Daily Archives: August 22, 2018

August 22: Complaints

Isaiah 44:1–45:13; Luke 17:11–18:8; Job 10:1–10

Complaining can be automatic. We complain about the weather, our children, our jobs. And we might do it for any number of reasons—even something as trivial as to keep a conversation going. Although we might complain lightly, we still betray something about our hearts. We assume that we are owed something—that we are entitled.

We might readily admit this. We might freely say that this should not be our posture before people or before God. But Job challenges our stereotype of the complainer. What can we learn from his complaints? In his outcries, we find someone struggling to understand his situation before God. He prays, “My inner self loathes my life; I want to give vent to my complaint; I want to speak out of the bitterness of my inner self. I will say to God, ‘You should not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me’ ” (Job 10:1–2). He repeats and recasts his elevated and prolonged complaints in surprising similes: “Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese?” (Job 10:10).

Although his boldness and forcefulness might be shocking to us, we also understand how someone dealing with pain and grief might wrestle with these thoughts.

The book of Job ends with God silencing Job and his friends. Job’s demeanor changes when God sets everyone’s perspective right. But how should we understand these passages? Should we complain like Job when we feel frustrated by the disappointments in life?

Job’s complaints stemmed from a sense of loss—a realization that something was not right with the current state of affairs. This doesn’t mean that all complaints are motivated by complete ingratitude. Sin, loss, injustice, hurt, and evil in the world are not reasons to dismiss our cares. Indeed, God is concerned about our cares, and He wants to know them.

But the things we wrestle with should first be brought to God. We should bring our complaints to Him, ready to have our hearts and minds examined by His Word. Not only is He very concerned about our circumstances, but He also knows our hearts and can judge our complaints rightly. He can comfort us in sorrow and provide us with all that we need. Jesus died to set right the things that are wrong with the world, so we can be completely assured of His love and care for us.

How are you responding to events in your life? How can you bring your complaints to Him?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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

August 22 Rejoicing in Righteousness

“[Love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness” (1 Cor. 13:6).

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Love never justifies sin.

To most Christians, the idea of rejoicing over unrighteousness is repulsive because it suggests enjoying deliberate, wanton sin. We’ve seen sin’s tragic effects on mankind and know how it offends God, so how could we ever rejoice in such a thing? But rejoicing in unrighteousness includes any attempt to justify sin in your own life or in the lives of others, and this can be a very subtle thing.

There are many ways to rejoice in unrighteousness. One is to exchange right for wrong. That’s what the prophet Isaiah condemned when saying, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isa. 5:20). In our society, for example, virtues such as virginity and fidelity in marriage are branded as old-fashioned and prudish, while promiscuity and adultery are heralded as contemporary and liberating. Social pressures can cause undiscerning or weak Christians to yield to confused and godless moral standards.

Another way to rejoice in unrighteousness is to be undiscerning about what you expose yourself to. The humanistic philosophies and blatant immorality of our society can quickly dull your moral and spiritual senses. Therefore you must carefully evaluate what you read, view, and listen to. Does it denigrate God and exalt violence, crime, immorality, slander, and the like? If so, and you find that book or article entertaining, you are rejoicing in sin.

Some believers actually rejoice over the sins of others. That’s what Jonah did when he refused to preach at Nineveh for fear the people would repent and God would forgive them. He preferred to see them continue in sin rather than reconcile with God. That attitude is not so far removed from today as we’d like to think. I’ve known professing Christians who wanted out of their marriages so badly that they hoped their spouses would commit adultery so they would feel justified in getting a divorce. What a convoluted perspective!

True love cannot rejoice in sin but glories whenever righteousness prevails. If you love God, the things that please Him will please you, and the things that offend Him will offend you. Let that always be your standard.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God for the grace to live a life that pleases Him.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 18:15–20, carefully noting the procedure for confronting a sinning Christian.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 247). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The Clergy Abuse Crisis Has Cost The Catholic Church $3 Billion : NPR

Sixteen years after an investigation in Boston highlighted the dimensions of the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic priesthood, the financial and reputational cost to the Catholic church continues to grow. Lawsuits by abuse victims have so far forced dioceses and religious orders in the United States to pay settlements totaling more than $3 billion…
— Read on www.npr.org/2018/08/18/639698062/the-clergy-abuse-crisis-has-cost-the-catholic-church-3-billion

The Power of the Gospel (Hodge)

The Reformed Reader

Select Sermons of Charles Hodge On November 20, 1842 Charles Hodge gave a chapel message to the students at Princeton Seminary.  It was on Romans 1:15, where Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (NASB).  In this chapel message Hodge did an excellent job highlighting the power of the gospel.  Here’s one excerpt worth reading:

…the Gospel is adapted to secure the salvation of men because it, in the first place, reveals a righteousness suited to their necessities. This is the reason which the apostle himself assigns. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation because therein is revealed the righteousness of God. It is plain from other passages in his epistles that by “righteousness of God,” he means a righteousness which is from God, which he gives, and which is available at his tribunal. It…

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AUGUST 22 GOD GIVES ASSURANCE

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith…Keep yourselves in the love of God.

Jude 20–21

Moral sanity requires that we settle this most important matter first of all: settling our personal and saving relation with God!

In some Christian groups, there are believers who actually make fun of Christians in other groups who occasionally arise and sing the words of an old hymn, “Do I love the Lord, or no?” No serious-minded person should ever laugh at any man or woman, who knowing that death is only three jumps ahead, contemplates: “My God, do I really know Thee or not? Have I been mistaken in meaningless religious connection? My God, what must I do to be saved?”

Many of us better start asking questions today. We know that we had better not try to stand on our own reputation.

There is nothing in the whole world of greater meaning than to come back into the family of God by faith and through His grace! There is no joy that can be compared to that which God gives when He forgives us, cleanses us, restores and saves us, and assures us that the gift of God is indeed eternal life, to as many as will believe! (see Romans 6:23).

Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness and for the free gift of eternal life. Though it is a free gift, it was very costly for You. Thank You, Father.[1]


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

Watch Out California! 53 Major Earthquakes (Including A Magnitude 8.2) Just Hit The Ring Of Fire In A 24 Hour Period

Is something unusual starting to happen to the crust of our planet?  The USGS defines any earthquake of at least magnitude 4.5 as “significant”, and there were 53 earthquakes that met that criteria along the Ring of Fire on Sunday alone.  If you would like to verify that information for yourself, you can so do right here.  Not too long ago, I wrote about how “Earth changes” seem to be accelerating all over the world, but even I was stunned by the ferocity of the seismic activity that we witnessed over the weekend.  Because none of the earthquakes happened in the United States, the mainstream media almost entirely ignored this story, but that is a huge mistake.  The entire west coast of the U.S. falls along the “Ring of Fire”, and experts assure us that it is only a matter of time before the seismic tension that is building up along the tectonic plates in that area is released. (Read More…)

Over The Last 7 Days Our Planet Has Been Violently Shaken By 144 Major Earthquakes

Within the past few days, we have seen an enormous magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Venezuela and a giant magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit Fiji.  Where will the next one strike?  To many of us, it is becoming exceedingly clear that something very unusual is happening to our planet.  I went and looked it up, and I was astounded to learn that the crust of the Earth has been shaken by 144 major earthquakes over the last 7 days, and that includes more than 50 on Sunday alone.  And remember, these are not small earthquakes.  The USGS considers any earthquake that is at least magnitude 4.5 to be “significant”, and they are happening so rapidly right now that it is difficult to keep up with them. (Read More…)

August 22, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen would not accept a presidential pardon, his attorney said on Wednesday, a day after Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges and said he acted at the direction of Trump.

More than 100 African migrants managed to force their way into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from Morocco on Wednesday when hundreds tried to storm the highly fortified border, a Spanish police spokesman said.

NATO is moving its military infrastructure closer to the Russian border and Russia needs to strengthen its own infrastructure in response, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

U.S. sanctions are having a strong effect on Iran’s economy and popular opinion, though regime change there is not part of Washington’s policy, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said on Wednesday.

Iran warned on Wednesday it would hit U.S. and Israeli targets if it were attacked by the United States after President Donald Trump’s security adviser said Washington would exert maximum pressure on Tehran going beyond economic sanctions.

The internet must be “clean and righteous” and vulgar content must be resisted in the field of culture, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a meeting of senior propaganda officials, state media said on Wednesday.

The S&P 500’s .SPX bull market turned 3,453 days old on Wednesday, making it the longest such streak in history, according to some investors’ definition. S&P futures pointed to a slightly lower open one day after the benchmark index set an all-time intraday high that slightly exceeded the previous one set in late January.

U.S. and Chinese officials are set to resume contentious trade talks on Wednesday under the cloud of a prediction by U.S. President Donald Trump that there would be no real progress.

A toxin inadvertently produced in the manufacture of a widely prescribed medicine but not spotted for years raises questions about regulators’ ability to detect risks in a sprawling global drug supply chain increasingly reliant on factories in China.

