Daily Archives: September 29, 2018


For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Romans 8:29

We must take a high view of what God has done for us in consummating the plan of salvation for a lost race!

The supreme work of Christ in redemption is not just to save us from hell, but to restore us to Godlikeness again. Paul has confirmed this in Romans 8:29, “Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.”

While perfect restoration to the divine image awaits the day of Christ’s appearing, the work of restoration is going on now. There is a slow but steady transmutation of the base metal of human nature into the gold of Godlikeness effected by the faith-filled gaze of the soul at the glory of God—the face of Jesus Christ!

We have already moved from what we were to what we are, and we are now moving toward what we shall be. To become like God is and must be the supreme goal of all moral creatures!

Lord, there are days when I feel I am losing ground in my spiritual growth. Help me today to move closer to the image of God’s Son.[1]

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


And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.

—1 Samuel 3:18

This idea was once expressed better by a simple-hearted man who was asked how he managed to live in such a state of constant tranquility even though surrounded by circumstances anything but pleasant. His answer was as profound as it was simple: “I have learned,” he said, “to cooperate with the inevitable.”…

Though we cannot control the universe, we can determine our attitude toward it. We can accept God’s will wherever it is expressed and take toward it an attitude of worshipful resignation. If my will is to do God’s will, then there will be no controversy with anything that comes in the course of my daily walk. Inclement weather, unpleasant neighbors, physical handicaps, adverse political conditions—all these will be accepted as God’s will for the time and surrendered to provisionally, subject to such alterations as God may see fit to make, either by His own sovereign providence or in answer to believing prayer. BAM064-065

Lord, I determine to cooperate with the inevitable today and to accept Your will for my life, whatever that might entail. “It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good” (1 Samuel 3:18). Amen. [1]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 09/29/2018

More Than 20 Nigerian Christians Drown in River Attempting to Escape Fulani Attackers   Sep 22, 2018 10:30 pm

(World Watch Monitor) — A pastor was one of at least 27 people who lost their lives following fresh attacks carried out by Fulani militants on five predominantly Christian communities in northeast Nigeria in recent days. Many of them drowned as they attempted to escape via the local river. Various sources contacted by World Watch Monitor confirmed that the…

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85 Members of Congress Ask FDA to Cancel Contract Purchasing Aborted Baby ‘Tissue’ for Research   Sep 23, 2018 06:08 pm

WASHINGTON — 85 members of Congress have signed a joint letter urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cancel its contract with a biomedical procurement company to purchase “fetal tissue” that will be used to create mice with a human immune system in order to test drug safety and efficacy. “Unborn children are not commodities to be bought and sold,”…

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Report: Indonesian Teen Survives 49 Days Adrift Without Paddle, but With Bible   Sep 25, 2018 08:14 pm

Photo Credit: Indonesian Consulate General (Fox News) — An Indonesian teenager, who worked on a floating fish trap 80 miles off the country’s coast, survived 49 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean with only a Bible, limited rations and a small radio, reports said Monday. Strong winds during a July storm reportedly snapped the lines keeping Aldi Novel Adilang, a…

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Apostate ‘Church’ Files Human Rights Complaint Against Sign Company for Refusing to Post Its ‘Gay Positive’ Messages   Sep 28, 2018 12:37 pm

TORONTO (CBC News) — A Scarborough church has terminated its more than three-year-old contract with a Toronto sign company over the sign company’s refusal to post “gay-positive” and other messages on the church’s behalf. St. Paul’s United Church is the latest to be embroiled in a dispute with Archer Mobile Signs Limited. Windermere United Church in west-end…

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Not ‘A Central Part’ of the Mission? Why Statement on ‘Social Justice’ Is Stirring Debate Over Church’s Role in Justice, Mercy   Sep 26, 2018 07:07 pm

Publisher’s Note: The following is a special report brought to you by Christian News Network discussing “The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel.” This in-depth report was compiled after a series of interviews with the statement’s framers and those who are expressing concern over some of the statement’s potential implications. Read time: Approx. 20…

