Daily Archives: August 17, 2018

August 17: Anxiety and the Wilderness

Isaiah 35:1–37:13; Luke 12:22–59; Job 8:11–22

Anxiety has a way of ruling over us. Although many of our concerns are legitimate—like having money to pay the rent and buy food—some of them are nonsensical. We envision future catastrophes and spend our days worrying about what might never happen, creating an emotional wilderness for ourselves.

Anxiety isn’t new. The prophet Isaiah addresses the problem: “Wilderness and dry land shall be glad, and desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus.… Say to those who are hasty of heart, ‘Be strong; you must not fear! Look! your God will come with vengeance, with divine retribution. He is the one who will come and save you’ ” (Isa 35:1, 4).

Isaiah realizes that there is a time and season for everything. He proclaims that God will bring the people out of the wilderness (their exile in Babylon) and back into their land. There is an answer to the anxiety, pain and worry that they feel about the future. His words ring with prophetic certainty because he knows them to be true—they are Yahweh’s words.

Jesus also addresses anxiety when He says to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not be anxious for your life, what you will eat, or for your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, that they neither sow nor reap; to them there is neither storeroom nor barn, and God feeds them. How much more are you worth than the birds?” (Luke 12:22–24).

Why must we worry? Why must we strive over things we cannot change? Ultimately, everything in life is a matter of depending on God.

What anxieties can you hand over to God 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.

August 17 Becoming an Effective Minister

“Love … is not arrogant” (1 Cor. 13:4).

✧✧✧

Love is the key to effective ministry.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4 Paul says, “Love does not brag and is not arrogant.” We often equate bragging and arrogance, but in this passage there is a subtle difference. The Greek word translated “brag” emphasizes prideful speech or actions; “arrogant” emphasizes the attitude of pride motivating those actions.

The prideful attitudes of the Corinthians were evident in several areas. In 1 Corinthians 4:18–21 Paul says, “Some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant, but their power. … What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod or with love and a spirit of gentleness?” Apparently some thought they no longer needed his instruction. “After all,” they reasoned, “we’ve had the best teachers—Apollos, Peter, and even Paul himself [1 Cor. 1:12]; so what need do we have for more instruction?” The fact was, they had just enough knowledge to inflate their egos, but they were woefully ignorant of love (1 Cor. 8:1).

It was arrogance that led the Corinthian church to condone gross immorality: “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife [incest]. And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst” (1 Cor. 5:1–2). They were too prideful to confront and correct that situation, so they bragged about it instead. Even pagans wouldn’t tolerate that kind of behavior!

That’s a tragic picture of people so blinded by pride that they refused to discern between good and evil. Consequently, all their spiritual activities were counterproductive. They were gifted by the Spirit and even flaunted their gifts, but they lacked the love that transforms a gifted person into an effective minister.

Learn from the Corinthians’ mistakes. Never settle for mere spiritual activities. Let love motivate everything you do. Then God can honor your ministries and make them truly effective for His purposes.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to make you a more effective minister and to protect you from the blindness of arrogance.

For Further Study: What do the following proverbs say about pride? Proverbs 8:13; 11:2; and 29:23.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 242). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Weekend Apologetics Hit & Misc: Truth Search

What Is the Key To Being an Effective Debater? Stories and Tips from Josh McDowell

How to ERASE Logical Fallacies

The Problem of Evil: Logical Inconsistency

How to Create a Reading Culture in Your Church

Reveling in Revelation

Why Eternal Punishment is not Nonsensical

Christianity and Social Justice

Jehovah’s Witnesses Questions and Answers

Can We Trust the Bible?

Fairy-Story Apologetics

How to Do a Truth Search

Bible Mythbusters: Who is Lucifer?

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Kindle Deals in Christian Apologetics: This Week’s Top Ten Best-Sellers!

Making Sense of God: Finding God in the Modern World by Timothy Keller $2.99

From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation by Craig A. Evans $1.99

Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation by Norman Geisler $1.59

WHAT IS MAN?: Adam, Alien or Ape? by Dr. Edgar Andrews $3.99

Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil (multiple authors) $1.99

Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate on the Resurrection by Michael Licona $1.99

The Gospels and Acts (The Holman Apologetics Commentary on the Bible) $2.99

Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Francis J. Beckwith &Gregory Koukl $1.99

Passionate Conviction: Modern Discourses on Christian Apologetics by William Lane Craig & Paul Copan (editors) $2.99

The Most Misused Stories in the Bible: Surprising Ways Popular Bible Stories Are Misunderstood by Eric J. Bargerhuff $3.03
— Read on www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2018/08/weekend-apologetics-hit-misc-truth-search.html

Extremists On Left, Right Eliminate Each Other In Violent Clash, Nation’s Problems Finally Over — The Babylon Bee

CHICAGO, IL—America celebrated today as violent extremists came together in a violent clash, killing each other and ending the nation’s problems for good. Extremist groups from the far left and far right heroically united in completely eliminating each other after a massive battle royale on a Chicago street. When the confrontation ended, in what some might call a miracle, not one survivor was left standing.

It began when extremist groups converged after White Nationalists planned a rally in downtown Chicago. Members of other groups arrived to counter-protest carrying bats, brass knuckles, AR-15s, nunchucks, clubs, chainsaw bayonets, and those giant ACME hammers and anvils. After shouted insults were traded back and forth between the groups, a fight broke out that erupted into an all-out brouhaha.

The white nationalists, only numbering in the low 20’s, were eliminated almost immediately. Still hungry for the blood, the leftist groups turned on each other, even attacking members of their own organizations.

“There was eventually so much dust, pot smoke, e-juice vapor, and AXE body spray in the air that visibility was near zero,” said Officer Peter Kirk who arrived at the bloody scene. “Best we can tell, the rioters were just swinging their weapons blindly, taking out whoever was closest. Eventually, everyone died.” The officer had a tear in his eye as he spoke about the incident. “It’s beautiful.”

A celebration was planned in the intersection where the event took place. “A lot of people thought these groups would never accomplish anything with their violent, hateful tactics,” one speaker said during the ceremony. “Others said there was no way these groups would ever be able to find common ground and work together toward any kind of peace. Well, everyone has been proven wrong today. What these groups accomplished by completely obliterating each other is going to bring real healing to our nation.”

Officials unveiled a 30-foot pillar in memory of those who gave their lives in the great cause to end violent extremism once and for all with the words “Mutuo Propter Vertam” (Thanks for wiping each other out) engraved above the names of the fallen.

via Extremists On Left, Right Eliminate Each Other In Violent Clash, Nation’s Problems Finally Over — The Babylon Bee

The Bee Explains: What Is Social Justice? — The Babylon Bee

If you want to cause a ruckus at your local church, just walk right into the middle of a service and whisper, “Social justice.” Almost immediately, everyone will begin arguing with one another about what exactly social justice is, and whether or not it’s something for which Christians should advocate. Pointy objects might be thrown in your direction. Particularly enraged churchgoers might sneak up behind you and conk you over the head with a folding chair.

So while we don’t recommend bringing up social justice in most situations, it’s important that you understand exactly what social justice is and the wide variety of connotations that the term implies. Here it is: the most important explainer on social justice you will ever read.

What is social justice?

If there’s one thing Americans are good at, it’s communicating well with each other online. So of course, when we talk about social justice, we’re often using two different definitions, which is always good for civil discourse:

  1. Social justice (old-school definition): Voluntarily feeding the poor, taking care of a needy neighbor, freely offering your time and money to those less fortunate than yourself. You know, all the good stuff they taught you to do on Veggie Tales and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Most people are cool with all this, unless you’re just a class-A jerk.
  2. Social justice (new definition): A Marxism-inspired construct that sees everything in terms of power vs. the powerless. This woker version of social justice demands that you bow to all of the government’s plans to reform society OR ELSE. When someone identifies as a “brave social justice warrior,” this is usually what they mean. Just hand over your liberty and money to the government and they’ll make it all better.

What is intersectionality?

Intersectionality is simple: It’s the straightforward practice of allocating “points” to groups of people based on their socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity and gender—all the various “roads” that meet at your “intersection.” These points represent oppression, and the more points you have, the more your voice matters. “White,” “male” and “Christian” are each worth approximately -9,000 points, which means if you’re a Christian white male, you’re out of luck in the credibility department! But if you’re anything other than a Christian white male, you’re awarded at least one oppression point and thus may be worth listening to depending on whether or not your opinion aligns with what the groups you represent believe. (We know this scoring system makes about as much sense as Quidditch, but just go with it unless you want to be called a bigot).

Who decides who’s the most oppressed?

No one knows, which is why leftists stumble over themselves to argue that they’re more oppressed than the other guy—kind of similar to how the people in your Dungeons & Dragons group who argue that their level 20 Warlock could totally beat up your lame Barbarian. Nuh-uh!

Why does oppression give a person more validity?

It’s a mystery! Why does your race or sexual orientation have to determine all of your views? No idea! How is identifying people by their oppression beneficial to society? Hard to say! But what we know is that it’s important and you’d better SHUT UP or you’re going to lose all your points.

What’s wrong with plain old biblical justice?

Biblical justice doesn’t account for all of the unique oppressions that different groups today face. The God of the universe couldn’t have possibly seen this far ahead. So we’ve got to fill in the gaps. When Paul wrote that Christians are all one in Christ Jesus, he pretty obviously meant that we should be divided along racial lines and work hard at stirring up resentment.

