Daily Archives: January 1, 2019

January 1 The Pathway of Faith

Scripture Reading: Romans 4

Key Verse: Romans 4:18

Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”

Hannah Whitall Smith once wrote, “Sight is not faith, and hearing is not faith, neither is feeling faith; but believing when we neither see, hear, nor feel is faith … Therefore, we must believe before we feel, and often against our feelings if we would honor God by our faith.”

As you read the account of Abram’s life, you realize he was a man of faith. God asked him to do something most of us would find very difficult, and that was to leave his family and friends and go to an unfamiliar land.

Yet God’s reassuring words lessened Abram’s fear: “I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you” (Gen. 12:2–3 nasb).

Abram, or Abraham as he was later called by God, gave little thought to the fact that his name would be made great. The most important thing to him was the exercise of his faith through obedience.

Anytime God calls you to step out in faith, He will provide the reassurance you need to go forward by faith. Your only responsibility is to obey and follow Him. Abraham left everything simply because God said, “Go.”

Are you willing to obey Him even if it means letting go of something you care for dearly? Pray that your response to the Lord is always one of faith, love, and devotion.

Heavenly Father, help me to believe, even when I do not see. Help me to trust when I do not hear Your voice. Give me the reassurance to step out in faith, even if it means letting go of something I care for dearly.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

5 Reasons You Can Have Hope in the New Year

This year on the True Woman blog, you’re going to be hearing a lot about hope. It’s our theme for 2019: True Hope in Christ.

It seems fitting for this new year, doesn’t it?

I don’t know about you, but all around, I see reasons not to hope:

  • Relational conflicts.
  • Struggles with mental and emotional health.
  • Battles with sin and temptation.
  • Feelings of loneliness.
  • Fears for the future.
  • A loved one declining from dementia.
  • Friends that are struggling in ministry.
  • Loved ones that have walked away from the Lord.
  • The opioid and foster care crises and homelessness in my community.
  • Friends that are struggling with their sexuality or gender.
  • Racial tensions in my nation and city.
  • Political turmoil.

I don’t say these things to receive concern or pity but just to say this is a broken world, and I’m feeling it.

Are you there, too? Perhaps you can sympathize with the psalmist.

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. . . . My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” . . . I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (Ps. 42:1, 3, 9).

Is this your story, too? Do you look around and see nothing but oppression? Do you feel nothing but longing? Are you losing sleep over the brokenness around you? Do you think God has forgotten you? Is the new year looking like it’s just going to be more of the same pain?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, friend, there is True Hope in Jesus for you today. Your list of worries may look like mine (or be even longer), but God’s mercy list is endless still and constantly refreshing itself (Lam. 3:22–23). Let me tell you a few items on His list.

Reasons for True Hope

1. Hope is a choice.

If you believe in and belong to Jesus Christ, His grace and Holy Spirit are yours for the taking. You don’t have to despair. He has given you all you need to choose hope (2 Peter 1:3–4).

Our psalmist friend did just that—speaking to his own heart about what is true:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God (Ps. 42:5–6).

And what did he tell his heart? Truth about the character of God and the future that He has promised is coming. Our next points will help us counsel ourselves in the same way.

2. God is your salvation.

We’ve already read in Psalm 42 that God is our salvation. But what does that mean?

The word here for salvation comes from one of the same root words that Jesus’ Hebrew name comes from. And as the angel told Joseph, Jesus’ name means “the Lord saves.”

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

And this Jesus, the one we worship, is that Lord—the almighty, eternal, all-sufficient God who saves us from sin. Though the psalmist did not know it fully yet, salvation was coming in the person of Jesus.

Take hope in this Truth. Jesus, God the Son, has saved and is saving you. And not just from your sins or from this earth when you die (which are also wonderful truths!), but also from the curse of sin laid upon this earth and our bodies.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.. . .And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.For in this hope we were saved (Rom. 8:20–21, 23–24, emphasis added).

We can take hope in that no matter what is causing our grief and groaning today—whether our bodies, relationship issues, or our own sin—if we believe the gospel, Jesus, our salvation, will set us free one day. The glory on the other side of His return is our hope. He will make all things new. Isn’t that amazing?

3. God has made you His own.

And if the coming redemption wasn’t enough, today, believer in Jesus, you belong to Him. You’re not just saved (if that wasn’t amazing enough), you’re loved. The psalmist could call the Lord “my God” because the Lord had chosen him. And in Christ, the Father looks at all believers and says, “You are mine” (Isa. 43:1; John 17:10), “I have chosen you” (1 Peter 2:9), and “you are my beloved child” (Eph. 5:1).

Have you ever sung that old hymn “I Am His, and He is Mine”? The last verse says this:

His forever, only His;
Who the Lord and me shall part?
Ah, with what a rest of bliss
Christ can fill the loving heart!
Heav’n and earth may fade and flee,
Firstborn light in gloom decline;
But while God and I shall be,
I am His, and He is mine.

This is our hope. We can sing this song in truth, because even in the darkest hour, when everyone abandons us and we feel like misfits on this earth, we belong to God.

The Heidelberg Catechism puts it this way:

Q.  What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.

Let me say it again: If you are a believer in Christ for salvation, this is your sure hope. He is your Savior, you are His child, and you belong to Him both in life and death.

4. God’s love is steadfast.

Verse 8 of Psalm 42 tells us that “the LORD commands his steadfast love.” That word “command” means giving orders and ordaining. This means our sovereign Lord chooses to exercise His authority in love and toward love. He could do anything, but He graciously uses His power to show loving-kindness toward us, His children.

And not only that, His love is steadfast. This “steadfast love” is His cheçed love—His covenant-keeping, special love for His people. As we saw earlier, He has chosen you. And in His kingly authority, He has made a promise (a covenant) that His choice to love you will not end. So beloved, take hope in that truth. No matter what this new year holds, He will be faithful as your Father to carry you through to the end.

5. God will bring joy again.

We touched on this earlier—our state of trouble in the here and now is not forever. A day is coming when the Lord will make all things right, and with that, He will bring eternal, unending joy. And with that in mind, we can choose to sing in the night (Ps. 42:8), knowing that He will help us praise Him again (v. 5).

Yes, by God’s grace, we do get little tastes of joy on this earth—in the laugh of a child, in a delicious meal, in the feeling of belonging to people who love you, in the beauty of a meteor shower. But those glimpses are only an infinitesimal drop in the bucket. The joy we’re looking forward to is “inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8) and unending, and by God’s grace, we get to experience it a bit in the here and now.

So today, as you choose hope based on these truths, look around for and choose joy. Even if that joy feels half-hearted and transient as you look at your list of troubles, take heart and believe: Someday, your heart will be overwhelmed and complete in the fully-realized joy of your great King.

Source: 5 Reasons You Can Have Hope in the New Year

How Do You Want to Grow Spiritually in 2019?

How do you want to grow in your faith, studies, or ministry this year?

If you’re like most Christians, you fall into at least one of these four groups:

  • You want to read the Bible more consistently
  • You want to explore God’s Word more deeply
  • You want a new theological challenge
  • You want to grow as a leader

To kick off the new year, we’ve handpicked resources for each of those goals and put them on sale.

Go pick your goal, and browse resources that will help you get there—and go deeper in Scripture than simply crossing off the reading plan.

Goal 1: Be more consistent in the Word

Check out study Bibles and devotionals, including:

  • The Pursuit of Holiness
  • CSB Spurgeon Study Notes
  • My Utmost for His Highest

Browse sale items for this goal.

Goal 2: Understand the Bible better

All of us fit into this category, which is one reason we’re featuring Logos 8 for this goal—especially the new Workflows feature. (Workflows are step-by-step study guides for common Bible study processes.)

Browse Logos 8 packages to get workflows that match your needs:

  • Devotions
  • Bible study
  • Exegesis
  • Sermon prep

And to help you go the extra mile, we’ve put together library expansions from Logos 7 to round out your library.

Browse sale items for this goal.

