for him because of his policies.”

Source: WATCH: Pastor Robert Jeffress Defends Trump After Tape Revelations; Says, ‘We Backed Known Womanizer Ronald Reagan Too’

“Truth Was Irrelevant” WSJ Asks: Was Brennan’s Action The Real “Treason”?

The Wall Street Journal continues to counter  the  liberal mainstream media’s Trump Derangement Syndrome, dropping uncomfortable truth-bombs and refusing to back off its intense pressure to get to the truth and hold those responsible, accountable (in a forum that is hard for the establishment to shrug off as ‘Alt-Right’ or ‘Nazi’ or be ‘punished’ by search- and social-media-giants).

And once again Kimberley Strassel – who by now has become the focus of social media attacks for her truth-seeking reporting – does it again this morning, as she points out – after his ‘treasonous’ outbursts, that Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan acknowledges that it was him egging on the FBI’s probe of Trump and Russia.

Via The Wall Street Journal,

The Trump-Russia sleuthers have been back in the news, again giving Americans cause to doubt their claims of nonpartisanship. Last week it was Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok testifying to Congress that he harbored no bias against a president he still describes as “horrible” and “disgusting.” This week it was former FBI Director Jim Comey tweet-lecturing Americans on their duty to vote Democratic in November.

But the man who deserves a belated bit of scrutiny is former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan. He’s accused President Trump of “venality, moral turpitude and political corruption,” and berated GOP investigations of the FBI. This week he claimed on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s press conference in Helsinki was “nothing short of treasonous.” This is rough stuff, even for an Obama partisan.

That’s what Mr. Brennan is—a partisan—and it is why his role in the 2016 scandal is in some ways more concerning than the FBI’s. Mr. Comey stands accused of flouting the rules, breaking the chain of command, abusing investigatory powers. Yet it seems far likelier that the FBI’s Trump investigation was a function of arrogance and overconfidence than some partisan plot. No such case can be made for Mr. Brennan. Before his nomination as CIA director, he served as a close Obama adviser. And the record shows he went on to use his position—as head of the most powerful spy agency in the world—to assist Hillary Clinton’s campaign (and keep his job).

Mr. Brennan has taken credit for launching the Trump investigation. At a House Intelligence Committee hearing in May 2017, he explained that he became “aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons.” The CIA can’t investigate U.S. citizens, but he made sure that “every information and bit of intelligence” was “shared with the bureau,” meaning the FBI. This information, he said, “served as the basis for the FBI investigation.” My sources suggest Mr. Brennan was overstating his initial role, but either way, by his own testimony, he was an Obama-Clinton partisan was pushing information to the FBI and pressuring it to act.

More notable, Mr. Brennan then took the lead on shaping the narrative that Russia was interfering in the election specifically to help Mr. Trump – which quickly evolved into the Trump-collusion narrative. Team Clinton was eager to make the claim, especially in light of the Democratic National Committee server hack. Numerous reports show Mr. Brennan aggressively pushing the same line internally. Their problem was that as of July 2016 even then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn’t buy it. He publicly refused to say who was responsible for the hack, or ascribe motivation. Mr. Brennan also couldn’t get the FBI to sign on to the view; the bureau continued to believe Russian cyberattacks were aimed at disrupting the U.S. political system generally, not aiding Mr. Trump.

The CIA director couldn’t himself go public with his Clinton spin—he lacked the support of the intelligence community and had to be careful not to be seen interfering in U.S. politics. So what to do? He called Harry Reid. In a late August briefing, he told the Senate minority leader that Russia was trying to help Mr. Trump win the election, and that Trump advisers might be colluding with Russia. (Two years later, no public evidence has emerged to support such a claim.)

But the truth was irrelevant. On cue, within a few days of the briefing, Mr. Reid wrote a letter to Mr. Comey, which of course immediately became public. “The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount,” wrote Mr. Reid, going on to float Team Clinton’s Russians-are-helping-Trump theory. Mr. Reid publicly divulged at least one of the allegations contained in the infamous Steele dossier, insisting that the FBI use “every resource available to investigate this matter.”

The Reid letter marked the first official blast of the Brennan-Clinton collusion narrative into the open. Clinton opposition-research firm Fusion GPS followed up by briefing its media allies about the dossier it had dropped off at the FBI. On Sept. 23, Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff ran the headline: “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.” Voilà. Not only was the collusion narrative out there, but so was evidence that the FBI was investigating.

In their recent book “Russian Roulette,” Mr. Isikoff and David Corn say even Mr. Reid believed Mr. Brennan had an “ulterior motive” with the briefing, and “concluded the CIA chief believed the public needed to know about the Russia operation, including the information about the possible links to the Trump campaign.” (Brennan allies have denied his aim was to leak damaging information.)

