Daily Archives: November 17, 2018

Tullian Tchividjian Back in the Pulpit at “Leave a Mark Church,” Columbus Ohio — Pulpit & Pen

Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham who has been forced into resignation in two ministry positions for repeated extra-marital affairs, finds himself back in the pulpit today and tomorrow at “Leave a Mark Church” in Columbus, Ohio.

Tchividjian once pastored D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church but was defrocked by the Presbyterian Church of America after he was found to have engaged in at least one extra-marital affair. Tchividjian filed for divorce from his wife, and partially blamed her for his wicked behavior and the rough aftermath of its fallout. The presbytery found that Tchividjian was “unfit for Christian ministry,” but laid out a path for his eventual restoration. He has not met the requirements of restoration. He moved on to fill a staff position at Willow Creek PCA in South Florida, only to again confess to another extra-marital affair. At least one of Tchividjian’s sexual partners has claimed it was a case of clergy sexual abuse. Tchividjian then married a strange woman and began to rebrand himself as a minister “to the broken,” preaching a sermon about his own “redemption.”

Aside from his sexual escapades while in the pulpit, Tchividjian has adopted a theology to suit his sin. Growing increasingly antinomian,many had begun to warn the world of his changing doctrinal views even before news of his affairs became public. His views of God’s law, in particular, have been in constant flux, as he’s denied the abiding validity of God’s Moral Law and promoted a gospel with little call to holiness or the mortification of sin. Most recently, Pulpit & Pen has covered Tchividjian claiming the Gospel is “immoral.” 

The Christian Post reported on Tchividjian, recently writing a post demanding that Christians show grace to fallen pastors, claiming that it was “sinful” to remember someone’s scandals.

By a quick survey of the facts, Tchividjian is a serial adulterer, serial marrier, and practical antinomian who is still under the discipline of his presbytery. That will not stop him from taking the pulpit of a Columbus church today and tomorrow.

“Leave a Mark Church” will host Tchividjian so he can talk about redemption, apparently in spite of a lack of repentance. The church is pastored by Steve Combs. The website of the church reads…

After a season of self-destruction leading up to, and following, his resignation from Coral Ridge, Tullian is now married to Stacie, and together they have five children and one grandchild. Tullian longs to see broken people encounter God’s boundless love. We are very excited to have Tullian as our special guest at LeaveAMark to share his story of hope and healing with our community.

While any claim of repentance or supposed restoration is – if valid – a cause for celebration, it is disheartening to see someone who has not repented of sins but only capitalized on them, take the pulpit in an ostensibly Christian church. While forgiveness is always available for the contrite and penitent in the Cross, this does not mean that those who have failed to meet the pastoral qualifications of Paul’s epistles to Timothy and Titus can be restored to the spotlight of Christian ministry.

Inviting Tchividjian to preach at Leave a Mark Church is not only disrespectful to the Presybeterian Church of America which has made a (rightful) decision of discipline toward him, it’s disrespectful to all those who have been taken advantage of by clergy. A clergy person, having an affair a sexual relationship with a staff or church member (as is the case with Tchividjian) is similar to a principal or teacher having an affair a sexual relationship with a student. The pastorate is a position of trust, and if violated, should hold long term and grave consequences.

Leave a Mark Church is not only defaming their church, and Jesus, but is being terribly insensitive to those who have been victims of predatory pastors.

In the meantime, Tchividjian, if repentant, should do the godly thing and take up a job at a carwash. There’s nothing dishonorable about seeking discipleship in a local congregation and working with your hands, living a quiet and peaceable life.

Tullian Tchividjian Back in the Pulpit at “Leave a Mark Church,” Columbus Ohio — Pulpit & Pen


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

—Colossians 3:16

Religious entertainment has so corrupted the Church of Christ that millions don’t know that it’s a heresy…. They don’t know that it’s as much a heresy as the counting of beads or the splashing of holy water or something else. To expose this, of course, raises a storm of angry protest among the people….

One man wrote an article as an exposé of me. He said that I claimed that religious entertainment was wrong and he said, “Don’t you know that every time you sing a hymn, it’s entertainment?” Every time you sing a hymn? I don’t know how that fellow ever finds his way home at night. He ought to have a seeing eye dog and a man with a white cane to take him home!

When you raise your eyes to God and sing, “Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,” is that entertainment—or is it worship? Isn’t there a difference between worship and entertainment? The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment. That is why we have the great evangelical heresy here today—the heresy of religious entertainment. SAT006-007

Lord, help me to be aware of the dangers of religious entertainment and fill me to overflowing with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to Your glory! Amen. [1]

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

The Mailbag: “We need to stop relying on canned studies,” doesn’t mean, “We need to rely on doctrinally sound canned studies.”.

Michelle Lesley

In my recent article, 4 Ways We’re Getting Women’s Discipleship Wrong, and How We Can Get it Right!, one of the points I mentioned is that we’ve equated women’s discipleship with purchasing a celebrity Bible teacher’s DVD/workbook package and parking women in front of a TV instead of training older women in the local church to teach younger women straight from the Bible.

The idea that we have to use pre-fab studies instead of teaching straight from the Bible is so deeply embedded in our evangelical DNA that nearly every time I write an article or social media post saying we need to kick this habit and get back to straight Bible teaching, what some readers seem to hear is that we need to use doctrinally sound pre-fab studies. (And they proceed to recommend materials by the handful of doctrinally sound women authors who are out there.)

That’s not…

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Praises for prophecy, higher praises for the One who ordains it

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

I love prophecy. In the early days of the blog I did newspaper eisegesis, where I looked at the newspaper (AKA the global news) and then looked at the Bible to see how close we were to fulfillment. I don’t mind that though, those were heady days. My eyes had been opened to all the answers I’d been seeking all my life, the reasons humankind was the way it was, the reasons why there was chaos and turmoil, and I was exploring with wonder and amazement my new Christian worldview. Suddenly everything made sense! Graciously, the Spirit grew me out of that, and I soon looked to the Bible only.

Prophecy is all about movement. The LORD’S plan is always moving toward fulfillment. The first prophecy given was the Lord’s to Adam & Eve, in Genesis 3:15. Another example of the Lord’s every move as an inching…

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November 17 React to Problems with Thankful Prayer

In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:6

Instead of praying to God with doubt or discontentment, the believer is to approach God in a spirit of thanksgiving. That’s because God promised not to allow anything into our lives that will be too much for us to bear (1 Cor. 10:13). He has promised to work out everything for our good (Rom. 8:28), and “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle” us in the midst of our suffering (1 Pet. 5:10).

All difficulties are within God’s purpose, so we can thank Him for His available power and promises. Peter said to cast “all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). In doing so, we are to be thankful for His providence, His promise of perfecting us, the glory He will receive from accomplishing His will, and for past mercies that are the promise of future blessings.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 346). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

What Is the Fall? — Ligonier Ministries Blog


What has gone wrong with the world? The Bible says that everything was very good at the beginning of creation, but clearly, that is no longer the case. So, what happened?

At the dawn of history, Adam and Eve were tempted to disobey God’s Word. Satan subtly suggested that God had put unfair limits on their freedom. Rather than believe God and obey His commands, they believed the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit. This was the fall of mankind.

In today’s message from his video teaching series Dust to Glory, R.C. Sproul shows that the devil’s favorite strategy is still to cast doubt on the truth of God’s Word. The battle over the trustworthiness of the Bible continues to this day, as do the consequences of Adam’s sin.

Because of the fall, we seek to hide from God, but the Bible reveals God’s pursuing His creatures and bringing salvation through Jesus Christ.

via What Is the Fall? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Weekend Snapshot · Nov. 17, 2018 — Top Stories This Week

Winning Elections the Democrat Way

“The more time that passes since Election Day, the better things keep looking for Democrats.” —Demo Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Immigration Enforcement Is Just Like KKK, Says Harris 2020

The California Democrat helped create a perception she then blames on ICE.