Goal 3: Take on a new theological challenge

Maybe you’re solid when it comes to studying the Word, but you sense it’s time to dig deeper into theological and original language studies.

Browse theology and exegesis bundles and courses, like:

  • Trinitarian Theology (3 hr course)
  • Lexham Press Pauline Studies Bundle (34 vols.)
  • Logos 7 Hebrew Studies Library Expansion

Browse sale items for this goal.

Goal 4: Grow as a ministry leader

Maybe this year you need to sharpen the saw a bit on certain ministry skills.

Browse ministry resources, such as:

  • Biblical Counseling Collection
  • Pastoral Care Bundle
  • Broadman & Holman Preaching Resources Collection

Browse sale items for this goal.


Wherever you’re headed in the new year, we pray you go with God’s Word. Browse resources to help you get there.

Source: How Do You Want to Grow Spiritually in 2019?

January 1 The Life Before You

scripture reading:   Hebrews 12:1–10  
key verse:   Hebrews 12:1  

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

The new year will be full of surprises. As diligently as you may plan, tomorrow, next week, or next month is a puzzle to all but God. Yet the Bible places the responsibility on you to plan, pray, and trust God for each day so that you may run the course that He has sovereignly designed.

Your supreme purpose then for this year is to walk in harmony with His predetermined will by employing three essential disciplines:

First, lay aside every encumbrance and sin. Willful sin or unproductive habits hinder your spiritual growth. You know several areas of your life that keep you from reaching God’s potential. By His grace ask Him to help you abandon these unnecessary weights.

Second, concentrate on endurance. As events unfold in the coming year, you will need perseverance to plod through the difficult, strenuous times. Do not let disappointments or setbacks take you out of the race. Accept that they, too, are part of the course God has divinely planned.

Third, focus on Jesus. Turn away from all that distracts. Look by faith steadfastly to Him. Cast your burdens on Him. Seek His face daily through personal prayer and sustained intake of His Word.

A fixed focus of faith on Jesus Christ will lighten your load, equip you to handle the tough times, and guide you into His will for your life in this new year.

Dear Lord, give me the confidence to face the future. Help me lay aside every sin and focus on You. Give me the strength I need for difficult times. Equip me to handle the tough times that may lie ahead.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

No Room In The Inn For Asia Bibi This Christmas

Like Joseph, Mary and Jesus fleeing the murderous King Herod, Asia Bibi and her family will spend Christmas dodging murderous Muslim mobs in Pakistan. Not a single Western country has made room in the immigration inn for the world’s most famous persecuted Christian.

Theresa May, Britain’s Christian PM, has opened Britain’s Intersectional Inn to Syrian Muslims, hate preachers, returning jihadis and gays hounded for being homosexual. But the door of May’s Intersectional Inn remains shut to a Pakistani Christian who has spent eight years on death row for the crime of blasphemy.

Intersectionality is the West’s new religion. Your value depends on how many victim groups you belong to. A one-eyed, black, lesbian, Palestinian, Muslim woman gets the gold medal. A heterosexual, black, woman, is awarded silver. A white, gay, American male is at the bottom with a bronze medal.

The religion of identity politics has a great commandment—love your neighbour depending on their position on the totem pole of intersectionality.

The high priests of this religion are innkeepers holding the keys to the doors to the Intersectional Inn. On merit alone, Asia Bibi should be accorded a red carpet welcome in the Intersectional Inn. Bibi is a coloured (20 points) woman (20 points), who has been brutalised by Pakistan’s patriarchy (25 points). She is a low-class (10 points) and low-caste (20 points) farm labourer (15 points). She has rotted on death row facing the death penalty (30 points) for eight years for a crime she did not commit (15 points).

That’s a whopping 155 points on Bibi’s scorecard. Taking a leaf from the Jim Acosta School of Journalism, the Messiahs of Migration should be snatching media megaphones and demanding open borders for Asia Bibi and her family.

So why has Britain refused Asia Bibi asylum? The Home Office told Pakistani Christians campaigning on her behalf that Bibi’s “moving to the UK would cause security concerns and unrest among certain sections of the community and would also be a security threat to British embassies abroad which might be targeted by Islamist terrorists”.[1]

Islam is a religion of peace, isn’t it? Why, then, is our Islamophiliac Home Office so terrified? Is it because protestors in Pakistan have already caused damage in the region of £900 million, bringing the country to a standstill? Or is it because a Chamberlain, not a Churchill, heads our government?

When Fiona Bruce MP asked Mrs May about Pakistan’s Supreme Court verdict overturning Bibi’s death sentence, with adroit subterfuge the PM replied that the UK was committed to the global abolition of the death penalty. Note, she did not say we were committed to the abolition of Islam’s reprehensible blasphemy law.

Because May, a globalist, favours the European Court of Human Rights, which recently maintained it was a crime to call Muhammad a paedophile. Traitor Theresa is a female Faust who trades what is left of Britain’s Christian soul with the Muslim Mephistopheles in exchange for her political survival.

What then, of the progressive brigade and their first cousins in the Church of England? Do we see women bishops wearing ‘pussy hats’ and demanding justice for Bibi? Why has Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, not flung open Lambeth Palace to this Christian refugee? A couple of years ago Welby persuaded the Home Office to get a Muslim Syrian refugee family into his studio flat. “Jesus was a refugee!” bellowed Welby. Cat got your tongue now, Archbishop?

In 2016, the Home Office gave visas to Muslim clerics Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman who began their tour by visiting Welby at Lambeth Palace for “interfaith relations”. In Pakistan, the duo is infamous for promoting Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. Taseer wanted to end Pakistan’s blasphemy law. He specifically opposed Asia Bibi’s execution. Perhaps Judas Iscariot could take correspondence courses from you, eh Archbishop?

And why have lesbian activist Jayne Ozanne and her pals like Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, not rushed to Bibi’s advocacy? The Ozanne Foundation works “with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender in order to celebrate the equality and diversity of all”. Could it be because Asia Bibi is not a lesbian, Jayne?

Bishp Bayes proudly marches for Gay Pride. When it comes being proud of persecuted Christians we haven’t heard a peep from this social justice warrior. The only person proud to be a Christian in this comedy of intersectional errors is Asia Bibi. “I will not convert. I believe in my religion and Jesus Christ. And why should I be the one to convert and not you?” Asia Bibi boldly asks staring her executioners in the face.

Now you can understand why the Left doesn’t want Bibi in the Intersectional Inn. Bibi believes in Jesus Christ. She confesses Jesus as the only way to salvation. For Bibi, Jesus and Muhammad are not interchangeable. For Bibi, Jesus is God’s Son; Muhammad is a mere man. Her exclusive belief in Jesus as her Saviour excludes her from the hierarchy of intersectionality.

Why? First, the belief that all religions are basically the same and one religion is no better than another is a cardinal doctrine of progressivism. Asia Bibi must be blamed for her stubbornness in not converting to the religion of peace!

Second, Muslims are at peak of the pyramid in the hierarchy of intersectionality. Not surprisingly, Britain was quick to offer asylum to Malala Yousufzai, the teenage Muslim girl shot by the Taliban. The Big Lie is that Muslims are victims and Christians are oppressors. Since it was wicked Western missionaries who took the gospel to Pakistanis—Asia Bibi must renounce her Christianity and return to Islam.

Third, being a Christian is equivalent to having white privilege. This is a dogma that stands on feet of clay because, (a) Christianity is originally an Asian religion, and, (b) the truth is that the persecution facing Christians is the largest human rights violation issue in the world today.

Fourth, by definition, a biblical Christian betrays the fraternity of victimhood. Unlike Jayne Ozanne, Asia Bibi does not regard herself a victim. She believes she is a victor in Christ because by his death and resurrection Christ has conquered Satan, sin and death. No wonder she’s held to her faith for eight years while in a Pakistani prison where even the guards are waiting to poison her food.

