Daily Archives: December 11, 2018

DECEMBER 11 GROWING ADMIRATION FOR GOD

Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power; thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee.

—Exodus 15:6-7

Then there is admiration, that is, appreciation of the excellency of God. Man is better qualified to appreciate God than any other creature because he was made in His image and is the only creature who was. This admiration for God grows and grows until it fills the heart with wonder and delight. “In our astonished reverence we confess Thine uncreated loveliness,” said the hymn writer. “In our astonished reverence.” The God of the modern evangelical rarely astonishes anybody. He manages to stay pretty much within the constitution. Never breaks over our bylaws. He’s a very well-behaved God and very denominational and very much one of us, and we ask Him to help us when we’re in trouble and look to Him to watch over us when we’re asleep. The God of the modern evangelical isn’t a God I could have much respect for. But when the Holy Ghost shows us God as He is we admire Him to the point of wonder and delight. WMJ022-023

Maybe it’s time, Lord, for You to show us a new and unusual vision of Your majesty and power! Come among us in power and restore to us a sense of wonder, astonishment and delight. Amen. [1]


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

Justice Brett Kavanaugh Sides With Liberal Judges To Protect Planned Parenthood From Being Defunded — Now The End Begins

The Supreme Court declined to review three cases relating to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood at the state level Monday, over a vigorous dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas.

The Liberals were so terrified at the prospect of having Brett Kavanaugh sitting as a justice on the Supreme Court that they waged DEFCON 5 thermonuclear war to try and stop him. They invented accusers who did nothing but lie under oath, they harassed and bullied fellow senators to vote against him, they even attacked the prayers of his daughter.

As it turns out, Jesuit school graduate Brett Kavanaugh just might be the best friend a Liberal ever had.

Yesterday, all the Liberal judges plus Justice Kennedy declined to hear a case about Planned Parenthood. Three of the Conservative judges – Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas – wanted to review the case. If Kavanaugh had sided with the conservatives, the case against Planned Parenthood would have gone forward. Justice Kavanaugh declined, and voted to side with the 4 Liberals and Kennedy. Yep, you just can’t trust those sneaky Jesuits, they’ll stab you in the back every time.

KAVANAUGH JOINS LIBERALS TO PROTECT PRO-PLANNED PARENTHOOD RULING OVER SELLING BABY PARTS

FROM THE DAILY CALLER: The dissent was significant because it indicates that Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the high court’s liberal wing to deny review of a lower court decision that favored the nation’s largest abortion provider.

“So what explains the Court’s refusal to do its job here?,” Thomas wrote. “I suspect it has something to do with the fact that some respondents in these cases are named ‘Planned Parenthood.’”

“Some tenuous connection to a politically fraught issue does not justify abdicating our judicial duty,” Thomas added. “If anything, neutrally applying the law is all the more important when political issues are in the background.”

Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined the Thomas dissent, meaning there were three votes in favor of taking the case. Since four votes are needed for the Supreme Court to take up a case, the opinion indicates that Chief Justice John Roberts and Kavanaugh joined with the four liberals to deny review.

This move could indicate that Roberts and Kavanaugh are loath to take take up an abortion-related question in the aftermath of Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation. The Court’s new junior justice has generally kept a low profile since taking the bench in October.

Monday’s cases arose when Republican state leaders in Louisiana and Kansas stripped Planned Parenthood of state Medicaid funds after a pro-life advocacy group presented evidence that the abortion-provider was harvesting and selling fetal materials. Planned Parenthood contests the accuracy of these claims.

Planned Parenthood and several unnamed female patients challenged the state’s’ move in federal court. The legal question in Monday’s cases was whether Medicaid recipients can challenge the disqualification of a provider under the Medicaid law. As such, it did not touch on abortion directly.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Planned Parenthood on that question in June 2017, prompting an appeal to the Supreme Court. That ruling is left in place now that the justices have refused to take the case.

Pro-life groups swiftly expressed their displeasure following Monday’s announcement.

“We are disappointed the Supreme Court declined to hear this case,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “The pro-life citizens of states like Kansas and Louisiana, through their elected representatives, have clearly expressed their will: they do not want Medicaid tax dollars used to prop up abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood.”

The Trump administration is currently formulating a new federal regulation called the Protect Life Rule which would forbid public funding of Planned Parenthood under Title X. READ MORE

Brett Kavanaugh Sides with Liberals on Planned Parenthood Ruling

The Supreme Court declined to review three cases relating to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood at the state level Monday, over a vigorous dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas. The dissent was significant because it indicates that Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the high court’s liberal wing to deny review of a lower court decision that favored the nation’s largest abortion provider. Justice Clarence Thomas Justice Clarence Thomas Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined the Thomas dissent, meaning there were three votes in favor of taking the case. Since four votes are needed for the Supreme Court to take up a case, the opinion indicates that Chief Justice John Roberts and Kavanaugh joined with the four liberals to deny review.

 

via Justice Brett Kavanaugh Sides With Liberal Judges To Protect Planned Parenthood From Being Defunded — Now The End Begins

December 11 Deliverance from Temporary Distress

I know this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:19

Today’s verse shows the value of confident trust in God. Paul knew his current distress was only temporary and that he would be delivered from it.

Why was Paul convinced of his deliverance? His statement, “I know this will turn out for my deliverance” is a quote of the Greek version of Job 13:16. Job was a righteous man who suffered greatly, yet he was delivered because God always delivers the righteous. Job said, “After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:26). He knew that either temporally or eternally God would deliver him.

Paul knew he could trust God to deliver him just as God had delivered Job. He was confident his circumstances would work out for good, whether he was released from prison, vindicated at his trial, and delivered from execution or passed into glory as a martyr. You may not face the same trials as Paul, but whatever your circumstances, the same confident trust is available to you.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 372). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Your Smartphone Apps Are Tracking Your Every Move With Location Aware Data, And Selling It To Everyone — Now The End Begins

The millions of dots on the map trace highways, side streets and bike trails — each one following the path of an anonymous cellphone user.

Take a good look at the top photo in this article, it’s deceiving. What looks like a stylized photo of New  York City at night is a whole lot more than that. If you were to zoom in on it, you would see millions and millions of light pixels, with each on representing a smartphone or mobile device user. And every place they go, everything they purchase, every activity they perform, are all cataloged and recorded. Why do you think most apps are free? App makers are not giving you anything, they are taking it.

Christians back in the 1970’s through the 1990’s used to obsess about what their ‘FBI file’ looked like. Everyone hailed that as the coming Mark of the Beast, but guess what? Location aware data tracking creates a file on you that is 1,000 times more detailed and more intimate than any FBI file that could have be started on you. In this generation, youare the one creating the file on you. And not just one file, it’s dozens of files with all  your info, all your messages, all your photos, all of it being viewed, sold and stored in data farms around the world.

The apps tracking their users’ locations aren’t keeping those data secret

FROM THE INDIAN EXPRESS: One path tracks someone from a home outside Newark, New Jersey, to a nearby Planned Parenthood. Another represents a person who travels with New York’s mayor during the day and returns to Long Island at night.

Yet another leaves a house in upstate New York at 7am and travels to a middle school 14 miles away, staying until late afternoon each school day. Only one person makes that trip: Lisa Magrin, 46, a math teacher. Her smartphone goes with her.

An app on the device gathered her location information, which was then sold without her knowledge. It recorded her whereabouts as often as every two seconds, according to a database of more than 1 million phones in the New York area that was reviewed by The New York Times. While Magrin’s identity was not disclosed in those records, The Times was able to easily connect her to that dot.

The app tracked her as she went to a Weight Watchers meeting and to her dermatologist’s office. It followed her hiking and staying at her ex-boyfriend’s home, information she found disturbing. “It’s the thought of people finding out those intimate details that you don’t want people to know,” said Magrin, who allowed The Times to review her location data.

Like many consumers, Magrin knew apps could track people’s movements. But as smartphones have become ubiquitous and technology more accurate, an industry of snooping on people’s daily habits has spread and grown more intrusive.

At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The Times found. The database reviewed by The Times — a sample of information gathered in 2017 and held by one company — reveals people’s travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day.

These companies sell, use or analyze the data to cater to advertisers, retail outlets and even hedge funds. It is a hot market, with sales of location-targeted advertising reaching an estimated $21 billion this year. IBM has gotten into the industry, with its purchase of the Weather Channel’s apps.

Businesses say their interest is in the patterns, not the identities, that the data reveals about consumers. They note that the information apps collect is tied not to someone’s name or phone number but to a unique ID. But those with access to the raw data — including employees or clients — could still identify a person without consent. They could follow someone they knew, by pinpointing a phone that regularly spent time at that person’s home address. Or, working in reverse, they could attach a name to an anonymous dot, by seeing where the device spent nights and using public records to figure out who lived there.

Many location companies say that when phone users enable location services, their data is fair game. But, The Times found, the explanations people see when prompted to give permission are often incomplete or misleading. An app may tell users that granting access to their location will help them get traffic information, but not mention that the data will be shared and sold. That disclosure is often buried in a vague privacy policy. READ MORE

How Your Apps Are Tracking Your Every Move

Your apps you could be giving companies permission to track your location, read all your texts, access your photos, microphone and camera.

via Your Smartphone Apps Are Tracking Your Every Move With Location Aware Data, And Selling It To Everyone — Now The End Begins

See the Clintons for a Steal!

Clintons, meet Groupon.

Groupon, meet the Clintons.

Heavily discounted tickets to the highly touted Bill and Hillary Clinton speaking tour are now showing up on the Groupon website and other sites after less-than-enthusiastic crowds have been turning out for their performances across the country.

Lower priced tickets for at least nine “An Evening with The Clintons” events have appeared on the Groupon website, which offers discounted deals on events, activities, goods and services, as Fox News reported.

On Monday, discounted tickets were offered even for events scheduled for New York, Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston.

Related: Clinton Foundation on the Hot Seat for Potential Misappropriation of Funds

The deals included tickets to an April 11 talk at Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre. Normally priced at $287, tickets were now going for $145 on Monday.

Tickets to an April 12 Detroit talk, originally listed for $220.70, were for sale for $95. And tickets in Philadelphia for an April 12 talk were reduced from $208.20 to $85, Fox also noted.

Maureen Dowd, a liberal New York Times columnist, wrote an op-ed after attending a Clintons event in Toronto, saying she felt “sorry” for the Clintons, who had to gaze out upon “large swaths of empty seats.”

On December 3, Hillary Clinton had tweeted that “Bill and I will be traveling to Washington to pay our respects to President George H.W. Bush and his family at the funeral this week. We were greatly looking forward to being in Houston for our event this week, and are excited to come back next year as soon as we find a date.”

Even tickets for the Houston-area event originally slated for December 4 were going for as low as $7 on  second-party sites, like StubHub.

Ticket prices for the event seemed to reflect waning interest in the hugely touted Clinton tour.

Even tickets for the Houston-area event originally slated for December 4 were going for as low as $7 on  second-party sites, like StubHub.

Recently, three people came forward with hundreds of pages of evidence of potential wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation, including misappropriation of funds and allegations of quid-pro-quo promises made to donors during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told Fox News this past Thursday.

Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is also the chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations.

The panel is set to hold an investigative hearing this week on the status of the foundation case.

And check out this video:

Source: See the Clintons for a Steal!

Making A Fortune: 19 Million Public Employees Across America Cost Taxpayers Nearly $1 Trillion

1.7 million public employees across America earned more than $100,000 last year. There are 105,000 local & state public employees who made more than any governor of the 50 states ($190,000).

Source: Making A Fortune: 19 Million Public Employees Across America Cost Taxpayers Nearly $1 Trillion

December 11, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump, without offering any names, said on Tuesday more than 10 people are vying to be his new White House chief of staff, a job his top choice declined over the weekend.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday vowed to go around Congress and utilize the U.S. military to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if he does not get funding, just hours before he is to meet with the top two Democratic lawmakers.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s reluctance to take up new cases on volatile social issues is putting it on a collision course with President Donald Trump, whose Justice Department is trying to rush such disputes through the appeals system to get them before the nine justices as quickly as possible.

U.S. lawmakers have reached an agreement on the Farm Bill that drops a proposal to tighten food stamps restrictions backed by President Donald Trump, and are looking to vote on it this week, according to congressional staffers.

The Trump administration is expected to propose weakening protections for U.S. wetlands on Tuesday, in a move sought by ranching and mining interests but one that will likely be held up in the courts amid opposition from environmentalists.

Time magazine named a group of journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and a pair of Reuters journalists imprisoned by Myanmar’s government, as its “Person of the Year,” in a cover story headlined “The Guardians and the War on Truth.”

A senior Iranian military commander has confirmed that Tehran recently carried out a ballistic missile test, to the anger of the United States, the Fars news agency said on Tuesday.

The prisoner swap in Yemen will take weeks and may involve third country nationals being repatriated, a senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

Overseas investors are reviewing their investments or shunning Treasuries as rates at the short end rise above those at the longer end and make it unprofitable for holders of these bonds to hedge their currency risks.

Daimler will buy battery cells worth more than $23 billion by 2030 as it readies mass production of hybrid and electric vehicles, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars said on Tuesday.

Kneeling in front of riot police, 32 religious leaders and activists were arrested at the U.S. border fence in San Diego on Monday during a protest to support the Central American migrant caravan.

AP Top Stories

The U.S. military said Tuesday that five missing crew members have been declared dead after their refueling plane collided with a fighter jet last week off Japan’s southern coast, and that search and recovery operations have ended after finding only one survivor.

The Mexican government has announced plans to spend $30 billion over the next five years on Central American development, an initiative designed to slow migration from some of the hemisphere’s poorest and most violent countries through Mexico and toward the United States.

A steady trickle of Central American migrants have been finding ways to climb over, tunnel under or slip through the U.S. border wall to plant their feet on U.S. soil and ask for asylum.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined its first opportunity to rule on abortion since the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

U.S. and Russian arms makers increased their share of sales among the world’s top 100 defense contractors thanks to buoyant domestic demand.

100 million dollars – that is how much Asia’s richest man, oil-and-telecom tycoon Mukesh Ambani, spent on the wedding of his daughter, Isha, to the son of a fellow billionaire.

US telecomm group Verizon announced Monday it would slash its workforce through a voluntary buyout plan as the company strives to better position itself for the coming of new cellular technology. Verizon accepted 10,400 employees for the buyout, which will grant more than a year’s salary plus a bonus and other benefits, the company said in a statement.

The number of people unaccounted for in California’s deadliest wildfire dropped to just three, down from a high of more than 1,200, officials said late on Monday.

The U.S. this week will begin withdrawing many of the active duty troops sent to the border with Mexico by President Donald Trump just before the midterm election in response to a caravan of Central American migrants, U.S. officials said Monday.

