Daily Archives: December 18, 2018

DECEMBER 18 ADORATION FOR ONLY ONE

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

—Mark 12:30

The admonition to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart… and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37) can mean only one thing. It means to adore Him.

I use the word “adore” sparingly, for it is a precious word. I love babies and I love people, but I cannot say I adore them. Adoration I keep for the only One who deserves it. In no other presence and before no other being can I kneel in reverent fear and wonder and yearning and feel the sense of possessiveness that cries, “Mine, mine!” …

Consecration is not difficult for the person who has met God. Where there is genuine adoration and fascination, God’s child wants nothing more than the opportunity to pour out his or her love at the Savior’s feet. WHT088-089

Father, may I indeed sense that genuine adoration and fascination that leads me to pour out my heart in love for You. Amen. [1]


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

December 18 Christ’s Grace to Sinners

For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

Matthew 9:13

Jesus’ ancestry may surprise you. His genealogy includes some names you might be shocked to find in the royal line of the King of Kings. Four women in particular stand out. Not only is it unusual to find women listed in a Hebrew genealogy, but these women are particularly noteworthy because they contrast so dramatically with the absolute purity and righteousness of God’s Anointed One. All of them were outcasts, yet they made it into Jesus’ family album. They are a strong assurance of God’s grace to sinners like us.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 379). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 18, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Tuesday further sought to pressure the Federal Reserve as the central bank prepared to start its two-day policy meeting, warning the Fed’s board not to “make yet another mistake” ahead of an expected interest rate hike.

U.S. Border Patrol agents who detained a 7-year-old Guatemalan migrant girl who later died in federal custody will not speak with U.S. lawmakers investigating her death, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said on Monday, citing their union membership.

Six men were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in a Colombian area known for cocaine trafficking, in an apparent confrontation between groups dedicated to the illegal drugs trade.

U.S. and Taliban officials have discussed proposals for a six-month ceasefire in Afghanistan and a future withdrawal of foreign troops as talks aimed at setting up peace negotiations went into a second day, Taliban sources said.

Doctors in Sierra Leone returned to work on Tuesday, ending a 13-day strike over pay and conditions that paralyzed hospitals nationwide, the country’s junior doctors’ association said.

Myanmar’s leaders are promising to bring home hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled a brutal military crackdown. But the government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is taking steps that make their return increasingly unlikely.

A toxic pesticide that a U.N. agency wanted India to ban a decade ago contaminated food that killed at least 15 people at a temple last week, police said on Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Tuesday for the unswerving implementation of reforms on Beijing’s terms, saying no one could boss it around, but offered no new measures in a speech marking 40 years of market liberalization.

U.S. homebuilding rebounded in November, driven by a surge in multi-family housing projects, but construction of single-family homes fell to a 1-1/2-year low, pointing to deepening housing market weakness that could spill over to the broader economy.

U.S. supermarket chain Kroger Co said on Tuesday it has started using unmanned autonomous vehicles to deliver groceries Scottsdale, Arizona in partnership with Silicon Valley startup Nuro.

Japan will accelerate spending on advanced stealth fighters, long-range missiles and other equipment over the next five years to support U.S. forces facing China’s military in the Western Pacific, two new government defense papers said.

AP Top Stories

A Florida man is facing charges of posting detailed bomb-making instructions to online sites frequented by extremists such as supporters of the Islamic State group, according to an FBI complaint unsealed Monday.

Yemen’s flashpoint city of Hodeida was calm on Tuesday following heavy clashes that erupted after the UN-brokered ceasefire started at midnight, pro-government sources and residents said.

Ukrainian Orthodox Christian priests selected a 39-year-old bishop to lead their newly independent church, cementing a split from the previous Russian hierarchy in a step that’s further straining relations between the two former allies.

Germany will pay survivors who escaped Nazi Germany as children 2,500 euros, or $2,800.

U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon said Monday that two of the four tunnels discovered by Israel and allegedly dug by the Hezbollah militant group cross the border in violation of the cease-fire agreement that ended the 2006 war.

BBC

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that his country will not develop at the expense of other nations, in a speech marking 40 years since China introduced major economic reforms. However, he also said that the global superpower would not be told what to do by anyone.

Two Scandinavian women tourists have been found dead in Morocco with cuts to their necks, the country’s interior ministry said. A suspect has been arrested in the city of Marrakesh on suspicion of murder, according to Moroccan authorities.

A former NASA engineer spent six months building a glitter bomb trap to trick thieves after some parcels were stolen from his doorstep.

A Canadian mine says it has broken its own record for the largest diamond ever found in North America. Dominion Diamond Mines has announced the “unexpected” discovery of a 552-carat yellow gemstone.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that his government will recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However, he said Australia’s embassy would not move from Tel Aviv, until a peace settlement was achieved.

A Rwandan woman who saved the lives of more than 100 people during the 1994 genocide has died. Zura Karuhimbi was reported to be 93, although some suggest she was more than 100 years old.

A recent surge of police action against churches in China has raised concerns the government is getting even tougher on unsanctioned Christian activity. Among those arrested are a prominent pastor and his wife, of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan. Both have been charged with state subversion.

WND

Self-identified New Age practitioners outnumber members of the Presbyterian Church USA, a mainline denomination that has lost congregations and members to conservative denominations in recent years. According to the Pew Research Center, as many as 1.5 million Americans practice some form of New Age spirituality, which includes neo-Paganism, Wicca, Native American religions and Eastern mysticism, the Daily Caller reported.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez needs a break. The Bronx-bred democratic socialist heading into her freshman term in the House of Representatives announced Monday she’s taking some time off to take care of herself before she officially starts her new job – and she’s taking her supporters along for the ride.


News – 12/18/2018

Rudy Giuliani coins James Comey’s name as new verb
“‘Comey’ (v) means to interfere illicitly with an election,” … “For example ‘The Chicago Democrat machine comied the 1960 election.’

Is the Pacific Ring of Fire Getting Ready for the End-of-Days?
A volcanic eruption in Indonesia followed by a large earthquake is the most recent event that has caused concern among geologists that we are entering a global period of increased seismic activity. Several rabbis weighed in, recognizing the volcanoes as a necessary part of the end-of-days that immediately precedes Redemption.

The New York Times Just Published an Unqualified Recommendation for an Insanely Anti-Semitic Book
The book, recommended by author Alice Walker, repeatedly cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, dubs the Talmud “among the most appallingly racist documents on the planet,” and says Jews funded the Holocaust and control the KKK

As the Russian economy and Putin’s popularity tumble, the war drums grow louder and critics take cover
the Russian government may instigate new fighting in neighbouring Ukraine as a way of whipping up both patriotic feeling and support for the President. A buildup of troops and tanks along Russia’s border with Ukraine and the deployment of new missile systems to Crimea suggest Mr. Putin is at least considering a major military operation against Ukraine, says Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based military analyst. In response to the buildup, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has declared martial law in 10 provinces, including all those that share a border with Russia, and called up some reserve soldiers for training exercises.

Ebola count in DRC hits 500 in growing outbreak
The world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak hit another milestone today, as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 2 new cases, raising outbreak totals to 500, including 289 deaths. Of the four new deaths recorded today, two are community deaths in Beni and Mabalako, which took place outside a hospital or Ebola treatment center, raising the risk of transmission, the DRC said.

Owen unleashes wettest December day on record in Australia
Owen was a Category 3 severe tropical cyclone when it moved onshore between Kowanyama and the mouth of the Gilbert River on Friday. Its strength at that time was equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans. Despite weakening as it tracked southeast near the Queensland coastline over the weekend, the storm still produced severe flooding and travel disruptions. In fact, the storm saved its most extreme weather for last as it unloaded historic rainfall on parts of Queensland.