Fifth, the cult of cultural Marxism, which includes progressive Christians, hates orthodox Christianity. That’s why it has structured its Olympics of Oppression to exclude Christianity by default. Written into its rulebook is the statue: Christianity cannot be a category of oppression. You may be black or gay but coming out of the closet as a confessing Christian disqualifies you by default.

Persecuted Christians, be they black or brown, will never be accepted in Theresa May’s (or, for that matter, Justin Trudeau’s) Intersectional Inn—which stands exposed by Bibi’s exclusion as one gigantic fraud. The only Western leaders to welcome persecuted Christians are so-called far right, racist, nationalist, white supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti-open border, populists like Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who has offered Asia Bibi asylum in Italy.

May God bless the populists and may their popularity increase!

Source: No Room In The Inn For Asia Bibi This Christmas

Ron Paul On 2019: Rough Times Ahead, But Liberty Can Still Win

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

While Congress and the president fight over funding a border wall, they continue to ignore the coming economic tsunami caused by the approximately 22 trillion dollars (and rapidly increasing) federal debt. President Trump may not be troubled by the debt’s effect on the economy because he believes he will be out of office before it becomes a major problem. However, the crisis may come sooner than he, or most people in DC, expects.

The constituency for limited government, while growing, is still far outnumbered by those wanting government to provide economic and personal security. From lower-income Americans who rely on food stamps, public housing, and other government programs, to middle-class Americans who live in homes they could not afford without assistance from federal agencies like Fannies Mae and Freddie Mac, to college students reliant on government-subsidized student loans, to senior citizens reliant on Social Security and Medicare, to billionaire CEOs whose companies rely on bailouts, subsidies, laws and regulations written to benefit politically-powerful businesses, and government contracts, most Americans are reliant on at least one federal program. Many programs are designed to force individuals to accept government aid. For example, it is almost impossible for a senior citizen to obtain health insurance outside of Medicare.

The welfare state is fueled by the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies, which are also responsible for the boom-and-bust cycle that plagues our economy. The Federal Reserve’s policies do not just distort our economy, they also distort our values, as the Fed’s dollar depreciation causes individuals to forgo savings and hard work in favor of immediate gratification. This has helped create an explosion of business and individual debt. There has been a proliferation of bubbles, including in credit card debt, auto loans, and student loans. There is even a new housing bubble.

An economy built on fiat currency and public and private debt is unsustainable. Eventually the bubbles will burst. The most likely outcome will be the rejection of the dollar’s world reserve currency status due to government debt and the Federal Reserve’s monetization of debt. When the bubbles pop, the result will be an economic crisis that will likely dwarf the Great Depression.

The fall of the dollar and the accompanying economic downturn will make it impossible for the government to continue running up huge debts to finance a massive welfare-warfare state. Thus, Congress will be forced to raise taxes and cut benefits. Cowardly politicians will likely outsource the job of raising taxes and cutting benefits to the Federal Reserve. This will cause a dramatic increase in the most insidious of taxes: the inflation tax.

As the Federal Reserve erodes the value of the dollar, thus reducing the value of both earned paychecks and government-provided welfare benefits, a large number of Americans who believe they are entitled to economic security will react by engaging in acts of violence. Politicians will use this violence to further crack down on civil liberties. The resulting economic and civil unrest will further the growth of authoritarian political movements.

Fortunately, the liberty movement continues to grow. This movement counters the authoritarian lies with the truths of Austrian economics and the non-aggression principle. While the years ahead may be tough, if those of us who know the truth work hard to educate others, the cause of liberty can prevail.

Source: Ron Paul On 2019: Rough Times Ahead, But Liberty Can Still Win

January 1, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

10 Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Ch 29:10–15). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

29:11–13 David praised the Lord by declaring who he is and what he had done.[1]

29:10–15 David responds to the phenomenal offering expressing amazing sacrifices of wealth with praise in which he acknowledges that all things belong to and come from God. He concludes that God is everything and that man is nothing, much like Ps 8. This magnificent prayer of thanks gives God all credit, even for the people’s generosity (v. 14).[2]

29:12–14 David confessed that the riches and honor he enjoyed had come from God’s generosity. The offerings he and his people had just made were possible only because God first had given to them. able to offer so willingly: Not only the ability to give, but the willingness to give, is a gift of God (2 Cor. 9:7, 8).[3]

29:10–13. David’s response to the generosity of the people was a prayer of thanksgiving (v. 13). “This magnificent prayer demonstrates beyond contradiction that Chronicles’ priority is with the heart of worship rather than its form” (Selman, 1 Chronicles, 259).

The prayer opened with a blessing on the Lord before the assembly (v. 10a). David’s address—O Lord God of Israel—established the solemnity. The words our father refer to Israel (see v. 18).

David began the prayer with theologically rich declarations concerning God. The terms are not a list of divine attributes noted at random. They are the attributes of a Sovereign. The sovereignty of the Lord is the main idea: Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all (v. 11). In addition, David acknowledged the benevolence of the Lord. All the blessings of life he knows and his very kingdom come from God (v. 12). For all this God was to be thanked and praised (v. 13).[4]

You are blessed! (vv. 10–14)

David picks up where he left off in chapter 16 as he begins to pray: blessing the ‘Lord, the God of Israel’ (16:36; 29:10). He starts, just as our Saviour taught us, by hallowing his name and recognizing that the kingdom is his (vv. 10–11). He moves on to acknowledge that this God is a giving God, and praise turns to thanksgiving as he begins to think about what he and his people have received from this blessed, bountiful God (vv. 12–13). As he surveys what God has done, his reaction is the same as when he received the covenant promises from God back in chapter 17: ‘But who am I …?’ (v. 14; see 17:16).

This time, though, he also asks, on behalf of ‘all Israel’, ‘Who are we?’ (see v. 14). This is the natural response to grace. Grace, in the Bible, means ‘free, undeserved favour’. If we’ve understood God’s grace we will no longer ask sullenly, when we face difficulties, ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ Instead, we will use the same words as a statement of uncomprehending wonder at all that we receive from the Lord: ‘What have I done to deserve this!’ And when we surprise ourselves by doing something that we know we would never have done if God hadn’t been at work in our lives, like Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8 we’ll say, ‘Behold, Lord!’ too. We won’t mean, ‘Look at me, Lord!’ in a proud way, but, ‘Look at what you’ve done in me!’ in a profoundly humble way. That is what David does here. When it comes to sin in our lives, we need to say, ‘It’s all down to me’, but when it comes to evidence of God’s grace at work in our lives, we need to say, ‘It’s all down to you’. It’s frighteningly easy to do quite the reverse![5]

[1] Corduan, W. (2017). 1 Chronicles. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 641). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Ch 29:10–15). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 530). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] Zuber, K. D. (2014). 1 Chronicles. In The moody bible commentary (pp. 580–581). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[5] Thomson, A. (2011). Opening Up 1 Chronicles (pp. 108–109). Leominster: Day One Publications.

