Daily Archives: November 19, 2018

NOVEMBER 19 QUALITY MATTERS TO GOD

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

—John 4:23

To God quality is vastly important and size matters little….

Man’s moral fall has clouded his vision, confused his thinking and rendered him subject to delusion. One evidence of this is his all but incurable proneness to… put size before quality in his appraisal of things. The Christian faith reverses this order, but even Christians tend to judge things by the old Adamic rule. How big? How much? and How many? are the questions oftenest asked by religious persons when trying to evaluate Christian things….

The Christian faith engages a spiritual kingdom where quality of being is everything.

The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

With these words Jesus showed how far both Jews and Samaritans were astray in their argument over the proper place to worship. Not the beauty of a city nor the size of a mountain matters to the Father; truth and spirit and all the wealth of moral qualities that gather around them: these are all in all. BAM072-074

Lord, deliver me from the “size matters” mentality. Renew my worship, I pray. Amen. [1]


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

Man Unsure Why Wife Taking So Long To Get Self, 3 Kids Ready For Church

LAWRENCE, KS—Every Sunday morning, local husband and father Jake Merritt gets ready for church in just under a half hour. Totally ready to go and all dressed up, Merritt is able to spend the rest of the time catching up on the week’s sports news on ESPN.

What the man can’t figure out is why his wife takes almost two hours to get herself and their three kids up, dressed, and fed before church as he lounges about waiting for everyone to be all ready to go.

“Honey, hurry it up, we’re gonna be late!” he called out this past Sunday as he made a few last-minute adjustments to his fantasy football team. “I’ve been ready for an hour. What’s the big holdup?” He shook his head disapprovingly and checked his watch. “Not sure what’s taking so long!”

“Can we move things along, babe? We’re gonna miss out on all the good parking spots!” he called out a few minutes later as his wife served their children a full breakfast.

The man spoke to reporters as he waited in the van a few minutes later, honking the horn periodically.  “It’s important to be up and ready for church early so you can enjoy the beginning of your Lord’s Day. I just don’t know why the woman takes so much time getting herself, Xander, Aiden, and Brooke ready and in the car.”

“It’s not like there’s anything I can do about it,” he added, shrugging, as he gave the horn one long blast.

Source: Man Unsure Why Wife Taking So Long To Get Self, 3 Kids Ready For Church

The Trinitarian Controversy, the Great Hymn, and the Deity of Jesus Christ — David Fiorazo

Was Jesus created or is He the Creator? On this doctrine, eternity depends. Is He the Messiah and is the Bible true?

If Jesus Christ is God and if the Bible is inspired – literally “God-breathed” by the Holy Spirit – then everything Jesus said and taught is true. If everything He said is true, then Christians had better understand what the Scriptures say about Him and obey his teachings. Jesus stated:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. (Luke 21:22)

For this study, we are well beyond the ridiculous claim some people make that Jesus was a myth and never existed. One young woman said He was “made up by religious people in order to control society.” This is complete ignorance of the evidence, history, archaeology, prophecy, and of course, hundreds of eye-witnesses who saw the risen Christ.

And what about the Holy Spirit? That is for a whole other study, but here’s some food for thought:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters; …26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; (Genesis 1:1-2, 26)

Then there are those who say, “That’s your truth, not mine.” Are there many ways to the only living God or is there a narrow path we must take by faith?

Breakpoint’s John Stonestreet recently said,

“These four things are true for all people: Christ is risen, Christ is Lord, Christ will restore all things, and we are called to this time and place in history.”

We know and believe Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord, and our faith is based upon not only His finished work on the cross, but on His divinity and humanity. Let’s dig-in to the doctrine of the God-Man.

For example, in Colossians 2:9, Paul writes about Christ:

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,”

“Fullness” is from the Greek word, “plērōma, a recognized term in theology denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes. The verse further adds “all fullness.” Jesus was and is 100% God — not 99.44%. All divine powers and attributes are found in Christ alone.

But why did Paul add, “in bodily form”? In Greek philosophical thought, matter was evil; spirit was good. It was unthinkable that God would ever lower Himself to take on a human body. BUT He did! The false teaching threatening the Colossian Christians was something like an early form of the Gnostic heresies that would come later. These Gnostic heresies made a radical separation between the spiritual and the material.

Prior to that verse, Paul wrote to refute philosophy and worldly traditions:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

So then – What does it mean to worship Jesus as God? What did it mean to the early Christian church? Who is the Word prior to the Word’s relationship with the Father?

Why is this doctrine to the Christian faith so vital? If Jesus was not both God AND man, the gospel is compromised.

Doctrine comes from the Latin word, “doctrina” = teaching.

  • Doctrine is not something ‘extra’ the successors to the Apostles of Christ added to their beliefs.
  • Doctrine was not added by bishops in the early church age to give them something important to do.

John begins his gospel,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being;  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3, 14)

The more of Jesus and His word we get in us, the more full we will be of Christ & truth!

In the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”

And yet in John 10:30, Jesus states that “I and the Father are one.”

If Jesus Christ is not fully God and not divine, then Christianity crumbles. Some thought the idea of Christ as Son and God, compromised the integrity of the Trinity.

There was much wrangling over words in the first several centuries of Christianity. This is what the early church successors struggled to define and understand. Still today, mockers insist Jesus was a man, a good man perhaps, but certainly not God.

The third and fourth century Trinitarian Controversy focused on the mystery of the incarnation and the relationship between the Father and the Son, (both of Whom were called ‘God’ by Christian monotheists).

What does it mean regarding the divine nature that the Son had taken on flesh, died, and was raised for the sake of humanity?

In the early centuries, this was a historical moment of intense struggle in church history to establish a common language by which to state the doctrine of faith without distortion, and in a manner that would do justice to the God of Christian worship.

BRIEF CHURCH HISTORY

Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria (250-326) understood Jesus and God the Father to be equal in their divinity, though separate persons. He believed Jesus was always with God (John 1:1-2) and that there never was a time Jesus did not exist. In the early fourth century church the heresy of Arianism was poisoning the well of sound teaching, and some disagreement arose about the nature of Christ’s divinity and humanity.

Two key figures were instrumental to church history for different reasons:

Arius, also of Alexandria, (256-336) was a priest and teacher claiming Jesus was a lesser divinity; that there was a time Jesus didn’t exist. (“There was once when He was not”) He believed that Jesus was exalted to his high position because of his obedience to God in redeeming man.

Arius argued for the supremacy of God the Father, and that the Son had a beginning as a true “Firstborn.” Present-day Jehovah’s Witnesses hold some of the same positions as Arius, and in some ways Arian beliefs underlie Mormon (LDS) teachings of Christ as well.

Althanasius of Alexandria (296-373) was a Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism. He served Alexander, and three years after the Council of Nicaea, Athanasius succeeded his mentor as archbishop of Alexandria. Nearly all of Athanasius’ works come from after Nicaea, and were used to clarify, defend, and encourage the orthodoxy of the Nicene Creed.

There are some claiming to be Christian who don’t believe Jesus is Lord and God, while world religions claim He is not divine and hold other false teachings about the Christ.

Paul shares with other New Testament writers the conviction that Christ existed before time began. We’ll examine some key Scriptures later. *Here’s another reminder of why we MUST strengthen our foundation on this doctrine.

THE NICENE COUNCIL (June 19, 325 AD)

The Council of Nicaea was not the first time church leaders had met to decide on a controversial issue. We read about the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15:1-35.

Nicaea was unique in that it was organized by Emperor Constantine in an attempt to bring together bishops from all known parts of the Christian world. This was not a regional council, then, but one that would attempt a universal answer to a theological problem.

The council met and heard the claims of both Arius and Alexander. Part of the council’s deliberations were spent understanding what Arius’ teachings actually were, since many were unaware of his theology.

In the end, the bishops were nearly unanimous (something like 300 – 2) and the decision came down like a hammer on the false idea that the Son was a creature rather than Creator. The Council concluded the Son was ‘begotten, not made/created, of one being with the Father’.

This was to define and better affirm what the Apostles taught and handed down; the full gospel. In order to make it unambiguous, the framers of the Nicene Creed introduced a Greek word that doesn’t appear in the actual New Testament:

*Homo-ousios, “of the same substance, consubstantial.” The Nicene Creed states this relationship of the preexistent Christ to the Father in this way:

“God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, “One in being with the Father” or “being of one substance (homoousios) with the Father.”

