"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their tabloid news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell
The day before, Trump tweeted that Dems could solve the current shutdown issue by approving “REAL Border Security (including a Wall).”
US President Donald Trump has once again turned to Twitter to defend his idea of building a wall on the border with Mexico.
….The only reason they do not want to build a Wall is that Walls Work! 99% of our illegal Border crossings will end, crime in our Country will go way down and we will save billions of dollars a year! A properly planned and constructed Wall will pay for itself many times a year!
The new Democratic-majority Congress convened earlier this week with its primary task to end the shutdown. The mission, however, hasn’t been accomplished yet as two White House meetings ended with the Dems assuring that they would never approve any money for the border wall.
Currently, there is nearly 600 miles worth of barrier, primarily consisting of 16-foot high fencing, along the 1,900-mile US-Mexico border. Trump wants to erect steel and/or concrete walls over 30 feet tall on more than 200 miles of the border that would include new and replacement barriers.
At the same time, according to analysts, the cost of the current partial US federal government shutdown is likely to have already surpassed the $5 billion that Trump is seeking to construct a hotly-debated border wall with Mexico.
By CNSNews.com Staff | January 6, 2019 | 9:49 AM EST
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. (Getty Images/Mark Wilson)
(CNSNews.com) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced legislation on Friday that would require the president and vice president and candidates for the presidency and vice presidency to release their tax returns.
The bill, however, would not require members of Congress or candidates for Congress to release their tax returns.
A summary of the bill says that it includes a section titled “Presidential Tax Transparency.” This section, says the summary: “Requires sitting presidents and vice presidents, as well as candidates for the presidency and vice presidency, to release their tax returns.”
In 2017, when members of Congress were calling on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, Roll Call asked all 535 members of the House and Senate to release theirs. As Roll Call reported at the time, 6 members did release their tax returns as requested by the publication. Another 6 had already released theirs elsewhere. Another 45 members, Roll Call reported, had previously and partially released their tax returns. But 473 members had not released their tax returns and did not respond to Roll Call’s request that they do so.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi was one of the members, Roll Call reported, who had not released her tax returns.
At an April 2017 press briefing promoting similar legislation that would have required the president—but not members of Congress—to release their tax returns, Pelosi said that president’s do not have a “right to privacy” when it comes to their tax returns.
““It’s not a right to privacy that the President has,” Pelosi said. “He’s the president of the United States. There is a question about a Russian connection, politically, personally, financially, to the president; there’s concerns about recent actions by the Chinese government in relation to the Trump Organization.”
“There’s plenty reasons why we need this key to open the door to the information we need to connect the dots,” Pelosi said. “And if they have nothing to fear, then what are they afraid of.”
Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. (1 Cor. 10:6)
Reading the Scriptures we see a long line of men who had faith in Christ and yet sinned in grievous ways. These great saints were also great sinners.
And yet, one of the purposes of Scripture’s many depicted stories is instruction in holiness:
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Rom. 15:4)
These examples in Scripture build us up in the instruction of faith, hope, and love. Each Scripture passage teaches us how to have godliness and humility, which are gifts of God’s grace purchased by our savior.
In an article from First Things, church historian Robert Louis Wilken reminds us of the importance of examples:
Without examples, without imitation, there can be no human life or civilization, no art or culture, no virtue or holiness. The elementary activities of fashioning a clay pot or constructing a cabinet, learning to speak or sculpting a statue, have their beginning in the imitation of what others do.
Even if our examples aren’t perfect, we still need them. The examples God gives us in the Bible of how to have faith, what not to say or do, how to persevere, and how to be virtuous are vital to our Christian discipleship.
We must encounter the souls of the many Christians and believers who have gone before us. We must understand how they struggled with their faith in their day. The Christian faith contains a heritage reaching back to the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all the way back to Adam and Eve.
These unholy examples are people who had real problems. They had moments of great courage, who knew victory as well as failure. We must be people whose souls encounter other souls on their own terms, in their own day, if we are to avoid their mistakes and emulate their virtues. Indeed, this is what God requires in the fifth commandment,
That I show all honour, love, and faithfulness
to my father and mother
and to all those in authority over me,
submit myself with due obedience
to their good instruction and discipline,
and also have patience with their weaknesses
since it is God’s will
to govern us by their hand
(Heidelberg Catechism Q. 104)
We must be a people confronted by the grandeur of God’s grace throughout history in the lives of others and in their deaths. We need these sinner-saints if we, like them, are to find a way to a gracious God who can save us from our own follies and blunders. That is our only hope.