RenewAmerica Newsletter for January 1, 2019

January 1, 2019
ALAN KEYES — During the 2016 election, I doubted the sincerity of some of the positions candidate Trump staked out to ingratiate himself to conservatives disgusted and angry over the GOP leadership’s continual betrayals of the principles and policies espoused in the party’s platform since the election in 1980 that put Ronald Reagan in the White House…. (more)

January 1, 2019
CLIFF KINCAID — The new leader of the anti-Trump resistance in the Senate, Mitt Romney, will take the oath of office January 3. The former Massachusetts governor and failed GOP presidential candidate represents what could be called the reemergent Rockefeller wing of the GOP…. (more)

December 31, 2018
DENNIS PRAGER — I rarely make predictions – – whether of election results or anything else. My policy has always been to say what I believe should be done, not what will be done. I am making an exception with regard to America in 2019. 2019 will be a dark year in America…. (more)

December 31, 2018
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — New House majority leader Nancy Pelosi reportedly spent the holidays at the Fairmont Orchid on Kona, contemplating future climate-change legislation and still adamant in opposing the supposed vanity border wall…. (more)

December 31, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Last week, California’s strict adherence to “sanctuary city” status caused the death of hero policeman Cpl. Ronil Singh. He was gunned down by a known gang member who was in the United States illegally. The killer’s very illegal status should have led to his removal by ICE before this senseless murder occurred…. (more)

December 31, 2018
NATIONAL REVIEW — n recent weeks, oil has been moving below $50 a barrel – – owing partly to concerns of oversupply and partly to concerns over a slowing global economy. Petroleum has helped to fuel the global economy for over a century, and its relative abundance today contradicts the doomsayers who feared “peak oil” in the past. Cheap oil is also a problem for the environmentalists, who fear that an oversupply of fossil fuels will undermine the global transition to green energy…. (more)

December 29, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — When Melania Trump accompanied her husband President Trump to Iraq this week, it was the first time in more than a decade that a first lady of the United States had visited a war zone. Trump also became the only first lady to have visited Iraq since the war began more than 15 years ago…. (more)

December 29, 2018
CNN, media outlets accuse troops of engaging in political activity
WASHINGTON TIMES — U.S. Air Forces Europe said Thursday that U.S. troops who asked President Trump to sign their red “Make America Great Again” hats violated no military policy. “There is no rule against Airmen bringing personal items to be signed by the president,” said USAFE in a statement, as reported by Stars & Stripes…. (more)

December 29, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump on Friday threatened to close the southern border if Democrats do not relent in the standoff over border wall funding, which has resulted in a partial government shutdown that has lasted a week. “We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” the president tweeted…. (more)

December 29, 2018
NEWSMAX — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vowed to oppose any spending bill that doesn’t include funding to build President Donald Trump’s proposed wall along the southern border. Graham’s comments came in a Friday tweet as the partial government shutdown continued due to the impasse between Trump and Democratic lawmakers over wall funding…. (more)

December 29, 2018
NEWSMAX — A caravan of migrants, estimated at up to 15,000 people, is set to depart from Honduras in mid-January a few months after the previous caravan, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. “They say they are even bigger and stronger than the last caravan,” said Irma Garrido of Reactiva Tijuana Foundation, which advocates for migrants…. (more)

December 29, 2018
NEWSMAX — The man accused of killing a California police officer who pulled him over to investigate if he was driving drunk was captured Friday as he tried to flee to Mexico, authorities said. Gustavo Perez Arriaga was arrested in Bakersfield in connection with Wednesday’s shooting of Cpl. Ronil Singh of the tiny Newman Police Department, said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, whose agency is leading the investigation…. (more)

December 29, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Organizers of the Women’s March in Humboldt County, California, announced Friday that they have canceled the local Jan. 19 event because the marchers are overwhelmingly white. In a Facebook statement, the group said it opted to nix the third annual march “after many conversations between local social-change organizations and supporters of the march,” saying they would work on how to “broaden representation in the organizing committee.”… (more)

December 29, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — A new Rasmussen Reports poll focused on gender politics asked respondents two questions: first, how important is a political candidate’s gender in determining how you vote, and second, would you vote for or against a candidate solely because of their gender?… (more)

December 29, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Libyan authorities have confirmed the existence of a mass grave with 34 Ethiopian Christians slain by ISIS terrorists. The nation’s interior ministry said a farm near the coastal city of Sirte, 170 miles southeast of Misrata, was used to hide the bodies…. (more)

December 27, 2018
Trip ‘in the works for 3 to 4 weeks’ accidentally uncovered by IT expert
FOX 13 — It was a crisp winter morning in Sheffield, England, when amateur photographer and plane enthusiast Alan Meloy looked out his kitchen window and noticed a large trail in the sky. He didn’t know he was about to accidentally help uncover a highly sensitive, secret presidential trip to a conflict zone…. (more)

December 27, 2018
‘These reporters can’t even begin a news account of a presidential visit to a military base without working in a compilation of Trump’s failings’
THE WRAP — The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page offered a feisty Boxing Day piece on Wednesday lashing into the Washington Post over coverage of President Trump’s Christmastime visit to the troops. The Journal focused on this piece by the Post’s Philip Rucker and Paul Sonne, citing the opening two paragraphs and accusing it of needlessly working in unrelated Trump scandals into a piece that did not call for it…. (more)

December 27, 2018
CBS PHILLY — A Christmas day barricade situation ended in an unusual manner after the East Vincent Township SWAT team used a different tactic – – singing a Christmas carol. The incident began when family members called police to the home of 34-year-old Nathaniel Lewis, a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard…. (more)

December 27, 2018
NEONNETTLE — Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Boy Scouts of America, the 108-year-old organization synonymous with traditional American values, is on the verge of bankruptcy.A report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that a Chicago law firm, Sidley Austin, has been appointed to handle Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.Reports of sinking membership have coincided with various controversies surrounding the organization, including the decision to change its name from Boy Scouts to the more “gender natural” Scouts BSA in a bid to encourage girls and transgenders to sign up as members…. (more)

December 26, 2018
FOX NEWS — President Trump and first lady Melania Trump appeared in Iraq on Wednesday for a surprise visit with troops and senior military leadership at Al Asad Air Base. There, he said it’s because of U.S. military gains against the Islamic State terror group that he can withdraw 2,000 forces from Syria…. (more)

December 26, 2018
DAILY CALLER — President Donald Trump revealed Wednesday that he was concerned for the safety of first lady Melania Trump during an unannounced trip to Iraq late Christmas evening to visit with U.S. troops for the holidays…. (more)

December 26, 2018
JOE KOVACS — President Trump has become well-known for blasting the “fake news” media as the “enemy of the people.” Now, the commander in chief has yet another piece of ammunition to back up his claim. Both NBC News and Newsweek ran stories claiming Trump was the first president in many years not to visit U.S. troops during the Christmas holiday period…. (more)

December 26, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Brit Hume, Fox’s senior political analyst, schooled Soledad O’Brien over her crowing about liberal outlets having forced President Trump’s Wednesday visit to U.S. troops in Iraq, “congratulating” her for noting that Mr. Trump had invented time travel…. (more)

December 26, 2018
‘It’s just sickening’
WORLDNETDAILY — Franklin Graham, the chief of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as the Christian Samaritan’s Purse ministry, on Wednesday charged the “vicious” news media with their “sickening” attacks on President Trump…. (more)

December 26, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Jon Voight issued a holiday message over the weekend slamming the media’s “slanders and lies” about President Trump. The Oscar-winning actor and outspoken Republican tweeted a video of himself Sunday saying he’s generally a happy person but can’t help but be bothered by people trying to “hurt” the president. “I’m happy all the time actually,” Mr. Voight said. “Except there are things that bother me. Most especially what bothers me is people trying to hurt our president of the United States…. (more)

‘He did nothing wrong’: Giuliani defends Assange’s decision to publish Hillary campaign emails

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange did nothing wrong by publishing Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails, just like the US mainstream media wasn’t punished for publishing the Pentagon Papers, ex-NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani said.

Source: ‘He did nothing wrong’: Giuliani defends Assange’s decision to publish Hillary campaign emails

January 1 Intimacy with God

Scripture reading: Matthew 17:1–9

Key verse: Psalm 15:1

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?

Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

Matthew 17:1–9 is a dramatic example of how God pulls us aside to reveal Himself to us. The Lord had been with His disciples more than two years, and it was time for three of them to rise to a higher spiritual level. Warren Wiersbe explains,

Peter could not understand why the Son of God would submit to evil men and willingly suffer. The Transfiguration was God’s way of teaching Peter that Jesus is glorified when we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.

The world’s philosophy is “Save yourself” but the Christian’s philosophy is “Yield yourself to God!” As He stood there in glory, Jesus proved to the three disciples that surrender always leads to glory. First the suffering, then the glory; first the cross, then the crown.

Each of the three disciples would have a need for this important truth. James would be the first of the disciples to die (Acts 12:1–2). John would be the last of the disciples to die, but he would go through severe persecution on the Isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). Peter would experience many occasions of suffering and would, in the end, give his life for Christ (John 21:15–19).

