Daily Archives: December 16, 2018

Peter J. Williams lectures on the historical reliability of the gospel narratives

WINTERY KNIGHT

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are going to take a look at the data Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are going to take a look at the evidence

Here’s the main lecture: (54 minutes)

And here’s the Q&A: (9 minutes)

About Peter Williams:

Peter J. Williams is the Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible from Cambridge University. After his PhD, he was on staff in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (1997–1998), and thereafter taught Hebrew and Old Testament there as Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic and as Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge (1998–2003). From 2003 to 2007 he was on the faculty of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he became a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Deputy Head of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy…

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Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding — The Upward Call

Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding;
“Christ is nigh,” it seems to say;
“Cast away the works of darkness
O ye children of the day!”

Wakened by the solemn warning,
Let the earth-bound soul arise;
Christ, her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
Shines upon the morning skies.

Lo! the Lamb, so long expected,
Comes with pardon down from heaven;
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
One and all to be forgiven.

So when next He comes in glory,
Wrapping all the world in fear,
May He with His mercy shield us,
And with words of love draw near.

via Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding — The Upward Call

Lord’s Day 50, 2018 — The Thirsty Theologian

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us,
O Lord!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.

—Psalm 4:6–7

The Favour of God the Only Satisfying Good.
Psalm iv. 6, 7.

 

I.

In vain the erring world inquires,
For true substantial good:
While earth confines their low desires,
They live on airy food.

II.

Illusive dreams of happiness,
Their eager thoughts employ;
They wake, convine’d their boasted bliss
Was visionary joy.

III.

Begone, ye gilded vanities;
I seek some solid good;
To real bliss my wishes rise,
The favour of my God.

IV.

My God, to thee my soul aspires;
Dispel the shades of night,
Enlarge and fill these vast desires,
With infinite delight.

V.

Immortal joy thy smiles impart,
Heav’n dawns in ev’ry ray;
One glimpse of thee will glad my heart,
And turn my night to day.

VI.

Not all the good which earth bestows,
Can fill the craving mind;
Its highest joys are mingled woes,
And leave a sting behind.

VII.

Should boundless wealth increase my store,—
Can wealth my cares beguile?
I should be wretched still, and poor
Without thy blissful smile.

VIII.

Grant, O my God, this one request:
Oh, be thy love alone
My ample portion,—here I rest,
For heav’n is in the boon.

—Anne Steele, The Works of Mrs. Anne Steele (Munroe, Francis, and Parker, 1808).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation
if you can possibly help it.
But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these.

via Lord’s Day 50, 2018 — The Thirsty Theologian

Sunday Morning Advent Praise — Do Not Be Surprised…

Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:39-45)

O Come, All Ye Faithful

And Mary said:
“My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
“For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
“AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION
TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
“He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
“HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
“He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.

(Luke 1:46-56)

O Holy Night

via Sunday Morning Advent Praise — Do Not Be Surprised…

The Hope Of Christmas Bells

The Outspoken TULIP

By 1864, famed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had already lost his beloved wife to an accidental burning. Now the country he cherished was savagely divided by a civil war that claimed far too many lives. Struggling with the Christmas sentiment of peace on earth, goodwill to men, he wrote a poem about the apparent contradiction between the sentiment and the bitter realities of life.

His poem was later condensed into a Christmas song. Although the song doesn’t focus on the Lord Jesus Christ per se, its trust in God for ultimate justice offers meaning in today’s divisive climate. As Christians, we know that the same Christ Who came as a sweet Baby will return as the powerful Judge Who will right every wrong. Listen to Longfellow’s words with that glorious promise in mind.

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Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Gentleness

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Warren Wiersbe notes the triple triad within the verse. The first three characteristics of the fruit are love, joy, and peace. Those reflect the Godward aspect of Christian life.

The next three are patience, kindness, goodness; characteristics reflecting the manward aspect of Christian life.

Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control are aspects reflecting the selfward part of the Christian life. Below, Wiersbe’s longer explanation:

When a person lives in the sphere of love, then he experiences joy—that inward peace and sufficiency that is not affected by outward circumstances. (A case in point is Paul’s experience recorded in Phil. 4:10–20.) This “holy optimism” keeps him going in spite of difficulties. Love and joy together produce peace, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding”…

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Thirty Days of Jesus Redux: Day 20, Jesus as Teacher

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

thirty days of Jesus day 20

How can we know God unless He reveals Himself to us? The creation confirms His existence, but what does the creature know of His attributes, Person, or Power? Unless He teaches us about Himself, we will not know. God sent His Son Jesus to earth as a born-babe, to live the full life of sinlessness under the Law, and to teach us about Himself. He was prophesied to die as the atoning sacrifice, and then rise again to receive His people through His work on the cross. Grace abounds.

We are in the section of these verses throughout the series where we examine His works and ministry. Yesterday, we saw the He first emptied Himself. This is the kenosis, and it’s explained on Day 19.

Today we see Jesus as Teacher. I mentioned earlier that Jesus’ first recorded words in His incarnation was when He…

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December 16 Daily Help

But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.—Luke 24:16.

THE disciples had heard his voice so often, and gazed upon that marred face so frequently, that it is wonderful they did not discover him. Yet is it not so with you also? You have not seen Jesus lately. You have been to his table, and you have not met him there. You are in a dark trouble this day, and though he plainly says, “It is I, be not afraid,” yet you cannot discern him. Dear child of God, are you in this state? Faith alone can bring us to see Jesus. Make it your prayer, “Lord, open thou mine eyes, that I may see my Saviour present with me.”[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 354). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 16 Christ’s Eternal Existence

“Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands; they will perish, but Thou remainest; and they all will become old as a garment, and as a mantle Thou wilt roll them up; as a garment they will also be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end” (Heb. 1:10–12).

✧✧✧

Christ existed before the beginning of the world; thus He is without beginning.

Jesus Christ is no creature. To be able to lay the foundation of the earth and create the heavens in the beginning implies that He must have existed before the beginning. The Apostle John testified to this when he said, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). Christ is eternal.

Jesus is also immutable, which means He never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” We need to hang on to this truth as we approach a day when much of what we know will change drastically.

One day what looks so permanent will fold up. Like the people Peter warned, we are tempted to think that “all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4). But Hebrews 1:11 tells us that one day Jesus will discard the heavens and the earth, just as we would a useless garment.

Even more amazing, verse 12 specifies that Christ will roll up the heavens. Revelation 6:14 says, “The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” During the time of the Tribulation period, the heavens, as if stretched to all corners, will roll up like a scroll.

But we can be confident that although creation will perish, Jesus will not, and He will create a new heaven and a new earth. Living creatures, worlds, and stars are subject to decay, but not Christ. He never changes and is never subject to change. What confidence that should give us for the daily issues of life we face each day!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank the Lord for His unchanging plan for your life and for His ability to keep it.

For Future Study: Read 2 Peter 3, and develop an approach to answering charges unbelievers make about Biblical prophecies regarding the end times.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 363). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

December 16, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

25:21 Well done, good and faithful slave Faithful stewardship pleases the master more than the actual return on his investment (v. 23; compare 11:26–27).[1]


When the master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave,” he was commending the slave’s attitude more than just his accomplishment. He first of all commended the man’s excellent character, which expressed itself in excellent service.

Because the master represents the Lord Himself when He returns in glory and power to establish His kingdom, it is remarkable to contemplate that the holy, just, perfect Lord of the universe will deign to praise His true disciples for their faithfulness, imperfect as it will have been. Yet that is the glorious prospect of every child of God who, like Paul, loves Christ’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).[2]


[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Mt 25:21). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 4, p. 103). Chicago: Moody Press.

EChurch@Wartburg 12/16/18 — The Wartburg Watch

Welcome to a Gathering of EChurch@Wartburg

https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=233836&picture=wintry

Wintry

Daily Common Lutheran Worship

Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.
Amen

Silent Night

Nativity Prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-440)

Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.
Amen

How often we forget about Mary.

Scripture: Daniel 11-12/1 NIV Bible Gateway

1 And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)

The Kings of the South and the North
2 “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. 4 After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.

5 “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power.6 After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power[a] will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father[b] and the one who supported her.

7 “One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. 8 He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. 9 Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country. 10 His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.

11 “Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. 12 When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. 13 For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.