‘Hate Crimes’ and Demo Demonization of ‘Racist’ GOP

Leftist leaders blame Republicans 24/7, so it’s no wonder the rank and file believe it.

Trump Blames CA Fires on State’s Forest Mismanagement

The president’s criticism is absolutely right on the merits, if off on his timing.

Dear Anti-Gun Doctors: Stick to What You Know

Doctors deal with gunshot wounds, but the American College of Physicians gets the prescription wrong.

A Good ‘First Step’ Toward Needed Prison Reform

Trump and several Republicans are pushing real reform for criminal justice.

Contrary to Predictions, U.S. Nears Energy Independence

Prediction: “The U.S. will account for 75% of the growth in global oil production through 2025.”

Correcting Overheated Math in Alarming Ocean-Warmth Study

Researchers greatly overstated the problem, which reflects poorly on the peer-review process.

Democrats’ Estrogen Resistance

Should American voters born with a uterus conform to vote as a gender bloc?

Battling Online Smut Is Still a Conservative Priority

Not long ago, both parties gave serious consideration to the destructiveness of porn.

Tech Impairs Children’s Health and Development

From sleep loss to weigh gain to autism, the effects of the digital revolution can be harsh.

Flake’s Final Anti-Trump Virtue Signal

The outgoing senator refuses to vote on judicial nominees without legislation to protect Mueller.

Socialist Family Feud Over Amazon HQ2

Ocasio-Cortez blasts Amazon as the e-commerce giant announces its location for its new headquarters.

China’s Middle Kingdom Wants to Be on Top

Beijing has conveyed this message implicitly and explicitly over the course of the past two decades.

SNL Apologizes for Denigrating a Veteran’s Sacrifice

There was a very rare example of making peace last Saturday, just ahead of Veterans Day.

Quote Of The Week

“I have always believed in the presumption of innocence but I know Michael Avenatti is not a fan of that principle. Out of respect for his preferences, I will therefore assume that he is guilty as hell.” —Matt Walsh

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 11/17/2018

Lesbians Who Filed Complaint Against Baker for Not Making Wedding Cake Wore Hidden Microphones: Report   Nov 10, 2018 12:32 pm
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Two lesbians who filed a complaint against a Christian baker after she declined to make a cake for a same-sex celebration wore hidden microphones to record the refusal, according to a press release from the baker’s attorneys. “The evidence shows that this was all a set-up to get money and to destroy Cathy for her Christian faith,” said…

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Atheist United Church of Canada ‘Minister’ to Keep Job After Agreement Reached Before Trial   Nov 11, 2018 07:24 pm

TORONTO — An apostate minister with the United Church of Canada who identifies as an atheist will not be defrocked after an agreement was reached just before she was to be put on trial over her rejection of biblical orthodoxy. While the details of the settlement have not been made public, the United Church of Canada released a brief statement on Wednesday simply…

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‘I Miss Being Debbie’: Woman Who Sought to Live as Man Due to Rape Trauma Expresses ‘Sex Change’ Regret   Nov 12, 2018 05:27 pm

Photo Credit: Tom Wren/SWNS.com (The Christian Institute) — A woman who has lived for fifteen years as though she was a man has now said she regrets ever having surgery to “change sex.” As a teenage girl, Debbie Karemer, was raped multiple times by her father. This horrendous childhood experience stayed with her, and experts have told her it brought on…

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Drone Footage Shows Destruction of Paradise, California as Death Toll From Fire Rises to Over 50   Nov 15, 2018 06:33 pm

PARADISE, Calif. — Drone footage has provided a glimpse into the heartbreaking destruction of the town of Paradise, California, which was consumed last week as the Northern California “Camp Fire” tore through Butte County, and continues to rage to this day. The death toll is now at 56, with more than 100 missing. The footage shows street after street of…

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California Fires Tragically Destroy Entire Town of Paradise, Described as Vision of ‘Hell,’ ‘Armageddon’   Nov 10, 2018 06:18 pm

PARADISE, Calif. — A fast-moving wildfire raging in Northern California has destroyed the entire town of Paradise, killing nine people and being described as a vision of “Hell.” “Honestly, it looks like Armageddon,” Brian Rice, chairman of the California Fire Foundation, told NBC News. “There’s a part of me that wonders if this city will come back. It…

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California Mass Murderer Ian Long Said He Was ‘Bored’ in Social Media Post During Shooting Massacre   Nov 10, 2018 08:39 pm

(NY Daily News) — The twisted ex-Marine who gunned down a dozen people in a California bar paused to ponder his mental health in two social media posts during the deadly rampage. Ian David Long, 28, noted on Instagram that he was bored, not crazy — and wondered whether people would believe he was rational when word of the massacre spread, law…

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Berkeley Student Senator Faces Pressure to Resign After Standing for Biblical View of Gender   Nov 12, 2018 08:43 pm

BERKELEY, Calif. — A student senator at the University of California at Berkeley is facing pressure to resign after she abstained from voting on a resolution that expressed opposition to an alleged plan by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to legally define sex under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as being one’s biological sex…

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Chinese Church Experiences Multiple Raids   Nov 14, 2018 02:47 pm

FUZHOU, Fujian (China Aid) — A church in the capital of China’s southeastern Fujian province has been harassed relentlessly by authorities over the past few months. Yongfu Church, located in Fuzhou, has been raided eight times in the past two months. When the church refused to make modifications to their building in order to fit the Communist Party’s agenda,…

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Trump Hosts Ceremonial Lighting at White House Celebrating Diwali, the Hindu ‘Festival of Lights’   Nov 14, 2018 12:35 pm

WASHINGTON — In carrying on a tradition that was reportedly started by then-President George W. Bush and continued by Barack Obama, President Trump hosted a ceremonial lighting at the White House on Tuesday in recognition of the Hindu Festival of Lights, known as Diwali. The holiday rings in the Hindu new year as adherents to the polytheistic religion commonly call…

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Study Announces Discovery of New Species of Crocodile, But Speciation Is Not Evolution, Says Christian Geneticist   Nov 13, 2018 04:57 pm

Cataphractus — Photo Credit: Thesupermat/Wikipedia A study published by Zootaxa recently outlined the discovery of a new species of crocodile, estimating that the creature arrived on the scene eight million years ago due to volcanic activity in Central Africa. However, a geneticist with Answers in Genesis (AIG) tells Christian News Network that the Genesis Flood…

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November 17, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Prayer and Fellowship

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. (5:16a)

Therefore marks a transition in the flow of thought. Turning his attention from the sins of those believers who have been defeated in the spiritual battle, James addressed the congregation as a whole, exhorting believers to continually confess their sins to one another and not wait until those sins dragged them into the depths of utter spiritual defeat. The inspired writer was well aware that sin is most dangerous to an isolated believer. Sin seeks to remain private and secret, but God wants it exposed and dealt with in the loving fellowship of other believers. Therefore James called for mutual honesty and mutual confession as believers pray for one another.

Maintaining open, sharing, and praying relationships with other Christians will help keep believers from bottoming out in their spiritual lives. Such relationships help give the spiritual strength that provides victory over sin. And they also provide godly pressure to confess and forsake sins before they become overwhelming to the point of total spiritual defeat.