AP Top Stories

Paul Manafort, former campaign manager of President Trump, was found guilty Tuesday on eight of the 18 counts brought against him by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it had uncovered – and thwarted – fresh Russian hacking attempts on U.S. political groups ahead of the November midterm elections. The hacking attempts, which targeted two conservative think-tanks, have been described as attempts to “disrupt democracy” itself and to undermine any institution, regardless of political affiliation, that challenges the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled a sweeping plan on Tuesday to crack down on the lawful corruption she said has infected Washington policymaking. The bill would reshape the federal government by, among other things, putting a “padlock” on the “revolving door” between government and the private sector; dramatically increasing regulation of lobbyists, and in some cases scaling back their activities significantly; tightening ethics standards for lawmakers, federal agencies and federal judges; and creating a new anti-corruption agency to enforce these regulations.

French energy giant Total has officially quit its multi-billion-dollar gas project in Iran, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Monday, following the reimposition of US sanctions.

Afghan forces killed four out of nine insurgents who launched mortar attacks on Tuesday on areas around the presidential palace and diplomatic district of Kabul, two officials said.

Vietnam Wednesday jailed two American citizens and 10 others from an outlawed US-based “terrorist” group for attempting to overthrow the state after they spread anti-government leaflets and tried to incite protests last year.

Dialogue is the only way forward for ties between Pakistan and India, the foreign minister in Islamabad said on Monday, fueling hopes of a thaw in relations between the arch-foes following Imran Khan’s July election victory.

At least three dozen immigrant recruits who were booted from the U.S. Army after enlisting with a promised pathway to citizenship are being brought back to serve, according to court records filed Monday.

The U.S. soldier who died of injuries in a helicopter crash in Iraq this week was a member of an elite special operations unit and had deployed nine times in support of the U.S. conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, officials said Tuesday.

U.S. sales of existing homes slipped for the fourth consecutive month, declining 0.7 percent in July to the slowest pace in more than two years as the real estate market shows signs of cooling.

BBC

Venezuela came to a standstill on Tuesday as the country tried to deal with its newly introduced currency. Thousands of businesses closed in order to adapt to the “sovereign bolivar”, and many workers stayed at home.

About 58% of men convicted in Sweden of rape and attempted rape over the past five years were born abroad, according to data from Swedish national TV.

A knife-wielding man, shot dead by Spanish police, had come out as gay and was contemplating suicide, reports quoting his ex-wife’s testimony said.

WND

Facebook, beleaguered in recent months by multiple credible complaints that it unfairly censors conservatives, now is drawing comparisons to Community China after an official revealed that it has ratings for its users.

A political columnist is lamenting the fact that the Democrats have moved so far to the left that one of theirs now actually is advocating that terrorists be given a “stake” in the future of the Middle East.


News – 8/22/2018

Germany Calls For Global Payment System Independent Of The US

In a stunning vote of “no confidence” in the US monopoly over global payment infrastructure, Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the US that would allow Brussels to be independent in its financial operations from Washington and as a means of rescuing the nuclear deal between Iran and the west.

Now at Category 5, Hurricane Lane bears down on Hawaii

Hurricane Lane was upgraded to a Category 5 storm and it neared the Hawaiian islands early Wednesday, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said.

Still No Answers From DNC One Week After Pledging To Review Ellison Allegations

One week after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced it was “reviewing” domestic abuse allegations against Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the DNC has yet to provide the public with any updates on the allegations against him. Ellison, the deputy chair of the DNC, is accused of physically and emotionally abusing his ex-girlfriend, liberal Sierra Club activist Karen Monahan. Ellison has vehemently denied Monahan’s allegations

Muslims chant ‘Allahu akbar’ at Vikings stadium

CAIR, however, founded by members of Hamas, was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to fund the terrorist group. And CAIR itself was designated a terrorist organization by the Muslim Gulf state United Arab Emirates, along with groups such as ISIS and al-Qaida.

Oregon earthquake – Massive 6.3 magnitude tremor rocks US West Coast sparking fears ‘the Big One’ WILL hit America

The quake registered at a depth of six miles and 188 miles off the coast of Oregon. It was recorded at a depth of around six miles but no tsunami warning has yet been issued, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The shake followed an intense week of seismic activity in which the deadly Ring of Fire was rocked by 70 quakes in just 48 hours.

Report: Trump to Introduce Mideast Peace Plan at ‎UNGA

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to introduce his ‎Middle East peace plan, dubbed the “deal of the ‎century,” during the U.N. General Assembly meeting ‎in New York next month,…The 73rd General Assembly session will be held from ‎Sept. 18 to Oct. 5, and will feature speeches from ‎prominent world leaders, including Trump, who is set ‎to address the assembly on Sept. 25.

Prophecy Fulfilled, Yechezkel’s Vision of Dry Bones Rising

Thus said Hashem to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live again. I will lay sinews upon you, and cover you with flesh, and form skin over you. And I will put breath into you, and you shall live again. And you shall know that I am Hashem. There could be no greater metaphor for the restoration of the Jewish people than Yechezkel’s vision of the dry bones rising.

Bolton: Europe Needs To Take Stronger Steps Against Iran

The United States is working with European countries “to convince them of the need to take stronger steps against Iranian nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program,” US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday ahead of meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Bolton added that “Iran never gets a deliverable nuclear weapons capability” was a “question of the highest importance” for the US.

‘We will hit Israel if US attacks Iran’

One of Iran’s top clerics warned Wednesday morning that the regime in Tehran would strike Israel in retaliation for any “harm…in the slightest way” by the US against Iran. Ayatollah Seyed Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Islamic republic’s religious governing body known as the Assembly of Experts, told worshippers at an Eid al-Ahda event in Tehran Wednesday morning that Iran would not accept President Donald Trump’s offer to engage in negotiations.

Russia to deliver S-400 system to Turkey in 2019

Russia plans to deliver its sophisticated S-400 anti-ballistic missile defense systems to Turkey in 2019, state arms exporter Rosoboronexport announced on Tuesday, according to the Turkish daily Hurriyet. “The contract is implemented within the agreed time limits. In 2019 we will start implementing the contract,” said Alexander Mikheev, the CEO of Rosoboronexport, according to the report.

Trump: Palestinians’ turn for a gift after Jerusalem embassy move

Israel will pay a “high price” in its negotiations with the Palestinians because it won something “very big” with America’s relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump said….Trump said that the Palestinians would soon “get something very good” in return for the May embassy move “because it’s their turn next.” The Palestinian Authority cut off contact with the Trump administration late last year after Trump announced the embassy move and recognized the holy city as Israel’s capital.

Venezuela ‘paralysed’ by launch of sovereign bolivar currency

Venezuela came to a standstill on Tuesday as the country tried to deal with its newly introduced currency. Thousands of businesses closed in order to adapt to the “sovereign bolivar”, and many workers stayed at home. President Nicolás Maduro launched the new banknotes on Monday, revaluing and renaming the old bolivar currency. The government says this will tackle runaway inflation, but critics say it could make the crisis worse. The notes went into circulation on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty for woman activist -rights groups

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty against five human rights activists from the kingdom’s Eastern Province currently on trial in a secretive terrorism court, groups including Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. Among the detainees is Israa al-Ghomgham, whom Saudi activists said was the first woman to possibly face the death penalty for rights-related work. Charges against her include incitement to protest and providing moral support to rioters.

With Cohen Implicating Trump, a Presidency’s Fate Rests With Congress

As he pleaded guilty in a Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday to violating federal campaign finance laws, Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime fixer, put his future in the hands of the American legal system. But the fate of Mr. Trump, the man who Mr. Cohen said directed him to break the law by making payments to a pornographic film actress and a former Playboy model, rests, in all likelihood, in the political arena and in the halls of Congress.

Hospitals shut at 30-a-year pace in U.S., with no end in sight

Industry M&A may be no savior as the pace of hospital closures, particularly in hard-to-reach rural areas, seems poised to accelerate. Hospitals have been closing at a rate of about 30 a year, according to the American Hospital Association, and patients living far from major cities may be left with even fewer hospital choices as insurers push them toward online providers like Teladoc Inc. and clinics such as CVS Health Corp’s MinuteClinic.

Oregon earthquake – Massive 6.3 magnitude tremor rocks US West Coast sparking fears ‘the Big One’ WILL hit America

The quake, which registered 188 miles from the coastal city of Bandon, has sparked fears the so-called “Big One” could hit California any time now. It was recorded at a depth of around six miles but no tsunami warning has yet been issued, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The shake followed an intense week of seismic activity in which the deadly Ring of Fire was rocked by 70 quakes in just 48 hours.

Trump adviser Bolton says Russia ‘stuck’ in Syria, Iran must leave

Russia is “stuck” in Syria and looking for others to fund post-war reconstruction there, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said, describing this as an opportunity for Washington to press for Iranian forces to quit the country. Bolton, speaking to Reuters while on a visit to Israel, said U.S. contacts with Russia did not include any understanding over a push by Damascus’s forces against the rebels in Idlib. But he warned against any use of chemical or biological weapons there.

California Christians, prepare for civil disobedience

California’s AB 2943 – the “Must Stay Gay” bill – is nothing less than governmental tyranny, nothing less than an abuse of elected power, nothing less than an unholy mandate against the holy claims of God. Will you sit back and take it? Or will you rise up against it? If the bill passes, you must choose to obey God rather than man. It’s time for civil disobedience.