14 “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. 15 Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. 16 The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. 17 He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans[c] will not succeed or help him. 18 Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him. 19 After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.

20 “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle.

21 “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. 22 Then an overwhelming army will be swept awaybefore him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. 23 After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. 24 When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.

25 “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him.26 Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. 27 The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. 28 The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.

29 “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. 30 Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

The King Who Exalts Himself
36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.[d]

40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moaband the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites[e] in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at[f] the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

The End Times
12 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered

https://player.vimeo.com/video/305371372?title=0&portrait=0

Wade Burleson: At That Time, Michael Shall Arise from Emmanuel Enid on Vimeo.

Benediction

Go now and walk in the light of the Lord.
Stay alert for the Lord is near.
Put on the armour of light
and live openly and honourably.
Pray for peace for all God’s people.

And may God clothe you in the light of Christ;
May Christ Jesus teach you his ways;
And may the Holy Spirit keep you alert and prepared
for the coming day of the Lord.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
…In the name of Christ.
Amen.

 

via EChurch@Wartburg 12/16/18 —

SSB Sunday Gathering – December 16, 2018 — Spiritual Sounding Board

Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

-by Kathi

***

Scripture is taken from the Book of Common Prayer, Advent – Readings for Year 1 and may be found here.

Psalm 98

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn — shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.

Hebrews 12: 18 – 29

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 2to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken — that is, created things — so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”[d

John 3: 22 – 30

After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan — the one you testified about — look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

***

***

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

***

Feel free to join the discussion.

You can share your church struggles and concerns.

Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.

What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?

Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

Photo credit: Pixabay

via SSB Sunday Gathering – December 16, 2018 — Spiritual Sounding Board

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: On Jordan’s Banks

On Jordan’s Banks the Baptist’s Cry
PUER NOBIS

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
announces that the Lord is nigh;
awake and hearken, for he brings
glad tidings from the King of kings.

Then cleansed be every breast from sin;
make straight the way for God within;
prepare we in our hearts a home,
where such a mighty Guest may come.

For Thou art our salvation, Lord,
our Refuge and our great Reward;
without Thy grace we waste away,
like flow’rs that wither and decay.

To heal the sick stretch out Thine hand,
and bid the fallen sinner stand;
shine forth, and let Thy light restore
earth’s own true loveliness once more.

All praise, Eternal Son, to Thee
whose Advent sets Thy people free;
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Ghost for evermore.

Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017).

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/trM-TualL7Q?rel=0

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/IOVcOMrcNvk?rel=0

The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.

Source: In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: On Jordan’s Banks

12/16/18 A Roaring Lion — ChuckLawless.com

READING: 1 Peter 5

“Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”

1 Peter 5:8

If you talk about or read about spiritual warfare much at all, you’ll come to this verse in 1 Peter: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).* Our enemy is always lurking, always watching, always wanting to devour us. Peter, who himself had been sifted by the enemy (Luke 22), surely knew how important it was to stay ever alert in this battle.

What we sometimes miss, though, is the image and sound of the roar of the lion. Our enemy Satan (whose name means “adversary”) roars loudly, seeking to strike us with debilitating fear. For the readers of 1 Peter, persecution and suffering were his means to devour their faith. If they knew that following Jesus could cost them their lives, maybe they would decide not to follow Him.

Our fears may be different, but they’re still the roars of the enemy. Sometimes they’re louder at times, but the origin is still the lion. “Follow God, and look at what it’ll cost you.” “There’s no way you’re going to be able to follow Jesus faithfully.” “Tell others about Him, and you’ll lose those friendships.” “People will ridicule you.” If we succumb to these simple fears, how much more might we have been in trouble in Peter’s day?

Our answer is still the same, though. We must be ever alert and watching, always aware that the enemy is around. At the same time, we’re to “resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9). We are to stand on the foundation of Christ and trust the promises of God. We’re always less afraid when we know we’re not by ourselves.

ACTION STEPS: 

  • List the three most powerful fears in your life. In prayer, give them to God.
  • If fear strikes you today, call a Christian friend. Don’t fight the battles alone.

PRAYER: “God, thank You that You’ve already defeated the lion. Help me to hear Your voice over the lion’s roar.”

