Daily Archives: December 19, 2018

DECEMBER 19 THE REVERENTIAL FEAR OF GOD

Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

—Psalm 2:11

When we come into this sweet relationship, we are beginning to learn astonished reverence, breathless adoration, awesome fascination, lofty admiration of the attributes of God and something of the breathless silence that we know when God is near.

You may never have realized it before, but all of those elements in our perception and consciousness of the divine Presence add up to what the Bible calls “the fear of God.” …

The fear of God is that “astonished reverence” of which the great Faber wrote. I would say that it may grade anywhere from its basic element—the terror of the guilty soul before a holy God—to the fascinated rapture of the worshiping saint. There are very few unqualified things in our lives, but I believe that the reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state and the most purifying emotion the human soul can know. WHT030-031

Lord, teach me today something of that astonished reverence, that combination of frightening and wonderful feelings that make up true knowledge of You. Amen. [1]


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

December 19 A Message of Grace

You shall call His name JESUS. For He will save His people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21

You may skip the genealogy when you read the Christmas story aloud. But don’t overlook its message of grace, which after all is the heart of the Christmas story: God in His mercy doing for sinners what they cannot do for themselves—mending broken lives and restoring shattered hopes. That’s why He came—to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).

Here’s the best part: the same grace that was evident in the genealogy is active today, and the same Jesus is saving His people from their sins. No sin, no matter how heinous, puts sinners beyond His reach. “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25, kjv).[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 380). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: A Baby Changed History — David Fiorazo

Many of us began preparing for Christmas and the five ‘F’s a month ago: festivities, family, food, fellowship, and fun. It’s easy to forget one of the most important aspects of the season: forgiveness – and renewed hope. Christmas is the celebration of an actual historical event that forever changed the world, as the God who never changes carried out His plan to change the hearts of mankind.

No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or what kind of past you’ve had, there’s always hope – if you open up your heart and receive the greatest gift of all. As the song says:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing…

Through the centuries before Christ, the prophets predicted the promised Messiah would come – and from where He would come. Scriptures such as Micah 5:2 state:

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”

According to God’s preordained plan, when the perfect religious, cultural, and political conditions were in place, Jesus Christ left the Father’s presence and entered this world to become one of us. Isaiah 7:14 states:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel,”

Three of the most astounding words in history are, “God with us.”

Most people don’t have a problem with a baby in a manger, but the same baby we sing about during Christmas grew up and preached repentance to all people only to be killed by hypocritical religious leaders.

An infant in a feeding trough isn’t too confrontational or threatening. But Jesus declared that He is the Truth and the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). This claim is something to seriously consider. Why? Because evidence backed by archaeology, eye-witnesses, and history suggests it’s true.

So what is the meaning of Christmas? At the perfect time, Jesus was born for the purpose of dying for our sins. He lived a sinless life and sacrificed Himself so that we might believe in Him and live eternally. This really is good news! The gospel is the greatest gift God has given the church – because the message about Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the greatest treasure God has given the world.

The Lord sees the end from the beginning and His ways are above our ways. So where was Jesus before coming to earth?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-3, 14

But Christmas has been hijacked, secularized, commercialized, and made into a time for businesses to make tons of money, for people to exchange presents (often out of obligation), and for children to make their list of demands and sing meaningless songs such as Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Frosty the Snowman.

Not all songs are meaningless. Some actually are based upon Scripture: O Holy Night, Away in a Manger, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Not long after Jesus was born, God warned Joseph in a dream to leave Bethlehem, “Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt,” not just to escape Herod’s slaughter of babies, but to fulfill another prophecy!

Because when Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again in a dream instructing him (Matt. 2:13-16) to move the family to the land of Israel which fulfilled Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Paul further explains:

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)”

Before the birth of Jesus Christ, mankind was without help and without hope in this world. We needed a Savior.

C. S. Lewis simplified it this way:

“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.”

The arrival of the Christ would also not be during peaceful times, but times of injustice, rebellion, the strong hand of government, religious hypocrisy and pride. But that wouldn’t stop the plan as the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary:

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:31-33

A Messiah, the descendant of David? A kingdom that would never end? Son of the Most High God? These are not just random prophecies, and the history of Jesus’ life and ministry isn’t just some fable manufactured by man. Hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled.

Preaching on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter declared to the people Jesus:

“…delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again (Acts 2:23-24)…”

And this is our hope: to be resurrected to life after death. This is all temporal; He is eternal.

God sent Jesus (“a Child was born”) so that whoever believes in Him could have everlasting life. “A Son was given.” If you have never received God’s perfect Gift and trusted in Him, why wait? You can have the assurance of salvation right now. That’s what Christmas is all about!

Jesus humbled Himself, set aside His deity, stepped down and set aside His crown of gold to temporarily wear a crown of thorns – that we might wear the crown of life. Believe God’s Word, it’s accuracy and reliability. Christian friend, this is why you and I live: to point others to Christ: the only true hope and lasting peace.

In all the busyness, bad news, and distractions of the season, may your heart prepare Him room. God bless you, stay strong in the truth of Christ; and have a meaningful, Merry Christmas!

*Originally published by Freedom Project Media

via Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: A Baby Changed History — David Fiorazo

Victor Davis Hanson: We Are Witnessing a Soft Coup of the Trump Administration (Video) — The Gateway Pundit

Author and historian Victor Davis Hanson joined Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night after the Flynn court hearing today.

Hanson described the fantastical stories building on the left and the US elite’s unwillingness to accept the results of the 2016 election.

Hanson described it as a soft coup.

Victor Davis Hanson: This Mueller investigation that we have is not in isolation. We had, remember, from the day Trump was elected we were told the election machines were flawed, we were going to sue. And then there was a group, remember we were told about the Electoral College, and we were told we had to overturn the electors. And then we went to the 25th Amendment that Trump was unbalanced. And that didn’t work. And then we went to the emoluments clause, he profited even though his businesses had lost a billion dollars. And then we’ve gone to Mueller. And so there’s a slow motion if you will, I don’t want to be too psychodramatic like MSNBC gets. But there is sort of a slow motion coup to overturn the elections.

He’s right.

via Victor Davis Hanson: We Are Witnessing a Soft Coup of the Trump Administration (Video) — The Gateway Pundit

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

REUTERS

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed legislation long in the making and backed by President Donald Trump to reduce sentences for certain prison inmates.

Two Democratic lawmakers urged the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday to better protect U.S. oil and gas pipelines from cyberattacks, after a report they requested detailed a lack of federal oversight of the critical conduits.

Days after a judge in Texas declared that the Obamacare healthcare law is unconstitutional, Maryland’s Democratic attorney general on Wednesday will pursue his request that another judge rule the opposite way.

The United States has defeated the Islamic State in Syria, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed on Wednesday, adding that it was the only reason he had kept troops in the country.

The United States is considering a total withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria as it nears the very end of its campaign to retake all of the territory once held by Islamic State, U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday Hezbollah had shut down plants to develop precision-guided missiles but was imperiling Lebanon with a cross-border tunnel network he deemed “an act of war”.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a bishop in Los Angeles accused of sexually abusing a minor, the Vatican said on Wednesday, in the latest case of clergy misconduct to shake the U.S. Catholic Church.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday, but may cut the number of hikes it anticipates next year and signal an earlier end to its monetary tightening in the face of financial market volatility and rising recession fears.

AP Top Stories

The murder of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi in a year when more than half of all journalists killed were targeted deliberately reflects a hatred of the media in many areas of society, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Tuesday.