France on Tuesday handed over 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and three amphibious vehicles to the Central African Republic to shore up its beleaguered armed forces.

BBC

Russian and US officials have been involved in a spat over the landing in Venezuela of two Russian bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Two nuns who worked at a Catholic school in California have admitted embezzling about $500,000 and using it to gamble in Las Vegas.

WND

Warning that the electric grid is the “prime target” of terrorists, the Department of Homeland Security is urging Americans to prepare for the up to six months without electricity, transportation, fuel, money and health care, the Washington Examiner reports.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo found that college students would rather spend time on their smartphones than eat their favorite snack after being deprived of both for a period of time.

The Saudi desert turned white with hailstones. Lightning, accompanied by hail, set fire to a remote Australian landscape. And pounding hail killed at least one person and livestock in Swaziland. It all happened at about the same time . Simultaneous freak storms around world even kill cattle.


Mid-Day Snapshot

THE FOUNDATION

“The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)

SCOTUS Stumbles in Refusal to Review Abortion Funding

Two conservative justices join the Court’s leftists regarding Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood.

Thought Police Target ‘Homophobic’ Athletes

Famous people who don’t fall in line with the homosexual agenda will be punished.

The Long Road to Energy Independence

For the first time in 75 years, the U.S. is a net exporter of oil. That’s great news.

Muddling Along in Afghanistan

After 17 years, a look at our strategy and how to achieve national-security objectives.

How Mia Love Is Both Right and Wrong About Trump

The defeated congresswoman is in some ways representative of the current GOP split.

Man Tries to Rescue Guy Hanging From Roof … Who Turns Out to Be ‘Clark Griswold’ Dummy

“Can you reach it?” No, no he can’t.

Video: The Problem With ‘Medicare for All’

The Heritage Foundation breaks down many of the problems with the Dems’ vision.

Tuesday Short Cuts

Huh? “Most folks can find [health] coverage for $50 to $100 per month. That’s probably less than your cell phone bill.” —Barack Obama

Tuesday Top Headlines

Wall negotiations, asylum claims, Kavanaugh sides with leftist justices, economic fears, and more.

TODAY’S OPINION

RICH LOWRY
Britain’s Brexit Self-Abasement
HANS VON SPAKOVSKY
Why the US Is Right to Refuse to Sign UN Migration Compact
STEPHEN MOORE
The Bush Tax Betrayal
GARY BAUER
Comey Can’t Recall
DENNIS PRAGER
Does ‘Merry Christmas’ Matter?

TODAY’S MEME


TODAY’S CARTOON


News – 12/11/2018

PHOTO-SPREAD: Dedication of Altar for Third Temple
The altar was made of aerated concrete and constructed on a metal frame specifically designed to be loaded on a flatbed truck. Though not ideal, it is entirely kosher for use in the Temple service. Special vessels have also been prepared to be ready at a moment’s notice should the need arise to jumpstart the Temple service.

US destroyer conducts freedom-of-navigation operation near Russia amid heightened tensions
The purpose of the operation was to uphold the rights, freedom and lawful uses of the sea for the United States and other nations, said a statement by U.S. Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lt. j.g. Rachel McMarr. Russia on Tuesday was accused by all 29 NATO members of violating the Cold War-era Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by deploying a missile that could reach Europe.

Russian Defense Ministry unveils new laser weapon
Russia’s Defense Ministry has unveiled a new laser weapons system, the latest in a series of advanced offensive systems that the Kremlin has pledged to pursue. A video published on the ministry’s Twitter feed on December 5 showed the new Peresvet system being moved out of a hangar and put on display.

Miracle of Ingathering at Dedication of Altar for Third Temple
After months of intensive study, the Sanhedrin ordered a stone altar built, scheduling its dedication to take place on the last day of Hanukkah just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. On Monday, the last day of Hanukkah, the Sanhedrin called out to the 70 Nations to join in the consecration of the altar for the Third Temple. A full-dress reenactment of the daily sacrifice was held and a representative of a South American nation who attended was the recipient of a miraculous fulfillment of the Messianic promise of the ingathering of the exiles. The sections of meat were arranged on the ramp leading up to the altar in the ritually prescribed manner and one piece was thrown onto the fire on the altar to be burned completely.

Survey: 38% of European Jews Considering Escape from Europe
The report was compiled by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, which was established to uphold human rights and fight all forms of racism. According to the report, 89% of Jews surveyed said that anti-Semitism in the EU had risen significantly in the past five years, with 85% saying that anti-Semitism was the most serious problem they faced.

Ex-IDF deputy chief: Beware of Gulf states, their values are different than ours
Israel should solidify its control over the Golan Heights, deal more closely with the Kurds, and be careful in its relationship with the Persian Gulf countries because their set of values are significantly different than Israel’s, Yair Golan, until recently the IDF’s deputy chief of staff, said… Golan…said that Israel now has a “strategic opportunity” to make the Israeli presence on the Golan Heights permanent, something he said is “crucial to the security of Israel.”

Netanyahu vows no Jew to be uprooted from West Bank as long as he leads
“As long as I am the prime minister of Israel, not a single Jew will be uprooted from his home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at the dedication of a new interchange in the West Bank on Tuesday. Not only will no Jewish homes be uprooted in Judea and Samaria, he said at the ceremony near Geva Binyamin in the Binyamin region, but more homes will be built.

Report: Russia and Turkey expand arms sales, US remains biggest armorer
Russia is becoming a major arms producer, the second largest in the world according to a new survey of the global arms industry released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Turkey’s arms industry is also increasing in size, while Israel has three companies in the top 50 of arms-producing companies in the world.

Iran says it recently tested a ballistic missile
A senior Revolutionary Guards commander said…that Iran had recently carried out a ballistic missile test but he did not specify what kind of missile had been tested, according to Fars News. The comment appeared to confirm a report by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said early this month that Iran had test-fired “a medium range ballistic missile that is capable of carrying multiple warheads.” The missile could hit all of the Middle East and parts of Europe, Pompeo said.

Trump’s peace plan for Israel-Palestinian conflict facing more delays
The Trump administration plans to unveil its long-awaited peace plan in February, but its release may be delayed until March or April as it trains new staff on a team dedicated to the coming diplomatic effort, according to US officials familiar with the matter. Publication of the plan – a project that is two years in the making, led by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his longtime attorney and adviser, Jason Greenblatt – has faced repeated delays.

Brexit: Theresa May meeting EU leaders in bid to rescue deal
Theresa May is meeting European leaders and EU officials on Tuesday for talks aimed at rescuing her Brexit deal. She is holding talks with Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Germany’s Angela Merkel after postponing a Commons vote on the deal. The UK PM has said she needs “further assurances” about the Northern Ireland border plan to get backing from MPs.

France yellow vest protests: Macron promises wage rise
France’s President Emmanuel Macron has promised a minimum wage rise and tax concessions in response to weeks of violent protests. France has seen four weekends of violent protests against fuel tax rises, living costs and other issues. Speaking in a televised address, Mr Macron condemned the violence but said the protesters’ anger was “deep, and in many ways legitimate”.

US-Russian spat over Russian bombers landing in Venezuela
Russian and US officials have been involved in a spat over the landing in Venezuela of two Russian bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The two Tu-160 bombers landed in Venezuela on Monday in a Russian show of support for the government of socialist President Nicolás Maduro. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the deployment amounted to a “squandering of public funds”.

Stocks are on track for the worst year in a decade. Four experts weigh in on what 2019 will bring
Stocks saw a huge reversal on Monday as investors are trying to sort out which of the litany of market factors will have the biggest impact on their portfolios in 2019. Fears of slowing global economic growth, a hiking Fed and peak earnings have all weighed on Wall Street in recent months, putting the S&P 500 on track for its worst annual performance since 2008. Four experts weigh in on what they’ll be keeping an eye on as a volatile 2018 draws to a close.

Supreme Court gives victory to Planned Parenthood in Medicaid case
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left lower court victories intact for Planned Parenthood in a legal battle with states over access by Medicaid patients to the group’s services. The dispute did not involve abortion, but the action by the justices keeps a hot-button political issue off the docket. Three of the court’s conservatives said the court should have taken the case.

Time to allow the Ten Commandments in Texas classrooms?
State Rep. Dan Flynn of Van wants to make sure that any Texas teacher who wants to display the Ten Commandments in his or her classroom may do so. That’s why he filed House Bill 307 that says school officials — particularly school board trustees — cannot prevent copies of those commandments from being posted “in a prominent location” in classrooms.

Steamboat Geyser breaks historical yearly eruption record
The Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park broke decades-old records when it erupted for the 30th time in 2018 Saturday. Yellowstone National Park reports Saturday’s eruption surpasses the all-time record for the number of documented eruptions in a calendar year which was 29 in 1964. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the geyser erupted at 1:07 a.m.

Ebola vaccine is having ‘major impact’ but Congo outbreak may still explode
As an Ebola outbreak in a conflict-plagued region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to spread after 4 months, there’s a glimmer of hope: An experimental Ebola vaccine appears to be helping the communities it reaches. More than 40,000 people have received the vaccine, by far the largest use of it since a trial in 2015 showed it worked well.

Hezbollah wages psychological war against the IDF
The psychological warfare between Israel and Hezbollah intensifies as Operation Northern Shield enters its second week. The Shiite terror organization has been releasing footage of IDF troops operating in the Israeli enclave along the Lebanese border, while the IDF published Monday a recording of the sounds of tunnel diggings.

IMF warns storm clouds gathering for global economy
One of the International Monetary Fund’s top officials warned on Tuesday that storm clouds were gathering over the global economy and that governments and central banks might not be well- equipped to cope. The fund had been urging governments to “fix the roof” during a sunny last two years for the world economy, IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton said.

Japan to ramp up defense spending to pay for new fighters, radar
Japan aims to boost defense spending over the next five years to help pay for new stealth fighters and other advanced U.S. military equipment, a source with knowledge of the plan said on Tuesday. The Ministry of Defence will this month present a plan to spend 27 trillion yen ($239.5 billion) on its military over five years starting from April 2019, said the government source who declined to identified.

Syria denies attack on Damascus airport as local residents hear blasts
Syrian state media denied reports of an attack on Damascus international airport as residents of the area said they heard the sound of explosions on Sunday night.

Deadly Winter Storm Diego Strands Virginia Drivers For Hours; Over 100,000 Remain Without Power in Southeast
More than 108,000 customers remained without power Monday night after Winter Storm Diego unleashed its wrath on the Southeast over the weekend, killing at least three people in North Carolina, another in Tennessee and stranding drivers for hours on a Virginia interstate.

Google Approves App For Muslims to Report People Who Commit Blasphemy, Insult Islam
Google approved a new Android app called “Smart Pakem,” which would help Muslims in Indonesia report their fellow countrymen if they dare commit blasphemy, or insult Mohammed or Islam.

Antibiotics raise the risk of kidney stones by almost 30%, study finds
Kidney stones are supposed to be a rare occurrence in children. However, it is now considered an “epidemic” among the young, and that the overall incidence of kidney stones has increased by 70 percent in the past 30 years.

Bible plagues back? Hail with fire, ice covers desert
The Saudi desert turned white with hailstones. Lightning, accompanied by hail, set fire to a remote Australian landscape. And pounding hail killed at least one person and livestock in Swaziland. It all happened at about the same time,

AGENDA 21: Yellow Vest Protests Reach Sweden As Thousands Of Swedes Gather To Protest UN Global Migration Pact
Europe is one of those places where you just assume the vast majority of people are Far Left Liberals, and for the most part that’s true. But even Liberals in Europe don’t want to pay a globalist ‘climate tax‘ bundled into their fuel costs, and they don’t want unchecked, open border migration.

Pope Francis Implementing Change Of Lord’s Prayer: ‘Lead Us Not Into Temptation’
The Vatican under Pope Francis will soon be implementing a change to the Lord’s Prayer, also known as the Pater Noster, switching out the line “lead us not into temptation” for the Francis-approved “abandon us not into temptation.”

Execs At Michael Bloomberg’s Company Expected To Be Arrested For Fraud
The Manhattan district attorney’s office and New York state police are expected to arrest several senior executives in former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s finance company on fraud charges Tuesday, The New York Times reported.

Live Nativity Comes to DC
Police officers will stop traffic as camels, sheep and a donkey accompany Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus, the Three Wise Men and shepherds dressed in first century attire as they proceed around the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

105 Illegal Aliens, Including Pedophiles and Gang Members, Arrested in ICE Raid
105 illegal aliens have been arrested during a sweeping raid across the state of New Jersey, with pedophiles, child abusers, and violent gang members among those apprehended by ICE agents.

British PM Theresa May: Pedophiles Should Be Allowed To Adopt Children Too
With Theresa May on shaky ground as the current Conservative leader and British Prime Minister, details of an executive order she made that would give more rights to child abusers, has come to light.

FEC Records Indicate Hillary Campaign Illegally Laundered $84 Million
The press continues to feed the dying Russia collusion conspiracy theory, spending Friday’s news cycle regurgitating Democrat talking points from the just-filed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act lawsuit against the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, and Russia.

Winter Storm Sweeps South: 300,000+ No Power, 1,500 Canceled Flights
A massive winter storm containing rain, sleet, and snow is sweeping the southeastern United States, leaving more than 300,000 without power and 1,500 flights canceled.

Some Guests Are Coming to Earth for Dinner
…He told me that the Germans told him that the knowledge came from aliens, but they had never met them. It was my father’s belief that the technology came from satanic demons, not aliens. However, he became aware of Operation Blue Beam, though his work as a Naval Intelligence Officer. He told me that one day, there would be a great deception and demons masquerading as aliens would make their presence known on the Earth as they had done before.

REPORT: Uranium One Informant Reveals Russians “Bragged About Bribing Clintons”
In a video report released Monday, veteran political pollster Dick Morris, revealed FBI informant William Campbell told congressional investigators that Russians involved in the Uranium One deal bragged about bribing the Clintons.

GOOD TRUMP: U.S. Ends Reliance On Foreign Oil For First Time In 75 Years
For the first time in 75 years, the United States exported more oil than it imported, carrying out a pledge from President Trump that America can achieve “energy independence.”

Prepare for President Trump to call upon American citizens to defend the Republic against the lawless deep state
Even though Robert Mueller is repeatedly indicting former Trump associates for lying to the government — a “process crime” – James Comey just gave testimony to Congress in which he lied hundreds of times. Yet nothing has happened to James Comey (yet). President Trump may soon be indicted for “campaign finance violations,” warn lawless Democrats, yet Hillary Clinton pre-sold White House influence to foreign oligarchs for hundreds of millions of dollars on the assumption that Democrats had successfully stolen the 2016 election.

