Daily Archives: September 22, 2018

September 22: Keep Us from Distraction

Haggai 1:1–2:23; Acts 20:1–38; Job 28:1–11

It’s easy to get distracted from the good work God intends for us to do. Competing forces vie for our attention; we’re sidetracked by fear or selfishness. We start living our own stories and lose sight of the greater narrative, of which our lives are just one thread.

The Jewish exiles who returned to Jerusalem had begun the work of reconstructing the temple, a symbol of God’s presence among His people. In the rebuilding of the temple, they gathered up the remnants of their broken identities and together formed a collective identity as Yahweh’s people. They had their priorities in order.

Then they got distracted. When they started putting their own needs and security first, Yahweh sent the prophet Haggai to remind them of their true purpose: “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your houses that have been paneled while this house is desolate?… Consider your ways! You have sown much but have harvested little. You have eaten without being satisfied; you have drunk without being satiated; you have worn clothes without being warm; the one who earns wages puts it in a pouch with holes” (Hag 1:6).

The work that the Jewish exiles did outside of God’s purpose for them had no lasting effect or real merit. Because they were neglecting their first calling, their frantic attempts to meet their own selfish needs were doomed to fail anyway. Outside of Yahweh, there could be no blessing. God used Haggai to speak this truth into the lives of the Jewish exiles, but He also encouraged them with His presence: “I am with you” (Hag 1:13).

Listen to the words of Haggai. Speak truth into fear and selfishness—either your own or others. Remember that you’re not meant to travel through life on your own, outside of this great narrative or apart from the presence of God.

What is the priority in your life right now? How can you shift away from priorities that aren’t part of God’s grand scheme for your life?

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 22 Dealing with Despair

“Take the helmet of salvation” (Eph. 6:17).

✧✧✧

Your helmet of salvation protects you from discouragement and despair.

We’ve seen how Satan attacks believers with his two-edged sword of doubt and discouragement. But he doesn’t stop there. He tries to take you beyond discouragement and on to despair by robbing you of hope. Unless you’re careful, his attacks will be successful when you’re battle-weary.

The prophet Elijah is an illustration of that truth. The highlight of his ministry came atop Mount Carmel, where he slew 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:40). And yet immediately after that great victory, he fled for his life because Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him (1 Kings 19:1–3).

He ran from Mount Carmel into the wilderness of Beersheba, where he “sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers’” (v. 4). He went on to moan, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (v. 10).

Elijah lost hope because he failed to see his circumstances through the eyes of faith; he was attempting to fight the battle on his own. He allowed himself to become emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent, and he became overwhelmed with self-pity. He felt utterly alone.

But God hadn’t abandoned Elijah. He was still in control, and His people were numerous (v. 18). Elijah had, in effect, removed his helmet of salvation and received a near-fatal blow to his confidence in God’s blessing on his life.

There may be times when, like Elijah, you lose your confidence and doubt God’s faithfulness. At such times, putting on the helmet of salvation means taking your eyes off your circumstances and trusting in God’s promises. You may not always sense His presence or understand what He’s doing, but be assured that He will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5); His purposes will always be accomplished (Rom. 8:28).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for His unchanging character and irrevocable promises.

For Further Study: Read Isaiah 40:29–31 and Galatians 6:9. ✧ What promises are given in those passages? ✧ In what specific ways do they apply to your life?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 278). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

SEPTEMBER 22 GOD’S BENEFICIARY

To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.

1 Peter 1:4

The holy Spirit has made it plain throughout the Scriptures, that generally whatever God does becomes a means toward something else that He is planning to do.

Therefore, when God elects a man or woman, it does not mean that he or she can sit down and at ease announce: “I have arrived! Put a period there and write ‘finis’ across my experience!”

No, of course not! God begets us into His provision and that which is still before us always is greater than that which is behind us.

Peter was not using figures of speech. He said plainly his persecuted brethren were believers in Jesus Christ, elect and begotten! The electing and the begetting were means leading into a hope and an inheritance—the true Christian believer is actually the beneficiary of God!

This is not a figure—not just a poetic phrase. It is openly taught from Genesis to Revelation that God, being who He is, His beneficences are infinite and limitless!

Gracious Father, by Your grace I am saved. But I know so many people who are living in the shadow of their own sin—and they don’t even realize it! Lord, commission people from our numerous churches to go and tell lost people about Jesus.[1]


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

Saturday Sampler: September 16 — September 22

The trouble with Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure is that I want to include the majority of his articles in Sampler! Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season certainly belongs in this week’s curation, since it addresses many themes that I want you ladies to understand. I hope you won’t neglect this one.

Michelle Lesley handles an important topic with The Mailbag: Is lust a sin for women, too? Of course the short answer is yes. But Michelle’s long answer enhances our understanding of just how seriously the Lord takes female lust.