The Nicene Creed states it this way:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.  Through him all things were made.  For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.  For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.  On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father.  With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.  We believe in one holy *catholic and apostolic Church.  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.  We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

*Note:  The word “catholic” with a lower case ‘c’ does not mean the Roman Catholic Church, but the universal Christian Church as a whole.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “BEGET”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

*Jesus was the ONLY One to be born of God; Of the same essence as the Father. (Human beings are born of man.)

Let’s also discuss the meaning of Jesus being the first born or “first begotten” of God.

In the Old Testament, the first child to be born was given special privileges, honor, and a double portion of the inheritance. HOWEVER, one could be chosen to be elevated to the level of firstborn in what was called a “royal grant covenant.” David was firstborn among kings but he was youngest, not oldest, not the first born of his father, Jesse.

The Greek word, prototokos, translated as firstborn, can refer to order such as a first born child or it could refer to someone who is higher in rank or preeminent.

Paul writes to the Colossian church referring to Christ: (Colossians 1:15-19)

Verse 1:15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

  • (Hebrews 1:3Jesus is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature😉
  • John 14:9 – Jesus told Philip, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.”

*Jesus is given preeminence over all created beings, and is of the same substance of the Father; first to be born of God. All human beings, even kings, were born only of man.

Acts 13:33-34 states:

God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today i have begotten You.’ 34 As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 

What are these blessings God promised through king David?

Psalm 89:27-29

“I also shall make him [David] My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
28 “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.
29 “So I will establish his descendants forever
And his throne as the days of heaven.

Back to COLOSSIANS 1:16-19

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

*Jesus Christ is Creator, so He could not possibly have been the first thing created! He is the highest authority, and sustains all things!

18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 

  • Firstborn from the dead = first to be glorified, to come back from the dead and never to die again; resurrected to eternal life. (A few people such as Lazarus were resurrected but they died again.)
  • We already mentioned “pleroma,” fullness, but Paul adds “ALL” fullness.

‘THE HYMN OF HYMNS’ IN THE EARLY CHURCH

Many regard Philippians 2:5-11 as a great hymn of the early church that Paul incorporated into his letter. Some commentators go so far as to suggest stanza and verse arrangements for the “hymn.” Most likely had it memorized.

Next to creation, the incarnation is the central miracle of Christianity, the most grand and wonderful of all the things God has ever done. This mystery and miracle of the Word becoming flesh is the theme of these seven verses in Philippians.

Matthew Henry Commentary:

Verses 5-11 “The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life, if we would have the benefit of his death. Notice two natures of Christ; his Divine nature, and human nature.

You’ll also notice Christ’s two states, humiliation and exaltation. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but one in a low state; His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, exposed to public hatred and scorn.”

The exaltation was of Christ’s human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay homage. It is to the glory of the Father, to confess Jesus Christ is Lord; it’s his will, that all men should honor the Son as they honor the Father, (John 5:23).

Now the hymn

Philippians 2:5-11 –

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  • Paul begins this great hymn by encouraging us to have the mind of Christ; then describes the state of the preexistent Christ.
  • The incarnation calls believers to follow Jesus’ incomparable example of humility, self-denial, self-giving, self-sacrifice, and selfless love as He lived on earth in obedient submission to the Father’s will.

Vs. 5-6… Have this same attitude: although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 

  • It is all too easy for us to read this description of Jesus and admire it from a distance. God wants us to be awed by it, but also to see it as something that we must imitate. …it is something that we have choice about.
  • Remember, this attitude/mind is something God gives us. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says that we have the mind of Christ.

Next, He existed in the form of God: This clearly describes Jesus as existing prior to becoming man. Jesus did not begin His existence in the manger at Bethlehem, but is eternal God.

“Being made… being found…”

  • Being: This is from an ancient Greek verb which describes that which remains the same.” The use of the Greek word translated ‘being,’ informs his readers that the Lord’s possession of the divine essence did not cease to be a fact when He came to earth to assume human form…
  • This refutes the claim of Modernism that our Lord emptied Himself of His Deity when He became Man.
  • Form: (2nd use) From the Greek, morphe. The words mean the essential form which never alters; “‘God’ has a form, and ‘Jesus Christ’ exists in this form of God.”
  • In the form of God/In very nature God

Vs. 7-8  – “But made Himself of no reputation, (humbled Himself) taking the form of a bondservant,” can be translated, “emptied Himself,

From the ancient Greek word emptied (kenosis) came the idea that Jesus’ incarnation was essentially a self-emptying.

So – Jesus emptied Himself of His privileges, not deity!

  • He did NOT lose divine attributes but renounced His rights to them; attributes of deity – such as omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence; Jesus did not (and could not) become “less God” in the incarnation. Humanity was added to His nature.
  • A crude way to think of it is that Jesus added humanity to His stellar resume.

Vs 2:8Jesus humbled Himself and He became obedient. OBEDIENCE was something that Jesus could only experience by coming down from the throne of heaven and becoming a man. When God sits enthroned in heaven’s glory, there is no one He obeys. Jesus had to leave heaven’s glory in order to become obedient.

  • One key to Jesus’ obedience on earth was the endurance of suffering. As it is written:

“though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).”

Consider the Suffering Servant passage, Isaiah 53:12 “he poured out himself to death.”  For a better understanding of Jesus’ humiliation, READ ISAIAH 53:3-12

Taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men: This also describes how Jesus emptied Himself.

  • Taking (Greek word labon) does not imply an exchange, but an addition!
  • Coming in the likeness of men: Angels are servants, but not in the likeness of men. In fairy tales, Aladdin’s genie was a servant, but not in the likeness of men.
  • The word for likeness here may refer to merely the outward form of something. Jesus outward form reflected His humanity.

(Vs. 8b) “He was obedient…to the point of death, even the death of the cross: This states the extent of Jesus’ humility and obedience.

  • Crucifixion was such a shameful death that it was not permitted for Roman citizens (such as the people of Philippi). A victim of crucifixion was considered by the Jews to be cursed by God (Deut. 21:23, Gal. 3:13)
  • The death of the cross was “The bottom rung in the ladder from the Throne of God. Jesus came all the way down to the most painful, despised death of all, as a condemned criminal…”
  • The cross shows that there is no limit to what God will do to demonstrate His love and saving power to man; this was and forever will be the ultimate.

 Charles Spurgeon well stated:

“The lower he stoops to save us, the higher we ought to lift him in our adoring reverence. Blessed be his name, he stoops, and stoops, and stoops, and, when he reaches our level, and becomes man, he still stoops, and stoops, and stoops lower and deeper yet.”

What must sin have been in the sight of God, when it required such abasement in Jesus Christ to make an atonement for it and undo its influence!

NOW THE EXALTATION!

Verse 9  – Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

  • Why does this stanza of the hymn begin with “therefore“? It is best understood as God’s vindication of Christ’s humiliation unto a shameful death. It is God’s “yes” to Christ’s equality with God.
  • These words describe how God has exalted Jesus. Indeed, highly exalted could also be translated “super exalted.”

It wasn’t enough to be-

  • “Exalted … but to the highest place” (NIV) or “highly exalted” (KJV, NRSV) is the Greek verb hyperypsoō, “to raise to a high point of honor.” Here, “to raise someone to the loftiest height.”
  • Paul is referring to Christ’s resurrection from the dead, of course, but even more to his ascension into heaven, where “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior” (Acts 5:31; cf. 2:33).
  • This verse, with its clear statement of Jesus’ deity, is powerful ammunition against those who deny the deity of Jesus Christ. There is no higher name than Yahweh, and Jesus has that name.

Part of Christ’s exaltation is God giving to him “the name that is above every name.” What is this name? There are two possibilities:

  1. Jesus. Certainly the name of Jesus is an exalted one. It means “Yahweh saves” (Matthew 1:21) and was similar to the name of Moses’ successor Joshua. “In the name of Jesus Christ…” is used with power and for baptism by the early disciples.
  2. Lord. What it means when every tongue confesses “that Jesus Christ is Lord” is “that Jesus the Messiah is Yahweh — God himself.”
  • The Hebrew word Adonai, “lord” was used in the Jewish reading of the Hebrew Scriptures to substitute for the Divine name, Yahweh. Thus “Lord” became equivalent to God himself. To call Jesus “Lord” is to declare him divine and due the same level of worship as God the Father.