The purpose for the mutual prayer that James called for is that believers may be healed. Iaomai (healed) does not necessarily refer to physical healing. In Matthew 13:15 it symbolized God’s withheld forgiveness of Israel’s sins (cf. John 12:40; Acts 28:27). The writer of Hebrews also used it metaphorically to speak of spiritual restoration (Heb. 12:12–13), while Peter used it to describe the healing from sin Christ purchased for believers on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). James uses it to refer to God’s forgiveness, making the repentant believer spiritually whole again.[1]

Confession of Sin (5:16)

It is easy to misunderstand the command to confess sins to one another. James cannot intend meetings where people confess any and every sin to each other. This is the only Bible verse that says, “Confess your sins to each other,” so the rest of Scripture must guide our thinking. Here are some salient biblical principles:

  1. The offender confesses to the one offended, whether to a human or to God.
  2. We confess secret sins to God, since sins such as anger, envy, or lust offend him, even if they never lead to action. It is highly unlikely that we will accomplish anything constructive by telling someone, “I envied you,” or “I lusted after you.”
  3. We confess private sins privately to the one or the few we offended. We confess public sins (which offend many) publicly. For example, if a leader propounds heresy, deceives his people, or misuses public funds, public confession is apt.

The confession James recommends must fit category three. Once a sick and sinning believer repents, fellowship is restored (James assumes that the offended party will be ready to forgive). Then the whole body of Christ can pray effectively for healing.

James expects those prayers to be effective, for “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (5:16). Elders are responsible to set an example of personal righteousness, yet James 5:16 expects the whole church to pray. Every saint—everyone who is righteous by faith—prays.

Still, the efficacy of a prayer lies in the grace and power of God, not the goodness and merit of the petitioner. (The request “Pastor, please pray for me” may reveal a defective concept of prayer.) The prayers of the righteous have power, yet God gives us that righteousness by faith and by the Holy Spirit.[2]

16 Clearly building on the thought of the previous verse, with its mention of sins, prayer, and healing, the author transitions to exhort those in the Christian communities to mutual confession of sins and prayer. The use of “Therefore” (oun) followed by two present imperative verbs facilitates the transition. The first exhortation is to “confess your sins to each other.” Ropes, 309, understands the confession to be by the sick persons, who then are prayed for by the well, resulting in physical healing, but James seems to move from the specific situation of a seriously sick person in v. 15 to the general principle concerning the need for mutual confession and prayer in v. 16. On this interpretation, it is difficult to see the confession as preventative (as with Davids, 195), since the healing follows sickness in the verse, but the connection between sin in a community and physical illness seems clear nonetheless. Confession, a public acknowledgment of one’s guilt, may be by an individual or as a community, and in many cases in biblical literature, confession is connected to physical healing or some general form of salvation (Davids, 195–96; Johnson, 334). Johnson especially has shown the connection between physical healing and social restoration. This dynamic is prominent in the ministry of Jesus (e.g., Lk 5:17; 6:18–19) and reiterated in Acts (4:22, 30; 28:27; see Johnson, 335). Thus James, dealing with communities in which there was a good bit of social strife, points to vital Christian remedies for fractured relationships—open confession of sin and mutual prayer, which are actions that promote transparency, support, and unity. Consequently, the exhortations to confession and prayer are followed by “so that” (hopōs), a marker showing the purpose for something, and that purpose in the present case is expressed as “you may be healed.” The healing in mind is physical but points to a deeper spiritual healing of sin and broken relationships.

Whereas the first part of v. 16 consists of exhortations, the second makes a theological assertion concerning the effectiveness of prayer. In this case, the NASB reflects more accurately than the NIV the structure of the Greek text: “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” First, the prayer under discussion is that of a righteous person. In 1:5–8 and 4:3–4, James has already noted that a sinful lifestyle hinders prayer, and he now expresses the flip side of that fact. In 5:17–18, he follows by offering Elijah as a prime example of such a person. Second, the prayer is “effective” (energeō, GK 1919), expressed with an adjectival participle meaning “to work,” “to be active,” or “to be operative.” Thus the prayer in mind is prayer put into action, or made operative. Finally, this prayer is able to “accomplish much.” James uses a verb (ischyō, GK 2710) that connotes having the resources or power to bring something about, and what prayer is able to accomplish is “much.”[3]

5:16 / James summarizes his teaching on healing in two sentences. First, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. Confession of sin is important for healing. Pastors experienced in the Christian healing ministry repeatedly witness to times when the confession of a resentment, a grudge, or an unforgiven injury has lead to physical healing with or without further prayer. But James is generalizing beyond the individual healing situation, for now it is not “to the elders” but to each other that confession is made. The picture is that of a church gathering and the confession of sin to the assembled group. The mutual public confession (supplemented by private confession where public confession would not be appropriate) lays the basis for public prayer, in which people freed from all grudges and resentments, and reconciled through confession and forgiveness, pray for healing for each other. In this kind of atmosphere, the services of the elders at the bedside will rarely be needed.

Second, the prayer of a righteous [person] is powerful and effective. The righteous person is not sinlessly perfect, but is the person who has confessed any known sin and who adheres to the moral standards of the Christian community. With a clear conscience and in unity with God, this person prays a prayer that is powerful and effective. The Greek adds a difficult expression that probably means “when it reaches God and he answers it” (lit. “when it works”). Prayer is not itself powerful; it is not magic. But its power is unlimited in that the child of God calls on a Father of unlimited goodness and ability.[4]

The friends at prayer: a spirit of reconciliation (5:16a)

We come away from verses 14–15 with at least this clear in our minds, that prayer is a very powerful thing. It would seem that James intended that we should, for this is the thought which he carries over into the section now before us for study. If we isolate some keywords we shall see the line he is taking: … the prayer of faith will save the sick … (15). Therefore … pray for one another, that you may be healed (16). Prayer is not the prerogative of elders, nor is it confined to the sick-room. Rather it is the privilege of all believers, and something in which they should rejoice to share fellowship in order that one or the other, or both, may recover from the weaknesses and diseases of the past, and enter into a new spiritual health. If the sick can call the elders to pray, and God has pledged himself to respond so generously to their prayer, then surely we should be enthusiastic to lay hold of prayer in all situations in life. There (14–15) the matter was sickness; here (16a) it is sin which, in line with Scripture, James views as a sickness of the soul which needs to be healed. In this too we can involve ourselves in a fellowship of prayer and, as a result, look for the healing touch of God.

Has James some specific situation in mind? It would seem so. He says Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another. It is surely often the case that a Christian who is burdened by some sin will seek out a close friend and confide the problem, so that in prayer together they may bear one another’s burdens, and pray through to the place of deliverance, cleansing and healing. But this is not what James is speaking of here, and the wording he uses will not allow this interpretation. When the verb translated ‘confess’ is used other than of the confession of sin, it never means ‘admit sorrowfully’, as it would have to do in order to justify the thought of confiding sin to a friend. It can mean ‘to affirm’, but only in the sense of ‘acclaim’—as of affirming loyalty to God or acclaiming him16—but the sense ‘affirm to each other that you are sinners’ is impossible in the light of the way the word is used in the New Testament. The passage therefore is not speaking of the gathering of groups, or the holding of a meeting in which believers tell one another about their sins, nor can such practices be justified on the ground of James 5:16. For it does not say (even) ‘Confess your sins to God in each other’s presence’, but Confess your sins to one another.

The biblical position regarding confessing sin can be summed up in this way. ‘Confession must be made to the person against whom we have sinned, and from whom we need and desire to receive forgiveness.… There is “secret confession” to God because there are “secret sins” (Ps. 90:8) committed against God alone. Next, there is “private confession”, because some of our sins are committed against man as well as God, a private individual, or two or three such, and must be confessed to the offended party. Thirdly, there is “public confession”, because some sins are committed against a group … a community or the whole local congregation, and must therefore be confessed publicly.’ It is in this area of confession that James is moving. We have offended against a brother or sister and we must go to such a one privately and confess in what way we have done wrong, ask to be forgiven, and join in prayer for healing, ‘because the biblical principle is consistently that “confession” is due to the party who has been offended’.18 The believers whom James brings before us have not met to engage in mutual confession of secret sins—for the ‘confession’ of such is owed to God alone. Rather it is because the one has sinned against the other and is seeking opportunity, in private fellowship, to put things right, or because each has offended the other and they are ready to confess and be reconciled.