Clinton supporters have a plausible case that Mr. Comey’s late-October announcement that the FBI had reopened its investigation into the candidate affected the election. But Trump supporters have a claim that the public outing of the collusion narrative and FBI investigation took a toll on their candidate.

And as Strassel so poignantly concludes:

Politics was at the center of that outing, and Mr. Brennan was a ringmaster. Remember that when reading his next “treason” tweet.

Treason indeed.

 

Source: “Truth Was Irrelevant” WSJ Asks: Was Brennan’s Action The Real “Treason”?

JULY 21 IS YOUR LINE BUSY?

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send…Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah 6:8

The gospel invitation is offered freely to one and all, but many are too preoccupied to hear or heed. They never allow God’s call to become a reason for decision. As a result, they live out their entire lives insisting that they never heard any call from God!

The answer to that is plain. God has been trying to get through to them, but engrossed in a host of worldly pursuits, their line is always busy.

The world around us wants to put us in the same straitjacket that would have kept Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees.

“We will talk to you about religion” is the seemingly kindly offer people give us today. But then they add the disclaimer: “Just do not make religion personal.” Most people seem to have come to terms with an acceptance of religion if it does not have the cross of Christ within it!

But when God calls men and women to the belief that Christ has given us the only way to God through His death and atonement, their faith will be an offense to the world. It was so in Abraham’s day, and it is so in our day!

Lord, I want to keep my channels of communication open so I will be ready to hear Your voice speaking to me.[1]


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

The Troubling Terms of the Social Justice Movement — Christian Research Network

The following terms come from those who consider themselves “Social Justice Warriors.” This is a dangerous movement, brethren, as you’re about to see. The Church prefers the term Social Justice Christian (SJC). If you’re unfamiliar with this movement, you won’t be for long because what really is liberalism, i.e. progressivism, all tied up with a pretty bow, has infiltrated the visible Church and has spread like a plague. One thing SJC is not is authentic, historic, orthodox Christianity. Why is it so deadly? Because progressives don’t hold to a traditional view of the Bible. In other words, they don’t have a high view of Scripture. So they’ve made it a priority to re-write the Bible to ensure that it meets the Left’s political agenda. For them it’s not about Truth. No. What’s important to progressives (and that includes so-called Progressive Christians) is that God’s Word is politically correct.

In his piece over at Delivered By Grace, Pastor Josh Buice deals with the terms emerging from the social justice movement that he finds troubling:

For a number of months, the temperature has increased greatly on issues related to what is being labeled as the social justice movement. For many people, this has come as a big surprise, but for others the trajectory has been anticipated as things continue to develop. It’s often difficult to follow language, logic, and motive in a Twitter conversation (or debate). For that reason, I would like to point out some of the troubling terms that are emerging from the social justice movement that demand our attention.

Terms and Definitions Matter

For anyone who has ever engaged in a friendly debate on the doctrines of grace, it’s quite clear that to have a profitable conversation we must be using the same dictionary. If one person comes to the conversation with a different set of definitions—the conversation will be derailed from the very beginning. Back in the days of the conservative resurgence period, liberals and conservatives both embraced the term of inerrancy, but the liberal had a completely different definition for the word. Therefore, as we enter into important conversations and engage in necessary debates over matters of social justice—we need to understand that our terminology matters.

What exactly does social justice mean? Is a social justice warrior (SJW) one who is defending the gospel or is that individual guilty of putting emphasis on something that isn’t the gospel in order to promote and empowerment and unity agenda? How we view these terms and positions are critical in order to engage in this profitable cultural conversation. Intersectionality is another term that you need to be aware of in this social justice conversation. Although it was originally coined by a radical feminist to defend oppressed homosexual women—now that same strategy is being employed within evangelical circles. What does it mean to embrace complementarianism? There is a minimum and a maximum view of this doctrine, so which view is most biblically accurate? Such terms and how we define them are key to this conversation.

As we move on, I want to mention a few terms emerging from the social justice movement that trouble me. I will explain each term and how it’s being used within the social justice movement and why we should be concerned. View article →

Research:

Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity”

Related:

Todd Friel Takes on the SBC and The Gospel Coalition for Aggressively Promoting Social Justice “Christianity”

via The Troubling Terms of the Social Justice Movement — Christian Research Network

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 07/21/2018

Study: Hormone Therapy for ‘Transsexuals’ Has Major Health Risks   Jul 17, 2018 11:36 am

Photo Credit: Tim Evanson/Flickr/Wikipedia Commons (Christian Institute) — Hormone therapy for people attempting to “transition” from male to female carries major health risks, a new study suggests. Published by the American College of Physicians, it indicated that men who took female hormones for two years were over five times more likely to develop a…

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UK Mayor Resigns After Being Harassed Over Facebook Posts About Homosexuality, Gender Dysphoria   Jul 17, 2018 02:54 pm