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Court Strikes Down Hawaii Law Requiring Pregnancy Centers to Post Info About Govt. Contraception, Abortion Programs   Sep 22, 2018 11:50 am

HONOLULU, Hawaii — A federal judge appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama has struck down a law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers in Hawaii to post information about government contraception and abortion programs, simply pointing to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated a similar statute. “In light of the United States Supreme…

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10 Questions to Ask When Looking for a New Church


Looking for a new church can be an exciting process, but it can also be discouraging and even frustrating. Here are 10 questions that may help you work through that process – 5 you should ask before you leave your current fellowship, and 5 you should ask before you arrive at the new one.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Leave

Why am I leaving the church I am at now?

The grass is always greener on the other side. We can always find somewhere else we think we might rather be. But before we leave a fellowship, we need to prayerfully consider our true motivation. If we are motivated simply by self-interest, that is a good indicator that we may be missing the point entirely. If our priorities aren’t right (biblical), then no matter what church we are part of, we will be dissatisfied and maybe even frustrated. Often times fixing relationships is about fixing me, not the other person. If we simply consider how we can encourage one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24), and if we focus on being who we need to be in Christ, then perhaps God can use us to make a difference in the overall health of the local fellowship.

Am I being a consumer rather than an active member of the body?

This is very much related to the first question, but it is more specific. There is nothing about the church that is designed to placate my self-interests. The church is designed for Him and for His interests. He has fashioned the whole thing in such a way that we should be “considering each other as worthy of more honor than ourselves” (Php 2:3). We are being equipped to serve others (1 Cor 12:7), and are expected to do so (1 Pet 4:10-11). If my selfishness is a problem at the church I am leaving, it will still be a problem at the new church I choose.

Am I abandoning people and a work that needs me?

God doesn’t need us. That is a reality we need to face. If we have a messiah complex then we need to let God do some serious work in our hearts. God doesn’t need us, but He has designed His church to utilize us, and He values what we do (1 Cor 12:14-26). So while we shouldn’t ever feel indispensable, we ought to have a strong sense of responsibility in accomplishing the tasks He has put before us. Has God put you in a ministry in which He is using you? Are you honoring Him by serving others? Is there a need that He is using you to fill? It may be wise to remain and continue. Making a difference is hard work and it takes time. But do you value the people around you enough to persevere in serving them?

Have I talked with leadership to share concerns and make myself available as part of the solution?

Dissatisfaction and frustration are normal parts of life on earth, and church life is no different. Because we are flawed and we are working with other flawed people, there will never be a problem-free situation in this life. When those challenges inevitably arise, it is an easy thing to keep concerns and frustrations bottled up inside, and when we aren’t communicating with others and seeking counsel, it is easy to quit. But sometimes getting another perspective can be very helpful and can even help refocus us on Him. Rather than just leaving at the first sign of discontent, it is important to communicate – especially with leaders, so that they understand our concern, and can help to address questions. Oftentimes they will have a broader perspective and can help resolve some of those challenges. They might be able to suggest ways we can get involved and help, or they might be able to point us to some passages that will help strengthen us in difficult circumstances, or they might be able to connect us with other brothers and sisters who can walk with us. The point here is that in any relationship it is easy to quit, but communicating well and listening well makes it much easier to persevere (1 Thes 5:14).

Does it most honor God for me to leave?

Ultimately, this is the key question to answer. If we are motivated by anything other than honoring God, then we need to reevaluate. God can use us in many different contexts, and we can honor and glorify Him in many arenas (while I believe wholeheartedly in the total sovereignty of God, I am not one who subscribes to the idea that God doesn’t give us choices in life). He gives us great freedom in the Christian life, and one of those areas of freedom is in choosing with whom we will spend the time He has entrusted to us. But just because He gives us the freedom to leave, that doesn’t mean it is always the best thing (1 Cor 6:12 illustrates that principle). While it is sometimes difficult to assess what might most honor God, by thinking in those terms and being motivated by that desired outcome, we will better position ourselves to make wise choices. There is a time to leave and a time to stay. Evaluate your situation through the lens of His word, and with His interests in mind, and you can have confidence that He will help you with the direction you are seeking (e.g., Jam 1:5).