Ethiopian Airlines on Monday resumed flights to Moscow after a gap of 27 years stretching back to the demise of the Soviet Union, which saw relations with Moscow dive.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley gave a hint, but no details, of the Trump administration’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians on Tuesday, saying it’s long, takes advantage of new technology, and has a lot both sides will like and things they won’t like.

Russia has cut its military flights in Syria from more than 100 per day to fewer than four a week, the defense minister said Tuesday, in another sign the country’s conflict is winding down.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas on Tuesday filed a lawsuit over a state law requiring contractors to certify that they do not boycott Israel or Israel-controlled territories, arguing the law forces people to choose between their First Amendment rights and their livelihoods.

Russia, Iran and Turkey, supporters of the main sides in Syria’s complex civil war, on Tuesday failed to agree on the makeup of a U.N.-sponsored Syrian Constitutional Committee but called for it to convene early next year to kick off a viable peace process.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday ordered the creation of “Space Command,” a new organizational structure within the Pentagon that will have overall control of military space operations.

Russia said on Monday it had built new barracks for troops on a disputed chain of islands near Japan and would build more facilities for armored vehicles, prompting a diplomatic protest from Tokyo.

The UN General Assembly on Monday adopted by a wide majority a Global Compact on Refugees aimed at improving efforts to manage large refugee movements — but without the support of the United States and Hungary.

Yemen’s warring parties have exchanged lists with a total of 16,000 names of people believed to be detained as part of a prisoner swap deal agreed last week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday.

Nearly one in five U.S. fuel stations are charging less than $2 per gallon of gasoline as falling oil prices deliver holiday savings for American motorists. Missouri’s already there with an average of $1.96 on Tuesday, according to AAA. Others within cents of the two-buck threshold: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina. 31 states had at least one station with fuel for less than $2, according to GasBuddy. One station in Texas was charging $1.65 – the lowest in the country.

BBC

Facebook has been caught on the back foot again over its data privacy practices, following an investigation by the New York Times. The newspaper has disclosed fresh details about ways the social network shared access to users’ data with other tech firms, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify and Yandex.

Four transgender women have been allowed to pray at an Indian temple at the center of a bitter row over whether women should be permitted to enter. The panel agreed that they could pray at the shrine, and temple officials also said they did not object to the transgender women because they do not menstruate.

WND

The Nation of Islam and its leaders have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the U.S. government since 2008 to teach religious study programs for federal prison inmates, according to records reviewed by the Washington Examiner.

China has begun colluding with Russia on war-game experiments that heat up the atmosphere in a process that would kill satellite technology and eliminate a military opponent’s communications. Phenomena such as hurricanes, cyclones and even earthquakes also could result.


News – 12/19/2018

My 4-Year Career Reporting on Messiah and Why I Know It’s Happening
Nearly 2,000 articles have been posted since that first meeting and not a single headline has read “Still Waiting.” Shockingly, on only two occasions did I fail to find a geula article in time for the 9:00 AM meeting with my editor. I think I can safely say that according to all reports, the Messiah is quickly approaching.

Sanhedrin Invites Nikki Haley to be Honorary President of Organization of 70 Nations
Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the Sanhedrin, explained their decision to choose Nikki Haley to head the organization. “Nikki Haley displayed a strength of character that showed a deeply sincere and unwavering willingness to fight for truth,” Rabbi Weiss told Breaking Israel News. “She was a faithful representative of the president but her character gave her a strength that went far beyond the requirements of her job.”

Terrorist deportation bill passes first reading in Knesset
A bill that would allow Israel to deport the family members of terrorists passed its first reading in the Knesset Wednesday. Sponsored by Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev with backing from Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the bill would allow the army to expel family members of a terrorist from their home, by removing them from their town or city, or demarcating an area in which they are not allowed to enter.

Knesset approves Netanyahu as defense minister
The Knesset approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appointment as defense minister on Monday evening after opposition MKs spoke out against the appointment for nearly three hours.

Tension with Moscow seems over as Russian defense delegation visits Israel
Ties between Israel and Russia were said to be tense in recent months after Syria shot down a Russian plane in September. Russia blamed Israel.

EU, Russia to Trump: 2-state solution only viable Israeli-Palestinian peace plan
Warning comes as Haley hints at Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ peace plan: Long, takes advantage of new technology, and has a lot both sides will like and things they won’t like. The US ambassador, who said she has read the plan, told the UN Security Council that “both sides would benefit greatly from a peace agreement, but the Palestinians would benefit more, and the Israelis would risk more.” Haley, who is stepping down at the end of the month, said moving forward to negotiations and peace “will need leaders with real vision to do it.” She declared: “The world will be watching.”

Netanyahu ahead of UN debate: Hezbollah puts all of Lebanon at risk
Hezbollah puts the people of Lebanon at great risk and endangers their lives, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday at a special briefing for the foreign press. Netanyahu spoke ahead of the UN Security Council debate later in the day about the discovery of Hezbollah’s terror tunnels along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Netanyahu: The IDF is the only army fighting Iran, and we are winning
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is winning the fight against Iran and over Iranian influence in Syria, in a speech at the Globes conference Wednesday. “The IDF is the only army that is fighting the Iranian army in the world, and now we are seeing great successes,” Netanyahu said at the event.

Eight EU states warn Trump peace plan will fail unless based on 1967 lines
Any Israeli-Palestinian peace plan not based on the pre-1967 lines will fail, eight European Union member states warned…“We…would like to reiterate once more and emphasize the EU’s strong continued commitment to the internationally agreed parameters for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on international law, relevant UN resolutions and previous agreements,” ambassadors from the eight nations said in a joint statement…

Brexit: EU to reveal no-deal plans
The European Commission will publish its no-deal contingency plans on Wednesday – an attempt to mitigate the damage if the UK crashes out of the EU. The proposals are designed to limit disruption in certain key areas, such as finance and transport, if Brexit goes ahead in March without a deal. As PM Theresa May’s proposed exit plan flounders in parliament, both sides are preparing for the worst-case scenario.

European Union diplomatic communications ‘targeted by hackers’
Hackers successfully targeted the European Union’s diplomatic communications over a period of several years, The New York Times reports. Thousands of messages were intercepted in which diplomats referenced a range of subjects from US President Donald Trump to global trade. The breach was reportedly discovered by the cyber-security company Area 1.

Syria war: Russia, Iran and Turkey fail to agree on new constitution body
Talks in Geneva on setting up a constitutional committee for Syria have ended without a clear outcome. The foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey attended the United Nations-sponsored talks to build a sustainable peace in the country, but failed to agree on the committee’s makeup. The UN says more work needs to be done before it is set up.

US pledges $10.6B aid for Central America, southern Mexico
The United States pledged $5.8 billion in aid and investment Tuesday for strengthening government and economic development in Central America, and another $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico. The U.S aid aims to promote better security conditions and job opportunities as part of a regional plan to allow Central Americans and Mexicans to remain in their countries and not have to emigrate.

Girl’s inoperable brain tumor disappears, doctors can’t explain it
A girl’s inoperable brain tumor is gone and doctors have no explanation. Today, Roxli Doss is doing what she loves, and that’s horseback riding. “She is just as active as she ever was,” said Scott Doss, Roxli’s father…The family held a benefit for her in August, and the community responded in a big way. At that point, all Gena and Scott Doss could do was pray for a miracle.

Christians ‘Standing in the Way’ of China’s Xi Jinping’s Totalitarian Rule
…China’s current leader believes in the absolute power of the Party and wants his government to exert control over every aspect of Chinese life. Since coming to power in 2012, Xi has severely cracked down on human rights, religious freedom and freedom of expression. Christians are experiencing some of the worst persecution in decades.