Is the gospel enough to redeem sinful society?

I mean, the gospel is just alright with us, but is it powerful enough to turn sin on its head and begin reforming society from the inside out as more people see the glory of Christ? Meh. Better institute some coercive social programs to help out, just to be sure.

What’s meant by being “woke?” How do I know if I’m woke enough?

“Woke” means you’ve bought into the oppressed/oppressor construct. It can also mean you just smoke a lot of pot.

How do I do better?

Apologize for anything you say that even one person takes offense to, no matter how innocuous. The Left will still eat you alive, of course, but as their baseball bats and protest signs continue to pummel your head and the light of life fades from your eyes, at least you’ll die in the knowledge that you did better.

Now get out there and DO BETTER!

via The Bee Explains: What Is Social Justice? — The Babylon Bee

Is It Biblical to Say God “Loves You” to Believers and Nonbelievers Alike? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Is it biblical to say “God loves you” to non-Christians? From our 2017 National Conference, R.C. Sproul answers this question and explains the three different types of divine love. To ask us a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter. Read the Transcript

via Is It Biblical to Say God “Loves You” to Believers and Nonbelievers Alike? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

AUGUST 17 LET US MOVE FORWARD

That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

The Apostle Paul’s greatest desire was to always move forward in the knowledge and blessing of God. But some modern Bible teachers now call that kind of hunger and thirsting fanaticism, instead of desire for spiritual maturity.

These teachers assure the new Christian: “You are now complete in Christ. Just relax and be glad that there is nothing more you will ever need.”

With great desire Paul wrote: “That I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8)—and yet he already had Christ! With obvious longing he said: “[That I may] be found in Him” (3:9)—and yet he was already in Him!

Paul humbly and intensely breathed his great desire: “That I may know Him” (3:10)—even though he already knew Him!

Because he did not want to stand still, Paul testified: “I follow after; I press toward the mark. I am striving to lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold on me!” (see 3:12).

It is very plain that the apostle had no other desire than to be completely available to God. Many of us refuse to follow his example!

Dear Lord, my prayer this morning is that You will satisfy my hunger to know You more and that You will use me to help advance Your kingdom.[1]


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

“Deeply Troubling” – Wall Street Journal Implores “What Was Bruce Ohr Doing?”

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 – hours after former CIA Director Brennan threw a tantrum over having his security clearance removed – that while Justice has released some damning documents – particularly on what Bruce Ohr was doing – much of the truth is still classified.

Via The Wall Street Journal,

What Was Bruce Ohr Doing?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have continued to insist they did nothing wrong in their Trump-Russia investigation. This week should finally bring an end to that claim, given the clear evidence of malfeasance via the use of Bruce Ohr.

Mr. Ohr was until last year associate deputy attorney general.

He began feeding information to the FBI from dossier author Christopher Steele in late 2016 – after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a confidential informant for violating the bureau’s rules. He also collected dirt from Glenn Simpson, cofounder of Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and employed Mr. Steele. Altogether, the FBI pumped Mr. Ohr for information at least a dozen times, debriefs that remain in classified 302 forms.

All the while, Mr. Ohr failed to disclose on financial forms that his wife, Nellie, worked alongside Mr. Steele in 2016, getting paid by Mr. Simpson for anti-Trump research. The Justice Department has now turned over Ohr documents to Congress that show how deeply tied up he was with the Clinton crew – with dozens of emails, calls, meetings and notes that describe his interactions and what he collected.

Mr. Ohr’s conduct is itself deeply troubling. He was acting as a witness (via FBI interviews) in a case being overseen by a Justice Department in which he held a very senior position. He appears to have concealed this role from at least some superiors, since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified that he’d been unaware of Mr. Ohr’s intermediary status.

Lawyers meanwhile note that it is a crime for a federal official to participate in any government matter in which he has a financial interest. Fusion’s bank records presumably show Nellie Ohr, and by extension her husband, benefiting from the Trump opposition research that Mr. Ohr continued to pass to the FBI. The Justice Department declined to comment.

But for all Mr. Ohr’s misdeeds, the worse misconduct is by the FBI and Justice Department.

It’s bad enough that the bureau relied on a dossier crafted by a man in the employ of the rival presidential campaign. Bad enough that it never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of that dossier’s provenance. And bad enough that the FBI didn’t fire Mr. Steele as a confidential human source in September 2016 when it should have been obvious he was leaking FBI details to the press to harm Donald Trump’s electoral chances. It terminated him only when it was absolutely forced to, after Mr. Steele gave an on-the-record interview on Oct. 31, 2016.

But now we discover the FBI continued to go to this discredited informant in its investigation after the firing—by funneling his information via a Justice Department cutout. The FBI has an entire manual governing the use of confidential sources, with elaborate rules on validations, standards and documentation. Mr. Steele failed these standards. The FBI then evaded its own program to get at his info anyway.

And it did so even though we have evidence that lead FBI investigators may have suspected Mr. Ohr was a problem.

An Oct. 7, 2016, text message from now-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok to his colleague Lisa Page reads: “Jesus. More BO leaks in the NYT,” which could be a reference to Mr. Ohr.

The FBI may also have been obtaining, via Mr. Ohr, information that came from a man the FBI had never even vetted as a source—Mr. Simpson. Mr. Steele had at least worked with the FBI before; Mr. Simpson was a paid political operative. And the Ohr notes raise further doubts about Mr. Simpson’s forthrightness. In House testimony in November 2017, Mr. Simpson said only that he reached out to Mr. Ohr after the election, and at Mr. Steele’s suggestion. But Mr. Ohr’s inbox shows an email from Mr. Simpson dated Aug. 22, 2016 that reads, in full: “Can u ring.”

The Justice Department hasn’t tried to justify any of this; in fact, last year it quietly demoted Mr. Ohr. In what smells of a further admission of impropriety, it didn’t initially turn over the Ohr documents; Congress had to fight to get them.

But it raises at least two further crucial questions.

First, who authorized or knew about this improper procedure? Mr. Strzok seems to be in the thick of it, having admitted to Congress interactions with Mr. Ohr at the end of 2016. While Mr. Rosenstein disclaims knowledge, Mr. Ohr’s direct supervisor at the time was the previous deputy attorney general, Sally Yates. Who else in former FBI Director Jim Comey’s inner circle and at the Obama Justice Department nodded at the FBI’s back-door interaction with a sacked source and a Clinton operative?

Second, did the FBI continue to submit Steele- or Simpson-sourced information to the FISA court? Having informed the court in later applications that it had fired Mr. Steele, the FBI would have had no business continuing to use any Steele information laundered through an intermediary.

*  *  *

Strassel concludes with the point that she and The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board have been hammering for months…

We could have these answers pronto; they rest in part in those Ohr 302 forms. And so once again: a call for President Trump to declassify.

It’s time for things to get more serious than slaps on the wrist, firings, and self-inflicted black-eyes!

 

Source: “Deeply Troubling” – Wall Street Journal Implores “What Was Bruce Ohr Doing?”

Be skeptical of Dr. Oz’s remedies and Rick Warren’s ‘plans’ (Reprise) — Christian Research Network

This article by CRN managing editor Marsha West was published January 15, 2015

Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, author and host of a successful TV show, has involved himself in some, um, questionable cures for what ails you. According to a Fox News report, a recent study showed that “Half of Dr. Oz’s health advice is bad.” Die-hard Oz fans will more than likely ignore the study results and continue tuning into his TV show for advice from him and the panel of doctors that appear regularly, even knowing that Oz and the other doctors often recommend products straight out of Quacksville.

Our idols would never steer us wrong, would they? I mean, Oz wouldn’t allow his fans to purchase remedies that have little basis in fact or that many in the scientific community agree are bogus. Test the “cures” and you will find that, in some cases, what they recommended is on par with the sort of thing you’ll find in a witches brew – bat wings, spider legs and crow bones.

From the Fox News report:

The researchers found that about half of the suggestions offered by these shows either contradicted what other scientific studies had found or had no verifiable evidence at all to stand behind them, and that potential conflicts of interest were seldom mentioned.

The study looked at 40 random episodes from each show – instead of simply, as Belluz points out, “cherrypicking the worst offenders” – to get the fairest assessment. In general, each episode offered up about a dozen health recommendations, so the researchers were able to cull 479 health tidbits from Dr.

Oz’s show and 445 from The Doctors. Most of the shows’ suggestions involved dispensing general medical advice, followed by non-weight-loss dietary tips; the Doctors professionals tended to repeat the mantra of seeking out a health care provider.

But while the benefits of many of the claims were talked about in a general way, specific benefits and magnitude of those benefits, possible drawbacks, and costs were virtually ignored, the study found.

The researchers’ conclusion? “Consumers should be skeptical,” and we should ask ourselves “whether we should expect medical talk shows to provide more than entertainment.” (Dr. Oz’s “magic bean” recently lost the study that supported it.) (Fox News’ link. Emphasis added.)

