Daily Archives: October 26, 2018


Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.

2 Samuel 24:24

What passes for Christianity in our day is cheap religion! To listen to the current concepts of Christianity, we would conclude it is little more than bits of beautiful poetry, a man-made bouquet of fragrant flowers, a kindly smile for our neighbor and a couple of good deeds on behalf of a brother or sister.

When I consider some of the elements now offered in Christianity as acceptable religion, I have to restrain myself lest I speak too disapprovingly. I fear my words would be so strong that I would have to repent of them! And I read in the Scriptures that there are some things God does not want us to say even about the devil.

What do we find surfacing in much of our Christian fellowship? The complaint that God takes a long time to work out His will. We do not want to take the time to plow and cultivate. We want the fruit and the harvest right away. We do not want to be engaged in any spiritual battle that takes us into the long night. We want the morning light right now!

We do not want the cross—we are more interested in the crown!

Lord, help me to be satisfied with Your timetable concerning certain issues in my life. You are the sovereign God who is never late! Your divine timing is impeccable![1]

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


Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

—Exodus 20:4

Idolatry is of all sins the most hateful to God because it is in essence a defamation of the divine character. It holds a low opinion of God, and when it advertises that opinion, it is guilty of circulating an evil rumor about the Majesty in the heavens. Thus it slanders the Deity. No wonder God hates it.

We should beware of the comfortable habit of assuming that idolatry is found only in heathen lands and that civilized people are free from it. This is an error and results from pride and superficial thinking. The truth is that idolatry is found wherever mankind is found. Whoever entertains an unworthy conception of God is throwing his or her heart wide open to the sin of idolatry. Let that person go on to personalize his or her low mental image of the Deity and pray to it, and he or she has become an idolater—and this is regardless of his or her nominal profession of Christianity.

It is vitally important that we think soundly about God. Since He is the foundation of all our religious beliefs, it follows that if we err in our ideas of God, we will go astray on everything else. TWP104

Lord, forgive me for insidious idolatry that portrays You as anything less than You are. Even to try to picture You in my mind tends to distort Your image. I fall on my knees to worship the incomprehensible God. Amen. [1]

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

Our Favorite Heresies of 2018: Experts Weigh In | News & Reporting | Christianity Today

Scholars explain what is most discouraging and encouraging about Ligonier theology survey that found 3 out of 4 US evangelicals are “Arians.”

In this analysis, CT theology editor Caleb Lindgren compares Ligonier’s 2018 theology survey to the 2016 version, followed by nine expert reactions to the overall results.

Are American Christians really this bad at theology? Are we simply just a band of unwitting heretics? Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research’s recent State of Theology study seems to indicate that, yes, a large percentage of us are.

But while it may be tempting to declare a state of theological emergency, a further look at the groundbreaking survey, now in its third wave, shows there is room for optimism amid the concern.

Clearly the theological acuity of Christians in the United States could improve. But the findings from Ligonier’s study actually indicate that where instruction and education do occur, at least evangelicals can be remarkably orthodox. By comparing the questions and the results between this year and the previous study from 2016, we can gain a better idea of what these results do and don’t say about how heretical we American Christians are.

Let’s focus on just evangelicals by belief, as defined by the National Association of Evangelicals, and start with the questions that were reworded between the 2018 study and the 2016 study. In 2016, the survey phrased one question as follows: “People have the ability to turn to God of their own initiative.” About 8 in 10 respondents agreed (82%). Compare that to this year’s question about the same concept but worded very differently: “Only the power of God can cause people to trust Jesus Christ as their savior.” This phrasing garnered an essentially identical agreement of 83 percent. This means that between 2016 and 2018, nearly the same percentage of evangelicals believed diametrically opposed positions on the very same issue. (To be fair, the Council of Orange in A.D. 529, which attempted to clarify this matter, struggled with just this question. But church leaders ultimately kept the initiative solely in God’s hands.)

Another example of how the wording of a question greatly influences the results appears in the question regarding faith and works. The 2016 version states, “My good deeds help me earn my place in heaven,” to which 39 percent of evangelical respondents agreed. This year’s wording reverses the emphasis: “God counts a person as righteous not because of one’s works but only because of one’s faith in Jesus,” to which 91 percent agreed. That’s a 30-percent swing, when you account for the opposite wording. Again, different phrasing yields very different—and more orthodox—results. (One explanation: In both cases, the 2018 wording sounds much more like standard confessional statements evangelicals would be familiar with.)

Also, the 2018 versions allow respondents to agree with an orthodox statement rather than disagree with a heterodox one. As church history shows us again and again, it’s much easier to agree with orthodoxy than to identify heresy.

Occasionally, the study used a clearer wording and yielded different results. For instance, the prosperity gospel saw an uptick in popularity of 9 percentage points off the back of more specific wording (additions in italics): “God will always reward true faith with material blessings in this life” (46% of respondents agreed). Likewise, there was a drop of 24 percentage points of people who think political engagement is a problem as long as it is “Christians” doing it, rather than “the church.”

Now in cases where the wording remained the same, the study found slightly more evangelical respondents departing from the historic doctrines of Christianity than in 2016, but there were also a few new questions in this year’s survey that provide food for thought and even some encouragement.

In the 2018 survey, nearly all evangelicals (99%) agreed with the statement, “God created male and female,” and high numbers affirmed that “sex outside of marriage is a sin” (89%), and “abortion is a sin” (88%). (At the same time, 30 percent of evangelicals said that “gender identity is a matter of choice,” a striking number considering that almost all believe that “God created male and female.”)