“At the name of Jesus” means “at the name which belongs to Jesus,” that is, the divine title of “Lord”, which the Father has bestowed on him. Once identified with humiliation and shameful death, Jesus is now endued with the highest majesty and power.

Verse 10-11 – That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  • That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow: When will they bow? When the Antichrist is dethroned (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
  • To bow before Him now means salvation; To bow before Him later means condemnation.
  • Paul does not imply by this a universal salvation, but means that every personal being will ultimately confess Christ’s lordship, either with joyful faith or with resentment and despair.
  • Not only is Jesus exalted by the Father, but the whole world is brought into submission to the Son.
  • Those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth: This conveys the absolute totality of all creation recognizing the superiority of Jesus Christ.

In this, Paul draws on the idea of Isaiah 45:23:

I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.

  • Notice that in Isaiah, it is to Yahweh that all knees bow and tongues confess. In Philippians it is to Jesus, showing that Jesus is Yahweh.
  • Those under the earth: “Either the dead, who are hid in the earth, and shall be raised by the power of Christ… or, devils, and wicked souls.
  • Every knee should bow… every tongue should confess: The combination of tongues confessing and knees bowing gives evidence the idea is a complete submission to Jesus, both in word and in action, one that is required of all.
  • The totality of this recognition of Jesus’ deity and exaltation has caused many to envision this happening in a formal way after the final judgment, when every creature in heaven and hell is required to bow their knees and make the confession that Jesus Christ is Lord.

That Jesus Christ is Lord: there is a sense in which Jesus returned to heaven with more than He had when He left heaven. Not only did He return with His humanity still added to his deity (although a resurrected humanity), He also returned to Heaven with the recognition among men of who He was and the worship He deserved – something unknown until the Incarnation, and the full revelation of His person and work.

Let’s wrap this beautiful package up and put a bow on it.

…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—Revelation 1:5

 There is only One who is the first begotten of the Father, only begotten of God, and firstborn of the dead. And since HE is the Resurrection and the Life, we have the promise that we will be raised, or born of the dead. The Bible says we will be like Him in glory.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”Revelation 1:8

Notice Jesus is often described in the sense of past, present, and future!

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end;  16“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” Revelation 22:12-13, 16

Jesus said He is the root, which means “source.” The Creator and Sustainer of all things, He said in John 15 that He is the Vine and we are the branches. These verses provide important underpinnings to our understanding of the Trinity and of Christ as God.

UK minister, Alexander MacLaren once said:

“In Christ, as a great storehouse, lie all the riches of spiritual wisdom, the massive ingots of solid gold which when coined into creeds and doctrines are the wealth of the Church. All which we can know concerning God and man, concerning sin and righteousness and duty, concerning another life, is in Him Who is the home and deep mine where truth is stored… The central fact of the universe and the perfect encyclopedia of all moral and spiritual truth is in Christ, the incarnate Word, the Lamb slain, the ascended King.”

*featured photo: Sean McDowell

via The Trinitarian Controversy, the Great Hymn, and the Deity of Jesus Christ — David Fiorazo

Some reflections on the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society — Denny Burk

I attended the 70th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in Denver, Colorado last week. For those of you who don’t know, ETS is a society of theologians and biblical scholars who are dedicated to biblical inerrancy and a belief in the Trinity. At the annual meeting, members come together to present academic papers, meet with publishers, and catch up with old friends. What follows are some reflections about this year’s meeting.

1. Continuationsm vs. Cessationism

The theme this year was “The Holy Spirit,” and the most stimulating session I attended on that theme was a debate on cessationism vs. continuationism. Tom Scheiner and Lig Duncan made the case for cessationsm, and Andrew Wilson and Sam Storms made it for continuationism. I am a convinced cessationist, and that is due in no small part to Tom Schreiner’s influence in my life.

Having said that, I found Andrew Wilson’s rejoinder to be a compelling counterpoint to Schreiner’s recent book. Wilson is always a great presenter, and his response to Schreiner was no exception. Nevertheless, I think Wilson and Storms failed to quell my concern about the weaknesses of their position.

At the end of the day, Wilson and Storms were not able to give a convincing case for why OT prophecy and NT prophecy are different. Wilson suggested that some OT prophecy was indeed errant and that we should not be surprised that NT prophecy is as well. But the texts he cited in support of this are dubious at best.

Wilson also tried to argue that while prophetic revelation is inerrant, the prophet’s reporting of that revelation can be flawed. But this fundamentally misunderstands the role of prophets, who not only receive inerrant revelation but who are enabled by the Holy Spirit to communicate it without error. As the apostle Peter writes, “No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Spirit not only reveals the word, he also enables the prophet to speak “from God.” To deny that this is the case would not only cause problems for the veracity of prophecy but also for the truthfulness of scripture.

It was a stimulating discussion, but I think Schreiner and Duncan made the stronger case.

2. Transgender Affirmation

We are still seeing more presentations from ETS members that affirm LGBT identities. I noted as much three years ago in the immediate aftermath of Obergefell when ETS members expressed support for gay marriage during a particular session. Until this last meeting, I had not seen an ETS member advocate for transgender identities, but that has all changed now. Andy Draycott (from Biola University) presented a paper titled “Walking across Gender in the Spirit? The Vocation of the Church and the Transgender Christian.” Draycott not only argued in favor of transgender identities, he also argued that the symbolism of baptism supports such shifts in personal identity. It was a stunning presentation to listen to, but it has largely gone under the radar.

I bring this up because the presence of such a paper provokes us to ask the boundaries question again. Is ETS going to be a society that includes affirmation of LGBT identities? If it is, in what sense is it an Evangelical Theological Society? I know this is an old discussion and one that has been fraught with difficulty within the ETS. But how can we avoid it?

The ETS’s doctrinal basis only requires a belief in the Trinity and Inerrancy. Ray Van Neste has argued that in the wardrobe of doctrinal statements, the ETS’s is a bikini. It covers some essential areas, but it leaves us far too exposed in other areas. Is it possible that a member in good standing who affirms Trinity and Inerrancy might come to a conclusion that affirms transgender identities? Apparently, the answer is yes. With our doctrinal basis as thin as it is, on what grounds could anyone possibly object? Should we not expect more of this in the future? I think we should. No question. And that situation will continue until the membership of the society decides that they want a change.

Such a change, however, is very unlikely. The ETS in recent years has shown little interest in drawing more boundaries or in a strict enforcement of the current boundaries. The non-binding gay marriage resolution adopted three years ago only passed after a contentious floor debate. I think all of this indicates that there will be more presentations affirming LGBT identities at future meetings. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

3. Debate about The Nashville Statement

In day one of ETS, I participated in a panel debating The Nashville Statement. Our session was titled “The Nashville Statement: Promise or Problem for Evangelical Sexual Ethics.” Preston Sprinkle and Joel Willitts made the case against Nashville while Andrew Walker and I made the case for it.

As with earlier critiques of The Nashville Statement, neither Preston nor Joel focused their attention on what the statement says on its own terms. In fact, Preston and Joel expressed a great deal of agreement with the substance of the statement. Rather, they focused on the tone of the statement and its timing. They insisted that a statement like this will do nothing but alienate those outside the church while “harming” certain strugglers within the church. They also said that a statement like this one should have begun with an apology to LGBT people for all the sins that the church has committed against them. Again, this wasn’t a critique of what the statement says but of what it doesn’t say.

The closest thing we got to a substantive critique was Preston’s quibbles about the use of the certain terms like “self-conception,” “transgenderism,” and “homosexual.” But even here, his issue was not with what we meant by those terms but with an alleged lack of clarity or sensitivity.

At the end of the day, I wasn’t persuaded by their critiques of The Nashville Statement. In fact, I think Preston and Joel fundamentally misunderstand what the statement was designed to be. The Nashville Statement was never intended as a culture-war document. It was intended as a church document. It is not a manifesto to the world but a confession for the church. It stakes out no public policy positions. It advocates for no particular piece of legislation or political program. Rather, it was drafted by churchmen and women from a variety of evangelical traditions who aim to catechize God’s people about their place in the true story of the world. And fundamental to that storyline is our “personal and physical design as male and female.”