Intimacy, when cultivated, yields an inner strength that is not shaken by trial or tragedy. As you seek to experience God, seek to know His intimate side, the part of Him that longs to experience your closeness.

Having increased intimacy with You, dear Lord. That is my prayer today. My heart and soul cry out for it.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

10 ways to abuse scripture in 2019

Not enough people are abusing scripture these days. It seems everyone is struggling to rip verses out of context and apply them to suit their own purposes. If you’ve been struggling with that too, here are 10 great ways you can abuse scripture this year.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart

Psalm 37:4

Always a favourite with the health and wealth crowd, this verse allows you to claim that you love the Lord whilst indulging whatever sinful desire you have set your heart upon. This is a good one because you can literally claim that your desire for anything at all is something given to you from the Lord because you love him so much, obvs.

Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19

Another cracker for all those times you want the Lord to sanctify whatever decision you have already made or thing you have set your heart upon. The problem with this one is that you need someone else to agree with you but – in a ‘if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ kind of deal – you can surely find someone to agree with you, so long as you’re willing to agree with them whenever they want random stuff too.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Of course, this was originally written to the surviving Israelites in the midst of exile in Babylon. But, if we don’t concern ourselves with that minor detail, we can assure ourselves that nothing bad will ever happen to us.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

All things folks. You name it, you can do it. It’s a shame none of the apostles – not least Paul – thought of this while they were being beaten, flogged, imprisoned, stoned and the rest. Could have saved a lot of hassle if they used it like we will.

Judge not, that you be not judged Matthew 7:1

That’s a clear no-go on any kind of judging. I don’t want to hear a Christian utter the phrase, ‘I think that might be sinful’ or ‘I think that behaviour is wrong’ because Jesus is clear about judging stuff here. Jesus didn’t tell us to obey his commandments so you could expect those that love him to actually follow them. Listen to the man!

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20

This is good for lots of things. You can stop people praying on their own by insisting Jesus isn’t there when they do; you can insist you have a functioning church any time you bump into your Christian mate in the supermarket; you can insist your church is functional even though there aren’t enough of you to lead, preach and still have someone in the congegation to listen. This is the classic that just keeps on giving.

I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:3

This is a helpful one. Quite clearly we can be sure anybody who says, ‘Jesus is Lord’ is definitely a Christian. This is even more helpful when we use it in conjunction with 1 John 4:7-12 (making sure to skip vv9-10, of course). Chuck in Matthew 7:1 and we have a powerful case for never being able to think someone who says they’re a Christian isn’t. This is especially helpful if you’re very keen to grow your church membership without worrying about whether people actually know the Lord.

The prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. James 5:15

If you’re sick, it’s your fault. If you had more faith, any faith, you’d definitely be alright. You’ve obviously got sin in your life that you’re not dealing with. If you can’t be bothered to comfort those who are sick, you can blame it on the person suffering and refuse to visit until they exercise the faith to be made well at which point they will be well and don’t need a visit. It’s a real time-saver this one.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1:31

Hopefully you won’t carry on reading until Genesis 3. If you shut your Bible right now, you can claim that everything God makes is good and – as he made you – you must be very good too, just as you are, no change necessary. Pelagius basically made the same argument and it worked out great! Not for Pelagius, obviously. But his argument is now a key one for those who call themselves “affirming.” Yes, he was condemned as a heretic but his views now form the entire argument of one vocal wing of the church, so that has to be a net win for Pelagianism.

And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:9

What an awesome promise. Pop that one into your journal and claim that bad boy! Don’t bother reading the preceding verse, it’ll only ruin it for you.

Source: 10 ways to abuse scripture in 2019

1 JANUARY 365 Days with Calvin

Light out of Darkness

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:3–4

suggested further reading: 2 Corinthians 4:3–6

It was proper that the light, by which the world was to be adorned with excellent beauty, should be created first. It was not by inconsideration or by accident that the light preceded the sun and the moon. We are prone to tie the power of God to those instruments which he employs. The sun and moon supply us with light. According to our notions, we so include their power to give light that if they were taken away from the world, it would seem impossible for any light to remain. But the Lord, by the very order of creation, holds the light, which he imparts to us without the sun and moon. Further, it is certain from the context that he created the light to be interchanged with darkness.

And God saw the light. Moses introduces God here as surveying his work that he might take pleasure in it. But Moses also does that to teach us that God has made nothing without reason and design. We ought not to understand these words as if God did not know that his work was good till it was finished. But the meaning of the passage is that the work, such as we now see it, was approved by God. Therefore nothing remains for us but to acquiesce in this judgment of God. This admonition is useful. For whereas man ought to apply all his senses to admiring contemplation of the works of God, we see what license he allows himself in detracting from them.

for meditation: God’s creative power should never cease to amaze us. He speaks and light immediately exists. We commonly take light for granted and attribute its presence entirely to the means by which God provides it. But we should rather see it as a blessing from our Father and, as Calvin says, apply all our senses in admiring contemplation of it.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 19). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Why God’s Love is an Immutable Love

Magazine is titled The Immutability of God. The following is an excerpt from Paul Smalley’s article, Why God’s Love is an Immutable Love. Paul M. Smalley (ThM, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary) is faculty teaching assistant to Joel Beeke at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He is the co-author of Reformed Systematic Theology, Volume 1: Revelation and God.

God has a general love for all his creations (Ps. 145:9), but when we speak of God’s unchanging love, we do not mean that God accepts all people (John 3:18, 36), or that he has unlimited patience with the unrepentant (Rom. 2:4–5). The Lord can withdraw the mercies of his general love (Isa. 9:17; Ezek. 7:4, 9; Hos. 9:15), and send sinners to hell forever (Matt. 25:41, 46).

We also should understand that God’s love for his elect people is not eternal justification, or indifference toward our faith and obedience. As long as people remain in unbelief they are “children of wrath”; even if God chose them before he created the world, their spiritual state is the same as “the rest of mankind” (Eph. 1:4; 2:3). Furthermore, the Lord Jesus said that when we love God and keep his commandments, he has pleasure in our works with what theologians call his love of “complacency” or delight (John 14:21, 23; Heb. 13:21).

What do we mean, then, by God’s unchanging love? God has an infinite, eternal, unconditional love for his chosen people in Christ. His love is infinite, greater than we can measure or understand (Ps. 103:11; Eph. 3:19), which God demonstrated by giving the gift of infinite value: “his only begotten Son” (John 3:16 KJV). His love is eternal (Ps. 103:15–17). His love is unconditional, giving the best good to those who do not deserve the least good (Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:4–5; 1 John 4:10). John Owen said that God’s love always comes first: “It goes not only before our love, but also anything in us that is lovely”; he loves us “not because we are better than others, but because [he] himself is infinitely good.”[1] God loves his chosen people with an ardent, unchanging kindness. Click To Tweet

Therefore, God loves his chosen people with an ardent, unchanging kindness. Since his love is infinite, he cannot love us more, and he will never love us less. Since his love is eternal, it is not subject to time and its variations. And since his love is unconditional, it does not change when we change, but springs from the bottomless wells of his own glory. Amazing love!

Read Paul Smalley’s entire column in the new issue of Credo MagazineThe Immutability of God.


[1] John Owen, Communion with God, in The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), 2:29.