Likewise, while the majority of evangelicals hew to the traditionalist perspective on homosexuality, 1 in 5 agreed that “the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.” Yet all 581 of the evangelical respondents in the survey had to strongly agree that “the Bible is the highest authority for what I believe” to be classified as “evangelical by belief.”

Another new question that was similar was “the Holy Spirit can tell me to do something which is forbidden in the Bible,” to which 21 percent of evangelicals agreed. While this is a relatively low percentage, it is still higher than we’d expect at 1 in 5. As with the question on homosexuality, these responses are hard to square with the high view of Scripture evangelicals are supposed to have and indicate quite a bit of confusion about the Holy Spirit, which the theologians we queried two years ago noted in the 2016 study.

One surprising aspect of this study is how comfortable evangelicals are with hell and judgment. Eternal judgment and a real place where that happens are classic barriers to faith for non-believers. But evangelicals don’t seem to have much concern about these ideas: 93 percent agreed that “hell is a real place where certain people will be punished forever,” and a whopping 98 percent agreed that “there will be a time when Jesus Christ returns to judge all the people who have lived.” So while hell and judgment are very unpopular in the general culture, evangelicals are sticking with Scripture on these.

CT also asked nine scholars to explain what they find most discouraging and encouraging about Ligonier’s 2018 State of Theology survey:

Continue reading
— Read on www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/october/evangelicals-favorite-heresies-ligonier-theology-survey.html

October 26 Daily Help

OF the Saviour, and only of the Saviour, is it true in the fullest, broadest, and most unqualified sense, “He went about doing good. From this description it is evident that He did good personally. The evangelists constantly tell us that He touched the leper with His own finger, that He anointed the eyes of the blind, and that in cases where He was asked to speak the word only at a distance, He did not usually comply, but went Himself to the sick bed, and there personally wrought the cure. A lesson to us, if we would do good, to do it ourselves. “He hath left us an example that we should follow in His steps.”[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 303). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

This ‘n’ That for October 26, 2018

  • I’m linking this free offer because it looks like a really great resource, but, as a disclaimer, it’s been my experience that Ligonier tends to stalk you once they have your personal information (email, address, etc.). Personally, I find that obnoxious and unbecoming, but if you’re willing to deal with it, I do think this is a generous offer for Reformation month!
  • I really commend Joshua Harris for publicly recanting for his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. His book was quite popular in my Christian high school, though I never read it. I’ve seen a lot of the principles from that book lived out by others, though, and I’ve seen how unhelpful, perhaps even harmful, they can be. That is, after all, the ultimate result of legalism. So kudos to Harris. Thank you, sir, for demonstrating true humility.
  • There are some good points in this article about women’s Bible studies (though, due to unfamiliarity [and the fact that this is an article at TGC], I cannot vouch for any of the recommendations contained therein).
  • This is cool (HT: Elizabeth Prata).
  • This is not cool. At all.
  • It’s October, which means lots of people get all Reformation-y (which isn’t a bad thing!), but here are some important points to remember about this time in Church history.
  • Scripture is not a piece of putty that we can mold to fit our own agendas.
  • Every time I read Revelation, I wonder what Jesus might say to my church, or to churches I’ve attended in the past.
  • Today is National Pumpkin Day, so if someone would please make this and bring it to me, that would be great.
  • I’m convinced that someday, our jobs will just be to check the work performed by computers rather than doing the work ourselves, and that sounds really boring.
  • Here are two short bios of women in Church history (one and two).
[J]oy in the Lord is one of the best preparations for the trials of this life. —Charles Spurgeon

RenewAmerica Newsletter for October 26, 2018

October 25, 2018
JERRY NEWCOMBE — There is an incredible movie with pro-life implications in the theaters right now, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, starring Dean Cain, Sarah Jane Morris, and Nick Searcy (who directed the film)…. (more)

October 25, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — The pipe bomb and white powder that forced an evacuation at CNN headquarters in New York City Wednesday morning were harmless, a law enforcement source told the Associated Press. The purported explosive device was similar in construction to those sent Wednesday to former President Barack Obama, former attorney general Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D., Fla.), and Representative Maxine Waters of California. A package containing white powder was delivered later in the day…. (more)

October 25, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — New Jersey Republican congressional candidate Jay Webber received a letter Wednesday that contained threats of violence against his children and demanded that he withdraw from the race to represent the state’s eleventh district…. (more)

October 25, 2018
NEWSMAX — CIA director Gina Haspel heard audio that purportedly depicts the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul when she visited Turkey this week, according to a new report…. (more)

October 24, 2018
Says Honduran president told him caravan organized by ‘leftist groups’ and funded by Venezuela
WASHINGTON TIMES — Venezuela is funding the illegal immigrant caravan, Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday, backing up President Trump’s claims that there are bad elements within the thousands of people. Mr. Trump said he doesn’t have specific proof to back up his claim a day earlier that Middle Easterners are part of the caravan, but said there “could very well be.”… (more)

October 24, 2018
People ‘with significant criminal histories’ headed for U.S.
ART MOORE — The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it can confirm that gang members and males from the Middle East and Asia are in the caravan headed for the United States that began in Honduras…. (more)

October 24, 2018
NEWSMAX — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday lashed out at the “extreme mob behavior” of the “far left,” recounting how he and his wife were targets of “aggressive intimidation” at a restaurant in his home state by a fist-slamming, shouting protester…. (more)

October 24, 2018
‘Existential threat to our individual liberties,’ government
ART MOORE — Positioning themselves as “thought police,” Facebook, Google and other “Big Tech” companies pose an “existential threat to our individual liberties as well as our system of government,” contends the manager for President Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign…. (more)