FERRYHILL, U.K. — The mayor of a town in the United Kingdom has resigned after being harassed with threatening and profane comments over his Facebook posts on the issues of homosexuality and transgenderism. Richard Smith was elected in May to serve as the mayor of Ferryhill in Northeast England. He has served as pastor of Immanuel Christian Fellowship since 2003,…

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Outrage After Speaker Claims Pedophilia Is ‘Unchangeable Sexual Orientation,’ ‘Anyone Could Be Born’ That Way   Jul 19, 2018 05:36 pm

A video of a German speaker calling for compassion and understanding toward celibate pedophiles in arguing that “no one chooses to be a pedophile” but that “anyone could be born” that way and “no one can cease being one” has sparked outrage worldwide. Mirjam Heine delivered a lecture at an independently organized TEDx Talk at the University of Wurzburg in Germany…

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Rob Schenck, Former Anti-Abortion Activist, Now Says Criminalizing Abortion is ‘Dangerous,’ Writes of ‘Conversions’ and ‘Affirming’ Homosexuals in New Book   Jul 16, 2018 02:01 pm

New York clergyman Rob Schenck, known for his activism against abortion with Operation Rescue in the 1990s, has released a new book in which he outlines what he calls his “three conversions” in his lifetime. While still identifying as “pro-life,” Schenck now believes that the government should stay out of the issue of abortion and leave safe “space” for the woman…

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Couple Prohibited From Hosting Bible Study, Worship on Property Without Permit Under Threat of Fines   Jul 20, 2018 09:12 pm

Photo Credit: ABCDZ2000/FreeImages.com SEWICKLEY HEIGHTS, Pa. — A Pennsylvania couple has filed a legal challenge after being prohibited from hosting Bible studies, worship gatherings and other Christian retreats and fundraisers on their property without a permit under the threat of fines of $500 per day. According to a lawsuit filed by the Independence Law…

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Islamist Violence Against Christians in Uganda Injures Pastors, Stops Church Services   Jul 14, 2018 11:23 am

(Morning Star News) – In further anti-Christian hostilities in eastern Uganda, Muslims knocked a pastor unconscious at a debate and Islamist threats in another village put a halt to worship services. Threats by Muslims in Mazuba village, Namutumba District, stopped worship services in a half-constructed church building and led the pastor to send his children to…

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Indian Christians Suffer Fifteen Attacks in Fourteen Days   Jul 18, 2018 07:44 pm

(International Christian Concern) — International Christian Concern (ICC) has documented at least 15 separate anti-Christian incidents across India in the past 14 days. These incidents include physical assaults, a church demolition, forced conversions, false accusations of forced conversions, and social boycotts. On July 2, 35 Hindu radicals attacked 150…

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Chinese Church Targeted for Third Time in a Month   Jul 18, 2018 10:27 am

Photo Credit: ChinaAid GUANGZHOU, Guangdong (China Aid) — On Sunday, 30-40 government agents broke into a Bible Reformed Church in China’s southern Guangdong province for the third time in a month, taking a number of the Christians into questioning. The church’s pastor, Huang Xiaoning, told a ChinaAid reporter at 11:00 that morning, “We had just begun…

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Judge Dismisses Planned Parenthood Lawsuit Against HHS for Shifting Title X Funding Criteria Toward Groups That Promote Abstinence   Jul 18, 2018 09:39 pm

WASHINGTON — A federal judge appointed to the bench by President Donald Trump has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood challenging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for altering its Title X funding criteria to prefer groups that promote abstinence and work with faith-based entities. The judge said that the lawsuit was premature as the…

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Maine Governor Vetoes Bill Banning ‘Conversion Therapy’ for Minors, Citing ‘Bad Policy,’ ‘Threat’ to Religious Liberty   Jul 18, 2018 03:58 pm

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore AUGUSTA, Maine — The Republican governor of Maine has vetoed a bill that would have banned what is often referred to as “conversion therapy” for minors who struggle with homosexual temptation, stating that the legislation was “overly broad,” “bad policy” and could be “interpreted as a threat to an individual’s religious…

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RenewAmerica Newsletter for July 20, 2018

July 20, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump insisted Wednesday that he has been tougher on Russia than his predecessors, outlining sanctions and other ways he’s punished Moscow as the White House tried to quell the furor in Washington over the administration’s response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election…. (more)

July 19, 2018
NEWSMAX — Alan Dershowitz said that Democrats and those calling President Donald Trump’s performance in Helsinki an act of treason have gone “completely over the top,” the noted law scholar and professor told conservative voice Hugh Hewitt on Thursday. “You might not like what Trump did. I didn’t like what he did. But to call it treason is just wrong as a matter of constitutional law,” Dershowitz said on Hewitt’s radio show…. (more)

July 19, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump said Wednesday he’d accept the assessment from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats that Russian attempts to interfere in U.S. elections are ongoing, despite Trump publicly offering a range of opinions about the danger Kremlin-linked interference operations pose to the American political process…. (more)