Putin: Russia has enough missiles without violating treaty
President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday rejected the U.S. claim that Russia developed a new cruise missile in violation of a key nuclear treaty, arguing that Russia has no need for such a land-based weapon because it already has similar missiles on its ships and aircraft. Washington warned this month it would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days if Russia did not return to full compliance.

Netanyahu: UN must act against Hezbollah tunnels
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday urged the United Nations Security Council to take action against Hezbollah tunnels dug from Lebanon under the Israeli border. Speaking ahead of a Security Council session on the issue, Netanyahu said UNIFIL, the UN presence in Lebanon, should be granted “unrestrained access to any area in southern Lebanon,” where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah has traditionally operated unfettered.

The Latest Facebook Scandal: Netflix, Spotify Could Read Private Messages, Yandex Was Given IDs
“This is just giving third parties permission to harvest data without you being informed of it or giving consent to it”

Will catastrophic Yellowstone supervolcano eruption set off the End Days war of Gog and Magog?
A mystic rabbi suggested that an alarming spate of recent geyser activity in Yellowstone National Park may be the precursor to the pre-Messiah war of Gog and Magog. While scientists predict that seismic activity will increase, people of faith look for the spiritual implications.

SODOM AND GEMORRAH: San Francisco Creates World’s First ‘Transgender District,’ Paid for with Taxpayer Money
San Francisco is creating a “transgender district” and using public money as part of the process, according to a new report.

Pastor arrested for ‘showing movie about Jesus’
Authorities have arrested a Christian pastor for showing a film titled “Jesus Christ,” charging him with attempting “forced conversions” in India.

Washington state Women’s March chapter shuts over anti-Semitism concerns
The Washington state chapter of the Women’s March has shut down over concerns of anti-Semitism by the national leadership of the movement.

Pope Lectures Against Blaming Migrants For Evil, Urges Fraternity Of ‘Globalized World’
Pope Francis decried nationalism Tuesday and lambasted political leaders who blame migrants for societal problems, lauding instead the fraternity of the “globalized world.”

DOJ, ATF Are About to Find Themselves in Court Over the Newly-Released Bump Stock Ban
For over a year, gun owners have prepared for a ban on bump stocks. After the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, the Trump administration vowed to make the firearm accessory illegal.

11-Year-Old Boy Dressed In Drag Dances At Gay Bar, Gets Dollar Bills Thrown At Him
On December 1, an 11-year-old boy dressed in drag danced on stage in a sexual manner at a gay bar in Brooklyn, NY, called 3 Dollar Bill. The child, Desmond Napoles, was dressed as a Gwen Stefani-lookalike — full drag make up, a blonde wig, and crop top included — as he bounced around onstage to No Doubt’s Like a Girl” and collected dollar bills from male adults viewing the number.

NYT Guest Column: Human Extinction Could Be Good for the Planet
A philosophy professor writing for the New York Times pondered whether the extinction of the human race would be a positive thing for the Earth.

40% of Millennials Don’t Know Jesus is the Baby in the Nativity Story
The new generation of millennials are not just offended by traditional aspects of Christmas, two out of five of them are not even aware that the baby in the Nativity story is Jesus.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Sent His Beard Hair to a Rapper Who Does Witchcraft to Protect Him From ISIS
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey keeps banning conservatives who want to protect people from ISIS with things like border security, stronger vetting and discussions about Islam because he apparently has a better solution: actual witchcraft.


Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)

Flynn’s Sentencing Delayed by Berating Judge

The judge rebuked Flynn — even suggesting he acted treasonously — before backing off.

Call for Human Self-Extinction Is Foolish and Nihilistic

Is humanity the scourge of the earth, or is mankind capable of goodness and benefit?

Second Amendment: Nunchucks and Bump Stocks

Judge declares NY ban on nunchucks unconstitutional; meanwhile, DOJ bans bump stocks.

Canada’s ‘Gun-Control’ Harbinger

America can avoid a lot of headache simply by taking heed of the missteps of our northern neighbor.

McSally Is the Best Choice for Arizona

The defeated Republican veteran is a good choice to take John McCain’s Senate seat.

Video: Why You Should Be a Nationalist

Around the world, nationalism is on the march, and it’s not a dangerous disaster in the making.

Wednesday Short Cuts

Insight: “To most of us nothing is so invisible as an unpleasant truth.” —Eric Hoffer

Wednesday Top Headlines

Trump retreats, criminal justice, Flynn sentencing delay, Comey misled, bump stocks banned, and more.

Today’s Opinion

Ben Shapiro
The Left’s War on Parenting
Byron York
After Wild Hearing, Michael Flynn’s Future Remains Uncertain
John Stossel
Capitalists vs. Capitalism
Star Parker
Trump’s Important New Africa Strategy
Walter E. Williams
FDA Policies Kill

Today’s Meme


Today’s Cartoon


Headlines – 12/19/2018

In 2019, Mideast economic troubles loom as wars wind down

Netanyahu visits site of terror attack, pledges to strengthen settlements

Bennett: Israelis of Judea and Samaria have rights, too

Rights group says IDF ‘non-lethal’ warning missiles killed two Gaza teenagers

Trump’s Mideast envoy slams Israeli revenge attacks on Palestinians

Hosting Abbas, Jordan king raps Israeli response to uptick in violence

Think tank: Abbas allocates $330 million to pay terrorists, ‘martyrs,’ inmates

PA believes it has identified Hamas mastermind behind deadly West Bank attacks

Tucker Carlson: Why Is Congress Paying for Walls in Israel, but Not the U.S.

GOP senators pitch resolution to recognize Israeli sovereignty of Golan Heights

Haley Says She Read Trump’s Mideast Peace Plan: ‘It Will Take Advantage of Technology’

Haley: Trump peace plan more thoughtful, creative, specific than past efforts

Eight EU states warn Trump peace plan will fail unless based on 1967 lines

Arab League urges Australia, Brazil to change stance on Jerusalem

Arab League calls on Australia and Brazil to “abide by international law” concerning the status of Jerusalem

Message to UN and Europe: Palestinian Terrorism Always Violates International Law

Australian Labor party says it will recognize Palestinian state if in power

UK’s Labor conference votes for a Shorten government to recognise Palestinian statehood

Georgia mulls moving its embassy to Jerusalem

PA negotiator: We haven’t given up on West Jerusalem

Poll shows Hamas leader would win Palestinian elections

Minister said to freeze Palestinian produce imports, defying security warning

Israel-Saudi rapprochement said to face setback due to Khashoggi murder fallout

Nikki Haley: Saudi Crown prince must stop ‘thuggish’ behavior

Saudi Hack Attack? Twitter Tumbles on Concerns Over ‘Suspicious Traffic’

South Sudan, Israeli ex-general deny arms deals, reject US sanctions

Netanyahu: Israel developing missiles ‘no other country has’

Netanyahu: Israel has missiles that can strike any target in the Middle East

US targets Hamas, Hezbollah with anti-human shield legislation

Israel reportedly asking US to lean on Lebanon over Hezbollah tunnels

US registers ‘deep concerns’ over Hezbollah’s growing sway in Lebanon

IDF: Hezbollah likely attempting to close off its attack tunnels

Ex-Lebanese minister: Hezbollah tunnels no violation of UN resolution

Lebanon seen closer to new government, minister says could be within days

Russia warns Lebanon against violations of Israeli territory

Russia, Iran, Turkey Meet, Seeking Deal on New Syria Constitution Body

Syria war: Russia, Iran and Turkey fail to agree on new constitution body

Russian disinformation campaign targets Syria’s beleaguered rescue workers

US accepts Assad staying in Syria – but won’t give aid

Observatory: Islamic State kills 700 prisoners in east Syria

Nearly 2,000 jailed for life since 2016 coup: Turkey state media

Iran hackers target US officials, nuclear experts

Iranian Crude Oil May Be Behind Hundreds of Hospitalizations in Chile

Iran braces for more protests as US Congress members continue to extend support

Children as young as 10 fight, kill and die in Yemen’s war

Yemen war: Ceasefire takes effect in Hudaydah after skirmishes

UN condemns North Korea rights violations and nuke spending

North Korea again lashes out at US over sanctions, threatens to ‘block the path to denuclearization’ forever