As we have seen throughout his letter, James is deeply concerned about fellowship. It is the soil in which a harvest of righteousness comes to full fruition (3:18). Breaches in fellowship are as grievous as war and murder (4:1ff.). It is more than suitable that he who has warned us so plainly about the dangers and causes of broken fellowship should come, before the end of his letter, to teach us the way of healing what has been broken. He looks for three things. First, he looks for a spirit of penitence. However hard and costly it may be, we simply must be prepared to go to the one we have wronged and confess our fault and put things right. Indeed, if we take the teaching of our Lord Jesus seriously (Mt. 5:23), we must be moved not only by our sense that we have wronged a brother or sister, but by our awareness that he or she thinks we have committed a hurtful sin. Some find it harder than others, and none find it easy to say ‘I am sorry’. But it is a biblical command that we should do so, and the cause of fellowship must be dearer to us than the humbling of our pride. Secondly, James looks for a spirit of reconciliation. If we should be, perchance, on the receiving end of someone else’s confession of sin, then we must be prompt and unhesitating in our welcome to the brother or sister who comes seeking to put things right. For if, on the one side, pride battles hard against confessing sin, pride battles equally hard against the simple reaching out of a forgiving hand. Sometimes too it is not just pride which holds back from forgiveness, but also fear: fear of trusting oneself to someone who has, possibly, been grievously treacherous or cruelly hurtful. Yet James covers all situations with his assumption that the overtures of the one who would confess are met by the welcome of the one who has been wronged. Rarely, of course, are things nicely clear-cut, and the platitude is true that there are usually faults on both sides. We should then covet nothing more than to get in first with our confession, and to outdo our brother or sister only in this, that we are warmer and more overflowing in reconciliation. Thirdly, James looks for a spirit of prayer, leading to healing. The two who were but recently far apart come into the close unity and harmony of the place of prayer. Mutual concern is expressed and hallowed in the presence of God; the breach is healed. Where spirits have been bruised, or where either has inflicted on the other a blow which has resulted in spiritual decline, then in answer to prayer God will grant restoration to spiritual health. Corporate prayer expresses this determination not only to come together after separation, but to undo the damage to the individual and the fellowship.[5]

Prayer in Confession of Sin (v. 16a)

5:16a. Because God hears the prayers of penitent people and forgives sin, Christians should confess their sins to one another and pray for one another. The mention of “healing” at the conclusion of this verse makes it likely that the sins to be confessed are those which have caused illness. The healing shows the purpose of the mutual confession and prayer.

Since the intent of the confession of sins is to experience physical healing, it seems best to refer the command to the confession of sins which may hinder healing. The confessor of sins is seeking healing by the act of admitting sins.

Two interesting observations come from this verse. First, the entire church is to be involved in this praying. It is not confined to the elders. Second, the power to heal appears in the act of praying, not in the elder or other one praying.

Confess means “to say the same thing.” It suggests that in confessing, we must identify the sin by its true name and call it what it is. We must acknowledge and repent of specific sins, not merely offer a general confession of guilt.

Placed so close to the discussion of prayer for the sick, this verse likely has its primary application in confession of sin by people who are sick. However, the application is easily extended to confession of sin in any of life’s situations.

This confession of sin seeks to secure faithful prayer support for stumbling Christians from trusted spiritual friends. It is not urging a careless confession to just anybody. Such a type of confession might cause more harm than good. It is confession to dedicated, trusted prayer warriors who will intercede for you with God.

Roman Catholics have used this verse to justify confession of sins to a priest. It is important to note that this verse discusses confession and intercession among Christians and not between a believer and a priest.[6]

Power of Prayer


Confession of sin and praying for one another are vital ingredients of the healing ministry in the Christian community. When sin is removed, the power of prayer becomes evident in its amazing effectiveness.

16a. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

In this text we note three essential verbs: confess, pray, and heal.

  • “Confess.” James says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other.” With the adverb therefore, he links this sentence to the preceding verse where he writes of sickness, sin, and forgiveness. James uses the adverb to refer to the previous verse, to provide a basis for the succeeding sentence, and to stress the necessity of confessing sin.

Unconfessed sin blocks the pathway of prayer to God and at the same time is a formidable obstacle in interpersonal relations. That means, confess your sins not only to God but also to the persons who have been injured by your sins. Ask them for forgiveness!

“Confession cleanses the soul.” That is a time-worn saying which does not lose its validity. Confession is a mark of repentance and a plea for forgiveness on the part of the sinner. When the sinner confesses his sin and asks for and receives remission, he experiences freedom from the burden of guilt.

To whom do we confess our sins? The text says “to each other.” James does not specify the church or the elders; rather, he speaks of mutual confession on a one-to-one basis within a circle of believers. He does not rule out that members of the church ought to confide in the pastor and elders (v. 14). Some sins concern all believers in the church and thus these sins ought to be confessed publicly. Other sins are private and need not be made known except to persons who are directly involved. Discretion and limitation, therefore, must guide the sinner who wishes to confess his personal sins. Curtis Vaughan makes this telling observation:

But whereas the Roman Catholics have interpreted confession too narrowly, many of us may be tempted to interpret it too broadly. Confession of all our sins to all the brethren is not necessarily enjoined by James’ statement. Confession is “the vomit of the soul” and can, if too generally and too indiscriminately made, do more harm than good.

  • “Pray.” The beauty of Christian fellowship comes to expression in the practice of mutual prayer after sins have been confessed and forgiven. The offender and the offended pray on behalf of each other; together they find spiritual strength and comfort in the Lord. In their prayers they visibly and audibly demonstrate reciprocity. The forgiven sinner prays for the spiritual welfare of his fellow believer, who in turn commends him to the mercies of God.
  • “Be healed.” James states the purpose for confessing sin and praying for each other by saying, “so that you may be healed.” He is purposely vague in this statement; that is, he fails to mention whether he means physical or spiritual healing, actual or possible healing, individual or corporate healing. What is certain, however, is that when believers confess their sins to each other and pray for one another, a healing process takes place. And that can be applied to any situation.[7]

16a ἐξομολογεῖσθε οὖν ἀλλήλοις τὰς ἁμαρτίας καὶ εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ ἀλλήλων ὅπως ἰαθῆτε, “Confess your sins to one another then, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” James implies that sometimes sin is a cause of illness, as well as a hindrance to healing, which is the thrust of v 16a. The conjunction οὖν (“therefore”) connects the thought of v 16a with that of v 15 (see Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 86–89). It suggests that the discussion of physical healing and the forgiveness of sin started in v 15 is continued in our present verse (so Dibelius, 255, against Cantinat, 254, and Mussner, 227). Vouga, 143, maintains that there is a remarkable “flow of ideas” in the entire section, and accounts for the presence of ἰᾶσθαι, “to heal physically,” in v 16 as the chief conclusion to which James’ thought is moving, namely, the restoration of sound pastoral relations within the body of the community more than the cure of illnesses.

Sin and sickness went hand in hand in the ancient mind (cf. the case of Job. This OT figure has been in view in 5:11, where Job was an example of one who remained faithful to God in the midst of suffering. Job’s “friends” understood his suffering to be the result of sin, a charge that Job vigorously rejected). The confession of sin was then evidentially necessary if healing was to occur. The present imperative form, ἐξομολογεῖσθε, suggests that James is requiring that confession become a repeated action. The practice of public confession was important to Judaism and the early church (see Davids, 195; cf. Michel, TDNT 5:202–20). (The main sources are Pss 37:5–7, 19 [= 38:4–6, 18; 39:13[40:12]; 40:5[41:4]; 50:5–10[51:3–8]; Prov 20:9; 28:13; Pss. Sol. 9.6; 1QS 1.23–2.1; CD 20.28 ff.; Bar 1:15–2:10; Tob 3:1–6, 11–15; 3 Macc 2:2–20; 6:2–15. For rabbinic data see Str-B, 1:113. For the early church cf. Did. 4.4; 14.1.)