July 19, 2018
Calls former CIA director Brennan a “total low-life”
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump said Wednesday that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is ultimately responsible for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, and that he warned Mr. Putin “we can’t have this” meddling in the future…. (more)


July 19, 2018
Facebook censors Declaration of Independence quotes as “hate speech”
WORLDNETDAILY — Democrats continue to ridicule Republican claims of political bias by social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google. At a congressional hearing on the issue Tuesday, Rep. David Cicillone, D-R.I., claimed, “There is no evidence that the algorithms of social networks or search results are biased against conservatives.”… (more)

July 19, 2018
Relies on left-wing SPLC ‘hate group’ designation
ART MOORE — The vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee is asking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to stop the retail giant’s “sale of literature and music published by entities identified as ‘hate groups’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”… (more)


July 19, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Tim Allen of “Last Man Standing” let fans know this week – – with a smile – – that ABC couldn’t keep him down. “Mike Baxter” and his family will soon be back on the airwaves to the delight of millions of fans. An extra bonus for those who protested ABC’s sudden cancellation in May 2016, however, came with a teaser released Tuesday…. (more)


July 19, 2018

July 19, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE — The state Supreme Court decided Wednesday that California will remain intact geographically, at least for now, while it decides whether the voters can consider a proposal to divide the Golden State into three new states. The three-state initiative, Proposition 9, had gathered enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Nine days after opponents filed suit, the court issued a unanimous order removing the measure from the ballot and ordering further legal arguments on whether it should be placed on another ballot in 2020 or struck down altogether…. (more)

July 19, 2018
(YOUTUBE) — JFK researcher Jerry Kroth, author of two previous books on the Kennedy assassination, has released a new book (with a video) based on 50,000 secret documents newly released by President Trump that implicate Vice President Lyndon Johnson in the November 22, 1963, assassination. In his video, “The Kennedy Assassination: what really happened,” Kroth says, “There are at least 80 huge revelations in this book that just came out. The media mentioned about six. The media missed virtually everything.” Among his conclusions is that LBJ orchestrated a coup d’ etat involving members of the CIA, the FBI, and the mafia that enabled him to illicitly gain the presidency of the United States, and then successfully covered up his involvement. [language alert]… (more)


July 17, 2018
BRYAN FISCHER — President Trump has been blistered, lampooned, reviled, and skewered over his performance in Helsinki, Finland. He has been raked over the proverbial coals by friend and foe alike for his supposed obsequious acquiescence to Vladimir Putin…. (more)

July 17, 2018
BYRON YORK — Was Russia’s effort to interfere in the 2016 election the most important issue on the table at President Trump’s Helsinki summit with President Vladimir Putin? No. But it’s not an unimportant issue either, and Trump knew the American press is obsessed with it. So he knew it would play a big role in the Trump-Putin post-summit news conference…. (more)

July 17, 2018
THE HILL — Top conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus are defending President Trump’s performance at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Members of the group applauded the president’s diplomatic efforts, arguing the media has placed too much focus on his remarks at a post-summit press conference with Putin and not enough on his actions…. (more)

July 17, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump attempted Tuesday to douse the political firestorm over his kid-glove treatment of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Republican leaders were already preparing an end run around the White House with legislation to stop Moscow from meddling in U.S. elections again…. (more)


July 17, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — Seeking to constrain the fallout from President Trump’s widely maligned press conference with Vladimir Putin, the White House stressed his past acceptance of the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered with the 2016 election in talking points distributed to congressional Republicans Monday evening…. (more)

July 17, 2018
NEWSMAX — Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan told Newsmax TV on Tuesday that President Donald Trump averted the “second Cold War” and Buchanan added a slam of the “absurd” fallout over misspoken comments at the press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin…. (more)

July 17, 2018
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump blasted former CIA director John Brennan as “a very bad person” in an interview to air Tuesday night – – even as he publicly declared that he’s got “full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies.”… (more)


July 17, 2018
THE HILL — Lawmakers clashed Tuesday at a contentious hearing over claims that social media platforms and tech companies are biased against conservative viewpoints…. (more)

July 17, 2018
BY WES VERNON — Edward Griffin, in his Need to Know column, wrote that he has seen the film Revelation: Dawn of Global Government. Even though he himself was in a part of the movie, actually seeing the film in final form left him “stunned.” When his commentary was joined by “scores of others who spoke from first-hand knowledge about the loss of liberty and the growth of government,” the pieces came together like a giant jigsaw puzzle that revealed a disturbing picture of the social and political Hell that is rapidly approaching…. (more)


July 16, 2018
ALAN KEYES — Because Christ teaches using parables, people who learn from him gain an advantage. They are accustomed to remembering that things are not always what they seem, and to use their imagination to think beyond the apparent significance of a story for its additional meaning…. (more)