5 Questions to Ask Before You Arrive

What priority is put on the word of God, and how is it handled by leaders?

It is the word of God that equips us and makes us adequate for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). We have been “created in Christ Jesus for good works which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). Once we are positionally in Christ, we are remade and designed to walk in good works, and we can only be made adequate to fulfill that design by being immersed in His word. If a church’s leadership puts little emphasis on the word or assigns it a low value, then that church will struggle with immaturity, inadequacy, and will be easily led astray. The Bible should be taught faithfully. You should expect a teaching approach that handles biblical passages in context and with a sound understanding of hermeneutics (biblical interpretation).

What is the doctrinal statement, and are there doctrinal differences?

Doctrine may not be the first thing you think of when considering a new church fellowship, but it ought to be a high priority. All of the faith and practice for believers is to be rooted in sound doctrine. Doctrine is just another word for teaching, and if “the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Tim 1:5), then we better make sure the teaching is right (biblical). Paul warns of “other” doctrine (1:3, 6:3) and “deceitful” doctrines (4:1), and urges believers to be nourished on sound doctrine (4:6) – sound teaching is part of a believer’s sustenance. It is not something to be taken for granted or handled with apathy. If, for example, a local church has a different understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer, then their entire model of sanctification – how a believer grows – will look different in practice. If a local church has a different teaching of the doctrine of salvation, they may be holding to a “different gospel” – something Paul critiques sternly (Gal 1:6-8). Doctrine matters immensely. It isn’t just hypothetical – it is core stuff.

What are key values and philosophies, and are those in agreement with Scripture?

It is not unusual to find local churches that have particular and distinct priorities and values. Sometimes those values come from the pet projects or passions of leaders, sometimes those come from traditions established in the church long ago, and in other cases they are simply recognizable as coming from the Bible. Some churches will emphasize discipleship, or missions, or community outreach and evangelism, or community participation. These things are all good – and ideally a church should emphasize each of these appropriately. But look for imbalances and signs of unhealthiness (another application of 1 Cor 6:12). Obviously you shouldn’t expect to find perfection (because you won’t, this side of heaven), but you should be aware of where the challenges are.

What are some of the needs that are apparent, and do I see opportunities to serve?

We need to beware of the consumer mentality that is simply focused on self and on using a product. As members of the body of Christ we are each “given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7). God has designed for us to serve each other, not simply to look for how we can be served. Is there a receptiveness in the church to people serving, or is there a reluctance (on the part of leadership) to involve people in the work of service? Of course, we shouldn’t expect to be put into service immediately (though we should be willing), as we need to give people time to get to know us. Patience is important, and so is using what God has given us to serve others and glorify Him (1 Pet 4:10-11).

Would I be able to invite others to be involved in this church?

Again, no assembly of people is going to be without its problems. While our standard should be Christlikeness (perfection), we need to understand that none of us are there yet. And when we gather together, we come as flawed people seeking to grow together. As long as there is a demonstrated commitment to Him, to His truth, and to growth in Him, then we should be able to reach out and invite others to connect with that local fellowship of believers. But if there are issues evident (poor doctrine or teaching, lovelessness, arrogance) that are crippling and that you won’t have opportunity to help resolve, then you might find it difficult to (in good conscience) invite others in. If so, that might be an indicator that this is not the fellowship for you. Ultimately, we need to be careful not to be excessively critical in assessing a fellowship or other believers individually. We do not want to be focused on the speck in the eye of someone else, when we have a log in our own eye (Mt 7:3). As Paul encouraged Timothy, we ought to “pay attention to [ourselves] and [our] teaching” (1 Tim 4:16). Let’s be who God has designed us to be, and be gracious with those around us.