Source: Why God’s Love is an Immutable Love

1 January 365 Days with Spurgeon

A New Year’s benediction

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

suggested further reading: Revelation 21:1–6

Oh, beloved, when you hear of Christ, when you know that this grace comes through Christ, and the calling through Christ, and the glory through Christ, then you say, “Lord, I can believe it now, if it is through Christ.” It is not a hard thing to believe that Christ’s blood was sufficient to purchase every blessing for me. If I go to God’s treasury without Christ, I am afraid to ask for anything, but when Christ is with me I can then ask for everything. For sure I think he deserves it, though I do not. If I can claim his merits then I am not afraid to plead. Is perfection too great a boon for God to give to Christ? No. Is the keeping, the stability, the preservation of the blood-bought ones too great a reward for the terrible agonies and sufferings of the Saviour? No. Then we may with confidence plead, because everything comes through Christ. I would in concluding make this remark. I wish, my brothers and sisters, that during this year you may live nearer to Christ than you have ever done before. Depend upon it, it is when we think much of Christ that we think little of ourselves, little of our troubles, and little of the doubts and fears that surround us. Begin from this day, and may God help you. Never let a single day pass over your head without a visit to the garden of Gethsemane, and the cross of Calvary. And as for some of you who are not saved, and know not the Redeemer, I would to God that this very day you would come to Christ.

for meditation: The New Year may not always be as “Happy” as we would wish, but the Christian is blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3) and can look forward to a “Blessed New Year” throughout the problems that may come.

sermon no. 292[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 8). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

January 1, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Changes in the New Heaven and the New Earth

and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” (21:4–6a)

Heaven will be so dramatically different from the present world that to describe it requires the use of negatives, as well as the previous positives. To describe what is totally beyond human understanding also requires pointing out how it differs from present human experience.

The first change from their earthly life believers in heaven will experience is that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (cf. 7:17; Isa. 25:8). That does not mean that people who arrive in heaven will be crying and God will comfort them. They will not, as some imagine, be weeping as they face the record of their sins. There is no such record, because “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1), since Christ “bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). What it declares is the absence of anything to be sorry about—no sadness, no disappointment, no pain. There will be no tears of misfortune, tears over lost love, tears of remorse, tears of regret, tears over the death of loved ones, or tears for any other reason.

Another dramatic difference from the present world will be that in heaven there will no longer be any death (cf. Isa. 25:8). The greatest curse of human existence will be no more. “Death,” as Paul promised, “is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54). Both Satan, who had the power of death (Heb. 2:14) and death itself will have been cast into the lake of fire (20:10, 14).

Nor will there be any mourning, or crying in heaven. The grief, sorrow, and distress that produce mourning and its outward manifestation, crying, will not exist in heaven. This glorious reality will be the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:3–4: “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” When Christ bore believers’ sins on the cross, He also bore their sorrows, since sin is the cause of sorrow.

The perfect holiness and absence of sin that will characterize heaven will also mean that there will be no more pain. On the cross, Jesus 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” (Isa. 53:5). While the healing in view in that verse is primarily spiritual healing, it also includes physical healing. Commenting on Jesus’ healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, Matthew 8:17 says, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.’ ” The healing ministry of Jesus was a preview of the well-being that will characterize the millennial kingdom and the eternal state. The glorified sin free bodies believers will possess in heaven will not be subject to pain of any kind.

All those changes that will mark the new heaven and the new earth indicate that the first things have passed away. Old human experience related to the original, fallen creation is gone forever, and with it all the mourning, suffering, sorrow, disease, pain, and death that has characterized it since the Fall. Summarizing those changes in a positive way, He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” The One who sits on the throne is the same One “from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them” (20:11). As noted in chapter 17 of this volume, the present universe will be uncreated. The new heaven and the new earth will be truly a new creation, and not merely a refurbishing of the present heaven and earth. In that forever new creation, there will be no entropy, no atrophy, no decay, no decline, and no waste.

Overwhelmed by all that he had seen, John seems to have lost his concentration. Thus, God Himself, the glorious, majestic One on the throne said to him “Write, for these words are faithful and true” (cf. 1:19). The words John was commanded by God to write are as faithful and true (cf. 22:6) as the One revealing them to him (3:14; 19:11). Though the present “heaven and earth will pass away,” still God’s “words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33). There will be an end to the universe, but not to the truth God reveals to His people. Whether or not men understand and believe that truth, it will come to pass.

Also by way of summary, the majestic voice of the One sitting on heaven’s throne said to John, “It is done.” Those words are reminiscent of Jesus’ words on the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Jesus’ words marked the completion of the work of redemption; these words mark the end of redemptive history. It is the time of which Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:24–28:

Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

The One who sits on the throne is qualified to declare the end of redemptive history, because He is the Alpha and the Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet; cf. 1:8), the beginning and the end (cf. Isa. 44:6; 48:12). God started history, and He will end it, and all of it has unfolded according to His sovereign plan. That this same phrase is applied to the Lord Jesus Christ in 22:13 offers proof of His full deity and equality with the Father.[1]

5 Now, for the second time in the book, God himself is the speaker (cf. 1:8). From his throne comes the assurance that the one who created the first heaven and earth will indeed make all things new (panta kaina, GK 4246, 2785). This is a strong confirmation that God’s power will be revealed and his redemptive purposes fulfilled. Since these words are, in truth, God’s words (cf. 19:9; 22:6), it is of utmost importance that this vision of the new heaven and the new Jerusalem be proclaimed to the churches.[2]

21:5. In chapter 21 the first speaker was an unidentified voice from the throne. John now hears a second speaker. The throne is the great throne of heaven, first seen in 4:2, but most recently the place of final judgment (20:11). The Judge of the final reckoning was Christ. Now he speaks, as Creator rather than as Judge. Isaiah had foreseen this new creation (Isa. 65:17). During his earthly life Jesus had pledged, “I am going there [to my Father’s house] to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2), suggesting a process of creation. Now his statement that I am making everything new emphasizes both the process and settled determination of Jesus to establish this eternal reality.

The angel in charge of this vision had commanded John earlier to write a “blessed” followed by a solemn affirmation of its divine trustworthiness (19:9). Now Jesus himself urges John to write this down, apparently the entire vision sequence. An equally solemn affirmation follows, applying especially to the words just spoken. They are trustworthy and true words because they issue from the one whose name is “Faithful and True” (19:11; the vocabulary is identical in the original).[3]

5. And the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making all things new,” and he said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

The phrase the one seated on the throne is a circumscription of the divine name that recalls the throne room setting (chapter 4). It is a recurring phrase in Revelation and Old Testament passages. Avoiding the use of God’s name, John allocates the origin of the voice to the throne. Now not an angel but God himself speaks and instructs John (vv. 5–8). Several times from his throne God directs a message to his people (v. 3; 1:8; 16:1, 17), but this is the last time in Revelation that he directly utters an announcement.

God tells the readers of the Apocalypse that he is making all things new (compare Isa. 43:19, which lacks the words all things). But here is the glorious outcome of God’s redemptive plan that Christ fulfilled: the renewal of all things. Notice that God calls attention to the fact that he is presently doing it, not that he will eventually do it. This utterance, therefore, is a direct revelation from God, who recreates, and as such it is one of the most important verses in Revelation. God renews sinful human beings through the work of Christ and makes them into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). In addition to human beings all things are renewed. This is God’s promise that points forward to the consummation, the transformation of heaven and earth, and the renewal of his entire creation (see 4 Ezra [=2 Esdras] 7:75).

Once again John is told to write (1:11; 14:13; 19:9), so that the content of Revelation may be preserved for countless generations. The reason for recording these words is that they are faithful and true. They are not hollow sounds, nor words that in time lose their meaning, but they express unqualified and lasting trustworthiness. God, who in Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of this world, will honor his word in bringing about a new heaven and a new earth. The words faithful and true are repeated in 22:6 (compare 19:9).[4]


Revelation 21:5–6

And he who is seated upon the throne said: ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And he said: ‘Write, for these are words that are trustworthy and true.’ And he said to me: ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Without price I will give to the thirsty of the fountain of the water of life.’

For the first time, God himself speaks; he is the God who is able to make all things new. Again, we are back among the dreams of the ancient prophets. Isaiah heard God say: ‘Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing’ (Isaiah 43:18–19). This is the witness of Paul: ‘If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). God can take people and re-create them, and will some day create a new universe for the saints whose lives he has renewed.

It is not God but the angel of the presence who gives the command to write. These words must be written down and remembered; they are true and absolutely to be relied upon.