2018 Venezuela earthquake

On August 21 a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck just off the northern coast of Venezuela. The epicentre is reported to be just East of Carúpano, and at a depth of 123 km (76 miles). The Venezuelan capital, Caracas, is over 622 km (375 miles) from this site, and still shook,[11] as did Bogotá, the Colombian capital nearly 2000 km (900 miles) away. The Tower of David, one of the tallest buildings in Caracas, is reported to have sustained structural damage and is now leaning. The telephone and internet service in Caracas was also interrupted.

Magnitude 6.7 earthquake strikes off coast of Vanuatu

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck north of Ambrym Island in the Vanuatu archipelago. The epicentre of the shallow quake was located a few kilometres off the tip of Ambrym, a triangle-shaped island that is sparsely populated. The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management said their was no tsunami threat to New Zealand following the quake. It was the second large earthquake Wednesday, after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit north Venezuela.

Hurricane Lane update: Will Hurricane Lane hit Hawaii? Will it make Kilauea volcano erupt?

HURRICANE Lane has brought high winds and rain to the Pacific, wheeling miles from Hawaii’s Big Island in an angry vortex. Could Hurricane Lane hit Kilauea and trigger an eruption?

In Arkansas Face-off Ten Commandments Beat the Devil

The organizers arrived at the rally last Thursday with a seven-and-a-half foot tall bronze statue of Baphomet, the goat-headed, winged devil on the back of a flatbed truck. The Satanic Temple has petitioned several times over the past several years to install the Baphomet statue in front of the capitol but state law prohibits installing a monument without legislative sponsorship. The self-proclaimed satanists were forced to drive away without Baphomet debarking.

CHILD ABUSE: Kids are being advised to freeze reproductive tissue before puberty if they show signs they may want to become transgender

The guidance from the Government-backed Human Fertilization And Embryology Authority, for “trans and non-binary people seeking fertility treatment”, contains a section aimed at prepubescent children.However, critics say the children it addresses are so young they still believe in “Father Christmas, fairies and dragons” and should not be considering “potentially life-changing decisions”.

SLAP IN THE FACE: UN chief proposes military force to protect ‘Palestinians’ from Israel

The protection of Palestinian civilians could be improved by the deployment of UN-mandated armed forces or unarmed observers, a beefed-up UN civilian presence, or expanded UN assistance, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote on Friday in a report.

WATCH: Israel performs 1st knee replacement that regrows cartilage and bone

Israeli startup Cartiheal and researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev believe they have found the solution to mild-to-moderate damage or defects in the knee with an implant that regrows cartilage and bone. The first implant, performed recently as part of a clinical trial, appears to have gone smoothly.

China demolishes hundreds of churches and confiscates Bibles during a crackdown on Christianity

Locals in Henan stated concerns of a move by the atheist ruling Community Party to control Christianity Residents were asked to replace posters of the cross and Jesus Christ with portraits of President Xi Jinping Experts say the government is waging the most severe systematic suppression of the religion since 1982.

Measles cases hit record high in Europe

Cases of measles in Europe have hit a record high, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 41,000 people have been infected in the first six months of 2018, leading to 37 deaths.

Leaked Memo Reveals George Soros Behind Facebook Censorship Campaign

As the recent wave of social media censorship of conservative voices gathers pace, a confidential 49-page memo revealing the plan to defeat Trump by eliminating “right-wing propaganda and fake news” has been leaked.

Final Warning: White South Africans Must Flee Their Country Immediately!

What follows gun confiscation. The White farmers from South Africa are about ready to find out as the prevailing radical regime running the South African government just ordered the seizing of 300,000 guns. All White South African farmers must leave the country ASAP

In Light Of #MeToo, Burning Man Festival Reconsiders ‘Orgy Dome’

In light of the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement, and amidst changing times for gender, sexism, and feminism, the Burning Man festival, which takes place every year deep in the Nevada desert, is re-evaluating some of its key events, including its infamous “Orgy Dome.”

E! Orders Bisexual Dating Show Hosted By Drag Queen
A bisexual dating show hosted by drag queen Courtney Act called “The Bi Life” will be coming to E! Entertainment in the U.K.

Rand Paul: ‘I Think John Brennan’s Actually a National Security Risk to the Country’

Rand Paul goes through Brennan’s record of misusing classified info and “illegally looking at Democrats computers who were investigating CIA torture — and then lying about it before [Congress].”

UK Jihad: Corbyn welcomed Hamas terrorists in PARLIAMENT who called for attacks on Royal Navy, boycotted Holocaust Memorial Day praised HOMICIDE bombers, then secretly visited Islamic terror group in Ramallah

Imagine — from Churchill to Corbyn in the blink of an eye.  The Brits under siege from within from a hostile and growing Muslim population and word is Corbyn is gaining in the polls. Thanks to Muslim immigration. Can the UK be saved?

All sheeple citizens who want to receive government benefits must agree to be microchipped in the near future

Late last month, it was reported that a Wisconsin company called Three Square Market was planning on surgically implanting microchips underneath the skin of its employees for convenience purposes. Three Square Market CEO Todd Westby told KSTP, the Twin Cities ABC affiliate station, that the microchip implants are “the next big thing that’s inevitably going to happen, and we want to be a part of it.”

Rocket attack shakes Kabul as Afghan president marks start of Eid holiday
A sustained rocket attack shook the Afghan capital Tuesday morning just as President Ashraf Ghani was delivering a speech marking the beginning of Eid al-Adha, a three-day festival that is the most important holiday on the Muslim calendar.

‘Zimbabwe-fication’ Begins: Farmers Panic As South Africa Seizes First White-Owned Land

South Africa’s white farmers have been desperately trying to sell their lands at record pace ahead of planned government land seizures, according to a local farmer’s union. However, there are no buyers.

Trump’s ICE Deports NAZI War Criminal Who Stayed Under Obama

…The Trump administration announced early on Tuesday morning that it had arrested 95-year-old Jakiw Palij — the last known Nazi collaborator living in the United States — at his home in Queens, New York and deported him to Germany.


ApostasyWatch Daily News

Josh Buice – The Dangerous False Teaching of Andy Stanley

Brian Godawa – Who is the Harlot of Babylon in Revelation?

4 in 10 Evangelical Churchgoers Say Their Church Teaches Prosperity Gospel

Out of Wedlock Births Declining in US After Decades of Increase

NARAL offers abortion-themed ice cream

Indonesia: Buddhist woman gets one and a half years prison for complaining about mosque loudspeakers


Headlines – 8/22/2018

US warns no one will be ‘fully pleased’ by Israeli-Palestinian peace plan

Is one-state support the future of the Democratic party?

Hamas leader: ‘On our way’ to ending Israel blockade

Liberman: Abbas trying to drag Israel into war with Gaza

1,000 Judea and Samaria housing units to be approved tomorrow

US not discussing recognition of Israeli sovereignty on Golan – Bolton

Liberman thanks US for giving Israel ‘room to maneuver’ against enemies

Iran: ‘we must develop our military to guard against other powers’

Senior Iranian Cleric: If U.S Attacks, Israel and Allies Would Be Targeted

Israel mocks Iran’s ‘indigenous’ fighter jet as copy of obsolete F-5

Facebook, Twitter shut anti-Israel misinformation campaigns tied to Tehran

Bolton: Israeli attacks on Iranian missiles in Syria – self defense

Bolton: U.S. sanctions on Iran more effective than expected

Two charged in US with spying for Iran

National Security Adviser Bolton: Russia ‘stuck’ in Syria, Iran must go

Trump Aide Bolton: Putin Told U.S. He Can’t Get Iranian Forces Out of Syria

Yemeni army launches attack on Marran, Houthi leader’s stronghold

Chief al-Qaeda bomb maker ‘killed in Yemen strike’ – US reports

In latest strain on US-Turkey ties, Russia to deliver S-400 to Ankara by 2019

Russia signs military deal with the Central African Republic

Russia plans largest war games since end of Soviet Union

Britain presses for more EU sanctions against Russia

US imposes fresh sanctions for Russian cyber-related activity

No indication NKorea nuclear activities stopped: UN’s IAEA

The Worst Day Yet of Trump’s Presidency – The legal trouble surrounding him just got a lot closer

Trump ex-lawyer Cohen pleads guilty to fraud, campaign finance violations

Trump’s ex-lawyer pleads guilty – and implicates the president

Michael Cohen Testifies That Trump Directed Him to Pay Off Women Ahead of 2016 Election

Cohen ‘more than happy’ to talk to Mueller, tell ‘all that he knows,’ lawyer says

Michael Cohen, from loyal fixer to a threat to the president

Trump attacks Manafort conviction as ‘a disgrace’

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort guilty on 8 charges in fraud trial

Manafort, Cohen developments fuel partisan furor over Mueller probe

Sen. Richard Blumenthal: ‘We are in a Watergate moment’

‘It’s the only excuse they’ll need’: Legal blows fuel impeachment fears

Sean Hannity Melts Down About Hillary Clinton On Day Manafort, Cohen Become Felons

Donald Trump: Americans Deserve Same Freedom of Speech as the Media

ACLU: Alex Jones ban could set dangerous social media precedent

Confederate Statue on UNC Campus Toppled by Protesters

Earth’s Magnetic Field Reversal Could Be More Rapid Than Thought, Study Reveals

Venezuela And Trinidad Struck By Massive, 7.3 Magnitude Earthquake – The quake could be felt as far away as Colombia and Grenada

6.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Lakatoro, Vanuatu

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 28,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

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

Double Trouble for Japan and South Korea with Two Potential Typhoon Hits

Hurricane Lane Now a Category 5 Hurricane

Rare Hurricane Warning Issued for the Hawaii’s Big Island as Powerful Hurricane Lane Threat Increases; Watch Issued for Oahu, Maui

Hawaii may face direct hit, serious damage from Hurricane Lane to end this week

Kerala floods: What causes flash flooding and why has it been so severe in India?