Yes, The Nashville Statement is direct in what it asserts, but it is a distortion to describe it as harsh or harmful. It is simply a statement that provides confessional guidance for those who need it. And there are many within the evangelical movement who need this kind of biblical clarity.

There is a reason why the boards of Southern Seminary, Cedarville University, Union University, Reformed Theological Seminary, and others have adopted the statement. Language from the statement has also been affirmed by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, the Arkansas Baptist Convention, the Illinois Baptist Convention, and the Calvary Presbytery (PCA) in South Carolina. Evangelical churches and institutions need the kind of clarity that The Nashville Statement provides, and that is what it was designed for.

To critique the statement for failing to appeal to millennials outside the church is like complaining that your car isn’t good at making ice cream. A car is not designed to make ice cream, and it says nothing about the working order of a car that it doesn’t. Likewise, The Nashville Statement was never meant to be a script for evangelism or cultural engagement. But then again, neither is the Baptist Faith and Message or the Westminster Confession. We don’t criticize those faith statements on those grounds, so why criticize The Nashville Statement on those grounds? I don’t think those kinds of critiques are very compelling at all.

In any case, I am very grateful that Preston and Joel chose to be a part of the panel. It was stimulating, even if we failed to resolve our disagreements in the end.

4. Albert Mohler as Vice-President

One more item of note: Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. was elected at vice-president of ETS, which means that he is in line to be the next president of ETS. You can read more about it in SBTS’s news release. As many of you know, Dr. Mohler is the president of the institution where I serve, and we are very grateful for his leadership. We are looking forward to his leadership at ETS in the days ahead. Congratulations, Dr. Mohler!

via Some reflections on the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society — Denny Burk

Bethel & Ben Fitzgerald need to be held accountable as occultists continue to establish deep connections with Bethel & Awakening Conferences — Christian Research Network

“In our ongoing investigations into Christalignment we also found that they plagiarised/stole the work of others. When Bethel defended Christalignment, they stated that the group existed as ‘disguised outreach’ for New Age events. However, Christalignment make no attempt to ‘disguise’ their true occult identity at churches and ‘Sexpos’ … clearly proving that Ben Fitzgerald, Bethel and Christalignment are prepared to lie in order to silence any criticism.”

(Churchwatch Central) Towards the end of last year Bethel Church Redding, California attempted to distance themselves from a group in Australia who practice and promote witchcraft. This particular group engaged in New Age and occultic practices such as tarot card readings, stone readingsrain/spirit dancing, connecting to energies/heavens/angels/warrior spirits and practicing henna tattooing. (CWC thoroughly established that this group practices tarot card reading and occultic henna art.)

BACKGROUND TO BETHEL’S RELATIONSHIP WITH ‘AWAKENING AUSTRALIA’.

Church Watch Central exposed how Bethel had one of its ‘own’ connected with Christalignment. Bethel pastor Ben Fitzgerald’s mother and Christalignment leader Jen Hodge are up front in stating that their ministry is not about leading people to salvation and making disciples but to “to get them into a brand new relationship with God” [link]. Bethel leadership could not deny their connection to Christalignment and as a result, they retracted their statement against Christalignment.

To add fuel to the fire, Jen Hodge, lied to Bethel leadership and changed her website in order to publicly attack discerning Christians who were confronting her over her occult practices. And Bethel leadership Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton and Theresa Dedmon, appeared to have no issue with Jen Hodge’s behaviour. Defending the occultic Christalignment resulted in Bethel acting with hostility towards sincere Christians, attacking them publicly. To this day Jen Hodge’s son, Ben Fitzgerald, (who is a BSSM graduate, Bethel pastor and Bethel missionary) continues to defend his mother’s practicing ‘witchcraft’ in the name of Jesus. View article →

Research:

Occult – Sorcerey

New Apostolic Reformation

via Bethel & Ben Fitzgerald need to be held accountable as occultists continue to establish deep connections with Bethel & Awakening Conferences — Christian Research Network

Police Closing in on Hillsong’s Brian Houston — Pulpit & Pen

 

[9 News, Australia] Brian Houston, the founder of the Hillsong Church, is under investigation by New South Wales police over his handling of the sex crimes committed by his father Frank Houston.

Frank Houston was a Pentecostal pioneer, a leading Assemblies of God pastor who preyed on young boys in Australia and New Zealand in the 1960s and 1970s.

The first allegations of Frank Houston’s pedophilia emerged in the late 1990s, when Brian Houston was the Australian National President of the Assemblies of God, part of the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world.

Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston.

Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston. (60 Minutes)

In 2014, Brian Houston gave evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which later found he had failed to take the matter to the police and had a conflict of interest in dealing with the complaints against his father.

It has emerged that in the wake of the Royal Commission’s findings, NSW Police began looking into his handling of his father’s crimes, an investigation that was suspended because of lack of evidence.

A NSW police spokesman said the investigation has been reopened and is now “current and active”.

Tonight on 60 Minutes, one of Frank Houston’s victims, Brett Sengstock, spoke for the first time of his abuse by Frank Houston as a seven-year-old boy and his ongoing quest for justice.

A key witness at the Royal Commission, where he was known only as ‘AHA’, Brett Sengstock gave up his anonymity to tell his story.

The video is below.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Garry McNab and first published at 9 News, title changed by P&P]

via Police Closing in on Hillsong’s Brian Houston — Pulpit & Pen

The megachurch model is unsustainable — Christian Research Network

“The nature of [the Christian] concept of the flesh is that we are bent toward being self-preserving and self-exalting. Somehow that bent gets fed and flourishes as we become more visible to an approving public.  Leading a very large church can be extremely difficult to do well, and almost dangerous from that standpoint.”

(Brian Sanders – Dallas News)   This summer, one of the nation’s largest and most influential megachurches suffered the loss of its senior leader and entire governing board, an event that has escalated a conversation about whether the megachurch model is sustainable.

Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago suburb of South Barrington, Ill., boasts 26,000 weekly attenders and six satellite campuses. It is the hub for the Willow Creek Association, a global network of churches and ministry training programs that includes more than 13,000 member churches in 45 countries. And it hosts an annual event called the Global Leadership Summit that attracts 10,000 attenders and 156,000 viewers at simulcast sites worldwide. Summit speakers have included Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Tony Dungy, Jack Welch, Carly Fiorina, Jim Collins and Bono.

In other words, Willow Creek is huge. In the evangelical world, it casts an enormous shadow.

Now, after allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by its senior leader, Bill Hybels, Willow Creek faces an existential crisis. Thousands have left already — almost 38,000 fewer people tuned into the Global Leadership Summit in August than the year before.

And Willow Creek isn’t the first megachurch collapse.  View article →

Research:

Willow Creek Church’s mishandling of Bill Hybels allegations of misconduct 

via The megachurch model is unsustainable — Christian Research Network

Commie Pope Says Wealth of the Rich “Belongs to All” and “Poverty is Caused by Injustice” — Pulpit & Pen

Thou shalt not steal. – Exodus 20:15

Pope Francis, who pretty much anyone with an understanding of economics recognizes is an unapologetic Communist, claimed over the weekend that what belongs to the “wealthy few” belongs, “in justice, to all.” This follows on the heels of a confession from American director, Michael Moore, that Pope Francis told him that “Capitalism is a sin.” Now, it seems the Pontiff is arguing that the wealth of rich should be “in justice” distributed to everyone else.

According to the Associated Press, championing the cause of the poor, Pope Francis on Sunday lamented that “the wealthy few” enjoy what, “in justice, belongs to all” and said Christians cannot remain indifferent to the growing cries of the exploited and the indigent, including migrants.

Stealing the private property of the rich and giving it to the poor is not “in justice,” as the Pope suggests, but is injustice.

Francis invited about 6,000 poor people to St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate Mass. Later, the Pope invited 1,500 of the poor to eat lasagna, chicken, mashed potatoes and tiramisu.

It is here, according to the AP, that Francis went full-Commie in his homily, “He also drew attention to the plight of abandoned elderly, the friendless and the cry of all those forced to flee their homes and native land for an uncertain future. It is the cry of entire peoples, deprived even of the great natural resources at their disposal.”

Francis said the poor were weeping “while the wealthy few feast on what, in justice, belongs to all. Injustice is the perverse root of poverty.”

Poverty, of course, is caused by any number of root causes. These root causes of poverty include providential misfortune and slothfulness. While injustice is listed as a possible cause of poverty, the Scripture speaks far more of slothfulness as to blame for the estate of the poor.

Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth (Proverbs 10:4)

The plans of the diligent bring plenty, as surely as haste leads to poverty (Proverbs 21:5)

The slacker craves, yet gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is fully satisfied (Proverbs 13:4)

God’s providence is also responsible for the wealthy and impoverished.

The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts (1 Samuel 2:7).

But remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:18).

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21)

The Pope’s remarks make clear that he believes the Marxist premise that the primary cause of poverty is systemic injustice.

According to news reports, the Vatican’s wealth is purported to be approximately 15 billion dollars in liquid assets. That’s only the Catholic Church’s capital city. The Catholic Church in America has an operating budget of – get this – 170 billion per year. They give less than 3% of that to the poor and needy. Now, imagine what the Catholic church is worth worldwide. The church owns more than 716 million kilometers of land worldwide, for places like cathedrals, nunneries, monasteries, and embassies (that is roughly the size of Alberta, Canada). The Holy See holds onto 22 millions dollars worth of gold just for its ornaments. In modern dollars, St. Peter’s Basillica – where Francis gathered the poor – would cost about 8.2 billion dollars today to construct.

If Francis had liquidated the value of St. Peter’s Basilica (no shortage of world despots would love to buy the facility) for its fair market value, the six-thousand impoverished worshippers could each have been given $1,366,000 a piece. Or to think of it another way, the gold-covered cathedral could have fed every impoverished Italian for a year. A complete liquidation of the Catholic Church’s wealth would irradicate hunger and all treatable diseases in the Third World. For some reason, Pope Francis only wants to redistribute the wealth of others.

via Commie Pope Says Wealth of the Rich “Belongs to All” and “Poverty is Caused by Injustice” — Pulpit & Pen

November 19, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump said in an interview aired on Sunday he would not intervene if Matthew Whitaker, his acting U.S. attorney general, moved to curtail Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

President Trump does not want to listen to an audio recording of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite facing mounting pressure to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing.

Civil rights groups will urge a U.S. judge on Monday to temporarily halt an order by President Donald Trump that bars asylum for migrants who illegally cross the border with Mexico.

Former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg is giving $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University for student financial aid at his alma mater, Bloomberg said in an opinion piece published on Sunday in The New York Times.

Houthi rebels in Yemen said they were halting drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their Yemeni allies, responding to a demand from the United Nations.

Iran will continue to export oil despite U.S. sanctions, which are part of a psychological war doomed to failure, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman urged the international community on Monday to halt Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and reiterated the kingdom’s support for U.N. efforts to end the war in Yemen.

Emergency services on Sunday sifted through the charred wreckage of California’s deadliest ever wildfire, searching for signs of nearly 1,000 people believed still missing as crews made progress in bringing the blaze under control. The remains of 77 people have been recovered, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said late on Sunday, as it cut the number of missing to 993 from 1,276. It gave no other details. Officials said it had consumed about 150,000 acres and was 65 percent contained late on Sunday.

Risk modeling firm RMS estimates insured losses of $7.5 billion-$10 billion from the Camp wildfire and $1.5 billion-$3 billion for the Woolsey fire, which caused massive destruction in Malibu, southern California, where million-dollar homes once stood.

Refineries around the world are squeezing out every last drop of diesel while drowning in gasoline, in what could well become the new normal for the next few years. The imbalance is a confluence of major shifts in oil markets – surging production of light U.S. shale oil, plummeting exports of heavier Venezuelan and Iranian crude, weakening gasoline demand and rising diesel consumption.

AP Top Stories

The Argentine government acknowledged on Saturday that it lacked the proper technology to rescue the submarine found deep in the Atlantic that disappeared a year ago with 44 crew members aboard.

Turkey’s coast guard said Monday it rescued 44 migrants stuck on an island after they attempted the crossing to Greece.

On Sunday, November 11th, a group of approximately 80 Central American migrants, the majority of whom identify as LGBTQ, arrived in the coastal city of Tijuana, Mexico, just south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Residents of the Mexican city of Tijuana protested the arrival of thousands of Central American migrants, who are hoping to seek shelter while they await an opportunity to enter the U.S.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) often find themselves on opposing sides of debates in Washington. But on Sunday, both called on the fellow Republican who controls the Senate agenda ― Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ― to reverse course and schedule a vote on a bipartisan reform bill to reform harsh U.S. prison sentencing laws.

Championing the cause of the poor, Pope Francis on Sunday lamented that “the wealthy few” enjoy what, “in justice, belongs to all” and said Christians cannot remain indifferent to the growing cries of the exploited and the indigent, including migrants.

In a significant escalation of her activism-driven approach to politics, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has urged other progressives to mount primary challenges against some of the more conservative Democratic members of Congress.

November 18 marked the 40th anniversary of the mass murder-suicide of more than 900 people, most of them Americans who were members of a California-based cult called the Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ, run by the reverend Jim Jones. It became known as the Jonestown massacre.

A three-day meeting between the Taliban and the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan to pave the way for peace talks ended with no agreement, the militant group said a day after the diplomat declared a deadline of April 2019 to end a 17-year-long war.

BBC

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has called for closer ties between his country and Germany, saying Europe “has the obligation not to let the world slip into chaos”.

When the tiny Italian town of Acquetico set up a trial speed camera, it did not expect to see a probable record: 58,568 speeding offences in just two weeks.

One of Australia’s leading wedding magazines is shutting down after it refused to feature same-sex couples. The Christian couple said they made the choice because they had “no desire to create a social, political or legal war”.

WND

When members of Congress are sworn into office in January, some of them, or at least their lower-paid aides, are almost assuredly going to be getting to work in a driverless cab or, “AV for or autonomous vehicle,” as you will soon be calling it.

A school in the United Kingdom has forbade students from wearing “expensive” jackets because doing so may “poverty shame” other students.


News – 11/19/2018

Israel Aims to Become Fourth Country to Send Unmanned Spaceship to Moon
Israel is about to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon, thus joining the three superpowers – the US, Russia and China – that have done already done so. Called SpaceIL, the private project to reach the moon has just received a boost, from Sylvan Adams, the Canadian Jewish businessman and philanthropist …Adams is giving $5 million for the project.

Focus on Temple Mount Returning Blessings to the World
“Every person can look to the Temple Mount and the Holy of Holies as their true origin,” Persoff said to Breaking Israel News. “In all the world, this is every individual’s personal connection to creation.” “Just as the sustenance flows from the mother to the child via the tabor, spiritual and physical sustenance flow into the world via the Temple Mount,” Persoff said. “It is as if every person had a spiritual umbilical cord to God, all of them passing through that one point on the Temple Mount.”

Migrant caravan faces opposition from angry Tijuana residents
the nearly 3,000 people who reached the Mexican border with California in recent days have been met with marked hostility. Reports of insults being shouted, rocks being hurled and even physical fist-fighting has escalated over the weekend. Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has referred to the arrivals as “bums” and questioned whether a referendum in the city of 1.6 million is needed to determine whether or not they should be allowed to stay.

NRA suing state for infringing 2nd Amendment
“We’re determined to fight this egregious measure because constitutionally protected rights should never be subject to a popularity vote. The wealthy elitists behind I-1639 want to turn a right into a regulated privilege. This measure was only designed to have a chilling effect on the exercise of a constitutional right by honest citizens while having no impact at all on criminals, The lawsuit challenges the measure on the grounds that it violates the Commerce Clause by banning sales of rifles to non-residents, and that it unconstitutionally impairs the rights guaranteed by the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments, and Article I Section 24 of the Washington State constitution by preventing the sale to otherwise qualified adults under age 21 of certain rifles,” the organizations announced.

“It Will Be A Cold War”: APEC Summit Ends In Unprecedented Chaos After Dramatic US-China Showdown
One day after vice president Mike Pence and China’s president Xi Jinping clashed after exchanging sharply worded barbs in a showdown between the two superpowers, on Sunday the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit ended in unprecedented chaos and disarray, without agreement on a joint communique for the first time in its history as the escalating rivalry between the United States and China dominated proceedings and reflected escalating trade tensions.

China ‘has taken the gloves off’ in its thefts of U.S. technology secrets
It was the great microchip heist — a stunning Chinese-backed effort that pilfered as much as $8.75 billion in patented American technology. U.S. officials say the theft took a year to pull off and involved commercial spies, a Chinese-backed company, a Taiwanese chipmaker and employees affiliated with Micron Technology, a U.S.-based microchip behemoth.