October 24, 2018
‘Each administration-threatening scandal dissolves into a giant nothing-burger’
ART MOORE — British journalist and TV host Piers Morgan is at odds with Donald Trump on many issues, but the two are in agreement that the president is “winning.”… (more)

October 24, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump’s often-criticized effort to forge better relations with Russia has morphed into a confrontational stance that this week scored economic and national security wins. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her government is backing construction of a shipping depot for importing liquefied natural gas from the U.S., bowing to Mr. Trump’s demand that she loosen Russia’s grip on the country’s energy supply…. (more)

October 24, 2018
REUTERS — Trump spoke hours after Turkey’s president, Tayyip Erdogan, dismissed Saudi efforts to blame Khashoggi’s death on rogue operatives. Erdogan urged Riyadh to search “from top to bottom” to uncover those behind Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, an incident that has sparked global outrage and strained relations between Riyadh and Washington…. (more)

October 24, 2018
Loss of key ally could upend U.S. national security calculations in the region
WASHINGTON TIMES — The admitted killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi government agents is risking not only Washington’s long-standing diplomatic and economic ties with Riyadh, but could also imperil one of the Pentagon’s most vital military partnerships…. (more)

October 24, 2018
Jockeying to fill void is low-profile but intense, including an influential anti-Cuba faction led by Marco Rubio
WASHINGTON TIMES — During her almost two years serving as President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley carved out a distinct niche as the administration’s most prominent voice confronting Latin America’s leftist regimes and even joined the occasional street demonstration…. (more)

October 23, 2018
DENNIS HOWARD — The current desperation of the Democrats reminds me of the guy falling past the 50th floor of the Empire State Building while reassuring himself, “So far, so good.” The only thing saving them from awareness of their own imminent disaster is their failure to recognize the disproportionate impact of abortion on vital Democrat voting blocks…. (more)

October 23, 2018
LIFE NEWS — It’s one of the most sacrilegious acts a religious leader could perform, but it’s happening again – – this time in Columbus, Ohio. There, on the evening of November 9, the so-called Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is planning a “blessing” of the Planned Parenthood abortion center…. (more)

October 23, 2018
Trump called O’Rourke a “stone-cold phony”
HOUSTON CHRONICLE — President Donald Trump on Monday called Rep. Beto O’Rourke “a stone-cold phony” and took a few sharp jabs at Sen. Ted Cruz’s Democratic opponent, but otherwise focused on national issues while praising Cruz and a laundry list of Texas Republicans. Trump, in Houston for a rally to support Cruz, also encouraged the Toyota Center crowd to vote for Rep. John Culberson, acknowledging the nine-term Republican faces a tough re-election challenge. He is up against trial lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Democrat, in the 7th Congressional District…. (more)

October 23, 2018
BUZZFEED — Former president Barack Obama was onstage at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Monday, doing a familiar, uncomfortable job. He was here to rally Democrats and to fight cultural tides the party didn’t quite anticipate…. (more)

October 23, 2018
NEWSMAX — The Department of Justice must investigate funding behind the massive migrant caravan heading to the U.S. border, and the people traveling from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador won’t be able to make a legitimate asylum claim once they arrive, Rep. Louie Gohmert said Monday…. (more)

October 23, 2018
BUZZFEED — On Sunday night, Kim Kardashian West appeared on The Alec Baldwin Show to talk about her marriage to Kanye West, her commitment to criminal justice reform, and her reality show. However, it was the topic of Caitlyn Jenner that proved the most difficult for the pair to navigate. As highlighted in the trailer for the episode, both Kardashian West and Baldwin referred to Jenner as “Bruce,” her pre-transition name – transgender individuals refer to as a “dead name.” Over the course of the interview, they used the wrong pronouns more than two dozen times…. (more)

October 22, 2018
ALAN KEYES — I am not at all surprised that Facebook is practicing repressive policies aimed at stifling political views at odds with its elitist totalitarian corporate culture. Facebook’s success rests on luring people into accepting a corporate culture that amounts to indentured servitude/slave labor…. (more)

October 22, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday the midterm elections come down to mob rule, saying if voters elect Democrats, they’ll be rewarding bad behavior. The South Carolina Republican will be campaigning in 13 states over the course of 12 days, cheering on Republicans ahead of the November election…. (more)

October 22, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — An angry constituent confronted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, while they were dining in a Louisville, Ky. restaurant Friday night. “Why don’t you get out of here? Why don’t you leave the entire country?” the man yelled at McConnell, local CNN affiliate WLKY reported…. (more)

October 22, 2018
ROBERT KNIGHT — During the lead-up to the Vietnam War, the media sometimes carried horrific images of Buddhist monks setting themselves afire to protest the South Vietnamese government. These tragic self-immolations were literally Pyrrhic victories for the protesters, who never got to see the results of their sacrifice…. (more)

October 22, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The combined efforts of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and the U.S. were not enough to deter thousands of migrants who broke through barricades or swam into Mexico over the weekend, defying their home government’s calls for them to return and America’s warnings that their journey is futile…. (more)

October 22, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the U.S. is quickly approaching a “moment of crisis” when it comes to immigration. Speaking at a press conference in Mexico City alongside his counterpart, Mexican foreign secretary Luis Videgaray Caso, Pompeo stressed the need to address the influx of immigrants to both countries. “We are quickly reaching a point which appears to be a moment of crisis,” he said…. (more)


Weekly Watchman for 10/26/2018

Comments and Questions from the Week

We certainly hear the phrase, “God accepts you just the way you are” thrown around quite liberally in Christian circles. But is that actually what the Bible teaches? This is one question we tackle this morning as we read your questions and comments from the week. Other topics include:

The eternal security of true believers.
Is there such a thing as ‘Christian yoga’ or Christian tarot cards’?
The apostate Social Justice theology infiltrating churches.
Do we tend to view the world and Christianity through our “American eyes”?
Should Christians allow themselves to be hypnotized in effort to break a bad habit or addiction?
What did John Loeffler mean by there’s a difference between liberals and new radical liberals?
How do we know that our conscience is being led by the Holy Spirit and not our own flesh?
With the lack of solid, sound teachings, at what point can mature believers consider starting a home church?
Can a Christian lose their salvation? What about those who add to the Scriptures?
Today’s podcast seems like a political show.
How does God’s Law still apply to the life of born-again believers?
Does suicide prevent a person from going to heaven?

Got a question for Mike? Connect with us text the words Speak Up to 90100 or email us at comments@standupforthetruth.com

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

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Can a True Believer Lose His Salvation?

Can a true believer lose their salvation? This question has been debated for nearly 2,000 years and remains an issue that even theologians disagree on. It is an important discussion to have, because your beliefs can have a big impact on how you choose to live as a Christian.

Those who believe you can lose your salvation will point to the dangers of professing Christians becoming lazy in their faith or those who continue to sin without any perceived consequence since they believe in they cannot lose their salvation. What about the process of sanctification, how does that fit in this conversation? Those who believe in eternal security might look at others and think they are trying to be saved by their good works.

Pastor Mike Abendroth of No Compromise Radio joins us to see what the Bible says about the subject as well as how we have assurance of eternal life in Christ.

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

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Former Atheist on Need for Christian Maturity, Apologetics

First time guest, Vas Avramidis, Ratio Christi chapter director at Rutgers University, joins us today. Being a former atheist, Vos quickly learned at college that most Christian students could not explain why they believed what they believe. He tried Buddhism, became a Wiccan, and even explored Hare Krishna before coming to faith in Jesus Christ.

He then realized how important and vital it was for Christians to not only share the gospel, but to disciple and prepare young people for the hostility toward Christianity on most college campuses. We also discuss a lack of maturity overall in the church today which goes right along with the high degree of biblical illiteracy. We’ll talk solutions.

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

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Order vs. Chaos

God is a god of order. Satan is a master of chaos and the prince of this world. Christians are called to be light and salt to the world. How do we as disciples of Jesus Christ navigate this life in an orderly, biblical fashion when the world thrives on chaos and confusion? Dave Wager of Silver Birch Ranch and Nicolet Bible Institute joins us to discuss this challenging dilemma.

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

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Dismissing Doctrine, Islam, Witchcraft

Last week, some media outlets covered a story of a group of Witches gathering to cast a curse on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Their curse called for him to suffer physically and emotionally and lead to his eventual death. The secular outlets that covered it mostly laughed it off as foolishness. But to dismiss witches casting spells may be foolish and ignorant as well. Should these curses be dismissed or taken seriously?

Elijah Abraham has traveled to dozens of countries sharing the gospel with Muslims, and equipping Christian pastors and leaders to share the gospel in their nations. Some of these nations are ones where witch doctors and spiritual shamans cast similar spells. Abraham also equips Christians in nations where going public with your Christian faith might be met with violent opposition. He joins us to share his ministry experiences, and to discuss the effectiveness and maturity of professing Christian Churches in our own nation as we continue to see compromise with the world.

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

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October 26, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

34:8 Experiencing God’s goodness anticipates the experience of goodness in Christ (1 Pet. 2:3).[1]

34:8 Taste and see Describes the act of trusting, fearing, and seeking Yahweh (compare note on v. 9).[2]

34:8 taste. The psalmist describes his personal experience of God’s goodness. After tasting God’s goodness in Christ, Peter alludes to this passage (1 Pet. 2:3).[3]

34:8 Taste can mean “judge” in the sense of determine for oneself (Pr 31:18). See most likely carries the same sense in order to reinforce the concept.[4]

[1] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 978). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 34:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 765). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 847). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

October 26 Recognizing the Trap

Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

James 1:14

Temptation doesn’t come from God but from within. The term drawn away was used in hunting contexts to describe animals being lured into traps, and enticed is a term used to describe catching fish with bait. Every person is tempted when the trap of sin is baited with that which appeals to his lust. A person’s lust responding to enticing bait deceptively draws him away to the point where he is trapped.

What pulls us so strongly to the bait? It’s not God. And it’s not Satan, his demons, or the world’s evil system that entice us to sin, although they bait the hook. It is our lustful nature that pulls us to take hold of it. Our flesh, our fallen nature, has a desire for evil.

From a spiritual perspective, the problem is that even though we’ve been redeemed and have received a new nature, we still have an enemy within. The resident passion of the flesh, not God, is responsible for our being tempted to sin.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 323). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Conrad Mbewe: Complete Joy in Christ — Wretched

– Episode 2373 –

Conrad Mbewe: Complete Joy in Christ

Segment 1 (00:00) Happy or Joyful?

Segment 2 (07:47) Who You Are Because of Christ Matters

Segment 3 (16:46) Joy is Found in Fellowship with Christ

Wretched Surprise! (26:19) Sermon Sizzler: Conrad Mbewe

Conrad Mbewe: Complete Joy in Christ — Wretched

October 26 The Law Reveals Sin

“What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ ”

Romans 7:7


God’s holy standard exposes man’s rebellious heart.