This is what God intended. The Spirit of Christ has poured out his gifts to enrich our lives and give us examples in everyday life today as well. Some believers have been given greater gifts of hospitality. Emulate them. Some have a greater wisdom. Listen to them.
Whoever has greater love, follow their actions (Rom 12:4–10). We can learn from all the examples God has given us as we seek to love and serve him each day. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3).
See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Your contract on your dream house just fell through. The promotion you were sure of fizzled at the last management meeting. The person you knew would become your spouse called off the relationship over the phone.
Slam. Slam. Slam. Doors you thought God had opened wide become curtains of steel. What is God doing? What is He up to? Why is He placing me in this box canyon?
Despite your disappointment, remember this: God is sovereignly leading your steps in a path that will bring Him the ultimate glory and you the ultimate benefit as you abandon yourself to His care.
“But the house was just perfect.”
“I desperately need the money that would come from the promotion.”
“I do not know of any other person I could marry.”
From your limited perspective, all of these statements are true. But understand that God alone can see around the bend.
The next time your hopes are dashed and the doors of aspiration are slammed in your face, rely on the all–sufficient wisdom of God, who alone knows the end from the beginning.
Lord, my perspective is limited, so I need You to open the doors I am to walk through this day. Close the doors that You do not want me to enter. Help me understand that closed doors are just as important as those that are open to me.
The mention of Plato brings to mind another possible atheistic response to the first premise of the moral argument that if God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist. Plato thought that the Good just exists as a sort of self-subsistent idea, as an entity in and of itself. Indeed, it is the most real thing in reality. The Good simply exists. If you find this difficult to grasp, join the company! Nevertheless, that is what Plato believed. Later Christian thinkers, like Augustine, equated Plato’s Good with the nature of God. God’s nature is the Good, and so it was anchored in a…
Try to stand back and objectively look at the span of time here on earth; from the Tower of Babel with its global catalyst of godlessness and passion to live an existence without Almighty God, to the worldly brilliance and idolatrous society of Egypt. From the autocratic power of the Babylonians, to the strength of the Media Persians Empire. From the conquering speed and philosophy of Greece, to the decadent and oppressive Roman Empire. From the genus and barbarity of the Aztec, Mayans and Incas, to the godless vacuum of the European nations and lust for war. All of these civilizations have been one GODLESS, violent, decadent and oppressive cesspool of death and horror to the world’s inhabitants (Rom. 1:18-32).
My friend what is most astounding is that we haven’t evened peaked as a fallen race until we reached the 20th century.
Almighty God describes some of these global empires as ferocious wild beasts void of ANY Divine RIGHTEOUSNESS to help us better understand them from a heavenly perspective (Dan 7, Rev 13:1-2). My friend what is most astounding is that we haven’t evened peaked as a fallen race until we reached the 20th century. There has NEVER been a more violent, murderous, oppressive, narcissistic and decadent century in the history of mankind. All of our world’s EXPONENTIAL technological advances made in this last century has given the world more power at their finger tips to show forth the fallen godless passions and violence of the human heart (Jer. 17:9). Of course we have had some noble occasions and humanitarian exploits throughout this time, but these are but a faded blip and pale EXPONENTIALLY in comparison to mankind’s history of violence, lust and decadence (Rom 3:3-23). The out working and horrific consequences from the billions that have inhabited planet earth since Babel has completely ravished and laid waste this world’s lands and inhabitants.
All of our world’s EXPONENTIAL technological advances made in this last century has given the world more power at their finger tips to show forth the fallen godless passions and violence of the human heart.
The godless Babelology that first raised its head 4200 years ago (Gen 11:1-9), has thoroughly engulfed and saturated the world of today. This fallen world’s Babelology has made its billions of inhabitants spiritually stinking drunk to the crucial realities of time and ETERNITY and thus will they be swept away in the Day which fastly approaches (Eph. 2:1-3, Rev 17:1-2, 18:24). Dear friends, now that we are here in the twenty first century do you think it will get any better mankind? Oh what delusion and fantasy the lawless globalist utopians of this hour hold onto! For with the EXPONENTIAL technological advances of this century will bring about the most HORRIFIC TIME of EXPONENTIAL violence, barbarity, casualties of death , geographical devastation and expression of the fallen heart of man this world has EVER known (Isa. 24, Dan. 12:1, Matt 24:21, Rev. 6-19). Indeed the Day of the Wrath of the Lamb is at hand and who shall abide (Rev. 6:15-17)!