Election avoided? Bennett and Shaked walk back resignation threats
Bayit Yehudi abandoned its threat to leave the coalition if Education Minister Naftali Bennett is not made defense minister, in statements by Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the Knesset Monday. This development leaves Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon as the sole coalition partner calling for an early election, making it far less likely than it had seemed in recent days.

Palestinians: Jewish tours of Temple Mount are part of religious war by Israel
Jewish tours of the Temple Mount are part of an Israeli scheme to ignite a religious war, the Palestinian Authority said on Sunday. The allegation came in response to a visit to the Mount by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel. In recent years, the PA has been regularly condemning visits by Jewish groups and individuals to the Temple Mount, claiming they were “storming the Aqsa Mosque.”

Attorney-General to Netanyahu: Stop collecting info on left-wing NGOs
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has instructed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop collecting information from the Internet about Israeli left-wing organizations or their sources of funding. He further stated that any information that has already been stored and collected must be deleted immediately. According to Mandelblit, any gathering of such information must be backed up by a law that authorizes the government to do so…

Migrant caravan: Mexican border city Tijuana protests
Hundreds of residents have taken to the streets of a Mexican border town, in protest at the arrival of thousands of migrants trying to get to the US. They were urging the migrants to leave Tijuana, to the south of California. The migrants are part of a large caravan of Central Americans who have been travelling though Mexico to the US, where they want to claim asylum.

Facial Recognition Goes Mainstream, Drawing Concerns
Facial recognition is fast becoming embedded in everyday life. But as it improves, the technology is raising new privacy concerns. “Most American adults are in a face-recognition database accessible to law enforcement,” said Clare Garvie, a senior associate at Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology, who studies the technology and its privacy implications.

Haley promotes UN resolution against Hamas
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is expected to submit a draft resolution at the United Nations General Assembly, harshly condemning the Hamas terror organization. Haley, who will be leaving her position by the end of the year, is promoting a resolution condemning Hamas’s rocket fire at Israel and incitement against it, as well as demanding to halt any violent activity, including the launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israel.

Two years after Philippines’ pivot, Duterte still waiting on China dividend
Two years after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced a divorce with old ally the United States in return for bumper business ties with China, he doesn’t have much to show for it. Duterte left Beijing in 2016 with $24 billion of Chinese loans and investment pledges for his ambitious infrastructure overhaul, a few weeks after saying the Philippines was being treated like a dog by Washington and would be better off with China.

ALLAHU AKBAR: Democrats Now Want to Change a 181-Year-Old Rule Banning Religious Headwear in the House
Lewis Charles Levin was an American Jewish Congressman and the first Jew ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1844. He was not allowed to wear a kippah, or yarmulke, while on the House floor due to the a law implemented in 1837 banning religious headgear in the House. Since 1844, many Jews have been elected to Congress and no one ever considered changing that rule to accommodate them. Just Jews, who cares, right? (insert bored yawn here)

Life Begins at Conception
It’s a major development in the fight for unborn babies. Finally – for the first time ever – the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has made it the official policy of the United States that life begins at conception.

Warning: The Democrats’ Sinister Plan To Destroy Religious Liberty As We Know It
…The Family Research Council, as well as Ernest Istook, have recently voiced a dire warning that our nation’s sacred protections for religious liberty may soon be under a ruthless attack. The FRC explained recently that the Democrats are seeking to adopt a provision that would effectively make religious liberty inferior to things like abortion rights, gay marriage, homosexuality, and protections for transgender people.

“It Will Be A Cold War”: APEC Summit Ends In Unprecedented Chaos After Dramatic US-China Showdown
One day after vice president Mike Pence and China’s president Xi Jinping clashed after exchanging sharply worded barbs in a showdown between the two superpowers, on Sunday the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit ended in unprecedented chaos and disarray, without agreement on a joint communique for the first time in its history as the escalating rivalry between the United States and China dominated proceedings and reflected escalating trade tensions.

Democrat 2020 Candidate Wants Govt-Sponsored ‘Social Credit’ System Comparable To China’s
New York entrepreneur and Democratic 2020 candidate Andrew Yang wants to implement a system in which a government-run mobile app rewards Americans with “digital social credits” (DSCs) for good behavior.

Another 3,300 Caravan Migrants Arrive In Tijuana, Says Mexico
Nearly 3,300 additional Central American caravan migrants arrived at the Mexican northern border city of Tijuana on Saturday, authorities in Mexico stated.

The globalist plan to exterminate humanity begins now: “Useless eaters” must be eliminated, say globalists
Far beyond the distractions of political bickering and cultural trends, the big, big picture that’s unfolding across our world right now is a plan to exterminate 90% of the current human population in order to “save” the planet and protect what globalists see as the future of human survival on a cosmic scale.

School demands Christians let atheists ‘lead Bible studies’
It appears Colorado is building quite a reputation for anti-Christian activism.  First the state punished a baker, Jack Phillips, and ordered him into a reindoctrination program for refusing to violate his faith by promoting same-sex marriage.

Police Chief Refuses To Enforce New Gun Laws – ‘I’m Defending the Constitution’
A police chief in Washington says the state’s new strict gun laws are violating the constitution.Chief Loren Culp has refused to enforce the new state gun control laws.

Blue Wave: Los Angeles Typhus Cases Hit 100 as Rat-Infested Slums Spread Disease
If we want to see the blue wave in full effect, we only need to take a look at liberal Los Angeles, where millionaire celebrities lecture the rest of the population from their mansions, surrounded by rat-infested slums.

Bypass the Pope By Going Directly to The Savior
There’s an increasingly perceivable-Li’l Abner Joe Btfsplk-like black cloud hovering over the heads of the faithful during the ongoing crisis in the Catholic Church.

Jew-Hatred Conference in Iran: “If We Are Not Doing Something Against The Jews, We Feel Bad”
The reason for this open and unapologetic Jew-hatred is not Israeli “settlements” or anything else related to the Jewish State. It is all about Islam, as Shams Al-Din Rahmani admits when he says that the Qur’an is an anti-Semitic book. It is: Islamic Jew-hatred is in the Qur’an. So is Shams Al-Din Rahmani a racist, islamophobic, anti-Muslim bigot for saying that, or are those charges reserved only for me when I say it?

Trump HHS Official Found Dead: Ruled Suicide By ‘Multiple Blunt Force Injuries’
Daniel Best, a pharmaceutical executive who recently took the lead at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, tasked with President Trump’s initiative to “lower prescription drug prices” in the United States, was found dead with “multiple blunt force injuries” on November 1.

President Trump Introduces New Policy Set to End Child Trafficking into the US
President Trump’s landmark new border policy includes a clause that is designed to end the trafficking of children across the US border by cartels and child slavery rings.

Tampa Gay Therapy Ban Under Legal Fire for Blocking Minors from ‘Getting the Help They Seek’
Young people battling unwanted same-sex attraction are fighting back against a Tampa, Florida, ordinance that bans licensed counselors from providing talk therapy to minors seeking to reduce or eliminate those attractions.


Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.” —Fisher Ames (1788)

‘Undermining Democracy,’ Democrat Style

It’s all over but the recriminations in the Georgia and Florida elections.

‘Nuke Americans Who Resist Gun Confiscation!’

Rep. Eric Swalwell suggests a mandatory gun buyback program, stepping all over the Second Amendment.

Why Our Military Forces Aren’t Ready for Prime Time

A new report indicates that our military would struggle to fight stronger foes like Russia and China.

Paralyzed Children Should Transcend Politics

The CDC denies that illegals are bringing EV-D68 into the U.S. We’re not convinced.

DeVos Rebalances Due Process in Title IX

The secretary of education restores students’ basic rights in sex-abuse cases.

Video: Leftists Don’t Want You to Believe Your Own Eyes

The Leftmedia says the caravan is all hype and your concern is unwarranted.

Video: Seven Ways to Stop Democrats From Stealing Elections

Stephen Green, Bill Whittle, and Scott Ott explore ways to reform elections so every vote is counted only once.

Video: Endangered Syndrome

“One of the most heart-wrenching pro-life ad campaigns you’ve ever seen.”