July 16, 2018
CHARLES HURT — Well, that certainly was not The Art of the Deal. And that was not the tough guy from Queens we so enthusiastically elected. President Trump is the most courageous, imaginative, and dynamic American political leader in more than a quarter-century. He is willing to tackle huge problems and fiercely pursue bold and inventive courses in search of solutions to problems that cowardly politicians have ignored for decades…. (more)


July 16, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump on Monday stood beside Russian President Vladimir Putin and rejected the findings of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election, drawing bipartisan blowback from lawmakers dismayed by his performance on the world stage…. (more)

July 16, 2018
WESLEY PRUDEN — How does Donald Trump test the patience, forbearance, loyalty and endurance of the millions who trusted him to drain the swamp, restore a strong American voice in the world, cast out evil-doers and deliver America from the clutch of those who would trash the dream?… (more)

July 16, 2018
NEW YORK POST — Watching FBI agent Peter Strzok battle with Congress, my initial reaction was pure anger. His repeated, arrogant insistence that he had done nothing wrong despite tons of evidence to the contrary convinced me he deserved immediate firing – – if not the firing squad…. (more)


July 16, 2018
FOX NEWS — Peter Strzok’s ‘insurance policy’ is the Russia collusion investigation…. (more)

 

Luther: On the Hypocrites — Zwinglius Redivivus

A scorpion thinks when his head lies hid under a leaf, that he cannot be seen; even so the hypocrites and false saints think, when they have hoisted up one or two good works, that all their sins therewith are covered and hid. — Martin Luther

via Luther: On the Hypocrites — Zwinglius Redivivus

The Faltering Christian Making it Home (Goodwin)

The Reformed Reader

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, vol. 5 God’s promise to perfect his children even extends to Christians who are backsliding or languishing in the faith.  Even in them God will restore and revive the principles of spiritual life.  This is proved by comparing Hebrews 13:20-21 with 1 Peter 5:10.  Thomas Goodwin (d. 1680) argued this truth of perseverance/preservation well in chapter 13 of his book called A Discourse of Election.  Here’s part of it that I found especially comforting:

And as for my text (Heb. 13:20-21), if you observe the ground of the promise of preservation there, it is not founded upon men’s having continued in an exact walking, in every good work all along from their calling, without any falterings or interruption…to be sure there is no mention of that, but it is founded upon this, that the God of all grace having effectually called them, he will see to it to perfect that…

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July 21, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Analogy

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; (10:16a)

In saying, Behold, Jesus indicated His desire for the twelve to pay special attention to what He was about to say. He had spoken of the unbelieving multitudes as being like “sheep without a shepherd” (9:36), and He had delegated miraculous powers to the twelve (10:8). Based on such input it could have seemed to the apostles that they were destined to be powerful wolves who would go out with invincibility to conquer the defenseless, unbelieving sheep of the world. But the Lord here made it clear that the world’s “sheep” are not really defenseless and that the apostles’ powers—divinely endowed and marvelous as they were—would not prevent them from suffering from the hands of men. They, and the rest of His followers until He returns again, would be the real sheep. In that paradoxical truth Jesus graphically pointed up the tensions between our vulnerability and our invincibility—between our weakness in ourselves and our strength in Him, between the power of hateful persecution and the power of loving submission, and between the worldly power of the flesh and the supernatural power of the Spirit.

Sheep are perhaps the most dependent, helpless, and stupid of all domesticated animals. They are as often panicked by harmless things as by those that are dangerous. And when real danger does come, they have no natural defense except running, and they are not very good at that.

In A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-third Psalm, Philip Keller gives many insights from his long experience as a shepherd in Canada. He points out that because sheep are so indiscriminate in their choice of vegetation to eat, it is necessary to carefully protect them from eating poisonous weeds. Because they are highly vulnerable to weather extremes and to infections and disease, they must be regularly and individually checked for dangerous symptoms, for cuts and abrasions, and for insects and parasites that can harm them. Flies buzzing around their eyes and ears have been known to so irritate and frighten sheep that they beat their heads against trees or rocks until they are dead. Sometimes flies will lay eggs in a sheep’s eyes and ultimately cause blindness. In trying to escape real or imagined danger, sheep will sometimes panic into a blind stampede, and pregnant ewes will lose their lambs from the running and sometimes even their own lives from utter exhaustion.

But the sheep’s greatest enemy is predators, the worst of which in Palestine and in many other parts of the world has always been wolves. People in Palestine understood the nature of sheep and the danger of wolves. They knew how difficult the task of the shepherd was simply to keep his sheep alive, much less healthy and contented.

Most shepherds did not themselves own the flocks but tended them on behalf of the owners. When a sheep was killed, the shepherd was required to bring back a piece of its torn flesh or some other part of its body to prove it had indeed been killed by a wild animal rather than stolen by a thief or perhaps sold by a dishonest shepherd.