In this context the elders of v 14 are not mentioned, an omission that leads Mussner (225–26) to argue that v 16 begins a new section in spite of the connective οὖν. The word ἰᾶσθαι (“to heal”)—except when it is part of OT quotations (e.g., Isa 53:6; 1 Pet 2:24)—is always used in the NT to refer to the healing of physical illness. This comports with the interpretation of the setting of vv 14–16 above (see also Mitton, 202–6). The present verse suggests a corporate setting for the prayer of healing, which is different from the admonition to enlist only the prayers of the elders in v 14. Davids (195, supported by Moo, 183; and similarly Vouga, 143) believes that “James … consciously generalizes, making the specific case of 5:14–15 into a general principle of preventive medicine.” By saying that church members other than elders can take part in a ministry of intercessory prayer (which is effective; see 5:16b), the author is showing that the prayer, not the person (i.e., not the elders), is the channel through which God’s power to heal is conveyed. This speaks against the view that 5:14 is referring to “healing” as a spiritual χάρισμα. Moreover, though the elders are still responsible for the prayer of intercession on behalf of the ill (5:14), the text here widens to make prayer and confession and so pastoral responsibility the “privilege and responsibility” of all in the congregation. The precise setting of this pastoral reminder will be evident from 5:19–20.[8]

16. Confess your faults one to another. In some copies the illative particle is given, nor is it unsuitable; for though when not expressed, it must be understood. He had said, that sins were remitted to the sick over whom the elders prayed: he now reminds them how useful it is to discover our sins to our brethren, even that we may obtain the pardon of them by their intercession.

This passage, I know, is explained by many as referring to the reconciling of offences; for they who wish to return to favour must necessarily know first their own faults and confess them. For hence it comes, that hatreds take root, yea, and increase and become irreconcilable, because every one pertinaciously defends his own cause. Many therefore think that James points out here the way of brotherly reconciliation, that is, by mutual acknowledgment of sins. But as it has been said, his object was different; for he connects mutual prayer with mutual confession; by which he intimates that confession avails for this end, that we may be helped as to God by the prayers of our brethren; for they who know our necessities, are stimulated to pray that they may assist us; but they to whom our diseases are unknown are more tardy to bring us help.

Wonderful, indeed, is the folly or the insincerity of the Papists, who strive to build their whispering confession on this passage. For it would be easy to infer from the words of James, that the priests alone ought to confess. For since a mutual, or to speak more plainly, a reciprocal confession is demanded here, no others are bidden to confess their own sins, but those who in their turn are fit to hear the confession of others; but this the priests claim for themselves alone. Then confession is required of them alone. But since their puerilities do not deserve a refutation, let the true and genuine explanation already given be deemed sufficient by us.

For the words clearly mean, that confession is required for no other end, but that those who know our evils may be more solicitous to bring us help.

Availeth much. That no one may think that this is done without fruit, that is, when others pray for us, he expressly mentions the benefit and the effect of prayer. But he names expressly the prayer of a righteous or just man; because God does not hear the ungodly; nor is access to God open, except through a good conscience: not that our prayers are founded on our own worthiness, but because the heart must be cleansed by faith before we can present ourselves before God. Then James testifies that the righteous or the faithful pray for us beneficially and not without fruit.

But what does he mean by adding effectual or efficacious? for this seems superfluous; for if the prayer avails much, it is doubtless effectual. The ancient interpreter has rendered it “assiduous;” but this is too forced. For James uses the Greek participle, ἐνεργουμένη, which means “working.” And the sentence may be thus explained, “It avails much, because it is effectual.” As it is an argument drawn from this principle, that God will not allow the prayers of the faithful to be void or useless, he does not therefore unjustly conclude that it avails much. But I would rather confine it to the present case: for our prayers may properly be said to be ἐνεργούμεναι, working, when some necessity meets us which excites in us earnest prayer. We pray daily for the whole Church, that God may pardon its sins; but then only is our prayer really in earnest, when we go forth to succour those who are in trouble. But such efficacy cannot be in the prayers of our brethren, except they know that we are in difficulties. Hence the reason given is not general, but must be specially referred to the former sentence.[9]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 279–280). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Doriani, D. M. (2007). James. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 199–200). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 271–272). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Davids, P. H. (2011). James (pp. 124–125). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Motyer, J. A. (1985). The message of James: the tests of faith (pp. 200–203). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[6] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 349). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[7] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 178–179). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] Martin, R. P. (1998). James (Vol. 48, pp. 210–211). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[9] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (pp. 357–360). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

November 17 Living in a World of Fools

“Wisdom is too high for a fool.”

Proverbs 24:7


A fool wants his own way.

There’s no question in my mind that we live in a world of fools. In fact, everyone born into this world comes in with congenital foolishness—otherwise known as the sin nature. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” Since we live in a world of fools, let’s look at a few of their characteristics.

A fool denies God. Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.” I call this practical atheism. A fool lives as if there were no God—denying God with his actions.

A fool becomes his own god. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” No man can live without a god. It isn’t a question of, does he worship? It’s a question of, whom does he worship? If a person doesn’t worship the true God, he will worship a false god—which inevitably will be a reflection of himself. He becomes the one who determines truth and error, articulating his own standards for living.

A fool mocks sin. Proverbs 14:9 says, “Fools mock at sin.” Since a fool makes his own rules, he wants to justify his own behavior to make sure he’s going to be all right in the end. He attempts to eliminate sin along with its consequences.

A fool, then, begins by living as if there were no God, substituting himself as god and determining his own style of life. Then he denies the existence of sin because he cannot tolerate guilt.

When God saved you, you stopped your foolishness and became His wise child. Be encouraged, knowing God will continue to help you grow in wisdom through your understanding of and obedience to His Word.


Suggestions for Prayer: Pray for the salvation of a family member, friend, or neighbor who is living foolishly.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 7:24–27. What is the difference between a wise man and a foolish man?[1]

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

November 17 Daily Help

SINCE the first hour in which goodness came into conflict with evil, it has never ceased to be true in spiritual experience, that Satan hinders us. If we toil in the field, he seeks to break the ploughshare; if we build the wall, he labors to cast down the stones; if we would serve God in suffering or in conflict, everywhere Satan hinders us. He hinders us when we are first coming to Jesus Christ. Fierce conflicts we had with Satan when we first looked to the cross and lived. Now that we are saved, he endeavors to hinder the completeness of our personal character. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.”[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 325). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

‘Good Morning America’ promotes child drag queen | News | LifeSite

‘This is absolutely not OK,’ said one parent.

November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The sexualization and “gender fluidity” of children got one of its most mainstream boosts yet this month, as “Good Morning America” (GMA) devoted a segment to prepubescent “drag artist” Desmond Napoles.

Napoles, known onstage as “Desmond is Amazing,” is a self-described“androgynous drag kid” who identifies as gay (though it’s unclear if he understands the term’s implications). He reportedly started displaying an interest in women’s clothes at age six, after which his parents say a therapist advised them to allow him to “explore.” He rose to prominence in 2014 when RuPaul and Jinkx Monsoon featured him in a music video.

Earlier this month, “GMA Day” co-hosts Michael Strahan and Sara Haines invited Napoles on the show for a celebration of his “trail-blazing” and “bravery” in the world of drag.