Oh what delusion and fantasy the lawless globalist utopians of this hour hold onto! For with the EXPONENTIAL technological advances of this century will bring about the most HORRIFIC TIME of EXPONENTIAL violence, barbarity, casualties of death , geographical devastation and expression of the fallen heart of man this world has EVER known! ,
Even America, which was founded during the Philadelphia Church Age (from about 1700 to about 1900 – the church of the “open door” – Rev 3:7-13), was established on the bedrock of natural and moral laws and foremost acknowledged the Person of Almighty God at its founding. America was founded at the end of the world’s time line which spans about 4200 years. Just in these brief 241 years of our nation’s history we have reached socially and culturally the point of no return. There has been no other nation in the world’s history that has sent out the Biblical Gospel light as America has. America has been a beacon of freedom to the world’s oppressed and has been a global dam holding back the world’s anti-Semitism, oppressive tyrannies and the unbridled passions of fallen despots, especially in this last century. Let me ask you this very sobering question, “What do you think will become of the world once America restraining influence has been removed from the scene?” The very sobering answer is… GREAT tribulation and global anti -Semitism (Zech 14:2, Rev 6-16). America in these last 60 years has given herself full over to lawlessness, lewdness, godless pleasure seeking, immorality, vice, abortion, anti family values, godless ambitions and to the hatred of biblical TRUTH and REALITIES and to the absolute hatred of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world! Dear friends, when the dam (America) which is holding back Satan and this world’s evil designs is its self inflicting herself with lawlessness at every level what is to stop the Day of the Lord and ALL its EXPONENTIAL devastation to follow? Dear friends, indeed the Day of the Lord is at hand but there is hope in the Savior of the world!
What do you think will become of the world once America restraining influence has been removed from the scene?
LTRP Note: Over the past several years, we have talked, either through e-mail or by phone, to thousands of people. A good number of these people have come out of churches whose pastors have been trained in the seminaries and Christian colleges, which have, in large part (with some exceptions), become havens for unbiblical teachings. These ill-equipped, misled pastors have brought their unscriptural teachings with them to the churches. We have heard the stories from so many of our readers of Christians they know who became caught under the bondage of legalism and then went to the opposite pole of turning grace into a license for sin. Many times when this happened, these confused Christians began practicing contemplative prayer and/or joined emerging churches, thinking these experiences were from God, especially when they compared them to their legalistic backgrounds.
While we do not claim to be theologians here at Lighthouse Trails, we desire to address this issue in this short essay, with the hopes it may draw some back to the true living water that only Jesus Christ can give. Perhaps these words can alleviate some confusion to those who are held in bondage by either of these extremes.
By David Dombrowski
In previous articles, we have demonstrated how the Gospel is the greatest of all treasures. Throughout the ages, man has been out digging for treasure. From the earth, we have been able to extract much of the things that we prize most highly including silver, gold, diamonds, gems, metal ores for making innumerable things made of iron or steel, copper or brass, and aluminum, while massive amounts of oil and coal have been extracted propelling us into an industrialized world. Yet, the human heart remains empty, and only God can fill that void.
Scripture likens our need for the Gospel to our need for water. The psalmist wrote, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1). And just as a deer is driven by thirst to drink of the cool water brooks, so we, like the psalmist, should hunger and thirst after God. But for most Christians in the Western world, that thirst drives us elsewhere, and what we attain never really satisfies because it is not the living water that is able to give us life and renew us.
The Gospel has been with us for a very long time, but of the world’s population, relatively few have chosen to dip into that water of life. The Scripture beckons, “the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Though the offer is made to all, there are so few who seem to listen. Consequently, so many choose to live in a perpetual drought, fearing the water of life that is able to save men’s souls.
