Daily Archives: January 18, 2019

January 18 Faith When God Says No

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 12:1–23

Key Verses: Psalm 138:7–8

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.

The prophet Nathan came to David and, under the direction of God’s Spirit, spoke words that convicted David’s heart of the guilt he bore and the sin he had committed against the Lord. The days that followed the event were filled with tension and despair as David learned that Bathsheba was carrying his child—a child that God had already revealed would die.

The heartache, the misery—none of us can truly know how deeply this man suffered. Not only had he hurt family and friends, but he had grieved Someone much nearer and dearer than his earthly companions—the Lord Himself.

But in the midst of this tragedy, don’t miss the sensitivity of David’s relationship with God. When the king received news that the child would surely die, he went straight to the Lord in prayer. That was the one place David knew he could find forgiveness and restoration. Even though the Lord allowed the child to die, David was ever hopeful God might change His mind.

When a person is broken in sin, he is not alone. God is with him, and He is quick to restore the person’s fellowship with Him when he acknowledges his sin. You can praise God for His sovereignty in your life, even in times when His answer to your prayer is no. He will always give you His best at just the right time.

Father, I rejoice that You are sovereign over every detail of my life. Even when Your answer to my prayer is no, I know You will give me Your best at the right time.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 19). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 18, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump has canceled his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, next week due to the partial U.S. government shutdown.

President Donald Trump is reviving efforts to win approval for a significant infrastructure plan lasting up to 13 years, two people briefed on the matter said, as the administration seeks to bring a long-stalled campaign promise back to life.

Democrats now in control of the U.S. House of Representatives are working out which House panels will take the lead in investigating President Donald Trump’s business ties to Deutsche Bank.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with his North Korean counterpart in Washington later on Friday, the State Department said.

The U.S. State Department said in a report released by the investigative arm of Congress on Thursday it may recommend President Donald Trump revoke an Obama-era order directing federal agencies to consider climate change in international development programs.

France’s “yellow vest” protests have exposed a deep-rooted belief that society is not working for large swathes of the French population, especially outside major cities.

A group of Honduran migrants entered southern Mexico on Friday, joining more than 1,000 people who departed Central America in recent days headed to the United States and putting to the test Mexico’s vows to guarantee the safe and orderly flow of people.

Major consumer companies including Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Nestle are chasing consumers who want food and household goods delivered automatically, even though this kind of business has not always worked. The companies are pitching new online subscription services, which promise stable revenues, lower delivery costs and valuable data about customers.

U.S. manufacturing output increased by the most in 10 months in December, boosted by a surge in the production of motor vehicles and a range of other goods, which could allay fears of a sharp slowdown in factory activity.

AP Top Stories

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday called on Russia to destroy a controversial missile system Washington says breaches a key arms control treaty.

Facebook removed more than 250 pages on Thursday for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” masquerading as special interest groups when they were actually meant to expand the reach of the Kremlin’s media agency, Rossiya Segodnya, according to the digital investigators that led a parallel investigation.

More than 130 US House Republicans joined Democrats Thursday in opposing the easing of sanctions against an ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, dealing a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s administration.

After nearly eight years of trying to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Gulf States and their Arab allies are rapidly embracing Damascus anew. The bitter enemies in the civil war-turned-proxy war that has killed more than 500,000 people and displaced millions are reopening embassies, reestablishing trade ties, and paving the way for Syria’s return to regional organizations.

The Trump administration’s decision to keep issuing oil drilling permits during the government shutdown is putting those authorizations in legal jeopardy, environmentalists argued in a filing Thursday.

Less than a week into her campaign for president, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard issued a lengthy apology for her past comments and actions against the LGBTQ community.

Armed groups have killed more than 100 soldiers and seized a huge stock of weapons in clashes in northeast Nigeria since Dec. 26, a report by a group of aid agencies said on Friday, weeks ahead of an election in which security is a campaign issue.

The preliminary reading for the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index in January declined to the lowest level since President Donald Trump was elected.


Australia has just sweltered through at least five of its 10 warmest days on record. An extreme heatwave has afflicted the nation since Saturday, causing wildlife deaths, bushfires and an increase in hospital admissions. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said preliminary readings showed daily national temperature highs of 104. Temperatures on Friday will soar above 108 in “broad areas”.

Electric carmaker Tesla has said it will cut its workforce by 7% after the “most challenging” year in its history. It was difficult to make Teslas with their new and developing technology as cheaply as conventional cars, and the firm’s cars were still “too expensive for most people”. Tesla employs more than 45,000 people, indicating it will cut about 3,000.

Buddhism and high-stakes poker may seem like odd bedfellows, but for Scott Wellenbach, they go hand-in-hand. The Canadian poker player came in third at a poker tournament in the Bahamas, taking away $671,240. As usual, he is donating all his winnings to charity, earning him the nickname “the people’s hero”.

Colombia has blamed the left-wing National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group for a car bomb attack that killed 21 people in the capital, Bogotá.

The first full assessment of risks to the world’s coffee plants shows that 60% of 124 known species are on the edge of extinction. More than 100 types of coffee tree grow naturally in forests, including two used for the coffee we drink.


A legislative proposal in Connecticut would mandate instruction on climate change in public schools statewide, beginning in elementary school.

Sexual abuse of boys is “barely addressed” by the laws in many countries, according to a global study that warns of a lack of support for young male survivors.

Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“The construction applied … to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate Congress a power … ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument.” —Thomas Jefferson (1798)

Trump Trumps Pelosi’s SOTU Power Play

The president postpones Pelosi’s planned foreign trip in an effort aimed at ending the shutdown.

Trump, Cohen, and the ‘Russian Deal’

A report claims the president directed his lawyer to lie to Congress. Bombshell or bust?

DNC Quietly Dumps Women’s March

Saturday’s march has fewer than half the 500 sponsors of last year after anti-Semitic rumblings.

The Wall by the Numbers

How long is the border? How much wall needs to be built? Will it be effective?

O’Rourke’s Coming Constitutional Crisis

His contempt for the Constitution and the People are typical of today’s Democrat Party.

Dems’ $15 Minimum Wage = Two Million Lost Jobs

Congressional Democrats roll out a legislative proposal to raise the minimum wage by more than 100%.

What Separates Violence From Nonviolence?

What keeps the violence of Juarez out of El Paso is — you guessed it — a wall.

Video: Dems Say Wall Is a ‘Waste of Taxpayer Money’

Here’s why this argument is so hilarious: The U.S. government wastes our money all the time.

Friday Short Cuts

Dezinformatsiya: “What more does the House need in order to debate [Trump’s] fitness for office?” —MSNBC’s Katy Tur

Friday Top Headlines

Pelosi trip yanked, State Dept. summons workers, Trump gains with Latinos, universal pre-K, March for Life, and more.