Jesus clearly identifies the sheep as you, that is, His disciples—the twelve and, by extension, all of His disciples yet to come.

The normal danger for sheep is that wolves come in among them. But here Jesus told the twelve, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. He called them to go into the wolves’ own territory, to walk into the very maw of their enemies. Jesus is the perfect Good Shepherd, who loves His sheep with a divine love, who intimately knows them and is known by them, and who lays down His life for them (John 10:11–15). But in the figure of the sheep and wolves, Jesus gave a graphic illustration of the rejection and persecution by a God-hating world they would face because of Him. So before the twelve went out into their first brief and relatively undemanding service for the Lord, He set before them the cost of discipleship. Just as He did not escape opposition and persecution, neither would they (cf. John 15:18–27; 16:33).

The world will continue to make raids on the church just as wolves make raids on flocks of sheep. “I know that after my departure,” Paul said, “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). In his Romans letter he spoke of believers being looked on by the world as “sheep to be slaughtered” (8:36). Jesus had already warned His followers of “the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15).

It is consistent with their predatory nature for wolves to come into a flock in the field and even into the sheepfold to attack, mutilate, and devour the sheep. But it is not natural or consistent with their nature for sheep to voluntarily walk into the wolves’ own den. And it is unnatural for a shepherd to send his sheep into such certain peril. Yet that is where Jesus, the Good Shepherd, sends His disciples—into the hostile world of ungodly souls, because that is where they can serve Him best and be most effective in winning others to Him. The apostles, and to various extents every believer after them, would be sent out defenseless in themselves among evil, rapacious, vicious, God-hating mankind.

We do not hear much preaching today of sinners needing to count the cost of salvation and repenting of sin in confessing the lordship of Christ, or of coming to Him humbly, devoid of pride and self-trust, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and entering the narrow gate and walking the narrow road of righteousness. Rarely are Christians called to take up their crosses and follow Christ in moving out into the world as sheep led to slaughter. The popular appeal is to ease, comfort, riches, advancement, and ambition—and the church often uses that kind of enticement to motivate unbelievers to trust in Christ and to motivate believers to follow Him. But Jesus makes no such offer. To the disciple He promises hardship, suffering, and death.

To present the gospel dishonestly and misleadingly is to be unfaithful to the Lord and to those to whom we present it. Because of false promises, many unredeemed people remain on the broad road that leads to destruction while being under the delusion they are on the road to life. Many believers are confirmed in spiritual mediocrity and unfruitfulness, thinking their health, wealth, and material success is the certain mark of divine approval. Still other believers are disillusioned and embittered because their lives of obedience, faithfulness, and sacrifice for Christ have not been materially rewarded.

After the siege of Rome in 1849, Garibaldi said to his soldiers, “Men, all our efforts against superior forces have been unavailing. I have nothing to offer you but hunger and thirst, hardship and death. But I call on all who love their country to join with me.” After the Allies were forced to evacuate Dunkirk in 1940, Churchill said to his fellow Englishmen, “All I can offer you is blood, sweat, and tears.”

If those human leaders refused to send out their fellow countrymen to war under false pretenses, how much less would the divine Son of God! Jesus does not send out His followers without warning about the demands and dangers of discipleship. Nor did His apostles mislead the early church about what belonging to Christ would cost. As he wrote to encourage and strengthen Timothy, his son in the faith, Paul also assured him that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). Godly lives are not marked by continual suffering and hardship inflicted on them by the unbelieving world. Neither the life of Jesus nor the lives of the apostles were characterized by uninterrupted hardship and persecution. But faithfulness to God guarantees that at some times and to some degree Satan and his world system will exact a price for it.

The Attitude

therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves. (10:16b)

In Egyptian hieroglyphics, as well as in much ancient lore, serpents symbolize wisdom. They were considered to be shrewd, smart, cunning, cautious. In that characteristic, at least, Christians are to emulate serpents.

Paul advises believers, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity” (Col. 4:5). Servants of the Lord are to be shrewd and cunning in dealing with the unbelieving world around them.

The basic idea is that of saying the right thing at the right time and place, of having a sense of propriety and appropriateness, and of trying to discover the best means to achieve the highest goal. It is neither wise nor loving to be needlessly accusatory or inflammatory. When the Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus into either defending or condemning the Roman government by asking Him about paying taxes to Caesar, He did not take the occasion to vilify Caesar or the Roman government—vile, debauched, unjust, and ungodly as they were. Nor did He condone their wickedness. He replied simply, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). It is neither brave nor wise, and neither spiritual nor loving, to needlessly incite anger or court trouble.