U.S. to review travel ban, sanctions to ensure aid reaches North Korea: U.S. envoy

Chaos on French highways as ‘yellow vests’ torch toll booths

U.K. Says 3,500 Troops to Be on Standby for No-deal Brexit

Trump approves additional financial help for US farmers hurt by ongoing trade war

Alan Greenspan: Investors should prepare for the worst

The collapse of Caracas, the jewel of Latin America – Once a thriving, glamorous city, Venezuela’s capital is buckling under hyperinflation, crime and poverty

White House backs off Trump’s $5 billion border wall demand as shutdown looms

US pledges $10.6B aid for Central America, southern Mexico

Embattled Trump Foundation forced to shut down after ‘egregious pattern of illegality’: Officials

Michael Flynn sentencing postponed after judge issues blistering rebuke

Michael Flynn sentencing delayed as judge tells ex-Trump official: ‘You sold your country out’

Dan Abrams: Michael Flynn Got ‘Railroaded,’ Judge ‘Either Unprepared’ or ‘Vindictive’

Trump panel recommends guns in schools to keep US students safe

US bans ‘bump stock’ gun device used in mass shootings

Pittsburgh considers stricter gun laws after synagogue attack

Rights groups call for Facebook board overhaul for ‘weaponizing anti-Semitism’

Facebook offered users privacy wall, then let tech giants around it

Russia Still Using Social Media to Roil U.S. Politics, Senate Concludes

Putin – Nothing to stop new states joining nuclear pact with U.S. and Russia

Putin says Russia can easily make intermediate-range missiles if U.S. quits nuclear treaty

Putin: Russia has enough missiles without violating treaty

Russia says will build up Arctic military presence

Japan to buy more U.S.-made stealth jets, radar to counter China, Russia

Trump expected to sign order creating US Space Command in coming days: officials

Giant ‘earthquake fish’ caught off E. Taiwan after 5.6 temblor in Hualien

6.2 magnitude earthquake hits Southeast of Easter Island

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits South of the Fiji Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Lakatoro, Vanuatu

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Kuchinoerabujima volcano on Japan erupts to 16,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Nevado de Chillan volcano in Chile erupts to 13,000ft

Rare tornado touches down near Seattle, causing “catastrophic damage”

NGOs launch legal action against France over climate

Teen tells climate negotiators they aren’t mature enough

Farm linked to romaine E. coli outbreak recalls red, green leaf lettuce, cauliflower

Up to 319 people dead as Congo Ebola outbreak worsens

Media Has Third-Highest Suicide Rate in the U.S., CDC Report Finds

Cuba eliminates gay marriage language from new constitution

Trans Teenager Claims Teacher Demanded He ‘Prove’ He Was a Boy In Bathroom

Why are so many millennial Christians confused about homosexuality?

Colorado baker back in court over 2nd LGBT bias allegation

Israeli religious group targets LGBT love as ‘poison’

Jesuits name priests ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing children, including in D.C. area

Pope Francis asks top bishops to meet with sex abuse victims before Vatican summit

‘A church without Putin, Moscow poison’: Ukraine elects new Orthodox bishop in major Christian rift

China Closes Megachurches Before Christmas

Christians ‘Standing in the Way’ of China’s Xi Jinping’s Totalitarian Rule

Iranians ‘Disillusioned with Islam’ Are Fleeing Country, Converting to Christianity


Apostasy Watch Daily News

My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience – An open letter from detained Chinese pastor Wang Yi

Bill Johnson Sells Prophetic Dream Pillow Cases

Christian Neighbor Complains About Dragons in Christmas Yard Display

Southwest Baptist University Fires Prof For Objecting to Heresy

Evangelicals hail Senate passing bipartisan prison reform bill, despite some Christian opposition

Trump administration plans to pull U.S. troops from Syria immediately, defense official says

Ron Paul – Why the Senate Vote To End Yemen War Is So Important


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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

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The Unknown Wars: Congo

With the world’s eyes on hotspots like Syria and Yemen, it’s easy to forget there are a lot more other conflicts raging at this very moment, killing thousands. This is the first episode of our videos on the unknown wars, this time shedding light on the plight of Democratic Republic of Congo.

“If The Fed Raises Interest Rates Today, They Should All Be Fired For Economic Malpractice…”

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

The Federal Reserve is responsible for creating the stock market boom that we have witnessed in recent years.  Are they now also setting the stage for a stock market bust?

After hitting an all-time high earlier this year, the Dow has plunged more than 3,000 points from the peak of the market, and it would appear that it would be extremely irresponsible for the Fed to raise interest rates in such a chaotic environment.  In addition, evidence continues to mount that the U.S. economy is slowing down, and everyone knows that raising interest rates tends to depress economic activity.  So it would seem that it would not be logical for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at this time.  In fact, economist Stephen Moore told Fox Business that if the Fed raises interest rates “they should all be fired for economic malpractice”

“The Fed has been way too tight. They made a major blunder three months ago with raising the rates. It’s caused a deflation in commodity prices. And I will say this, David, if the Fed raises interest rates tomorrow they should all be fired for economic malpractice.”

If the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and indicates that more rate hikes are coming in 2019, it is quite likely that the markets will throw another huge temper tantrum.

But as Jim Cramer has noted, if the Federal Reserve make the right choice and leaves rates where they currently are, we could potentially see a significant market rally…

“Today was a dress rehearsal for the kind of rally we can get if the Fed does the right thing tomorrow and repudiates the idea that we need a series of rate hikes in 2019, not just one more tomorrow,” Cramer said Tuesday. “If we get the Fed on board, expect more positive action like we had this morning before the market gave up much of its gains.”

Unfortunately, there is a factor that is complicating things.

In recent weeks, President Trump has been extremely critical of the Federal Reserve and Fed Chair Jerome Powell.  If the Fed decides to leave interest rates where they are, that could be interpreted as them giving Trump exactly what he wants, and it is likely that they do not want to be viewed as siding with Trump.

This is yet another reason why we need to end the FedThe Fed has become just another player in the game of politics, and the truth is that the Federal Reserve is a deeply un-American institution.  Our founders intended for us to have a free market capitalist system, but instead we have an unelected panel of central planners setting our interest rates and running our economy.

Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, there have been 18 major economic downturns, and now we are heading into another one.  Central banking manipulation endlessly causes boom and bust cycles, and hopefully this time around the American people will finally decide that enough is enough.

As losses on Wall Street mount, hedge funds are starting to go down like dominoes, and that is going to cause huge problems for some of our largest financial institutions.  For example, we just found out that Citigroup could potentially lose 180 million dollars due to bad loans that it made to a prominent Asian hedge fund

It’s not just hedge funds that are blowing up left and right: so are the banks that are lending them money.

Citigroup is facing losses of up to $180 million on loans made to an unnamed Asian hedge fund which saw major losses on its FX trades Bloomberg reports citing a person briefed on the matter. The hedge fund and Citi “are in discussions on the positions and how they should be valued” which is usually a bad sign as when it comes to FX the mark to market is, at least, instantaneous. Bloomberg adds that the situation is fluid and the eventual losses may end up being smaller depending on how the trades are unwound.