Today’s Opinion

Tony Perkins
Karen Pence: The Teacher and the Religious Test
Rich Lowry
Get Over It — Trump’s Probably Not Going Anywhere
Jonah Goldberg
Trump’s Border Wall Is a MacGuffin
David Limbaugh
Make Your Speech on Your Own Turf, President Trump
Erick Erickson
The Shutdown Necessarily Continues

Today’s Meme

Today’s Cartoon

News – 1/18/2019

Pastor ousted after preaching that ‘love warns’
A California pastor lost his church earlier this month when the congregation took issue with him for standing on biblical truth about homosexuality. Pastor Justin Hoke had a straightforward and blunt message for the northern California community of Yreka. The message board outside his church read: “Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not.” “We’ve not been left here, beloved, to hide our light under a basket, to hide our light under a bed. Love warns. It is hatred, it is selfishness which conceals truth.”

Trump denies Pelosi aircraft for foreign trip, after call for State of the Union delay
President Trump on Thursday abruptly denied military aircraft to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a foreign trip just minutes before the congressional delegation was set to depart, in a stunning decision that followed her call to delay the State of the Union address amid the government shutdown. In a curt letter, Trump said her trip has been “postponed.” “Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed.

U.S. crude gains, slowing global economy challenge oil market in 2019: IEA
U.S. oil production growth combined with a slowing global economy will put oil prices under downward pressure in 2019, challenging OPEC’s resolve to support the market with output cuts, the International Energy Agency said on Friday.

The Man Who Banned Guns in Chicago Had 23 of Them
Burke, an Obama and Blagojevich ally, and the godfather of Chicago politics (dubbed its real mayor), hated and loved guns at the same time. He had nearly as many guns as he had gun control bills. When the FBI raided the offices of the powerful Chicago Democrat, they found 23 guns. That’s a lot of guns for one man. Especially for a man who had worked hard to ban handguns in Chicago. And Burke wasn’t the only gun control politician to pull this scam. he lived in a Democrat world in which the laws don’t apply to aldermen, only to the little people.

Will Turkey Invade Northeast Syria?
The announcement by US President Donald Trump on December 19 of his intention to rapidly withdraw US forces from eastern Syria led to expectations of a rapid move by Turkish forces into all or part of the area currently controlled by the US-aligned, Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces.

Report: US won’t intervene if Israel attacks in Iraq
The United States has told Iraq that it will not intervene if Israel attacks Iranian targets in the country, Russia Today’s Arabic-language news service reported on Thursday. The network, which cited an unnamed Iraqi government official, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo conveyed the message during his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad last week.

Twin Terrorist Attacks in Syria and Kenya Show Islamist Extremism Alive and Well
Twin terrorist attacks – one in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and the other in northern Syria showed that despite counter claims, Islamist terrorism is alive and well.

IDF demolishes home of terrorist who killed Ari Fuld
The IDF on Friday morning demolished the home of Khalil Jabarin, the Palestinian teenager who stabbed Ari Fuld to death four months ago in the West Bank. The apartment belonging to the family of 17-year-old Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin in the West Bank town of Yatta, was located on the top floor of a three-story building and according to Palestinian news agency Maan was demolished by explosives.

Report: U.S. will not intervene if IDF attacks Shi’ite militias in Iraq
The United States reportedly said it would not intervene if Israel were to bomb Shi’ite militias in Iraq. A source in the Iraqi government told the Arabic RT network, a Russian television network, on Thursday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had informed Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi that Washington would not intervene if Israel bombed bases belonging to Shi’ite militias in Iraq.

Australia swelters through record-breaking heatwave
Australia has just sweltered through at least five of its 10 warmest days on record, authorities estimate. An extreme heatwave has afflicted the nation since Saturday, causing wildlife deaths, bushfires and an increase in hospital admissions. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said preliminary readings showed daily national temperature highs of 40C.

Brexit: High-profile Germans plead with UK to stay in EU
Leading German figures have written to the UK asking it to stay in the EU. The letter, published in the Times, is signed by 31 people, including the leader of the Christian Democratic Union – and likely successor to Angela Merkel – Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann. They cited post-work pints and pantomime as beloved British habits.

The Brave New World of Surveillance Capitalism
Certain radical critiques of capitalism posit that it must necessarily monetize everything in time. The basic argument is that capitalism inherently requires infinite economic growth to function properly, but we are in a world of finite resources. As traditional resources used to feed the furnace are exhausted…human thoughts and relationships are already in the advanced stages of monetization.

Total lunar eclipse meets supermoon Sunday night
Here comes a total lunar eclipse and supermoon, all wrapped into one. The moon, Earth and sun will line up this weekend for the only total lunar eclipse this year and next. At the same time, the moon will be ever so closer to Earth and appear slightly bigger and brighter than usual — a supermoon. “This one is particularly good,” said Rice University astrophysicist Patrick Hartigan.

Snowstorms to be followed by Arctic outbreak in eastern half of nation
Following a pair of snowstorms into this weekend, the coldest air so far this winter season has its sights set on the eastern half of the nation. The second in this pair of snowstorms will bring heavy snow and, in some cases, blizzard conditions, to the central Plains and Midwest from Friday into Saturday before impacting the mid-Atlantic and Northeast this weekend.

Massive blizzard impacting California mountains, Up to 100 inches of snow possible
A large storm is coming ashore on the California coast and it’s bringing flooding rains and heavy mountain snow. Above 5,000 feet, the snow is being measured in feet. Multiple feet. Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for those areas expected to receive 80-100″ of snow from the time the snow started yesterday through Thursday evening.

Japan increasingly turning to Israel for high-tech solutions
Japan is turning increasingly to Israel for technological solutions in a bid to collaborate on innovative new business projects, industry experts and officials revealed. Hoping to remain at the forefront of the competition, Japanese investors, government agencies and senior members of the private sector are shifting resources more and more outward towards international business opportunities.

New US Intelligence Study: China “Already Leads The World” In Key Weapons Technologies
China “already leads the world” in key defense tech areas, says bombshell intelligence study.

Leaked Trump Peace Plan includes ripping a large part of the country away from the Jewish people…including its Capital of Jerusalem
US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,” expected to be rolled out after the elections on April 9, will include a Palestinian state on 85-90% of the West Bank and the division of Jerusalem, according to a Channel 13 News report.

California Says More Babies Must be Killed in Abortions Because Giving Birth Costs Too Much
Earlier this week a California judge issued an order blocking President Trump’s new rules protecting Americans from having to pay for drugs and devices that may cause abortions. The ruling concerns the Obama mandate within Obamacare that forces Americans to pay for contraception, including drugs that can cause abortion that violate the consciences of a majority of Americans.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION deals humiliating blow to the European Union by secretly downgrading its diplomatic status in the U.S.
FOX News (h/t MC) President Trump has angered European Union officials by downgrading the E.U. delegation to Washington’s diplomatic status — and not telling them. The move by the State Department, reported by Germany’s Deutsche Welle, downgraded the E.U.’s Washington delegation from member state to international organization.

245 Million Christians Facing ‘Extreme’ Persecution Worldwide – Can You Guess By Who?
 North Korea remains at the top of a list of 50 countries where at least 245 million Christians are facing “extreme persecution” this year, up 14 percent from 215 million at the beginning of 2018, the World Wide Watch List (WWL) released on Wednesday by Open Doors, a group that monitors the mistreatment of Christ followers, revealed.