Meet Mehmet

This is not the first time I’ve reported on Dr. Oz. In early 2011, I wrote a piece to alert the Church that SBC pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren had elicited the help of three doctors to write a plan (Warren is all about plans) to promote health and fitness for his church located in Lake Forest CA. What struck me was that all three doctors hold New Age/New Thought beliefs. Moreover, the trio is involved in what some deem questionable medical practices. One of the docs Warren asked to help with his endeavor to lose much needed weight and start his journey to better health was Dr. Mehmet Oz. The end result was The Daniel Plan.

I noted back in 2011 in my piece titled “Rick Warren Introduces the ‘Devil Plan’” that:

Oprah Winfrey’s “favorite doctor” is a Muslim and has been influenced by the mysticism of Sufi Muslims. Moreover, he is keen on the ideas of cultist mystic Emanuel Swedenborg:

“As I came into contact with Swedenborg’s many writing I began to understand Swedenborg’s profound insights and how they applied directly to my life.”

Swedenborg believed he could pass between the life to come and the present. What is more he claimed he had conversations with spirits of the dearly departed as well as angelic beings:

“[T]he spirit world was comprised of a number of concentric spheres, each with its own density and inhabitants. There is no such thing as hell or eternal punishment. Those spirits who find themselves in a hellish place after death can evolve toward a higher spiritual plane.

“In spite of it being granted to him ‘to be constantly and uninterruptedly in company with spirits and angels,’ Swedenborg did issue a caution in regard to receiving counsel from just any spirit that might manifest with an alleged personal message. “When spirits begin to speak,” he wrote in Miscellaneous Theological Works (1996), “care should be taken not to believe them, for nearly everything they say is made up by them….They love to feign. Whatever be the topic spoken of, they think they know it, and if man listens and believes, they insist, and in various ways deceive and seduce.” (Source)

Dr. Oz is a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation:

“When I meditate, I go to that place where truth lives. I can see what reality really is, and it is so much easier to form good relationships then.”

Do a Google search on Dr. Oz and you’ll find posts from people complaining that he’s irresponsible because he promotes things which have no scientific evidence to support them. Until something is proven, doctors should not promote it as it could endanger lives. One example of an unscientific practice he promotes is Reiki, which New Agers believe to be a “guided Universal Life Force Energy.” Dr. Oz’s wife is a Reiki Master. “Reiki,” he said, “is my favorite treatment that could change the future of medicine forever.” He also pontificated:

“I think [Reiki] may be ultimately the most important alternative medicine treatment of all. And we are embarking on this whole new vista of opportunities, it broadens dramatically the spectrum of where we might be able to go in our bodies, and this is the area of energy medicine.”(Source)

It is rather curious that Rick Warren would team up with a man whose fame he owes in part to New Age High Priestess Oprah Winfrey. Dr. Oz’s worldview more closely aligns to New Age Spirituality than to historic orthodox Christianity. (Source)

It is unlikely that those who are not Christians will recognize the danger in some of the beliefs held by Dr. Oz. However, the serious Christian should find his fondness for the world of the occult deeply troubling. Even though Paul makes it perfectly clear in 2 Corinthians 6:1 that believers must not be unevenly yoked with unbelievers, Pastor Warren wasn’t the least bit concerned about partnering with a Sufi Muslim. Without question Muslims reject the God of the Bible, thus they’re unbelievers. Yet he chose Dr. Oz and two other doctors, both of whom are steeped in Eastern mysticism, to collaborate on a “biblical” health and fitness plan. Sadly, because of Warren’s foolhardiness many undiscerning Christians think there’s no problem purchasing the products and participating in the pagan practices pushed on the public by the three mystics.

In November 2014, adoring fans learned that their beloved Mehmet admitted to a congressional committee that the “Magic” diet bean that he promoted had no scientific backing. The reason he gave for defrauding the public? “[H]e’s in the business of hope “to get folks to … rethink their future…” (Source)

People, especially evangelicals, need to rethink taking any sort of advice from this man. Likewise, folks should rethink taking advice from popular pastors who stray from preaching the true gospel of Christ from their pulpits and instead put all their energy into clever plans to make their congregations feel better, look better, and “be all that you can be.”

Is it God’s will for His people to live “Your Best Life Now”? A growing number of professing Christians like to think so. But nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone who takes time to read/study the Bible will quickly learn that God’s will for His people, as long as He allows us to remain here on Earth, is to…… suffer. (Philippians 1:292 Timothy 3:121 Peter 4:15-19Acts 14:22) This could mean mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. (Corinthians 4:8) But, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) And by the way, Christians are not meant to be alone in our suffering. The Lord’s intention is for the church to provide a safe harbor for those who are suffering, a place where we can go and have our needs met, where we can find comfort, peace and rest for our souls.

I’ll close with one of many warnings the Apostle Paul passed on to the early Church, a warning that the man who has taken on the task of shepherding Saddleback Church’s sheep has failed to take seriously.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)

Recommended:

Rick Warren and Dr. Oz on Fame and Fitness – video

The Low Information Evangelical Part 1 Part 2 – By Marsha West

Research:

New Age/New Thought “Spirituality”

The Occult 

Rick Warren

Copyright Marsha West, January 15, 2015.

via Be skeptical of Dr. Oz’s remedies and Rick Warren’s ‘plans’ (Reprise) — Christian Research Network

08/17/2018 — Wretched

WR2018-0817

•Voddie Baucham shows us that all humans are one blood
•Race is a category error
•Only the Gospel will fix racial attitudes
•Gramscian Marxism is influencing the Church
•The rotten roots of racism in cults and the Church
•Dad; don’t choose your phone over your kids
•The sad news from our Adrian Rogers clip
•What do I do when my pastor goes off the rails?

Download Now (right click and save)

via 08/17/2018 — Wretched

This ‘n’ That for August 17, 2018

  • What about that thief on the cross?
  • This post is already causing a brouhaha, and it’s only the introduction!
  • Oftentimes, I think we forget about the gospels as we engage in “deep” study of the “more theological” books, like Paul’s epistles. But I can think of no sweeter study than the study of our Lord.
  • Pastor Jerry Wragg says it like it is.
  • You know, a few of us were warning folks about Andy Stanley a long time ago. I hate to say, “I told you so,” but I told you so. More than once.
  • Wow, modern medicine can do amazing things!
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • “Unless we see repentance in the context of a loving relationship with Jesus where we seek to love what he loves and hate what he hates, we will end up teaching grace as an abstract concept and legalism as a lifestyle.”
  • The Lord is my shepherd.
  • This article about spiritually abusive pastors is spot on.
  • Did God really talk to you, or did He just providentially ordain that you would think a specific thought?
All the saints have their own measure of winter before eternal summer. O! for the long day, and the high sun, and the fair garden, and the King’s great city up above these visible heavens. – Samuel Rutherford

source: This ‘n’ That

Weekly Watchman for 08/17/2018

Questions, Comments, Criticisms: Listener’s Show!

It’s the Listeners Show where Mike and David tackle your questions and comments from this week (… and a few weeks prior that we could not fit in). Here are some of the questions and comments from today’s program.

Is it a sin to not have children if there’s a serious risk of birth defects?
What are “biblical conjunctives”?
Legalism in the church
I disagree with you on prosperity and healing
Christians should not support President Trump
Why aren’t more believers equipped to disciple and do ministry?
Why do you have guests on your show who are Calvinists, then have other guests who are anti-Calvinists?
My pastor says all you guys do is bash the church, but he can’t give me specific examples
Should a large church cater to new visitors, particularly in its Sunday sermons?
Shouldn’t Charles Stanley refute the heresy that his son Andy Stanley is teaching?
Our church brought in a consultant who helped set up a “Leadership Model” following the Willow Creek example to carry out the pastor’s vision. Sadly, we are leaving this church immediately.
Why aren’t more believers equipped to disciple and do ministry?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Jude: Contend for the Faith, Expose Apostates, Warn the Church

Some of today’s false teachers are under the umbrella of the emergent church which generally falls under the cult of Liberalism. This man-pleasing movement prefers to conform to this world and rejects the inerrancy of Scripture. They revel in the idea we are in a postmodern or post-Christian society, and often have a form of godliness but they deny the power of God and the Holy Spirit.

Charles Spurgeon once said,

“Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between what is right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”

If you are a disciple, a follower of Christ and lover of the Truth, we must not only learn to discern the times in which we live but also warn others within the church who are headed for the proverbial cliff. Thankfully, Jude gave us a detailed letter and an example to follow as to how to recognize and deal with false teachers and apostates who come against the Lord Jesus Christ and the eternal truths of Scripture.

The book of Jude (“Judah” in Hebrew) was written just thirty-five years or so after Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven. Most interestingly, Jude was not only one of four half-brothers of the Lord Jesus, but also a brand new convert to the faith. He was not one of the Apostles that lived and walked with Jesus, yet Jude called for discernment and chose to write about false teachers and the need to defend true, apostolic, biblical doctrines.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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The Church in Constant Need of Reforming

Mike and David welcome back Pastor Andy Woods and discuss his latest book, Ever Reforming: Dispensational Theology and the Completion of the Protestant Reformation.

We briefly review some past church history and why a reformation was necessary, as well as the fact that even the reformers were not perfect. But God completes the work He begins in His true church.

We touch on what Dr. Woods refers to as the Middle East Meltdown and identify the players in the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy. The prophet Ezekiel foresaw these things 2,600 years ago in a vision along the Chebar River in Babylon. How important is the role of Turkey in the end times as well as world history?