The Growing War Between Globalism and Nationalism Is Being Fought On the Streets of Paris
As we all know, President Trump ordered the American military to the border to oppose the dangerous and unlawful entry of unknown migrants into the United States. We know that a certain percentage of would-be border crashers are from such terrorist groups as MS-13, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The UN hits a new low, as their leader suggests deploying armed forces to protect Muslim ‘Palestinians’ from the Israeli Army
The protection of Palestinian civilians could be improved by the deployment of UN-mandated armed forces or unarmed observers, a beefed-up UN civilian presence or expanded UN assistance, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote in a report on Friday.

South Africa Fast-Tracks Plans for White Farmers Land Grab
White farmers in South Africa will soon be forced off their land, without compensation, as the government fast-tracks an amendment to the Constitution that will make the farmland grabs legal.


Headlines – 12/11/2018

Kushner: Mideast plan will be put out in upcoming months

Kushner: ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict has gone on for way too long’

Kushner: White House has shifted from Khashoggi killing to Israeli-Palestinian peace

Trump’s peace plan for Israel-Palestinian conflict facing more delays

Australia reportedly set to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Arab League warns Brazil that Jerusalem embassy move could harm ties

Temple-ready altar dedicated on last day of Hanukkah by activist groups

‘Israel Must Prepare for Immigration of 200,000 French Jews,’ Declares Israeli Minister

European Jews feel under threat, think of emigrating: EU survey

The latest poll on anti-Semitism in Europe looks bad. Trust me: It’s true

US man arrested for plotting synagogue attacks in Toledo, Ohio

FBI Charges Man With Planning ISIS-inspired Attack on Synagogue

Jewish groups urge vigilance after Toledo synagogue plot uncovered

Netanyahu on Ofra attack: ‘Shooting at a pregnant woman is monstrous’

Netanyahu resists calls to legalize Ofra over shooting attack

Israeli troops raid office of Palestinian news agency

Abbas urges international action against Israel over daytime raid in Ramallah

As unrest builds, a volcano of violence is waiting to erupt in West Bank

Israel Can Now Overfly Sudan, Boasts Netanyahu, Who Has Been Courting Ex-foes

Israeli planes can use Omani, Sudanese airspace, Netanyahu says

Qatar asked Israel for permission to build airport in Gaza, envoy says

Lebanon says it foiled plots to stage attacks in May

Israel’s blitz of Hezbollah’s terror tunnels will help win the PR war

IDF releases seismic audio of Hezbollah digging into Israel

IDF officials to discuss Operation Northern Shield with Russian counterparts

Senior IDF officers to visit Moscow amid ongoing spat over downed Russian plane

560,000 Killed in Syria’s War According to Updated Death Toll

ISIS Magazine for Millennials Threatens Vehicle Attacks Near U.S. Capitol

Iraq marks anniversary of victory over Islamic State

Baghdad reopens fortified Green Zone a year after Isis ousted from Iraq

Iranian general says nation can extend missile range beyond 2,000 kilometers

Iran said to arrest over 100 Christians in crackdown on conversions

Russia Military Planes Arrive in Venezuela, Iran’s Warships May Follow to Support US Foe

Turkey’s Erdogan to ‘Cover Most of Venezuela’s Necessities,’ Including a Mosque

Turkey calls for international inquiry into Khashoggi death

Erdogan slams rights groups’ silence over France protests

Riding wave of social unrest, French high-school students vow ‘Black Tuesday’ protests

Paris Riots Reveal Disillusion and Despair in French Hinterlands

France’s Macron vows to use ‘all means’ to restore calm

Macron vows tax relief, urges calm in bid to quell protests

Macron: ‘I am partly responsible’ for unrest

Macron’s compromises fail to subside France’s anger: Yellow-vested populists hoped he would quit

Macron declares ‘economic and social state of emergency’

EU insists will not renegotiate Brexit deal

Hard Brexit: PM May Says the U.K. Leaving the EU on March 29

UK’s May pulls vote on her divorce deal, thrusting Brexit into the unknown

Theresa May halts Brexit deal vote to avoid defeat, throwing British politics into chaos

UK pound sinks more after May delays Brexit vote

Dow stages huge comeback after briefly plunging below 24,000

‘We’re going to kill you’: Nicaragua’s brutal crackdown on press freedom

44 Former Senators Warn We Are at a National “Inflection Point” on Russia Investigation, Call on Senate to Defend Democracy

Trump Flies Solo as Perils to Presidency Mount

Turley: Potential Trump Campaign Finance Violations ‘Very Serious,’ But Difficult to Prove

Trump calls Michael Cohen payouts a ‘simple private transaction,’ denies they were campaign contributions

Customs officers searching more travelers’ devices

Voyager 2 probe moves into interstellar space

Magnitude 7.1 quake hits close to Antarctica

5.0 magnitude earthqauke hits near Shikotan, Russia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 12,500ft

Ebeko volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 10,000ft

Thousands still without power after deadly snowstorm blankets the South

Climate change directly responsible for some extreme weather events, study finds

U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Block Endorsement Of Global Warming Study

As doctors taper or end opioid prescriptions, many patients driven to despair, suicide

Ebola spreads to major Congo city; experts fear experimental vaccine stock won’t suffice

Record count reported for mysterious paralyzing illness

Romania hospital says 39 babies now diagnosed with superbug

Kavanaugh Joins Liberals To Protect Pro-Planned Parenthood Ruling

Reluctant U.S. Supreme Court on collision course with Trump

New Israeli religious group aims to combat LGBTs for ‘destroying family values’

Ruby Rose Says Playing Lesbian Superhero Batwoman Is A ‘Win’ For LGBT Community

Porn is causing shocking trend of children sexually assaulting other kids, medical experts warn


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Gavin Finley – Pilgrims and Puritans

Pastor John Gray draws flak for giving wife $200K Lamborghini Urus for anniversary

The Send conference features Bethel Redding speaker known for “grave soaking”

New York gives Christian group ‘ultimatum’: change gay adoption policy or end placement program

Faith leaders to U.S. authorities: Migrants have international right to U.S. asylum

Roberts, Kavanaugh Join Liberal Supreme Court Justices in Rejection of Planned Parenthood Defunding Cases

Only abortion provider left in Tennessee’s capital suspends abortion services


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December 11, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Characteristics of the Worthy Walk

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4:2–3)

Here Paul gives five essentials for faithful Christian living, five attitudes on which walking worthily in the Lord’s call are predicated.

humility

These characteristics, of which humility is the foundation, form a progression, the genuine exercise of one leading to the exercise of those that follow.

Tapeinophrosunē (humility) is a compound word that literally means to think or judge with lowliness, and hence to have lowliness of mind. John Wesley observed that “neither the Romans nor the Greeks had a word for humility.” The very concept was so foreign and abhorrent to their way of thinking that they had no term to describe it. Apparently this Greek term was coined by Christians, probably by Paul himself, to describe a quality for which no other word was available. To the proud Greeks and Romans, their terms for ignoble, cowardly, and other such characteristics were sufficient to describe the “unnatural” person who did not think of himself with pride and self-satisfaction. When, during the first several centuries of Christianity, pagan writers borrowed the term tapeinophrosunē, they always used it derogatorily—frequently of Christians—because to them humility was a pitiable weakness.

But humility is the most foundational Christian virtue. We cannot even begin to please God without humility, just as our Lord Himself could not have pleased His Father had He not willingly “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and … humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7–8).

Yet humility is terribly elusive, because if focused on too much it will turn into pride, its very opposite. Humility is a virtue to be highly sought but never claimed, because once claimed it is forfeited. Only Jesus Christ, as the perfectly obedient Son, could justifiably claim humility for Himself. “Take My yoke upon you,” He said, “for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29). He came to earth as God’s Son, yet was born in a stable, raised in a peasant family, never owned property except the garments on His back, and was buried in a borrowed tomb. At any time He could have exercised His divine rights, prerogatives, and glory, but in obedience and humility He refused to do so because it would have been to go outside His Father’s will. If the Lord of glory walked in humility while He was on earth, how much more are His imperfect followers to do so? “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

Although humility is at the heart of Christian character, no virtue is more foreign to the world’s ways. The world exalts pride, not humility. Throughout history, fallen human nature, ruled by Satan, the prince of this world, has shunned humility and advocated pride. For the most part humility has been looked on as weakness and impotence, something ignoble to be despised. People unashamedly claim to be proud of their jobs, their children, their accomplishments, and on and on. Society loves to recognize and praise those who have accomplished something outstanding. Ostentation, boasting, parading, and exalting are the world’s stock in trade.

Unfortunately the church often reflects that worldly perspective and pattern, building many programs and organizations around the superficial enticements of awards, trophies, and public recognition. We seem to have found a way to encourage boasting that is “acceptable,” because such boasting is done in the name of the gospel. But in doing so we contradict the very gospel we claim to promote, because the hallmark of the gospel is humility, not pride and self-exaltation. God’s work cannot be served by the world’s ways. God’s call is to humility and His work is only accomplished through humility.

The first sin was pride, and every sin after that has been in some way an extension of pride. Pride led the angel Lucifer to exalt himself above his Creator and Lord. Because the bright “star of the morning” continually said, “I will, I will, I will” in opposition to God’s will, he was cast out of heaven (Isa. 14:12–23). Because he said, “I am a god,” the Lord cast him “from the mountain of God” (Ezek. 28:11–19). The original sin of Adam and Eve was pride, trusting in their own understanding above God’s (Gen. 3:6–7). The writer of Proverbs warns, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor” (11:2), “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling” (16:18), and again “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin” (21:4).

Isaiah warned, “The proud look of man will be abased, and the loftiness of man will be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11; cf. 3:16–26). “Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one,” God declared against Babylon, “For your day has come, the time when I shall punish you. And the arrogant one will stumble and fall with no one to raise him up” (Jer. 50:31–32). The last chapter of the Old Testament begins, “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff” (Mal. 4:1). The Beatitudes begin with “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3), and James assures us that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; cf. Ps. 138:6).

Pride is the supreme temptation from Satan, because pride is at the heart of his own evil nature. Consequently, Satan makes sure that the Christian is never entirely free from the temptation of pride. We will always be in a battle with pride until the Lord takes us to be with Himself. Our only protection against pride, and our only source of humility, is a proper view of God. Pride is the sin of competing with God, and humility is the virtue of submitting to His supreme glory.

Pride comes in many forms. We may be tempted to be proud of our abilities, our possessions, our education, our social status, our appearance, our power, and even our biblical knowledge or religious accomplishments. But throughout Scripture the Lord calls His people to humility. “Before honor comes humility” (Prov. 15:33); “The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life” (22:4); “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (27:2).

Humility is an ingredient of all spiritual blessing. Just as every sin has its roots in pride, every virtue has its roots in humility. Humility allows us to see ourselves as we are, because it shows us before God as He is. Just as pride is behind every conflict we have with other people and every problem of fellowship we have with the Lord, so humility is behind every harmonious human relationship, every spiritual success, and every moment of joyous fellowship with the Lord.

During the days of slavery in the West Indies, a group of Moravian Christians found it impossible to witness to the slaves because they were almost totally separated from the ruling class—many of whom felt it beneath them even to speak to a slave. Two young missionaries, however, were determined to reach those oppressed peoples at any cost. In order to fulfill God’s calling they joined the slaves. They worked and lived beside the slaves, becoming totally identified with them—sharing their overwork, their beatings, and their abuse. It is not strange that the two missionaries soon won the hearts of those slaves, many of whom accepted for themselves the God who could move men to such loving selflessness.

A person cannot even become a Christian without humility, without recognizing himself as a sinner and worthy only of God’s just condemnation. “Truly I say to you,” Jesus said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself …” (Matt. 18:3–4). At the height of his own fame and recognition as a prophet, John the Baptist said of Jesus, “I am not fit to remove His sandals” (Matt. 3:11) and “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Martha was busy doing many things supposedly for Jesus’ sake, but on three different occasions we see Mary simply sitting humbly at Jesus’ feet. In all four gospels the writers hide themselves and focus attention on Jesus. How easy it would have been for them to subtly include accounts favorable to themselves. Matthew identifies himself as a despised tax-collector, which none of the other gospel writers does. On the other hand, he does not mention the feast that he gave for his fellow tax-collectors to meet Jesus. Because of Matthew’s humility, it was left to Luke to write about that.

Mark probably wrote under the tutelage of Peter, and possibly because of that apostle’s influence he does not report two of the most amazing things that happened to Peter during Jesus’ ministry—his walking on water and his confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. John never mentions his own name, referring to himself simply as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

In a compilation of old quotes is an excellent paragraph written by Thomas Guthrie:

The grandest edifices, the tallest towers, the loftiest spires rest on deep foundations. The very safety of eminent gifts and preeminent graces lies in their association with deep humility. They are dangerous without it. Great men do need to be good men. Look at the mighty ship. A leviathan into the sea, with her towering masts and carrying a cloud of canvas. How she steadies herself on the waves and walks erect on the rolling waters like a thing with inherent, self-regulating life.… Why is she not flung on her beam’s end, sent down floundering into the deep? Because unseen beneath the surface a vast well-ballasted hull gives her balance and takes hold of the water, keeps her steady under a pressive sail and on the bosom of a swelling sea. Even though to preserve the saint upright, to preserve the saint erect and safe from falling, God gives him balance and ballast bestowing on the man to whom He has given lofty endowments, the tendant grace of a proportionate humility.

Humility begins with proper self-awareness, “the virtue,” said Bernard of Clairvaux, “by which a man becomes conscious of his own unworthiness.” It begins with an honest, unadorned, unretouched view of oneself. The first thing the honest person sees in himself is sin, and therefore one of the surest marks of true humility is daily confession of sin. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8–9). “We are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves,” Paul says; “but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12). It is not only unspiritual but unintelligent to judge ourselves by comparison with others. We all tend to exaggerate our own good qualities and minimize the good qualities of others. Humility takes off our rose-colored glasses and allows us to see ourselves as we really are. We are not “adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves,” says Paul, “but our adequacy is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).

Second, humility involves Christ-awareness. He is the only standard by which righteousness can be judged and by which pleasing God can be judged. Our goal should be no less than “to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6), and Jesus Christ walked in perfection. Only of Jesus has God ever said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3:17).

Third, humility involves God-awareness. As we study His life in the gospels we come to see Jesus more and more in His human perfection—His perfect humility, His perfect submission to the Father, His perfect love, compassion, and wisdom. But beyond His human perfection we also come to see His divine perfection—His limitless power; His knowing the thoughts and heart of every person; and His authority to heal diseases, cast out demons, and even forgive sins. We come to see Jesus Christ as Isaiah saw the Lord, “sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted” and we want to cry out with the seraphim, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory,” and with the prophet himself, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:1, 3, 5).