WATCH: Pro-Life Activist Left Bloody Outside Abortion Clinic After Saying ‘Jesus Loves You’
Last week, a pro-life activist was assaulted by a man outside an abortion clinic in Fort Worth, Texas after saying “Jesus loves you.”

250 Illegal Immigrants Detained in New Mexico After Border Crossing
Border patrol agents have confirmed the arrest of 247 illegal immigrants – some in need of medical care – who turned themselves in after attempting to cross the border early Wednesday.

Trump Tells Pelosi Her Trips Are Postponed Due To Shutdown Unless She Flies Commercial
“I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed.”

Headlines – 1/18/2019

USAID will end all its projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip following the US administration’s decision to cut funding to the Palestinians

Arab League chief: Importance of Palestinian cause ‘reduced’

PA said to deport Palestinian-American it jailed for selling land to Jews

Hezbollah tunnel construction began before 2006 Second Lebanon War – report

Davos, Chad, DC: Despite elections, legal woes, Netanyahu plans diplomatic blitz

Israel accuses Malaysia PM of ‘rabid antisemitism’ over Paralympics ban

Upcoming Women’s March clouded by anti-Semitism allegations

Freshman lawmaker calls Israel a ‘regime,’ secures coveted committee seat

Israeli museum to remove McJesus sculpture after protests

Report: US won’t intervene if Israel attacks in Iraq

US-led coalition bombs Syrian mosque being used by IS

Doctor, child killed in Sudan anti-government protests

Two days of clashes near Libya capital leave 10 dead

House rebukes Trump for easing Russia sanctions

Pompeo to meet with North Korean envoy as possible second Kim-Trump summit looms, official says

10 dead in car bombing at police academy in Colombia capital

Crispin Odey: if Brexit is not delivered we risk ‘revolution’

Grisly Cartel Murders Spread in Mexican Border State near Arizona

Trump denies Pelosi aircraft for foreign trip, after call for State of the Union delay

All bets are off for shutdown’s impact on Super Bowl

Ex-Trump Lawyer: Rigging Polls ‘Was at the Direction Of’ Trump

Dow jumps after report that US mulling lifting China tariffs

How U.S. surveillance technology is propping up authoritarian regimes

Total lunar eclipse meets supermoon Sunday night

Jupiter, Venus will meet in conjunction after lunar eclipse

6.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Lorengau, Papua New Guinea

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Lorengau, Papua New Guinea

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits Southwest of Africa

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near La Libertad, Mexico

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Lorengau, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Lorengau, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Carlsberg Ridge

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador eurpts to 15,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 15,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 13,000ft

Kadovar volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 10,000ft

Mt. Shindake erupts on Kuchinoerabujima island in southern Japan

‘Blockbuster’ storm heads east, could drop 40 inches of snow. Then an Arctic blast will freeze 200 million.

Immobilizing blizzard with feet of snow looms for interior Northeast

Climate Catch-22: If We Eradicate Particle Smog, Earth Will Get Hotter

Global tension is hampering our ability to fight climate change, Davos survey warns

Scientists accidentally engineer mice with unusually short and long tails

Egypt: The Arab country turning to ‘female Viagra’

How should Christians respond to child drag queens and sexualizing kids?

The Scary Trend in Children’s Dance – Educate yourself about hyper-sexualization in children’s dance

Mike Pence calls criticism of wife’s job at anti-LGBTQ school ‘deeply offensive’

The Pences: defenders of Christian values in the White House

Mysterious naked holy men a huge draw at India’s Kumbh Mela

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Mike Ratliff – Christian good works are by the grace of God

Pastor Preaches with “Inflatable Tube Guy” During Sermon

LifeWay Closing Brick and Mortar Stores Due to “Accelerated Rate of Erosion”

Christian school founder sued for return of $150K donation after he is arrested for touching children, failing to build new school

Catholic Priest Gives Pulpit to Gay Couple to Share Journey on Raising IVF Baby

Global Persecution of Christians Up by 30 Million in 2018, According to New World Watch Report

Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

RenewAmerica Newsletter for January 18, 201

January 18, 2019
FOX NEWS — Former Attorney General William Barr underwent his confirmation hearing on Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee under the new chairmanship of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and emerged without a scratch, scrape or bruise. He came across as a consummate professional and a deeply knowledgeable, capable, and very experienced attorney – – someone former Attorney General Michael Mukasey has called “probably the best-qualified nominee for U.S. attorney general since Robert Jackson in 1940.”… (more)

January 18, 2019
FOX NEWS — Prosecutors on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating alleged “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia knew all along that the anti-Trump “dossier” compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele that fueled their probe was biased and likely phony…. (more)

January 18, 2019

NEWSMAX — Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said The Atlantic’s reasoning for why President Donald Trump should be impeached is flawed and does not comply with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written.”… (more)

January 18, 2019

NEWSMAX — Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke should never be president after questioning “the validity of the Constitution,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, said Thursday, per the Washington Examiner. O’Rourke, whose star rose following a shockingly close loss to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during the 2018 midterm elections in the red state of Texas, during a recent interview with The Washington Post questioned whether the principles of the U.S. constitution were still relevant…. (more)

January 18, 2019

FRANK PAVONE — The largest annual pro-life demonstration of the year is about to take place this Friday in Washington, D.C., reminding everyone of the disastrous Roe v. Wade decision issued by the Supreme Court on Jan. 22, 1973, and legalizing abortion throughout pregnancy…. (more)

January 16, 2019

DAILY SIGNAL — William Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee he wouldn’t be intimidated by anyone, including President Donald Trump, who nominated him to serve as attorney general. “I am not going to do anything that I think is wrong, and I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong. By anybody. Whether it be editorial boards, or Congress, or the president,” Barr said Tuesday in response to questions by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill…. (more)

January 16, 2019

DAILY CALLER — Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham brought the house down Tuesday when he delivered a deadpan crack about President Donald Trump having his phone number…. (more)

January 16, 2019
‘Radicalized’ 21-year-old Georgia man planned to use anti-tank rocket, explosives

WORLDNETDAILY — An Atlanta-area man has been accused of plotting to destroy the White House and other government buildings in Washington, D.C. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported the suspect is Hasher Jallal Taheb of Cumming, Georgia. The report said all threats were neutralized and the suspect, who was arrested in Gwinnett County and briefly appeared in court Wednesday, apparently was working alone…. (more)

January 16, 2019
Rush: Trump ‘can turn this into a big win’
WORLDNETDAILY — In a speech from the Senate floor Wednesday morning in which he blamed President Trump for the partial government shutdown – – saying the country is “suffering self-inflicted damage” – – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer let it slip that the American people voted for a wall by voting for Trump…. (more)