Now, how long has the Gospel been with us? Paul tells us that Abraham received the Gospel:
And the scripture, forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Galatians 3:8)
God made a covenant with Abraham based on a promise to send a “seed” (namely Christ), and in that seed, the promises would be fulfilled (see Galatians 3:16). It is here that a date is given of four hundred thirty years before God gave the Law to Moses. And while the date is of no real significance, what is significant is that the New Covenant (the Gospel) came before the Old Covenant (the Law). Paul’s letter to the Galatians vividly portrays how the Law was never given to save anyone; rather it was given to lead us to the Savior:
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)
Abraham was justified by faith and faith alone as Paul recounts that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6). Paul then emphatically states that no one is justified by the law when he says, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11, emphasis added). In fact, the Law was an impossible system for salvation because to break any of it even only once meant to break the whole Law:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Galatians 3:10)
James reiterates the power of the Law when he states: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). It is clear, therefore, that the Law has power, but not the power to save—unless of course a person keeps all of the Law, at every point, perfectly, and no one has ever done that (except Christ Who was sinless: e.g., 2 Corinthians 5:21). The power of the Law is to show us that because of sin, our righteousness is as filthy rags, and consequently we remain under the curse of the Law until we come to Christ. The Law demonstrates that, without question, we are in need of a Redeemer, and that is why in Old Testament law, lambs and bullocks were sacrificed year after year, not because they saved at all but because they served as a continual reminder of the need of a Savior who was to come. This is why the proclamation of the Gospel is so very important because, under God’s plan, the way of salvation comes in only one way.
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (Galatians 3:18)
When we think about it, the religions of the world think we can be saved by our own goodness or that we already have God’s divinity within and consequently have no need of a Savior. But God chose to show Abraham a different way, and all who come to God must come to Him in the same way:
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. (Genesis 17:4)
So, when God made Abraham a father of many nations, He made it clear that this covenant, based on faith in a promise (i.e., Christ the Redeemer), was to be available to all people everywhere. Then came the Law four hundred and thirty years later to direct everyone, like a schoolmaster, to their need of a Redeemer as it exposes our sinfulness. In this sense, the Law can be likened to the test equipment in a doctor’s office. After performing various tests, the doctor is able to identify a particular ailment, but the tests themselves have only exposed the problem and done nothing to render the cure. The doctor can then prescribe the proper medicine or refer the patient to a surgeon. Once that prescription or surgeon’s referral has been made, the patient is bound rather than cured by his doctor’s orders until the proper steps have been taken.
Likewise, we remain bound under the curse of the Law until we come to Christ. Then He, as the Great Physician, cleanses us from our sin and imparts new life in us. That is why the Scripture says:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This is also why Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well:
Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)
This woman was acquainted with the problem, but now she had found the cure.
Likewise, Jesus’ offer of “living water” (John 4:10) goes out to all people as He explained “whosoever” may come and drink of this water of life (Revelation 22:17). I find it rather puzzling, though, that while countless numbers from all over the world have found that water, many have the tendency to go back to the Law to find comfort and assurance there. Like the patient who is now cured but feels compelled to stay indefinitely in the doctor’s office or the hospital when all that doctor can really do is to test and prescribe. If the Great Physician has already cured us, why would we want to go back into the Law that was designed to diagnose but not to cure. Furthermore, the Law can never be fulfilled by adherence to a set of rules; that is why Paul said, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). Somehow, we get to thinking that mechanically observing a set of rules pleases God, but God is concerned with the condition of our hearts. So, while we can fulfill the Law by love, we cannot do it by merely observing a set of rules. Like the patient holding the prescription, the Law is for those bound by sin, directing them to the Savior. The Law is good insomuch as it exposes our sin and brings us to our Savior, but it has no power to save. This is why Paul was so startled in hearing that the Galatians were going back into the Law and why he was compelled to write:
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:1-3)
Contrary to what many might teach, Paul was not offering the Galatians a license to sin, but a fundamental truth of Scripture – that the Christian life can only be lived out as that well of living water springs up from our hearts. It is imperative, however, that we be found in Christ because Jesus alone is that well from which the springs of life flow.
Jesus is that well of living water, offered freely to whosoever will invite Him into their lives and hearts to be Lord and Savior. To the unbeliever, He is the invitation, “let him that is athirst come” (Revelation 22:17). To the new believer, He is that new life where, “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But to those who have known Christ for awhile, even a long while, He is the reminder to come back and be refreshed again to the only water that “shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). When we partake of that water, it does us much good. And when we share that water with others, it does no harm to our neighbor. It is the only water that is clean and pure and flows from the throne of God.