U.S. Makes Great Strides to Help Iraqi Christians, More Remains to Be Done
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump signed into law the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act, which will help the United States channel humanitarian and rebuilding assistance to Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

Prophetic Warning Ignored and Now Boy Scouts to Declare Bankruptcy
The Wall Street Journal broke the news that the Boy Scouts of America is preparing to declare bankruptcy. Decisions made by their leadership compromising standards and values in place for over 100 years have backfired and now blown up in their face. The tragedy is not only the message sent through their caving to aggressive LGBTQ activists but the effect its had on families and boys throughout America who withdrew in sadness and confusion.

Trump to sign US Space Command order this week, reports say
President Trump is expected to sign an order this week that will officially create the U.S. Space Command.

Jesuits: Here Are the Accused
The Roman Catholic Jesuit province serving much of the eastern United States on Monday released the names of Jesuit priests who face “credible or established” accusations of sexual abuse of minors dating to 1950, the AP reports. In a letter, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus identified five living Jesuits facing offenses that took place in the province and another eight who are dead. The men—part of a Catholic order that includes more than 16,000 men worldwide—served in churches, high schools, colleges, and other institutions.

‘Israel urged U.S. to pressure Lebanon to help destroy Hezbollah tunnels’
Israel asked the United States for assistance in destroying Hezbollah-dug attack tunnels on the Lebanese side of the border, according to Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar. The report said that Israel had asked the Trump Administration to pressure the Lebanese Army into cooperating with UNIFIL in Lebanon, to locate and destroy Hezbollah’s attack tunnels, while Israel carries out its Operation Northern Shield on the Israeli side of the border.

Xi Jinping says China ‘will not seek to dominate’
Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that his country will not develop at the expense of other nations, in a speech marking 40 years since China introduced major economic reforms. However, he also said that the global superpower would not be told what to do by anyone. Late leader Deng Xiaoping’s campaign of “reform and opening up” began four decades ago.

New Zealand to hold cannabis referendum in 2020
New Zealanders will vote on legalising recreational cannabis in a referendum during the 2020 general election, the country’s justice minister said. A vote was promised by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party last year during cross-party talks, which helped to form a coalition government. It comes a week after lawmakers gave medicinal cannabis the green light.

Yemen war: Ceasefire takes effect in Hudaydah after skirmishes
Fighting between Yemeni pro-government forces and Houthi rebels in the city of Hudaydah has reportedly subsided, after a ceasefire came into effect overnight. Skirmishes continued for several hours following the start of the UN-brokered truce at midnight (21:00 GMT), but locals now say it is relatively calm. UN envoy Martin Griffiths said the initiative seemed to be working so far.

Iraq begins rebuilding of Mosul landmark Great Mosque of al-Nuri
An Iraqi religious leader has laid a foundation stone for the rebuilding of Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri, which was damaged by Islamic State militants. The head of the Sunni Muslim Endowment, Abdul Latif al-Humayim, was joined by UN and EU dignitaries for the ceremony. The mosque, whose leaning minaret was one of Mosul’s most famous landmarks, is where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” in 2014.

Gene-edited farm animals are coming. Will the public eat them?
Three cows clomped, single-file, through a chute to line up for sonograms – ultrasound “preg checks” – to reveal if they were expecting calves next summer. “Right now. This is exciting, right this minute,” animal geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam said as she waited for a tiny blob of a fetus to materialize on a laptop screen…at the Beef Barn, part of the University of California at Davis’s sprawling agricultural facilities for teaching and research.

US targets Hamas, Hezbollah with anti-human shield legislation
The US House of Representatives passed legislation targeting those who use “human shields” in military confrontations with Israel. The tactic is often employed by Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah organization, who Israel says conceal their arsenals in civilian structures such as schools, homes and hospitals.

Japan to buy more U.S.-made stealth jets, radar to counter China, Russia
Japan will accelerate spending on advanced stealth fighters, long-range missiles and other equipment over the next five years to support U.S. forces facing China’s military in the Western Pacific, two new government defense papers said. The plans are the clearest indication yet of Japan’s ambition to become a regional power as a military build-up by China and a resurgent Russia puts pressure on its U.S. ally.

Chinese Pastor Penned a Powerful Declaration of Faith Before Being Dragged Off to Prison
As Tyler O’Neil has written for PJ Media, the communist regime of China has arrested about 100 Chinese Christians. Among those arrested was Pastor Wang Yi. Realizing that the Chinese government was going to soon be going after his church, Pastor Yi wrote a letter in September explaining why he disobeys the rulers God has placed over him. He instructed members of his church to release the letter if he was detained for more than 48 hours.

Prosecutors Announce Largest Ever International Sex Trafficking Bust in the US
A federal jury has convicted 36 people for their roles in an international sex trafficking ring, making the case the largest of its kind in the United States, prosecutors have announced.

Storms shatter records in the East, create massive waves in the West
Powerful storms drenched the East and West coasts over the weekend, shattering rainfall records in the Washington, D.C., area and creating office tower-sized waves off the California coast.

Soros Org Gave $500K To Activists Who Accosted Pam Bondi At Movie Theater
The left-wing activist group that accosted Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a movie theater in June received half a million dollars in 2017 from an organization funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros in 2017, documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation reveal.

See jaw-dropping evidence of ‘real Mount Sinai’
A new short film, “Finding the Mountain of Moses: The Real Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia,” was released Monday that takes viewers into a highly restricted zone in the Islamic kingdom with an abundance of features that fit the biblical description of the place where the Ten Commandments were given after the Israelites fled captivity in Egypt.

France Prepares ‘Chemical Weapon’ to Use Against Yellow Vests as ‘Last Resort’
French security services are preparing a chemical weapon to ‘smother’ the center of Paris in a last-ditch attempt to stop protesters away from buildings, according to reports.

Berkeley scientists developing artificial intelligence tool to combat ‘hate speech’ on social media
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are developing a tool that uses artificial intelligence to identify “hate speech” on social media, a program that researchers hope will out-perform human beings in identifying bigoted comments on Twitter, Reddit and other online platforms.

Could America’s “Deep Underground Seismic Scar” Be Re-Awakening?
Large earthquakes aren’t supposed to happen in Tennessee.  On Wednesday, the largest earthquake in 45 years hit eastern Tennessee, and it made headlines all over the nation.  The magnitude 4.4 quake was so powerful that it was felt in portions of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Kentucky.  Significant shaking was even felt as far away as Atlanta, and that was highly unusual.  The original earthquake was rapidly followed by a magnitude 3.0 aftershock, and subsequently there were several other noteworthy aftershocks.

House Democrats Ready Bill to Criminalize Private Gun Sales
The incoming Democrat House majority is readying legislation to criminalize private gun sales.

Over 100 Christians Arrested In China, Pastor Faces 5 Years In Prison
The Demonic World Council Of Churches Joins With The Vatican To Promote Forced Global Migration Of Illegals

Czech politicians want to ban Islam completely as it ‘colonises society’
Political leaders in Czech Republic have previously condemned Islam in strong terms. Now, politicians in the Czech Parliament are discussing the complete ban of the religion.


Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.” —Samuel Adams (1775)

The ‘Likely False’ Dossier and Other Collusion Fairytales

A vote of no confidence in the dossier and a report about Russian social-media manipulation.

Government Doesn’t Shut Down — It’s on Autopilot

Some 75% is already funded this year, and 86% of federal spending is baked in the cake.

Federal Judicial Vacancies Getting Worse

Jeff Flake’s lasting legacy is now one of leftist pandering and anti-Trump obstruction.

Number of Criminal Illegals Arrested Increased 11% in FY2018

Arrests of murderers, sex offenders, drug dealers, and others proves Trump’s general assessment true.

Why the National Enquirer Probe Threatens Free Speech

There is actually a bigger issue when it comes to editorial decisions: The First Amendment.