Ten hikers killed in flash flooding in southern Italy

Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record

Shoppers scramble for last-minute supplies as Lane churns toward state

Health Officials: Record Number Of Mosquitoes Testing Positive For West Nile Virus On Long Island

Do not fear the drones air-dropping 50,000 mosquitoes from above here to help us fight the spread of disease

Sewage Study Finds American Drug Use May Be Worse Than We Thought

New from the Jewish brain: A brain-on-chip

Oprah Winfrey Promotes “Shout Your Abortion” Movement Where Women Brag About Their Abortions

Mexican city legalises sex in public

Pope will meet sexual abuse victims in Ireland: Vatican

Angel Families Demand Politicians Act After Illegal Alien Kills Mollie Tibbetts


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BACK TO SCHOOL: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Transgender Indoctrination

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

This topic has been weighing so heavily on me.  I have been gathering information for weeks. I have been praying that the Lord would show me the most important information for parents of school age children, and that the parents would take this seriously.

When my children were in school (1990’s), I was up at the school very often.  The teachers and school administrators did not care for me at all. They considered me a fringe element of the Christian community. I didn’t care what they thought. I fought for my children.

I’ve written in various articles how the Lord helped me to effect change. It was a bit scary at first, but the Lord gave me strength and courage to stand up to the establishment in our schools. Other Christian parents in the neighborhood would call me and ask me if I would go to the school about…

View original post 1,302 more words

August 22, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Pattern of Judgment

then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. (2:9–10a)

Earlier in this section (in verse 4), Peter began a lengthy conditional clause. Now, in verses 9 and 10, he provides the conclusion—if (or since) God knew whom to judge and whom to rescue in the past, then He certainly knows how to do the same in the present and the future.

Centuries before Peter’s time, Scripture established God’s pattern of judgment. The prophet Malachi wrote:

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him. So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts. (Mal. 3:16–4:3)

Put simply, the Lord knows how to judge the wicked while simultaneously preserving His own (cf. Matt. 13:36–43; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; 5:1–5).

For Peter, then, the pattern of divine judgment is clear. First, there is comfort in the fact that the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation. God knows how to save those who belong to Him; therefore they have absolutely nothing to fear (Ps. 27:1; Prov. 1:33; John 14:27; 2 Tim. 1:7; cf. Isa. 8:12). In this context, the word rendered temptation (peirasmos, which usually conveys the concept of testing) connotes the idea of an attack with intent to destroy. (See Mark 8:11; Luke 4:12; Acts 20:19; and Rev. 3:10 for other instances where peirasmos is used in this same way.) Believers, then, are called to trust in the infinite wisdom and sovereign power of their divine protector (cf. Rom. 8:28, 38–39).

God not only knows how to rescue His children but how to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment. He is holding them for the day of final reckoning while continuing their punishment in the meantime. The unrighteous are like prisoners in jail who await final sentencing and transfer to their final fate. While they wait, they continue to accumulate more guilt (cf. Rom. 2:3–6). They will then face judgment at the Great White Throne, the future tribunal where God condemns all the ungodly from all the ages to eternal hell, the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11–15; cf. Matt. 11:22, 24; 12:36; John 12:48; Acts 17:31).

The Lord especially targets those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Thus Peter brings the discussion full circle, again recounting the false teachers’ two primary characteristics. Like the wicked contemporaries of Noah and Lot, false teachers are slaves to sin. The Greek indicates that their lives are characterized by a continual “going after flesh in defiling lust.” They are dishonest, disrespectful, and displeasing to God—actively pursuing their sensual fantasies (as mentioned earlier in 2:2; cf. Jude 6, 7) and eagerly parading their irreverent blasphemies (cf. 2:1). Corrupt translates miasmou, meaning “pollution.” The English word miasma, meaning unpleasant and unwholesome, is derived from this term. Authority (kuriotēs) means “lordship” (cf. Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16; Jude 8), and in this context indicates that the false teachers rejected the sovereign lordship of Jesus Christ over their lives. As discussed in verse 1, they superficially identified with Him but refused to live by His commands.

In keeping with God’s unmistakable promise, divine judgment will ultimately come upon all His enemies (cf. 1 Cor. 15:25–26). The historical precedent leaves no room for doubt. As in the past, God will finally destroy any who oppose Him—including the false teachers and their followers. At the same time, however, He will rescue believers from such a terrifying end. This passage thus echoes Paul’s words to the Thessalonians:

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thess. 1:3–10)[1]


God is in total control (v. 9)

The numbers involved in these examples of judgement gradually reduce to make this teaching very personal:

COSMIC JUDGEMENT of angels;

WIDESPREAD JUDGEMENT at the Flood;

LOCAL JUDGEMENT on the cities of the plains;

THE RESCUE OF AN INDIVIDUAL from God’s judgement.

The first three were collective judgements, but Peter now reduces it down to an individual.

A wise old saying puts it like this:

To lose one’s wealth is much, to lose one’s health is more;

To lose one’s soul is such a loss, that nothing can restore.

Yet there are comforting words in this verse: ‘The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.’ He does not take believers away from trouble, but he sustains them in their troubles.

God protected Noah and the other seven during the worldwide Flood. He then protected Lot when fire and brimstone rained down. If he is powerful enough to save when the whole world is under water, and when the skies are raining fire, then he can save his people through and from trials, and bring them at last to glory.[2]


2:9 / Despite the sheer intensity of the divine judgment, whether by water (as in the case of the Flood) or by fire (as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah), the Lord still preserved godly Noah in the former instance and righteous Lot in the latter. Since the biblical record makes it abundantly clear that this is so, then it follows as certainly as dawn follows dark that the Lord has demonstrated to believing hearts that he knows how to rescue godly people of any generation and in any situation from trials, testings, and afflictions arising from their living among unbelievers or from evil in the present world. No doubt some of Peter’s readers, galled by the pernicious workings of the false teachers, must often have asked how long God would allow the situation to persist. In his role as pastor, Peter reassures them. Divine deliverance may seem to be uncertain, or at least long in coming. But come it will, for God is in control all along—as is illustrated in the experiences of Noah and Lot.

Furthermore, since God is Lord of heaven as well as earth, it also follows that his saving and keeping power, on the one hand, and his power to inflict judgment, on the other hand, extend beyond the present world. The physical destruction wrought by the divine action is not the end of the story. God will hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment. The consequences of unrighteousness, in other words, do not come to an end with those concerned being annihilated, reduced to nothingness, which was the fate of their physical bodies. Their punishment carries on (cf. 2:4). This is not vindictiveness on the part of a God who has been scorned, but the inevitable outworking of divine principles built into the created order. Life and peace come from and are dependent upon the living God. Any who willfully choose to reject God thereby cut themselves off from the source of life and peace (2 Thess. 1:9). Logically, therefore, it follows that for them these qualities must be absent. In other words, they can know only an eternal state of death and restlessness.

The niv translation continuing their punishment seeks to catch the sense of what is one word in the Greek, kolazomenous, a present participle. The ungodly are represented as already suffering some sort of penal process. The Greek ethical writers on punishment (e.g., Aristotle, Rhetoric 1:10) distinguished between kolasis, inflicted for the good of the sufferer, and timōria (Heb. 10:29), imposed for the satisfaction of justice. Since Peter’s term is reflected in the former, he may be hinting at the notion of the penalty being corrective (cf. 1 Pet. 3:19; 4:6).[3]


God is in control (2:9)

Peter reaches two conclusions, as the ‘For it’ clause from verse 4 reaches its pairing, then. Having said that Noah and Lot were marked out by being righteous (2:5, 7–8), and that the people of their day were marked out by being ungodly (2:5, 6), he reverses the terms and says that God is in control of both the godly and the unrighteous. He is now equipped to address the hard topic of why, if God is so firmly in control, the godly and righteous suffer while the unrighteous and ungodly go free.

  • God is in control of the godly

The lesson so far could be that the way out of trials is through what God will effect on the last day, just as he ‘protected’ Noah during the flood (verse 5). Ultimately, that will be the case. But the emphasis in the three examples has been much more on what happened before judgment. Even the angels are still waiting for their judgment. Peter says that the Lord knows how to rescue godly men, shown in the way he ‘rescued Lot’ (verse 7). The difference between Noah and Lot was that the flood was a widespread and effective judgment enabling God to start again, but the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was local and exemplary. It changed nothing, but set the alarm bells ringing. So we must copy those two heroes and stand out against the prevailing immorality of our world, especially (as Peter is about to show) when that same immorality has infected the church. It could be that the answer in our lifetimes is the final judgment, but it may be that we have to endure trials. These are the tough times all Christians have gone through, where the only way of safety is adherence to God and his faithfulness. The temptation is to think that because the unrighteous seem to run the world, and sometimes the churches too, God has ceased to rule. He has not, but the alert Christian will find it a painful business to be faithful surrounded by filth. If we do not find it painful, then Peter’s letter should alert us to the likelihood that we have become more compromised in our world than Lot was in Sodom. Ruth Graham has said, ‘If God does not one day judge America’—and, we might add, whichever country we live in—‘he will have to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah!’

