Daily Archives: September 8, 2018

September 8: Resilient Hope and Red Herrings

Joel 3:1–21; Acts 7:54–8:25; Job 19:1–12

The death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, must have crushed and discouraged the early church. But in this event Luke shows us glimmers of hope. He reminds us that God is working behind the scenes.

Facing death, Stephen prayed for his persecutors, asking that God “not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). God answered that cry of mercy in a generous way. As we watch Stephen being forced out of the city and stoned to death, Luke introduces us to another character present in the crowd: “The witnesses laid aside their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul” (Acts 7:54).

This detail seems like a red herring, but by introducing Saul (later Paul) to us before his conversion, Luke gives his readers hope in desperate circumstances. Saul was determined to squelch this dangerous new sect coming out of Nazareth, but soon Paul would become its greatest advocate. By placing Stephen’s death alongside Saul’s persecution, Luke shows that the church is resilient. Stephen was a source of encouragement and godly leadership for the church. Similarly, and in spite of his beginnings, Paul would expand the influence of the Church far beyond the expectations of its first followers.

In the end, Paul’s presence at Stephen’s stoning is not an irrelevant detail at all. God already had plans to use Paul’s life to further His kingdom work beyond Jerusalem and into the nations of the world. Paul’s conversion would be one of the greatest testaments of God’s saving work, demonstrating that God works to gather His community in ways we might not see. Even when circumstances seem grim, He is active behind the scenes, ready to use characters in His grand narrative for His good purpose.

How can you turn to Jesus for hope in your hopeless circumstances?

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.

September 8 Attacks on God’s Character

“Stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

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One of Satan’s most effective tactics is to challenge God’s credibility.

Paul’s exhortation to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11) refers to the various tactics Satan employs in spiritual warfare. One of his tactics is to call God’s character and motives into question by raising doubts about His Word.

He used that approach in the Garden of Eden when he said to Eve, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1). In one brief statement Satan disputed and distorted God’s Word. God didn’t forbid them to eat from any tree. They could eat freely from every tree except one—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:16–17).

Satan followed his distortion with an outright denial of God’s Word: “You surely shall not die!” (3:4). He implied that God lied when He said sin would result in death. Satan then went on to tell Eve that if she ate the fruit, she would in fact become like God Himself (v. 5). The implication is that God was withholding something good from Eve, and to keep her from seeking it, He had intimidated her with empty threats of death and judgment.

Do you see the insidious nature of Satan’s approach? Tragically, Eve didn’t. Rather than trusting and obeying God, she believed Satan’s lies and concluded that the tree was “good for food,” “a delight to the eyes,” and “desirable to make one wise.” Then “she took from its fruit and ate” (v. 6).

Satan deceives and spreads his lies from generation to generation (2 Cor. 11:14). Although he is subtle, his attempts to discredit God by disputing, distorting, and denying His Word should be obvious to discerning Christians.

Don’t be victimized by Satan’s attacks. Become strong in the Word through systematic Bible study. Yield to the Spirit’s control through prayer and obedience to Biblical principles.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God for the discernment to recognize Satanic deceptions, and for the wisdom to pursue truth. ✧ Pray for God’s enabling as you discipline yourself for diligent Bible study.

For Further Study: Read 1 John 2:12–14. How did John describe those who are strong in the Word?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 264). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Social justice statement spurs ‘productive conversation’ — Christian Research Network

Baptist Presshas a piece on the battle brewing over a recently released statement titled Social Justice & The Gospel. As a result, “productive conversations” are now taking place by those in the evangelical community who land on different sides of the social justice discussion.  John MacArthur, a conservative evangelical who spearheaded the SJ&G statement, strongly disagrees with Russell Moore, a progressive evangelical who believes that “the Gospel is a Gospel … of both justice and justification.”  We shall see how this all plays out.

Top tier signatories of the statement include John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham, Phil Johnson, James White, Tom Buck, Anthony Mathenia, Michael O’Fallon, Tom Ascol, Darrell Harrison, Craig Mitchell, Justin Peters, Jeremy Vuolo and Josh Buice.  Over at SH&G, Phil Johnson clarifies what the signers of the statement believe to be the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in a piece he wrote titled A Gospel Issue

So without further ado, here’s David Roach’s report:

Amid ongoing discussion of social justice in the Southern Baptist Convention, more than 5,500 people — many of them Southern Baptists — have signed a statement claiming “lectures on social issues” in the church and “activism aimed at reshaping the wider culture” “tend to become distractions that inevitably lead to departures from the gospel.”

Since its publication Sept. 4, the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, with Bible teacher John MacArthur as the lead signatory, has drawn diverse reactions from Southern Baptists. The statement stemmed from a June 19 meeting in Dallas involving 14 evangelicals of various denominations.