Monday Short Cuts

“Almost every single person I’ve ever heard of with an AR-15 has been a mass murderer.” —Newsweek’s Nina Burleig

Monday Top Headlines

Record tax revenue, record-low unemployment, Trump visits CA, CIA on Saudi murder, and more.

Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
Stoking Division
Ken Blackwell
Prison Reform: Major Achievement for President Trump
Tony Perkins
Planned Parenthood Minds Its Ps and LGBTQs
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Giving Thanks in Difficult Circumstances
Burt Prelutsky
Trump Is No Anti-Semite

Today’s Meme


Today’s Cartoon


Headlines – 11/19/2018

Trump to discuss launch of Mideast peace plan with advisers this week

Election talk throws yet another wrench in U.S. peace plan rollout

In looming Israeli elections, Trump may find excuse to delay peace plan

Israeli Official: ‘Trump’s peace plan will be shelved if Israel goes to elections’

Netanyahu’s Coalition in Turmoil as He Rejects Partner’s Demand

Bennett, Shaked set to announce resignations, triggering elections

Netanyahu meets with coalition partner to stop government collapse

Netanyahu: ‘A right-wing government should not be disbanded’

Ex-IDF chief says politicians shouldn’t ‘exploit’ wars for political benefit

In light of security situation, going to new elections ‘irresponsible,’ Netanyahu tells nation

Netanyahu: ‘These are challenging times, not the time for elections’

Naming himself defense chief, Netanyahu says ‘no room for politics’ in security

Opposition lawmakers berate Netanyahu for keeping defense portfolio

PA: Israel planning ‘religious war’

Iranian official: Hamas’ rockets foiled Israel’s dreams

Palestinian President Abbas’s Fatah Party Mocks ‘Fearful’ Israelis Running From Hamas Rocket Attacks

Special forces were apparently trying to install spying gear in Gaza, Hamas says

Hamas: Commandos killed allegedly attempting to plant listening device

US mulling ‘consequences’ after Palestinians join international bodies

PA slams Trump’s ‘Zionist’ policies in Middle East

Controversy erupts over El Al flight diverted to Athens to accomodate Sabbath-observant passengers

Chaos and violence as El Al light delayed

Hezbollah money laundering has a ‘safe home in Germany’

Hailing US vote against UN resolution, PM says Golan will ‘always’ be Israeli

Head of Northern Command: ‘Hezbollah building infrastructure in Syrian Golan’

Analysis: The U.S. is juggling too many agendas in eastern Syria

Car bomb blast kills five in Iraq’s Tikrit, say sources

Egypt and Ethiopia to discuss Nile dam dispute

Iran hopeful that Europe can salvage nuclear deal: foreign ministry

UAE minister slams some Turkish media for fabricating news

Saudi Arabia Defies U.S. Pressure to End Qatar Row After Khashoggi Killing

Trump Says Saudi Arabia Must Remain an Ally Despite ‘Very Vicious’ Khashoggi Killing

Trump says he won’t listen to Khashoggi ‘suffering tape’

Jamal Khashoggi killers ‘may have taken body parts out of Turkey in luggage’

Yemen war: Houthis ‘halting drone and missile strikes’

US peace envoy hopes for deal with Taliban in 2019

Dozens killed in attack on Catholic mission sheltering refugees in Central African Republic

Brunei bans Christmas: Sultan warns those celebrating could face up to five years in jail

U.S. military in ‘crisis,’ could lose a war to Russia and China, report warns

‘Entire world is worried’ after rancorous Asia-Pacific trade summit

Hard Brexit would be disastrous says German industry

US navy hospital ship stokes tensions by giving Venezuelan refugees free care

Mexico considers legalizing marijuana during its war on drugs

Migrant caravan faces opposition from angry Tijuana residents

Tijuana protesters chant ‘Out!’ at migrants camped in city

Kremlin says Putin told Pence Russia did not meddle in US election

Trump says Whitaker is right about Russia probe and won’t sit with Mueller for interview

Trump gives Whitaker free rein over Mueller probe: ‘It’s going to be up to him’

Carl Bernstein suggests media should edit White House pressers before airing them

Pro-Israel candidate wins Florida Senate seat in race that triggered two recounts

Senate barrels toward showdown over Trump’s court picks

Osama Bin Laden Hunter Slams Trump Behavior As ‘Greatest Threat To Our Democracy’

Convenient Or Risky? First Implanted Microchips Promise The Public To “Make Their Life Easier”

Tim Cook explains why Apple accepts billions from Google despite privacy concerns

For the first time, researchers say Facebook can cause depression

6.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Lambasa, Fiji

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Port-Olry, Vanuatu

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Yonakuni, Japan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 17,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Camp Fire: Death toll rises to 77, more than 10,000 homes burned

The catastrophic Camp Fire isn’t even halfway done burning, officials predict

Smoke from Camp Fire smothering California cities, shuttering popular attractions in San Francisco

Rain storms could bring more misery for California fire evacuees

Searchers in California wildfire step up efforts before rain

In Jordan’s ancient Petra, sirens warn of flash floods

Ebola response suffers another setback, as WHO evacuates some staff after attack

Superbugs kill more in India than globally, mortality rate is 13%

Israeli Ministers advance bill to ban the unvaccinated from schools

Transgender woman froze her sperm to have her own child after transition

Whistleblower teacher says 17 students in British school are changing genders, some were ‘tricked’

Leading Australia wedding magazine shuts over gay snub


Apostasy Watch Daily News

3 Lines in the sand – Will our authority be the Word of God, or will it be the sensibilities of our age?

The Megachurch Model is Unsustainable

What’s Next—Temple Prostitutes?

Tullian Tchividjian Back in the Pulpit at “Leave A Mark Church,” Columbus Ohio

Bethel & Ben Fitzgerald need to be held accountable as occultists continue to establish deep connections with Bethel & Awakening Conferences

Charismatic Prophet Claims God will Cure Cancer and Diabetes in Response to Synagogue Shooting

San Francisco Episcopal Church Hosts Requiem Mass: A Queer Divine Rite

Local (San Antonio) pastor joins migrant caravan in Mexico

Kenya bans Marie Stopes from offering abortion services

“A Pure Genocide”: Extremist Persecution of Christians, 2018


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November 19 The Guardianship of Peace

The peace of God… will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

Today’s verse speaks of God’s peace guarding our hearts and minds. “Will guard” is a military term meaning, “to keep watch over.” The Philippian believers lived in a garrison town where Roman soldiers were stationed to guard the interests of the empire in that part of the world. In the same way, God’s peace guards us from anxiety, doubt, fear, and distress.

The believer who doesn’t live in the confidence of God’s sovereignty will lack His peace and be left to the chaos of a troubled heart. But our confident trust in the Lord will allow us to thank Him in the midst of trials because we have God’s peace on duty to protect our hearts and minds.

When Paul refers to our hearts and minds, he isn’t making a distinction between the two—it’s a comprehensive statement that describes the whole inner person. Because of our union with Christ, He guards our entire being with His peace. And that’s what helps us be spiritually stable.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 348). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

November 19, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

12 The renewed commitment also finds expression in acts and words of praise to the Lord. The psalmist’s wholehearted praise (cf. 9:1; 18:49) consists in a verbal expression of gratitude and acts of obeisance and gratitude to the Lord, as expressed by the phrase “I will glorify” (cf. “they will bring glory,” v. 9; see Reflections, p. 505, The Praise of Yahweh).[1]


12. I will praise thee, O Lord my God! David engages, when he shall have experienced God to be in all respects a beneficent Father, to yield to him the tribute of gratitude. He expressed in the preceding verse a desire to have his heart united to God, that he might fear him; and now he affirms it to be his resolution to publish or celebrate his praises, not only with the mouth or tongue, but also with sincere affection of heart; yea, even to continue with stedfast perseverance in that exercise.[2]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 651). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 3, p. 389). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

November 19 Being Different from the World

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise.”

Ephesians 5:15

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Living wisely will set you apart from the world.