Mike and David also talk about the absolute economic collapse of Venezuela’s economy and society due to the massive failures of socialism.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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The Lure of Celebrity Pastors

The growing fascination with mega-churches and celebrity pastors continues in the land of “bigger is better.” In the United States of entertainment, it seems many professing Christians would rather follow a man or what seems popular instead of God and His Word. Certainly not all large churches are bad, but the number of mega-churches and celebrity pastors drifting from sound doctrine is on the rise. So is controversy in the church.

Today, Mike and David hone in on one celebrity pastor and author, Andy Stanley. Stanley has never shied away from controversy, making outrageous statements in the recent past. His latest advice: Christians need to “unhitch” themselves from the Old Testament. His rationale? Paul and Peter told the first century church they should do the same! We’ll weigh in with what the Word of God says about the Hebrew Scriptures and try to figure out why Stanley would say something so outrageous.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Exposing Radical Liberalism to the Light

Radical Liberalism will reveal its own hypocrisy and contradictions when it is exposed to the light of truth and logic. Ultimately it shows its true agenda and colors when viewed objectively and exposed to rational thought. This is particularly true of liberalism when it attempts to thinly veil itself with the Word of God. In one case we cover today, a Religious studies professor says God approves of abortion because Jesus wants us to have an “abundant life.” Then, a Canadian conundrum: a woman who was a victim of rape is conflicted because she supports the LGBTQ but an abuse shelter made her share a room with a man pretending to be a woman.

First up today, we welcome back Pastor Gary Gilley (check out his articles at Think on These Things ministries) to look at sanctification in the life of the disciple of Jesus Christ and the delicate balance of Christians working with the Holy Spirit in this process. Gilly also tackles concerns of a “Christocentric view” of the Bible that claims every single verse of the Bible is about Jesus. Are there pitfalls for the believer in this view?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Churches Built on Shifting Sands

In our final segment today, Mike and David look at Willow Creek Church’s implosion based on the sexual harassment allegations against former pastor Bill Hybels. Last week, the entire Board of Elders, along with the new pastoral leadership team resigned, admitting they failed in their investigation on the allegations against Hybels. The question now is does this moral failure and implosion discredit Willow Creek’s global Leadership Summit and the Willow Creek Association, which was supposed to build leaders in the church? We discuss WHY the Willow Creek fallout matters and what can true Christians learn from it.

First, today’s guest is Pastor Randy White. We discuss how to respond in an increasingly caustic, divisive culture, including interacting on social media. We also discuss good and bad daily devotionals and why we should not recommend any devotional instead of God’s Word. We also discuss some interesting Bible facts you may not have known are in God’s Word.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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RenewAmerica Newsletter for August 17, 2018

August 16, 2018
Brennan calls decision ‘dangerous’
POLITICO — President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become a harsh critic of the president, and appeared to be targeting others who have disagreed with the administration. “Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation’s most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries which is to sow division and chaos,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, reading a statement from Trump while briefing reporters on Wednesday…. (more)


August 16, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A Trump-supporting Pentagon analyst was stripped of his security clearance by Obama-appointed officials after he complained of questionable government contracts to Stefan Halper, the FBI informant who spied on the Trump presidential campaign. Adam Lovinger, a 12-year strategist in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, complained to his bosses about Halper contracts in the fall of 2016, his attorney, Sean M. Bigley, told The Washington Times…. (more)

August 16, 2018
YAHOO NEWS — Washington (AFP) – US newspapers big and small hit back Thursday at Donald Trump’s attacks on the news media with a coordinated campaign of editorials, triggering a fresh tirade from the president on Twitter. Leading the charge was The Boston Globe, which had called for the drive highlighting the importance of a free press, accompanied by the hashtag #EnemyOfNone…. (more)

August 16, 2018
Joseph Farah calls on Congress to hold Internet Cartel accountable
JOSEPH FARAH — Americans are just beginning to wake up to Google’s unlawful practice of applying its own political and religious biases to the most powerful search engine in the world. Everyone knows Google is an ultra-left tech giant that showers the Democratic Party in cash, promotes the fake-news anti-Trump hysterics of the alt-left Huffington Post and Daily Beast to the exclusion of real independent news and robs all of its “customers” of their privacy rights in ways that would make the National Security Agency blush…. (more)

August 16, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — One priest raped a girl who bore him a child. Another made his victim get an abortion in violation of church doctrine. And others preyed upon women and girls in their parishes for years with impunity. The crimes – – and their cover-ups by Catholic church leaders, such as Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the current archbishop of Washington – – are presented in graphic detail in a landmark grand jury report that documents decades of abuse committed by hundreds of clergy in six Pennsylvania dioceses…. (more)

August 16, 2018
DESERET NEWS — President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday that church leaders have launched a major effort to use the full name of the church instead of nicknames or abbreviations…. (more)


August 15, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Since President Trump took office, the economy is booming, according to such reliable sources as federal agencies, analysts and data from the private sector. That may not be good enough for the press, however. The news media is seeking to “rewrite history” to credit former President Barack Obama for this feat, says one major business publication…. (more)


August 15, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — For the first time, Democrats favor socialism over capitalism. A minority of Democrats, 47 percent, view capitalism favorably, a drop from 56 percent in 2016, according to a recent Gallup poll. Socialism on the other hand gets mostly good reviews from Democrats, with 57 percent saying they view it positively, about the same as in 2010…. (more)


August 15, 2018
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — Trumpism is sometimes derided as an updated know-nothingism that rejects expertise and the input of credentialed expertise. Supposedly, professionals who could now save us tragically have their talent untapped as they sit idle at the Council on Foreign Relations, the economics Department at Harvard, or in the offices of the Brookings Institution – – even as Trump’s wheelers and dealers crash and burn, too proud, too smelly, or too ignorant to call in their betters to come in and save Trump from himself. But do the degreed classes, at least outside math, the sciences, engineering, and medicine, merit such esteem anymore?… (more)

August 15, 2018
Joseph Farah blasts Democrats eager to trash 1st Amendment
JOSEPH FARAH — “Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart. These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it.” – – Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut… (more)

August 15, 2018
Strzok firing ‘shows Mueller probe compromised’
ART MOORE — The firing of FBI agent Peter Strzok, who led both the bureau’s Hillary Clinton email and Russia probes, shows the special counsel investigation of alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia is compromised, contends Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton…. (more)

August 15, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok became the public face of a two-year Russia investigation that President Trump loyalists say is filled with biased investigators and bogus charges. He started and led the probe into Mr. Trump and his associates. He also led the FBI’s internal resistance. He is most famous for sending incendiary text messages to his FBI lover, attorney Lisa Page, ridiculing candidate Trump as a “f – – – – – – idiot” and speaking of plans to defeat him…. (more)


August 15, 2018
‘They dress like fascists, act like fascists, have same intolerance’
GREG COROMBOS — Author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza says the violent “anti-fascist” protesters are the real fascists, that white nationalism is rooted on the left, and that Republican operatives urging conservatives to vote for Democrats this year as a check on President Trump “need to have their heads examined.”… (more)

August 15, 2018
NEWSMAX — Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has conceded in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary, losing by a razor-thin margin to Secretary of State Kris Kobach in a race so close it took a week to determine the winner…. (more)


August 14, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A former utility executive from Vermont has become the first transgender candidate to win a major political party’s nomination for governor. Christine Hallquist defeated three other Democrats en route to victory in Tuesday’s primary. The former CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative says she’s running because she feels she has the best plan to help Vermont residents get higher-paying jobs, provide health care for their families and better educate their children…. (more)

August 14, 2018
CNS NEWS — Abortion has been an important economic stimulus ever since it was legalized by the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, Chelsea Clinton claimed at a “Rise Up for Roe” event on Saturday…. (more)


August 14, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Here in the town dubbed the “gateway to the Sierras,” the haze from the Ferguson Fire is fading as Yosemite National Park prepares to reopen, but the debate over how to stop wildfires from razing the state again next year continues to smolder…. (more)

August 14, 2018
WES VERNON — You may think you know everything there is to know about the ongoing night-and-day pounding inflicted on the public ear by an angry Hate America left hell-bent on bringing down a duly elected president of the United States. But you don’t – – not until you’ve plunged into Gregg Jarrett’s The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump. The book is so amazingly up-to-date one would suspect parts of it were written in “real time.” Obviously, the narrative will be extended when “the dust has settled,” if ever. (The ongoing battle in what some fear may be a developing “second civil war” in America is not likely to let up soon.)… (more)

August 14, 2018
Alan Keyes highlights why separation of governmental power is necessary
ALAN KEYES — Private persons can only offer advice and have no coercive power if their advice should not be accepted. And the law should have coercive power in order to induce others effectively to virtue, as the Philosopher says in the Ethics. But the people or a public personage has such coercive power and the right to inflict punishment…. And so, it belongs only to the people or a public personage to make law. Summa, ST I-II, Question 90, Article 3, Reply to Objection 2… (more)

August 13, 2018
Agent’s lawyer claims scheming 21-year veteran ‘wrongly dismissed’
ART MOORE — The FBI has fired agent Peter Strzok, known for exchanging text messages vowing to prevent Donald Trump from being elected while investigating Hillary Clinton’s abuse of classified information and later alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia…. (more)