The thread of Christianity from generation to generation depends on a mutual understanding of our important words. Hence the Word of the Week. Past Words of the Week have included Justification, Transcendence, Immanence, Propitiation, Sanctification, Glorification, Orthodoxy, Heresy, Omniscience, Aseity, and Immutability. I then went to a series examining each of the 9 characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and on December 29, 2018, wrapped up the Fruit series with Self-Control. Now it’s back to individual words of the week and this week I chose Angel.
Aren’t we fascinated with Angels! They appear in art, literature, drama, and of course, the Bible. They are first mentioned in Genesis 2:1 where it is written,
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
Host is another name for the angel army. Since God…
“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:22
suggested further reading: Acts 26:1–29
Six years ago, today, as nearly as possible at this very hour of the day, I was “in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity,” but had yet, by divine grace, been led to feel the bitterness of that bondage, and to cry out by reason of the soreness of its slavery. Seeking rest, and finding none, I stepped within the house of God, and sat there, afraid to look upward, lest I should be utterly cut off, and lest his fierce wrath should consume me. The minister rose in his pulpit, and, as I have done this morning, read this text—“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” I looked that moment; the grace of faith was vouchsafed to me in the self-same instant; and now I think I can say with truth:
“E’er since by faith I saw the stream
His flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.”
I shall never forget that day, while memory holds its place; nor can I help repeating this text, whenever I remember that hour when first I knew the Lord. How strangely gracious! How wonderfully and marvellously kind, that he who heard these words so little time ago for his own soul’s profit, should now address you from the same text, in the full and confident hope that some poor sinner may hear the glad tidings of salvation for himself also, and may today, on this 6th of January, be “turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.”
for meditation: Even if you cannot pinpoint an exact time or place, can you recall your conversion when the Lord Jesus Christ became real to you and you trusted him to be your Saviour? If you can, are the memories of that great event still as precious as they should be? If you have no such memories, Spurgeon, though dead, speaks to you today. Read again his testimony, obey his text and look to his Saviour so that you too may be saved.
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Hymn XXVI. Self-acquaintance.
Dear Lord accept a sinful heart,
Which of itself complains
And mourns, with much and frequent smart,
The evil it contains.
There fiery seeds of anger lurk,
Which often hurt my frame;
And wait but for the tempter’s work,
To fan them to a flame.
Legality holds out a bribe
To purchase life from thee;
And discontent would fain prescribe
How thou shalt deal with me.
While unbelief withstands thy grace;
And puts the mercy by;
Presumption, with a brow of brass,
Says, “Give me, or I die.”
How eager are my thoughts to roam
In quest of what they love!
But ah! when duty calls them home,
How heavily they move!
O, cleanse me in a Saviour’s blood,
Transform me by thy pow’r,
And make me thy belov’d abode,
And let me rove no more.
—William Cowper, Olney Hymns. Book III: On the Rise, Progress, Changes, and Comforts of the Spiritual Life.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation
if you can possibly help it.
But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these.
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. Genesis 4:7
suggested further reading: Ecclesiastes 8:1–14
God will pronounce a dreadful sentence against Cain if the man hardens his mind in wickedness and indulges himself in his crime. The warning is emphatic; God not only repels Cain’s unjust complaint but shows that Cain could have no greater adversary than the sin that he inwardly cherishes.
God so binds the impious man in these concise words that he can find no refuge. It is as if he says, “Your obstinacy will not profit you, for, though you would have nothing to do with me, your sin will give you no rest but will sharply drive you on, pursue you, urge you, and never allow you to escape.” Cain rages in vain but to no profit. He is guilty by his own inward conviction even though no one accuses him. The expression “sin lieth at the door” refers to the interior judgment of the conscience that convinces man of his sin and besieges him on every side.
The impious may imagine that God slumbers in heaven. They may strive to repel fear of his judgment. But sin will perpetually draw these reluctant fugitives back to the tribunal from which they flee.