‘I am Alpha and Omega,’ says God to John, ‘the beginning and the end.’ We have already come across this claim by the risen Christ in 1:8. Again, John is hearing the voice that the great prophets had heard: ‘I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god’ (Isaiah 44:6). Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and omega the last. John goes on to amplify this statement. God is the beginning and the end. The word for beginning is archē, and means not simply first in point of time but first in the sense of the source of all things. The word for end is telos, and means not simply end in point of time but the goal. John is saying that all life begins in God and ends in God. Paul expressed the same thing when he said, perhaps a little more philosophically: ‘For from him and through him and to him are all things’ (Romans 11:36), and when he spoke of ‘one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all’ (Ephesians 4:6).

It would be impossible to say anything more magnificent about God. At first sight, it might seem to remove God to such a distance that we are no more to him than the flies on the window pane. But what comes next? ‘To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life.’ All God’s greatness is at our disposal. ‘God so loved that he gave …’ (John 3:16). The splendour of God is used to satisfy the thirst of the longing heart.[5]

Ver. 5. And the One sitting upon the throne, etc.—“That which the heavenly voice [ver. 3], interpreting the vision of John, had proclaimed, is now confirmed by the One sitting upon the throne (comp. chap. 20:11), in two speeches.” Duesterd. The words, And He saith unto me: Write; for these words, etc., are, according to Bengel, Züllig, Hengst., and Düsterdieck, an interlogue [Zwischenrede=between-speech] on the part of the Angel; these commentators refer to ch. 19:9 and 22:6. Observe, however, the change between ch. 14:9 sqq. and ver. 13 [to which also reference is made by Düsterdieck]. There the discourse of the Angel is followed by a speech from Heaven which commands the Seer to write the comforting declaration [ver. 13]. We therefore cannot infer from ch. 19:9 that an angelic speech here interrupts the voice from the throne. And this inference is the less proper from the fact that it would seem very strange for the speech of an Angel to be made to corroborate the language of God Himself. Moreover, the Divine speech in ver. 6 is too closely connected with ver. 5 for the above-cited view to be tenable.[6]

21:5–6. The dramatic change to the new order is expressed in the words, I am making everything new! This revelation is trustworthy and true, and John was instructed to write down that fact. The One bringing about the change is Christ, who calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega (cf. 1:8; 22:13), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, interpreted by the phrase the Beginning and the End.

Those who are thirsty are promised that they will be able to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. Apparently this refers not to physical thirst but to a desire for spiritual blessings.[7]

21:5 — Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

Our eternal home will never grow old, because God promises to make all things new. The Eternal One loves new things: new hearts (Ezek. 36:26), new songs (Is. 42:10), new heavens and a new earth (2 Pet. 3:13), new life (Rom. 6:4).[8]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2000). Revelation 12–22 (pp. 268–271). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Johnson, A. F. (2006). Revelation. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 780). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Easley, K. H. (1998). Revelation (Vol. 12, pp. 395–396). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Vol. 20, pp. 558–559). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Barclay, W. (2004). Revelation of John (Vol. 2, pp. 229–231). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.

[6] Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (pp. 363–364). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[7] Walvoord, J. F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 985). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Re 21:5). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

January 1 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Genesis 1; Matthew 1; Ezra 1; Acts 1

the first steps toward israel’s return from exile and their rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1) are full of interest:

(1) A person without much knowledge of history might be forgiven for thinking that Israel was the only national group released from the bondage of exile. Historically, that is not true. When the Persians took over from the Babylonians (who had sent Judah into exile), King Cyrus of Persia reversed the Babylonian policy. The Babylonians (and the Assyrians before them) transported the aristocracy and leading citizens of subjugated territories. Rebellion in the ancient world was often suspended on the threefold cord of people, land, and religion. If one of these three strands could be removed, there was less likelihood of revolt. By transporting all the leaders of every branch of a culture to some new territory far removed from their own land (thereby disconnecting people and land), these empires secured a kind of peace. Obviously they also introduced enormous dislocation, which must have had many negative effects, not least economic. Whatever the reasons, Cyrus not only stopped this policy, but permitted exiles—including the Jews—to return home.

(2) But Ezra is right in understanding this to be the work of God: “The Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia” (1:1). At another time, the Lord would cause a census to be taken of the entire Roman world, to bring a pregnant woman to Bethlehem—once again to fulfill an ancient Scripture (Luke 2).

(3) The prophecy in this case, according to Ezra, is that of Jeremiah (Ezra 1:1), probably referring to Jeremiah 25:11–12; 29:10–14; 51. It would be a mistake to read Ezra 1:1 as if God were somehow bound by Jeremiah’s word, instead of the other way around. The point is that the prophecy of Jeremiah is nothing other than the word of God. God is bound by his own word. When Daniel understood that the prescribed time of exile was coming to an end, he set himself to seek the face of God for his people (Dan. 9)—which of course was exactly the right thing to do. And here we find the answers both to Daniel’s prayers and to God’s promises.

(4) As usual, when God works decisively, there are no loose ends. On the one hand, he moves Cyrus the King to make his proclamation; on the other hand, he moves in the hearts of many Jews to return home (1:5). After all, we are dealing now with a generation that had grown up entirely in the Tigris-Euphrates valleys. It would be like asking the second or third generation of immigrants to the United States from, say, Japan or Germany, to return “home.” But God’s people become willing in the day of his power.[1]

[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 2, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Make the New Year about Loving Others, Not Improving Yourself  — Unlocking the Bible

As the calendar puts Thanksgiving and Christmas behind us, and we move into the New Year, we move from loving others and cheer to cultivating discontentment and feelings of insufficiency. We were not good enough last year, we think to ourselves. We’ll be better this year.   

Within this attitude of self-improvement lies a risk of missing the whole point of Christmas! Way more than cultivating contentment and sufficiency within material goods, Christmas cultivates contentment and sufficiency within our restored relationship to God. In Christ, we have been endowed with the highest value. And that truth extends beyond December 25th! 

Because Christ came to earth and gave his life as a ransom for us, he opened a way for us to find contentment and sufficiency in him. When we experience that selfless love, our hearts and minds will overflow with thanksgiving and our hands will mirror God selfless love towards our neighbor.  

Creation: God’s Sharing Himself with Us 

Out of his infinite love, God primarily created us to display his glory to us and allow us to relish in it. God did not create us to fulfill some need of his. He had everything in himself.  

God selflessly blessed Adam and Eve with his presence and with abundant life in Eden. Yet, they failed to submit themselves to his will when tempted by the devil. They could have demonstrated obedience and devotion from a heart of thanksgiving to God.  

Instead, their minds nursed bitterness, their hearts grew bitter towards God. And, because their hearts grew bitter towards God, they were obedient and devoted to their desires of self-fulfillment. 

We do the same thing. From birth, we suppress the truth that God is the good Creator of all the things we enjoy. We ponder on false pleasure apart from him, inflame our desires to pursue this pleasure, and love ourselves instead of loving God and loving others.

Instead of expressing thanksgiving to God, we try to replace him with our self. In our eyes, the world rotates around us. Thus, all things and beings, including God himself, exist to serve us, fulfill our passions, and help us achieve our goals.  

Jesus’ Incarnation: God’s Response to Restore the Broken World 

One night in Bethlehem, Jesus laid in a manger as a babe. Maintaining his divinity, Jesus descended into humanity. He momentarily gave up his rights and prerogatives as God.  

If Jesus had wanted to, he could have been the conqueror the Jews expected. But, he did not. Jesus made himself of no reputation, being born in a manger to a teen mom and a carpenter. He willingly became vulnerable to limits, pain, rejection, and scrutiny.

In eternity past, he was limitless. He was serenaded by angelic praise. He gave all this up to restore us to his Father and to one another. And, he came to renew our vision of God as our provider, not our enemy, and of our neighbor as our co-laborer in love, not our enemy. 