August 13, 2018
CHERYL K. CHUMLEY — Leftists have been particularly crafty about clamping down and chilling conservative thought lately, boldly going where milder-mannered censors have previously feared to tread and managing to make several righteous-sounding cases, at least among their circles of progressive types, for the booting of deemed hate speakers from social media. But their censorship argument dangles precariously on the meaningless claim that in America there’s no room for hate speech…. (more)

August 13, 2018
They’re misguided, inflated, and confused
ROBERT KNIGHT — The progressive left is in a panic over the Senate’s coming confirmation vote on President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. How do we know this? They keep telling us. In a national conference call sponsored by People for the American Way (PFAW), Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, said, “We’re in the fight of our lives.”… (more)

August 13, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Republicans in a joint session of House committees are set to interview former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr this month to gauge whether a complex conspiracy against Donald Trump existed among Hillary Clinton loyalists and the Justice Department…. (more)

August 13, 2018
BYRON YORK — In Washington in the 1990s, it was a sure bet that whenever conservative journalists and activists got together, the conversation turned to the Clintons, Kenneth Starr, and the Whitewater investigation. There was a good bit of what one editor memorably called “hush-hush and heavy breathing” when insiders discussed momentous developments that were surely on the way. Somebody knew somebody who had heard from somebody close to Starr that big indictments were imminent – – just around the corner…. (more)

August 13, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes declared Sunday that Hillary Clinton’s campaign “colluded” with nearly every top official in the Justice Department and FBI. An interview on Fox News had turned to the topic of Trump dossier author Christopher Steele and his ties to Bruce Ohr, a high-level DOJ official who fed the FBI information from the ex-British spy even after he was cut as a source for providing confidential information to the media…. (more)

 

August 17, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump praised the strength of the U.S. dollar on Thursday after the greenback reached a 14-month high against a broad basket of other currencies a day earlier.

Hundreds of U.S. newspapers on Thursday launched a coordinated defense of press freedom and a rebuke of President Donald Trump for denouncing some media organizations as enemies of the American people.

President Donald Trump took steps on Wednesday to loosen limits on when the U.S. government can deploy cyber weapons against adversaries, reversing Obama-era guidelines, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

U.S. senators agreed on Wednesday to debate and vote in the next few days on more than $850 billion in spending on defense, labor and healthcare programs, as the Trump administration announced its objections to some parts of the bill.

The United States on Wednesday ruled out removing steel tariffs that have contributed to a currency crisis in Turkey even if Ankara frees a U.S. pastor, as Qatar pledged $15 billion in investment to Turkey, supporting a rise in the Turkish lira.

Hackers operating from an elite Chinese university probed American companies and government departments for espionage opportunities following a U.S. trade delegation visit to China earlier this year, security researchers told Reuters.

U.S. homebuilding rebounded less than expected from a nine-month low in July, suggesting the housing market was likely to tread water for the rest of this year against rising mortgage rates.

A Colorado baker who won a narrow Supreme Court victory over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a gay couple is suing the state after it launched another case against him for declining to create a cake for a transgender woman.

AP Top Stories

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) declared a state of emergency on Monday as a months-long red tide continues to spread throughout the region’s waters, killing hundreds of turtles and sickening people in coastal communities.

A sixth first responder has died battling this year’s wildfires in California, fighting what has become the largest wildfire in California’s history.

National Guard soldiers are supporting response efforts, providing unique military capabilities to contain the fires.

A man has been arrested after more than 76 people overdosed in 24 hours after taking synthetic marijuana suspected of being laced with fentanyl – an opioid.

A man detained on suspicion of carrying out a terrorist attack outside Britain’s parliament is Salih Khater, a British citizen of Sudanese origin, a European security source told Reuters.

With hotels facing mass cancellations, Iraqis in the holy city of Najaf are being hit hard by US sanctions on neighboring Iran, which have forced cash-strapped pilgrims to stay home.

Ford disclosed Tuesday it will spend $740 million on a project to revamp Michigan Central Station, Detroit’s historic but dilapidated former rail station, as well as other neighborhood sites.

A suicide bomber targeted students preparing for university exams in a Shiite neighborhood of Kabul on Wednesday, killing dozens of people and wounding dozens more in an attack blamed on the Islamic State group, officials said.

Two Democrats are poised to become the first Muslim women in Congress, offering a sharp counterpoint to the anti-Muslim policies and sentiment surfacing in Washington and across the country. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota state lawmaker and Somali-American former refugee, is favored to take a seat in Congress after winning her Democratic primary in a left-leaning Minnesota district on Tuesday.

Up to 300 bridges, viaducts and tunnels in Italy are at risk of structural failure, experts warned, as the death toll from the collapse of a bridge in Genoa rose to 39, including three children.

Disillusioned and exhausted, Nigerian troops battling a surge in Boko Haram jihadist attacks have reached breaking point, protesting less than six months before presidential polls.

A new Catholic school in Baltimore will no longer feature the name of a late cardinal accused of failing to act in the case of priests who abused children in Pennsylvania.

The investigation into an assassination attempt on Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro using drones has widened to include the arrest of two high-ranking military officers.

BBC

Four students in Mexico have developed a jacket they say could protect those wearing it from attacks. Once armed, the sleeves of the coat can emit an electric shock making anyone holding on to them recoil.

President Trump has signed an order relaxing rules around the use of cyber-weapons.

An Oklahoma school system has reopened after violent threats against a 12-year-old transgender student prompted its closure for two days.

A Libyan criminal court has sentenced 45 militiamen to death by firing squad for killing demonstrators in Tripoli in 2011, the justice ministry says.

WND

A mysterious Russian satellite displaying “very abnormal behavior” has raised alarm in the US. “We don’t know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it”. She voiced fears that it was impossible to say if the object may be a weapon.

A new report found glyphosate, a weed-killing chemical that some health authority’s link to cancer, in a number of popular breakfast foods and cereals marketed to children.

The Italian bishop’s conference announced Tuesday that changes to the Lord’s Prayer proposed by Pope Francis will take effect in Italy this November.


News – 8/17/2018

Egyptian Intelligence Chief in Israel to Finalize Gaza Truce
Egyptian efforts to broker a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip shifted into high gear over the last two days as Egyptian intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Abbas Kamel held talks on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lock down the deal, though Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet him Thursday. Abbas is reportedly furious at the deal, fearing it will concertize and give international legitimacy to the split between the West Bank and Gaza, and make extending the Palestinian Authority’s control over the coastal enclave even more difficult.

Russian warships storm through Gibraltar waters as Vladimir Putin readies Navy for combat
Russian missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov and anti-submarine destroyer Severomorsk passed through the Strait of Gibraltar en route to the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend. Both ships are heading to the eastern Mediterranean, where they will reinforce the Russian Navy’s operations supporting Syria president Bashar al-Assad in the civil war. The warships, belonging to Vladimir Putin’s Northern Fleet, conducted “planned combat training” during the voyage…

Report: Israel-Hamas agreement to include sea route to Cyprus
The Israel-Hamas peace deal is expected to include the opening of a sea route between Gaza and Cyprus, Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen reported Thursday. According to the report, the route would be under Israeli security. The deal includes a one-year ceasefire, Al Mayadeen said. Arab sources also told Al Mayadeen that Qatar will pay for Gaza’s electricity, and the money will be transferred via Israel. Qatar will also take financial responsibility for paying the Hamas government’s salaries. … the agreement with Hamas is “virtually done.”

Pentagon says China military ‘likely training for strikes’ on U.S. targets
China’s military has expanded its bomber operations in recent years while “likely training for strikes” against the United States and its allies, a Pentagon report released on Thursday said.

DOJ’s Bruce Ohr wrote Christopher Steele was ‘very concerned about Comey’s firing — afraid they will be exposed’
A collection of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s emails, texts and handwritten notes, reviewed by Fox News, reveals that he was deeply connected to the unverified Steele dossier as well as its author and, during the presidential election campaign, the alleged government surveillance abuses involving a Trump campaign official.

Report: Trump and Putin see eye to eye on Iran leaving Syria
the two leaders agreed in their July discussions during a summit in Helsinki that Tehran’s forces should leave the war-torn country, but Putin expressed reservations about the feasibility of forcing them to vacate the territory; disputes over the Golan Heights also said to be a major talking point.

McConnell urged to bypass Dems, confirm judges
a coalition of conservative legal voices are pleading with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to brush aside stalling tactics from Democrats and confirm a major backlog of judicial nominees before Kavanaugh’s hearings next month.

Trump administration creates Iran Action Group at State Department
The Trump administration has created an “elite team” at the State Department on Iran policy hoping to streamline execution of its newly aggressive strategy toward the Islamic republic. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the team will be responsible with “directing, reviewing and coordinating all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity,” reporting directly to him.

No reason to evacuate settlements, U.S. Ambassador tells Israeli group
West Bank settlements do not need to be uprooted, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told visitors to his Jerusalem office – on the same day the Trump administration warned that its peace deal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would leave both sides dissatisfied. “There is no reason to evacuate settlements,” Friedman told the group…

China ‘training for strikes’ on US targets
China’s military “is likely training for strikes” against US and allied targets in the Pacific, a Pentagon report warns. The annual report to Congress says China is increasing its ability to send bomber planes further afield. The report highlights its increasing military capability, including defence spending estimated at $190bn (£150bn) – a third that of the US.