So far in Romans, Paul has told us what the law can’t do: it can’t save us (3–5) or sanctify us (6). At this point the apostle anticipates and answers a question that naturally arises: What, then, was the purpose of the law? Was it evil? In the next few days we’re going to consider three important purposes the law served.

First, the law reveals sin. Sin is a violation of God’s righteous standard (1 John 3:4); if no such standard existed, there would be no sin. In Romans 3:20 Paul said that “through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 4:15 adds, “Where there is no law, neither is there violation,” and Romans 5:13 reveals that “sin is not imputed when there is no law.”

To the question “Is the Law sin?” Paul replies emphatically, “May it never be!” Such a question is as absurd as it is blasphemous; an evil law could never proceed from a holy God. Paul goes on to say, “I would not have come to know sin except through the Law.” The law brought the proud Pharisee Saul of Tarsus face to face with his utter sinfulness, revealing his need for a Savior and preparing his heart for his life–changing encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus.

The specific commandment Paul cites, the injunction against coveting, is revealing. Coveting is an internal attitude, not an external act. It was the realization that God’s law applied to his attitudes, not merely his external behavior, that devastated Paul. He was forced to realize that all his external self–righteousness was worthless because his heart wasn’t right.

I pray that you too will be “obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed” (Rom. 6:17).


Suggestions for Prayer: Pray with the psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23–24).

For Further Study: Read Isaiah 1:14–20; Amos 5:21–27; Matthew 23:25–28. What does God think of mere outward conformity to His law?[1]

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

Andrew McCabe, the deep state henchman

A retied senior FBI executive explains the process by which the FBI and Department of Justice were corrupted into serving as political attack machines for the Democrats. It’s the read ofthe day.
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/10/andrew_mccabe_the_deep_state_henchman.html

How Public Schools Indoctrinate Kids Without Almost Anyone Noticing

Teaching the value of free thought matters now more than ever. Unfortunately, most American public schools take the opposite approach.

Many people have long suspected that governments sometimes attempt to indoctrinate their people to increase the government’s own power and influence. Unfortunately, ambitious governments will not stop at merely controlling what their people can do; they must control their minds.

Indoctrination happens through many channels—entertainment, speeches, and censorship––but its main instrument is the school system. Teachers have a captive audience of malleable young minds for several years. They may not have figured out how to make students smart and productive, but they can at least make them submissive and obedient.

Judging by results and from most people’s experience, indoctrination is not only a problem with rogue regimes, but also a distinctly American problem. However, here it is difficult to determine the extent of indoctrination, how it works, or even if it does work.

Most Americans might receive a mediocre education, but this education may be so mediocre that the intended brainwashing might not even be effective. True, some will feel the Bern and join the Socialist Party, and others will become feminists and beat up women who protest abortion. A precious few may even become conservatives. Most, though, seem content to remain disengaged from politics, religion, and most ideas in general, and allow the mainstream media to think for them.

Far from resembling a unified collective, society has become more polarized and tribal. Some might see this as evidence of the failure of indoctrination, and the insuppressible human desire for freedom and justice, but they are mistaken. Indoctrination does work, and it is one the main reasons America is so divided.

What Is Indoctrination?

Few people seem to have a clear definition of indoctrination, and thus call anything they dislike indoctrination (e.g., “Leftists professors are indoctrinating their students,” “Those fundamentalist Christians are indoctrinating their kids,” or “Facebook is indoctrinating its users.”).

While indoctrination involves pushing a certain opinion, it is also much more. It is the comprehensive effort of passively disseminating a particular viewpoint. The passive aspect is key. People who are indoctrinated with a certain narrative or ideology do not arrive at the intended conclusions through their own thinking, but hear the same thing repeated in a million different ways until they finally take it as unquestionable truth.

Because indoctrination happens in the absence of thinking, many teachers who engage in indoctrination do so unconsciously. They themselves take what they’re given and pass it along without thinking. Ideologues often intervene at this level by writing the scripts for teachers, which is how LGBT advocacy and anti-Semitic fabricationsbecome included in their lessons.

Thoughtlessness is essential. As the fictional demon Screwtape, from C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters,” states in his letters to Wormwood, “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.” A person who really thinks will eventually reason himself out of the things he heard at school.

In some ways this could be good––he could reason his way out of utopian thinking that contradicts reality. It could also be bad––he could reason his way out of superstitious beliefs, but not have the wherewithal to take the next step of adopting reasonable beliefs.

For this reason, it is often fruitless for Republican politicians to insist on incorporating more conservative viewpoints, or for conservative intellectuals to decry bias in U.S. history classes, or for classical schools to replace Maya Angelou with Tacitus. If students are still receiving the material passively, a switch of content will not help, and, in the case of introducing classic literature, it will usually backfire. English teachers have soured multiple generations of Americans on Shakespeare because they taught it as propaganda, not as dense texts requiring complex thought.

Indoctrination In Common Core

Even changing curriculum will not prevent indoctrination. Curriculum should help guide the teacher to create lessons and use materials that will train the students to think and function independently. Instead, most public school curricula, either adopting the Common Core standards or imitating them, do the opposite.

Common Core has facilitated progressive indoctrination by smothering independent thought and stifling intellectual development. It effectively trains students not to think by emphasizing skills over content, process over product, and relative standards over absolute ones.

The humanities suffer the most from the focus on teaching supposedly practical skills rather than quality content. Instead of reading great poetry and literature, English teachers asked their students to read more journalistic nonfiction and develop research skills. Instead of reading for meaning and writing clearly, students read for bias and learn to write fluff.