That night in Bethlehem, Christ laid as a covenant given to us from the Father to restore us to him. All of God’s promises to his people throughout the Old Testament were fulfilled:  

  • Jesus was Eve’s seed who would crush Satan.  
  • He was Abraham’s offspring through which all of the nations would be blessed. He was David’s heir who would eternally sit enthroned in Jerusalem.  
  • As the servant Isaiah prophesied to the Israelites, Jesus brought salvation to Jerusalem. 
  • Jesus accomplished Satan’s defeat, the offering of salvation to all nations, and his seat of uncontested rule over the cosmos and global adoration from the cosmos. 

He restored us to the Father, earning perfect righteousness we could never achieve and bearing God’s wrath on the cross. 

He modeled the result of his labors: The Father’s approval and the Holy Spirit’s power exhibited in a glorified body. Lifted up to the Father’s right hand, Jesus is our head and the first-fruit of transformative resurrection. 

Our Response: Gratitude and Sacrificial Acts of Love  

We did not have to lift one finger. Christ did all the work of us. Therefore, we must rest in Christ as our Redeemer. Christ surrendered himself to his heavenly father as the permanent servant of his people. Therefore, we must surrender ourselves to him as his servants.  

As his servants, we must serve one another since we are all members of one spiritual family. Being transformed into new creations, we must let our light shine before the world, so that people may behold our good works and glorify our Father, residing in heaven (Matthew 5:16). 

When Jesus was with his disciples during the feast of Passover, he washed their feet, resumed his place, and declared: 

“Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:12-17, italics mine). 

Similar to how Christ washed the disciples’ feet, he washed and cleansed us with his blood. Once repugnant and unable to enter God’s presence, we are presentable before God, because we are holy and blameless in Christ.  

Make the New Year about Loving Others 

Modeling Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, we must seek opportunities to be serving and loving others, no matter the severity of the debasement and humiliation our service must take on. 

That was the whole point of Christmas: Christ’s taking on flesh to serve us that we may become God’s children. So, as the new year approaches, let’s not forget what the Christmas season meant. And let’s not neglect to model Christ’s example by serving each other. 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).

Make the New Year about Loving Others, Not Improving Yourself  — Unlocking the Bible

01/01/19 And It Was So — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Genesis 1-3, Matthew 1

God speaks, and things just happen. He said, “Let there be light,” and light occurred (Gen. 1:3). That pattern continues throughout the creation story; in fact, Genesis 1 records six times when God speaks something into existence “and it was so” (Gen. 1:7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30). Unlike the false gods of the world who have mouths but cannot speak, our God communicates with us. He came to us in His Son, and He speaks to us through His written Word. In fact, all the Scriptures point to His Son, Jesus.

The repetition of “and it was so” clearly emphasizes the fact that whatever God commands will indeed happen. He is not a liar, nor does He ignore His own words. Thus, I say it again: He speaks, and things just happen. His Word is powerful, life-changing, and authoritative.

As we walk together in 2019 to be faithful disciples of Jesus, reading the Word together is not simply a spiritual exercise the church expects us to do. Rather, it’s part of a conversation between the eternal God and His children. We open His Word because we want to hear from Him. We set aside the time to read because we know we need His daily guidance. We prayerfully listen to His Word because we long to follow Him well.

So, take some time today to express your commitment to God. Speak of your desire to dig into His Word. Ask Him to help you grow as a disciple this year.

And, may He let it be so.

Prayer: “God, I commit myself to read Your Word every day—not because I have to, but because I want to. Thank You that Your Word is powerful.”

Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 4-5, Matthew 2

01/01/19 And It Was So — ChuckLawless.com

Spurgeon’s Top 4 New Year’s Resolutions — For The Church Recently Added Resources

Charles Spurgeon preached at least 14 sermons about the New Year in his 38 years at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Though many themes arise in his comments, belief is as pervasive as any.

“Oh, to believe from January to December!”

Spurgeon prayed and called for belief in every New Year’s sermon—for Christians and non-Christians. He hoped that the New Year would bring forth the new mercy of the new birth.

“I pray God that a new year may not be begun by you in sin, but may God begin with you at the fall of the year, and bring you now to know his power to save.”

“Ere yet the midnight bell proclaims the birth of a new year, may you be born to God: at any rate once more shall the truth by which men are regenerated be lovingly brought under your attention.”

“If this New Year shall be full of unbelief, it will be sure to be dark and dreary. If it be baptized into faith, it will be saturated with benediction. If we will believe our God as he deserves to be believed, our way will run along the still waters, and our rest will be in green pastures. Trusting in the Lord, we shall be prepared for trials, and shall even welcome them as black ships laden with bright treasures.”

Spurgeon’s New Year’s Resolutions

On the last evening of 1891 and first morning of 1892, Spurgeon gave two brief addresses. He hadn’t preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in several months because of sickness. He was a month away from death. In reflecting on 1891, he spoke about the God-intended lessons of the year, such as the “instability of earthly joys.” As friends came together again in the morning, he gazed upon the new year journey of 1892.

Spurgeon’s New Year’s resolutions involved seeing more than being.

“Let me tell you, in a few words, what I see as I look into the new year.”

So what did Spurgeon resolve himself to see? Here are the preacher’s top four resolutions:

1. God’s Sovereignty

“I see a highway cast up by the foreknowledge and predestination of God. Nothing of the future is left to chance; nay, not the falling of a sparrow, nor the losing of a hair is left to haphazard; but all the events of life are arranged and appointed. Not only is every turn in the road marked in the divine map, but every stone on the road, and every drop of morning dew or evening mist that falls upon the grass which grows at the roadside. We are not to cross a trackless desert; the Lord has ordained our path in his infallible wisdom and infinite love.”

2. God’s Guidance

“I see, next, a Guide provided, as our companion along the way. To him we gladly say, ‘Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel.’ He is waiting to go with us through every portion of the road. ‘The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee.’ We are not left to pass through life as though it were a lone wilderness, a place of dragons and owls; for Jesus says, ‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.’”

3. God’s Strength

“Beside the way and the Guide, I perceive very clearly, by the eye of faith, strength for the journey provided. Throughout the whole distance of the year, we shall find halting-places, where we may rest and take refreshment, and then go on our way singing, “He restoreth my soul.” We shall have strength enough, but none to spare; and that strength will come when it is needed, and not before…God all-sufficient will not fail those who trust him. When we come to the place for shouldering the burden, we shall reach the place for receiving the strength. If it pleases the Lord to multiply our troubles from one to ten, he will increase our strength in the same proportion….Our lamps shall be trimmed as long as they shall need to burn. Let not our present weakness tempt us to limit the Holy One of Israel. There is a hospice on every pass over the Alps of life, and a bridge across every river of trial which crosses our way to the Celestial City. Holy angels are as numerous to guard us as fallen ones to tempt us. We shall never have a need for which our gracious Father has furnished no supply.”

4. God Glorified

“One thing more, and this is brightness itself: this year we trust we shall see God glorified by us and in us. If we realize our chief end, we reach our highest enjoyment. It is the delight of the renewed heart to think that God can get glory out of such poor creatures as we are….We hope that God has been in some measure glorified in some of us during the past year, but we trust he will be glorified by us far more in the year which now begins….We wish our whole life to be a sacrifice; an altar of incense continually smoking with sweet perfume unto the Most High. Oh, to be borne through the year on the wings of praise to God.”

Only God Knows the Future

On the morning of January 1, 1892, Spurgeon confessed, “We know nothing of the events which lie before us: of life or death to ourselves or to our friends, or of changes of position, or of sickness or health.”

Though Spurgeon didn’t see much of 1892, he put his trust in the fact that God knows the future. This truth blessed him and made him dependent on God in all things.

Whatever is before us in 2018, let’s rest in God’s sovereignty, lean fully on God’s guidance, rely on God’s strength, and live for God’s glory. As Spurgeon said:

“Throughout this year may the Lord be with you! Amen.”

Originally published at The Spurgeon Center Blog

Spurgeon’s Top 4 New Year’s Resolutions — For The Church Recently Added Resources