UN Refugee Agency Tries to Step on U.S. National Sovereignty

Every nation has the sovereign right to control its own borders. Nevertheless, responding to President Trump’s proclamation, the UN refugee agency known as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), released a statement last Friday saying that the U.S. must abide by international refugee protection accords as interpreted by the UN refugee agency. Without citing any specific, first hand evidence from the scene, the agency claimed that many of the migrants from Central America “are fleeing life-threatening violence or persecution.”

“UNHCR expects all countries, including the United States, to make sure any person in need of refugee protection and humanitarian assistance is able to receive both promptly and without obstruction, in accordance with the 1967 refugee Protocol [relating to the Status of Refugees] to which the United States is a party,” the UN refugee agency declared in its statement. The UN refugee agency claimed that requiring asylum seekers to present themselves only at official U.S. southern border ports of entry would fall short of this requirement because of insufficient reception capacity at the official ports of entry.  Such insufficient capacity, the UN refugee agency asserted, would result in “significant delays in northern Mexico” and force “many vulnerable asylum-seekers to turn in desperation to smugglers and cross the border irregularly.”

UN refugee agency is an unelected, unaccountable globalist bureaucracy

— Read on canadafreepress.com/article/un-refugee-agency-tries-to-step-on-u.s.-national-sovereignty

Venezuela is releasing an ID card that can track and punish citizens – Business Insider

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro“With this card, we are going to do everything from now on.”

 Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters

  • Venezuela is rolling out a new, smart-card ID known as the “carnet de la patria,” or “fatherland card,” manufactured by Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp. 
  • The ID transmits data about cardholders to government computer servers, and is increasingly linked to subsidized food, health, and other social programs most Venezuelans rely on to survive. 
  • The fatherland card, critics argue, illustrates how China, through state-linked companies like ZTE, exports technological know-how that can help like-minded governments track, reward, and punish citizens. 

Caracas (Reuters) — In April 2008, former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dispatched Justice Ministry officials to visit counterparts in the Chinese technology hub of Shenzhen. 

Their mission, according to a member of the Venezuela delegation, was to learn the workings of China’s national identity card program. 

Chavez, a decade into his self-styled socialist revolution, wanted help to provide ID credentials to the millions of Venezuelans who still lacked basic documentation needed for tasks like voting or opening a bank account. 

Once in Shenzhen, though, the Venezuelans realized a card could do far more than just identify the recipient. 

There, at the headquarters of Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp, they learned how China, using smart cards, was developing a system that would help Beijing track social, political, and economic behavior. 

Using vast databases to store information gathered with the card’s use, a government could monitor everything from a citizen’s personal finances to medical history and voting activity. 

“What we saw in China changed everything,” said the member of the Venezuelan delegation, technical advisor Anthony Daquin. His initial amazement, he said, gradually turned to fear that such a system could lead to abuses of privacy by Venezuela’s government. “They were looking to have citizen control.” 

The following year, when he raised concerns with Venezuelan officials, Daquin told Reuters, he was detained, beaten and extorted by intelligence agents. They knocked several teeth out with a handgun and accused him of treasonous behavior, Daquin said, prompting him to flee the country. 

Government spokespeople had no comment on Daquin’s account. 

The project languished. 

“China is in the business of exporting its authoritarianism,” US Senator Marco Rubio told Reuters in an email.
Marco Bello/Reuters

Read more:China has started ranking citizens with a creepy ‘social credit’ system — here’s what you can do wrong, and the embarrassing, demeaning ways they can punish you

A ‘fatherland card’ of their own 

But 10 years after the Shenzhen trip, Venezuela is rolling out a new, smart-card ID known as the “carnet de la patria,” or “fatherland card.” 

The ID transmits data about cardholders to computer servers. The card is increasingly linked by the government to subsidized food, health, and other social programs most Venezuelans rely on to survive. 

And ZTE, whose role in the fatherland project is detailed here for the first time, is at the heart of the program. 

As part of a $70 million government effort to bolster “national security,” Venezuela last year hired ZTE to build a fatherland database and create a mobile payment system for use with the card, according to contracts reviewed by Reuters. 

A team of ZTE employees is now embedded in a special unit within Cantv, the Venezuelan state telecommunications company that manages the database, according to four current and former Cantv employees. 

The fatherland card is troubling some citizens and human-rights groups who believe it is a tool for Chavez’s successor, President Nicolas Maduro, to monitor the populace and allocate scarce resources to his loyalists. 

“It’s blackmail,” Hector Navarro, one of the founders of the ruling Socialist Party and a former minister under Chavez, said of the fatherland program. “Venezuelans with the cards now have more rights than those without.” 

In a phone interview, Su Qingfeng, the head of ZTE’s Venezuela unit, confirmed ZTE sold Caracas servers for the database and is developing the mobile payment application. The company, he said, violated no Chinese or local laws and has no role in how Venezuela collects or uses cardholder data. 

“We don’t support the government,” he said. “We are just developing our market.” 

Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects an honour guard with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) at a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool
Lintao Zhang/Reuters

Read more:A creepy video shows how China warns its citizens to behave or get punished by its nationwide social credit system

An economic meltdown in Venezuela is causing hyperinflation, widespread shortages of food and medicines, and a growing exodus of desperate citizens. Maduro has been sanctioned by the United States and is criticized by governments from France to Canada as increasingly autocratic. 

In that, critics say, Maduro has an ally. The fatherland card, they argue, illustrates how China, through state-linked companies like ZTE, exports technological know-how that can help like-minded governments track, reward, and punish citizens. 

The database, according to employees of the card system and screenshots of user data reviewed by Reuters, stores such details as birthdays, family information, employment and income, property owned, medical history, state benefits received, presence on social media, membership of a political party, and whether a person voted.
— Read on www.businessinsider.com/venezuela-id-card-tracks-citizens-like-china-2018-11

November 17 Focusing on Heaven

“By faith [Abraham] lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow-heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:9–10).


Focusing on Heaven is the best way to endure difficulties on earth.

Following God’s call isn’t always easy. He expects us to trust Him explicitly, and yet He doesn’t ask our advice on decisions that may impact us dramatically. He doesn’t tell us His specific plans at any given point in our lives. He doesn’t always shelter us from adversity. He tests our faith to produce endurance and spiritual maturity—tests that are sometimes painful. He makes some promises that we’ll never see fulfilled in this life.

If following God’s call is a challenge for us, imagine how it was for Abraham, who had no Bible, no pastor, no sermons, no commentaries, and no Christian encouragement or accountability. But what he did have was the promise of a nation, a land, and a blessing (Gen. 12:1–3). That was good enough for him.

Abraham never settled in the land of promise. Neither did his son Isaac or his grandson Jacob. They were aliens, dwelling in tents like nomads. Abraham never built houses or cities. The only way he would possess the land was by faith. Yet Abraham patiently waited for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

As important as the earthly land was to him, Abraham was patient because his sight was on his heavenly home, “the city … whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). He knew beyond any doubt that he would inherit that city, whether or not he ever saw his earthly home in his lifetime.

Similarly, being heavenly minded gives you the patience to continue working for the Lord when things get tough. It’s the best cure I know for discouragement or spiritual fatigue. That’s why Paul says to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). If your mind is set on Heaven, you can endure whatever happens here.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for your heavenly home. ✧ Seek His grace to help you keep a proper perspective amid the difficulties of this life.

For Further Study: Read the portion of Abraham’s life recorded in Genesis 12–17.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 334). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

November 17, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

Aaron’s Blessing

22 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24  The LORD bless you and keep you;
25  the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26  the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Nu 6:22–26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

24 The first line may be rendered, “May Yahweh bless you and may he keep you.” While these words are directed to the entire community, the pronouns are singular. This is characteristic of covenantal language: Yahweh blesses the whole by blessing the individuals; he blesses the individuals by blessing the whole. The invocation of God’s blessing reveals that the covenantal community knew who they were: the people who were particularly blessed of the Lord because of his own choice of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and because of the solemn relationship he has entered into with the fathers, mothers, and their children.