As the most harmless and gentle of birds, doves represent being pure, or innocent, another characteristic of the faithful disciple of Christ. Being true to God’s Word and uncompromising in proclaiming the gospel does not require, and should never include, being abrasive, course, inconsiderate, belligerent, blatant, or blunt.

Wisdom and innocence, cunning and gentleness, are handmaids of discretion. No apostle was more uncompromising of the gospel than Paul; yet he declared,

I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. (1 Cor. 9:19–22)

Innocence involves more than simply avoiding negative attitudes and approaches. It also involves the positive attribute of purity. Godly wisdom has no part in anything that is impure, deceitful, or defiling. It is always the ally of truth and righteousness. Nothing untruthful or unethical can enhance the gospel or make its witness more effective. Paul assured the Thessalonian believers that his preaching and teaching of the gospel did “not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit” (1 Thess. 2:3). Integrity and honesty are practical manifestations of truthfulness, without which an otherwise orthodox presentation of the gospel is distorted and weakened.

We are to be like our Lord Himself, our great “high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled” (Heb. 7:26). We are to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27). Jesus is again our model, because He “committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23). In following our Lord’s example, “when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate” (1 Cor. 4:12–13).

When Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, the high priest Ananias ordered him to be struck in the mouth. In a moment of unguarded anger the apostle replied, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! And do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?” (Acts 23:3). When he was rebuked by some bystanders for reviling the high priest, Paul immediately apologized, saying, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people’ ” (v. 5). What Paul had said to the high priest was perfectly true, and certainly understandable from a human point of view. But it was not appropriate, not only because it was said to the high priest but because it was said in self-defensive anger. It was not the wise and righteous thing to say.[1]


16 The first part of v. 16 has a close parallel in Luke 10:3, part of the commission to the seventy-two. Because it is short and aphoristic, it is impossible to be certain how many times Jesus said it. Here it links the preceding pericope with the following warnings about persecution. The verse goes as well with what succeeds as what precedes.

Jesus pictured his disciples, defenseless in themselves, located in a dangerous environment. This is where he himself was sending them. The shepherd in this metaphor sends his sheep into the wolf pack (cf. 7:15; Jn 10:12; Ac 20:29). Therefore they must be phronimoi (“shrewd,” GK 5861) as serpents, which in several ancient Near Eastern cultures were proverbial for prudence. But prudence can easily degenerate into cheap cunning unless it goes with simplicity. The disciples must prove not only “shrewd” but akeraioi (“innocent”; used elsewhere only in Ro 16:19; Php 2:15). Yet innocence becomes ignorance, even naïveté, unless combined with prudence.

The dove was not an established symbol. In Hosea 7:11, a dove is pictured as “easily deceived and senseless.” In a late midrash the serpent-dove contrast appears (“God saith to the Israelites: ‘Towards me they are sincere as doves, but toward the Gentiles they are cunning as serpents’ ” [Cant. Rab. 2:14]). Yet not only is this midrash late; the contrast is not at all what Jesus had in mind. His followers were to be not prudent toward outsiders and innocent toward God, but both prudent and innocent in their mission to outsiders. In this light the dove image becomes clear. Doves are retiring but not astute; they are easily ensnared by the fowler. So Jesus’ disciples, in their mission as sheep among wolves, must be “shrewd,” avoiding conflicts and attacks where possible, but they must also be “innocent,” i.e., not so cautious, suspicious, and cunning that circumspection degenerates into fear or elusiveness. The balance is difficult, but not a little of Jesus’ teaching combines such poles of meaning (see comments at 7:1–6).[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 2, pp. 198–202). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 286–287). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

July 21 Healings and the Existence of Disease

When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.”—Matt. 8:16–17

Jesus performed healing miracles for reasons far more profound than to wipe out all disease, which did happen in Palestine while He ministered. First, He healed to personally participate in humanity’s suffering and illness. He knew people’s inner feelings of agony, bewilderment, despair, and frustration because of disease, and He wanted to sympathize. He vicariously experienced those elements, “for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15).

Second, Christ healed people because He experienced the awful effects of disease’s root cause, sin. He could not see the pain of disease and death without feeling sin’s pain. Jesus wept for Lazarus (John 11:34–36) not from sadness but from feeling the sting of sin and evil that brings death to everyone. Sin and sickness both operate as effects of the Fall, and only divine power can cure either.

Third, our Lord “took our infirmities and carried away our diseases” as a preview of His kingdom’s most wonderful elements—the permanent removal of sin, sorrow, and disease (cf. Rev. 21:1–4). His redeeming work to remove the penalty and guilt of sin for His own would be complete. Just as with His transfiguration, in which He pulled back the veil over His flesh and gave three disciples a glimpse of His divine glory, Jesus gave those healed and all who witnessed a gracious preview of His eternal kingdom.