When Paul looked at himself in self-awareness, he saw the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). When Peter looked at himself in Christ awareness, he said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). When Job looked at himself in God awareness, he said, “Therefore I retract, I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).

Our business success, fame, education, wealth, personality, good works, or anything else we are or have in ourselves counts for nothing before God. The more we rely on and glory in such things, the greater barrier they become to our communion with God. Every person comes before the Lord with nothing to commend him and everything to condemn him. But when he comes with the spirit of the penitent tax-collector, saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner,” God will willingly and lovingly accept him. “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:13–14).

gentleness

Humility always produces gentleness, or meekness. Meekness is one of the surest signs of true humility. You cannot possess meekness without humility, and you cannot possess meekness with pride. Because pride and humility are mutually exclusive, so are pride and meekness, or gentleness.

Many dictionaries define meekness in terms such as “timid,” or “a deficiency in courage or spirit”; but that is far from the biblical meaning. Praotēs (here translated gentleness) refers to that which is mild-spirited and self-controlled, the opposite of vindictiveness and vengeance. Jesus used the adjective form in giving the third beatitude (“Blessed are the gentle,” Matt. 5:5) and to describe His own character (“For I am gentle,” Matt. 11:29). Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23) and should characterize every child of God (Col. 3:12; cf. Phil. 4:5).

The meaning of praotēs has nothing to do with weakness, timidity, indifference, or cowardice. It was used of wild animals that were tamed, especially of horses that were broken and trained. Such an animal still has his strength and spirit, but its will is under the control of its master. The tamed lion is still powerful, but his power is under the control of his trainer. The horse can run just as fast, but he runs only when and where his master tells him to run.

Meekness is power under control. Biblical meekness, or gentleness, is power under the control of God. A meek person is normally quiet, soothing, and mild mannered, and he is never avenging, self-assertive, vindictive, or self-defensive. When the soldiers came to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane and Peter drew his sword to defend His Lord, Jesus said, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). Even in His humanity Jesus had access to infinite divine power, which He could at any time have used in His own defense. Yet not once did He choose to do so. His refusal to enlist divine resources for anything but obeying His Father’s will is the supreme picture of meekness—power under control.

David displayed such meekness when he refused to kill King Saul in the cave near Engedi, although he had easy opportunity and considerable justification from the human point of view (1 Sam. 24:1–7). After David himself became king, he again showed the restraint of meekness when he refused to retaliate against the malicious taunts, curses, and stone throwing of Shimei (2 Sam. 16:5–14).

Moses is described as, “very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). Yet he fearlessly confronted Pharaoh in the Lord’s name (see Ex. 5–12), angrily confronted Israel with her rebelliousness and idolatry (32:19–29), and even boldly confronted the Lord to forgive the people’s sin (32:11–13, 30–32). Yet Moses’ confidence was not in himself but in the Lord’s character and promises. When God first called him, Moses replied, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou hast spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (4:10). As he served the Lord throughout his life, Moses had God’s rod to remind him that the great work to which the Lord had called him could be accomplished only in the Lord’s own power. That he himself was nothing and God was everything were the marks of Moses’ meekness. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones has observed, “To be meek means you have finished with yourself altogether.”

Yet the meek person is also capable of righteous anger and action when God’s Word or name is maligned, as Jesus was when His Father’s house was made into a robber’s den and He forcibly drove out the offenders (Matt. 21:13). As Paul affirms later in this letter, it is possible to be angry and not sin (Eph. 4:26). Like the Lord Himself, the meek person does not revile in return when he is reviled (1 Pet. 2:23). When the meek person becomes angry, he is aroused by that which maligns God or is harmful to others, not by what is done against himself. And his anger is controlled and carefully directed, not a careless and wild venting of emotion that spatters everyone who is near.

One of the marks of true meekness is self-control. People who are angered at every nuisance or inconvenience to themselves know nothing of meekness or gentleness. “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Prov. 16:32). Two other marks of meekness, already mentioned, are anger at God’s name or work being maligned and lack of anger when we ourselves are harmed or criticized.

The meek person responds willingly to the Word of God, no matter what the requirements or consequences, humbly receiving “the word implanted” (James 1:21). He is also a peacemaker, who readily forgives and helps to restore a sinning brother (Gal. 6:1). Finally, the person who is truly meek and gentle according to God’s standards has the right attitude toward the unsaved. He does not look down on them with a feeling of superiority but longs for their salvation, knowing that he himself was once lost—and would still be lost but for God’s grace. We are to be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks [us] to give an account for the hope that is in [us], yet with gentleness (praotēs) and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15). Not only Christian women but all believers should be adorned “with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Pet. 3:4).

patience

A third attitude that characterizes the Christian’s worthy walk is patience, which is an outgrowth of humility and gentleness. Makrothumia (patience) literally means long-tempered, and is sometimes translated longsuffering. The patient person endures negative circumstances and never gives in to them.

Abraham received the promise of God but had to wait many years to see its fulfillment. “Thus,” the writer of Hebrews tells us, “having patiently waited, he obtained the promise” (Heb. 6:15). God had promised that Abraham’s descendants would be a great nation (Gen. 12:2) and yet he was not given Isaac, the child of promise, until after Abraham was nearly a hundred years old. “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20).

God told Noah to build a ship in the wilderness, far from any body of water and before there had ever been rain on earth. For 120 years Noah worked at that task, while preaching to his neighbors of God’s coming judgment.

In the chronicle of faithful Old Testament saints in the book of Hebrews, Moses’ patient endurance is mentioned twice. He chose rather “to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Heb. 11:25–27).

James said, “As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10). When God called Jeremiah, He told the prophet that no one would believe his message and that he would be hated, maligned, and persecuted (Jer. 1:5–19). Yet Jeremiah served the Lord faithfully and patiently until the end of his life. Similarly, when the Lord called Isaiah he was told that the nation would not listen to him nor turn from their sin (Isa. 6:9–12). Like Jeremiah, however, he preached and ministered with patient faithfulness.

Paul was willing to endure any hardship, affliction, ridicule, or persecution in order to patiently serve his Master. “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart?” he asked the Christians at Caesarea after the prophet Agabus predicted the apostle’s arrest and imprisonment. “For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).

When H. M. Stanley went to Africa in 1871 to find and report on David Livingstone, he spent several months in the missionary’s company, carefully observing the man and his work. Livingstone never spoke to Stanley about spiritual matters, but Livingstone’s loving and patient compassion for the African people was beyond Stanley’s comprehension. He could not understand how the missionary could have such love for and patience with the backward, pagan people among whom he had so long ministered. Livingstone literally spent himself in untiring service for those whom he had no reason to love except for Christ’s sake. Stanley wrote in his journal, “When I saw that unwearied patience, that unflagging zeal, and those enlightened sons of Africa, I became a Christian at his side, though he never spoke to me one word.”

Aristotle said that the greatest Greek virtue was refusal to tolerate any insult and readiness to strike back. But that is not God’s way for His people. The patient saint accepts whatever other people do to him. He is “patient with all men” (1 Thess. 5:14), even those who try his patience to the limit. He is patient with those who slander him and who question his motives for serving the Lord.

The patient saint accepts God’s plan for everything, without questioning or grumbling. He does not complain when his calling seems less glamorous than someone else’s or when the Lord sends him to a place that is dangerous or difficult. He remembers that God the Son left His heavenly home of love, holiness, and glory to come to earth and be hated, rejected, spat upon, and crucified—without once returning evil for evil or complaining to His Father.

forbearing love

A fourth characteristic element of the worthy Christian walk is forbearance to one another in love. Peter tells us that such “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). It throws a blanket over the sins of others, not to justify or excuse them but to keep the sins from becoming any more known than necessary. “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions” (Prov. 10:12). Forbearing love takes abuse from others while continuing to love them.

Forbearing love could only be agapē love, because only agapē love gives continuously and unconditionally. Erōs love is essentially self-love, because it cares for others only because of what it can get from them. It is the love that takes and never gives. Philia love is primarily reciprocal love, love that gives as long as it receives. But agapē love is unqualified and unselfish love, love that willingly gives whether it receives in return or not. It is unconquerable benevolence, invincible goodness—love that goes out even to enemies and prays for its persecutors (Matt. 5:43–44). That is why the forbearance of which Paul speaks here could only be expressed in agapē love.

unity

The ultimate outcome of humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance is being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Spoudazō (to be diligent) basically means to make haste, and from that come the meanings of zeal and diligence. One commentator describes it as a holy zeal that demands full dedication. Paul used the word in telling Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15; cf. Titus 3:12–13).

Preservation of the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace should be the diligent and constant concern of every believer. Paul is not speaking of organizational unity, such as that promoted in many denominations and in the ecumenical movement. He is speaking of the inner and universal unity of the Spirit by which every true believer is bound to every other true believer. As Paul makes clear, this is the unity of the Spirit working in the lives of believers. It does not come from the outside but the inside, and is manifested through the inner qualities of humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearing love.

Spiritual unity is not, and cannot be, created by the church. It is already created by the Holy Spirit. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.… There are many members, but one body” (1 Cor. 12:13, 20; cf. Rom. 8:9). It is this very unity of the Spirit for which Jesus so earnestly prayed in the Upper Room shortly before His betrayal and arrest: “Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are, … that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us.… And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity” (John 17:11, 21–23).

The church’s responsibility, through the lives of individual believers, is to preserve the unity by faithfully walking in a manner worthy of God’s calling (v. 1), manifesting Christ to the world by oneness in Him (cf. Rom. 15:1–6; 1 Cor. 1:10–13; 3:1–3; Phil. 1:27). The world is always seeking but never finding unity. All the laws, conferences, treaties, accords, and agreements fail to bring unity or peace. Someone has reported that throughout recorded history every treaty made has been broken. There is not, and cannot be, any peace for the wicked (Isa. 48:22). As long as self is at the center; as long as our feelings, prestige, and rights are our chief concern, there will never be unity.

The bond that preserves unity is peace, the spiritual belt that surrounds and binds God’s holy people together. It is the bond that Paul described in Philippians as “being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (2:2). Behind this bond of peace is love, which Colossians 3:14 calls “the perfect bond of unity.”

Humility gives birth to gentleness, gentleness gives birth to patience, patience gives birth to forbearing love, and all four of those characteristics preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. These virtues and the supernatural unity to which they testify are probably the most powerful testimony the church can have, because they are in such contrast to the attitudes and the disunity of the world. No program or method, no matter how carefully planned and executed, can open the door to the gospel in the way individual believers can do when they are genuinely humble, meek, patient, forbearing in love, and demonstrate peaceful unity in the Holy Spirit.[1]


The Worthy Life

Ephesians 4:1–3

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Years ago when my wife and I were in a Christian education class in seminary, we were given an assignment to design a Sunday school curriculum. It was to have various age levels and an overall theme, tying the various subjects, classes, and age groupings together. Today, years later, there is much about this curriculum that I have forgotten, but the unifying concept is still vivid in my mind. It was based on the principle that “input” (what is taught as content) should equal “output” (the expression of content in practical works of service).

This curriculum was never put into practice; it was only an exercise. I cannot say how successful we might have been in matching each bit of information to some practical expression, but I do know that the principle itself is valid. The apostle Paul followed the same principle in his major epistles. Anyone who has studied Paul’s letters knows that they tend to begin with a doctrinal section and that this is customarily followed by a section containing practical advice or application.

The epistle to the Romans fits this pattern. The doctrinal sections are in chapters 1–11. The practical section is chapters 12–15, beginning with the words: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” In Galatians the division is between chapters 1–4, on the one hand, and chapters 5 and 6 on the other. The latter section of Galatians begins: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

This is the point to which we have now come in our study of Ephesians. With the possible exception of Romans, no New Testament letter contains a stronger or more exhilarating presentation of theology. Chapters 1–3 have spoken of predestination and election, adoption and redemption, the work of the Holy Spirit, rebirth, the work of God in joining people from all nations and all walks of life together in the one holy body of Christ, the church. This is so marvelous a section that Paul ends chapter 3 with a doxology. We want to say with Paul, “To [God] be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (v. 21). And we do say this, passionately and intently—if we have understood the teaching in these chapters.

Yet the letter does not stop. Paul immediately goes on to say, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” He is telling us that doctrinal “input” must be matched by an equal, practical “output” of that doctrine in our lives.

Scales of Life

This important idea is also contained in the word “worthy,” which Paul uses in verse 1. “Worthy” means to have worth or value. But it is more than that. It means to have a worth equal to one’s position. A worthy opponent is one whose gifts equal one’s own. A workman “worthy of his hire” is one whose service merits the wages he receives. In his commentary on Ephesians, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes this as a scale in which the weight on one side always equals the weight on the other, in this case the weight of practice equaling the weight of doctrine: “The Apostle … is beseeching them and exhorting them always to give equal weight in their lives to doctrine and practice. They must not put all the weight on doctrine and none on practice; nor all the weight on practice and just a little, if any at all, on doctrine. To do so produces imbalance and lopsidedness. The Ephesians must take great pains to see that the scales are perfectly balanced.”

But that is hard to achieve.

There are some Christians who are primarily intellectual in nature. They love books, enjoy study, and delight in the exposition of the Bible’s great doctrinal passages. This is a good thing. It is proper to love doctrine and rejoice at what God has done for us in Christ. Paul himself obviously did this; we can tell from the way he has unfolded his doctrines in the first three chapters of this letter. But the intellectual believer faces a great danger and often has a great weakness as a result of failing to overcome the danger. He loves doctrine so much that he stops with doctrine. He reads the first three chapters of Ephesians and delights in them; but when he comes to chapter 4 he says, “Oh, the rest is just application. I know all about that.” Then he skips ahead to the next doctrinal section and neglects what he perhaps most needs to assimilate.

On the other hand, some Christians are primarily oriented to experience. They thrive under the teaching found in the second half of this book. They want to know about spiritual gifts and their own exercise of them. They are excited about Paul’s teaching about the family and other such things. This is “where it’s at” for them; they find the doctrinal section dry and impractical.

But, you see, each of these is an error. Doctrine without practice leads to bitter orthodoxy; it gives correctness of thought without the practical vitality of the life of Christ. Practice without doctrine leads to aberrations; it gives intensity of feeling, but it is feeling apt to go off in any (and often a wrong) direction. What we need is both, as Paul’s letters and the whole of Scripture teach us. We can never attach too much importance to doctrine, for it is out of the doctrines of God, man, and salvation that the direction and impetus for the living of the Christian life spring. At the same time, we can never attach too much importance to practice, for it is the result of doctrine and proof of its divine nature.