We haven’t seen anything like this in 10 years, and if the Fed raises interest rates this new financial crisis could begin to escalate quite rapidly.

At this point, even former Fed chair Alan Greenspan is urging investors to “run for cover”

The former Federal Reserve chairman who famously warned more than two decades ago about “irrational exuberance” in the stock market doesn’t see equity prices going any higher than they are now.

“It would be very surprising to see it sort of stabilize here, and then take off,” Greenspan said in an interview with CNN anchor Julia Chatterley.

He added that markets could still go up further — but warned investors that the correction would be painful: “At the end of that run, run for cover.”

The markets were calmer on Tuesday because everyone was kind of waiting to see what the Fed would do today.

The decision should be obvious, but unfortunately things are never that simple.

We live in very uncertain times, and the shaking of our financial system has begun.

Source: “If The Fed Raises Interest Rates Today, They Should All Be Fired For Economic Malpractice…”

Banks Acting Like They Did In 2007! Banking Problem Part II underway? — Kimble Charting Solutions

Is the Banking sector sending a message that weaker economic times are ahead for the U.S. economy? Possible! This chart looks at the Banking Index (BKX) over the past 25-years. It 2007 the index broke 11-year rising support and its 1-year moving average at (1). Once the index broke long-term support and the moving average,…

via Banks Acting Like They Did In 2007! Banking Problem Part II underway? — Kimble Charting Solutions

How to Love a Prodigal Son or Daughter

Some know all too well the challenges of loving a child who leaves not just the home, but the faith as well.

Many Bible stories remain unknown and unheard by most people living in a 21st century culture. But others have actually become fixtures in our everyday verbiage and lingo—stories like Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son.

The story has many components and much to unpack for biblical exegetes and theologians alike, but the main point of the plot line is simple: a father has two sons—one of them leaves, squanders his inheritance, and later returns in desperation looking for forgiveness. The father, with joy, embraces his wayward son and celebrates his return. The father’s other son becomes frustrated with the situation, focusing primarily on his own obedience and his brother’s flamboyant sin.

The story, besides offering us a chance to analyze compelling themes related to a father’s love for his son and a brother’s ungracious heart, also serves as a picture of God’s own saving work in each of our lives. We see the father (the God figure) running to greet his son (the prodigal), who, like us, receives forgiveness, despite how undeserving he really is.

It’s a story that points us straight to grace and to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some parents out there might read this story and pick up on grace, the gospel, and themes related to God’s love. But many also can’t help but see their own family’s story sitting there between the lines. Some know all too well the challenges of loving a child who leaves not just the home, but the faith as well.

As a part of one of the first research projects I led at LifeWay Research, we conducted a study to look at the number of students who drop out of the church after high school or during their college years.

For many years, people …

Continue reading

Source: How to Love a Prodigal Son or Daughter

Trump-Russia dossier author was hired by Democrats to help Hillary Clinton contest 2016 election result

WINTERY KNIGHT

Barack Obama and his corrupt ally in the FBI Barack Obama and his corrupt ally in the FBI

Before we get started on the testimony of Christopher Steele, the author of the Trump-Russia dossier that was used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on members of President’s Trump’s campaign, let’s recall how the dossier came into being. For that, we’ll go to an article from October 2017, published in the radically leftist Washington Post.

It says:

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the…

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December 19, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Perfect Love and the Christian’s Confidence in Judgment

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (4:17–21)

Confidence in the day of judgment is the experience of believers who not only know when they have an accurate grasp of the gospel and other biblical doctrines, but also when love is perfected within them (cf. 1 Cor. 13:10–13; Gal. 5:24–25; Eph. 5:15–21; Col. 3:12–17).

The day of judgment refers in the broadest sense to the final time of reckoning before God (cf. 2:28). John says believers can live their lives with confidence (literally, “boldness”) as they look to the day when Christ returns and they stand before God (1 Cor. 3:9–15; 2 Cor. 5:10; cf. James 1:12; Rev. 2:10). In 3:21 John used the same word (parrēsia) to refer to the confidence believers can have that God will grant their prayer requests. In the present verse the apostle declares that boldness and lack of fear should characterize believers (cf. Rom. 5:2; Heb. 6:19) whenever they think ahead to God’s time of judgment (cf. Titus 2:13).

Why can believers have such confidence? Because as He is, so also are we in this world. This stunning statement means the Father treats the saints the same way He does His Son Jesus Christ. God clothes believers with the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 3:21–22; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9), and grants the Son’s perfect love (Matt. 9:36; John 10:11, 14–16; 13:1; 14:21) and obedience (cf. John 4:34; 5:30; 18:37). Someday believers will stand before God’s throne as confidently as their Lord and Savior does. When they reach that final accounting, they will see the fulfillment of 1 John 3:2b, “We [believers] know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”

Those whose perfect (complete, mature) love demonstrates the reality of their salvation need have no fear of the return of Christ or God’s judgment, because perfect love casts out fear. That kind of love dispels fear because fear involves punishment, and believers perfected in love do not face final punishment (Rom. 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; cf. Eph. 5:6). However, anyone who fears God’s judgment is not perfected in love. Someone who professes Christ but fears His return evidences that something is seriously amiss, because all true saints love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8; cf. James 1:12).

The motive for those who have such confident assurance regarding the future is obvious: we [Christians] love, because He first loved us. It was God’s perfect and eternal love that first sovereignly drew believers to Him (4:10; John 15:9, 16, 19; Acts 13:48; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 1:4), thus enabling them to reflect His love to others.

The apostle repeats his warning (cf. 2:4, 9; 3:10, 17; 4:8) that anyone who claims to love God but does not love others is a deceiver: If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. It is absurd to claim to love the invisible God but at the same time not show love to His people. John counters that hypocritical notion with a closing command: this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. Brotherly love seeks nothing in return; instead it unconditionally forgives (cf. Matt. 18:21–22), bears others’ burdens (Gal. 6:2), and sacrifices to meet their needs (Acts 20:35; Phil. 2:3–4). Yet it is also a righteous love that tolerates neither false doctrine nor habitual sin (1 Tim. 5:20; cf. 2 Thess. 3:15).

God’s perfect love is a blessing for believers to know and a joy for them to manifest to others. Although it enhances and enriches the emotional love they have for other people, perfect love far transcends any kind of feeling the world might experience. It is a complete, mature love that reflects the essence of God and the work of Christ and flows through believers to anybody with a need (3:17; Matt. 25:34–40; 2 Cor. 8:1–7; 9:7–15; James 1:27; cf. Matt. 5:16; Acts 9:36; Titus 3:8), especially others in the family of God (Gal. 6:2, 10; cf. 1 Tim. 5:8; Heb. 6:9–10). This love, which has characterized the triune God from eternity past, is also the mark of His children (John 13:35). Because this love so clearly comes from Him, those who love like Him can be assured that He is their Father. As the hymn “I Am His, and He Is Mine” so aptly expresses:

Loved with everlasting love, Led by grace that love to know;

Gracious Spirit from above, Thou hast taught me it is so!

O, this full and perfect peace! O, this transport all divine!

In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.[1]


Love’s Perfection (vv. 17–21)

In verses 13–16 John has developed the first of two ideas introduced for the first time in verse 12, the indwelling of the Christian by God. Now he returns to the second of those two ideas, the perfection of love, and explains what he means practically. Earlier, when he had said, “If we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us,” the reader might well have been left with the question of how such a thing could be possible. God’s attributes are perfection; he is perfection. Consequently, we might wonder how God’s love could be perfected in us, or anywhere else for that matter. Now John explains his meaning, showing that his emphasis was not so much upon that love that God has in himself (which obviously is already perfect) but rather upon our love both for God and one another. This has its source in God and is brought to completion by him. “Made complete” here does not mean totally without flaw in a moral or any other sense. It means “whole” or “mature,” and it refers to that state of mind and activity in which the Christian is to find himself when the love of God within him, expressing itself in the believer’s own love, has accomplished that which God fully intends it to accomplish.