Video: Heritage Big Ideas on Health Care

Most Americans agree that the health care system is in need of an overhaul.

Secret Service Hand-Delivers Trump Christmas Letter to Girl With Brain Tumor

A 10-year-old girl with cancer received an unexpected Christmas visit from the Secret Service.

Tuesday Short Cuts

“Still trying to figure out why we can give $150 billion to Iran … but [the president] can’t get $5 billion for the wall.” —Charlie Kirk

Tuesday Top Headlines

Russian disinformation, Flynn sentencing, 158,581 illegals arrested, border wall vote, and more.

Today’s Opinion

Stephen Moore
Follow the (Climate Change) Money
Cal Thomas
And Now the Boy Scouts
Ryan T. Anderson
Just Because We Can Create Genetically Modified Babies Doesn’t Mean We Should
Hans von Spakovsky
Former Election Commissioner: Cohen and Trump Didn’t Violate Campaign Finance Law
Dennis Prager
Explaining the Left, Part V: Left vs. Right Is Brain vs. Mind

Today’s Meme


Today’s Cartoon


Headlines – 12/18/2018

‘Don’t Threaten Me’: Jared Kushner’s Last Meeting Last Year With Palestinian Negotiator Reportedly Got Very Heated

Gantz: Solving conflict with Palestinians must be the top priority

UN launches aid appeal for Palestinians amid US funding cuts

UN and Palestinian Authority Appeal for $350 Million in Humanitarian Relief

‘The Gaza blockade is strangling us’

Teacher Sues Texas After Being Fired For Refusing to Sign Pro-Israel Contract

Germany to compensate hundreds who fled Nazis as children

Despite protests, Knesset confirms Netanyahu as permanent defense minister

Palestinians accuse IDF of using their security cameras against them

AG: Bill to expel terrorists’ families infringes human rights, defames Israel

Tension as Israel rolls out barbed wire on Lebanon border

Lebanese forces draw weapons at IDF soldiers operating along Blue Line

UNIFIL: At least 2 two tunnels crossed Israel border, violating UN resolution

Russia asks Lebanon to deal with Hezbollah terror tunnels

Russia: Security cooperation with Israel will continue if it ‘doesn’t endanger troops’

Turkey may start new Syria operation at any moment, Erdogan says

Erdogan vows to ‘remove’ Kurd militia east of Euphrates

Turkey Says It Will Not Let the U.S. Hold It Back in Syria

Syrian Kurds Declare Turkish Threats an ‘Act of War’ as U.S. Troops Dig in for Long Stay

US doesn’t seek to oust Assad, accepts Iran will have diplomatic role in Syria

Sudan president lands in Syria in 1st visit by Arab leader

Report: China is driving use of armed drones in Middle East

Saudi Arabia Strongly Rebukes U.S. Senate’s ‘Interference’ In Kingdom

Justin Trudeau says Canada is looking to pull out of Saudi arms deal

Yemeni mother unable to see her dying 2-year-old due to Trump’s travel ban, advocates say

Tear gas fired as anti-migration protesters clash with police outside EU in Brussels

Pope says migrants’ rights should override national security concerns

US conducts 6 airstrikes against Somalia extremists, 62 dead

Taliban Says It Is Meeting With U.S. Officials, Amid Escalating Peace Efforts

US confirms Russia has ‘significant military capacity’ along Ukraine’s borders

Russia vs. Ukraine War: Moscow Deploys More Fighter Jets to Occupied Crimea as It Warns of Imminent ‘Provocation’

North Korea Turns Coal Into Gas to Weather Sanctions

North Korea warns ‘vicious’ US sanctions risk progress on talks

UN condemns North Korea rights violations and nuke spending

Blast smashes windows, wrecks offices at Greece’s SKAI TV in ‘attack on democracy’

French city mourns as 5th victim dies after Christmas market attack

Macron’s Popularity Slides Despite Yellow Vest Concessions

Washington careens toward government shutdown with no deal in sight

GOP waits on Trump as clock ticks toward partial shutdown

Russian disinformation teams targeted Robert S. Mueller III, says report prepared for Senate

James Comey To GOP: Don’t ‘Slink’ Away, ‘Speak The Truth’ About ‘Lying’ Donald Trump

Fox News’ Napolitano Says Trump is an ‘Unindicted Co-Conspirator’: ‘Ample Evidence’ to Indict POTUS

Fox’s Hume: Trump chief of staff rejections ‘like the guy who couldn’t get a date for the prom’

The stock market is on pace for its worst December since the Great Depression

The global stock market sell-off was ‘not an isolated event’ – expect more sharp falls next year

Markets Right Now: Another steep drop pulls Dow down 500

Major hedge funds are scrambling to prevent financial wipeout

Foreigners Dump US Treasuries As They Liquidate A Record Amount Of US Stocks

Amazon faces boycott ahead of holidays as public discontent grows

TSA estimates record 46 million holiday fliers

Samsung Patents Phone Display That Projects Star Wars-Like Holograms

Robot to begin patrolling Los Angeles mall

NVIDIA AI Neural Networks Are Getting Uncomfortably Accurate At Creating Realistic Human Faces

Berkeley scientists developing artificial intelligence tool to combat ‘hate speech’ on social media

Social media is turning a generation of children into liars, leading headmistress warns

Cameroon imprisoning journalists accused of “fake news”

Israeli spacecraft ready for 2019 moon launch

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Kimbe, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 17,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 16,000ft

Ebeko volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 14,000ft

Ambrym volcano on Vanuatu erupts to 11,000ft

Over 11,000 Evacuated In Odisha As Cyclone Phethai Hits Andhra

Rains Continue Due to ‘Phethai’; Another Threat Brews over the Bay of Bengal

‘Stay well back … or risk certain death’: Giant waves slam California coast

China and Russia band together on controversial heating experiments to modify the atmosphere

China and Russia Have Modified the Atmosphere Above Europe to Test Possible Military Application, Scientists Say

Gene-edited farm animals are coming. Will we eat them?

Mutated Animals Show Why Gene Editing Isn’t Ready for Human Trials

A couple inspires toymaker Mattel to consider creating a same-sex Barbie wedding set

Weinstein Seeks Dismissal Of Sexual Assault Case In Possible #MeToo Setback

Megachurch preacher buys wife a $200,000 Lamborghini, tells parishioners ‘Don’t confuse what I do with who I am’


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Gary DeMarBilly Grahams Daughter Links her Cancer to a Possible Fatal Attack on Israel

Catholic Priest Condemned Suicide at Teen’s Funeral, Called Son ‘a Sinner’: Parents

Atheist Couple Barred from Preschool over Christmas Dispute Awarded $9,000

2 Christian brothers sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan


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RenewAmerica Newsletter for December 18, 2018

December 18, 2018
ALAN KEYES — According to the report I read in the Washington Times, after speaking by phone with U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexican President Lopez Obrador tweeted, “In respectful and friendly terms, we spoke about the migration issue and the possibility of implementing a joint program of development and job creation in Central America and our country.” If accurate, the new Mexican president’s sense of their conversation may be a hopeful sign for both countries…. (more)

December 17, 2018
CLIFF KINCAID — Some of President Trump’s biggest supporters on the Religious Right are now facing humiliation over Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s recent ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood. Kavanaugh, Trump’s second nominee to the court, joined with Chief Justice John Roberts and the liberal justices to declare that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, had a constitutional right to taxpayer money…. (more)

December 17, 2018
THE HILL — White House senior adviser Stephen Miller on Sunday predicted that the Affordable Care Act will ultimately be struck down by the Supreme Court. “I believe that’s the likeliest outcome, because ObamaCare has always been unconstitutional,” Miller said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Miller’s prediction came after a federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional…. (more)