January 16, 2019
Led 800 migrants heading to U.S. border

WORLDNETDAILY — An organizer of the latest migrant caravan was arrested on rape charges in Honduras. Juan Carlos Molina, the subject of an arrest warrant since August 2015, was on his way to the United States to seek asylum after raping his minor cousin, Diario La Tribuna reported, according to the Gateway Pundit…. (more)

January 16, 2019
‘Unconscionable’ people would ‘push women and children to the front’
WORLDNETDAILY — In an interview Monday with CNN, the chief Border Patrol agent for the San Diego sector challenged the network’s characterization of the surge on the border by migrants Sunday as a “peaceful protest” of women and children gone awry, noting the vast majority of arrests were of adult males who did not qualify for asylum…. (more)

January 16, 2019
NEWSMAX — The White House says President Donald Trump has signed a bill that will require some 800,000 federal employees to be compensated for wages lost or work performed during the partial government shutdown. Wednesday’s bill signing was closed to the media. The House and Senate had voted to give the workers back pay whenever the federal government reopens…. (more)

January 16, 2019
NEWSMAX — The man behind a GoFundMe “Trump Wall” campaign now has permission to transfer $7 million of the money he raised to his new plan to privately pay for construction of a wall along the Mexican border, CBS News is reporting. Brian Kolfage, a wounded veteran from South Florida, started his “Trump Wall” campaign in December and was able to raise about $20 million from more than 300,000 people…. (more)

January 16, 2019
NEWSMAX — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has canceled appearances at events in Los Angeles and New York in the upcoming weeks following surgery in December to remove cancerous nodules from her lung, CNN reports. “Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg regrets that she is unable to attend the talk with David Rubenstein at 92Y on Feb. 6,” the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan wrote in an email to CNN. “She is curtailing travel and focusing on her work while recuperating from recent surgery.”… (more)

January 16, 2019

ART MOORE — Republican Rep. Steve King’s remarks on race in a New York Times story were “too close for comfort,” but the paper’s charge that previous statements by the Iowa congressman were “racist” is “completely bogus,” said Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume Tuesday night…. (more)

January 16, 2019
‘Will not stop without judicial intervention’
WORLDNETDAILY — Two leaders of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Richard Cohen and Heidi Beirich, have been sued in federal court in Washington, D.C., by the Center for Immigration Studies under the nation’s organized crime law for “falsely” designating CIS as a “hate group.”… (more)

January 15, 2019
Alan Keyes calls Trump TV speech ‘an act of impeccable statesmanship’
ALAN KEYES — President Trump’s televised address to the nation last week was an act of impeccable statesmanship. He said what was needed, in the way it needed to be said. He addressed the cost – – in human lives, seething disorder, and money – – of the dereliction of duty characteristic of his immediate predecessors (Democrats Obama and Clinton, and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush). They neglected or refused to carry out the Constitution’s mandate to see that our nation’s immigration laws are faithfully executed…. (more)

January 15, 2019
CLIFF KINCAID — The slogan of The Washington Post is “Democracy dies in darkness.” So I did a search of recent articles on its website about its billionaire owner, Jeff Bezos, who does business with the CIA and NSA and finds himself in the middle of a sex scandal that makes even liberals cringe. I found a story about his announced “split” with his wife in which a lawyer is quoted as saying “the couple’s amicable joint statement indicates that the split probably won’t be messy or protracted.” The lawyer added, “Sounds like they are making an effort to do this the right way and not make it into a public spectacle.”… (more)

January 15, 2019
MARINE CORPS TIMES — The Pentagon announced late Monday that it is extending the mission of active duty troops to the Mexico border through September, marking almost a year-long domestic deployment of forces there. The approximately 4,500 active duty and National Guard forces now on the border were first sent there in late October 2018 to meet a request from President Donald Trump and the Department of Homeland Security to secure border entry points from thousands of immigrants traveling north through Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. Several units have rotated in and out during that time, and have been tasked to lay concertina wire, barriers and help assist border patrol agents at points in Texas, Arizona and California…. (more)

January 15, 2019

NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump is facing an organized “coup” at the Department of Justice, his former attorney John Dowd said Monday. During an appearance on “The Brian Kilmeade Show” on Fox News Radio, Dowd said current and former officials at the DOJ and FBI were out to get Trump from the beginning…. (more)

January 14, 2019
On Trump probe, he says bureau ‘defied the law, ignored or perverted facts’
GREGG JARRETT — Pointing to a New York Times story revealing the FBI investigated in 2017 whether President Trump was a covert Russian agent, Fox News analyst Greg Jarrett concludes “dishonesty and corruption are endemic” at the bureau. Jarrett, in an opinion piece for FoxNews.com, said the “accusation itself was ludicrous on its face.”… (more)

January 14, 2019

NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that the United States has begun withdrawing from Syria. “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions,” Trump wrote. “Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone.”… (more)

January 14, 2019

NEWSMAX — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed as “ludicrous” a New York Times report that the FBI began to investigate whether President Donald Trump was a national security threat after he axed former bureau director James Comey…. (more)

January 14, 2019
NEWSMAX — ABC Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl on Sunday said Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report is “almost certain to be anti-climactic.” Karl, who was on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” discussing the bombshell report in The New York Times and Washington Post that said the FBI opened up a counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump in the days after he fired James Comey because they were suspicious of his behavior, also said there has been no proof of collusion between Trump’s campaign team and the Russians during the 2016 presidential election…. (more)

January 14, 2019

JEN KERNS — Even though the left-wing media will never give him credit, President Trump has been far tougher on Russia than his predecessor, Barack Obama. For starters, it was President Obama who, according to Reuters, was “caught on camera” saying to a Russian leader that he’ll have more flexibility after the election – – not President Trump…. (more)


January 18 A Passion to Know Him

Scripture reading: John 4:1–42

Key verse: James 4:8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

If you have ever had a best friend, you know what it feels like not to be able to get enough time with him. When you thoroughly enjoy someone’s company, it is no trouble at all to arrange ways to spend time with that person. Going a season of time without seeing your friend can be a real emotional letdown.

The same is true of your relationship with the Lord. Jesus is your most intimate Friend, the One who loves you with agape love. If you go a period of time without fellowshipping with Him, you will experience the effects of separation from your very lifeline—an inner sadness and loneliness that can be satisfied only by drawing near to Him again (James 4:8).

The more time you spend with the Lord and in meditation on His truth, the greater your passion to know Him. The Samaritan woman at the well discovered this principle in the short amount of time she spent talking with Jesus.

When Jesus offered her living water, her curiosity was piqued. She was flooded with many emotions, including surprise and wonder. The woman was so excited about this new relationship that she left her water pot and ran to tell others in town (John 4:1–42).

That is what happens when you know the Lord; your excitement grows and, with it, your fervor for sharing His good news with others.