No doubt there are many aspects of love’s perfection, but from this greater number John singles out two. First, there is confidence in view of God’s coming judgment (vv. 17–18). Second, there is love of the brethren (vv. 19–21).

Confidence

This is the third time in the letter that the word “confidence” (parrēsia) occurs, and it will occur once more. In two of the four instances it refers to confidence before God in reference to prayer (3:21; 5:14). In the other two instances, one of which is this text, it refers to confidence before God in view of Christ’s return and the execution of his righteous judgment against sin (2:28; 4:17).

The idea of God’s judgment is an unpopular one today, but it is not necessarily less popular than it was in John’s time. The problem is simply that men and women do not like the idea of having to account to God for their actions. So they tend to discount the idea, hoping that the day of judgment might just go away. But judgment is the only logical idea of the three ideas usually associated with the end times. In most systems of theology the end events focus around three things: the return of Christ, the resurrection, and the judgment. But neither the return of Christ nor the resurrection is logical. Jesus came once and was rejected. He was crucified. If he never came back, this would be logical; and no one, least of all ourselves, could blame him. Yet against logic he is returning. The resurrection is not logical either, for even the Bible declares of our bodies, “Dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen. 3:19). Logically no one could expect more. But judgment? That is the most logical event the future holds for any man or woman.

Moreover, the day of judgment is as fixed in God’s eternal timetable as any other day in world history. This is the significance of the word “day.” Technically speaking, the day of judgment is not necessarily a twenty-four-hour period. At all events, it certainly includes a series of judgments upon the earth (Revelation 6–16), the beast and the false prophet (Rev. 19:20), the gentile nations (Joel 3:14; Matt. 25:31–46), Israel (Ezek. 20:33–44), and all individuals at the judgment of the great white throne (Rev. 20:11–15). The reason it is called a “day” is that it is fixed in God’s timetable and will surely come.

In view of this logical and unalterable day in which the thoughts and deeds of men and women are to be judged, an individual might well fear. But John says that in the case of Christians perfect love casts out terror. This does not mean that love for God is the ground of our acceptance before him. The only possible ground is the death of Christ for us and faith in him. It means rather that by love for God any unreasonable fears are quieted and we come to rest in the fact that the one who was for us in Christ will allow nothing to destroy the eternal relationship that the death of Christ established (Rom. 8:31–39).

It is possible to be a Christian and still be filled with fear in view of God’s judgment. Some branches of the Christian church even encourage such fear on the part of their adherents. But the fear is unnecessary, and mature love defeats it. Bengel, in one of his excellent Latin expressions, gives the proper course of progress in the Christian life: “neither love nor fear, fear without love, both fear and love, love without fear.” The sinner must begin by fearing the God against whom he has sinned; but, having believed in Christ who has atoned for sin, he may put away fear and grow in confidence before him.

Love of the Brethren

The second area in which love finds perfection is in reference to our love for the brethren; for it is there, according to John, that real love is to be seen and measured.

John begins this section by a broad statement: “We love because he first loved us.” But lest a person apply this to a love for God exclusive of a love for human beings, John immediately goes on to show that anyone who is attempting to separate the two is a liar, for love cannot be so differentiated. John’s reasoning at this point is interesting. He argues that it is easier to love men than God; therefore, if there is no love for men, love for God is absent also, regardless of what the person professing to love God may say verbally. How many Christians really believe that it is easier to love men than God? Possibly it is a very small number, for our natural inclination is to think that it is easier to love God simply because he is worthy of our love and that it is difficult to love men because they are not lovable or lovely. Yet this passage says exactly the opposite, implying, no doubt, that unless we are really loving our Christian brothers and sisters on the horizontal level, we are deluding ourselves in regard to what we consider to be our love for God on the vertical. Unless we can love men and women, we cannot love God. Unless we actually do love them, we do not love the one who created them and in whose image they were and are created.

We can put this in other terms. Earlier in this book we considered the difference between philia-love and agapē-love; philia-love is strong brotherly affection. It might be described as the highest love of which man in himself is capable. Agapē-love is divine love. It might be described as the love of which only God and those who are indwelt by God are capable. These verses are the equivalent of saying that a person cannot practice agapē-love unless he can first practice philia-love. Without the love of men, the love of God is impossible.

It is possible, moreover, that another conclusion may be drawn from this text. It is the conclusion that it is in learning to love men that we learn to love God. On the one hand, there are undoubtedly those who loudly profess to love God but who do not love their Christian brothers and sisters. John rightly calls such liars. But on the other hand, it is also possible that there are many who recognize that they do not really love God (at least not as much as they would like to) and who wonder how they might learn to love him better. “I cannot see him,” they might argue. “At times he seems so far away and so unreal. How can I learn to love him? How can I make progress in this that I know to be my privilege and Christian duty?” On the basis of these verses we are justified in arguing that John might well reply to such that a Christian learns to love God by loving those he can actually see. This does not replace the revelation of God’s love at the cross of Jesus Christ, of course. It is there that we learn what love is. Nevertheless, it does supplement it practically, for it is by practicing a real and self-sacrificing love for one another that we learn to love the one who sacrificed himself for us.

Conclusion

At the beginning of this chapter the question was asked, Which is the most important of John’s three tests: righteousness, love, or truth? We answered that love was the most important, but at this point we have several additional insights for knowing why.

The first reason is obviously that we need love most, particularly in the so-called evangelical churches. These have sound doctrine, at least to a point. There is a measure of righteousness. But often, sadly, there is very little love. Without it, however, there is no true demonstration of the life of Christ within or true worship of the Father. The second reason is that Jesus himself made love the first and second of the commandments. The first commandment is love for God (Deut. 6:4). The second is love for one another (Lev. 19:18). The two properly belong together. As Jesus said, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:40). The third reason is that it was the realization of this double love in us for both God and man that was the object of Christ’s coming. This is what John seems to speak about in the opening verses of the letter when he says, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1:3). That is, the coming of Christ is proclaimed so that those who hear of his incarnation and death might believe in him and thereby learn to love both God and one another.

The devil is the one who disrupts. The Lord Jesus Christ is the one who draws together. Moreover, in the drawing together into fellowship, love is the key factor. Little surprise then that we have this commandment from him: “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”[2]


21 The connection here between love for God and love for one’s brothers has led Dodd, 123–24, to conclude that John is referring “clearly to the tradition of the teaching of Jesus, as we have it in Mark 12:28–31” (cf. Barker, 347; Rensberger, 126–27). While this is an intriguing possibility, it should be noted that elsewhere in 1 John the “commandment” relating to love is John 13:34 (1 Jn 2:7–11; 3:23–24). Further, John 13:34 clearly demands that those who love God must also love their brothers—the point John has just stressed. In the context of the Antichrist conflict, the love command means that those who aspire to perfect love must (1) show love toward God by accepting John’s true witness about Jesus and (2) stay in good fellowship with other believers who make the same confession. The Antichrists have failed on both counts (see comments at 2:18–27) and therefore have reason to fear God’s judgment.