Calling and Conduct

Paul’s way of teaching this truth in verse 1 is to urge us to live worthy of our Christian calling. The old versions used the word “vocation” at this point, but “calling” is better, at least in contemporary speech. Vocation has come to mean something we choose, while calling is something for which we are chosen. We remember here that the word “church” (Greek, ekklēsia) means “the called out ones.” The emphasis is upon what God has done, which is the point Paul has been elaborating in the opening chapters of Ephesians. Because God has set his hand upon us and called us, changing us from what we were into what we have now become, we are to live as Christians in this world.

Two parts of this calling deserve special notice. First, God has called us “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). This means that we have been given understanding. Before our calling we were like the blind man in John 9. We could not see Christ, and we were not even fully appreciative of our blind condition since, having never seen, we could never fully value sight. We thought the way to happiness was the world’s way. We did not know that we were spiritually bankrupt, emotionally warped, and morally naked. When God called us, opening our eyes to the blessed truths of the gospel, for the first time we understood the nature of God’s way and perceived how desirable it is. This is so basic to the experience of salvation that if a person has not had an opening of the eyes to see things differently, we may properly wonder if he has actually been saved. How can a person be urged to live a life worthy of his calling if he has not begun to understand what that calling is?

But there is more than this. The first part of God’s calling involves being brought into light from darkness; that is, it involves understanding. The second part involves God’s calling us out of death into life, which is what Paul emphasized in Ephesians 2:4: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” This means that God, who has awakened us to a new life also gives us the power to live that life. It is because we are now spiritually alive, where before we were spiritually dead, that we are able to heed Paul’s urging and live for God.

Life Together

In the remainder of this letter Paul is going to develop two main themes, both aspects of the worthy life: (1) unity among believers and (2) the godly life, particularly in regard to relationships. The first will be considered in 4:4–16. The second is from 4:17 to the end. However, in the first three verses of chapter 4 Paul gives a preliminary statement embracing both: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” There are five specific characteristics of the worthy life in these verses.

  1. Humility. Everyone knows that Christians should be humble. Humility is the opposite of pride or self-assertion. If we are saved “by grace … through faith … not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8–9), it is evident that Christians cannot be proud. We are to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility [are to] consider others better than [our]selves,” as Paul says in Philippians 2:3.

But it is not easy to do, because our pride is easily wounded by what we consider thoughtless or unfair conduct by others.

In his commentary on Ephesians, Watchman Nee of China tells of a brother in south China who had his rice field on a hill. During the growing season he used a hand-worked water wheel to lift water from the irrigation stream that ran by the base of the hill to his field. His neighbor had two fields below his, and one night he made a hole in the dividing wall and drained out all the Christian’s water to fill up his own two fields. The brother was distressed. But he laboriously pumped water up into his own field, only to have the act of stealing repeated. This happened three or four times. At last he consulted his Christian brethren. “What shall I do?” he asked. “I have tried to be patient and not retaliate. Isn’t it right for me to confront him?”

The Christians prayed, and then one of them replied. “If we only try to do the right thing, surely we are very poor Christians,” he said. “We have to do something more than what is right.”

The Christian farmer was impressed with this advice. So the next day he went out and first pumped water for the two fields below his and then, after that, worked throughout the afternoon to fill his own field. From that day on the water stayed in his field, and in time the neighbor, after making inquiries as to what caused him to behave in such a fashion, became a Christian. This is humility. It is refusing to insist on our rights and actually putting our neighbor’s interests before our own.

  1. Gentleness. In the older versions this is called meekness, but for us “gentleness” is probably better, simply because meekness is so generally misunderstood. To most, meekness suggests weakness. But that is not the idea at all. Meekness was the chief characteristic of Moses, according to Numbers 12:3 (where the niv uses the word “humble”), but Moses was not a weak man. He was a strong man, strong enough to appear before Pharaoh, declaring, “This is what the Lord says: Let my people go” (Exod. 8:1). Similarly, the Lord Jesus was meek or gentle, yet strong. He said of himself, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28–29). He told his disciples, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
  2. Patience. It takes time to learn patience, and unfortunately one of the chief ways we learn it is through suffering. A rather pious individual once came to a preacher and asked him to pray for him that he might have patience. “I do so lack patience,” he said, trying to be humble as he said it. “I wish you would pray for me.”

“I’ll pray for you right now,” the preacher replied. So he began to pray: “Lord, please send great tribulation into this brother’s life.”

The man who had asked for prayer put a hand out and touched the preacher on the arm, trying to stop his prayer. “You must not have heard me rightly,” he said. “I didn’t ask you to pray for tribulation. I asked you to pray that I might have patience.”

“Oh, I heard what you said,” the preacher answered. “But haven’t you read Romans 5:3, ‘And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience’? It means we acquire patience through the things that we suffer. I prayed that God would send tribulations so that you would have patience.”

Another valid translation of the word “patience” is “long-suffering,” which means “suffering long.” It is what God does with us. He suffers long with us; if he did not, there would be no Christianity. Therefore, we ought to suffer long or be patient with each other.

  1. Bearing with one another. The suffering aspects of patience come out clearly in this next Christlike characteristic, but there is a difference. This one relates specifically to trials we have as a result of uncharitable conduct toward us by other Christians. When the non-Christian neighbor stole the field-water of the Chinese Christian, the Christian showed patience, gentleness, and humility in the way he dealt with the offense—and won the unbeliever to Christ. But what if that neighbor is a Christian, wronging us in this or some other way? What is to be our attitude to him or her? Paul’s answer is that we are to endure the wrong, suffer the slight. Thus, we are to demonstrate a way of life superior to that of the ungodly world and show the special unity which is ours in Jesus Christ.
  2. Unity. The fifth characteristic is that believers are to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (v. 3). It is evident at this point, in case we had missed it before, that each of these characteristics is related to the others (which the translators show in part by their groupings of them) and that they have all been tending in the direction of this great matter of unity, which is to be Paul’s theme for the next thirteen verses. Christians are to be one because, as he will say in just a moment, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (vv. 4–6).

It is important to say two things about this unity. First, it is “the unity of the Spirit,” which means that it is a unity the Holy Spirit has already given to those who are in Christ. This is a wonderful and often a very visible thing. Harry Ironside writes about how he once fell sick while in the midst of a series of meetings in Minneapolis and was forced to return home to California by train, which was the best mode of transportation in those days. He could barely stand. So the porter made up a lower berth for him and allowed him to recline there throughout the day. The first morning he opened his Bible and began to read it as part of his devotions. A stout German woman happened by and stopped when she saw the Bible. “Vat’s dat? A Bible?” she asked.

“Yes, a Bible,” Ironside replied.

“Vait,” she said, “I vill get my Bible and we vill haf our Bible reading together.”

A short time later a tall gentleman came by and asked, “Vat are you reading?” He was a Norwegian. He said, “I tank I go get my Bible too.” Each morning these three met, and others collected. Ironside wrote that once there were twenty-eight people and twenty-eight Bibles and that the conductor would go through the train, saying, “The camp meeting is beginning in car thirteen. All are invited.” It was a great experience.

At the end of the trip, as the cars divided up in Sacramento, some to go north and some south, the German woman asked, “Vat denomination are you?”

Ironside replied, “I belong to the same denomination that David did.”

“Vat vas dat? I didn’t know dat David belonged to any denomination.” Ironside said, “David wrote that he was ‘a companion of all them that fear God and keep his precepts.’ ”

The woman said, “Yah, yah, dat is a good church to belong to.”

This is a real and wonderful unity, as I said. But at the same time, it is often destroyed by false pride, narrow denominationalism, and sinful striving for position. So Paul says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” This is the second important thing to be said about unity. The first is that we have a unity given to us by the Holy Spirit; it corresponds in some measure to the doctrinal truths of Christianity, which is why Paul lapses into doctrine again in verses 4–6. But, second, we are to keep or maintain this unity, which corresponds to the practical or experiential side of Christianity.[2]


2 Paul begins a list of those qualities that would be truly worthy of the high calling believers possess in Christ Jesus. First, Paul appeals for “humility” (tapeinophrosynē, GK 5425), a noun conveying “lowliness” or a “humble position”—a quality not valued among the Greek world, which detested hints of servility. It may be translated also as “modesty” (BDAG, 989) and often occurs in a list of similar virtues (cf. Col 3:12). To this trait and the next Paul attaches the word pasēs (“all,” “completely”), as though to emphasize that a touch of these will not suffice. One must not settle for being somewhat humble; a complete makeover is required. As we will begin to see, unity in the church requires a set of virtues and practices that are in contrast to the way people typically relate to each other (see also the Beatitudes, Mt 5:3–12). Like the humble Jesus (Mt 11:29), Christians ought not to strive for supremacy or power; they ought to allow others to take precedence and credit (cf. Php 2:2–4).

The second trait to embrace is (complete) “gentleness” (prautētos, GK 4559), sometimes rendered as “meekness,” or “mildness,” though these sound too passive. BDAG, 861, nicely defines it as “the quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance.” Also a trait of Jesus (2 Co 10:1) and a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23), this quality does not suggest weakness but characterizes the person who does not need to assert or dominate and is not touchy, resentful, or retaliatory. The gentle person bears others’ burdens (Gal 6:1–2) and shows courtesy (Tit 3:2).

To this Paul adds “patience” (makrothymia, GK 3429) as the third trait. A more precise translation may be “steadfast” or “long-suffering”—the ability to bear up or persevere under difficult circumstances. This virtue characterizes God himself (the adjectival form, usually translated “slow to anger,” is found in the LXX: Ex 34:6; Nu 14:18) and is also a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). The close fellowship of a church supplies numerous opportunities to put this trait into practice, for there we face people who are invariably difficult or offensive. Along with being gentle, the patient believer does not rush to give up or get even (see 1 Co 13:4; Gal 5:22; Col 3:12; 2 Ti 4:2).

Paul expands the essence of this “patience” with these words: “bearing with one another in love.” The one who embraces this virtue backs off from condemning another or even pointing out his or her faults. “In love” (agapē, GK 27) introduces the bookends of this section—v. 2 and v. 16 (recall 1:4; 3:17–19). As love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Pe 4:8), believers need this quality to promote unity in the church. These are active, not passive qualities; they imply taking steps to foster harmony and camaraderie.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 120–129). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 120–125). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[3] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 106–107). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Bear Market Omen? The ‘Average Stock’ Is Breaking Down — Kimble Charting Solutions

The stock market has been in a corrective sideways move for the better part of 2018. Is it ready to decline even lower? Well if the “average stock” is any indication, then investors should be concerned. The “monthly” chart below is of the Value Line Geometric Index (INDEXNYSEGIS: VALUG), which plots the price of an average stock in…

via Bear Market Omen? The ‘Average Stock’ Is Breaking Down — Kimble Charting Solutions

RenewAmerica Newsletter for December 11, 2018

December 11, 2018
ALAN KEYES — Readers familiar with my writings know that I have criticized the economic model that allows Facebook and Twitter to amass billions of dollars in profits exploiting the activities of their users. Users are in many respects like the movie production companies. Facebook and Twitter provide accommodations for sharing their productions with others. But unlike movie production companies, Facebook and Twitter users receive no share of the profits those companies make off their productions…. (more)

December 10, 2018
CLIFF KINCAID — Citizen journalist David Risselada has written a book, Psychopolitics in America: A Nation Under Conquest, in which he explains how so many are being led astray by what passes for the “conservative media.” Consider the case of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was sold by Fox News and other beltway groups as a conservative pro-lifer. After Kavanaugh’s Monday ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood, many grassroots conservatives are beginning to realize they were misled about his real record. One conservative website called it a “betrayal.”… (more)

December 10, 2018
DAILY CALLER — The Supreme Court declined to review three cases relating to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood at the state level Monday, over a vigorous dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas. The dissent was significant because it indicates that Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the high court’s liberal wing to deny review of a lower court decision that favored the nation’s largest abortion provider…. (more)

December 10, 2018
Joseph Farah flays man who pushed Sandra Day O’Connor, latest Trump pick
JOSEPH FARAH — I hate to say it, but I saw this one coming. When President Trump selected Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, I knew it was at least a very risky pick. But he won the hearts of conservatives because of the insanity of the opposition…. (more)

December 10, 2018
JERRY NEWCOMBE — Two separate sources recently questioned the historicity of Jesus. But let us set the record straight. First, on a comedy show on TBS, “The Guestbook,” just before Christmastime, one of the characters likened belief in Jesus to belief in Santa. The episode is called “Tonight you become a man” – – where a character supposedly becomes an adult by realizing Santa and Jesus are just myths…. (more)

December 10, 2018
Special counsel demanded ‘false testimony’ then ‘leaked’ details to apply pressure
BOB UNRUH — Investigative reporter and New York Times best-selling author Jerome Corsi, who just days ago filed a formal complaint against special counsel Robert Mueller for “gross prosecutorial misconduct and criminal acts,” now has filed a case against him demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in damages…. (more)

December 10, 2018
THE HILL — Many people I know in law enforcement circles shuddered when James Comey tweeted recently that acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker “may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer.” To them, Comey’s Twitter attack crossed that “blue line” – – the one that real cops abide by, to never criticize fellow officers and to always have their backs…. (more)


December 10, 2018
DAILY CALLER — South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Saturday that if he takes over as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as is expected, he will “get to the bottom” of whether the FBI misled the federal surveillance court to obtain spy warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page…. (more)

December 10, 2018
DAILY SIGNAL — President Donald Trump’s nomination of Heather Nauert is an excellent choice to replace Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, analysts say. “Heather Nauert is capable, well-informed, and articulate,” Clifford May, founder and president of the Foundation for Defense Of Democracies, said in an email to The Daily Signal…. (more)

December 10, 2018
DAILY CALLER — When it comes to alarming projections of global warming-induced sea level rise, veteran climate scientist Judith Curry says people need to cool it. “Projections of extreme, alarming impacts are very weakly justified to borderline impossible,” Curry told The Daily Caller News Foundation…. (more)


December 9, 2018
ROBERT KNIGHT — Over the past few decades, secularists and leftists have mounted an aggressive effort to suppress Christianity’s historical and current importance in America, and place all religions – – or no religion – – on the same level. A national survey taken in late November by Grinnell College indicates that they have been wildly successful. For example, city dwellers, young people and women are far more supportive of Muslims than of Christians. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats said employers should grant a request for prayer space by Muslims – – but only 45 percent said employers should grant a similar request by Christians…. (more)

December 9, 2018
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — In 2007, the Justice Department was in disarray. Though it was largely exaggerated, a controversy over the firing of some United States attorneys, the intrusion of politics into Justice Department hiring decisions, and White House contacts with Main Justice forced the resignation of an overmatched attorney general, Alberto Gonzales…. (more)


December 9, 2018
FOX NEWS — Former FBI Director James Comey claimed “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” in response to dozens of questions concerning key details in the Russia probe, according to a lengthy transcript released Saturday of his closed-door interview with congressional lawmakers…. (more)