History teachers now teach their students “history skills,” which involve everything except remembering actual history and synthesizing information. Consequently, both literary and historical content is drained of relevance or meaning. While students learn to process data, they do not think about anything in particular.

Math and science are hurt more by Common Core’s obsession with the process over the product. Reaching the right answer means little in Common Core math. It is more important that students learn various arbitrary methods through which they can arrive at an answer. Students receive more credit for following a needlessly complicated breakdown, complete with color-coding and an array of abstract terms, for relatively simple computation. Word problems also loom large, causing teachers to spend less time on their subject and more time teaching students to highlight the right terms.

Needless to say, some students can make their way through the Common Core curriculum without knowing much math or science at all. Common Core proponents will say that this teaches students “metacognition”––thinking about thinking––and pushes students to learn how to learn. In reality, kids stop thinking, since it’s all pointless.

These two problems come together to bring about a pervasive relativism in education. Content is interchangeable and mastery is either illusory or impossible. Knowledge becomes subjective. One text is as good as another. One period of history is as important as another. One theory or formula is as useful as another. It is hard to learn how to think when there is nothing real to think about.

In such a system, thinking is only the articulation of opinion; it has no bearing on truth. This means that people don’t really need to think critically and understand why they believe what they do. They just need to have the right viewpoint and force others to conform like they’ve been forced to conform. They engage in arguments where the loudest voice wins because no one’s points are better than another. They pressure instead of persuade.

This, in turn, leads to tribalism—groups of people united in feeling and opinion, but not in reason and truth. The lack of thought makes all these groups vulnerable to mass media and prevents any organized resistance to an encroaching state or lawless ideologue in power. Indoctrination is complete when perception (i.e., whatever is on the screen, whatever an “expert” says, whatever is popular) really does become reality for most people because they’re too stupid or apathetic to respond rationally.
— Read on thefederalist.com/2018/10/26/public-schools-indoctrinate-kids-without-almost-anyone-noticing/

What answers does the Bible give for the “problem of evil”? (Video) | Monergism

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The Watchman’s Bagpipes: “This is my body”

When we insist on a literal meaning to this statement, “This is my body,” difficulties are created. Our Lord was physically present with His disciples when He took in His hand a piece of bread and said [“This is my body”]. He did not say, “This has or will become my body,” but “This is my body.” How cold something He held in His hand be a part of His body? How could the contents of the cup be literally His blood, when as yet He had not shed it? The metaphor, however, was just as natural then as when He said on other occasions, “I am the door,” or “I am…the bright and morning star” (Rev.22:16). If we were able to take the latter of these expressions, and apply it literally, we would be worshipping the planet Venus or, mystically, the presence of Jesus in the planet. However, taking the words as a metaphor, they suggest the simple New Testament truth of the Lord’s return for the church

Neil M. Fraser, The Lord’s Supper, (An Emmaus Bible College Correspondence Course), pg.24
— Read on watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2018/10/this-is-my-body.html

October 26 Passing on a Godly Heritage

“From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).


Planting and nurturing the seed of God’s Word in a child’s mind can produce an abundant spiritual harvest.

Not long ago I met with a group of Christian leaders to consider several candidates for a significant ministry position. During our meeting it dawned on me that each candidate’s father was a prominent pastor. Each candidate had grown up in a family that daily taught and exemplified Biblical truth.

That illustrates the enormous impact a Christian heritage can have on a person—whether he pursues the pastorate or not. And by no means is it fathers only who influence their children toward righteousness. Quite the contrary; a godly mother usually has far more opportunity to do so.

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan had four sons—all of whom followed his example by becoming ministers. It’s reported that at a family reunion a friend asked one of the sons, “Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?” “That’s easy,” the son replied. “Mother!”

Timothy knew the benefits of a spiritual heritage like that. His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois (2 Tim. 1:5) taught him the sacred writings, which give the wisdom that leads to salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). Even as a child, Timothy was being equipped for the ministry to which God would later call him. The spiritual training he received as a child—and the reservoir of Biblical knowledge he accumulated in those early years—were crucial elements in his adult ministry.

If you are a parent, the most precious gift you can give your child is a godly upbringing that will serve as the foundation for his or her future ministries.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for those who have instructed you in the Word and encouraged you in righteousness. ✧ If you are a parent, pray that your children will exceed you in the faith. ✧ Be faithful to pray for the young people around you and to set a godly example for them to follow.

For Further Study: Read 1 Samuel 1:1–2:10. What characteristics of a godly mother did Hannah display?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 312). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The Five Solas of the Protestant Deformation — Michelle Lesley

Originally published September 15, 2017

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. October 31, 2017 will commemorate the date in 1517 when Martin Luther famously nailed his 95 theses – a list of grievances against the Catholic church for unbiblical doctrines and practices – to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Luther’s calls for reform spread quickly throughout Europe, inspiring the likes of church fathers Ulrich Zwingli (Zurich), John Calvin (Geneva), and John Knox (Scotland) to join the effort in their own locales. As they worked to address the issues raised in Luther’s document, these men codified what we know today as the “Five Solas of the Reformation,” the basis of Protestant church doctrine. The five solas are:

1. Sola Scriptura– Scripture alone is the basis for all church doctrine, belief, and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

2. Sola Gratia– Salvation is by grace alone. It is an unmerited gift of God based solely on His goodness, not our own (because we don’t have any). (Ephesians 2:8-9)

3. Sola Fide– Salvation is through faith alone. Faith is a gift bestowed by God. We are saved only by placing that faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross, not by doing good works or by any other attempts to earn salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