December 17, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A federal judge’s ruling that the Obama health law is unconstitutional has landed like a stink bomb among Republicans, who’ve seen the politics of health care flip as Americans increasingly value the overhaul’s core parts, including protections for pre-existing medical conditions and Medicaid for more low-income people…. (more)

December 17, 2018
DAILY SIGNAL — A judge has declared Obamacare unconstitutional – -but the case is far from over. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, granted a motion for summary judgment Friday in favor of 20 states led by Texas that had filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act…. (more)

December 17, 2018
CHERYL K. CHUMLEY — A new video from the American Association of Evangelicals reveals how George Soros, through his many funding ventures, has been busily infiltrating the Christian base in America to divide, and ultimately conquer, the religious minded within the Republican Party. Truly, with the left, political wars know no bounds. Nothing’s sacred; not when it comes to the leftists’ drive to succeed…. (more)

December 17, 2018
ROBERT KNIGHT — Ross Douthat, a columnist for The New York Times, says the culture war in America may not be so much about secularism or atheism replacing Christianity but the rise of an old Christian foe – – paganism. This ancient religion differs from atheism in that it allows for a spiritual dimension to life and creation, but not an omnipotent, benevolent God. The power is in the creation itself, which is why so many New Age adherents find divinity when they look at a sunset, a flower, or in some cases, their own mirror image…. (more)


December 17, 2018
YAHOO NEWS — Fewer than half the residents of Salt Lake County belong to the Mormon church, according to new figures that illustrate how Utah’s largest county is becoming more religiously diverse…. (more)


December 17, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — I pictured her arriving on a skateboard, midriff bare, singing a Katy Perry tune. I pictured twerking. Instead, Mary Poppins Returns is a seamless continuation of the story, free of all modern rubbish and defiantly lacking in edge…. (more)


December 17, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A Revolutionary Guard general who fought in Syria and Iraq has accidentally killed himself while cleaning a gun. A Sunday report on the Guard’s website said Gen. Ghodratollah Mansouri earlier today accidentally shot himself in the head while cleaning his pistol. The report said Mansouri was veteran of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war and a “defender of the shrine,” a reference to Iranians who fight the extremist Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq…. (more)

December 15, 2018
DENVER POST — A conservative federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled the Affordable Care Act “invalid” on the eve of the sign-up deadline for next year. But with appeals certain, even the Trump White House said the law will remain in place for now…. (more)


December 15, 2018
FOX NEWS — President Trump on Friday named White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as his new acting chief of staff, saying the former South Carolina Republican congressman will replace John Kelly as his top aide…. (more)

December 15, 2018
’18-month effort’ to resist declassifying document
WORLDNETDAILY — The Defense Intelligence Agency is resisting efforts by Congress to declassify a document that would exonerate Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, according to investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill. Solomon told the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity Thursday night that the document has been “identified to a small number of people in the United State government.”… (more)

December 15, 2018
WORLDNETDAILY — The Obama administration was frantically distributing to Democratic senators classified information in support of claims of Trump campaign collusion with Russia even as Donald Trump was preparing to be inaugurated, according to newly obtained emails…. (more)

December 14, 2018
CLIFF KINCAID — You may remember the days when President Trump was calling for a $25 billion Border Wall to be financed by Mexico. Now he’s shouting at the Democrats to give him a measly $5 billion from the hard-pressed American taxpayers. Just as Theresa May faced a no-confidence vote for failing to make a proper deal to remove Britain from the European Union, many conservatives here are becoming increasingly skeptical of President Trump’s claim that “people would revolt” if the Democrats impeach him. Some of his legislative maneuvers are leaving supporters scratching their heads in dismay and disgust. It looks like he’s selling out to the Swamp…. (more)

December 13, 2018
Jack Cashill spotlights 1 issue about which Obama was ‘stunningly dishonest’
JACK CASHILL — Watching President’s Trump’s confrontation on Tuesday with Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi on the subject of immigration, I found myself asking, “Is Donald Trump the most honest president ever?” To be sure, Trump is something of a blowhard. To be sure, he can be fairly indifferent to facts, but on big issues, as Pelosi and Schumer experienced up close, he says what he means…. (more)

December 13, 2018
DAILY SIGNAL — A study by Princeton and Yale researchers has found that white liberals act in “patronizing” ways toward blacks and other minorities, while white conservatives do not. White Democratic presidential candidates and self-identified liberals are more likely to downplay their own competence when speaking to minorities, using fewer words that emphasize competence and more words that show warmth, according to the report titled “Self-Presentation in Interracial Settings: The Competence Downshift by White Liberals.”… (more)

December 13, 2018
NEWSMAX — The panel investigating the shooting massacre at a Florida high school earlier this year recommends arming teachers to stop future shootings. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School panel’s suggestions to improve school security include putting guns into the hands of teachers, beefing up security, and employing better law enforcement tactics…. (more)


December 13, 2018
NEWSMAX — The resource officer who failed to confront alleged mass murderer Nikolas Cruz on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last February asked a judge to find he had no legal duty to protect the students and faculty from any harm, but his argument was rejected and a wrongful death lawsuit filed against him will move forward, CBS WFOR reports…. (more)

December 13, 2018
NEWSMAX — The Boy Scouts of America may soon declare bankruptcy as lawsuits over sexual abuse pile up and membership figures continue to dwindle, The Wall Street Journal reports. The group plans to “explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted,” according to a letter sent to its employees Wednesday and acquired by the Journal…. (more)


December 12, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump said Tuesday he would be “proud” to shut the government down unless he gets a massive infusion of cash to build his border wall, and suggested if Congress doesn’t concede, he would use the military to erect more fencing anyway. Democrats on Capitol Hill said the president would be creating a constitutional crisis if he tries to rope the Pentagon into his wall plans over the objection of Congress – – and countered with red lines of their own, saying they won’t pony up a single new dollar for Trump-style border security…. (more)


December 12, 2018
NEWSMAX — Vice President Mike Pence was forced to step in and cast the tie breaking vote for a judicial nominee Tuesday because Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has vowed to oppose all judicial picks until the Senate votes on legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller…. (more)


December 12, 2018
Insists he leads ‘without political bias’ despite email evidence
ART MOORE — An email indicating Google attempted to boost the Latino vote in “key states” during the 2016 election put Google CEO Sundar Pichai on the spot during a House hearing on Tuesday. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, after citing the email, pointed out to the CEO that he had testified just minutes before that he leads the company “without political bias” and works “to ensure that our products work that way.”… (more)


December 12, 2018
Judicial Watch reveals how Obama officials using influence to undermine U.S.
WORLDNETDAILY — Hundreds of millions of tax dollars are being given to organizations run by billionaire George Soros to pursue a “radical leftist agenda” that is undermining American values, according to Washington watchdog Judicial Watch…. (more)

December 12, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — Your Royal Highness: Permit me to express my appreciation to you for taking part in this ceremony. Your participation lends special dignity to these proceedings. This is the first time that the Templeton Prize has been awarded to an Orthodox Christian. With gratitude that our share in the religious life of the world has now been accorded notice, I remain acutely conscious of my personal unworthiness to receive this award as I look back upon the venerable line of outstanding Orthodox churchmen and of Orthodox thinkers from Aleksey Khomyakov to Sergei Bulgakov…. (more)

 

Barna Update | Technology and Christmas: Tips for Monitoring Devices

When families come together for Christmas, they bring their values and routines with them as well. Increasingly those are shaped by a relationship to technology. But how can families learn to put aside those devices this Christmas and connect face to face?

Drawing from Andy Crouch’s book, The Tech-Wise Family, we’ve compiled some key statistics and helpful tips to make yours a tech-wise home for the holidays.