US threatens more action against Turkey unless pastor freed
The US has threatened to impose more economic sanctions on Turkey if it does not free a detained American pastor. Andrew Brunson has been held in Turkey for nearly two years over alleged links to outlawed political groups. The dispute over his release has seen the two Nato allies impose tariffs on one another’s goods. This has worsened a crisis for Turkey’s currency, the lira, which has lost about a third of its value against the dollar since January.

Trump administration nearing deal with Mexico on revised NAFTA — but issues with Canada remain
The Trump administration is close to striking a deal with Mexico on a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement, analysts said, but thorny issues are yet to be resolved with Canada, the third party in the trilateral pact. Reaching an agreement with Mexico would mark a breakthrough for the administration after a year of roller-coaster talks and tension with its longtime North American trading partners.

Google clarifies location-tracking policy
Google has revised an erroneous description on its website of how its “Location History” setting works, clarifying that it continues to track users even if they’ve disabled the setting. The change came three days after an Associated Press investigation revealed that several Google apps and websites store user location even if users have turned off Location History. Google has not changed its location-tracking practice in that regard.

Russian strategic bombers deploy near Alaska
The Russian military says that two nuclear-capable strategic bombers have flown to the easternmost Chukotka Peninsula, near Alaska, as part of an air force exercise. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Tu-160 bombers flew about 7,000 kilometers (4,350 Miles) from their home base near Saratov in southwestern Russia to Anadyr, on Chukotka, before returning to their home base.

Navy guided-missile destroyer visits Anchorage
The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer Momsen docked at the Port of Alaska on Wednesday. The ship’s visit to Alaska coincided with the Arctic Maritime Symposium, a multi-agency discussion of the challenges and opportunities presented by Arctic maritime operations. The USS Momsen will be docked at the port until Saturday and will host small community groups. There will not be any public tours.

Klavan: The Enemy Is In The Church
…“The enemy is not the editorialist who goes off in outrage against the Catholic Church. The enemy is not me when I say these things. The enemy is the devil who is in your church, he is in your church, this has got to be pulled up root and branch. I mean it shouldn’t be, you know, God bless Joshua Shapiro the AG in Philadelphia for the work he’s doing, but it shouldn’t be a guy named Shapiro who’s doing this work, it should be a guy in the church, your Pope should be doing this.”

Anti-Tumor Freeze Blasting Technology to be Used in Israeli Hospital
Tel Aviv-listed IceCure Medical develops a medical device that provides a minimally invasive alternative to surgery

The Mormon Church Doesn’t Want To Be Called “Mormon” Any More
In a reversal of years of branding and more than a century of colloquial use, the religion commonly known as the Mormon Church has asked that people stop using the word “Mormon” when referring to the faith.

700 trucks carrying goods enter Gaza after border crossing reopens
Following the reopening of the Kerem Shalom Crossing this morning, the Defense Ministry says 700 trucks carrying goods entered the Gaza Strip throughout the day.

Hospitals scrap surgeries, Venezuelans forgo showers as taps run dry
At one of Caracas’ biggest public hospitals, most bathrooms are closed. Patients fill jugs from a tiny tap on the ground floor that sometimes has a trickle of water. Operations are postponed or canceled.

6.4-magnitude quake hits near Iwo Jima island off Japan
 An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 jolted 252 km southeast off Iwo Jima island, Japan, at 3:22 local time early Friday (1822 GMT Thursday), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Strong earthquake rocks remote western Aleutian Islands
The Alaska Earthquake Center says a strong earthquake rocked an area of the remote Aleutian Islands. The center recorded the quake at a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 and its depth at 7 miles

LOCK HER UP=> Judicial Watch Uncovers 5 More Hillary Emails Containing Classified Information on Her Unsecure Server
…The emails show Hillary Clinton meeting with George Soros and continuing to be advised from Sid Blumenthal, who was previously barred from a State Department position.

Is the TSA secretly spying on you while you fly? WATCH at REAL.video
As reported by Linda from WGON on her REAL video channel, the surveillance scheme was actually implemented back in 2010 under Barack Obama. And it represents yet another violation by the Feds of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Chinese bombers likely training for US strikes: Pentagon
Chinese bombers are likely training for strikes against US and allied targets in the Pacific, according to a new Pentagon report that also details how Beijing is transforming its ground forces to “fight and win.”

South African farmers panic after list of apparent expropriation targets published
A list of white farmers whose lands are to be seized without compensation in South Africa has been published by the local minority rights group AfriForum. The government denies the accuracy of the list.

After Imposing ‘Knife Control,’ London’s Khan Now Wants To Ban Cars In Key Areas
After yet another suspected terror attack in which a vehicle was used as a weapon, and fresh off of rolling out a new “knife control” initiative, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is now considering banning cars from some key areas in the city.

UK Child Trafficking Bust: 31 Arrested, Grooming Gang Members Named
British police have arrested 31 people in connection with a major child trafficking operation in the UK.One woman and thirty men have been charged with offenses linked to child sexual exploitation in Huddersfield, England.

Pope Francis Refuses to Apologize for Catholic Church Pedophile Scandal
Pope Francis and the Vatican have come under fire after refusing to respond to the recent grand jury report alleging the massive cover-up of decades of pedophilia in the Catholic church.

Mr. President, Why Are You Afraid of George Soros?
I am not going to review the virtues of the First Amendment, they are self-evident. However, there is an undeniable purge going on the historical precedent is undeniable as to how this is going to end. Sitting at the heart of all of America’s problems is a man named George Soros and he continues to destroy this country with impunity.


ApostasyWatch Daily News

Dr. Michael Brown — Confusing NAR Pablum with the Gospel

When is Civil Disobedience Endorsed by God? Should Christians Obey the Law

Python Spirit Collapsed My Building Says Apostle Jennifer LeClaire

Priests Produced Child Pornography on Church Property, Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report States

New Mexico Muslim Family Claims Dead 3-Y-O Boy Will ‘Return as Jesus’ and Identify Evil Groups

Virginia pastor faces eviction for hosting home Bible study

Iran Sentences Man, Wife, Every Member of Church to Prison for Being Christian

Nepal Implements Anti-Conversion Law

The Christian Church Distorted and Deformed

Farewell, Willow Creek: Where the “Regular” Churches Can Go From Here

Steve Munsey being sued by family of woman who drowned in his pool

Serita Jakes’ Endorsement of Yoga at Potter’s House Sparks Debate

Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Honored by Houston Mayor for Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts

‘They Hid It All’: Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania, Grand Jury Report Says

University of Iowa Reinstates Nearly 40 Student Groups After InterVarsity Files Lawsuit

Baker Back in Court After Colorado Claims He Discriminated by Declining to Make Cake Celebrating ‘Gender Transition’


Headlines – 8/17/2018

Head of Egyptian intelligence visits Israel to discuss Gaza truce

Israel-Hamas ceasefire to last a year, deal includes sea lane to Cyprus

Shin Bet head said to warn cabinet a Gaza truce without PA will strengthen Hamas

UNRWA schools in West Bank, Gaza to open on time despite US funding freeze

Abbas says Palestinian flag should not be raised in Tel Aviv

US ambassador tells Israeli MK ‘no reason to evacuate settlements’ in peace deal

Israelis emigrating? Lowest number in nearly three decades

Anti-Semitism is so bad in Britain that some Jews are planning to leave

Netanyahu to face final police grilling Friday in Bezeq corruption probe

Police question Netanyahu in 11th interrogation over graft probes

Pompeo forms Iran Action Group to run policy after nuke deal withdrawal

Bolton to discuss arms control, Iran, Syria in talks with Russian counterpart

White House says Trump, Putin agree in principle on getting Iran out of Syria

Russia says drone attacks on its Syria base have increased

US threatens further Turkey sanctions if pastor not freed

Turks are smashing their iPhones to protest Trump

Qatar to invest $15 billion in Turkey with eye on stabilizing the lira

Saudi Arabia contributes $100 mln to Global Coalition fighting ISIS

Saudi minister Abdullatif Al-Sheikh: Muslim Brotherhood harmed Islam

Swamped in Inflation, Venezuela Will Cut Five Zeros from Currency

Trump administration nearing deal with Mexico on revised NAFTA – but issues with Canada remain

Google admits it tracks users, even if you opt out

Trump Trying To ‘Stifle Free Speech,’ 12 Former Intelligence Officials Say

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August 17, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Victory: In Standing Firm

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. (6:13)

It is easy for believers—especially in the Western world, where the church is generally prosperous and respected—to be complacent and become oblivious to the seriousness of the battle around them. They rejoice in “victories” that involve no battles and in a kind of peace that is merely the absence of conflict. Theirs is the victory and peace of the draft dodger or defector who refuses to fight. They are not interested in armor because they are not engaged in the war.

God gives no deferments or exemptions. His people are at war and will continue to be at war until He returns and takes charge of earth. But even the most willing and eager soldier of Christ is helpless without God’s provision. That is Paul’s point here: take up the full armor of God. We have His provision in being His children, in having His Word, in possessing His indwelling Holy Spirit, of having every resource of our heavenly Father. God is our strength, but His strength is appropriated only through obedience; His mighty armor must be put on (v. 11) and taken up (v. 13).