The statement’s release followed a summer that saw multiple Southern Baptist leaders weigh in on social justice.

Georgia Christian Index senior editor Gerald Harris wrote in a July 30 editorial that “social justice” is among “new emphases subtly infiltrating Southern Baptist life.” The editorial garnered more than 9,300 likes on Facebook, and an Aug. 21 sermon by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley seemed to resonate with some of the editorial’s concerns — though Kelley did not use the term “social justice.”

Meanwhile, in a sermon at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Aug. 29, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore said social justice concerns should be addressed by individual believers and churches. “The Gospel is a Gospel … of both justice and justification,” he said.

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. told Baptist Press the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel “could be a helpful part” of an ongoing conversation among evangelicals about “the relative priority of social concerns.”

Mohler, who did not sign the statement, said he shares “many of the concerns” expressed in it but would use different language to express those concerns at some points. Still, “I know the men behind this statement. I know how they love Christ. I know how they love the Gospel and the Scripture and the church. I believe they are making some very important points that need to be made in 2018 in this statement.”

However, “it will require time,” Mohler said, “to see how this statement is understood.”

Mohler denied rumors he has discouraged Southern Seminary professors from signing the statement. View article →

Research:

The Statement On Social Justice & The Bible

Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity”

via Social justice statement spurs ‘productive conversation’ — Christian Research Network

Saturday Sampler: September 2 — September 8

The Outspoken TULIP

Twist Blend Flowers Sampler

There’s nothing like studying Scripture itself, ladies. I love the way Michelle Lesley constantly encourages us to turn away from canned Bible Studies (which usually aren’t doctrinally sound) in favor of cracking open our own Bibles. Look at The Mailbag: How can I get started studying the Bible itself? for her practical suggestions.

Dealing with people who say God spoke to them or talk about other manifestations can be tricky. Never fear! Clint Archer of The Cripplegate offers great counsel with How do I evaluate claims of supernatural experiences? He has some superb ideas. But we need to question his assertion that he’s Clark Kent.

Hannah Roberts-Antunes invites us to #CheckYourHeart in her post for Biblical Woman. Notice the encouraging twist she brings out from Scripture to distinguish godly self-examination from morbid introspection.

Is It God’s Will to Always Heal? by Tim Barnett of Stand To Reason tells the…

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SEPTEMBER 8 WHAT DO WE LOVE?

But we all…are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:18

God wants us to recognize that human nature is in a formative state and that it is being changed into the image of the thing it loves.

Men and women are being molded by their affinities, shaped by their affections and powerfully transformed by the artistry of their loves. In the unregenerate world of Adam, this produces, day by day, tragedies of cosmic proportions!

For His own children, our heavenly Father has provided right moral objects for admiration and love. They are not God but they are nearest to God; we cannot love Him without loving them.

I speak of His righteousness; and the heart drawn to righteousness will be repulsed in the same degree by iniquity. I speak of wisdom, and we admire the Hebrew prophets, who refused to divorce wisdom from righteousness.

I speak also of truth as another object of our Christian love. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the truth,” and in so saying He joined truth to the Deity in inseparable union. Thus, to love God is to love the truth!

Father, help us to love Your entire Being—not just a few favorite attributes like Your grace and mercy and goodness. Enable us also to love Your attributes of holiness and justness.[1]


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

Obama Criticizes Trump’s Treatment of Press, Forgets That He PROSECUTED and SPIED on Reporters

The hypocrisy from the left is wild.

Do they listen to themselves?

Do liberals have any internal “checks and balances?”

If they did, they may be taken more seriously.

But as it stands now, we have a failed former president, who prosecuted and SPIED on reporters, criticizing President Trump for saying “bad things” about the fake news.

How can any sane person take these ramblings seriously?

Washington Examiner

Former President Barack Obama is right when he says his administration’s attacks on the press can’t be compared to President Trump’s current crusade against the news media.

The Obama White House was far worse for press freedoms.

The former president spoke Friday afternoon at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, urging students to get involved in the November midterm elections. He dedicated a good deal of his address to drawing contrasts between his administration and the administration of President Trump. It was the regular sort of material from Obama. There was a lot about optimism, hope, change, etc.

The real whopper of a lie didn’t come until later in his address when he criticized Trump for routinely attacking the press.

“It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say that we don’t threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don’t like,” the former president said. “I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down or call them enemies of the people.”

This is some grade-A, primo historical revisionism.

When it comes to being anti-media, Trump only talks a big game. And, boy, does he talk. Obama, on the other hand, is a man of action. As president, he did much more than complain about Fox News. His administration spent eight long years curbing the press freedoms of journalists of every stripe. Obama was a pro at this.