Read more: Technology and Christmas: Tips for Monitoring Devices

George Soros and his ‘rented evangelicals’ outed by Christian leaders — Christian Research Network

What’s going on here is not so much Christianity as it is partisan politicking under cover of religious teaching. It’s the furtherance of a George Soros style of progressivism, but cloaked in Christianity — and backed by George Soros bucks — and made all the worse by the initial denials of the George Soros ties.

(Cheryl K. Chumley – The Washington Times)  A new video from the American Association of Evangelicals reveals how George Soros, through his many funding ventures, has been busily infiltrating the Christian base in America to divide, and ultimately conquer, the religious minded within the Republican Party.

Truly, with the left, political wars know no bounds. Nothing’s sacred; not when it comes to the leftists’ drive to succeed.

Here’s what AAE put out in a press release: “Democrat ministers Rev. Jim Wallis and allies are now touring many states on ‘Vote Common Good’ buses to … split the evangelical vote before the mid-term elections. The AAE video features the newly released voice recording of [JimWallis of Sojourners as he publicly denied that he was a recipient of Soros funding.”

But guess what?

His denial’s proven a bit — umm, wrong.

Soros-tied Open Society money and grant dollars have not only flowed by the hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Sojourners, AAE reported. But Soros-tied Open Society money and grant dollars have been flowing to the Sojourners for some time. View article →

Research:

Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity”

via George Soros and his ‘rented evangelicals’ outed by Christian leaders — Christian Research Network

TRUMP GOES OFF on Fake Pee-Pee Dossier that Deep State Used to Launch White House Coup — The Gateway Pundit

Anyone who read through the Trump dossier when it was released knew is a complete fraud.

According to the “media outlets” who first released the dossier —BuzzFeed, CNN and several far left sites -—

Donald Trump took part in “golden showers” in Russia with prostitutes on a bed Obama once slept on… Russia then blackmailed Trump, not by asking for money or influence in his business deals, but by forcing him to run for president against all odds and win.

This is the premise of the junk dossier. Only an unhinged leftist would believe this crap, including the top levels of the DOJ and FBI.

The left and Deep State officials ran with this fraudulent document for years to force a White House coup.

James Comey, Robert Mueller, the Obama Deep State have never been punished for this lie and for their criminal actions against Donald Trump, his family and his associates.

The dossier was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC.

Despite the fact that the Russia dossier was unverified and salacious Barack Obama’s FBI and DOJ used it to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump Campaign, his family and his private associates back in 2016 during the presidential campaign.

This is Obama’s legacy — failure and lawlessness.

The liberal media then ran with this complete lie and reported in January 2017 that there was video of Russian hookers peeing on Trump’s bed in Moscow.

On Monday the fake news Washington Post finally reported what everyone else knew two years ago — The Trump pee-pee dossier is a fraud and unproven.

It took them two years to come to this conclusion.
In the meantime the Washington Post and New York Times have led the coup against Trump.

This is fake news on steroids.

On Tuesday President Trump went off on the Deep State and their fake news dossier.

President Trump: Russia Dossier reporter now doubts dopey Christopher Steele’s claims! “When you get into the details of the Steele Dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them. There’s good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations WILL NEVER BE PROVEN AND ARE LIKELY FALSE.” Thank you to Michael Isikoff, Yahoo, for honesty. What this means is that the FISA WARRANTS and the whole Russian Witch Hunt is a Fraud and a Hoax which should be ended immediately. Also, it was paid for by Crooked Hillary & DNC! Michael Isikoff was the first to report Dossier allegations and now seriously doubts the Dossier claims. The whole Russian Collusion thing was a HOAX, but who is going to restore the good name of so many people whose reputations have been destroyed?

via TRUMP GOES OFF on Fake Pee-Pee Dossier that Deep State Used to Launch White House Coup — The Gateway Pundit

Did your science textbook teach that embryo drawings prove evolution?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Jonathan Wells, a biologist with Ph.Ds from Yale and UC Berkeley, writes about one example of fake evidence here:

Charles Darwin thought that “by far the strongest” evidence that humans and fish are descended from a common ancestor was the striking similarity of their early embryos. According to Darwin, the fact that “the embryos of the most distinct species belonging to the same class are closely similar, but become, when fully developed, widely dissimilar… reveals community of descent.” 2 To illustrate this, German Darwinist Ernst Haeckel made some drawings in the 1860s to show that the embryos of vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) look almost identical in their earliest stages.

But Haeckel faked his drawings. Not only do they distort vertebrate embryos by making them appear more similar than they really are (in a way that Stephen Jay Gould wrote “can only be called fraudulent” 3)…

View original post 454 more words

Wilshire 5000 Hits New Lows After Creating Bearish Reversal Pattern — Kimble Charting Solutions

The Wilshire 5000 is a must-follow stock market index that measures the market in its broadest form. So when this index flashes caution, it’s best that investors pay attention. For the past 30 years, the Wilshire 5000 has traded within a very broad channel (1). In September, the index hit the top of the channel and reversed lower (2).…

via Wilshire 5000 Hits New Lows After Creating Bearish Reversal Pattern — Kimble Charting Solutions

IRD’s Top 10 Evangelical News Stories of 2018 — Juicy Ecumenism

The new year ushers in resolutions and a time to start fresh. But the beginning of a new year means the close of another, offering us the chance to look back and reflect on the good, the bad … and the downright absurd.

In 2018, we here at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) published hundreds of articles on everything from the most encouraging news stories affecting Christianity to some of the most concerning. That’s our job, our mission.

Curious, I dug back through the IRD archives to find out what stories specific to the Evangelical Action program resonated most with our readers. Here are our top 10 most-read Evangelical news stories of the year:

1.) What in the World is Happening at Moody Bible Institute? 

In January 2018 serious allegations began to surface around the evangelical Bible school Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Allegations centered upon the school’s questionable spending practices and wavering Biblical orthodoxy. From a school-provided luxury suite for a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, an anonymous letter shared by disgruntled faculty, to the abrupt firing of a beloved Moody radio host investigating reports of unorthodoxy, one cannot help but be concerned.

2.) Andy Stanley’s “Unhitch” Comments and Refashioning Christianity

Megachurch pastor Andy Stanley’s provocative “unhitch” comments came during an April sermon series titled “Aftermath,” which is mostly a plea to people who’ve rejected the faith to reconsider.

During the third installment in the series, Stanley told his North Point Community Church congregants that “the Bible did not create Christianity. The resurrection of Jesus created and launched Christianity.” He is correct, of course. But for some reason, Stanley goes on to assert, “Your whole house of Old Testament cards can come tumbling down. The question is did Jesus rise from the dead, and the eyewitnesses said he did.”

Here’s the broader context of Stanley’s “unhitch” comments:

It’s disturbing perhaps for people like me, like you who received our first Bible with no instructions. But I’ll tell you who it’s liberating for. It’s liberating for men and women who are drawn to the simple message that God loves you so much he sent his Son to pave the way to a relationship with you. It’s appealing and liberating for people who need and understand grace. Who need and understand forgiveness. And its liberating for people who find it virtually impossible to embrace the dynamic, the worldview, and the value system depicted in the story of ancient Israel.

And:

Peter, James, and Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish Scriptures. And my friends we must as well. Because we must not make it difficult for those Gentiles who are turning to God. They didn’t. We shouldn’t either.

3.) The Passing of the Rev. Billy Graham

Renowned evangelist Billy Graham led an extraordinary life sharing the uncompromised Gospel with the lost. He witnessed to millions globally, was one of the world’s most recognizable preachers, and helped make Evangelicalism America’s largest religious group. On February 21, 2018, Rev. Graham went home to be with his Savior.