TOMORROW’S READING: 1 John 1-5; 2 John; 3 John

*devotion first published in 2016

via 12/16/18 A Roaring Lion — ChuckLawless.com

December 16 The Mustard Seed, Part 2

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.—Matt. 13:31–32

A further lesson from this parable is that God’s kingdom will grow to become a blessing to the rest of the world. The tree that develops from the mustard seed symbolizes the kingdom, which in this age is Christ’s true church. The metaphor of birds nesting suggests the positive idea of providing protection and safety for others.

Daniel interpreted a vision with parallels to this parable: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in which “there was a tree in the midst of the earth and its height was great. The tree grew large and became strong and its height reached to the sky, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. Its foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches, and all living creatures fed themselves from it” (Dan. 4:10–12). As Daniel explained to the king (vv. 20–22), his empire (the tree) brought unrivaled advancement and prosperity to many areas of world endeavor: architecture, the arts, economics, and others. The birds and animals in the vision that benefited from the tree’s provisions were other world nations (cf. Ezek. 31:3–6).

For Jesus and His followers the parallel between the vision and the parable is obvious—God’s kingdom will grow from small beginnings into a huge tree and will provide shelter, protection, and blessing for the whole world. When believers are obedient to God and when nations seek to pattern their ways after His Word, they can bless everyone around.

ASK YOURSELF

How are you seeing this nesting, sheltering function of the kingdom at work in your church? What kind of excitement could ensue if individual Christians saw more clearly the potential blessing their efforts could produce? What are some of the possibilities?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 359). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

ICE Deports Quarter of a Million Illegal Aliens, 6K Gang Members in 2018

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency in Fiscal Year 2018 deported more than 256,000 illegal aliens out of the United States, including about 6,000 suspected or known gang members.

Source: ICE Deports Quarter of a Million Illegal Aliens, 6K Gang Members in 2018

2 major Christian groups adopt gay-rights ‘compromise’

Jack Phillips

Two major Christian organizations have endorsed adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections to federal nondiscrimination laws. The boards for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Evangelicals passed the motions in recent months as a compromise, exchanging an advance in LGBT rights for protections for religious groups, World magazine reported .

Source: 2 major Christian groups adopt gay-rights ‘compromise’

Former FBI SSA Exposes McCabe & Mueller’s “Unethtical, Target & Destroy Coercion” Tactics, Defends Flynn

Via SaraCarter.com,

Former FBI Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz has asked SaraACarter.com to post her letter to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in support of her friend and colleague retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who will be sentenced on Dec. 18. The Special Counsel’s Office has requested that Flynn not serve any jail time due to his cooperation with Robert Mueller’s office. Based on new information contained in a memorandum submitted to the court this week by Flynn’s attorney, Sullivan has ordered Mueller’s office to turn over all exculpatory evidence and government documents on Flynn’s case by mid-day Friday. Sullivan is also requesting any documentation regarding the first interviews conducted by former anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka -known by the FBI as 302s- which were found to be dated more than seven months after the interviews were conducted on Jan. 24, 2017, a violation of FBI policy, say current and former FBI officials familiar with the process. According to information contained in Flynn’s memorandum, the interviews were dated Aug. 22, 2017.

Read Gritz’s letter below… (emphasis added)

Source: Former FBI SSA Exposes McCabe & Mueller’s “Unethtical, Target & Destroy Coercion” Tactics, Defends Flynn

Confirmed: Obama Regime Also Spied on Pesky Israelis and Opponents of Junk Iranian Nuke Deal — The Gateway Pundit

The Obama regime spied on their political opponent during the 2016 election.

We now have proof the Obama regime used the full power of the government to create conspiracies, lie to get FISA warrants, plant information in the press and conspire to blackmail and defeat the Trump campaign.

The 2016 Russian collusion narrative was initiated by by the Hillary Campaign and DNC insiders like Alexandra Chulupa who was working with Ukrainian officials to fabricate bogus stories about Trump links to the Putin government.

** There is now evidence that the Obama regime also spied on the reporters during his time in the White House.

** And now there is evidence the Obama regime also spied on pesky Israelis and opponents of the junk Iranian nuclear deal.