Give me a passion to know You better, dear Lord. Then give me a fervor for sharing the good news of the gospel with others.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 19). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Weekly Watchman for 01/18/2019

Listener’s Show: Your Questions and Comments

Here are some of the questions and comments from this past week:

The large company I am applying for proudly supports the LGBTQ agenda and contributes to related causes. I was excited about the opportunity before I learned this, but now am conflicted. What do you think?
My daughter just told me she is bisexual and I’m in shock. She grew up in church, went to a private Christian school and attends a Christian college. What angers me is the church generally accepts LGBTQ lifestyles now.
Please clarify a Scripture you shared on a recent podcast, 1 John 4:3 about spirits that deny Jesus came in the flesh and are not of God.
You said American Christianity is looking more like Babylon these days than the church Jesus shed His blood to redeem. I sense this as well but could you expound on it please?
Here in Canada, we don’t have anything like your show and the sell-out by the church to government has already happened. Please continue warning Americans!
My husband and I are heartbroken. Our 12 year-old son just announced he is really a woman. We’re completely caught off guard and don’t even know how to confront this.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

The Difficulty in Finding a Biblical Church

There are still some sound biblical Christian churches in America; a “remnant,” to be sure. But a growing number look more and more like the world than they do an assembly of God’s called-out people. A difficulty arises when you have been a member of a historically sound church, but it has been in the midst of a transformation where it is adopting the beliefs and values of this fallen world. This gradual shift is often so subtle that you cannot see the drift away from God and toward secular humanism.

Pastor Randy White has studied this trend and joins us to discuss how this drift of the church away from God has transpired, how we can spot it, and how to find a biblical church in a sea of growing heresy and apostasy.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

What Happened to My Church?

Many Christians in America are asking that question these days as we see a growing number of churches change. The Gospel of reconciliation being replaced with consumerism and our “best life now”; moves of the Holy Spirit being replaced with emotional manipulation through loud music and fog machines; and churches that look more and more like the world Jesus told us would hate us and that we should hate.

But the changes introduced into American Christianity have been so subtle that many people do not even notice them until one day we suddenly feel like a stranger and alien in the very church we attended for years.

Jan Markell of Olive Tree Views and Understanding the Times Radio joins us to talk about the growing concerns of serious Christians about what they see happening in many of our churches these days.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

The Dangers of Masculinity

The American Psychological Association recently released a study calling out what it perceives as the dangers of traditional masculinity warning that it leads men to hating women and LGBTQ people. As men are “marketed” to by corporate America we see confusing messages on what it means to be a man these days.

Are we to be the strong, silent, rugged, macho guy? Or the sensitive, nurturing, submissive guy who sits back quietly and just accepts things the way they are?

If we listen to the world we will be continually confused about what it means to be a man. But not surprisingly God’s Word has a lot to say about what real men are.

This morning, Mike discusses this issue with Dave Wager of Nicolet Bible Institute. What does it mean to be a man of God in today’s world?

We also look at an interesting perspective from a Christian musician who says that youth these days are being conditioned to worship their own self-image, and since the world is sending wrong messages to our youth about what their image should look like it is leading to dire consequences for an entire generation.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

The Feminizing of American Christianity

God created men and women equal but uniquely different. In His master plan, men are to be strong and loving leaders and wives are to respectfully submit to their husband’s leadership. The Christian church in America needs real godly men, but at the time when they are needed most many are confused about what it means to be a true man of God. The world and its institutions that hate God have successfully minimized and redefined manhood, reducing many men to confused, quivering bowls of jelly instead of principled, strong leaders for the church and their families. And some believe that church leadership is also responsible for accommodating this feminizing of Christian men because they are not teaching us what it means to be Godly leaders of wives, families, and communities.

Pastor Carl Gallups joins us to discuss how society’s emasculation of men is infecting American Christianity, leading to dire consequences.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

January 18, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

6. I Jehovah have called thee in righteousness. He again repeats the name of God, in which we ought to supply what he stated in the former verse about his power. It is generally thought that this points out the end of Christ’s calling, that he was sent by the Father to establish “justice” among men, who are destitute of it so long as they have not Christ, and, being given up to all the corruptions of crimes and vices, are held captive under the tyranny of Satan. But because the word “righteousness” has a more extensive signification, I pass by that ingenious distinction; for it is not even said that he shall be called “to righteousness,” but this phraseology ought to be viewed as equivalent to the adverbial expression, “righteously,” or “in a holy manner.” I rather suppose the meaning to be, that Christ was “called in righteousness,” because his calling is lawful, and therefore shall be firm and secure. We know that what is not done in a proper and regular manner cannot be of long duration. Or perhaps it will be thought preferable to view it thus, that God, in appointing Christ to restore the Church, seeks no reason but from himself and his own righteousness; but it is certain that this word denotes stability, as if he had said, “faithfully.”

And will hold thee by thy hand. By “the holding of the hand” he means the immediate assistance of God; as if he had said, “I will direct and establish thee in the calling to which I have appointed thee. In a word, as thy calling is righteous, so I will defend and uphold thee, as if by taking hold of thy hand I were thy leader.”

I will keep thee. This word “keep” plainly shews what is the meaning of holding by the hand, namely, that Christ will be directed by the Father in such a manner that he shall have him as his protector and guardian, shall enjoy his assistance, and, in short, shall feel his presence in all things.

And will place thee for a covenant. He now states the reason why God promises that he will be a guardian to Christ. Besides, the Prophet spoke of the Jews and the Gentiles separately; not that they differ by nature, or that the one is more excellent than the other, (for all need the grace of God, (Rom. 3:23,) and Christ has brought salvation to all indiscriminately,) but because the Lord assigned the first rank to the Jews, (Matt. 10:6,) it was therefore proper that they should be distinguished from the others. Accordingly, before “the partition-wall” (Eph. 2:14) was thrown down, they excelled, not by their merit, but by the favour of God, because with them in the first instance the covenant of grace was made.

It may be objected, “Why is Christ appointed to a covenant which was ratified long before? for, more than two thousand years before, God had adopted Abraham, and thus the origin of the distinction was long previous to the coming of Christ.” I reply, the covenant which was made with Abraham and his posterity had its foundation in Christ; for the words of the covenant are these, “In thy seed shall all nations be blessed.” (Gen. 22:18.) And the covenant was ratified in no other manner than in the seed of Abraham, that is, in Christ, by whose coming, though it had been previously made, it was confirmed and actually sanctioned. Hence also Paul says, “that the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ,” (2 Cor. 1:20,) and in another passage calls Christ “the minister of circumcision, to fulfil the promises which were given to the fathers.” (Rom. 15:8.) Still more clearly does he declare that Christ is “the peace” of all, so that they who were formerly separated are united in him, and both they who were far off and they who were near are thus reconciled to God. (Eph. 2:17.) Hence also it is evident that Christ was promised, not only to the Jews, but to the whole world.