The expression of Moses has peculiar energy. Sin lieth at the door, meaning the sinner is not immediately tormented with the fear of judgment. Rather, gathering around him whatever delights he can to deceive himself, he appears to walk in free space and to revel in pleasant meadows. However, when he comes to the door, he meets sin, which keeps constant guard. Then conscience, which before was at liberty, is arrested, and he receives double punishment for the delay.
for meditation: When we sin and God convicts us of that sin, we run from judgment in many different ways. But why is it impossible to escape the effects of sin? What kind of punishment can we expect when we finally stop running?
 Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 24). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.
Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.
Scripture is taken from the Book of Common Prayer, Readings for Epiphany and Ordinary Time Until Lent, Year 1 and may be found here.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Isaiah 52: 7 – 10
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.
Revelation 21: 22 – 27
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Matthew 12: 14 – 21
But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.”
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son,
that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger;
and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil,
that all my doings and life may please You.
For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things.
Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me.
(Then go joyfully to your work, singing a hymn, like that of the Ten Commandments, or whatever your devotion may suggest.)
God, forgive us.
Our communion is not always visible to the world.
Sometimes we allow threats to unity to enter the church,
making it hard to see that we are your community.
We act as though we do not need each other. We do not always love one another.
We do not know and bear one another’s burdens. We fail to build each other up.
We do not always give ourselves willingly and joyfully to one another.
Forgive us, and strengthen us so that we may live in the unity that you grant us.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God
the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Wade Burleson is out of town and he does not post his sermons until a week after he preaches which is a problem since I will be away for the next two weeks. Therefore, I will post the next three sermons by my former pastor, Pete Briscoe.
Not all the outward forms on earth,
nor rites that God has giv’n,
nor will of man, nor blood, nor birth,
can raise a soul to heav’n.
The sov’reign will of God alone
creates us heirs of grace
born in the image of His Son,
a new, peculiar race.
The Spirit, like some heav’nly wind,
blows on the sons of flesh,
new models all the carnal mind,
and forms the man afresh.
Our quickened souls awake, and rise
from the long sleep of death;
on heav’nly things we fix our eyes,
and praise employs our breath.
The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 51:17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. He had shown that sacrifices have no such efficacy in procuring the Divine favour as the Jews imagined; and now he declares that he needed to bring nothing whatever to God but a contrite and humbled heart. Nothing more is necessary, on the part of the sinner, than to prostrate himself in supplication for Divine mercy. The plural number is used in the verse to express more forcibly the truth, that the sacrifice of repentance is enough in itself without any other. Had he said no more than that this kind of sacrifice was peculiarly acceptable to God, the Jews might easily have evaded his argument by alleging that this might be true, and yet other sacrifices be equally agreeable in his sight; just as the Papists in our own day mix up the grace of God with their own works, rather than submit to receive a gratuitous pardon for their sins. In order to exclude every idea of a pretended satisfaction, David represents contrition of heart as comprehending in itself the whole sum of acceptable sacrifices. And in using the term sacrifices of God, he conveys a tacit reproof to the proud hypocrite, who sets a high value upon such sacrifices as are of his own unauthorised fancy, when he imagines that by means of them he can propitiate God. But here a difficulty may be started. “If the contrite heart,” it may be said, “hold a higher place in the estimation of God than all sacrifices, does it not follow that we acquire pardon by our penitence, and that thus it ceases to be gratuitous?” In reply to this, I might observe, that David is not speaking at this time of the meritorious condition by which pardon is procured, but, on the contrary, asserting our absolute destitution of merit by enjoining humiliation and contrition of spirit, in opposition to everything like an attempt to render a compensation to God. The man of broken spirit is one who has been emptied of all vain-glorious confidence, and brought to acknowledge that he is nothing. The contrite heart abjures the idea of merit, and has no dealings with God upon the principle of exchange. Is it objected, that faith is a more excellent sacrifice that that which is here commended by the Psalmist, and of greater efficacy in procuring the Divine favour, as it presents to the view of God that Saviour who is the true and only propitiation? I would observe, that faith cannot be separated from the humility of which David speaks. This is such a humility as is altogether unknown to the wicked. They may tremble in the presence of God, and the obstinacy and rebellion of their hearts may be partially restrained, but they still retain some remainders of inward pride. Where the spirit has been broken, on the other hand, and the heart has become contrite, through a felt sense of the anger of the Lord, a man is brought to genuine fear and self-loathing, with a deep conviction that of himself he can do or deserve nothing, and must be indebted unconditionally for salvation to Divine mercy. That this should be represented by David as constituting all which God desires in the shape of sacrifice, need not excite our surprise. He does not exclude faith, he does not condescend upon any nice division of true penitence into its several parts, but asserts in general, that the only way of obtaining the favour of God is by prostrating ourselves with a wounded heart at the feet of his Divine mercy, and supplicating his grace with ingenuous confessions of our own helplessness.