It is important to stress that the “love” which proves our relationship to God in 4:7–21 cannot refer merely to benevolent acts. From time to time, people of the world and the Antichrists act in a way that appears to be “loving,” but these acts alone cannot be taken as proof of God’s indwelling presence any more than a charismatic facade can prove that one is driven by God’s true Spirit (4:1–6). Real “love” proceeds from a belief in God’s ultimate act of love in sending the Son. Those who do not believe that the Son came through the human Jesus do not, in John’s view, have God dwelling within them, regardless of how they treat other people.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 170–172). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2004). The Epistles of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 119–122). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[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. 485–486). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

December 19 Christ’s New Name

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

Philippians 2:9

✧✧✧

God exalted Christ by giving Him a new name.

In today’s verse a question that arises is, What is the name that is above every name? To be consistent with Scripture, it has to be a name that goes beyond merely distinguishing one person from another. It has to be a name that describes Christ’s nature—revealing something of His inner being. Only such a name would cause Him to be clearly ranked above all others. Paul wasn’t referring to a comparative name, but a superlative name—one that would set Christ above and beyond all comparison.

Change of name in Scripture indicates the commencement of a unique relationship. When God established His covenant with Abram, He changed his name to “Abraham” (Gen. 17:5). When God entered into a unique relationship with Jacob, He gave Him the name “Israel” (Gen. 32:22–32). In the New Testament, Jesus called a man named Simon to follow Him, then gave him a new name: Peter (Matt. 16:18). Those names were given to mark a definite stage in a person’s life. God has done that throughout redemptive history. Philippians 2:9 affirms that God gave Christ a name. He already had many names—Jesus, Christ, Son of Man, Son of God, Messiah—but He received a new name.

Some assume that the new name is Jesus because verse 10 says, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” But that wasn’t a new name; it was bestowed at birth (see Matt. 1:21). Nor is the name Jesus above every other name (there have been a lot of people named Jesus). The only name mentioned in Philippians 2:9–11 that is above every name is Lord. In verse 11 Paul says, “Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” That is the only name God gave Christ that is above every name. Whoever is Lord is in control.

Let us exalt Christ our Lord by offering Him praise and living a holy life.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank Christ for being Lord of the universe as well as Lord of your life.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 2. What are the key aspects? ✧ Is everyone happy about Christ’s position?[1]


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

December 19 Daily Help

ARE you willing, dear reader, to receive Christ? then there is no difficulty in the way; Christ will be your guest; his own power is working with you, making you willing. What an honor to entertain the Son of God! The heaven of heavens cannot contain him, and yet he condescends to find a house within our hearts! We are not worthy that he should come under our roof, but what an unutterable privilege when he condescends to enter! for then he makes a feast, and causes us to feast with him upon royal dainties; we sit at a banquet where he gives immortality to those who feed thereon. Blessed among the sons of Adam is he who entertains the Lord.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 357). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

Why God Sent His Son: Part 3, Our Sonship — Founders Ministries

As Christmas draws near, I offer one final meditation on the question: Why did God send His Son? In my previous two meditations from Galatians 4:1-7, we have already seen that God sent His Son because we are all enslaved to sin, so Christ added His human nature to His divine nature in the miracle of the incarnation. His life of righteousness fulfilled God’s law that we spurned and disobeyed in our sin. His death paid for our disobedience to God’s law by receiving the wrath of God that we deserve in our place. In Christ, we are redeemed from our slavery to sin, and we are received as sons of God because He adopts us as His own children.

What does it mean to receive the adoption as sons? The Apostle Paul answers this question in verses 6-7. What he says will cause us to joyously celebrate Christ’s coming in this world!

God’s Spirit

Because we have been adopted as God’s children, God the Father richly blesses us in Christ. This blessing comes when God sends forth the Holy Spirit into our hearts. While God’s Law remained outside of us as an external authority that could not change our hearts, the Holy Spirit is sent inside of us to renew our hearts and transform us into the image of Christ.

God sent His Son so that we would be adopted as sons, but then He also sends His Holy Spirit so that we would know we are adopted as sons. God the Father chooses to adopt us, God the Son secures our adoption, and God the Spirit assures us of our adoption. It is through the Holy Spirit that we know God as our Father and experience our relationship with Him as our Father.

Through the Holy Spirit, we have the freedom to cry out to our Creator and Lord: “Abba! Father!” What intimacy we have in our relationship with God our Father. Paul uses two words for father here: the Aramaic “Abba” and the Greek “Father.” He is emphasizing how the gospel unifies the nations and peoples in the world into one. Together, whatever our language, we can cry out to God as our Father in Christ through the Holy Spirit!

The Apostle Paul expands on receiving the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:14-16: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

Today there is a lot of confusion about the Holy Spirit. But what Scripture says here is that if you are in Christ, then you arefilled with the Holy Spirit! So, we don’t look to some time after we are converted when God sends His Spirit inside of us. We are filled with the Holy Spirit when we are adopted as God’s children. All of those who believe in Christ have been filled with the Holy Spirit.

When we trust in Christ by faith, the Holy Spirit is sent into our hearts and we are given His strength, His security, His seal! He is God’s pledge of our adoption, showing us that God is for us and not against us. We now know God as our loving and caring Father to whom we cry out for support and help.

With this in mind, how much should our lives be devoted to prayer? As a father, I love when my children come to me and ask for help with something they cannot do on their own. Our Father is infinitely greater than any father in this world, and He loves for His children to come to Him and ask for help in our time of need too! Do you remember how Jesus taught us to pray? “Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9, Luke 11:2).

Our Status

Before Christ, we were slaves to sin. Our rebellious hearts were hostile to God, so we refused to submit to God by living in disobedience. But under the grace of Christ, we have been redeemed from our slavery. We have been adopted as sons of God our Father!

Since we have been adopted as His sons, we are also heirs through God. Our adoption does not exclude women, but Paul refers to us as sons because in the Roman culture it was the son who was the heir of a promised inheritance. So if you are a son, male or female, then you are an heir through God.

This means that we inherit the promise given to Abraham and His children by faith—justification before God and an eternal life of fellowship with Him through our Savior Jesus Christ. As Christ is righteous, so we are righteous in Him. As Christ has conquered death with resurrection life, so we receive this eternal life as our inheritance!

In Christ, we receive our inheritance of all of the promised blessings that God made to Abraham. Paul had been writing against the Judaizers who thought that they would inherit these blessings because they were God’s sons as natural children of Abraham. But God in His love gives His inheritance to His adopted children as spiritual children of Abraham. We are the heirs of His blessings through Christ. His Holy Spirit is a down payment of our inheritance, which we will fully receive when Christ returns.

Why did God send His Son? God sent His Son to adopt us as His children! Galatians 4 reveals to us that God sent His Son because of our sinfulness, to be our Savior, so that we will receive His inheritance through our sonship. What a glorious Christmas gift! In Christ we are redeemed, and in Christ we are adopted.

This is why J.I. Packer wrote in his classic work Knowing God: “You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God…. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.”

The Christian faith is a relationship with God as Father. Some have no experience with a father, so they don’t know what having a father means. Others have bad experiences with fathers, and they don’t know what having a loving and caring father means. God is the best Father possible! He loves you, cares for you, and wants what is best for you. He is also at work in your life in Christ through the Holy Spirit so that you will become who He created you to be!

May this be the reason that we celebrate the birth of Christ, because He was sent for us to know God as our Father and experience our Father’s love forever in His presence. Let our Christmas celebrations be full of joy because of Christ’s redeeming work for us, reconciling us with God and giving us eternal life to enjoy with Him!

Why God Sent His Son: Part 3, Our Sonship — Founders Ministries

Isabella Chow and Standing up for What God’s Word Says Even When It’s Unpopular — Randy Alcorn’s Blog

Last month, 20-year-old Isabella Chow, a student senator at the University of California, Berkeley, became the center of a controversy when she chose to abstain from a pro-LGBTQ vote.