Trump’s war against the press is indeed ugly and often over-the-top. But let that criticism come from someone who’s not guilty of far worse.

In 2009, for example, the Obama White House intentionally excluded Fox News’ Chris Wallace from participating in a round of interviews pertaining to the president’s push for healthcare reform. Later that same year, the administration officials tried to block Fox reporters from interviewing “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg. The White House initially lied about this, and many in the press went along with it. It wasn’t until 2011 that the public learned the truth of the Feinberg episode. An internal email dated Oct. 22, 2009, showed the White House director of broadcast media told Treasury officials specifically, “We’d prefer if you skip Fox please.”

The bigger point is that Feinberg was not the only administration official to have his network appearances limited by the White House.

The Obama White House communications director, Anita Dunn, said at the time, “We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent. As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

That language about “legitimate news organizations” and “opponents” is only different from the things Trump says by degree, not by kind.

In 2010, the Obama administration renewed the bogus Bush-era subpoena against the New York Times’ James Risen in a prolonged attempt to determine whether the reporter was the recipient of leaked CIA information. In February 2011, federal investigators were revealed to have spied on Risen. Federal investigators pored over Risen’s credit reports and his personal bank records. The feds even tracked his phone logs and movements.

Later, in 2012, Fox was mysteriously excluded from a White House conference call pertaining to the terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Fox was also excluded from an all-network CIA briefing regarding the attacks.

In 2013, the Obama Justice Department labeled then-Fox News reporter James Rosen a “criminal co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act of 1917. And all because the reporter used a State Department contractor as a source for a story. Rosen was also labeled a “flight risk.”

The Justice Department seized the records of at least five phone lines connected to Fox News. The federal law enforcement agency even seized the phone records of Rosen’s parents. The FBI also got a warrant to search Rosen’s emails from 2010.

In May 2013, the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had secretly collected two months’ worth of personal and work-related phone calls made by AP reporters and editors.

Federal officials secretly obtained records on incoming and outgoing calls made by specific AP journalists, as well as general news staff, the news group reported, potentially compromising many sources totally unrelated to the investigation. Federal investigators even collected data on calls made by AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery.

In 2014, the Obama administration set the record for denying the most Freedom of Information Act requests of any administration. It topped this feat in 2015.

There are only two actions that the Trump administration has taken that can be compared to the Obama-era war on the press. First, the Trump White House barred a CNN reporter in July from a Rose Garden event. Second, the Trump Justice Department seized electronic correspondences between New York Times reporter Ali Watkins and her ex-lover, former Senate Intelligence Committee aide James Wolfe.

Other than the fact that Obama has an extraordinarily ugly legacy of anti-press behavior, he made some great points Friday. He never actually called the news media the “enemy of the people.” He and his lieutenants simply prosecuted and spied on reporters, all while claiming Fox is “an opponent” and not “ really a news station.”

Obama is right to draw a contrast between himself and Trump. One of them has been an actual clear and grave threat to the press, and the other one has an orange tan.

The post Obama Criticizes Trump’s Treatment of Press, Forgets That He PROSECUTED and SPIED on Reporters appeared first on Truthfeed.

Source: Obama Criticizes Trump’s Treatment of Press, Forgets That He PROSECUTED and SPIED on Reporters

STUDY: 1 In 4 College Students Diagnosed With Mental Health Condition…

New survey shows 75 percent of students at U.S. colleges have battled significant stress in the past year, leading 1 in 5 to consider suicide


BOSTON — For some, it’s the best four years of their lives. For others, it’s a period of constant struggle, whether academically, socially, or both. College brings about new experiences and challenges for young adults that can be difficult to adapt to and overcome, so perhaps it’s no surprise that a new study reports high rates of stress and mental health conditions among students.

The newly-published report out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that a quarter of college students received were diagnosed with a mental health condition in the past year, and a fifth have had suicidal thoughts.

Researchers looked at survey results from 67,308 students across 108 American colleges and universities during the spring of 2015. Students were questioned on the frequency of stressful events, depression or anxiety in their daily lives, and reported whether or not they’d been diagnosed with a mental health condition in the past year. Stressful events were viewed as anything that students viewed as traumatic or difficult to handle, whether academic or personal. That includes financial struggles, family problems, trouble sleeping, self-esteem issues, or health matters.

Participants were also asked whether or not they’d had suicidal thoughts or attempted to take their own lives, or if they’d tried any other form of self-harm.

The results showed alarming rates of mental health issues and a significant risk for suicidal thoughts among all students, though minorities, whether racial, sexual, or gender, were especially prone.

“Colleges and family members who are sending students off to college need to remember that this is a phase of life where young people are confronted with expectations from new relationships and living situations and other encounters that are stressful,” says lead author Dr. Cindy Liu, of the Departments of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and Psychiatry at BWH, in a statement.