51:17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit Instead of merely ritual sacrifice, God desires that His people trust in and rely on Him. See 50:14–15 and notes.
A broken and contrite heart It is the broken and contrite who have a proper attitude of reverence toward God (Isa 66:2).
51:17 David illustrates his understanding of the biblical premise that true forgiveness is dependent upon genuine confession and repentance (cf. Jer. 31:34, note).
 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 51:17). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
 Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ps 51:17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Former CIA Officer and whistleblower Kevin Shipp predicts a big reset of the U.S. dollar coming sooner than later. Shipp says, “Yes, I do. It’s going to be horrible if the dollar loses its reserve status. I think they will absolutely do that. I think, also, if you add that ‘missing’ $21 trillion, our deficit is actually double what is being said in public. There is something very, very serious going on with that $21 trillion. I have my own opinion as to where it went, but, yeah, I think there will be a reset.” What does a reset look like to the guy on the street? Shipp says, “First of all, the dollar plummets in value. That is going to affect everyone’s financial life in this country. They will devalue the dollar, which is going to take us into a very serious recession. . . . There is no question we are going to enter into a financial crisis. No question. . . . By the end of the year, we will see serious financial problems.”
On Day 1 in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats broke the promise they made to voters.
They are no longer the party of the working people, unless you’re working in the government (except at the border). They are the party of impeachment, amnesty and abortion.
It’s increasingly clear the Democrats care more about government workers than construction workers. They care more about the grievance studies of campus radicals than the grief and concerns of everyday Americans.
We know this from the Democrats’ own words and actions.
On the first day, they said let us divide the darkness of Donald Trump from the light of the White House, and they filed articles of impeachment.
And they said let the people never elect another of his kind, and they set forth to abolish the Electoral College.
And Nancy Pelosi said it is good.
Further cementing the Democrats’ reputation as the party of all-powerful government is House Resolution 1, their marquee legislative initiative.
It gives the deep state control over who gets to run for office, empowering professional politicians and kneecapping outsiders who would have the audacity to even consider running. What could possibly go wrong?
The Democrats tout this gift bag for professional government apparatchiks and the post-graduate academics who love them as fulfilling their promise to the American people.
What it does is betray the industrial unions that built this nation and not incidentally the party now run by Speaker Pelosi, D-Calif., Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and a cadre of neo-Marxists.
A survey from the DNC’s Senate campaign arm reveals that the party’s priority campaign issues for 2020 are abortion, gun control and uncontrolled immigration.
Nowhere to be found in the new Democratic catechism is a word about rebuilding roads, bridges, ports and railroads, the infrastructure Americans depend on for our way of life.
The building trades – including the traditionally Democrat-voting Teamsters and labor unions – want action on real-world energy projects such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that will move clean-burning natural gas from the wellhead to customers.
Instead the new Democrats natter on about the fantasy “Green New Deal.” This pet project of Rep. Alexandria Occasional-Cortex, Democratic Socialist-N.Y., and her comrades would give government total control of American society under the guise of addressing “climate change.”
This “plan,” as it were, bans all fossil fuels in favor of unproven, unreliable or nonexistent “renewable energy” sources. Jobs installing solar panels on everyone’s home and windmill propellers on everyone’s beanie would be doled out by government commissars in strict accordance with Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-Toontown) mandatory diversity quotas.
Just as they refuse to build a wall on our border, Democrats are not interested in building anything in America. Chuck Schumer is conditioning passage of any infrastructure bill on fulfilling the terms of the Paris climate accord. Until President Trump withdrew from it, that pact required the U.S. to hand billions to corrupt Third World regimes to help develop their national economies and/or pad their Swiss bank accounts.
All this would be laughable if it were not so serious.
Before she was even sworn-in, Ocasio-Cortez led a sit-in at Nancy Pelosi’s office to strong-arm the party leadership into adopting her radical agenda.
It’s time trade unions had a sit-in to restore the Democratic Party to sanity.