“The Lord bless you and keep you” are words of reminder, words of attestation of promise. These are words whereby the community says, “Yes, Amen!” to God’s promise, whereby they request from his presence the continuity of the blessing he has already begun. The buttressing words, “and keep you,” further explain his blessing. God’s intention for his people is for their good; he will preserve them to enjoy that good.

25 The words “make his face shine upon you” take us back to the experience of Moses on Mount Sinai. There the epiphany of the Lord appeared to Moses (see Ex 34:29–35), and he experienced God’s presence in a dramatic and direct manner. (As elsewhere, I follow Claus Westermann in using the term “theophany” to describe an appearance of God, but “epiphany” to describe an experience of his grand descent.) As his glory caused Moses’ face to shine, so the Lord desired to make his presence known to all his people. When Moses was on the mountain, it was in the context of terror; all the physical signs of the epiphany of God in Exodus 19–20 provoked trepidation on the part of the people. But God had come down in grace; his revelation was of mercy. Hence we have the splendidly suitable tie of the light of his face and the grace of his presence in the words: “[May] the Lord make his face shine upon you / and be gracious to you.”

Again, and throughout the prayer, the pronoun “you” is in the singular in the Hebrew text; this was a prayer for the community, but its force was to be realized in the life of the individual. Only in the introductory and concluding formulas are the plurals used.

26 The climax of the prayer is: “[May] the Lord turn [‘lift up’] his face toward you / and give you peace.” The Hebrew word šālôm (“peace,” NIV; GK 8934) is here seen in its most expressive fullness—not just as an absence of war, but also as the positive state of rightness and the fullness of well-being. This kind of peace comes only from the Lord. The expression “turn his face” suggests pleasure and affection. This terminology has the functional equivalent of the word “smile.” Here the people are led to pray that the Lord will turn his face toward them in a gracious smile! (see Mayer I. Gruber, “The Many Faces of Hebrew ‘Lift up the Face,’ ” ZAW 95, 2 [1983]: 253). We may thus translate this text: “May Yahweh smile on you, and may he grant you well-being!”

The words of this prayer are first introduced by the monocolon, “[And] the Lord said to Moses” (v. 22), showing both that this is a new section in the book (see 6:1) and that it is a divine communication. The idea of invoking God’s blessing, presence, and smile on his people is not a creation of the people or a development of the priests but a gracious provision by God himself. The words of the prayer are framed by an introductory formula (v. 23) and a concluding formula (v. 27); these framing sections highlight the words of the prayer and provide its proper setting.

Uttering the prayer was a priestly function, for the priests were God’s gift to the nation to stand between himself and his people. The people might come to God through the agency of the priests, and God would speak to his people through these priests. Further, without these instructions the priests might have sought the mantic acts of their neighbors as a means of seeking the pleasure of the Lord. God’s intention was to bring his pleasure to his people; thus he presented the means whereby that might be sought and received.[1]

24. The Lord bless thee. Blessing is an act of His genuine liberality, because the abundance of all good things is derived to us from His favour as their only source. It is next added, that He should “keep” the people, by which clause He intimates that He is the sole defender of the Church, and protects it under His guardianship; but since the main advantage of God’s grace consists in our sense of it, the words, “and make His face shine on you,” are added; for nothing is more desirable for the consummation of our happiness, than that we should behold the serene countenance of God; as it is said in Ps. 4:6, “There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.” Thus then I interpret this clause, that the people may perceive and taste the sweetness of God’s goodness, which may cheer them like the brightness of the sun when it illumines the world in serene weather. But immediately afterwards the people are recalled to the First cause; viz., God’s gratuitous mercy, which alone reconciles Him to us, when we should be otherwise by our own deserts hated and detested by Him. What follows, “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,” is a common phrase of Scripture, meaning, May God remember His people; not that forgetfulness can occur in Him, but because we suppose that He has cast away His care of us, unless He actually gives proof of His anxiety for our welfare. Finally, it is added, may He “establish peace upon his people,” which others translate a little less literally, “put thee into peace;” and since this word signifies not only rest and a tranquil state, but also all prosperity and success, I willingly embrace this latter sense, although even its proper signification is not disagreeable to me.2[2]

6:24The word bless is the operative term in this passage. It is a general word indicating God’s desire to bring good and significance to His people, to make their lives worthwhile and their relationship to Him remarkable. As God reached out to Abram and Sarai with His blessing (Gen. 12:1–3), so now He reaches out to the whole nation. There are those who seem to think that God’s intent in the “Old” Testament was to make the lives of His people difficult, and that only in the NT does God reach out to people in grace. Such misconceptions fly in the face of texts such as this.

6:25 The idea of the phrase make His face shine is that of pleasure in the presence of God, of an intimate experience that is not unlike that experienced by Moses when he talked with God on Mount Sinai (Ex. 34:29–35). The people as a whole would have some sense of the God’s glorious presence in their lives.

6:26 The idea of the phrase lift up His countenance is that of sensing God’s smile. When a person was given an audience in an ancient Middle Eastern court, the monarch might not even look in that person’s direction. The monarch might look at the claimant, but with an expression of wrath. How pleasant it was, however, when the monarch looked with pleasure on the one who had come before his throne. How wondrous when that smiling monarch is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and when He grants His peace![3]

6:24 bless. The Lord’s blessing was described as His face (i.e., His presence) shining on His people (v. 25) and looking at them (v. 26). God shone forth in benevolence on Israel and looked on them for good. keep. The results of the Lord’s blessing were His preservation of Israel (“keep”), His kindness toward her (“be gracious,” v. 25), and her total well-being (“peace,” v. 26).[4]

6:24 The Lord bless you. God blesses by giving good harvests, peace, children, and his own presence (Lev. 26:3–13). keep. That is, “guard” and “protect.”

6:25 his face to shine upon you. God’s presence is like sunshine (Ps. 19:1–11). A shining face is a smiling face, a pledge of God’s good favor (Ps. 80:3, 7, 19).

6:26 The “countenance” is the face or the expression of one’s face. For God to lift up his countenance involves taking notice of and treating his people with favor. Peace (Hb. shalom) involves more than the English sense of “lack of war”; it means total well-being.[5]

6:24 keep The Hebrew word used here, shamar, has the sense of guarding or keeping safe.

6:25 his face The Hebrew word panim (used here and in v. 26) refers to the physical face. It also may idiomatically refer to someone’s presence because seeing a face required being in the person’s physical presence (compare Exod 33:20). In the ancient Near East, including the ot, when a deity’s face shines, it is a sign of favor (for example, Pss 31:16; 80:3, 7, 19).

6:26 will lift up his face The Hebrew idiom nasa’ panim used here describes looking favorably upon someone (e.g., Gen 19:21; Job 42:8–9). This expression describes how people of superior status implied their acceptance of an inferior when they looked up at them.[6]

6:24–26 This threefold, divinely inspired blessing was pronounced by the priest with uplifted hands (Lev. 9:22). It moves from a general blessing (v. 24), to an invocation of God’s favor and presence (v. 25), and finally to a climactic mention of the peace that comes only with God’s gracious presence (v. 26). The pronouncement of this blessing placed God’s covenant name Lord (Yahweh) on the people (v. 27).

6:25 make his face to shine upon you. Here is a vivid figure for God looking favorably upon His worshipers. The closer one’s access to the face of God, the greater the blessing.[7]

6:24 God’s protection of Israel had been demonstrated by their deliverance from Egypt. The prayer calls for that protection to continue.

6:25 The face reflected the righteous character of God. Be gracious to you evoked God’s favor, which was beyond measure. God’s grace would be exemplified when God brought the second generation into the promised land after the rejection of that gift by the generation delivered from Egypt.