Despising God’s Word Might Not Mean What You Think It Does, suggests Mike Leake in a post for Borrowed Light. I agree.

In an article for The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel, Justin Peters uses his own experience with Cerebral Palsy to repudiate the victim and entitlement mentality that fuels the Social Justice Movement. Thanks for Nothing reminds us what true justice is and why we really don’t want it.

Sydney, a high school age young lady who blogs at Squid’s Cup of Tea, displays her astonishing insight with Are You Texting God? Do you need to learn from her?

You’ll be encouraged, challenged and inspired by Life Lessons from A British Cemetery, which Courtney McLean writes for Biblical Woman. I guess the tombstones of Susanna Wesley and John Bunyan would have an impact on me, too!

For another healthy challenge,  consider We Need to Change How We Pray by Jordan Standridge on The Cripplegate. His perspective isn’t popular, but it’s definitely Biblical.

It’s true! You Don’t Want to Miss This Post that Leslie A writes on Growing 4 Life. She muses about the odd disconnect that keeps so many Christians from becoming all we should be in Christ.

I totally agree with Jason Marianna of Things Above Us about The Saddest Day in Church History NO ONE Talks About. Even if you deplore history, you’ll learn something that may give you better insight into how problems arise when churches embrace social justice.

The lady who blogs at Biblical Beginnings takes on a familiar challenge to Christian faith with The Rock — But Can He Lift It? Frankly, I’ve always found this question to be incredibly obnoxious, so her positive approach to it humbles me.

The Outspoken TULIP

Fall Garden Sampler Taken by John Kespert at Boston Public Garden

The trouble with Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure is that I want to include the majority of his articles in Sampler! Preach the word; be ready in season and out of seasoncertainly belongs in this week’s curation, since it addresses many themes that I want you ladies to understand. I hope you won’t neglect this one.

Michelle Lesley handles an important topic with The Mailbag: Is lust a sin for women, too? Of course the short answer is yes. But Michelle’s long answer enhances our understanding of just how seriously the Lord takes female lust.

Despising God’s Word Might Not Mean What You Think It Does, suggests Mike Leake in a post for Borrowed Light. I agree.

In an article for The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel, Justin Peters uses his own experience with Cerebral…

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Gowdy: Russia Documents ‘Embarrassing’ For Brennan, DOJ And FBI

by Chuck Ross

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said recently that the information in a batch of Russia investigation documents that President Trump was considering for declassification will prove “embarrassing” for the Justice Department, FBI, and former CIA Director John Brennan.

Gowdy made the remarks in an interview with Fox News on Thursday. The next day, President Trump backed retracted his order to the Justice Department to declassify and release the documents. But the Republican left open the possibility that the records could be released down the road.

But Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, provided a preview of what to expect from the documents if they are eventually released.

“I’ve read it. Some of it is embarrassing for the Department of Justice; some of it is embarrassing for the FBI. Embarrassment is not the reason to classify something,” said Gowdy. “A lot of it should be embarrassing to John Brennan and maybe therein lies why he is so adamant that this information not be released.”

Earlier this week, Brennan suggested that government officials resign rather than comply with Trump’s directive to release the records. Brennan, who now serves as an MSNBC contributor, has been a vocal critic of President Trump’s over the past year. Trump recently responded by ordering Brennan’s security clearance revoked.

Gowdy blasted Brennan, saying that the Obama appointee is “part of the reason we are in this historic conundrum.” He did not describe what information in the classified documents will embarrass Brennan and other government officials. But as CIA director, Brennan was directly involved in gathering and sharing intelligence used to investigate whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.

The documents in question are related to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants obtained against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as well as FBI notes of interviews used to obtain the warrants.

Trump also ordered the declassification of FBI notes of interviews with Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official who met numerous times with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier.

The FBI relied heavily on the unverified dossier to obtain four FISA warrants against Page.

Gowdy, who has read the classified reports, said that the information is not going to put national security at risk, as Brennan and other former and current intelligence community officials have argued.

“I don’t think it’s going to change anyone’s mind, but I’ve seen nothing in it that is going to jeopardize the national security interest of this country,” he said.

“Other than one document related to George Papadopoulos, I don’t think people are going to be that interested in it. And I don’t think any mind’s are going to be changed,” he continued.

The FBI opened its investigation into possible campaign collusion in July 2016 based on information about Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser.

An Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer said that during a May 10, 2016 meeting in London, Papadopoulos told him that the Russian government may use derogatory information about Hillary Clinton in the campaign.

Two weeks earlier, Papadopoulos met with a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud who told him that he had learned that Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.

Papadopoulos has been sentenced to 14 days in jail for lying to the FBI about the timing of his meetings with Mifsud. But he has denied colluding with Russia and of seeing, handling or disseminating any emails.