4.) Bill Hybels Facing Sexual Misconduct Allegations

In March 2018, influential megachurch pastor Bill Hybels was faced with several disturbing allegations from women and former colleagues who say that he engaged in multiple incidents of sexual misconduct, including an affair. In April, Hybels stepped down as senior pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church, his Chicago-area megachurch that drew approximately 25,000 in weekly attendance.

5.) Rachel Held Evans “Ever-Evolving” on Abortion Legalities

Post-Evangelicals and their progressive narratives were especially interesting to our readers this year. Rachel Held Evans is one such figure. In July, the former Evangelical, now Episcopalian boasted on Twitter that she is “pro-life by conviction, though my views on the legalities of abortion are complex, ever-evolving, & detailed elsewhere.” Backlash ensued. So much so that Evans deleted her original Twitter thread, maintaining she is pro-life but the issue is “complex.”

6.) Abortion Advocacy at Progressive Christian Wild Goose Festival 

Wild Goose Festival, an annual open-air gathering including progressive Christians, is known for its bizarre antics. Drag shows, “Cosmic Mass,” and reconciliation yoga. Meeting July 12-15, the festival was composed of various hour-long sessions hosted under tents scattered throughout a campground in Hot Springs, North Carolina. Having been once before, I thought I knew what to expect from Religious Left organizers. But truthfully I was not prepared for the brazen pro-abortion session facilitated by two Planned Parenthood workers…

7.) Azusa Pacific University Compromises on Sexuality, Later Reverses Decision

In September 2018, Azusa Pacific University administrators decided to permit LGBTQ relationships on campus.  School trustees stepped in two weeks later to reverse the decision and reaffirm the school is “unequivocally biblical and orthodox in our evangelical Christian identity.” One suspects the university garnered an outpouring of pressure and frustration from alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff. And in the same vein as the 2014 World Vision debacle, a swift reversal was enacted. Azusa was chartered as a Free Methodist college and is now officially non-denominational.

8.) Jerry Falwell, Jr., Shane Claiborne, and a Lynchburg “Revival”

April 6-7, the left-leaning Red Letter Christian group hosted the “Red Letter Revival: A Revival of Jesus and Justice,” in Lynchburg, Virginia. The “Red Letter Revival” was originally organized by Shane Claiborne, an activist and leader within the Red Letter Christian movement, as a seeming protest of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s support of the Trump Administration. I attended and reported first-hand on the event, which more like a political rally intended to stir a partisan base, rather than a Holy Ghost-led revival.

Event organizers such as Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo seemed to work hard to steer the overall tone away from blatant liberal political politics and protests. But not all the speakers got the memo.

Tony Campolo, who provides leadership for the Red Letter group, acknowledged my concerns in a respectful-mail exchange. You can read Campolo’s letter here.

9.Polyamory “Holy,” “Beautiful,” says Progressive Christian Minister

In October, post-Evangelical minister and author Brandan Robertson shared a video on social media where he declared open and polyamorous relationships “holy” and “beautiful” before his congregation.

The video was removed from Robertson’s Twitter account. Thankfully, I transcribed the video before it was deleted. Here is what Robertson had to say:

For those who are in an open or polyamorous relationship here this morning who might be squirming, because this is an uncomfortable question to hear in church sometimes. I want you to hear me loud and clear as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your relationships are holy. They are beautiful and they are welcomed and celebrated in this space.

And:

We call all of us together to the same set of standards that we call everyone to: to seek to follow Jesus in all of our relationships. To seek to be honest and respectful and self-sacrificial and consensual and loving with your partners. When any of us live into these standards we can be sure we are on the path to wholeness and holiness.

10.) Premarital Sex  “Healthy,” Chastity “Unreasonable,” Says Progressive Pastor 

The very next month, Brandan Robertson had more to say about his unorthodox approach to sexuality. When the Huffington Post asked him to share his views on premarital sex, Robertson had this to say:

I am pretty open with this question in front of my congregation: I think the evangelical church world that I come from has taught some really unhealthy ideas about sex and sexuality, and I spend a lot of my time trying to deconstruct “purity culture” in favor of a healthier, more holistic view of sexuality. I believe for some people, waiting for marriage before having sex can be a very healthy path. I also believe that for most people, sex before marriage is a healthy expression of the gift of sexuality and is not “sinful” or morally wrong.

In general, I try to push back against “hookup” culture in my own life, just because I don’t find having a lot of random sex very fulfilling (but I don’t judge others who do).

via IRD’s Top 10 Evangelical News Stories of 2018 — Juicy Ecumenism

December 18, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Perfect Love and the Coming of Christ

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (4:9–11)

Jesus Christ is the preeminent manifestation of God’s love (John 1:14; cf. Rom. 5:8); He is God’s only begotten (unique) Son (Heb. 1:5), who came to earth in the flesh (Luke 2:7–14; John 1:14, 18; Heb. 5:5). The incarnation was the supreme demonstration of a divine love that was and is sovereign and seeking; it was not that [believers] loved God, but that He loved [them] and sent His Son to be the propitiation for [their] sins. The term propitiation refers to a covering for sin (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17), and is a form of the same word (hilasmos) used in 2:2 (for a more detailed explanation of this important word and its background, see chapter 4 of this volume). Hundreds of years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah foresaw His propitiatory sacrifice:

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. (Isa. 53:4–6; cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 3:18)

By this the perfect love of God was manifested in [believers], John wrote, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that [believers] might live through Him. The apostle’s point is that since God, in sovereign mercy, graciously displayed His love in sending Christ, the saints should surely follow His example and love others with sacrificial, Christlike love (Eph. 4:32). The Father not only gave His children a perfect love when He redeemed them (Rom. 5:5), but He also gave them the ultimate model in Christ of how that love functions in selfless sacrifice. The cross of Christ compels believers to such love. Thus John exhorted his readers: Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (cf. John 15:13). The apostle really just restated his admonition from 3:16, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” No one who has ever savingly believed in Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and thus been granted eternal life, can return permanently to a self-centered lifestyle. Instead such persons will obey Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians to “be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:1–2; cf. 1 Peter 1:15–16).[1]


11. Beloved. Now the Apostle accommodates to his own purpose what he has just taught us respecting the love of God; for he exhorts us by God’s example to brotherly love; as also Paul sets before us Christ, who offered himself to the Father a sacrifice of pleasant fragrance, that every one of us might labour to benefit his neighbours. (Eph. 5:2.) And John reminds us, that our love ought not to be mercenary, when he bids us to love our neighbours as God has loved us; for we ought to remember this, that we have been loved freely. And doubtless when we regard our own advantage, or return good offices to friends, it is self-love, and not love to others.[2]


11 With this verse, John begins to develop the ethical implications of the incarnation. Those who, unlike the Antichrists, accept God’s love as expressed in the sending of the Son ought to love one another (cf. 1 Jn 3:16). The logic of this conclusion is similar to that underlying John 13:12–17. After washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus instructs them that they should do the same for one another because, if “I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (13:14). If Jesus served the disciples in a sacrificial way, they should follow his example by serving one another sacrificially. Similarly, if God has defined perfect love by sending his Son as a sacrifice, we should love other believers the way God does.[3]


4:11 / Now the Elder draws the ethical consequences from God’s great act of love, of which he has been writing since v. 7. Dear friends (lit., “Beloved,” agapētoi) reminds the readers that they are loved, not just by the author but by God. Since is the correct translation of ei, not “if”; the case has been demonstrated in vv. 9–10. God loved: the aorist tense indicates the absolute and definitive quality of God’s love. As above, us is, for the Elder, primarily “we” who have come to know God’s love, without forgetting that God does love the whole world. The little word so (houtōs) deserves special attention. It can mean both “in this way” (as seen in God’s love in the previous verses) or “so much, excessively.” Both are true and make good sense in the present context. God’s love, not human love, is the model of authentic love (v. 10), and God’s gift of his only Son is an extreme act of love. God so loved us, both as to manner and as to intensity. This verse closely resembles John 3:16, and the entire passage (vv. 7–11) may be read as a commentary on it (Brown, Epistles, p. 519).