Walking in wisdom is an element of the worthy walk that Paul has been describing since the beginning of Ephesians 4. He says in verse 1, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” and then proceeds to describe this worthy walk with the following characteristics: It’s a humble walk (4:1–3), a united walk (4:4–16), a unique walk (4:17–32), a loving walk (5:1–7), an illuminated walk (5:8–14), and a wise walk (5:15–17). The point that Paul is making in describing the various elements of the worthy walk is that Christians are different from the world. The world can’t be humble because everyone is fighting for his rights. The world can’t be united because it celebrates and exalts differences. The world can’t be unique because it’s trapped in its own self–destruction. The world can’t love because it doesn’t have the life of God—the source of real love. The world can’t know light because it lies in the system of darkness. And the world can’t be wise because the wisdom of God is hidden from the mind of man. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:7, “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Realize that being different from the world is an asset to your Christian witness, not a hindrance. When others see you obeying Scripture—when they see you walking in wisdom—they’ll notice you’re not like them. That difference can create opportunities to tell them about your Savior. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Keep walking in wisdom, and let others be attracted to the light of Christ!

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Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to help you be a witness whose testimony shines brightly for Christ.

For Further Study: How does 1 Peter 2:12 say you are to live? Why?[1]


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

November 19 Daily Help

BOUNTEOUS is Jehovah in his nature; to give is his delight. His gifts are beyond measure precious, and are as freely given as the light of the sun. He gives grace to his elect because he wills it, to his redeemed because of his covenant, to the called because of his promise, to believers because they seek it, to sinners because they need it. He gives grace abundantly, seasonably, constantly, readily, sovereignly; doubly enhancing the value of the boon by the manner of its bestowal. Reader, how blessed it is, as the years roll round, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this: “The Lord will give grace.”[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 327). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

Why Does America Have 13 Million Households That Don’t Have Enough Food To Eat? – End Of The American Dream

Have you ever had a day when your children were crying due to hunger but the cupboards were completely bare and your bank account was empty?  If you haven’t, you should consider yourself to be extremely blessed, because this is what real life feels like for millions upon millions of Americans in 2018.  As you will see below, a third of all Americans cannot even afford “the basics” each month, and 13 million households are officially considered to be “food insecure”.  In other words, they don’t have enough to eat.  Many parents out there choose to skip a meal (or two) each day just so that their kids can have full stomachs.  But sometimes the money runs out completely, and that is when it gets really tough.

In recent years, the wealthy have been doing quite well, and many of them have very little sympathy for the struggles of the poor.

But the cold, hard reality of the matter is that the gap between the wealthy and the poor is now the largest that it has been since the 1920s, and approximately one-third of the entire nation cannot even afford the basics each month

Consider the following statistics. The average American can’t scrape together $500 for an emergency. A third of Americans can’t afford food, shelter, and healthcare. Healthcare for a family now costs $28k— about half of median income, which is $60k.

Those are very sobering numbers, and you won’t often hear them repeated by the mainstream media.

For a moment, I would like you to consider three questions…

-Have you ever avoided taking a family member to the hospital because you were afraid of what the bill might look like?

-Have you ever turned off your phone because you were sick and tired of getting calls from bill collectors?

-Have you ever laid awake at night with a gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach because you didn’t know how you were going to pay the bills at the end of the month?

If so, you certainly have a lot of company.  The truth is that most American families are deeply struggling, and those that are “doing well” make up only a very small percentage of the overall population.

Not too long ago, CNN profiled a two-year-old boy named Ryder Pfaffly and the rest of his household.  Sadly, they are one of the 13.1 million households in America that do not have enough food to eat…

Ryder’s family represents America’s 13.1 million households with children that often go without food: “food-insecure households.”

“Food is a struggle at times,” said Ryder’s mom, Kelly Ann Pfaffly, who also is raising a newborn boy.

Pfaffly, 23, and her 24-year-old husband, Justin, have been married five years. They — along with Ryder, his 7-year-old sister and his infant brother — all live in a small room at the hotel. “We’ve been struggling for quite sometime now,” she said. “But we always find a way to make it.”

Of course Ryder and his family are far from alone.  At this point, more than half of all U.S. households with children receive assistance from the government each month.  The middle class is steadily eroding, and the ranks of the “working poor” have been growing rapidly.

Many of the working poor are single parents, and they often suffer in silence because they don’t want those around them to look down on them.  Here is an excerpt from one single mom’s heartbreaking story

I stared potential landlords down with a seven-year-old standing next to me and a baby on my hip, asking to apply for a tiny studio apartment I could barely afford. I spoke to a dozen secretaries at local churches, asking if they had funds to help me pay for childcare. I went hungry and bounced checks to order pizza for dinner.

Struggling to take care of my daughter on my own, I needed whatever government assistance I qualified for – a few hundred bucks a month in food stamps, free school lunches, childcare vouchers and coupons for milk and cheese – while I simultaneously worked as a maid, juggling 10 clients between going to class to put myself through college. Very few of my friends knew. They didn’t know the work I put into finding these resources – hours on the phone, standing in line, handing over thick packets to prove my need.

It can be absolutely soul crushing to work as hard as you possibly can day after day and it still isn’t enough.

It has been said that money can’t buy happiness, and that is true, but it can certainly make things easier.

According to a very startling Gallup survey, those that are living in poverty are about twice as likely to have struggled with depression as those that are not…

Americans in poverty are more likely than those who are not to struggle with a wide array of chronic health problems, and depression disproportionately affects those in poverty the most. About 31% of Americans in poverty say they have at some point been diagnosed with depression compared with 15.8% of those not in poverty. Impoverished Americans are also more likely to report asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks — which are likely related to the higher level of obesity found for this group — 31.8% vs. 26% for adults not in poverty.

After digesting these numbers, some of the things that we have seen happen politically in this country start to make sense.  Americans are looking for hope, and so many of them keep going back and forth from one party to the other hoping that someone can come up with some solutions that will start to make their lives better.

Unfortunately, our system has not been fixed, and we live at a time when the economy is beginning to really slow down again.  During the last recession, thousands of businesses went under, millions of people lost their jobs and multitudes of Americans could no longer pay their mortgages.  The same thing will happen again, and it will be very painful for our society.

One trend that is going to continue to escalate is different generations all living together under one roof.  Even though the U.S. economy supposedly “recovered” after the last recession, this is a trend that has been steadily rising

A 2014 study by the Pew Research Center found 52% of U.S. residents in their 60s—17.4 million people—are financially supporting either a parent or an adult child, up from 45% in 2005. Among them, about 1.2 million support both a parent and a child, more than double the number a decade earlier, according to an analysis of the Pew findings and census data.

The squeeze is coming from both ends. With lifespans growing longer, the number of 60-somethings with living parents has more than doubled since 1998, to about 10 million, according to an Urban Institute analysis of University of Michigan data, and they are increasingly expensive to care for. At the same time, many boomers are helping their children deal with career or health problems, or are sharing the heavy burden of student loans.

In the end, you have got to do what you have got to do in order to survive from month to month.

At one time, America’s “endless prosperity” seemed like it would roll on indefinitely, but now we have entered a different era.

Things are going to be tough during the days to come, and we are all going to need more flexibility than ever before.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.
— Read on endoftheamericandream.com/archives/why-does-america-have-13-million-households-that-dont-have-enough-food-to-eat

November 19 Living a Satisfied Life

“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:13–16).

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Resting in God’s promises brings true satisfaction.

I remember watching in horror and disgust as angry mobs swept through Los Angeles, killing people and setting thousands of buildings on fire. Under the cover of chaos, countless people ransacked and looted every store in sight. I saw entire families—moms, dads, and little children—loading their cars and trucks with anything they could steal.

That was the most graphic demonstration of lawlessness I’ve ever seen. It was as if they were saying, “I’m not satisfied with the way life’s treating me, so I’m entitled to grab everything I can—no matter who gets hurt in the process.”

Perhaps we don’t realize how selfish and restless the human heart can be until the restraints of law and order are lifted and people can do whatever they want without apparent consequences. Then suddenly the results of our godless “me first” society are seen for what they are. Instant gratification at any cost has become the motto of the day.

That’s in stark contrast to people of faith like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who trusted in God even when their circumstances were less than they might have expected. God promised them a magnificent land, but they never possessed it. They were, in fact, strangers and refugees in their own land. But that didn’t bother them because they looked forward to a better place—a heavenly city.

Their faith pleased God, and He was not ashamed to be called their God. What a wonderful testimonial! I pray that’s true of you. Don’t let earthbound hopes and dreams make you dissatisfied. Trust in God’s promises, and set your sights on your heavenly home.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the blessing of a satisfied heart.

For Further Study: Memorize Psalm 27:4.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 336). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.