December 9, 2018
Hailed as ‘leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding’
WORLDNETDAILY — The FBI cut off relations with the Council on American-Islamic Relations after it was named by the Justice Department a co-conspirator in the largest terrorism-funding case in U.S. history. In the trial of that case, FBI evidence showed CAIR’s parent organization was founded as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. And, along the conviction of numerous CAIR leaders on terrorism charges, an Arab Gulf state designated the organization a terrorist group…. (more)

December 8, 2018
Barr says there is more reason to investigate Hillary’s Uranium One deal than Trump’s supposed ‘collusion’ with Russians
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump said Friday he will nominate William Barr, the late President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general, to serve in the same role. Trump made the announcement while departing the White House for a trip to Missouri. He called Barr “a terrific man” and “one of the most respected jurists in the country.”… (more)


December 7, 2018
Foundation allegedly involved in Uranium One ‘pay to play’
WORLDNETDAILY — Allegations of “pay to play” and misappropriation of funds by the Clinton Foundation are documented in hundreds of pages of evidence provided by three witnesses, according to Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C…. (more)

December 7, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Prominent journalists gathered this week to discuss why President Trump sits in the White House and came to the following conclusion: “Gullible” voters and “unfair” coverage – – toward Democrat Hillary Clinton – – are to blame. The Recode Decode podcast this week featured NBC’s Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, and Hallie Jackson talking about the state of American politics. They told host Kara Swisher that Mr. Trump’s campaign tricked the former secretary of state into responding to non-issues while stupid voters took care of the rest on Election Day…. (more)

December 7, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A Nebraska elementary school principal was placed on administrative leave this week after she sent out an unauthorized memo banning a slew of Christmas-related items, including candy canes, which she claimed are shaped like a “J” for Jesus Christ…. (more)

December 6, 2018
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — Former president Barack Obama recently continued his series of public broadsides against his successor, President Donald Trump. Obama’s charges are paradoxical. On one hand, Obama seems to believe that he, rather than Trump, should be credited with the current economic boom and the emergence of the United States as the world’s largest energy producer. But Obama also has charged that Trump’s policies are pernicious and failing. Apparently, Obama believes that all of Trump’s successes are due to Obama, and all of Trump’s setbacks are his own…. (more)


December 6, 2018
NEWSMAX — Rush Limbaugh says the media is treating former President George H.W. Bush nicer in death than it did in life. Limbaugh made his comments on “Fox News @ Night.” “They never treated him this way when he was president,” he said. “They were vicious to him like they are vicious and partisan to every Republican. I think its just a vehicle for them to be able to contrast what they think [President Donald] Trump is versus the way they are telling us Bush was…. (more)

December 6, 2018
MICHELLE MALKIN — Impolite question, but it needs to be asked: Is there a Republican dead body that left-wing partisans won’t use to bash Donald Trump? This week’s partisan corpse abusers callously exploited the passing of George H. W. Bush, America’s 41st president, to get in their digs at the current commander in chief. Their vulgar level of incivility was inversely propositional to their sanctimonious calls for decency…. (more)


December 6, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — Former FBI director James Comey will reportedly testify to Congress in a closed-door hearing on Friday. The news comes after months of back-and-forth between Comey and the House Judiciary Committee, which had issued a subpoena requesting that Comey testify in a private hearing. The former FBI director expressed a wish to testify publicly and initiated a brief legal battle over the subpoena, accusing Committee Republicans of intending “to mislead the public and to undermine public confidence in the FBI and the DOJ,” by selectively leaking bits of testimony from his private testimony…. (more)

December 6, 2018
TV NEWSER — An increasing amount of distrust in the news media is a hot topic these days. While adults and consistent news consumers are usually the focus of such studies, those who are still in school are often left out of this conversation. And they shouldn’t be, especially considering the findings below…. (more)

December 6, 2018
‘Virgin birth story about all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen’
WORLDNETDAILY — A Twitter user who profiles himself as an associate professor of clinical psychology and sexuality studies from Minnesota and lists interests as “cats” and “Poe” tried to apply the contemporary “#MeToo” movement to the New Testament story of the virgin birth…. (more)

December 6, 2018
Social-media giant seeks ‘safe environment’ for its ‘community’
WORLDNETDAILY — Facebook censored an image of Santa Claus kneeling before the baby Jesus, deeming it “violent or graphic content.” The censorship was lifted Wednesday after LifeSiteNews published a report about it. Facebook had obscured the picture, explaining the “photo was automatically covered so you can decide if you want to see it,” LifeSiteNews reported. Users who wanted to see the photo had to click on a button…. (more)

 

December 11 God’s Unfathomable Ways

“Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Philippians 2:8

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Christ’s humiliation displayed God’s wisdom.

Somewhere along the path of Christ’s descent, you’d think He would have said to Himself, These people really aren’t worth redeeming. This is too degrading and humiliating! But the grace and love of God toward sinners was such that Christ stooped to die for you and me. At the end of Paul’s doctrinal survey of salvation in Romans, he said, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (11:33). He was in awe of God’s plan of salvation—a plan no man would have devised.

If we had planned the Incarnation, we probably would have wanted Christ to be born in a palace. His family would have been wealthy and prominent, and He would have been educated in the finest universities with elite teachers and the best tutors. We would have orchestrated events so that everyone loved, revered, honored, and respected Him. He would have been in all the prominent places and met all the prominent people.

We would not have had Him born in a stable to a poor family. He would not have spent His youth in a carpenter’s shop in an obscure town. Rather than a ragtag band of followers, we would have made sure He had only the best people as His disciples, and they would have had to pass stiff qualifying tests for the privilege.

We would not have allowed Him to be humiliated. We would have imprisoned or executed anyone who spit on Him, pulled His beard, mocked Him, or hurt Him. Our plan for the Messiah would have been very different from God’s plan, and, as a result no one could have been saved. It’s no wonder the psalmist said, “Thy judgments are like a great deep” (Ps. 36:6). God’s ways are unsearchable, His truths profound. And His plan to redeem us was accomplished by Christ’s humiliation.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Daniel prayed, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him” (Dan. 2:20). Like Daniel, worship the only wise God, who saved you.

For Further Study: Read 1 Peter 2:21–24. What did Christ leave you (v. 21)?[1]


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

December 11 Daily Help

IT was a divine song, which Habakkuk sang, when in the night he said, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” No man can make a song in the night of himself; he may attempt it, but he will find that a song in the night must be divinely inspired. O thou chief musician, let us not remain songless because affliction is upon us, tune thou our lips to the melody of thanksgiving.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 349). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 11 Christ Is Superior to Angels

“… having become … much better than the angels” (Heb. 1:4).

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Through a deft use of the Old Testament, the writer proves that Christ is the mediator of a greater covenant.

Man is a wonderful and amazing creation—higher than plants, animals, and any other material creation in this world. But there are created beings even higher than man—angels.

Hebrews 2:9 shows this to be the case because when Jesus became a man, He was “made for a little while lower than the angels.” After the fall of the rebellious angels under Lucifer, the angels in Heaven were no longer able to choose sin. These angels are holy, powerful, and wise. They are special beings created by God before He created man.

The Jewish people understood the exalted position of angels because they knew that the Old Covenant was brought to men and maintained by angelic mediation. Galatians 3:19 says, “Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.”

Because of this high regard for angels by his readers, the writer of Hebrews was faced with a problem. If he was to show that Christ was the mediator of a better covenant, he would have to prove that Christ is better than angels. To do so, he used seven Old Testament passages to verify his claim.

If he had tried to prove from Christian writings that Christ is a better mediator, his unbelieving Jewish readers would have said, “We don’t accept these writings as being from God.” So in effect he wisely replies, “Open up your own Scriptures, and I’ll prove my claim from them.” This results in a powerful and irresistible argument.

For the next several days, we’ll see in what ways Christ is superior to angels and how He could mediate a better covenant for us.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Because much of our understanding of the New Testament is based on the writings of the Old Testament, thank God for how He has brought His complete Word to us intact throughout the centuries.

For Further Study: Read Galatians 3:8, Romans 9:15, and Matthew 4:4. What Old Testament verses do those passages quote? What truth does each of them verify?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 358). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Tuesday Briefing Dec. 11, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

Download MP3

Even after achieving a conservative majority, Supreme Court declines to take Planned Parenthood cases. What does this mean for the future?

Why we can’t begin to define human rights when we don’t even know what it means to be human

Detached from reality, idealism is not only inadequate, it’s deadly

The boundaries of idealism 

— Read on albertmohler.com/2018/12/11/briefing-12-11-18/

Thirty Days of Jesus Redux: Day 15, The Gift of Eternal Life — The End Time

 

By Elizabeth Prata

thirty days of Jesus day 15

Further Reading

John Gill’s Exposition of 1 John 5:11

GotQuestions: What is Eternal Life?

Compelling Truth: What is eternal life?

Grace to You blog: Is eternal life always eternal?

~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time

Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son
Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child GrewDay 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation

Thirty Days of Jesus Redux: Day 15, The Gift of Eternal Life — The End Time

The Seed of the Woman — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Here’s an excerpt from The Seed of the Woman, R. Andrew Compton’s contribution to the December issue of Tabletalk:

The curse on the serpent in Genesis 3:14–15 sets the stage for the subsequent course of redemptive history. Obvious New Testament allusions to this passage occur in places such as Luke 10:19; Romans 16:20; and Revelation 12:17. Yet from this point in the book of Genesis, the theme of “enmity between offspring/seed” characterizes the biblical narrative. This passage is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the consummate “seed of the woman” who crushes the head of the serpent. In the three curse-speeches given in Genesis 3:14–19, the plotline of history is sketched out.

Continue reading The Seed of the Woman

The Seed of the Woman — Ligonier Ministries Blog

December 11, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Widow of Zarephath
8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’ ” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Ki 17:8–16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


Daily Bread, Saving Grace

1 Kings 17:7–16

“For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’ ” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. (1 Kings 17:14–15)

When Elijah lived in the Cherith Ravine, he seemed to be trusting God about as much as a man can. The prophet was stretched to the very limits of his faith. Surely it was enough for the man to live alone in the wilderness, to slurp water from a brook, and to eat from the beaks of ravens! Yet God called Elijah to tighten his belt and take one more step of obedience: “after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land” (1 Kings 17:7).

What a severe test of faith this must have been, even for a man of prayer like Elijah! A brook does not dry up overnight. It dies a slow death, dwindling away day by day. Although the Cherith had been only a brook in the first place, at least a brook is something. But after a time the brook became a stream, the stream became a creek, and the creek became a trickle. Finally, one morning, there was nothing at all.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

A man’s faith might well dwindle away in the time it takes a brook to become a dry riverbed. Yet Elijah’s faith did not wither. Instead, the prophet learned this simple lesson all over again: God gives daily bread to his servants. Just when Elijah was at the end of his brook, “then the word of the Lord came to him, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you’ ” (1 Kings 17:8–9).

“God must be joking!” the prophet may well have thought. It was one thing to be fed by birds, but another thing entirely to go to Sidon, of all places. We learn as much as we want to know about Sidon in 1 Kings 16:31, where the Scripture says that Ahab “took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians.” Sidon was Jezebel’s stomping grounds; Zarephath was on Baal’s home turf. The town contained all the brazen idolatry, unholy sacrifices, and temple prostitution that went along with Baal worship. Thus God was commanding Elijah to go down into the cesspool of sin, and not just to go there, but also to “dwell there” (1 Kings 17:9).

“So [the prophet] arose and went to Zarephath” (1 Kings 17:10). As the baseball player Yogi Berra famously said, this is like “déjà vu all over again.” All God wanted from Elijah when he went to Cherith was simple obedience. He wanted him to stay and obey. Once again, this is all God wants from Elijah as he goes to Zarephath. Faithful service to God often requires obedience to the same instructions over and over again.

When Elijah arrived at the town gates of Zarephath, things did not look terribly promising. There was no more rain in Sidon than there was in Israel. Apparently, God was teaching the Baal-worshipers in Sidon a little theology. He was showing the Sidonians that he (and not Baal) is the God who sends rain.

When Elijah “came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks” (1 Kings 17:10). She was just a poor woman with a few sticks. Elijah hardly seems to have had the courage to ask her for a meal. “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink,” he said at first (1 Kings 17:10). And then he got a little bolder: “And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand’ ” (1 Kings 17:11). Elijah was not asking for much: just a little water and a morsel of bread. But even this was too much for the woman to give: “And she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die’ ” (1 Kings 17:12). Needless to say, it was not the best time for an out-of-town guest to show up! The widow had barely enough on hand to make a muffin, let alone a loaf of bread. Not that she was inhospitable, but she was down to her last meal.

Yet Elijah trusted in the word of God. Even though the widow barely had two sticks to rub together, Elijah ordered his meal: “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son” (1 Kings 17:13). In giving this command, Elijah was trusting the promise of God to provide daily bread. Although the widow was scraping the bottom of the barrel, Elijah knew that God’s resources cannot be exhausted: “For thus says the Lord the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth’ ” (1 Kings 17:14). Back at Cherith Elijah trusted not in brook or bird, but in the God of brooks and ravens. Now in Zarephath, Elijah is trusting not in flour or oil, but in the God of field and orchard.

Elijah’s trust was well placed, for the God of Elijah keeps his word: “And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:15–16). There were no leftovers, no loaves to freeze in ziplock bags and save for another day. This was daily bread demanding daily faith in the providence of God. Every day that Elijah stayed in Zarephath, the widow went to her barrel of flour and her jar of oil and had just enough to make bread for one more day.

The Dutch Christian Corrie ten Boom had a similar experience in the German concentration camp at Ravensbrook. Corrie and her sister Betsie were captured by the Nazis for hiding Jews during World War II. Betsie became ill during their long imprisonment. Here is how Corrie describes giving her sister life-preserving vitamins:

Another strange thing was happening. The bottle was continuing to produce drops. It scarcely seemed possible, so small a bottle, so many doses a day. Now, in addition to Betsie, a dozen others on our pier were taking it.

My instinct was always to hoard it—Betsie was growing so very weak! But the others were ill as well. It was hard to say no to eyes that burned with fever, hands that shook with chill. I tried to save it for the very weakest—but even these soon numbered fifteen, twenty, twenty-five.…

And still, every time I tilted the little bottle, a drop appeared at the tip of the glass stopper. It just couldn’t be! I held it up to the light, trying to see how much was left, but the dark brown glass was too thick to see through.

“There was a woman in the Bible,” Betsie said, “whose oil jar was never empty.” She turned to it in the Book of Kings, the story of the poor widow of Zarephath.…

It was one thing to believe that such things were possible thousands of years ago, another to have it happen now, to us, this very day. And yet it happened this day, and the next, and the next, until an awed little group of spectators stood around watching the drops fall onto the daily rations of bread.