With God’s manifested (v. 9) love as the model and motivation, the community’s mandate is clear: we also ought to love one another. This resumes the thought of v. 7 and applies the lesson of vv. 7–10 to the relationships expected among God’s people. While those who have not experienced God’s love in Christ cannot be expected to love, we, the believing community, can and are. The verb ought (opheilomen) emphasizes love as our Christian obligation; we owe it as a debt (Rom. 13:8).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 167–168). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (p. 242). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Thatcher, T. (2006). 1 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 479–480). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Johnson, T. F. (2011). 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 104–105). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

December 18 The Privileges of Christ’s Exaltation

“God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”

Philippians 2:9

✧✧✧

Christ is exalted as Prophet, Priest, and King.

Jesus’ exaltation was the reversal of His humble incarnation. He who was poor became rich; He who was rejected became accepted; He who had learned obedience returned to a position of power that calls all others to obey Him. Commentator William Hendricksen wrote, “As king, having by his death, resurrection, and ascension achieved and displayed his triumph over his enemies, he now holds in his hands the reins of the universe, and rules all things in the interest of his church (Eph. 1:22–23). As prophet he through his Spirit leads his own in all the truth. And as priest (High–priest according to the order of Melchizedek) he, on the basis of his accomplished atonement, not only intercedes but actually lives forever to make intercession for those who “draw near to God through him.” And God was the source of Jesus’ exaltation.

In Philippians 2:9 the apostle Paul says that God “bestowed on Him the name.” The Greek word translated “bestowed” means “to give graciously” or “wholeheartedly.” Christ so fully and completely accomplished God’s plan of redemption that God wholeheartedly and graciously poured out on Christ the gifts of exaltation. Though He could not be made more than God, He now enjoys all the privileges of God as well as all the privileges of the God–man, which He now is.

Puritan minister Thomas Watson wrote in his Body of Divinity, “Christ’s exaltation is our exaltation…. As sure as Christ is exalted far above all heavens, so sure will he instate believers in all that glory with which his human nature is adorned. John xvii 22.” Be encouraged, for one day Christ will also exalt you!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: First Corinthians 15:24–26 shows that God has exalted Christ as Sovereign over everything. In keeping with that theme, use Psalm 99 as the basis of your own prayer to praise Christ as Ruler over all.

For Further Study: According to Romans 14:9, why did Christ humble Himself? ✧ What has the Father given to the Son as part of His exaltation (John 5:22)?[1]


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

Harvest Elder Accuses Church Leaders of “Deceitfulness and Manipulation” and Attempting to “Run a Cult” — Julie Roys

James MacDonald and the senior leaders of the Chicago-area megachurch, Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC), operate with “deceitfulness and manipulation,” and are attempting “to run a cult and control the masses.”

That’s according to Randy Williams, a current Harvest elder and former chairman of the executive committee (EC)—a group consisting of MacDonald and four to five elders, which make the financial and legal decisions for the church.

Williams makes these statements in a November 10, 2017, text I obtained through a subpoena in defense of the lawsuit Harvest brought against me. Williams tells Brian White, lead pastor of an independent Harvest Bible Chapel in Indianapolis, IN:

I am fully recusing myself of any involvement with the EC (executive committee) and James (MacDonald) and XLT (executive leadership team). I’ve had it with the deceitfulness and manipulation.

Williams also expresses dismay about an Elder Update published the previous day, saying:

This update and all that it represents is beyond my comprehension of anything but an attempt to run a cult and control the masses.

The November elder update addressed allegations that Harvest had inappropriately taken nearly $2 million from Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF)—the church’s former church planting network of about 150 independent churches—and used the money for its own purposes. The allegations came from the Great Commission Collective (GCC), a new, independent church planting network formed by churches that used to belong to HBF. The update said Harvest elders rejected the allegations by GCC, claiming that “GCC opinions were fundamentally flawed from the start.”

However, in another text sent three months earlier, Williams, who was acting as a liaison between the church and GCC pastors, affirmed GCC opinions. Addressing White and two other GCC pastors who participated in a financial review of HBF, Williams writes:

We (EC) see what you see. We honestly were not aware of all that has come out about the magnitude of the financial mismanagement. We/I will take responsibility for that governance failure. We have no debate over the facts as you have concluded.

The other two pastors in that text thread are David Wisen, teaching pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel Spring Lake, and Bill Borinstein, former pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel North Phoenix and now at Hope Bible Church in Scottsdale. Also included was Earl Seals, an elder at Harvest who resigned in the midst of the HBF/GCC debacle. It’s clear from Wisen, Borinstein, and White’s texts that the pastors saw MacDonald as the major impediment to GCC and Harvest reaching an equitable settlement. Brian White writes:

The problem is James. His control, his manipulation, his anger, his torching of others to protect his reputation, the wake of his irresponsible financial stewardship and direction of his organization. The continued manipulation of people and narratives. The problem is James.

Similarly, Bill Borinstein writes:

No church would ever allow their Sr Pastor and leadership team to act over a long period of time with such a blatant lack of transparency or in a culture of fear. . . . We were told by James in a meeting that HBC paid for the systems upgrade and they were giving it to us for free (yet we were charge(d) $500K), we were never told that 10% of our funds were given to WITW (Walk in the Word), we were never told that the bylaws of our organization were changed in 2014 . . . we were never told about a 100 year lease the HBF was signatory to or that the HBF would be paying operating expenses for the training center in Croton (including staff), we were never told that designated funds for Harvest Gives were being held and not paid out… do I need to go on. . . .

I know not one pastor who cares that James lives in a $4-$5 million* dollar house, what they care about is his publicly lying about it and the lengths he went to hide it (all while he was president of our organization). Where is the integrity in that? . . . 

There are too many people in our fellowship who know too much, who have seen too much of James. They have seen how employees have been treated, they have been in rooms where they have been berated or seen others berated, they have heard about his blow up at HCA (Harvest Christian Academy), the blowup at the Sr pastors retreat, the blowup at our leadership meeting in downtown Chicago, they have sat in restaurants when he has dressed down servers, they have heard the stories from the many ex-employees scattered around the country, from the ex-elders who have left because they could not in good conscience stay in that culture anymore. 1 Tim 3:2 says, “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach…” You are dealing with 100+ pastors who know that passage. We are not perfect, we do not expect James to be perfect. What we have seen and experienced is not above reproach . . .”

At the end of his text, Borinstein askes, “At what point do we, do you say . . . enough! Aren’t we there?” Williams responds, “Yes, Bill we are there.”

Yet according to a leaked letter by Wisen, GCC pastors never reached an agreement with Harvest because Harvest leaders, at MacDonald’s insistence, made payments to GCC contingent on a “hush clause”—an agreement by GCC members not to publicly attack Harvest. (For more, see my exposé on Harvest in WORLD Magazine.)

Read more – Harvest Elder Accuses Church Leaders of “Deceitfulness and Manipulation” and Attempting to “Run a Cult” — Julie Roys

December 18 Daily Help

O Christian, do you doubt as to whether God will fulfil his promise? Shall the munitions of rock be carried by storm? Shall the storehouses of heaven fail? Do you think that your heavenly Father, though he knoweth that you have need of food and raiment, will yet forget you? When not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered, will you mistrust and doubt him? Full many there be who have been tried till at last they have been driven to exercise faith in God, and the moment of their faith has been the instant of their deliverance.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 356). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

Signs of Iraq-Style Insurgency Brewing Against the US Occupation of Syria

“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”
— Read on russia-insider.com/en/signs-iraq-style-insurgency-brewing-against-us-occupation-syria/ri25706

An Open Letter to the Depressed Christian at Christmas | Crossway Articles

This article is part of the Open Letters series.