She was essentially told, “You have to fully support this bill and fully support the LGBTQ lifestyle, or you’re out.” But Isabella held to her convictions. At the next student senate meeting that followed the vote, she sat for three hours while student after student stepped up to the microphone to express hurt and rage over her actions. Commenters on social media compared Isabella to the KKK and called her “a terrible example of Christian hypocrisy.”

If you’d like to read more about what happened, I recommend reading the World Magazine article “Conviction and Consequences,” which quotes Isabella as saying:

“If I was elected to be a voice for such a time as this, the light doesn’t stop shining when the darkness gets darker, the voice doesn’t stop speaking when it’s being shut down. This is not a time to back down. It’s a time to continue shining the light of Christ in all love, all grace, all humility.”

I want to stand with Isabella, and her right as an individual and an American to hold to unpopular beliefs. But it goes deeper than that. I also affirm her responsibility to have done so. She acted courageously, yes, but instead of viewing this as something extraordinary, I could wish such courage were the norm, not the exception, among American Christians.

Of course, humility is as great a virtue as courage, and sometimes we believers can blast out our convictions in a prideful and demeaning way. But it appears to me that’s not what Isabella has done. In my book The Grace and Truth Paradox I emphasize the need to never choose between grace and truth but to seek to be like Jesus, full of both.

Sometimes we as Christians put far more emphasis on our right to say something than our responsibility to do so. We will stand before the Judgment seat of Christ and give an account for what we do (2 Corinthians 5:20). Jesus specifically emphasized our accountability for what we say: “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). Scripture also makes clear that besides sins of commission in what we say there are also sins of omission. We are told to speak up and defend the innocent (Proverbs 31:8-9). We’re also told to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), which appears to be Isabella’s sincere desire.

Often those who say they feel unsafe when beliefs they disagree with are voiced by others, are in fact feeling uncomfortable or conflicted or angry, not actually unsafe. Feeling uncomfortable and angry and conflicted is not the same as being victimized, it’s just part of life.

There are places in the world that are truly unsafe, and it minimizes and demeans those people’s plight every time we Americans say we are “unsafe” because someone disagrees with us, the choices we make, or the way we live. Children living on the streets and victims of sex trafficking and abuse are unsafe. Well fed and clothed American university students are not, unless of course someone attempts to shoot, stab, or rape them.

The words “I disagree with you” are fine, and common in a society where free speech is guaranteed, valued and even treasured. On the other hand “You make me feel unsafe when you say that”—in response to anything but an actual threat of physical harm—is something else entirely. It now has been distorted to mean this:

“I am unwilling to dialogue with you and listen to your viewpoint, or even to tolerate you expressing it. I must cling to my own opinions, regardless of whether they are irrational and inconsistent. I refuse to submit them to scrutiny, and therefore you have no right to disagree with me. When you say and do things I disagree with, it makes me profoundly uncomfortable. Therefore, you have no right to do or say what you believe to be right. I, on the other hand, have every right to call you names and try to shut you up and organize efforts to keep you from holding to your convictions.”

Don’t get me wrong, I believe every American should be free to dislike Christians, disagree with the Bible, and believe the Christian faith is wrong or even evil. Fine, but doesn’t that also mean affording others the same right to believe what they do about atheism, abortion, sexual immorality, or  whether it is morally right to act on nearly every sexual impulse a person ever has? For Christians, I think that while advocating the right to free speech is appropriate, we need to think more in terms of whether God tells us we’re responsible to speak up than whether or not our culture grants us the right to do so. The early Christians were told they didn’t have the right to share the gospel:

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20).

When they were threatened with jail, Peter and John said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). So even if the Constitution did not grant us the right to freedom of religion or free speech, we would still have the responsibility before God to speak out.

The fact is, while the gospel is good news, it is also insulting. Though the exact issues facing Christians in our culture today have changed, there is nothing new or postmodern about the gospel turning some people off. That’s always been true, just as it’s always been true that some people are longing to hear it and will deeply appreciate that you had enough courage to tell them about Jesus. If we merely seek our culture’s approval, we’ll either never get it or get it only at the expense of failing to represent Christ.

Even the most inclusive and loving Christians must insist that some things are right and others are wrong. In doing so, we ensure a degree of unpopularity. Peter said, “Don’t be surprised at the fiery ordeal you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). As I share in my book Truth, remaining quiet about hard truths isn’t the way to reach the world for Jesus. Even when it stings us or them, we’re to humbly tell people what God has actually said.

But if your goal is to avoid suffering in this life, then following Christ will not help you. Jesus Himself said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.… If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:18, 20). If our eyes are on anyone but Jesus, we’re not going to have the stamina to put up with the criticism or outright hostility we will likely face in the days ahead. Paul said, “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

Jesus also said in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed [happy] are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Finally, you might also like to check out this radio interview with Isabella, to hear her share firsthand what happened and about what God has been teaching her. She says this, and I think it’s right on:

“In today’s culture, it’s often easy to…strive for political correctness. It’s easy to follow what everyone else is doing… But at the end of the day, it’s a decision you have to make between following God and holding fast to His truth, and really wrestling with what you see in Scripture and with what He convicts you to be the truth, or following the world and compromising your principles.”

Isabella Chow and Standing up for What God’s Word Says Even When It’s Unpopular — Randy Alcorn’s Blog

December 19 A Warning to the Intellectually Convinced

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard” (Heb. 2:3).

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Many people know the facts of the gospel but won’t make a commitment to it.

I will never forget a lady who came to my office, confessing that she was a prostitute and was desperate for help. I presented the claims of Christ to her and asked if she wanted to confess Christ as Lord of her life. She said yes and prayed, seemingly inviting Christ into her life.

Then I suggested that we burn her book of contacts. She looked at me incredulously and said, “What do you mean?” “If you want to live for Jesus Christ,” I explained, “and you’ve truly accepted His forgiveness and embraced Him as Lord, then you need to prove it.” “But that book is worth a lot of money,” she said. “I don’t want to burn it.” After putting it back in her purse, she looked me right in the eye and said, “I guess I don’t really want Jesus, do I?”

When it came to counting the cost, she wasn’t ready. I don’t know whatever became of her, but my heart aches for her and others like her.

I’m sure you know people like her. They know and believe that Christ is the Savior, they know they need Him, but they are unwilling to make a commitment to Him. Perhaps they even go to church and hear the Word of God. They are like the proverbial man who says he believes a boat will keep him afloat but never sets foot in one.

Those people are the most tragic of all. They need to be warned—to be given a powerful shove toward Christ. May the Lord use you as His instrument for that purpose in the lives of many who are on the edge of a decision for Christ.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to soften the hearts of people you know who understand the facts of the gospel but haven’t yet made a commitment to it.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 19:16–22. What kinds of questions should you ask of someone who appears eager to become a Christian?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 366). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The Shepherds’ Gospel

Michelle Lesley

Originally published December 22, 2015

Shepherds' Gospel

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into…

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5 Core Principles for Knowing God | Monergism

In his book Knowing God J.I. Packer shares five basic truths that serve as core principles for knowing God:

1. God has spoken to man, and the Bible is His Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.

2. God is Lord and King over His world; He rules all things for His own glory, displaying His perfections in all that He does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore Him.

3. God is Savior, active in sovereign love through the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as His sons, and to bless them accordingly.

4. God is Triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; and the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it, and the Spirit applying it.

5. Godliness means responding to God’s revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word. This and nothing else is true religion.

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From J.I. Packer in Knowing God, pages 15-16
— Read on www.monergism.com/blog/5-core-principles-knowing-god