Obama paid off the murderous Iranian regime $5.7 billion and a pallet of cash in the middle of the night to secure his disastrous deal.

via Confirmed: Obama Regime Also Spied on Pesky Israelis and Opponents of Junk Iranian Nuke Deal — The Gateway Pundit

Powerful Christian Media Group Stands Up Against Tech-Giant Censorship! — Pulpit & Pen

Pulpit & Pen has been throttled by Facebook (however, we believe the trottle is now over or at least reduced). Facebook banned P&P’s publisher after posting an article that correctly states Bruce Jenner’s gender. Some of our affiliate media groups have been put on notice by Google Adsense that their politically-incorrect (Christian) content will get their advertising revoked (even though their traffic is profitable). Christian and conservative groups have been shadow-banned on Twitter. Google’s search algorithms are obviously biased.

However, a powerful religious group representing 60 million consumers is standing up to challenge the tech-giant corporatocracy that is inhibiting free speech.

WASHINGTON (NRB) –  The president & CEO of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) told a gathering of innovators in technology and policy that social media companies need to fix the problem of censorship of Christian and conservative viewpoints before the end of this year, or there will be calls for Congress to have a hearing to examine Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“They need to fix this quickly,” said Dr. Jerry A. Johnson during a panel discussion on the reported silencing of “unpopular voices” at the Reboot 2018 conference in San Francisco on Friday. “And what I’m saying is: if they don’t do this – by December 31, mind you – we are going to ask Congress to take a look at 230,” he added, saying NRB would ask for “very careful, thoughtful” hearings.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was inserted in the 1996 Telecommunications Act in part to facilitate “Good Samaritan” blocking of offensive content without exposing web companies to lawsuits based on content that their efforts may have missed.

But Johnson suggested Friday that Big Tech companies no longer need “an extra layer of protection,” stating that Section 230 “came in when it was a new day.”

“It’s time to leave the ‘incubator,’” Johnson said. “Why do they need that now?”

The NRB leader went on to say that the best solution is for Big Tech companies themselves to come up with a free speech charter based on First Amendment principles, which would keep the government from having to intervene.

“We’ve been calling for this for eight years,” he said.

“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Johnson later added. “It would be their own voluntary change.”

If, however, those companies don’t fix the problem, Johnson said it might be necessary to “get a ‘scalpel,’ an ‘exacto knife,’ and carve out a very particular space for Facebook, for Twitter, for YouTube” in Section 230.

“Carving out this section of 230, all it would do is would say, ‘If you’re going to push your hand on the scale in the great public debates of the day … then have your day in court,” Johnson stated, noting that he was not referring to the blocking of content from obscure Nazis or other fringe groups, but from mainstream individuals such as Dennis Prager, whose protracted viewpoint censorship battle with Google’s YouTube was brought up during the discussion. Presently, more than 80 videos from Prager’s PragerU are restricted because they present a conservative point of view.

“They were put in the adults-only section, which is really for pornography and violence,” Johnson stated.

To those who question whether there is evidence of discrimination against conservatives, Johnson pointed to InternetFreedomWatch.org, an initiative of NRB that has been tracking cases of censorship against Christian and conservative viewpoints, such as Prager’s case.

Johnson noted the case of Chuck Colson’s Manhattan Declaration, which was removed from Apple’s App Store in 2010 for expressing mainstream conservative Christian views.

He also highlighted more recent cases, like those of Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Todd Starnes.

“These are mainstream public figures,” he said. “You don’t see a correlation with Al Sharpton being taken off, or Rachel Maddow being taken off, or Planned Parenthood being taken off. It is a pattern. It is there. It’s absolutely there.”

Johnson also shared how NRB’s own NRBTV was prevented from running a livestream on YouTube for three months. The Nashville-based Christian television network, which runs a model similar to PBS and NPR, was only told that it had violated community standards, and was never given a clear answer, even after the ban was lifted.

“They never told us why except that we violated community standards. They didn’t say what show it was or anything,” Johnson reported.

Other speakers on the panel sponsored by The Lincoln Network included Eric Goldman, Professor at Santa Clara University School of Law; Corynne McSherry, Legal Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation; and Jesse Blumenthal, Manager of Tech and Innovation at the Charles Koch Institute, who moderated the panel.

via Powerful Christian Media Group Stands Up Against Tech-Giant Censorship! — Pulpit & Pen