4. Solus Christus– Salvation is found in Christ alone. As Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

5. Soli Deo Gloria– God saves man for God’s glory alone, and Believers are to live our lives to glorify Him alone. (Romans 11:36)

The five solas should be the foundation of the church’s orthodoxy (beliefs or doctrine) and our orthopraxy (church practices). But over the past five centuries there’s been a declension. A downgrade. The church has become deformed from the beautiful biblicalportrait of a bride “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” because we’ve functionally replaced the Five Solas of the Reformation with pragmatic, and often idolatrous, solas of our own making…

No longer is Christian doctrine and practice governed strictly by sola Scriptura, especially among Christian women. Now it’s all about what our own personal feelings, opinions, and life experiences. Won’t go to a church that preaches sin and repentance because it offends your sensibilities? You’ve become accepting of homosexual “marriage” because someone you love dearly has adopted that lifestyle? Believe God is in the habit of talking to people because you’ve “heard His voice”? Then you’re basing your doctrine and practices on your own feelings and experiences rather than on what the Biblesays.

The Christian’s instructions for life and godliness are found in only one place: the Bible. We do not squish Christianity into the mold of what makes us happy, what we agree with, our relationships with others, or the things we’ve experienced. We start with the Bible and we bring everything else in our lives – everything we think, feel, believe, say, and do – into submission to it. If a personal feeling, opinion, or experience conflicts with Scripture, it is wrong. We don’t change Scripture to fit our perspective, we change our perspective to fit Scripture.

If you want to know what road the modern church is headed down simply pick up your Bible and turn to… the Old Testament. Especially the verses that say “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Jesus saidthe way to greatness was humility, servanthood, and anonymity. We want glory, recognition, and applause. God says, “walk in My ways.” We say, “I’ll consider that if it fits in with my plans, is agreeable to me, and makes me look good to others.” We “welcome” the Holy Spirit into His own church as though we own the place. We are so used to being on the throne of our own lives that we use words like “letting” or “allowing” God to do something without even realizing it. We don’t ask, “Is it pleasing to God?”, we say, “If it’s pleasing to me, it must be pleasing to God.” Goodbye soli Deo gloria. Hello soli ego gloria.

More and more, “Christians” are driven by the selfish greed of “What can God do for me?” rather than the pursuit of holiness. So-called Christian teachers who will scratch itching ears are sought out, and an abundance of hucksters are at the ready, eager to “give the people what they want” in order to make a fast buck.

These people who claim the name of Christ care nothing about following in His footsteps – or even knowing what those footsteps are – craving instead the temporal creature comforts of wealth, success, popularity, health, self esteem, and influence. They want to be told what their flesh wants to hear, and they want to believe that’s Christianity. Share in Christ’s sufferings? Never. Away with the Via Dolorosa. Lead us down the primrose path.

Spotlights. Merch. Audiences of thousands. Agents. Entourages. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the Christian celebrities from the secular. The star-struck church has created its own caste system in which biblical fidelity is measured by how many books you’ve sold, the number of attendees at your megachurch or conferences, and the size of your audience on social media. That many followers? That number of bestsellers at the Christian retail chain? She must know what she’s talking about. We’ll use her books for our women’s “Bible” study – no vetting necessary! But that 85 year old pastor who’s been faithfully expositing the Word to his rural congregation of twenty for the better part of his life? No kudos. No esteem for honorable servants of the Lord such as he. We want glitz and glam and hype and bling. We want to be cutting edge, relevant, and attractional. Because maybe – just maybe – some of that glory will rub off on us. And so it goes – we follow the latest and greatest Christian authors, bands and personalities, attracted more to their pretty faces, stylish clothes, and charisma than to sound doctrine, while Christ’s sheep, relegated to a dark corner of the sanctuary, bleat to simply be fed the Bread of Life and the Living Water.

What’s hot rightthisminute? What’s the current style, the latest trend, the fad du jour? The Church of What’s Happening Now wants to know. Whether it’s today’s Christian bestseller that simply every small group is using now, dahling, or caving to whichever way the wind is blowing today when it comes to the world’s sexual morality, if we can just ride the viral wave of the immediate we can get people in the doors, money in the offering plate, and souls into Heaven. Maybe.

Vox populi, vox Dei? Have we forgotten how uncool it was to be the only one building an ark before rain was invented? That idol worship was the latest thing going in Jeremiah’s day? That it was the crowds who cried “Crucify Him!”?

The God of the Bible is not hip and groovy. He’s seen as hopelessly out of touch with current morals and values. A doddering old fool who just can’t seem to get with the times. His holy ways are antiquated and obsolete. We’re modern and educated and wise to the ways of the world. We know better how His church and our lives should run.

Just what is it we’re building our Christian doctrine and practices on these days? ‘Cause it sure isn’t the unadulterated written Word of God and the original five solas. Maybe it’s time we took a good hard look at how far we’ve slidden in the last five hundred years. How far we’ve strayed from the purity of Scripture and doctrine the Reformers worked so hard for, were imprisoned and persecuted for, were martyred for.

Maybe it’s time for another Reformation.

Additional Resources:

Why We’re Protestant: An Introduction to the Five Solas of the Reformation by Nate Pickowicz

What was the Protestant Reformation? at Got Questions

5 Questions and the 5 Solas at The Cripplegate

The Five Solas of the Protestant Deformation — Michelle Lesley

Yes There Are Middle Easterners in the Caravan

Democrats push socialism for America while opening our borders to people fleeing the wreckage of socialism back home

I have never seen people fight for their own demise, to erase their very existence, as I have in recent weeks with Democrats, their left-leaning supporters, and the mainstream media outlets.