For a light of the Gentiles. We have here another clear proof of the calling of the Gentiles, since he expressly states that Christ was appointed to be “a light” to them. He calls him a light, because the Gentiles were plunged in the deepest and thickest darkness, at the time when the Lord illuminated none but the Jews. Now, then, the blame lies solely with ourselves, if we do not become partakers of this salvation; for he calls all men to himself, without a single exception, and gives Christ to all, that we may be illuminated by him. Let us only open our eyes, he alone will dispel the darkness, and illuminate our minds by the “light” of truth.[1]

Verse 6 with its reference to a “covenant for the people” makes us aware of the fact that the servant cannot be simply identified with Israel. He at least represents a group within it, perhaps the faithful remnant (see comments on 4:2), if not an individual. Thus the reader is being gradually educated as to the identity of the true Servant of God, and it should not be missed that this first Servant Song occurs immediately after a passage in which the ability of Israel’s God to predict is strongly asserted. The phrase “covenant for the people” implies a structured relationship between God and those already possessing his revelation, while “a light for the Gentiles” suggests the widening of the scope of this revelation. The covenantal reference may be to the new covenant, the special blessings of which are later spelled out in Jeremiah 31:31–34. If it is, it may be viewed as confirming the Abrahamic covenant, for that covenant too spoke of a blessing for the nations (cf. Ge 12:1–3, et al.).[2]

42:6 Called, hold, keep, and give are expressions parallel to the words of v. 1. In contrast to Cyrus, who brought political deliverance (41:2), the Servant in righteousness will deliver Israel from sin. The Servant will institute a new covenant binding Israel to the Lord (49:8). The prophets refer to this new covenant as a “covenant of peace” (54:10; Ezek. 34:25); an “everlasting covenant” (which is also associated with the Davidic covenant; 55:3); a “new covenant” (Jer. 31:31–34); and most often simply as a “covenant.” The people refers to the Gentiles (60:3). Christ is the true light of the world (9:2; 49:6; 60:3; John 8:12; 9:5; Acts 26:17, 18, 23), and Christ’s followers should reflect His light (Matt. 5:14).[3]

42:6 I am the Lord. Beginning with 41:13, the Lord’s self-identification is frequent (41:13; 42:6, 8; 43:3, 11, 15; 45:5, 6, 7, 18; 48:17; 49:23; 51:15). His personal name is the one He explained to Moses as specially symbolic of the unique relationship He bore to Israel (Ex 3:15; 6:3). Here that covenant name guarantees His ministry through the Messiah-Servant. covenant to the people. The Servant is a covenant in that He personifies and provides the blessings of salvation to God’s people Israel. He is the Mediator of a better covenant than the one with Moses, i.e., the New Covenant (Jer 31:31–34; Heb 8:6, 10–12). See note on 49:8. light to the nations. Simeon saw the beginning of this fulfillment at Christ’s first coming (Lk 2:32). He came as the Messiah of Israel, yet the Savior of the world, who revealed Himself to a non-Jewish immoral woman by the well in Samaria (cf. Jn 4:25, 26) and commanded His followers to preach the gospel of salvation to everyone in the world (Mt 28:19, 20). Certainly the church, made up mostly of Gentiles grafted into the trunk of blessing (cf. Ro 9:24–30; 11:11–24), fulfills this promise, as does the future kingdom on earth when the Servant will use Israel to shine and enlighten all the nations of the earth (49:6; cf. 19:24).[4]

42:6 Christ the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5) brings light to the nations (John 12:32; Acts 26:18, 23), fulfilling the promise to Abraham of blessing to the nations (see note on Gen. 12:3).[5]

42:6 I have called you in righteousness The pronoun “you” is singular here, demonstrating that the Servant figure is the light for the nations and the covenant for the people—not the collective nation of Israel.

a covenant of the people, as a light of Compare 49:6–8, which reinforces the identification of the individual Servant as the light for the nations and the covenant for the people. The Servant represents and serves God’s chosen people. In Luke 2:32, this concept is linked to ancient Jewish messianic expectation.[6]

42:6 called … keep. These are expressions parallel to v. 1.

covenant for the people. Jesus Christ, as God’s Servant, brought the new covenant to His people (see 53:4–6; Jer. 31:31–34; Heb. 8:6–13; 9:15). The covenant is also called the “covenant of peace” (54:10), the “everlasting covenant” (55:3; 61:8), and the “new covenant” (Jer. 31:31).

light for the nations. The recipients of God’s light are a new community of light-bearers in a dark world (9:2; 49:6; 51:4; 60:1–3; Luke 2:30–32; Acts 26:17, 18, 23).[7]

42:6 The phrase “a light to the Gentiles” is a reference to the fact that the gospel of Christ extends to every man. Christ died for all (cf. Acts 4:12).[8]

42:6 God had entered into a covenant with Abraham on behalf not only of future Israel, but also of the nations (Gn 12:1–3). But history shows Israel’s miserable failure. Again, God’s purposes were fulfilled in the good news of Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection brought hope (light) to the Gentiles. He was the one who established the new covenant anticipated by Jeremiah (Jr 31:31–34; Lk 22:20).[9]

[1] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Vol. 3, pp. 293–295). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Grogan, G. W. (2008). Isaiah. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 739). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 849–850). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 42:6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1315). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 42:6). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1011). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[8] 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., Is 42:6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1102). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

January 18 Consider the Options

scripture reading: John 6:65–69
key verse: John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

In his classic book The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan told of the adventures of Christian on his spiritual journey as a believer in Christ. Christian knew that the straight and narrow path—the way of Jesus—was the only road to heaven, the Celestial City. But the path was often rough and rocky; trials and temptations surrounded him.

Discouraged, Christian looked away from the road at the soft grass of By–path Meadow and took what he thought was a shortcut, another way to God. Moments later, he was thrown into a dark dungeon as a prisoner of the Giant Despair. Christian got a hard look at the hopelessness of other options and learned where they led—away from Christ.

Understanding who Jesus is will keep you from false, tempting choices. When compared to Jesus, all other options pale. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6 nasb).

Nothing else will do. No other course brings true and lasting rewards. There are no substitutes, no bypass. His love and forgiveness are all–sufficient.

He gives direction and purpose to your life. The way may be arduous at times, but it is the best route to a meaningful life.

Jesus is the way. There are no other options for me! Keep me on the right path this day, even though it might be difficult. Thank You, Lord, for the direction and purpose You give my life.[1]

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

18 january (1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Confession of sin—a sermon with seven texts

“I have sinned.” Exodus 9:27; Numbers 22:34; 1 Samuel 15:24; Joshua 7:20; Matthew 27:4; Job 7:20; Luke 15:18.

suggested further reading: Psalm 51

Unless there be a true and hearty confession of our sins to God, we have no promise that we shall find mercy through the blood of the Redeemer. “Whoso confesseth (his sins) and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” But there is no promise in the Bible to the man who will not confess his sins. Yet, as upon every point of Scripture there is a liability of being deceived, so more especially in the matter of confession of sin. There are many who make a confession, and a confession before God, who notwithstanding receive no blessing, because their confession has not in it certain marks which are required by God to prove it genuine and sincere, and which demonstrate it to be the work of the Holy Spirit.

the hardened sinner—pharaoh. It is of no use for you to say, “I have sinned,” merely under the influence of terror, and then to forget it afterwards.

the double-minded man—balaam. It is idle and useless for you to say, “I have sinned,” unless you mean it from your heart.

the insincere man—saul. To say, “I have sinned,” in an unmeaning manner, is worse than worthless, for it is a mockery of God thus to confess with insincerity of heart.

the doubtful penitent—achan. The most we can say is, that we hope their souls are saved at last, but indeed we cannot tell.

the repentance of despair—judas. If you have such a repentance as that, it will be a warning to generations yet to come.

the repentance of the saint—job. This is the repentance of the man who is a child of God already, an acceptable repentance before God.

the blessed confession—the prodigal. Here is that which proves a man to be a regenerate character—“Father, I have sinned.”

for meditation: All have sinned. (Romans 3:23) “Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7); but which one?

sermon no. 113[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 25). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Better Late than Never – Thoughts on Deathbed Conversions

In the last couple of weeks I have come across two men who professed faith just before their deaths, which has prompted me to think about the subject. Here are some thoughts, in no particular order.