  • God is in control of the unrighteous

The rebellious angels are being ‘held for judgment’ (4), and the same is true of the rebellious humans, for God knows how to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. God is in control, and the men and women who run the world and the church their own way will one day find that out to their cost. That was the lesson Jesus himself taught from the stories of the flood and the cities of the plain.36 In the meantime, those who hold on to their belief in God must not lose heart because he has not yet vindicated himself. He will.[4]


2:9. Lot’s rescue emphasizes God’s promises to rescue godly men from trials. This may suggest present trials in the life of the believer. God can and does rescue believers from trials and difficulties; however, this is certainly not the norm, nor is it the biblical promise (see Jas. 1:1–2 and the commentary on 1 Peter). Such an interpretation misses the point of Peter’s illustration. His emphasis is on God’s final judgment of the ungodly (cf. v. 6).

“Trials” (peirasmou) literally means “the test.” Consistently, the New Testament views the second coming of Christ as the final test. Then the Lord will rescue his true followers, but the ungodly will face judgment, for the Lord knows how to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment. “To hold” literally means “to keep or to guard.” It suggests that God is in control of judgment and people; he will have the final say.

While continuing their punishment in the niv represents a rigid translation of a Greek present participle that most likely has a future meaning here, so the niv translator’s note is probably preferable: “until the day of judgment” (see the discussion of Bauckham, WBC 50, 253–254). An intermediate state of punishment or purgatory is not in view. The entire context points to the final judgment of rebellious angels, people, and teachers.[5]


9. If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

In his conclusion to the section on the ruin of the ungodly and the protection of the believer, Peter speaks as a pastor who encourages the members of his flock. He first addresses the believers with a message of encouragement and then discloses the future of the unbelievers. His words also sound a warning to those people who are drifting from the truth of God’s Word.

  • “The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.” The New International Version has added a short statement (“if this is so”) that summarizes the essence of the preceding verses. With the addition of this clause, the sentence itself has a proposition and a conclusion. What is the point of presenting three illustrations? In one word, assurance. Peter wants his readers to know that God is in control of every situation and that they have this assurance. As Paul puts it, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” (1 Cor. 10:13). The readers experienced the pernicious influence of the false teachers who infiltrated the Christian church. They saw the evidence of the erroneous doctrines in the shameful conduct of these teachers. And they undoubtedly asked why God allowed his people to be harassed by evil men.

John Calvin formulates a question that disheartened Christians usually ask: “If the Lord would have his own to be safe, why does he not gather them all into some corner of the earth, that they may mutually stimulate one another to holiness? Why does he mingle them with the wicked by whom they may be defiled?”

In his role as pastor, Peter knows that despondency is apt to appear. Peter says that the Lord knows how to rescue. He probably chooses the expression Lord either as a variation of the word God (with which he began the series of examples [v. 4]) or as a name that conveys the grace and mercy of the Lord. God’s mercy is linked to the verb rescue (v. 7) in the case of Lot (Gen. 19:16). The Lord has shown in numerous instances how he rescues godly men from difficult circumstances. The examples of Noah and Lot are cases in point. If God is able to protect Noah’s family from a perverse humanity and rescue Lot and his daughters from a godless society, he knows how to deliver Christians from immoral and corrupt people today.

The language Peter uses at this point is reminiscent of the last petition in the Lord’s Prayer: “And lead us not into temptation [trial], but deliver [rescue] us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13). God tested Noah when he told him to build the ark. And God permitted Lot to enter into temptation when Lot chose to live near Sodom. But as God delivered both of these men from an evil world in ancient times, so he will rescue godly people from trials and temptations today (compare 2 Tim. 4:18; Rev. 3:10).

  • “And to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.” In the second half of verse 9, Peter reveals what is happening to people who revel in sin. Because they willfully violate God’s law, God keeps them in custody for the day of judgment. Jesus speaks of this day, for example, when he refers to the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt. 10:15). And Peter discloses that “the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (3:7).

What will happen on that judgment day? The ungodly who refuse to turn away from their sinful life will receive everlasting punishment. They will be thrown “into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death” (Rev. 20:14).

As prisoners are held in custody until the day they appear in court, so God keeps the ungodly for the judgment day. However, Peter adds the clause while continuing their punishment. We can interpret this clause with either a present or a future connotation. Here is a representative translation that clearly expresses the present tense: “The Lord, indeed, knows … how to continue the punishment of the wicked up to the day of judgment” (NAB). And in the following version the future tense is evident: “The Lord knoweth how to … reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (KJV). Although both translations are current, I favor the first one, because the Greek has a present participle “to which we cannot easily attribute a future tense.” Moreover, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus teaches that the ungodly suffer while waiting for the day of judgment (Luke 16:19–31). Granted that we have no indication that the false teachers at the time of Peter’s writing endured divine punishment, we know that by their conduct they were advancing their own destruction.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2005). 2 Peter and Jude (pp. 91–93). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Anderson, C. (2007). Opening up 2 Peter (p. 64). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[3] Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (pp. 190–191). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Lucas, R. C., & Green, C. (1995). The message of 2 Peter & Jude: the promise of His coming (pp. 101–102). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[5] Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 126–127). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 292–294). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

August 22 Jesus’ Availability to Jairus

Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples.—Matt. 9:19

Jesus was always willing to go out of His way to serve others in the Father’s name. This trait was certainly evident as Christ reached out to Jairus with accessibility and availability. There were certainly many other needy people in the region near Jairus, but the urgency of the synagogue leader’s circumstances demanded that Jesus go to Jairus’s home. From a distance the Lord could have sent the power to raise the man’s daughter from the dead. He chose, however, to manifest selfless love and compassion by following the grieving Jairus to his home.

God is sensitive not only to the needs of the many but to the cry of individuals in need. The Holy Spirit’s work through Philip in Acts 8 illustrates this principle. In the midst of a highly profitable ministry in Samaria, an angel dispatched the evangelist to Gaza (v. 26). Right away Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch, the royal official who served the queen of Ethiopia. When the Holy Spirit prompted Philip to approach the man, the evangelist found an eager seeker about the things of God and was able to lead him to saving faith in Christ (vv. 35–37).

God sometimes leads us, as He often led His own Son and the early disciples, to temporarily set aside a larger ministry to focus on the need of one person—and He wants us to be available. After all, Jesus did promise that every single individual who genuinely “comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).

ASK YOURSELF

Who comes to mind when you think of someone God has called you to influence at this point in time? Avoid the temptation to withhold yourself from others, not wanting to get involved in the messiness of their needs and problems, when Jesus has called you to compassion.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 243). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

AUGUST 22 THE QUALITY OF TRUE FAITH IS MORAL, NOT MENTAL

I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known….

ISAIAH 42:16

Sometimes we are prone to blame ourselves for unbelief when our trouble is nothing more than inability to visualize. There are some truths set forth in the Scriptures that place a great strain upon our minds. Divine revelation assures us that certain things are true which imagination simply will not grasp.

We believe them but we cannot see them in the mind’s eye!

To think right we must distinguish believing from visualizing. The two are not the same. One is moral and the other mental. Unwillingness to believe proves that men love darkness rather than light, while inability to visualize indicates no more than lack of imagination, something that will not be held against us at the judgment seat of Christ.

True faith is not the intellectual ability to visualize unseen things to the satisfaction of our imperfect minds; it is rather the moral power to trust Christ!

To be unafraid when going on a journey with his father the child need not be able to imagine events; he need but know the father! Jesus Christ is our all in all—we need but trust Him and He will take care of the rest.

I have found deep satisfaction in these words of the prophet: “I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them” (Isa. 42:16).[1]


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

August 22 False Assurance

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:21

The New Testament gives very high standards for discerning the true Christian life, and it also issues many warnings to avoid self–deception concerning salvation (see Matt. 25).

One of the causes of self–deception is a wrong understanding of the doctrine of assurance. Many people become self-deceived by well–meaning Christian witnesses who tell them that to be saved, they simply have to make a decision for Christ and then, based on that prayer of decision, never doubt their salvation again.

Sadly, such evangelistic workers are attempting to certify someone’s salvation apart from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and the future evidence of spiritual fruit accompanied by obedience to the Word (John 8:31). Only God can give a person real assurance of salvation, by the Spirit working through His Word (see Rom. 8:14–16).[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 255). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Brannon Howse: August 21, 2018 | Worldview Weekend

The radical, redistribution of John Perkins goes mainstream. (Part 2) Topic: John Perkins is praised not only by the radical left but also the cultural marxist Gospel Coalition as well as a few well known American Bible teachers. Yet, in today’s program you will hear shocking audio clips of John Perkins calling for redistribution of wealth and praising Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro while wrapping his radical socialism in twisted theology. In his new book Marxianity coming out in the fall of 2018 Brannon will name the names of those that have praised John Perkins for many years and the readers will be shocked. Topic: We take your calls.
— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-august-21-2018

Wednesday Briefing Aug 22, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

The story behind the story as LGBT candidates appear on ballots in record numbers

New York Times (Liam Stack and Catie Edmondson) — A ‘Rainbow Wave’? 2018 Has More L.G.B.T. Candidates Than Ever

New York Times (Liam Stack) — Christine Hallquist on Her Primary Victory: ‘It Gives the Transgender Community Hope’

What the prosecution of a 95-year-old Nazi guard reveals about the difference between the biblical and the secular worldviews

Washington Post (Rick Noack) — 95-year-old Nazi guard living in the U.S. deported to Germany as prosecutions for Holocaust crimes surge

Wherever the cross of Christ appears, it must always be acknowledged as the cross of Christ

Deseret News (Kelsey Dallas) — Is a cross always religious?
— Read on albertmohler.com/2018/08/22/briefing-8-22-18/

August 22, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Bible’s Power to Change Lives

Romans 10:17

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

During the decade I spent as chairman of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (1978–1988), I listened to many sermons on the Bible, as well as preaching quite a few myself. But the best I heard was by Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas. He gave it at ICBI’s first “Summit Meeting” in Chicago in the fall of 1978.