Dear Friend,

Depression is tough at the best of times. Perhaps it’s the best of times, such as holiday times, when it’s especially tough. The thought of mixing with happy people fills you with dread. The thought of remembering lost loved ones fills you with gloom. How can people be so happy when you are so sad? How can people celebrate when you are in mourning? It jars your soul and scrapes your tender wounds, doesn’t it?

You may want to run away and hide from the noisy busyness and the social obligations. Or you may want to lash out at the insensitive and uncaring people who exhort you to “Cheer up!” Or maybe you just want to drown your sorrows with binge drinking, binge eating, or binge TV-watching. But none of these options—running out, lashing out, or pigging out—will improve your depression. Indeed, they will only make it worse. 

Let me propose a better way that will enable you to carefully navigate this holiday season while also contributing to your long-term healing.

Pray

I know prayer is perhaps too obvious, but sometimes we miss the obvious. Bring your burden to the Lord, tell him your fears and dreads, and seek his help to push through these daunting days. Lament by saying “Lord, I don’t want to give thanks, I don’t want to celebrate Christmas, and I don’t want to live through another year.” Admit, saying: “God, I can’t stand happiness right now and I can’t abide people.” Confess: “This is wrong and sinful, but I can’t seem to change.” Plead: “Lord, I am weak, I need your power, I need your patience, I need your joy.” Promise: “I will rely on you alone to carry me and even use this time for my help and healing.”

It’s amazing how the gospel can turn the greatest pain into the greatest therapy.

Share

Not everyone among your family and friends understands depression; but some do, as you know. Give them a call, or, better, meet with them, and talk to them about what you dread during this season. Ask them to pray for you and to support you in the coming days. Ask them to stay by your side in social settings, to protect you from those who don’t understand, to accept your silences, and to help you withdraw quietly when you have reached your limits of socializing.

Plan

While it’s not wise to totally withdraw from social life during the holidays, neither is it wise to force yourself to go to every social gathering. Total withdrawal will only depress you further; but so will total immersion. You just don’t have the emotional and mental fuel for it. So, plan ahead and choose wisely which social occasions you will go to and how long to spend there. Perhaps try to avoid going to too many gatherings on consecutive days or evenings. You need downtime to be quiet and to re-fuel. Perhaps you can plan to attend a gathering but not stay from the beginning to the end. That’s more inviting in prospect and more beneficial in retrospect. The aim is to pace yourself and make sure you are getting sufficient time to rebuild your energy levels.

Routine

Regular routine is vital for those with depression. Your body, mind, and soul flourish when you are following a predictable pattern of sleeping, eating, working, and relaxing. All this is threatened by the irregularity and unpredictability of the holidays. You will have to accept a degree of change in this area in these weeks, yet still fight to maintain as much regularity as you can. You don’t want to waste all your good work in this area.

Exercise

Keep up a fitness regime. I know from personal experience how hard it is to be consistent in this area over the holidays. There’s so much sitting around, and so, so much food. But it’s so important for your physical, mental, and spiritual health to maintain your discipline here. If my experience is anything to go by, you won’t keep it perfectly. But do what you can. Even if you can’t get to the gym, try to get outside and walk in the daylight for 20-30 mins a day.

Preach to Yourself

You have an internal narrative, the story that you are telling yourself. You’ve done a great job of re-writing that story over the past few months. The dark chapters that were so full of what you lost with these painful family bereavements have now given way to many bright paragraphs of how much your loved one has gained in heaven and of your hope of eventual and eternal reunion. You’ve also managed by God’s grace to expand that part of the story which focuses on how much you still have in your life. Keep writing these chapters in your mind and heart—the longer the better.

Now, you’re going to be tempted in the next few weeks to write a chapter that dwells on the present estrangement with your daughter and how much you miss her at family occasions. While we can’t deny the reality of this, and we continue to pray and work towards reconciliation, can I suggest that you write another chapter in parallel with it? Write a chapter on the way God has reconciled you to his Son through his death on the cross (Eph. 2:14-18; 2 Cor. 5:18-21). Fixing your mind on this greatest estrangement and reconciliation story will help you to balance a bitter experience with the sweetest experience, and will also give you hope in God’s reconciling power. It’s amazing how the gospel can turn the greatest pain into the greatest therapy.

You can also preach to yourself by singing the Gospel to yourself. Remember how much you enjoyed Handel’s “Messiah” last year? Why don’t we go again? Attend your church’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. Sing these Gospel-rich songs and make melody in your heart to the Lord (Eph. 5:19).

Preach to Others

I don’t want to lay a heavy burden on you here, but why not look for and take opportunities to witness to others? The unbelievers in your family will be looking to see how you react to your recent losses and how you are responding to your depression. They will see you are sad and they will ask how you are doing. How about this for an answer: “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). That should startle them! But is will also start some profitable conversations that give you an opportunity to testify to God’s grace to you in these days. Sometimes, ministering to others is the best way to minister to yourself.

David Murray (DMin, Reformation International Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament and practical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and the pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church. He is also a counselor, a regular speaker at conferences, and the author of Jesus on Every Page.

— Read on www.crossway.org/articles/an-open-letter-to-the-depressed-christian-at-christmas/

December 18 Bearing with an Exhortation

“I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation” (Heb. 13:22).

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Invitations to salvation must provide both exhortation and warning.

Hell is undoubtedly full of people who did not actively oppose Jesus Christ but simply drifted into damnation by neglecting to respond to the gospel. These are the kinds of people the writer challenges in Hebrews 2:1–4. They were aware of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, but they weren’t willing to commit their lives to Him. As a result, they were drifting past the call of God into eternal disaster.

The Word of God always demands a response. Any effective teacher of it must do more than just dispense facts; he must warn, exhort, and extend an invitation. He may have impressive knowledge of the truth, but if he doesn’t have a passionate concern for how people react to it, he is not a worthy representative of Jesus Christ.

Jesus had that kind of compassion. Despite the rejection of His own people, He ached for their salvation: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37). You can feel His heart go out to the people.

Paul had similar compassion: “I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of My brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:2–3). A true teacher is interested in more than just academics; he is concerned that people respond rightly to what is taught.

Just as the writer of Hebrews had to warn and exhort his readers, at times it becomes necessary for us to warn those to whom we are witnessing. If you want to see unbelieving friends, relatives, or associates come to Christ, warn them. Let them see the passion in your heart and your love for them. Please don’t allow anyone to slip into eternal destruction without being warned sufficiently.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to give you wisdom regarding when to warn the people to whom you are witnessing.

For Further Study: Read Hebrews 3:7–4:13, 6:4–8, 10:26–31, and 12:25–29, noting the pattern the writer followed in presenting these other warnings.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 365). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

‘Beyond understanding’: Kremlin blasts fresh US reports on alleged Russian election meddling — RT World News

Controversial reports claiming that Moscow meddled in the US 2016 elections and – as part of it – influenced African-Americans to suppress turnout causes nothing but incomprehension, a Russian presidential spokesperson said.

— Read on www.rt.com/news/446760-russia-black-voters-meddling/

READ This! 12.18.18 — Borrowed Light

Do the Gospels Borrow From Pagan Myths?

This claim pops up from time to time.

The Number 1 Reason for the Decline in Church Attendance

Bingo!

MultiChurch a More Biblical Version of Multisite?

This is kind of where I land.

Hard Times at Harvest

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see this one coming.

Not Everything Needs a ‘Gospel Talk’

I appreciate the balance of this.

The Desperation that is Pastoral Ministry

Amen.

My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience

This is powerful stuff. And a reminder to pray for our brothers and sisters in China.

This is too close to reality to be incredibly funny:

READ This! 12.18.18 — Borrowed Light