Many nights I lay awake in the shower of straw dust from the mattress above, trying to fathom the marvel of supply lavished upon us. “Maybe,” I whispered to Betsie, “only a molecule or two really gets through that little pinhole—and then in the air it expands!”

I heard her soft laughter in the dark. “Don’t try too hard to explain it, Corrie. Just accept it as a surprise from a Father who loves you.”

Then Corrie writes about the day that another prisoner brought some treasure back to the barracks: a piece of newspaper, a slice of bread, and a small sack of vitamins! “Back at the bunk I took the bottle from the straw. ‘We’ll finish the drops first,’ I decided. But that night, no matter how long I held it upside down, or how hard I shook it, not another drop appeared.”

Corrie ten Boom was encountering the same God that Elijah knew. Ravensbrook turned out to be aptly named, for there the ten Booms experienced the same providential care that Elijah received at his “raven’s brook,” and afterward. Elijah had enough to drink from the Brook Cherith—every day—until he licked the very last drop from the riverbed. Then the Lord sent him to the widow’s home in Zarephath, where he had enough to eat—every day—until the day rain fell on the earth again.

This is the same God we serve today—the God who gives his servants daily bread. The Lord provides what we need every day. He gives us more than enough to survive and thrive. Therefore, we can offer the same testimony as the psalmist: “Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!” (Ps. 34:9).

Grace for the Helpless

The God who provides daily bread also gives saving grace. This is the most basic and important lesson in all of Scripture, namely, that salvation is from the Lord. Elijah’s encounter with the widow of Zarephath teaches that God’s saving grace is for at least five kinds of people.

First, saving grace is for the weak and helpless. The widow of Zarephath had once been a woman of means, for there was an upper room in her house (1 Kings 17:19). In those days, to have a second story was to possess at least some of the finer things in life. But the widow had fallen on hard times. She was weak and helpless, living as she did without the protection of a husband in a culture where unattached women were vulnerable to abuse. Her son, too, was weak and helpless. He lived without the security of a father or a model of manliness in the home. Finally, the day came when the mother and son were down to their last few twigs, their last fistful of flour, and their last few drops of oil. How weak and helpless they were!

Yet God’s saving grace is for the weak and helpless. The story of the widow and her son demonstrates the truth of Deuteronomy 10:17: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.” If God shows no partiality, then we do not have to “be somebody” to catch his attention. If he accepts no bribes, then we do not have to be wealthy to receive his grace. God does not favor the rich and famous. On the contrary, “he executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” (Deut. 10:18). What a beautiful promise! God defends the cause of the fatherless, like the fatherless boy in Zarephath, and protects the plight of the widow, like the boy’s husbandless mother. God gave these needy people his saving grace, serving as the only father and husband they would ever need.

Not that we must become widows or orphans, of course, to receive God’s saving grace. The point is that God’s grace is for everyone. If his saving favor is for the weakest and the most helpless, then it is available to us as well. Not even orphans and widows have an exclusive claim on the blessing of God. His saving grace is for everyone, from the least to the greatest.

Grace for Outsiders

God’s saving grace is also for those who are outside his family. The widow of Zarephath seems to have been a good person. When Elijah asked for a drink, she politely gave it to him (1 Kings 17:11). She minded her p’s and q’s in following the ancient custom that obliged women to draw water for men.

The widow also acknowledged the existence of God. The first thing she said to Elijah was “As the Lord your God lives” (1 Kings 17:12). This may simply have been a manner of speaking. People sometimes say “So help me God” or “God bless you” without meaning anything of the kind. Yet it seems likely that this detail has been set down in Scripture for our instruction. Although the widow lived in Baal’s hometown, she confessed that the God of Elijah is a living God.

The living God is not yet her God, however. Here the widow’s precise wording seems important: “As the Lord your God lives” (1 Kings 17:12). The living God may be Elijah’s God, but he is not yet her God. Thus she refers to him in the second rather than the first person. The widow has not yet trusted in God for herself, making a personal appropriation of the grace of God by faith. She is still outside the family of God, and she knows it.

Many individuals remain outside the family of God. They may be nice people. They may try to live good and moral lives, minding their moral p’s and q’s. They may even believe that there is a God. Yet they are still outside his family. It is not enough to believe that there is a God; if we are to be saved, he must become our God. Unless and until Jesus Christ becomes the Lord of our lives, we remain outside the family of God.

A simple illustration may help to convey this truth. When I walk past the bank on the corner, I may believe that there is money in the bank’s safe. I may even believe this by a sort of faith. Not having been in the vault to see the money, I nevertheless believe that there is money in the bank. But this means little or nothing to me unless I have made a deposit. Money in the bank is of no value to me unless it is my own money.

Something similar holds true until I put my trust in Jesus Christ. I may believe that there is a God who has the power to give eternal life, but this means nothing to me unless I have made my own deposit on that salvation. The death of Jesus is of no value to me unless I believe that he died on the cross for my personal sins. Similarly, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is of no value to me until I trust that he was raised from the dead to claim the victory over my death. Until we trust in Jesus Christ for ourselves, we are still outside the family of God; we have not yet received God’s saving grace.

Anyone who is outside the family of God should not despair, however. The grace of God is for those who are still outside his family. The living God sent Elijah to the widow of Zarephath so that she might be brought into the family of God. In the same way, the living God sends out word today to invite everyone to become his child. Anyone who leaves sin behind and comes to Christ for grace will be saved.

Sovereign Grace

God’s grace is for those whom God chooses. Saving grace is sovereign grace; God’s grace is God’s choice. To put this in theological terms, the grace of God is a matter of divine election.

Of all the widows at all the town gates gathering all the sticks in the whole Middle East, was there a more unlikely prospect to receive God’s grace than the widow of Zarephath? She lived on Jezebel’s plantation. What could she have known about the God of Israel? What chance in a million could she have to hear the good news about the living God?

The answer to this question is recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus had been preaching to his friends and neighbors in his hometown of Nazareth. Although they all spoke well of him, they saw in him nothing more than the son of a carpenter. This was his response to their unbelief:

Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. (Luke 4:24–26)

Here we learn that Elijah’s visit to Zarephath was a reproach to Israel for their lack of faith. We also learn that the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ is for Gentiles in Sidonia as well as for Jews in Israel. The gospel is for every people from every nation in the world.

But Jesus also teaches that saving grace is a matter of divine election. It was God’s will and purpose to save the widow of Zarephath. He sent Elijah so that she might receive saving grace. Of all the widows to whom God’s prophet might have been sent, she alone was chosen. Furthermore, she was chosen even before she put her personal trust in God. This is the mystery of the sovereignty of God’s saving grace.

God is always sovereign in salvation. He chose his children before the foundation of the world, predestinating us “for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Eph. 1:4–5). We never would have heard of the good news of grace unless God had sent his word to us. When we heard the gospel, we would not have believed it unless God had given us the gift of faith. In short, we never would have been saved unless God had given us his saving grace. From beginning to end, salvation is the work of God, which is why it is called “grace.”

Grace for the Dying

God’s saving grace is also for those who are about to die. When Elijah arrived in Zarephath, the widow was about to die. “I have nothing baked,” she said, “only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die” (1 Kings 17:12). The widow’s words have a ring of resignation about them; she speaks with a sense of inevitability. She and her son have been wasting away for weeks. Now they will gather, bake, eat, and die. Just a handful of flour and a drop of oil stand between them and eternity. If God’s prophet had arrived only a week later, they would have been corpses. Elijah came just in time, which is really to say that God’s saving grace came just in time. When the widow and her son were about to die, the Lord delivered them.

When will we die? No one can say for sure. We may not expect to die soon, but perhaps nothing more than a clogged artery or the front of a bus stands between us and eternity. Early in 1995 tenor Richard Versalle stood on a ladder at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He was performing the opening scene of The Makropulos Case and singing this line: “You can only live so long.” Never have truer words been sung, for before Versalle finished singing he suffered a heart attack and fell to the stage, dead.

Since we are all mortal, it is comforting to know that God’s saving grace is for those who are about to die. This comfort is not just for those who are about to die a physical death, but especially for those who are about to die a spiritual and eternal death. We receive this saving grace in Jesus Christ, who became a man, died on the cross, and was raised again to pay the penalty for sin and to claim victory over death. This is God’s grace for us: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6–8).

God’s sovereign saving grace is for anyone and everyone. It is for the weak and the helpless, for those outside the family of God, and for those about to die. God’s grace is for all of us, whoever we are.

Saved by Grace through Faith

God’s saving grace is only for those who come to God in faith, however. The weak, the outsiders, and the dying must trust in God for salvation. This is what the widow of Zarephath did: she came to God in saving faith. She rested on God’s sovereign grace and trusted in him for her salvation. Even in her desperation, she trusted the word of God.

Elijah first came to the widow of Zarephath with comfort and assurance, but his further instructions were an extreme test of her faith: “Elijah said to her, ‘Do not fear. Go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son’ ” (1 Kings 17:13).

“How about tomorrow, Lord?” the widow might have suggested. “Your prophet looks healthy enough to me. Surely he could make it through the night. Why don’t I just make a little something for myself right now, and then I can worry about tomorrow when it comes?!” This is what the widow might have said. But the Scripture reports that instead “she went and did as Elijah said” (1 Kings 17:15). This is real faith! If we were down to our last meal, would we give the main course to our pastor? This woman gave her first and her best for the Lord’s work. She took the step of faith that the Lord required, first feeding the Lord’s prophet and then making something for herself and her son.

The widow could do this only if she trusted God to provide. When she staked her life on God’s promise, God did not disappoint her. Her faith was secure in his salvation. This is the consistent pattern of God’s sovereign and saving grace: it always comes to those who trust in God.

When the widow of Zarephath received Elijah, in effect she was receiving Jesus Christ by faith. Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever receives you receives me.… The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward” (Matt. 10:40–41). This was how the widow of Zarephath received Elijah. She received him as a prophet sent from God, and to receive Elijah in this way was tantamount to receiving Jesus Christ.

Jesus said that the proper recompense for receiving a prophet is a “prophet’s reward.” What is a “prophet’s reward”? It is the reward that a prophet himself deserves from God. In this case, we have seen how God rewarded Elijah with daily bread and saving grace. When the widow received Elijah as God’s prophet, she received the same bread and the same grace: the prophet’s reward. The same reward is available to everyone who receives Jesus by faith. Anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ will receive daily bread and saving grace.[1]


7–16 Two aspects of the setting are significant. The first is the location where the events occurred. Zarephath was situated in Phoenician territory, Jezebel’s homeland and the heartland of Baal. Because the city lay in enemy territory, it might be overlooked for some time in Ahab’s search for Elijah (cf. 18:10).

The second is the growing severity of the drought. Once again the theme of command and compliance is featured. At Elijah’s instructions the widow puts Elijah’s needs ahead of her own. It proves to be a wise decision, for her meager rations continue to be adequate for each day’s needs (cf. Mt 6:11). Thus both Elijah and the widow learn to put their continued faith and trust in the Provider rather than in the provision.

Not only the Lord’s daily supplying of their needs, but also the fact that God does so in the very area where Baal is counted on to provide the rains needed for the land’s fertility will further prepare the prophet for the contest with Baal’s prophets that lies ahead. This incident and that which follows are reminders of God’s love and concern for all who respond to him in genuine faith (cf. Lk 4:24–26).[2]


17:7–16 / The theme of miraculous provision in the midst of life-threatening circumstances is developed further. The drought takes effect and the brook dries up; Elijah must move on. But that “must” is far from indicating constraint on God. The reader of Exodus knows very well that the Lord can just as easily provide water by miraculous means as bread and meat (Exod. 17:1–7). The “must” is simply divine imperative. God has decided to display power in a different way—in what 1 Kings 16:31 implies is the very heartland of the worship of Baal, the region of Sidon. Here is a region, some might have thought, over which Israel’s God could have no authority. It is nonetheless an area badly affected by the drought announced in 17:1 (cf. v. 12). The Lord can bring drought to all and can disarm death and sustain life in even this area, as well as in Israel. So Elijah is sent to Zarephath of Sidon, to meet a widow (v. 9) whom God has commanded, as he had previously “ordered” the ravens, to supply Elijah with food. Her situation seems hopeless. The Lord lives (v. 12)—the woman is ready to acknowledge that; but she is preparing to die, for his living makes no practical difference to hers. How, then, can she provide for Elijah? Yet the word of the Lord has come to pass once already (vv. 2–4), against all natural odds, and Elijah is certainly prepared to trust it a second time (vv. 8–9). He persuades the woman to take a mighty step of faith to join him. Against all parental instinct, she is to feed him first (v. 13), before her son. She does so (v. 15), and she and her son are blessed (cf. Matt. 10:41) as she discovers that Elijah’s God is alive and gives life. There was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.[3]


Vers. 13–16. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not, &c. The prophet attaches to his word of consolation a demand which was, for the woman, a severe test of her faith. Never would he have made the demand, and still less would she have paid any attention to it (ver. 15), had she been a heathen and worshipped idols. That at the word of Jehovah, the God of Israel (ver. 14), she did what the prophet bade her, certainly shows a faith which could scarcely be found in Israel. תתן is the infinitive תֵּת with the syllable תֵן repeated as in chap. 6:19. The addition, and her house, ver. 15, while in ver. 12 and 13 her son only is mentioned, means that there was so much meat and oil that even her poor relations came to partake thereof. The Sept. in vers. 12 and 13, without any authority, has τοῖς τέκνοις, and in ver. 15, τὰ τέκνα, and Thenius would like to make the text to conform to this. The same author, without reason, wishes, with the Vulgate (et ex illa die), to refer יָמִים to the following verse: and from that time the barrel wasted not. It means simply a long while, like Gen. 40:4; Numb. 9:22.[4]


17:8–16. A second miracle of provision occurred unexpectedly through a poor widow. Again God’s influence was made known when He commanded a widow … to provide for Elijah (v. 9), and He enabled her to do so with a miraculous provision. The event occurred in Zarephath, a town in Sidon about 45 miles northwest of the Sea of Galilee on the Mediterranean coast. This was a Gentile region outside of Israel in the very center of Baal worship.

On his arrival Elijah met the woman appointed by God to provide for his physical needs (v. 10). When the woman proceeded to meet his request for water, Elijah asked the woman, Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand (v. 11). The request would reveal how severe the famine was both in Israel and in Sidon, as the woman acknowledged that she had no bread, and only a handful of flour (v. 12). In fact, the woman informed the prophet that she was about to prepare a final meal for herself and her son, so that they could eat it and die. However, Elijah encouraged her: Do not fear what might happen, but simply obey his request. She would then be able to make bread for herself and for her son (v. 13). Elijah informed her that if she did so the flour would not be exhausted … or the oil empty (v. 14). Miraculously, the bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty (v. 16). There was an unending supply of four and oil to make plenty of bread. Her obedience quickly led to the revelation of God’s power and faithfulness.[5]


17:12–16. The widow recognized Elijah as an Israelite and appealed to Yahweh in affirming that she had no bread; she had only a little flour and oil, enough for a last meal for her son and herself. Here was a Gentile woman in Phoenicia who believed in the Lord; she said she believed He is alive (As surely as the Lord your God lives; cf. v. 1; 18:10).