1. The great and gracious good news of the Christian message is that any true conversion, no matter how late it comes, leads to eternal salvation. In fact, few things illustrate more clearly the essence of the gospel of God’s free grace to sinners in Jesus Christ. We are saved not by anything we have ever done or could ever do, but only by what Jesus has done for us. Someone who is converted on their deathbed has no time or strength to do any good works. He will probably not have time to become a member of a church, be baptised, take the Lord’s supper, attend even a single worship service or prayer meeting. He may not give a single penny to the work of the church. He certainly won’t be going on any mission teams or helping at a soup kitchen. And yet the absence of all these things, and many other good works besides, will not jeopardise his salvation in any way. Why not? Because we are saved by grace, through faith; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. The conversion of a sinner in the last hours of life highlight this truth. Everything else is stripped away.

The thief on the cross (Lk 23.39-43) is the definitive example of this for us. Here is a man who was most probably a terrorist in Barabbas’s unit. He may have also been a thief, but theft – even violent robbery – wasn’t a capital crime. The word Matthew and Mark use for him was often used of political freedom fighters.

So here is a man who has lived a life of violence and murder, consumed by anger and hatred. He has caused great hurt and grief to many people. He is a guilty criminal who is getting what he deserves. He has nothing to offer God – nothing remotely resembling a good work – not a shred of righteousness. There is no hope that the good in his life will outweigh the bad.

And yet he receives from the lips of Jesus Christ the strongest assurance anyone is ever given in all of Scripture: ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’ He is completely and freely forgiven. In fact, Jesus gives him extra assurance with the words ‘Truly, I say to you…’ There is no room for doubt!

2. All of this presupposes that the conversion is true, of course. It’s not enough to simply say a certain form of words at the end. No doubt many people have been given a false assurance at the end of their lives by being told that all they need to do is say sorry to God for their sins and ask Jesus to save them. There must be the essential elements of true repentance and faith if there is to be salvation.

True repentance consists of three things: (a) recognition of sin for what it is – an offence against God which deserves eternal condemnation; (b) remorse for sin – genuine grief for sin as an offence against God; (c) resolution to change – a turning away from sin and a corresponding pursuit of righteousness.

True saving faith similarly comprises three things: (a) understanding of the necessary facts of the gospel required for salvation; (b) belief that these facts are true; (c) a personal, unreserved trust in Jesus Christ alone, about whom the facts speak, to save from sin. 

It is clear from the example of the bandit on the cross that while his understanding was very limited, he understood enough to be saved – there was true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. If these are real then salvation is guaranteed by God himself, for ‘whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 

3. There is always the danger that the Devil will use the possibility of a deathbed conversion to lull people into a false sense of security, encouraging them to put off becoming a Christian until the last possible moment. Someone has said, ‘There is only one deathbed conversion in Scripture so that none should despair; but only one, so that none should presume.’ Or as Matthew Henry put it, ‘True repentance is never too late; but late repentance is seldom true.’ More often than not, those who complacently think they will enjoy life first and then at the last minute ask for forgiveness will find, assuming they even have the time and the ability to think clearly at the end, that trulyrepenting of sin and trusting in Christ is not as easy as they imagined it would be. 

And so the warning of God’s Word comes to all of us who read this, ‘Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.’
— Read on gentlereformation.com/2019/01/18/untitled-7/

18 JANUARY 365 Days with Calvin

Seeing God’s Hand

And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not … then beware lest thou forget the Lord. Deuteronomy 6:10, 12

suggested further reading: Psalm 78:52–64

Wealth and prosperity may blind men’s minds so that they do not sufficiently attend to modesty and moderation but rather grow wanton in their lusts and intoxicate themselves with pleasures. So God prescribes against this error. Moses admonishes us to beware lest we forget God when we have been liberally and luxuriously treated by him because he knows that it is common for abundance to lead to arrogance.

Moses does this, first, by showing how base and unworthy our ingratitude would be if God loaded us with many excellent benefits and we then cast away the recollection of him. His goodness was inestimable in giving people cities built by the hands of others and in transferring to them whatever others had prepared by their great labor and industry. So their impiety was even more detestable in neglecting him when he daily set himself before them in this abundant store of blessing.

Let us learn from this passage that we are invited by God’s liberality to honor him, and that whenever he deals kindly with us, he places his glory before our eyes. On the other hand, we should remember that what ought to be seen as vehicles to lift up our minds on high are, by our own fault, converted into obstacles, and that therefore we ought to be more on guard against them.

for meditation: It is logical that great blessings from God’s hand would motivate us to praise him all the more. Sadly, however, we often take these blessings for granted and no longer recognize our dependence on him for everything. What blessings do you often take for granted?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 36). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

In Defense of Offense: Why Christians Need to Stop Worrying About Offending People

Michelle Lesley

“You’re a liar,” he said dryly, the passion in his eyes gleaming through.

“What?!?! HOW DARE YOU call me a liar!” his fellow church member fumed.

“You’re a liar, Joe. You show up at church for an hour a week and claim to be a Christian, yet you’ve been living with your girlfriend for over a year, you’ve told me you use pornography, and I’ve talked to five different people with incontrovertible evidence that you’ve cheated in your business dealings with them. When you say you’re a Christian, you’re lying. Just admit it.”

Have you ever had a conversation like this with someone? Have you ever witnessed a conversation like this?

Most of us would never dream of calling someone a liar who claims to be a Christian yet walks in disobedience to Christ. Goodness, no! It might offend the person or cause her to question her salvation! She…

View original post 1,442 more words

Friday Briefing Jan. 18, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

Everything comes back to the sexual and moral revolution…even shaving products

Even when his intention is distorted, the glory of God continues to shine through in men and women

Why a feature story in the New York Times about gay penguins confuses something that is abundantly clear in nature 

The breakdown of intersectionality: Why you can’t rescue yourself when immersed in this kind of confusion

The post Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.

Download MP3

— Read on albertmohler.com/2019/01/18/briefing-1-18-19/

The Christian and Tolerance — The Cripplegate

“For you, being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly.
For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you,
anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself,
anyone hits you in the face.”
– 2 Corinthians 11:19–20 –

The Corinthians had a tolerance problem. Earlier in the chapter, Paul said something similar. “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” They bear with false teaching. They tolerate the intolerable.