Every day since the Fall has been an evil day for mankind, and every day will continue to be evil until the usurper and his forces are thrown forever into the bottomless pit. In the meanwhile the Lord makes us able to resist in the evil day as we take advantage of the armor He supplies.

Our responsibility is to resist and stand firm. When Martin Luther stood before the Diet of Worms he was accused of heresy. After being condemned for declaring that men are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, he declared, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.… Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.” Every believer who is faithful to God’s Word cannot do otherwise than stand firm.

Some forty years ago three men conducted evangelistic campaigns together in Ireland and saw much fruit from their labors there. Years later an Irish pastor who was converted in those meetings asked about the three men. He was told that only one was still faithful to the Lord. Of the other two, one had become apostate and the other had died an alcoholic. Some believers have done everything well in the Lord’s work, but they do not continue to stand firm. The issue is not in what a believer has done, but, when the battle is over and the smoke clears, whether he is found standing true to the Savior.

John warned, “Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 8). Paul’s one great fear was that, “possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). He was not afraid of losing his salvation but his reward and, even more importantly, his usefulness to the Lord. Countless men and women have faithfully taught Sunday school for years, led many people to Jesus Christ, pastored a church, led Bible studies, ministered to the sick, and done every sort of service in the Lord’s name—only to one day give up, turn their backs on His work, and disappear into the world. The circumstances differ, but the underlying reason is always the same: they took God’s armor off and thereby lost the courage, the power, and the desire to stand firm.

In the great spiritual warfare in which we do battle, we are only called to resist and to stand firm. As noted earlier, James says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Peter counsels us to “be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Pet. 5:8–9).

The greatest joys come in the greatest victories, and the greatest victories come from the greatest battles—when they are fought in the power and with the armor of the Lord.[1]


Our Only Strength

Ephesians 6:13

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

When I talk about the devil I try, as I did in the last study, to show that he is a finite, and therefore limited, being. He is not an evil counterpart of God. Satan is not omnipotent, as God is. He is not omnipresent, as God is. He is not omniscient, as God is. Consequently, he can only do what God permits. He can only tempt one person in one place at one time, or else operate through those legions of angels, now demons, who fell with him. He does not know the future. At best Satan can make shrewd guesses based on experience.

But none of this means that the devil is not dangerous. He may not be omnipotent, omnipresent, or omniscient. But he is certainly powerful, wicked, and sly. He is so powerful that, according to Jude, even Michael, the archangel, “when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ ” (Jude 9). He is so wicked that he is described in the Bible as “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). He is so sly that we are in constant danger of being tripped up by his wiles. This is why Paul wrote even of an elder in the church that “he must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (1 Tim. 3:7). The devil is not all-powerful, but he is certainly much more powerful than we are. So if we are to resist his evil influences, it must be by the power and provision of God only.

That is why James wrote, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). It is why Paul says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:13).

Elisha at Dothan

When I think of our need to stand against Satan in the strength of God, I think about the prophet Elisha at Dothan. In those days the northern kingdom of Israel was under attack from the Syrians led by their infamous king Ben Hadad. Israel was the weaker of the two nations, and she would have been overrun by the Syrians had God not been revealing the plans of the Syrian king through Elisha. Whenever Ben Hadad would set a trap for Israel, God would reveal it to Elisha, Elisha would tell the king of Israel, the plans would be changed, and Israel would escape unhurt.

Ben Hadad thought there was a traitor among his officers. So he called them together and demanded to know who he was. They told him the truth: “Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom” (2 Kings 6:12).

When he heard that, Ben Hadad decided that if he was going to make progress in his war with Israel, he would have to capture Elisha first. So he demanded to know where he was. He was told that Elisha was residing at Dothan. Ben Hadad got his troops together, marched to Dothan, and surrounded the city by night. It is an interesting picture: all the armies of Ben Hadad combined to surround and, if possible, capture this one true servant of God.

In the morning the servant of Elisha went out of the city and saw Ben Hadad’s soldiers. The story does not tell us anything about him, but I suspect that he was young and even somewhat sleepy as he set out to do his chores—probably to draw water from a city well. I can see him stumbling out of the gate with his eyes half-open, perhaps not even noticing the soldiers until he had first drawn a bucket of water and washed his face. Suddenly he saw them! His eyes opened wide, and, leaving his waterpot, he ran back into the city to tell Elisha they were surrounded. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” he asked (v. 15).

Elisha replied in what is surely one of the greatest statements of faith in all the Bible. “Don’t be afraid. … Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v. 16). Then Elisha prayed, and God opened the young man’s eyes to see the hills full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha.

That statement by Elisha is a great statement of the principle we have been studying. On the one hand, it says that the enemy we face is greater even than the enemy we see. The enemy is “them,” in this case the combined armies of the Syrians under Ben Hadad. It is also “those who are with them.” In view of the revelation given to the servant, this enemy must be the spiritual force of evil that accompanied and stood behind the Syrian forces. But what is on the other side? So far as anything seen is concerned, there were only Elisha and his young servant—two unattended individuals. But, of course, that is not the whole of the equation. On the Syrian side were soldiers plus the spiritual force of evil. On the side of Elisha and his servant were the angels of God here described as “horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” From a human perspective the Syrians seemed more powerful, but when the spiritual forces were taken into account, God’s servants were stronger.

The Lord Our Strength

Paul is not referring to this incident, of course. But the theology of victory, which he is advocating, is the same. Notice how often Paul mentions the Lord in this passage. It is the way he begins: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (v. 10). When he begins to talk about the armor in which we are to resist the devil’s forces, he stresses that it is God’s armor: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (v. 11). So also later: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (v. 13). It is only by the strength of God that we will be able to stand against these forces.

Although the word “lord” has many uses—it can, for example, be used of a mere human master, as was the case in the servant’s cry of alarm to his “lord” Elisha—“Lord” is the word customarily used in the Greek version of the Old Testament to translate the tetragrammaton, the great name for God (YHWH). This was the name by which God revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush, explaining it by saying, “I am who I am” (Exod. 3:14). It is a name intended to stretch our minds as we contemplate the nature of God.

“Lord” teaches us that the God of the Bible, in whom we are to trust as our only defense against Satan, is self-existent and self-sufficient.

It is most important to see that God is self-existent, because this is what the name “I am” most naturally points to. Everything we see and know has antecedents. That is, it exists because something existed before it and was its cause. We are here because of our parents. They lived because of their parents, and so on. It is the same with everything else—everything except God. God has no antecedents. Nothing caused God. On the contrary, he caused everything else. Even Satan would not exist if it were not for God. We may be puzzled by this, wondering why God permits Satan and his activity. But even if we do not have the full answers to this question, the fact that God is self-existent begins to put our spiritual warfare in perspective. God, not Satan, is in charge, and in the end everything will be resolved by him and everyone will be answerable to him.

God is also self-sufficient. Self-existence means that God has no origins. Self-sufficiency means that God has no needs. No one can supply anything that God might be supposed to be lacking. No one can teach God anything; he knows all things. No one can stand in for God in any place; he already is everywhere. No one can help God out; he is all-powerful.

When I think of the power of God my mind often goes to the first chapter of Jonah which has a funny little play on words in it relating to God’s power. In the fifth verse, after we have been told that God sent a violent storm after the ship that was carrying Jonah to Tarshish, we read that the sailors were “afraid.” That is reasonable enough, of course. Who would not be under those circumstances? They were in danger of losing their lives. But then, just five verses later, in verse 10, after Jonah had been brought up on deck and had identified himself, saying, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord , the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land,” we read “this terrified them.” The older versions read, “Then were the men exceedingly afraid” (kjv).

Why is it that in verse 5, when they are in danger of losing their lives, the sailors are said to be only “afraid,” when in verse 10, after hearing Jonah’s testimony, they are said to have been “exceedingly afraid”?

I think it is because these men already knew something about Jonah’s God. They were sailors, after all, and sailors get around. They had been in and out of the major ports of the Mediterranean Sea and had heard the port gossip. In the Egyptian ports they would have heard how Jehovah had delivered his people from slavery. He had brought plagues on Egypt: turning the waters of the land to blood, multiplying frogs, gnats, and flies, afflicting cattle, destroying crops, calling out swarms of locusts, eventually blotting out the sun and then killing the firstborn. Nor was that all. When the people prepared to leave Egypt God divided the waters of the Red Sea, making a path for them to pass over. Then he caused the waters to come back and drown the pursuing Egyptians.

Perhaps the sailors heard how Jehovah had cared for his people in the desert—how he had given them manna to eat and water for them and their livestock. He had sent a great cloud to cover them by day, protecting them from the fierce rays of the sun; it turned into a pillar of fire at night to provide both light and warmth. At last God had divided the river Jordan for Israel to cross into Canaan and had destroyed Jericho. He even stopped the sun and moon while the Jewish armies wrought a total destruction on their foes at Gibeon.

This is what the God of the Jews was like. So when Jonah said, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord [Jehovah], the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land,” they were terrified and said, “What have you done? … What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” (Jonah 1:10–11).

This God is our God too. Only his strength is greater even than that displayed in overpowering Egypt and bringing the Jewish people into the Promised Land. God is the God of all power. Nothing can stand against him. So although we cannot hope to stand against the forces of Satan in our own strength even for a moment, we can successfully stand against them and defeat them in the power of God. God is our only strength, but he is the only strength we need.