The radical Left has reached a pathological level of self-loathing, willing to sacrifice everything to gain a few votes or a couple of seats in Congress, even if it means burning down our nation, founded by the blood, sweat, and tears of generations of patriots.

During the Revolutionary War, Harvard President Samuel Langdon delivered a speech in which he said, “if servants of the public forget their duty, betray their trust and sell their country, or make war against the most valuable rights and privileges of the people … they should be discarded, and others appointed in their room.”

Langdon expressed profound wisdom during the trying times of America’s birth. Today, we are facing similarly trying times. Invaders are encroaching on and breeching our borders. With the help of the self-important, arrogant Democrats who are making war against the rights and privileges of the citizens of this country, they will be successful in their attempts.

The Left’s misbehavior is beyond belief. They emit slogans, empty rhetoric, and a false sense of morality. Their ideas are puffs of smoke, phony goods they are trying to sell to the American people.

Real goods, real ideas, don’t need a catchy slogan or tagline to resonate. If I say that I bought a Cadillac, I have said enough. Cadillac is a real item, and its reputation speaks for itself. But “New Thinking. New Possibilities” is the slogan Hyundai uses to convince you that it is a “possibility” you will find their cars good.

Related: Eight Desperate Media Attempts to Tie Trump to the ‘Suspicious Packages’ Sent to CNN, Dems

Democrats have no solid ideas for dealing with any issue, but they are masters at crafting buzzwords that the people, who have no idea what they mean, can rally around. They tout that they are the party of affordable health care, but they have no solutions for the health care dilemma. Phony.

They claim to care about the plight of African-Americans. But they are historically the party that founded the Ku Klux Klan and have yet to offer a government program of substance to provide lasting change for the black community. Phony.

Sanctuary cities are also phony. Sanctuary for whom? If the inhabitants can’t feel safe because criminals find sanctuary there, how is that true sanctuary? But why offer substance when the masses are ready to go to battle whenever their leaders call them to act?

With the rhetoric of the Left ringing in my ears about the caravan of illegals rapidly approaching our southern border, I am more convinced than ever that the Democrats are hellbent on destroying their own country.

Do they leave their homes unlocked at night to welcome in anyone who seeks refuge? Anyone? Even if they are evil people with evil motives? What is there to gain by supporting uncontrolled immigration?

Are we really aiding anyone, even if we believe that these poor souls are fleeing socialism and the broken economies of Central America? The Left has become the party of socialism in America — yet they are opening their arms wide to welcome people fleeing socialism.

Related: Laura Ingraham: The ‘Rock Stars’ of the Left Can Barely Provide Elevator Music

In the name of social justice, their actions will lead to overnight evaporation of our economic successes achieved during the past two years, with no possibility of repair. This caravan will be followed by another, and another, and another.

Where does it end? It ends with our own democratic republic being replaced by socialism. Or anarchy. Or outright communism, when the socialists are forced to finally clamp down on the anarchists.

I fled my home country of Egypt because of the Islamic political agenda. When I walked away from Islam, I walked toward liberty, human rights, and the freedom to exercise my beliefs in America.

But I am now looking at an America that is under siege from within. The Left is opening the door to other screeching voices who wish to use our constitutional freedoms to crush those very freedoms.

Islamists already in the United States and those who are to come are watching and waiting to step into the void; to squelch all voices but their own; to strip away democracy, equality, political differences, and decency.

The Left has become the party of socialism in America, yet they are opening their arms wide to welcome people fleeing socialism.

Make no mistake: Islamists are among the caravan currently making its way through Mexico. In July of 2017, I was at a hotel in San Diego when I encountered a Syrian and a Pakistani, who had themselves made their way across that very same border after having spent two weeks in Mexico.

They explained to me in vivid detail how the system works, a not-so-secret secret for people seeking to enter the U.S. from Middle Eastern countries. They even offered their expertise should I ever have need to get others into the United States unchallenged.

If the self-hating Democrats win enough seats in the House, they intend to impeach the president and then embark on a quest to find a crime that will enable them to do so. Just as they treated Justice Brett Kavanaugh — presumed guilty from the start — so will all other Supreme Court nominations that follow.

Related: Hill Immigration Republicans Wary of Approaching Caravan

The Left will impugn character, publicly humiliate, and rush to find a crime for which to accuse, even though they have already decided the judgment. They are fighting hard, screaming loud and clear as champions of their agenda, never stopping to consider that if their goals are fulfilled, it will hasten their demise.

Charles Finney in 1855 wrote, “It seems sometimes as if the foundations of the nation were becoming rotten, and Christians seem to act as if they thought God did not see what they do in politics. But I tell you, He does see it, and He will bless or curse this nation, according to the course they take.”

Sobering words from a great theologian. I can only echo the words of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ himself, when He said, “God forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Mark Christian, M.D., is the founder and executive director of the Global Faith Institute (globalfaith.org) and is an Egyptian émigré to the United States and a convert to Christianity. His father and uncle remain high-ranking leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in his former home of Cairo.
— Read on www.lifezette.com/2018/10/yes-there-are-middle-easterners-in-the-migrant-caravan/

Friday Briefing Oct 26, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

Download MP3

‘It’s hard to hate up close’: Why the partisan divide isn’t really as bad as cable news would lead you to believe

Exchanging laughs for applause: What are we looking for in entertainment?

Berenstain Bears and the moral importance of the stories we tell our children

Beauty, morality, and Disney princesses: The real danger of associating good and evil with cultural conventions of attractiveness
— Read on albertmohler.com/2018/10/26/briefing-10-26-18/