—Dr. Christopher Cone, Th.D, Ph.D, Ph.D, serves as President of Calvary University and as Research Professor of Bible and Theology. He has formerly served in executive and faculty roles at Southern California Seminary as Chief Academic Officer and Research Professor of Bible and Theology, and at Tyndale Theological Seminary as President and Professor of Bible and Theology. He has served in several pastoral roles and has also held teaching positions at the University of North Texas, North Central Texas College, and Southern Bible Institute. He is the author and general editor of more than a dozen books, and his articles are published at http://www.drcone.com. Christopher lives in the Kansas City area with his wife Cathy, and their two daughters, Christiana, and Cara Grace.

Source: 10 Questions to Ask When Looking for a New Church

September 29 Daily Help

OUR God’s tender love for his servants makes him concerned for the state of their inward feelings. He desires them to be of good courage. Some esteem it a small thing for a believer to be vexed with doubts and fears, but God thinks not so. Our Master does not think so lightly of our unbelief as we do. Our Lord loveth not to see our countenance sad. It was a law of Ahasuerus, that no one should come into the king’s court dressed in mourning; this is not the law of the King of kings, for we may come mourning as we are; but still he would have us put off the spirit of heaviness, and put on the garment of praise, for there is much reason to rejoice.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 276). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

What Determines Truth for You?

“You can’t argue against someone’s experience”

“But this book {that doesn’t line up with scripture} helped me and made me feel closer to God.”

“We play rock music in our church service {or have sermons based on movies or hold church poker nights} because it makes the unsaved feel comfortable and want to come.”

These are all things that I’ve heard people say at least once. Some more than once. And it makes sense to them. If something works why not use it or read it or do it?

In other words, truth is determined by consequences.

Pragmatism first became popular in the late 1800s and was introduced to society by several different men–two of whom you may recognize. John Dewey, of library fame (Dewey decimal system) and C.S. Lewis, the “Christian” apologist. I use quotes because C.S. Lewis’s beliefs and interests were actually not all in line with the Cristian faith (see here and here and here for more information). I continue to remain amazed and dismayed that he has become so respected in the Christian world.

There are some real problems with the ideology of pragmatism for a Christian. Although Christians try to join their biblical beliefs with this philosophy all the time, we can see how pragmatism is a slippery slope that leads us away from scripture.

First, we have to recognize that only one thing can determine truth. Is it scripture or is it by what works? We can’t philosophically have it both ways. We will have to make a choice.

For instance, take the Christian who reads a book that makes them feel good but has a message that does not align with scripture and then they go on to recommend that book to all of their friends. They have chosen pragmatism over scripture. By default, they have made the choice to elevate the consequences (their good feelings) over what the Bible says.

Or take a church that brings in secular rock music or worldly movies to their services. They nobly profess to do this to make the unbeliever comfortable. This works. But, again, they are elevating what works (unsaved in their pews and feeling comfortable) over what scripture teaches (Love not the world or the things that are in the world I John 2:15).

In fact, that church had already given in to pragmatism when they realized that their numbers would increase if they chose to market to the unsaved rather than to follow the biblical church model. In scripture we find that the local church isn’t for the unsaved but for the saved; and that it doesn’t exist to make us feel comfortable but to encourage, teach and support us as we strive to grow in holiness. Comfort is never the goal of church. For saved or unsaved. And, yet, pragmatism, would say that comfortable = increased numbers at church. See how this works?

Can you see how this has infiltrated and changed everything?

Read more: What Determines Truth for You?

What about hell?

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

I love to speak of Jesus’s love, mercy, grace, salvation, and sanctification. However I also think it is important to speak of His justice, wrath, and consignment of the rebellious to hell in torment forever. Jesus spoke both of His kingdom to come and hell constantly. Yet, we don’t. We should. Many of those on earth won’t be joining Him in His kingdom to come unless they repent of their sins and believe on Him. Jesus taught quite a bit on wrath, hell and the consequences of sin. I read this week for background to this essay that the Bible runs 3-to-1 on wrath vs. love as a topic.

As Bible.org sums it up,

It may be worth noting that in Deuteronomy 28 (and following), the blessing section (28:1-14) is a great deal shorter than the cursing section (28:15-68).