Watch:

Source: Gowdy: Russia Documents ‘Embarrassing’ For Brennan, DOJ And FBI

Twelve points to keep in mind on the NYT’s Rosenstein ‘wear a wire’ and invoke 25th Amendment story

The New York Times lobbed a hand grenade yesterday, with its story yesterday. There is a lot of debris to peice together.

The New York Times lobbed a hand grenade yesterday, with its story claiming:

The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.

As the old joke has it, “close doesn’t count, except in horseshoes and hand grenades,” so we can take it for granted that President Trump was certainly the main target, damaging his credibility and prospects for remaining in office, but Rod Rosenstein no doubt has been hit by shrapnel.

We are only getting started on figuring out what this really means, but here are twelve points to keep in mind,

Source: Twelve points to keep in mind on the NYT’s Rosenstein ‘wear a wire’ and invoke 25th Amendment story

Stalin, Hitler, Mao ‘Would Dream About’ Google’s Power Over Our Thoughts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Google and Facebook have tremendous power to influence billions of people, without them even knowing it. An upcoming film documents how they can make companies rich, they can suppress information, and they can sway an election. They can even suggest thoughts and sway culture. This is the kind of power kings, emperors, and even dictators of yesteryear would envy, if they knew it existed.

“Throughout human history, tragically, leaders, ideologies, and belief systems have arisen that want to have total control over our lives, they want to remake human nature,” Peter Schweizer, New York Times bestselling author and writer for the upcoming film “The Creepy Line,” told PJ Media. He mentioned Benito Mussolini, Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong.

“They all had police forces, they killed millions of people — tens of millions of people, in some cases,” Schweizer noted. “I’m not suggesting companies like Facebook and Google do that, but these companies do have control or influence over us that those dictators and leaders would dream about.”

“All the crude propaganda that they engaged in, the radio broadcasts, the leaflets, the sort of hypnotic speeches that they would give, pale in comparison with the ability for Google to nudge and to steer us in directions they want us to go and we don’t necessarily want to go,” the author explained.

Facebook and Google “do that by sifting our information, determining what we see and what we don’t see, they also do that by censoring information, and they nudge us in directions that they want us to go.”

“This is enormous power,” Schweizer said. “It’s the sort of power of Big Brother in ‘1984,’ and it’s the sort of power that these totalitarians from the last century would have loved and dreamed of having. They have power over the news and information that we get and the thoughts that we start to form.”

“The film is called ‘The Creepy Line’ because we believe that Facebook and Google are doing things that are out of bounds with what we expect from companies,” Schweizer explained. The phrase comes from a speech in which Eric Schmidt, then the CEO of Google, said his company likes to “get right up to the creepy line, but not cross it.”

“They never define what the creepy line is, but our view and attitude is that they cross the creepy line all the time,” he told PJ Media. “They have the ability to sway and influence people, and they admit this. They brag about it. It gives them a power over the control of information, it gives them the power of suggestion, and it gives them the power to have a dramatic effect on elections.”

Source: https://pjmedia.com/trending/schweizer-stalin-hitler-mao-would-dream-about-googles-power-over-our-thoughts/

271 Christians in Prison for Allegations of Forced Conversion

ICC Note: 271 Christians in India have been arrested after they allegedly sought to convert Hindu believes in unlawful ways including the use of drugs and spreading lies about Hinduism. In court Christians were not found guilty of any of the charges, but are now being accused of other various criminal offenses. An Indian pastor said that they are all false charges and completely fabricated.

09/22/2018 India (World Watch Monitor) –  Two hundred and seventy-one Christians in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have been charged with a range of crimes including attempting to convert Hindus through the use of drugs and by spreading lies about Hinduism.

Of the 271, just three were named – pastors Durga Prasad Yadav, Kirit Rai and Jitendra Ram – in the charges filed in Jaunpur district, 200km southeast of the state capital Lucknow, on 5 September.

The 271 were initially cleared of any wrongdoing by a court in August, but now stand “accused of various criminal offenses, like fraud, defiling places of worship, prejudice against national integration”, Deputy Police Superintendent Anil Kumar Pandey told AsiaNews.

“In Uttar Pradesh Hindu radicals have fabricated unfounded accusations against innocent Pentecostal Christians,” Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews.

“There has been a surge in persecution against Christians. Pentecostal pastors and Christian groups are under the constant watch of radical elements and the police,” he added.

A local pastor said the allegations were “absolutely false and baseless.” He told UCAN Christians had been worshiping in the area for the past 15 years and that it never had caused any problems until the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power.

A lawyer for those who filed the complaint said the suspects had been trying for years to persuade people to convert to Christianity and come to church.

“After the prayers on Sunday and Tuesday, they used to spread false information about Hinduism to persuade people to embrace Christianity,” the lawyer said. “In addition, the accused handed out banned medications and drugs to visitors and under their effect influenced them to become Christians.”

[Full Story]

Source: 271 Christians in Prison for Allegations of Forced Conversion