The authors found that 75 percent of students faced at least one stressful event in the past year, while one in five reported at least six stressful events in the same period. Such events were linked to a greater risk of mental health diagnoses, self-harm, and suicide. In fact, one in four students was diagnosed with a condition, while one in five considered taking his or her own life. Nearly 10 percent admitted to attempting suicide, and nearly 20 percent had committed self-harm of some form.

“Some stressful events cannot be prevented and, in some cases, are completely normal. But for others, a plan should be in place for family, friends, and colleges to provide support,” says Liu. “Our study highlights an urgent need to help students reduce their experience of overwhelming levels of stress during college.”

While sexual minorities were found to have high rates of mental health diagnoses along with reports of self-harm and suicidal thoughts or actions, transgender participants showed high rates over all outcomes. Two-thirds of transgender students admitted to self-harm, while more than a third having attempted suicide. Similarly, more than half of bisexual students admitted to self-harm or suicidal behavior, while more than a quarter attempted suicide.

Asian students showed a greater risk of suicidal behavior, yet lower rates of mental health diagnoses compared to white students. Black students reported lower rates across all outcomes versus white students.

The full study was published September 6, 2018 in the journal Depression and Anxiety.

Source: STUDY: 1 In 4 College Students Diagnosed With Mental Health Condition…

The Deep State and the Anti-Trump Coup: A Retrospective

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/the-deep-state-and-the-anti-trump-coup-a-retrospective/

Recently on LRC Pat Buchanan and Bill Sardi have outlined the ongoing efforts of the anti-Trump coup orchestrated by the deep state.  On October 4, 2015 I first raised the question of the relationship of presidential candidate Donald Trump and the deep state. I believed that this pivotal issue would become the central focus analysts should examine behind the superficial campaign rhetoric of the 2016  election.  How the establishment elites viewed the Trump candidacy would be the crucial subtext to note.  On the November election night in 2016 I issued this following prophetic warning of things to come. My dire prediction is still in the process of being fulfilled.

Source: The Deep State and the Anti-Trump Coup: A Retrospective

Poor Americans are being left behind in the post-recession comeback, and it is creating a huge problem for fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s (WEN)

Hollis Johnson

  • While consumer confidence is on the rise, Wendy’s CEO says that lower-income Americans are “not participating in the real wage growth” to the extent that the rest of the United States is. 
  • Lower-income Americans’ continued financial struggles create challenges for fast-food chains, which rely on budget-conscious shoppers. 
  • Increasingly, chains such as Wendy’s and McDonald’s are forced to depend on deals to win over customers. 

While Americans are spending more and consumer confidence is on the rise, not everyone is experiencing the same degree of prosperity and growth.

And, it’s creating a conundrum for fast-food chains.

“About 40 percent of our consumers are $45,000 and under from an income bracket,” Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor told CNBC this week. “And they’re not participating in the real wage growth to the extent of the rest of the consumer base.”

While median US income is on the rise, top earners’ growth is significantly outpacing the increase in earnings for lower-income households. In 2017, the top 5% of households saw average income rise to 8.7% higher than pre-recession levels. Among the bottom fifth of the population, average income grew but remained 2.7% below pre-recession figures.

These circumstances have been decades in the making. Since 1967, the top 5% of of households have seen income increase by nearly $200,000, or 112%, according to the Center for American Progress. Meanwhile, the bottom 20% has seen an increase of just $2,900 in the same period.

This creates both problems and opportunities for the fast-food business.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Penegor said that the challenges of marketing to low-income customers have resulted in the the abundance of deals that have swept the fast-food industry in recent months. In 2018, Wendy’s expanded its 4-for-$4 bundle deal, Taco Bell doubled down on its $1 menu, and McDonald’s debuted its new $1 $2 $3 menu.

“Deal customers, who are people that love fast food, but they will go to several different outlets based on who’s got the best deal,” McDonald’s CFO Kevin Orzan said in a call with investors in July. “I think that’s the area where we haven’t been as competitive as we’ve needed to be because some of our competition has stepped up on their deal side.”

Customers say “good value” is the top reason they would visit a fast-food chain more often, according to a UBS Evidence Lab survey shared with investors in March.

According to the survey, the emphasis on value is one of necessity. Having “less free spending money lately” and chains being “too expensive” were the top two factors that customers cited for eating at a particular chain less often.

In 2018, the fast-food industry depends on winning over low-income Americans with the lowest prices possible. That can often mean razor-thin profit margins. For fast-food chains like Wendy’s to thrive, America’s poorest households need to become part of the economic comeback the nation’s richest are experiencing.

Source: Poor Americans are being left behind in the post-recession comeback, and it is creating a huge problem for fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s (WEN)