Paul taught that thinking about and teaching about…

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September 29, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

1:9. The third call to courage addressed to Joshua was based on the promise of God’s presence. This did not minimize the task Joshua faced. He would encounter giants and fortified cities, but God’s presence would make all the difference.

Joshua probably had times when he felt weak, inadequate, and frightened. Perhaps he considered resigning before the Conquest even began. But God knew all about his feelings of personal weakness and fear and told Joshua three times, Be strong and courageous (vv. 6–7, 9; cf. v. 18). God also urged him not to be afraid or discouraged (cf. Deut. 1:21; 31:8; Josh. 8:1). These charges with their accompanying assurances (God’s promise, God’s power, and God’s presence) were sufficient to last a lifetime. Believers in all ages can be uplifted by the same three assurances.[1]

1:9 — “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

It’s easy to focus on our problems, which we can see, and not on God, whom we can’t. As Joshua discovered, God is with us no matter where we are or how big our problems seem.[2]

1:9 Lord … is with you. This assurance has always been the staying sufficiency for His servants such as: Abraham (Ge 15:1); Moses and his people (Ex 14:13); Isaiah (Is 41:10); Jeremiah (Jer 1:7, 8); and Christians through the centuries (Mt 28:20; Heb 13:5).[3]

1:9 I not command you Joshua should be certain that it is Yahweh speaking to him. Having accompanied Moses in earlier divine encounters, he had heard Him before (see Exod 24:13; 33:11; Deut 31:14).[4]

1:9 This is the third command to be strong and courageous. Moses also commanded the people twice not to be afraid or discouraged (Dt 1:21; 31:8).[5]

[1] Campbell, D. K. (1985). Joshua. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 329). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Jos 1:9). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Jos 1:9). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jos 1:9). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Hess, R. S. (2017). Joshua. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 322). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

September 29 Love Me, Love Men

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:40

Jesus said that the Ten Commandments could be summed up in two commands: love Me, and love men. Perhaps you wonder how you can ever live up to all the commands in the Bible. The answer is very simple: love God, love men, and do what you want.

When you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and you love your neighbor as yourself, you can do what you want because you will be the person God wants you to be. Because of your love, you won’t kill anyone, defile anyone, steal anything, or covet what another person has. The Spirit will cultivate in your heart a love that precludes any desire to do wrong.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 294). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

September 29 Spiritual Gifts

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

1 Corinthians 12:7


God wants every Christian to understand spiritual gifts and use his or hers wisely.

A spiritual gift is a channel through which the Holy Spirit ministers to the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:11). The day we were born again into God’s family, His Spirit distributed to us a spiritual gift. Therefore, having a spiritual gift does not mean a believer is “spiritual.” What we really must ask is, “Is the channel clear?” Hypothetically, someone could have all the recorded spiritual gifts and not be using any of them. Or that believer could be greatly abusing some gifts. In either case, such a person would not be spiritual.

It is also incorrect to equate a natural ability with a spiritual gift. Someone might say, “My gift is baking pies”; another might say, “I’m good at playing the piano.” Those are wonderful and useful abilities, but they are natural abilities, not spiritual gifts.

Paul illustrates the difference between abilities and gifts. He could have used his knowledge of philosophy and literature to write and deliver great orations. However, this is what he said to the Corinthians: “I did not come with superiority of speech or wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1–2). The Holy Spirit uses the abilities of people like Paul and speaks through them, but He expresses Himself in a supernatural way, which is not necessarily related to the person’s natural skills.

If we rely on our own ability to produce spiritual fruit, we hinder what the Spirit wants to do in us. Instead, ponder what Peter says about using your gift: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:10–11).


Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for the special spiritual gift He has given you. Ask that He would help you use it faithfully, to its full potential.

For Further Study: Read Romans 12:4–8 and list the spiritual gifts mentioned there. What does 1 Corinthians 12, especially verses 12–31, emphasize regarding the use of the various gifts within the church?[1]

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