At the time, Criswell had been pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas for over thirty-five years. He had been in the ministry for more than fifty years, and he had been chosen to address this amazing gathering of 350 pastors, scholars, and leaders of the major para-church organizations on the subject “What Happens When I Preach the Bible as Literally True?” His answer was a tour de force, as he explained what had happened to himself, what had happened to his church, and what he believes happens to God when God’s Word is thus used and honored.

About a year after Criswell had gone to the Dallas church, he announced to his already well-established congregation that he was going to preach through the Bible, beginning with Genesis and going right on to the last benedictory prayer in Revelation. “You never heard such lugubrious prognostications,” he reported. People said it would kill the church. “Nobody will come to hear someone preach about Habakkuk, Haggai, and Nahum. Most people don’t even know who those biblical books or characters are,” they said. Criswell did it all the same, however. Much to everyone’s astonishment, the problem that developed was not the demise of the church, but where to put all the people who were pressing in weekly to hear such biblical preaching. There were thousands of conversions, and today the First Baptist Church of Dallas is one of the largest, most effective, and most biblically sound churches in the entire country.

Scoffers abound. Critics multiply. But the lesson of history is the unique power of the Bible to change people’s lives and build churches.

Hearing What?

This is what Paul is getting at in the verse to which we have come in our study of Romans 10, though there is some question among commentators about how it should be fitted in. Is it a digression? It could be, since Paul has spoken about unbelief in verse 16 and is going to deal with the unbelief of Israel explicitly in verses 18–21. Is it a throwback to what he has already said in verses 13–15? In my judgment, as well as in the judgment of a number of other commentators, the verse is best understood as a succinct summary of what has gone before.

I say “succinct” because the sentence as Paul wrote it has no verbs. The New International Version has added two verbs to make the passage flow better for English readers, “comes” and “is heard.” But what Paul actually wrote was: “So, then, faith by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” The very tone sounds like a summary of verse 14: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

In our text the idea of “hearing” occurs two times: “faith by hearing” and “heard through the word of Christ.” It makes us ask: “Hearing what?” There are two answers to that question.

  1. The gospel. The first and most obvious answer is the message of the gospel, that is, the biblical message of salvation from sin through the work of Jesus Christ, as that message is preached by Christ’s ambassadors. This is what Paul has been writing about in verses 14 and 15, showing that: (1) for people to call on Christ for salvation, they must first believe in Christ; (2) for them to believe in Christ, they must first hear about Christ (or, “hear him,” as I said in an earlier study); (3) for them to hear Christ, someone must preach Christ to them; and (4) for someone to preach Christ to them, the messenger must first be sent. Everything Paul says in this section has to do with preaching the gospel. In fact, he will be thinking along these lines in the next verses, too, for his point there will be that his countrymen have had the gospel preached to them and are therefore without excuse in regard to their unbelief.

If we look at the matter in a broader context, we can even say that this is what the entire letter to the Romans is about. It is the gospel. It tells us that when we were hopelessly lost in sin and under the threat of God’s judgment, God acted to save us through the work of Christ. He sent Jesus to die for us, taking the punishment of our sins to himself, so that the love of God might go out to save the sinner. What is more, the salvation thus achieved is not only a salvation from the punishment due us for our sins. It is also salvation from the power of sin in our lives and eventually even from the presence of sin. It ends with glorification (Rom. 8:29–30).

This gospel is a glorious message, one the world very much needs to hear. It is why Paul calls it “the good news” in verse 16.

  1. Christ himself. The large majority of commentators take the phrase “through the word of Christ” as an objective genitive, meaning that the word is the word about Christ or that he is the content of the message. That is a true statement, of course. It is what I have just been saying about the gospel. However, I am convinced that here, rather than being an objective genitive, the phrase “through the word of Christ” is actually a subjective genitive, which means that Jesus is understood to be speaking the gospel message or “word.”

I have two reasons for believing this. First, this is the way the word of Christ was referred to in verse 14. In the earlier discussion of that verse I pointed out that the proper translation is not “the one of whom they have not heard,” as the New International Version has it, but “the one whom they have not heard.” The point I made there is that Jesus speaks through his messengers, so that those who hear the messenger to the extent of believing on Christ and calling on Christ for salvation have actually heard Jesus as he has spoken his truth to them and called them to faith. Jesus said that this is what he would do (see John 10:3–5, 16). Since this is what “hearing Christ” meant in verse 14, it is right to see that earlier meaning in this verse too.

Second, if verse 17 only means “the word about Christ,” the two parts of the verse are redundant, because this is what the “message” of the first part of the verse means. It would reduce to: “Faith comes from hearing the gospel, and the gospel that is heard is the gospel.”

On the other hand, if “hearing Christ” is the meaning, an important truth is added. To paraphrase this a bit, the proper meaning of verse 17 would be: “Faith comes from hearing the gospel preached, and the reason faith comes from hearing the gospel preached is that Jesus himself, the object of the gospel as well as its subject, speaks through the messenger to call the listening one to faith.”

Word and Spirit

This is a very important point, as I said. In fact, it was the chief discovery the Reformers made so far as the nature and function of the written Word of God is concerned. The way they talked about it was to stress the mutual working together of the Word of God (the Bible), on the one hand, and the Holy Spirit of God (the Spirit of Christ), on the other.

Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others had a very strong faith in the work of the Holy Spirit to convert, teach, and lead people. They knew verses like John 3:8 (“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit”); 1 John 5:6 (“… And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth”); and 1 Corinthians 2:12–14 (“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned”).

But when the Reformers thought about these verses and others that stress the work of the Holy Spirit, they also remembered verses that taught the importance of the Bible in knowing the mind and will of God. They understood rightly that God speaks only through the written Word.

Without the Holy Spirit, the Bible is a dead book. That is why the man “without the Spirit” cannot understand it. But, on the other hand, without the Word as an objective guide from God, claims to a special leading by the Holy Spirit run to excess, error, or mere foolishness. Knowing the importance of both, the Reformers preached the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the transformation of Europe and the western world was the result.

Let me put the Reformers’ doctrine back into the terminology of our text by saying: When the Bible is preached, Christ speaks. Isn’t that what the verse says? And when Jesus speaks, his voice brings life out of death and his sheep awake from their spiritually lost condition and follow him.

In the sermon I referred to earlier, W. A. Criswell said, “No word spoken for God ever falls to the ground. Somehow, some way, in areas of life that we don’t understand and don’t know, God blesses it in his good purpose, in his electing choice, and in his heavenly time. That is the basis on which I have tried to build, with God’s help, the congregation you call the First Baptist Church of Dallas.”

Let me say it again. The reason the Bible is powerful is that it is not the mere words of men, however insightful they may be, or even (do not misunderstand me here) the unique and inerrant Word of God, as important as that is. It is because God speaks to people through the Bible by the Spirit of Christ, and because that Word is life-giving and life-transforming.

“The Book that Set My People Free”

Maybe you are thinking that the Bible only works like that in America or in southern Bible Belt areas of the country, like Texas. If so, let me take you half a world away and tell you the story of Rochunga Pudaite, an Indian national from the people known as the Hmars. He tells his story in a volume titled The Book That Set My People Free.

The Hmars were at one time one of the most feared tribes in India. They had descended from Mongols who had come from central China, crossed the lower Himalayas, and settled in northeast India. They were headhunters, and when they fought they took heads that they hung over the doors of their bamboo huts. The British, who ruled India in those days, called them “barbaric tribesmen” and said they were almost like animals. When the British tried to enter the Hmar territory, the Hmars fought back. On one occasion they took five hundred heads in just one raid on a tea plantation. The soldiers pursued them. A few Hmars were killed, but most escaped back into the jungle, which is where they were when a Welsh missionary by the name of Watkin Roberts brought the Bible to their tribe.

Roberts was a chemist who had been converted during one of the great Welsh revivals of the last century, and when he read an account of the pursuit of the Hmar headhunters by British soldiers, he felt that God wanted him to take the Bible to them.

When Roberts arrived at the border of the Hmar territory in India, the British authorities would not let him proceed, declaring the area much too dangerous. So Roberts did the next best thing. He found some Lushais from a tribe adjoining the Hmars and began to translate the Bible into their related language. When he received a small gift for the work from a lady in England, he printed a few hundred copies of the Gospel of John and sent a copy to each of the tribal villages.