Elijah calmed her fears of himself, her hunger, and her imminent death. He asked her to feed him first … and then use what was left to feed herself and her son. Then he gave her a promise on the authority of the word of God: she would have food until the drought ended.

Her obedient response demonstrated her faith in the word of the Lord. The Lord honored her faith by fulfilling His promise miraculously. This miracle of God’s continually supplying flour and olive oil was another polemic (protest) against Baal, just as was the drought. Baal-worshipers believed he was a fertility god, giving rain to make crops grow. But he could not overcome the drought to make wheat and olive trees grow. Only the true God could provide flour and oil in a drought![6]


17:8–16 In obedience to the word of the Lord, Elijah journeyed to Zarephath, on the Mediterranean coast between Tyre and Sidon. There God had arranged that a Gentile widow would feed him. At first she hesitated because she had only enough meal for her son and herself. However, the prophet ordered her to make … a small cake for him first. By doing this she was, in effect, giving God the first place. When she obeyed, she learned the precious lesson that those who put God first never lack the necessities of life. Her bin of flour and jar of oil never failed. Jesus made note of the fact that Elijah was sent to a Gentile widow and not to any of the numerous Israelite widows (Luke 4:26).

During the drought Jehovah provided for His prophet in most humbling ways—first through unclean birds and then through a Gentile woman, and a poor widow at that. The king in his palace was hard-pressed, but Elijah had all he needed. God’s man, obeying God’s voice, will always have his needs met, despite the conditions that prevail around him.[7]


17:15–17 While an apostate Israelite nation suffered because of the drought, God supplied the daily necessities to a non-Israelite who willingly took Him at His word. The fresh supply of oil and flour each day would be a reminder to both the prophet and the widow of the value of personal trust in Him who alone is sufficient to meet every need (Phil. 4:19).[8]


17:15–16 This miraculous sign illustrated that God rewards faith and obedience, even that of a Gentile.[9]


[1] Ryken, P. G. (2011). 1 Kings. (R. D. Phillips, I. M. Duguid, & P. G. Ryken, Eds.) (pp. 444–453). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[2] Patterson, R. D., & Austel, H. J. (2009). 1, 2 Kings. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, p. 772). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Provan, I. W. (2012). 1 & 2 Kings. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 133). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Bähr, K. C. W. F., Harwood, E., & Sumner, B. A. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 1 Kings (p. 195). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Shields, H. E. (2014). 1 Kings. In The moody bible commentary (p. 508). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] Constable, T. L. (1985). 1 Kings. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, pp. 523–524). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[7] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 379). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 453). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[9] Bowling, A. C. (2017). 1 Kings. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 539). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Romans 7: The Mature Christian’s Struggle — The Cripplegate

My doctor told me that he isn’t satisfied with containing the cancer in my body he wants to eradicate it. When he said that I realized that we should have the same attitude with our sin, we shouldn’t contain it we should kill it!

Those were the words of Ed, a man in my church who has stage four cancer raging through his body.

I really appreciated his perspective. Despite the fact that he hates the fact that he has cancer, he hates something else even more–sin.

I’ve been thinking about what Ed said ever since. I recently had the opportunity to preach on Romans 7, and I’ve been struck with the similarities between what Ed said and what Paul is saying in this passage.

The issue I’ve been considering, though, is the seeming dichotomy we face as believers. We are to kill sin in our lives, but no matter what we do, sin will always be present until our very last breath.

Romans 7 is one of the most controversial passages in Scripture as far as debates are concerned. The big question people ask is, is Paul referring to a believer as he talks through Romans 7:14-25? Even among those who agree that he is speaking about a believer, there is much debate as to whether the person described is a mature or an immature Christian.

I take the view that this is describing the type of Christian we should all strive to be. This, in other words, is the most mature of believers, and I have four reasons why.

Paul Hates His Sin

Paul is very clear that he doesn’t want to sin. He hates it. That is in direct opposition to how he describes non-Christians just four chapters earlier. In Romans 3:10-23, he describes unbelievers as not being able to do good. As being swift to shed blood. As people who do not seek after God. In Romans 1, he lists an incredible list of sins, and then declares that unbelievers practice those things and give approval of those who do them! Paul does not seem to believe that unbelievers have the capacity to hate their sin. In fact, I would go as far as to say that unbelievers are blinded as to the extent of their sin.

In Philippians 3, Paul, on the other hand, describing himself before Christ, though he had kept the law perfectly. He says that he was blameless as far as the law is concerned. He didn’t hate his sin before Christian, he was completely blinded to it. In Romans 7, it’s a different story. He says in verse 15, “I do the very things I hate.” In verse 19, “the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”  In verse 21 he says, when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” These are the words of someone who hates sin and wants to please God.

One of the ways you can know that you are a Christian is if you hate your sin. Of course, everyone hates the consequences of sin, but believers–those who have received a new heart–hate the fact that their sin displeases their Savior.

Paul is Humble

True humility is an impossible trait for an unbeliever to possess because true humility only comes when you believe in the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible demands that you believe three things about yourself. That you are a sinner (Rom. 3:23), that you deserve hell for eternity for your sin (Rom. 6:23), and that you believe that you can’t contribute one iota to your salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).

Paul is marked by humility throughout Romans 7. He calls his actions evil in Romans 7:19, 21. He says that, “nothing good dwells in me” (Rom. 7:18). He calls himself a “wretched man” in Romans 7:24. This is a humble man who realizes that without the Lord’s help he can’t be saved nor can he be sanctified.

Another way that you can know that you are a Christian is through your humility. You needed to be supernaturally humble to be saved in the first place, but humility continues and marks your life once you receive a new heart.

Paul is Happiest When Holy

One of the things that struck me about studying Romans 7 is that Paul is happiest when he is holy. This man is despairing in his present state.

In verse 22, Paul shouts a truth that is only true for born-again believers. He says, “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being.” Like the man in Psalm 1, His delight is in the law of the Lord. He understands that true joy is only found in those who listen to God’s Word.

Psalm 32 is a great example of this. David experienced turmoil because he was a child of God. When he kept silent about his sin, his body wasted away. But when he confessed his sin, it produced gladness and much joy (Psalm 32:11).

One of the ways that you can knowyou are a Christian is if your love for Jesus causes you to desire holiness above all else. Obeying God’s Word is the desire of your heart.

Paul is Hoping in Heaven

Because Paul’s greatest goal in life is holiness, his greatest desire is Heaven. After walking through the despair of the Christian life, the knowledge of the fact that he will never be fully successful in his quest to put to death the deeds of the flesh, his only solution for it all is to rejoice in the deliverance found in Jesus Christ. (Rom. 7:25)

The Christian’s greatest desire on earth is to be with his Savior in Heaven. Our Savior will wipe away our tears, remove all pain, and will do away with the consequences of sin in our lives. Sin is the root of all problems that we face in this life, and a true Christian can’t wait to be with Christ in perfect holiness.

Joni Eareckson Tada, who has constantly battled pain throughout her life, said it best when she said,

“Don’t be thinking that for me in Heaven, the big deal after I get to see Jesus is to get my new body, no, no, no I want a glorified heart! I want a glorified heart that no longer twists the truth, resists God, looks for an escape, gets defeated by pain, becomes anxious or worrisome, manipulates my husband with precisely timed phrases…”

Joni vocalizes our greatest sentiment as believers. That to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). Non-believers cannot comprehend this fact. Paul, according to Romans 7, must be a Christian because he hates sin, he is humble, he’s happiest when holy, and he reminds us that his greatest hope is in Heaven where Jesus is, sin is eradicated and holiness is the way of life.

True believers long for Heaven for many different reasons, but the greatest of which is that they will be with Jesus and worship Him without any sin holding us back.

Do you long for Heaven?

Romans 7: The Mature Christian’s Struggle — The Cripplegate

Back to the Future: John MacArthur on the ‘Moral Authority’ of the Presidency

John MacArthur Preaching (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“Not a position of moral authority”

Much can be said about John MacArthur’s recent interview with Ben Shapiro, particularly regarding his comments about the 45th President of the United States.

During the interview, MacArthur remarked that Christians should not expect the presidency to be “a position of moral authority.” Analogous to how we should not be concerned about a brain surgeon’s moral life to determine his work, MacArthur argued that Christians should not be concerned about the moral life of the President when it comes to the work he does.

Instead of embarking on a potentially long-winded interaction and commentary with MacArthur’s remarks, I thought that it would be insightful, if not slightly entertaining, to see MacArthur from the past interact with MacArthur from today. We can just imagine ourselves jumping in with ‘Doc’ Emmett Brown and Marty McFly in their flux-capacitor-equipped DeLorean, hitting 88 miles per hour and zapping to September 20, 1998.

“A position of moral authority”

Back to the Future Logo (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

On that day, in a sermon titled “The Destructive Sin of Lying, Part 1”, just before former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment was initiated, MacArthur preached against the moral failings of Clinton.*

MacArthur begins by stating how Clinton’s pattern of lying goes against what Americans (including Christians) should have expected from someone who holds the “prominent and critical” office of President:

“In the last several weeks as a nation, and certainly across the world we have been overexposed to the extensive pattern of deception and lying engaged in by our president. To put it mildly, this is greatly disappointing to all of us who would have hoped that a man of character and a man of conviction and a man of integrity would have arisen to such a prominent and critical place of leadership. What we have come to find out, however, is that we have a man in the White House who has for his life a habit in which he has engaged, and that habit is a habit of lying and deception and hypocrisy.” (Emphasis Added)

Why is this important for MacArthur to call out from the pulpit? Why can’t he “just preach the gospel” and remain silent on this matter? MacArthur explains that the habit of lying, deception, and hypocrisy are dangerous because it has dragged other people connected to Clinton into his lies:

“…he has brought all the people who touch his life into the potential category of joining him in the lie. His wife has lied for him, his friends, his cabinet, his White House staff, loyalists, the media has lied for him, congressmen have lied for him, senators have lied for him. He has lied and deceived, and he has embroiled all kinds of people in lies and deception.”

Above all, MacArthur believes that God is clear in the Bible about what he thinks about leaders with moral failings. MacArthur urges his congregation to think about what God specifically has to say about leaders who are liars. According to MacArthur, the Bible teaches clearly that a lying ruler is a serious matter to God that must be addressed.

“What I would like to know is what does God think about this? What has He said about it? To put is simply, to have a ruler who is a liar is an extremely serious matter. In Proverbs 29:12, God says, “If a ruler is given to lies,” this is translated a number of ways, but this is the basic Hebrew of it, “If a ruler is given to lies, all his servants become wicked.” We would put that in the simple category of “birds of a feather,” what? “flock together.” When a ruler is given to lies, he will accumulate around him people who can tolerate lying. A corrupt leader draws around him corrupt people. Allow lies and you will be tolerated and surrounded by liars.”

Furthermore, MacArthur comments that the combination of the immorality of Clinton and his high approval ratings at the time demonstrate that the United States has become an anti-Christian nation that God has given up because they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. The high approval rating of Clinton demonstrates how dangerous of a state Americans are in.

“I’m not surprised that the president’s approval rating is so high. Because the people who approve of what he does are the people who do what he does. And that’s largely the way our nation is. That approval rating is tantamount to the percentage of Americans who do what he does. That’s what we have. If we have a 62 percent approval rate, then 60 percent of Americans approve of that because they practice those things. Lying, deception, fornication, adultery, whatever. We shouldn’t be surprised, that’s us. In fact, I don’t want to be unkind, that’s not my intention, but I would say that Bill Clinton is the man for this culture in every sense. He is a reflection of the mores of this society. He is the man who represents what these people practice. That’s why they’re not offended by it. How did we get to this place? Well, because of what it says in verse 24 of Romans 1 down to verse 32; let me show you how we got here. Verse 24, “therefore God also gave them up.” Verse 26, “For this reason God gave them up.” Verse 28, “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,God gave them over,” or gave them up. We’ve got a problem here. God’s given us up. That’s what it says.” (Emphasis added)

Not only is Clinton no longer fit to be President, but MacArthur goes on to question the legitimacy of Clinton’s profession of Christian faith based on his pattern of life:

“The president said some weeks ago that nobody should be concerned about his sexual sin. It was an issue, he said, between himself, his family, he said, and our God. Let me tell you something about his god. His god is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is not pro feminism, pro homosexual, pro lesbian, and pro fornication, pro adultery. That’s not the God of the Bible. He’s not pro deception, He’s not pro lying. You see, he has the same god that all who reject the true God have and you can meet him every morning; he’s there in your mirror.”

Apparently, and most ironically, MacArthur had been interviewed a bit before this sermon and was asked a similar question that Shapiro asked him recently. Instead of claiming that we shouldn’t be worried about the President being a moral authority like he did with Shapiro, MacArthur claims that Clinton should no longer be President due to his moral failings:

“When I was being interviewed by ABC television the other day the reporter said to me, you know, “What is your attitude toward the president?” And I said, “Well, I don’t think he should be the president. I think he has breached every, every position of dignity and integrity that that office would call for.”

Not only is Clinton’s faith not credible to MacArthur, and not only should Clinton no longer be considered qualified for the office of President due to his moral failings, but Clinton is “Satan’s man” and “an antichrist type person” due to his pattern of deception while “feigning a faith in Jesus Christ that is not real”:

“And I really believe he is Satan’s man, he’s the man who fits the time. There are many antichrists in the world, and this is one, who feigns a faith in Jesus Christ that is not real. Who appears as a peacemaker, who appears as a great leader who can win the confidence of people, but underneath is a deceiver. This is an antichrist type person.”

Back to the Future

As we jump back into the DeLorean, step off in December 2018, and wave goodbye to Marty and ‘Doc,’ we have to ask the question: What happened between 1998 and today? One possibility is that somewhere in the space-time continuum, something changed in the course of events that led to a skewing of the events into an alternate 2018, leading to a complete change of events where MacArthur says something completely about-face from what he said twenty years ago.

Or, the possibility that is more likely: it’s never really been about “just preach the gospel.” It’s been about maintaining power, regaining power, and thwarting others’ attempts at power, all in the name of Christ and his kingdom.
— Read on medium.com/@timothyisaiahcho/back-to-the-future-john-macarthur-on-the-moral-authority-of-the-presidency-2e405f8abf76