ASK YOURSELF

The question is not whether or not Jesus can heal, but rather why He chooses to sometimes withhold the healing we seek. When He does, what eternal purposes might He have in mind?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 211). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

JULY 21 CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE: ENCOUNTER WITH GOD

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father…and Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

EXODUS 3:6

True Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God. Without this, religion is but a shadow, a reflection of reality, a cheap copy of the original once enjoyed by someone else of whom we have heard.

It cannot but be a major tragedy in the life of any man to live in a church from childhood to old age and know nothing more real than some synthetic god compounded of theology and logic, but having no eyes to see, nor ears to hear, and no heart to love.

The spiritual giants of old were men who at some time became acutely conscious of the real Presence of God and maintained that consciousness for the rest of their lives.

The first encounter may have been one of terror, as when a “horror of great darkness” fell upon Abram, or as when Moses at the bush hid his face because he was afraid to look upon God. Usually this fear soon lost its content of terror and changed after a while to delightsome awe, to level off finally into a reverent sense of complete nearness to God. The essential point is this: these were men who experienced God!

How otherwise can the saints and prophets be explained? How otherwise can we account for the amazing power for good they have exercised over countless generations? Is it not that they walked in conscious communion with the real Presence and addressed their prayers to God with the artless conviction that they were addressing Someone actually there?[1]


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

Barack Obama In South Africa Slams ‘Rich People With Big Houses’ Before Returning Home To His $8 Million Dollar Mansion With 9.5 Bathrooms • Now The End Begins

After the speech calling for rich people to get smaller houses, Obama traveled back to America and to his $8.1 million eight-bedroom, nine-and-a-half bathroom mansion in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world

I love when Liberals lecture us about ‘income inequality’, especially when those Liberals have multiple houses worth millions of dollars and pull down millions more in speaking fees. Nancy Pelosi, who said that the $2,000 Trump tax credit for working families was just ‘crumbs’, has a net worth of $100 million dollars. Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders has two beautiful home, and last year purchased a third home he and his wife use for vacation and entertaining. In his spare time, Sanders loves to rail against the rich. Hmm.

A few weeks ago, Barack Obama went to South Africa to give one of his ‘income redistribution’ speeches that his adoring public ate up like a puppy with an ice cream treat. While there he did all sorts of fun things like preaching against wealthy people while simultaneously bragging about how much money he makes now. So much money, in fact, he says how ‘surprised he is’ with how many millions he has in the bank. Obama then went on to chide wealthy people for their ‘excessive’ lifestyles. Does it get any crazier than that, or any more hypocritical?

FROM THE DAILY CALLER: At a recent speech in South Africa, former President Barack Obama criticized wealth inequality, saying those who have more money should share their earnings with the less fortunate.

“Right now, I’m actually surprised by how much money I got,” Obama said of the more than $20 million he earned between 2005 and 2016.

Obama then chided wealthy individuals for excess, saying, “There’s only so much you can eat. There’s only so big a house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough.”

“We’re going to have to worry about economics if we want to get democracy back on track,” Obama continued “We’re going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income, review of our workweek, how we retrain our young people, how we make everybody an entrepreneur at some level.”

Obama continued on income inequality, saying, “History shows that societies which tolerate vast differences in wealth feed resentments and reduce solidarity and actually grow more slowly. And when economic power is concentrated in the hands of the few, history also shows that political power is sure to follow and that dynamic eats away at democracy.”

After the speech calling for rich people to get smaller houses, Obama traveled back to America and to his $8.1 million eight-bedroom, nine-and-a-half bathroom mansion in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world. READ MORE
— Read on www.nowtheendbegins.com/obama-south-africa-slam-rich-people-big-houses-before-returning-home-to-his-8-million-dollar-mansion/

July 21 Sharing Others’ Joy

Rejoice with those who rejoice.

Romans 12:15

At first glance, the concept of sharing someone else’s joy seems easy enough to accept. But when that person’s blessings, honor, and welfare come at your expense or perhaps make your circumstances appear unsatisfying by comparison, you naturally want to be resentful or jealous rather than happy.

However, it is distinctively Christian for you to rejoice in the good circumstances and rewards of others—especially other Christians—no matter what your own situation might be. “If one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 222). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

July 21, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

Zechariah 13:1 (MSBNASB): 13:1 house of David … inhabitants of Jerusalem. The totality of cleansing is noted by its effect on both royalty and commoners. a fountain … for sin and for impurity. A symbolic reference to the means of cleansing and purification through the atoning death of the pierced One (cf. 1Jn 1:7). This has direct reference to the New Covenant of Jer 31:31–34; Eze 36:25–32; Ro 11:26–29. So the storm that broke upon Israel for the crime of Calvary and has raged with unmitigated fury for long, tragic centuries, will suddenly end and salvation will turn sin into righteousness in the gladness and glory of the kingdom of Messiah Jesus.


Zechariah 13:1 (ESVSB): 13:1 Cleansing from sin comes in Christ (1 John 2:1–2).