One of these copies came to the village in which Pudaite’s father was living. A Lushai tribesman happened to be there and read the book to him. Pudaite’s father could not understand what it meant to be “born again,” and the neighbor could not explain it to him. He suggested that the chief invite the translator to the village.

When Roberts asked the British agent for permission to go, he was told not to enter the Hmar territory. “When I go in there, I take along a hundred soldiers for protection, and I can’t spare a single soldier for you,” said the agent. Roberts showed him the tribal chief’s invitation but was told it was deceptive. “They only want to chop your head off,” he said. Roberts went anyway and was able to explain the gospel to the people. After a week of teaching, the chief and four Hmar men announced that they wanted to make peace with the God of the Bible by believing on Jesus Christ. One of the four men was Pudaite’s father.

This man, whose name was Chawanga, became one of the first Hmar preachers. He traveled all over the territory, teaching the Bible, leading people to Christ, and founding churches. These early Hmar preachers founded churches in almost every village. Many people came to Christ. They were tired of their fighting, drinking, and fear. When they became Christians they began living different lives. They began to work harder and built schools for their children.

Strangely enough, the British branded Watkin Roberts a troublemaker for his part in this tribal transformation and ordered him to leave. As a result, he left only a part of the Bible in the Lushai language.

The Hmars chose Rochunga Pudaite to do the Hmar translation. Although none of them had ever been out of their own area of northeast India, they sent Pudaite to a mission school and then to a college in India. The missionary worked with others to see that Pudaite was able to continue his education in Scotland and then in America. Pudaite did the translation and later became the new head of the mission Watkin Roberts had founded, the Indo-Burma Pioneer Mission, which later changed its name to the Partnership Mission.

Today, reports Pudaite:

The Hmars … have become one of the most advanced ethnic groups in all India. At least ninety-five percent are Christians, worshiping in over 200 churches. Except for Mr. [Roberts], the only missionary they have had is the Bible.

Hmar population is now up to about 125,000. Eighty-five percent can read and write, a phenomenal percentage in India [and a higher percentage than the citizens of Philadelphia]. They have eighty-eight church-sponsored elementary schools, seven junior highs, and four high schools—one with an enrollment of about a thousand. They even have a good hospital, staffed by Hmar doctors and nurses.

One of our Hmars holds the rank of ambassador in the Indian Embassy in Yugoslavia. Another is the Indian charge d’affaires in Saudi Arabia. Another is the highest ranking civil servant in India. Another is the administrator of a large state. Every year the government gives tests to select the outstanding young men for government service. Only about twenty are selected in the whole country. For several years one or two Hmars have been in each group of winners. And there is only one Hmar for every 7,000 people in India.

The Hmars have also begun taking the gospel to other tribes, starting hundreds of churches in other territories. They have taken food to tribes that were starving. As for Rochunga Pudaite, he is now head of an organization called Bibles for the World, which has already mailed millions of Bibles to postal addresses in scores of countries and has a vision for mailing in this decade at least one billion Bibles to the more than one billion telephone addresses worldwide.

Pudaite says, “The Bible is the Book that reveals the mind of God, the heart of man, the way of salvation, and the blessedness of believers. It is the Book that tells us where we come from and where we are going. It is the Book that set my people free.”

Faith by Hearing

I conclude with two important applications. The first is for believers. The second is for those who have not yet called on Christ.

First, if people can only be converted by hearing the gospel message, which is what Paul says, then believers must make sure they hear it. It is our responsibility to take the gospel to them and to send others to places where we cannot go ourselves. Do not suppose that what you can do is unimportant or that God is going to save people without human messengers, by a direct word from heaven, for example. All who are saved are saved because Christians have done something to bring the gospel to them.

If you object that you were saved while sitting alone in your room, remember that it was by believing the message of the Bible that some Christian communicated to you somehow. It may have been by the direct word of a father or mother, an uncle or grandmother. It may have been years ago, when you were a child. It may have been more recently. But somehow, some Christian brought you the message about Jesus. Perhaps you did not have exposure to Christian teaching in your family. Perhaps you were converted in a distant city in a lonely hotel room through reading a Gideon Bible. Remember that somebody bought that Bible and somebody else put it there. If you were saved by a tract, some Christian wrote it, others published it, and still others arranged for it to get into your hands. It is the same if you have heard the gospel on the radio or on television or through a book.

The Bible says, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” That is the way the salvation came to you. It is also the way it must go from you to others.

Second, a word for those who are not yet Christians. If you are not yet a believer in Jesus Christ, you need to understand that our text is true and very accurate when it says that, “faith comes from hearing the message.” How do people become believers? It is by hearing the message. And why is that so? It is because the Lord Jesus Christ himself speaks to them through the preacher to call them to faith.

So take advantage of the teaching. Listen to it. Find a faithful pastor who is teaching the Word of God Sunday by Sunday from his pulpit, and learn from him. Open your heart to the words that are being taught. One commentator wrote, “If you will open your heart now, and willingly pay attention to the good news that God has nothing against you, that he loves you, that he sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for you, that Christ did die for you personally, and that he was buried, and that God raised him from the dead on the third day as the guarantee of your salvation—if you will open your heart to this, you will find faith coming to you.”

“Faith comes from hearing.” God has planned it that way. The message is being taught. Your part is to open your ears to that truth, trusting that, as you do, God will make the message true for you and that you will find yourself calling on the Lord Jesus Christ to be your Savior.[1]


17 Paul now turns two of the questions of v. 14 into declarative statements in preparation for what follows: Faith depends on “hearing the message”—i.e., hearing it with understanding and acceptance. And the message is heard “through the word of Christ.” This can mean either the word about Christ (objective genitive) or the word proclaimed by Christ (subjective genitive). The former sense is somewhat favored by the fact that in Isaiah 53, which may still be in Paul’s thought, the Servant is not a proclaimer but a suffering redeemer. On the other hand, the second possibility cannot be ruled out. Barrett, 189, writes, “Christ must be heard either in his own person, or in the person of his preachers, through whom his own word (v. 17) is spoken; otherwise faith in him is impossible.”[2]


17. Consequently, faith (comes) from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Of the many interpretations of this passage, some very involved, the best is probably the one which views it as a summarizing conclusion. Does not the opening word “Consequently” point in this direction? What Paul is saying, then, is that faith in Christ presupposes having heard the word that proceeds from and concerns Christ. Here a word, in the original, that has just (verse 16) been used in a passive sense—“that which was heard”—is now also used in the active sense: hearing the message.

The great importance Paul attached to hearing immediately reminds one of Jesus. In all Christ’s teaching, both on earth and from heaven, it would be difficult to discover any exhortation which he repeated more often, in one form or another, than the one about hearing; better still: listening (Matt. 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8; 14:35; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9). Add 8:18 in both Mark and Luke.[3]


10:17 In this quotation from Isaiah, Paul notices that the belief spoken of by the prophet springs from the message that is heard, and that the message comes through the word about the Messiah. So he lays down the conclusion that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Faith comes to men when they hear our preaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, which is based, of course, on the written word of God.

But hearing with the ears is not enough. A person must hear with an open heart and mind, willing to be shown the truth of God. If he does, he will find that the word has the ring of truth, and that the truth is self-authenticating. He will then believe. It should be clear, of course, that the hearing alluded to in this verse does not involve the ears exclusively. The message might be read, for example. So “to hear” means to receive the word by whatever means.[4]


10:17 — So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Everything that we need to know in regard to salvation—what it is, why we need it, how we can receive it—can be found in God’s Word. God blesses us when we hear His promises and respond in faith to them.[5]


[1] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: God and History (Vol. 3, pp. 1261–1268). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[2] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 164). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, p. 351). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1723). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ro 10:17). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

August 22 Materialistic Christians

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth.”

Matthew 6:19

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You cannot pursue both God and riches.

Ours is a society consumed with material things. Status, success, and importance are all too often measured by a person’s financial worth. Those with wealth flaunt it; those without wealth fake it. People often rack up huge debts in their desperate and futile pursuit of happiness through accumulating material things.

Sadly, that same materialistic mind–set permeates the church. Instead of offering an alternative, that of being distinct from the world, the church joins the world in its pursuit of riches. Most tragically of all, the saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is lost in the process.

It is not wrong to have possessions. Job, Abraham, and Solomon were among the wealthiest men of their day. But it is wrong to covet, to make the pursuit of material things the main goal of your life, to serve mammon instead of God. “Do not love the world,” wrote the apostle John, “nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). James addressed these scathing words to those whose focus is on material things: “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Behind much of the pursuit of riches in the church is a lack of trust in God’s provision. Instead of finding security in His promise to supply all our needs (Phil. 4:19), we seek it in a house, a bank account, or a stock portfolio. God did not give us our money and possessions so we wouldn’t have to trust Him. He gave them to us to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17) and to test the legitimacy of our spirituality (Luke 16:11).

Whether you are rich or poor, your attitude toward your possessions and how you handle them is a test of your spirituality. How are you doing?

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Pray with Agur, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny Thee and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God” (Prov. 30:8–9).

For Further Study: What do the following verses teach about our attitude toward wealth: Psalms 49:5–9; 52:7; 62:10?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Of Calvin, Social Justice, And The Theology Of The Cross — The Aquila Report

A theology of glory is a theology that 1) seeks to present one’s self to God on the basis of works; 2) that elevates human reason above divine revelation. The theology of the cross looks to Christ and his righteousness imputed, received through faith alone, resting in Christ alone, according to the Scripture alone. For Luther and for Calvin, the idea that there could be a social movement that would bring about heaven on earth was a theology of glory. It conflated heaven and earth. It failed to recognize the depth of human depravity and the consequences of the fall and sin.