6:26 Look with favor on you and give you peace expresses God’s grace and beneficence. Favor is the directing of one’s full attention toward the needs and desires of another person. The smile of God on the community of faith would bring peace as his covenant mercy came to fruition in the life of the community.[8]

[1] Allen, R. B. (2012). Numbers. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Numbers–Ruth (Revised Edition) (Vol. 2, pp. 145–147). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Calvin, J., & Bingham, C. W. (2010). Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony (Vol. 2, pp. 246–247). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 203). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nu 6:24). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 275). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Nu 6:24–26). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 203). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[8] Cole, R. D. (2017). Numbers. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (pp. 213–214). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Accosting America

Exclusive: Craige McMillan hits CNN reporter who finds it easier to make news than cover it

A federal judge (we’ll get to that soon enough) determined that Jim Acosta of CNN has a right – at least temporarily – to behave badly while exercising his First Amendment right to gather and report the news. 

While it is true that Acosta did at one time report the news, those days seem to be long over. It’s even true that CNN at one time in its past also reported the news. They had reporters in most parts of the world and usually had the story – whatever and wherever it was – first. 

Since the arrival of the World Wide Web of deceit and disinformation, CNN has moved from reporting the news to framing the news. Now, their unattributed claim to fame is, “First to tell you what to what to think about the news that’s actually reported elsewhere.”

Mr. Acosta, it seems, is sort of a newsroom efficiency guru during his working hours. He jumps into the situation personally, creates a controversy, and thereby creates news. Once he has made the news, he then tells his viewers what to think about it. Very innovative, really. But quite useless when it comes to informing the public about what matters. 

OK, back to Judge Timothy Kelly and our newly invented right to attend our very own Sarah Sanders press briefing. CNN, of course, was unaffected by Acosta’s press briefing ban. A Bloomberg report indicates CNN has nearly 50 credentialed people who could attend a White House briefing. CNN could have sent someone else. If they had looked hard, they might even have found someone who remembered reporting the news, rather than manufacturing it, and sent that person. But no: Reporting the news is so Ted Turnerish.

Despite their roots, CNN and the rest of its supposed competitors no longer have any interest in reporting the news. Only one outlet can be first to find and report news, but everyone on every network can pile on, telling their perpetually inflamed audience exactly what to think about that news. It’s just so much easier and cost-effective to generate the news and then explain what the rest of us should think about it. And if we don’t agree, well, they’ll report it over and over until we do. Goebbels on steroids: Modern American journalism.

Let’s look on the bright side, though: A federal judge has now determined that not just news-gathering organizations, but individual news gatherers have a constitutionally protected right to attend presidential press briefings and presumably other federal agency press briefings. Since the Constitution applies equally to all citizens, all of us have a right to attend these briefings, stir up controversy, then report what our listeners or readers ought to think about the controversy we created. And, when we are thrown out for bad behavior, we have a right to be reinstated by a federal judge. It should be fun to see how this goes over at city council meetings, county governing bodies, governors’ press conferences and even when Herr Mueller appears as the Great Oz behind the curtain at a Department of Justice press conference, to announce an extension until 2019 of his Russia hunt from 2016.

Yes, we’re all journalists now, even those of us committed simply to gathering the news for our lowly family holiday newsletters. Thank you, Judge Kelly! And let’s not forget our nation’s law schools, which have long ago “moved on” from teaching the Constitution to teaching law students how to amend it once they become barred.

Nor, in the spirit of fairness, can we forget all the pussy-hat wearing college administrators, who generations ago turned over governance of our nation’s colleges and universities to the as yet to be educated, skulls-full-of-mush students they had admitted to their vaunted institutions for an education. “Well, let’s just let them run the place until they get educated.” Kind of like leaving a victim with a newly discovered, soon to be fatal illness alone in the laboratory, in hopes that person will find a cure before he dies.

— Read on www.wnd.com/2018/11/accosting-america/

Edward Snowden Condemns US Justice Department for Targeting Assange – Sputnik International

The former NSA contractor, who faces capital punishment in the US for leaking classified information on numerous US secret surveillance programmes, voiced his support for the WikiLeaks founder after it came to light that US authorities are apparently poised to indict Julian Assange.
— Read on sputniknews.com/amp/us/201811171069890725-snowden-assange-whistleblower-prosecution/

The Democrats’ Scheme: ‘Dedicated to Stealing the Election if They Have To’

Democrats’ reaction to their losses in the Georgia gubernatorial election and the Florida gubernatorial and Senate elections show they are “dedicated to winning at any cost” and “dedicated to steal[ing] the election if they have to,” former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) warned Friday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

Stacey Abrams (D) finally admitted defeat Friday evening, acknowledging that former Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) — who resigned from his position after the election and didn’t monitor the final ballot review — is the victor.

But this outcome only occurred because “democracy failed Georgia,” Abrams insisted.

Abrams said she will sue the state because of what she thinks was “the gross mismanagement of this election” in order “to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions.”

She also told supporters she plans to begin an organization to fight for voting rights, insisting she lost the election due to racist voter suppression.

Gingrich noted that Abrams’ rhetoric also resonated with the messaging coming from Democrats about Florida’s gubernatorial and Senate elections.

Outgoing Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis (R) held slim margins of victory over incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), respectively, on election night. After the recount concluded Thursday, in fact, Gillum gained only one net vote and still trailed DeSantis by more than 33,000 votes — leading to the latter’s victory, which has yet to be certified.

Nelson also still trailed Scott, but that race is undergoing a second recount.

“A whole series of Democrats have just said bluntly, ‘If our candidate doesn’t win, they stole the election.’ They have no proof of it,” Gingrich told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “But they have a whole model now, whether it’s yelling ‘racist’ or whatever it is, where if they smear you enough,” they’ll come out on top.

Both Abrams and Gillum are black and would have made history as their states’ respective governors.

“So Georgia — they want to set up Stacey Abrams so she’ll be the person who had the election stolen from her. So for the next four years, she can run for governor as the person who should have been governor, except it was stolen from her,” Gingrich warned.

“This is a game they’re playing.”

Gingrich also pointed to Thursday reports revealing that Florida Democrats “actually were methodically planning to cheat on the election after it became so close and actually were printing up materials that were designed just to steal the election.”

“They only backed down because they got caught,” Gingrich said.

The local Naples Daily News reported that “a Democratic party leader directed staffers and volunteers to share altered election forms with voters to fix signature problems on absentee ballots after the state’s deadline.”

“The altered forms surfaced in Broward, Santa Rosa, Citrus and Okaloosa counties and were reported to federal prosecutors to review for possible election fraud as Florida counties completed a required recount in three top races,” the outlet noted.

Related: Democrat Stacey Abrams Says Republican Brian Kemp Will Be Next Governor of Georgia

The former speaker of the House said the nation is seeing “a very similar pattern” in both Florida and Georgia.

“If you don’t let the Democrat win, then you’re cheating. And it’s been stolen because you’re not allowed to win. They’re supposed to win,” Gingrich said.

Ingraham said, “It’s almost like none of the facts matter … This is all about 2020. This is all about building the momentum for more identity politics going into 2020 with the goal of finally flipping Georgia to a total blue state. They want to do that in Florida, Newt,” she added.

“Sadly because of the liberal news media, they get away with a lot of this.”

Gingrich said the Democratic Party is “dedicated to winning at any cost, dedicated to steal[ing] the election if they have to, and if they can’t win, dedicated to blaming the Republicans.”

“You have this weird experience: They try to steal the election. If they fail, they say you’re stealing it because you want honesty,” Gingrich said. “And sadly because of the liberal news media, they get away with a lot of this.”

Check out the video clip below:
— Read on www.lifezette.com/2018/11/democratic-scheme-dedicated-to-stealing-the-election-if-they-have-to/