The Armor of God

Still, victory in this spiritual warfare is not automatic, which is why Paul admonishes us to “put on the full armor of God” and “stand [our] ground” against Satan.

Where did Paul get his thoughts about this armor? I suppose that I have never heard a sermon about the Christian’s armor that did not point out that Paul probably began to think along these lines while being chained to a Roman guard during his imprisonment. It seems quite plausible. We can imagine him looking at the guard’s armor, thinking of the Christian’s spiritual warfare, and wondering what the various parts of the guard’s armor could illustrate.

It is entirely possible that Paul came by his ideas about the Christian’s armor in this way, but I am inclined to think that in this case, as in many others, Paul got his ideas from the Word of God. Paul had filled his mind with the doctrines, words, and images of the Old Testament, and he would have known that in Isaiah 59 there is a picture of God putting on his own armor. Part of it says,

He put on righteousness as his breastplate,

and the helmet of salvation on his head (v. 17).

Since those phrases are the exact ones we find in Ephesians 6, I think that Paul got his idea here. That is important, you see. It means that when Paul speaks of the “armor of God,” as he does in Ephesians 6, he is not thinking of it only as the armor which God supplies—his in the sense that he gives it—but rather that it is God’s own armor, that which he himself wears.

What do we need if we are to fight against Satan? Is it truth? Yes, we need truth, but not just any truth. We need God’s own truth: the truth of God, which we find in Scripture. Do we need righteousness? Yes, but not just human righteousness. We need the righteousness of God. The gospel? It is God’s gospel, God’s good news. Peace? It is God’s peace. Faith? It is faith from God, a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Is it salvation? God is salvation. We must be armed with him.

Are you armed with God’s armor? The wonderful thing about this, as you will see if you avail yourself of it, is that the armor of God is perfectly suited to us. When we put it on we find that it is just what we need.

When David went out to fight Goliath he was just a young man, and Saul was unwilling to have him fight without armor. So he offered him his own. Saul put his helmet on David’s head. He put his breastplate on David’s chest. He gave him whatever other pieces of armor he had, but they were all too big. Clothed in Saul’s armor David must have looked like a Muppet in William Perry’s uniform. So David took Saul’s armor off and went out to fight Goliath with his sling.

Only his sling? Yes, in the sense that the sling was the only thing to be seen. But in reality David went out in God’s armor. For if ever a man was clothed in God’s truth, God’s righteousness, God’s gospel, God’s peace, God’s faith, and God’s salvation, it was David. And he was invincible. In God’s armor David was prepared, not only for physical battle, but for all spiritual battles as well.

Four Great Battles

Some years ago at an early Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, the theme was the biblical terms for salvation, and Dr. John H. Gerstner spoke on “The Language of the Battlefield.” In developing this theme Gerstner spoke of four great spiritual battles: (1) the battle of Satan against God early in the history of the universe, which Satan lost; (2) the battle of Satan against man (Adam) without the God-man (Jesus), which Satan won; (3) the battle of Satan against the God-man, where Satan thought he had won by killing Christ, but had actually lost; and (4) the battle of Satan against a man (Peter) who was joined to the God-man (Jesus), where Satan was also defeated.

The chief contrast in this message was between the second of these battles (Satan against Adam) and the fourth (Satan against Peter). In the first one, Adam seemed to have everything he needed to prevail. He was without sin and had every possible inclination to goodness. Yet he fell, because (we must assume this) he did not avail himself of the strength of Jesus Christ, the God-man, which was certainly not withheld from him. In the second battle Peter seemed to have nothing. He was sinful, weak, proud, vacillating. He even had the arrogance to tell Jesus, “Even if all fall away, I will not” (Mark 14:29) and “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). Peter did fall. He denied his Lord three times, just as Jesus predicted he would. Yet that was not all that happened. Jesus foretold Peter’s defection, but he added, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31–32).

In other words, Jesus told Peter, “Peter, you are weak in yourself. Left to your own devices you will certainly fall. You will be no more permanent than chaff when the wind blows upon it. But I am for you. I am on your side; and since you are united to me by saving faith, I have prayed for you, and because of my prayer you will not be destroyed but will instead be strengthened. You will fall, but you will not fall away. You will be turned aside, but you will also be turned back, and when you are you will become a pillar of strength for your brothers.”

Gerstner pointed out that there is a hymn we sometimes sing that goes, “Lord, we are able.”

“That was written by Peter,” Gerstner said. Peter said, “Lord, I am able.” But when he was tempted by Satan and fell, Peter discovered that he was not able. So he revised that hymn to read: “Lord, we are not able.” He learned that only as he was united to Jesus Christ could he stand his ground and be victorious.

Gerstner adds, “That man, in all his pristine glory, made in the spotless image of God with holiness, righteousness, and knowledge, was able to be brought to ruin by satanic temptation proved that we never of ourselves are posse non peccare [able not to sin]. But no matter how weak our faith, how meager our discipleship, how much we shame the name of Christ and have so often to repent and turn home again—no matter how we fail, because we are united to Christ with a love which will never let us go, Satan with all his craft and power cannot stand against us and we can conquer him. … Even in our best condition we cannot meet Satan; but in our weakened and debilitated state, sinning far more than we live virtuously, we are able to conquer him because Christ has given us the victory.”[2]


13 Given the nature of the battle and the foes arrayed against the church, Paul says, “For this reason” (NIV, “Therefore”) take up the armor of God and put on each piece. God has made provision for his people such that “they need no longer fear the menacing powers of evil” (Schnackenburg, 275). Yet they must be vigilant and prepared. Paul repeats the purpose for putting on the armor that he suggested in v. 11: “to stand.” When believers have finished their task as Christians and the dust of the battle has settled, the church will stand. But here Paul adds the phrase “when the day of evil comes,” apparently identifying the occasion when the battle will rage. “Day” is singular here, in contrast to the “evil days” in 5:16. So when is this “evil day” of battle? Some suggest the armor is only required in some especially evil and contentious day (period of time). But when are these spiritual resources not crucial? Others opine that Paul refers here only to the final “day of the Lord,” the end times, the truly severe outbreak of evil at Christ’s return (1 Th 5:2–3; cf. Am 5:18–20). While this has merit, it cannot be the sole answer, for certainly in these appeals Paul intends to fortify his own readers in their lives as Christians at the time he is writing. The realized eschatology of this letter points to a solution: we must allow for both. The “day of evil” includes the entire course of this age, because all the days are evil (5:16); we live in the “last days” when believers need to arm themselves against the devil’s wiles (cf. 2 Ti 3:1–9). So when the church fully prepares itself (NIV, “have done everything”) with the full armor that Paul goes on to describe, it will stand against whatever stratagems the devil may employ against it.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 343–344). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 236–242). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[3] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 164). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

August 17 The Right Perspective on Fasting

But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.—Matt. 9:15b

Fasting is meaningless if done merely from habit and if it doesn’t derive from a deep concern over some spiritual need. And as we saw yesterday, even the best and most foundational spiritual practices, if not done with sincere motives and right purposes, are only hypocritical and pretentious.

Jesus was obviously referring to His crucifixion when He said He would be taken away from the disciples. From that time on, it would be fitting to fast and mourn. Fasting naturally comes from a broken and mourning heart, but if it is performed as a shallow, mechanical ritual only, it is displeasing to God.

Jesus’ emphasis on internal matters such as forgiveness shows us that fasting must be held in the proper context of what’s truly important. It also demonstrates that He brought us radically different teachings and practices from those of traditional Judaism or any other religious traditions—Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, any sects and cults—that can stress externalism, ritualism, or any man-centered habits. When we fast, Jesus wants us to do so in light of His new covenant—not the old with its forms and shadows—and in a way that increases our compassion for others, causes us to be more humble and sacrificial, and gives Him all the praise and glory.

ASK YOURSELF

Are there ways to fast besides abstaining from food? In what other ways could you experience the spiritual benefits of fasting—the clarity of communication with God, the taming of selfish desires, the renewal of priorities?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 238). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

AUGUST 17 GOD’S LOVE: A QUALITY THAT CANNOT BE DEFINED

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

1 JOHN 3:16

Can you really define the word “love” for me?

I do not believe you can actually define love—you can describe it but you cannot define it. A person or a race which has never heard of the word “love” can never come to an understanding of what love is even if they could memorize the definitions in all of the world’s dictionaries.

But just consider what happens to any simple, freckle-faced boy with his big ears and his red hair awry when he first falls in love and the feeling of it comes into every part of his being. All at once, he knows more about love than all of the dictionaries put together!

That is why I say that love can only be understood by the feeling of it. The same is true with the warmth of the sun. Tell a man who has no feeling that it is a warm day and he will never understand what you mean. But take a normal man who is out in the sun and he will soon know it is warm. You can know more about the sun by feeling than you can by description.

So, there are qualities in God that can never be explained by the intellect and can only be known by the heart, the innermost being. That is why I say that I do believe in feeling. I believe in what the old writers called religious affection—and we have so little of it because we have so little of true repentance, obedience, separation and holy living![1]


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

Surprising support for Trump yanking Brennan’s security clearance

This may be a sign that the tide is turning and the cabal that conspired to fix the 2016 presidential election and then, when that failed, remove Trump from office, is going to be exposed and ultimately held to account.
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/08/surprising_support_for_trump_yanking_brennans_security_clearance.html