 

Yesterday (August 13) was the 477th anniversary of a small but symbolic event in Reformation history. On that date in 1541 John Calvin returned to Geneva from Strasbourg, where he had been a happy exile for about three years. On his first Sunday back in the pulpit in Geneva, as he later recalled, he gave a brief account of his ministry, so that the people in St. Pierre would not think that he been voluntarily neglecting them and his ministry, and then he resumed preaching just where he had left off 3 years earlier. This was intentional. He did not crow. He just returned to his ministry of Word, sacrament, and discipline.

Technically, he was only on temporary loan from Strasbourg but he never returned to Strasbourg, where he had been pastoring a French-speaking congregation. He was exiled from Geneva because he tried to reform their worship and church discipline according to the Word of God. This was, he thought, the reason they had called him to the ministry there in the first place but the influential, old-money families, whose names are still on the street signs (in the old city) in Geneva today, found that the reforms he proposed would mean that they would lose control over the churches and that some of them would find themselves excluded from the Lord’s Table for gross immorality—because that is just what Calvin, Farel, and the other ministers proposed to do.

Exile is a misleading word to describe Calvin’s three years in Strasbourg. It is a beautiful city. He had warm fellowship with Bucer, a humanist and Reformed theologian, who had become a Protestant at Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation (1518). By the time Calvin joined him he had been thinking about and seeking to implement Reformation for 30 years. Bucer was a senior figure in the movement and an irenic figure, so much so that at Regensburg, while Calvin was with him, he tried with Melanchthon to craft an equivocal statement on justification that the Roman delegates to the conference could sign. It would be more accurate to describe his time in Strasbourg as a relief, as a kind of internship.

Two things make this episode interesting just now. First, it contradicts the widely held and repeated narrative that Calvin was a tyrant in Geneva and in the Reformed churches. I suppose tyrants might be exiled but they are not usually invited back, as Calvin was. Further, while he was away, the city fathers of Geneva faced a significant challenge by Jacopo Cardinal Sadoleto (d. 1547), who had written a letter inviting the Genevans to repent of their reformation of the church and to return to Rome. No one in Geneva was up to the task of replying and so they asked the one they had exiled to reply for them and Calvin graciously agreed. His reply to Sadoleto is one of the signal texts of the early Reformation.

Second, this episode signals something about Calvin’s eschatology. He was not looking for a glory-age on this earth. He expected the visible church to be mixed with believers and unbelievers. He expected civil justice to be imperfect. He did not begin a movement to bring heaven down to earth, i.e., a utopia. He had a semi-realized eschatology (the doctrine of the relations between heaven and earth and between the end of all things and now).

There are essentially three kinds of eschatologies: completely realized (e.g., full-preterism, Jesus has returned and this is the new heavens and the new earth); semi-realized (the dominant view among the Reformed and usually described as Amillennialism); and unrealized (or futurist; which would include most forms of chiliasm, premillennialism). Postmillennialism as we know it today has features that align it with the semi-realized and with the futurist views. It says that the Kingdom of God has been introduced into history but it also looks forward to an earthly golden age (prior to Christ’s return).

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via Of Calvin, Social Justice, And The Theology Of The Cross — The Aquila Report

How Much Should I Study Doctrine? — The Aquila Report

You’re not a pastor or a theologian—you’re just an earnest Christian who doesn’t have the luxury of spending your days buried in Berkhof either. You know that doctrine matters, but it’s difficult to know how much time to devote to it among the demands of everyday life. You’re not agile with cross-references, you don’t know Hebrew or Greek, and you’re not terribly familiar with ancient Near eastern culture or history. And your day job, whether it’s checking inventories or chasing toddlers, conspires to keep you from devoting much time to honing these skills. So, how much time should the average believer dedicate to studying doctrine?

 

I stumbled onto Reformed theology as a bleary-eyed new mom. During an inductive study of the book of Romans, I began to detect that I had been quite a bit more dead in my sins than the church of my upbringing had taught. Concerned that this insight might be the product of sleep deprivation rather than spirit-wrought inspiration, I began searching for doctrine that confirmed or denied what I was seeing. My husband took note of my burgeoning interest and gave me Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology for my thirtieth birthday. From there, it was a straight shot to seminary.

Except that it wasn’t, because I had four children under the age of five. Seminary was nowhere in my trajectory, and though I was learning to value the role of doctrine in my spiritual development, I could barely find time to read the Bible, much less absorb a systematic theology text. Berkhof languished reproachfully on my bookshelf, referenced only occasionally when my study of Scripture turned particularly confusing. What was wrong with me? Was I lazy? Not smart enough? How could I hope to have a fully functioning faith if I never nailed down the finer points of Christology and pneumatology?

Maybe you can relate. You’re not a pastor or a theologian—you’re just an earnest Christian who doesn’t have the luxury of spending your days buried in Berkhof either. You know that doctrine matters, but it’s difficult to know how much time to devote to it among the demands of everyday life. You’re not agile with cross-references, you don’t know Hebrew or Greek, and you’re not terribly familiar with ancient Near eastern culture or history. And your day job, whether it’s checking inventories or chasing toddlers, conspires to keep you from devoting much time to honing these skills. So, how much time should the average believer dedicate to studying doctrine?

The answer is simple: it depends.

First, it depends on how well you know your Bible. We live in an age when access to Bible doctrine—study about the Bible—abounds. It comes to us in the form of podcasts, sermons, creeds, commentaries, blog posts, topical books, streaming videos, and study Bible notes. If we’re not careful, we can replace study of the Bible with study about the Bible. Doctrine is of limited benefit apart from study of the Bible. Without study of the Bible, we have no means of judging which doctrine is spiritually nourishing. When we are choosing how to allocate study time wisely, firsthand study of Scripture is a nonnegotiable. If you don’t know your Bible well, focus on becoming biblically literate, working in doctrine as supplemental study.

Second, how much you should study doctrine depends on your personal history. Study of doctrine should function as a supplement to, not a substitute for, study of Scripture. but it is an essential supplement, particularly if you have sat under poor teaching in the past. Unlearning bad thinking cultivated by bad teaching can take a long time. Be aware of your own damage level. If you know you’ve been a student of bad doctrine, learning good doctrine will be essential to recovering a purer interpretation of Scripture.

Third, how much you should study doctrine depends on your level of influence. Are you responsible for shepherding others? Do you aspire to teach, or are you already teaching? If so, you’ll want to prioritize learning doctrine. Exercising influence requires recognizing inadequacy. The more we feel our limits, the more we should embrace our need to access the time-honored teachings of those who have gone before us, whose extraordinary gifting and extensive study gave them insight we will likely never achieve on our own with our journal, our latte, our Bible app, and our good intentions.

Finally, how much you should study doctrine depends on your schedule. Make an honest assessment of how your time is currently being spent. We go through seasons of life that are busier than others. We give what we can during busy times, but once a busy season has passed, we should revisit our commitment to study. As my kids grew older and my sleep patterns got more predictable, Mr. Berkhof and I got better acquainted. It turned out that my desire to learn doctrine wasn’t futile, just seasonally delayed.

We must also honestly assess how we use the discretionary time we have. Yes, we’re all busy, but we find time for TV, social media, books, or movies—all of which teach their own belief-shaping doctrines. Examine your consumption patterns. If you consistently find time to study the doctrinal offerings of Facebook or ESPN, you might just be able to reallocate a little of that time for studying Christian doctrine.

There is no foolproof formula for how much we should study doctrine. For most of us, it is a privilege we savor as we are able, according to need and opportunity. We are not all called to be PhDs in theology; we are each simply called to be faithful with what the Lord gives. Some plant and some water. May we treasure the gift of doctrine as we are able, and may we trust God to grant the increase.

© 2018 Ligonier Ministries

via How Much Should I Study Doctrine? — The Aquila Report

08/22/18 Destructive Pride — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Obadiah, Psalms 82, 83

“. . . from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD.”

Obadiah 4

Pride has a way of capturing us and convincing us. It “captures” us in the sense that it’s all over us; it almost seeps out from the pours of our skin. It “convinces” us then that we really are that significant. Prideful people will let others know how great they are, and it doesn’t matter what others think. It does matter, though, what God thinks.

The Edomites were a people who lived in a territory of high peaks (as high as 5000+ feet above sea level) and deep ravines. Literally high above others and difficult to get to, they trusted in their perceived invincibility. When God was ready to bring judgment on them through other nations, however, their inaccessibility was no concern for Him: “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD” (Obad. 3-4).

Their pride said, “No one can get us”; the power and reach of God said, “You can’t hide from Me.” They had natural, physical barriers they believed would protect them; God, though, is supernatural. In all their pride, they could not soar so high that God could not bring them down. That’s still the case for all of us, too.

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Ask a close friend if you ever exhibit pride.
  • Ask God to show you where pride lurks in your heart. Confess it as needed.

PRAYER: “Father, I know how easily I can fall into pride. Help me. Guard me.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 45-48

via 08/22/18 Destructive Pride — ChuckLawless.com