A Redefinition of Tolerance

In the last 10 to 15 years, the worldview of postmodernism has come to dominate the collective intellectual consciousness of western society. And perhaps the pinnaclevirtue of postmodernism is tolerance.

Now, contemporary postmodern tolerance is not what English-speaking peoples have always understood the word tolerance to mean. A person was judged to be tolerant if, though he held to his views strongly, believed them to be absolute truth, and believed just as strongly that all other mutually exclusive views were absolutely wrong, he nevertheless insisted that others had the right to disagree with his deeply-held convictions. He believed in his convictions unwaveringly, and even believed that everyone else should believe what he believed. But he didn’t demand agreement or try to coerce consensus. He tolerated the existence of differing opinions, even on what he believed was non-negotiable truth. The old view of tolerance was well-captured in the oft-quoted aphorism, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

But the postmodern version of tolerance is of a totally different sort. To today’s culture, tolerance is no longer the idea that wrong views, though wrong, nevertheless have the right to exist and to be heard in public discourse. Now, you’re only tolerant if you believe that no position is any more or less true, right, or valid than any other view. In his book, The Intolerance of Tolerance, D. A. Carson explains the shift this way:

“The new tolerance suggests that actually accepting another’s position means believing that position to be true, or at least as true as your own. We move from allowing the free expression of contrary opinions to the acceptance of all opinions; we leap from permitting the articulation of beliefs and claims with which we do not agree to asserting that all beliefs and claims are equally valid.” (3–4)

And with that revisionist definition of tolerance comes also a revisionist definition of intolerance. Which is a big deal. Because there are few worse charges to be accused of today than being intolerant. Since tolerance no longer means tolerating the existence of opposing views but instead asserting that all views are equally valid, intolerance is disagreeing with the notion that no one position is more true, valid, or trustworthy than another. If you insist that someone is unambiguously and unequivocally wrong about something, you are intolerant. You’re an uncharitable, arrogant bully. Perhaps even a bigot.

The Embrace of Self-Defeating Relativism

Do you recognize what the central philosophical underpinning of that worldview is? It’s relativism—the rejection of absolute truth itself. If no one claim is more true or right than any other, there is no such thing as absolute truth at all. And the postmodernists don’t dispute this. In 1995, the United Nations released what is called the Declaration on Principles of Tolerance, and in Article 1 on the meaning of tolerance, it asserts that tolerance “involves the rejection of dogmatism and absolutism.” As Carson says, one can’t help but observe that that assertion sounds quite a bit dogmatic and absolute!

And of course, that is the failure of all forms of relativism: relativism is hopelessly inconsistent, because the claim that there is no absolute truth is itself an absolute statement. If someone comes up to you and says, “There is no absolute truth!” just ask them, “Is that absolutely true?”

It is rationally baseless. Such a worldview immediately collapses under its own weight. And so Carson observes, “Under the new aegis of this new tolerance, no absolutism is permitted, except for the absolute prohibition of absolutism. Tolerance rules, except that there must be no tolerance for those who disagree with this peculiar definition of tolerance” (13). Ironically, but inevitably for all systems that are based on relativism, what is now called tolerance is actually what the world has always known as intolerance.

The Church Apes the World

And because the church inexorably imitates and apes the foolish fashions of the world—always ostensibly as a misguided means of attracting the world—contemporary evangelicalism has imbibed these very redefinitions and philosophical presuppositions. So many professing Christians are scared to death to offend the sensibilities of the postmodern culture. For them, the worst thing in the world is to be called intolerant. And so what has happened? They have subtly, maybe even in some cases unintelligibly, abandoned their commitment to the absolute truth of Scripture, in favor of being more tolerant of a “diversity of opinions.”

People rise up in the church and begin teaching doctrine that does not accord with the pattern of sound words entrusted to us in Scripture. Others stand up against that error and criticize it for not aligning with biblical truth. Yet still other men push back against that and say, “Hey, let’s not be so rigid and dogmatic, OK? These folks are aiming to ground their teachings in Scripture; they just have a different interpretation than you do. Who’s to say that our interpretation is better than their interpretation? After all, the text isn’t all that clear anyway. We should hear them out. We should give them a platform. We ought to be tolerant of a diversity of views.”

This is what happened in the Corinthian church. The false apostles showed up when Paul was miles away, and they began sowing doubt about the integrity of his character and the truth of his Gospel among the believers there. And when the Corinthians first discerned that that was going on, they should have risen up and rejected these men for the wolves that they were.

But what happened? They flashed their ‘letters of commendation.’ They touted their Jewish heritage and connection to the Jewish church. They bragged on their eloquence and their strong leadership. They boasted in their high-priced honorariums, and their large fanbase, and the bevy of their ministerial successes. And the Corinthians were taken in! And so they tolerated the subtle deviations from the truth. And when those subtle deviations became more obvious deviations from the truth, they tolerated those as well. And when the toleration of little compromise after little compromise led to their enslavement, their being devoured, and taken advantage of, and even physically assaulted—by these fools who preach another Jesus, and a different spirit, and a different gospel—they tolerated it. They bore it beautifully.

Jesus, the Intolerant

This text teaches us, dear reader, that there is a limit to biblical tolerance. There are certain things that we simply must not tolerate in the church. You say, “But Mike, wasn’t Jesus the supreme example of tolerance? He refused no one! He welcomed everyone to Himself!” Not exactly.

In Revelation chapter 2, Jesus commends the church of Thyatira for their deeds, their love, their faith, their service, and their perseverance. Whereas the church of Ephesus needed to repent and do the deeds she did at first (Rev 2:4–5), Jesus said that Thyatira’s “deeds of late are greater than at first” (Rev 2:19). But—as Kevin DeYoung has put it—though Thyatira was loving, their love could be undiscerning and blindly affirming. Consider what Jesus says in verse 20: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality.”

Jesus is intolerant of Thyatira’s tolerance of error and immorality! And He promises severe judgment for it. Verse 22: “Behold, I will throw her on abed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.”

Friends, the Jesus of Revelation 2 is not the Jesus of postmodern leftism. The real Jesus is decidedly intolerant of false doctrine and moral relativism. And for those Christians, and churches, and ministries who compromise the Word of God in an effort to be more “tolerant” and more “affirming” than Jesus is—on whatever issue—they will find themselves under the judgment of the One whose eyes are like a flame of fire, whose feet are like burnished bronze (Rev 2:18), whose robe is dipped in blood, and who strikes down the nations with the sword of His mouth (Rev 19:13, 15).

Truth is Intolerant of Error

Martin Luther said it well when he wrote, “I am not permitted to let my love be so merciful as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order. … When these are concerned, neither toleration nor mercy are in order, but only anger, dispute, and destruction—to be sure, only with the Word of God as our weapon.”

Truth is intolerant of error. And we are not permitted to tolerate the preaching of error in the name of truth. Rather we are, 2 Corinthians 10:5, to “destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and [to] take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Not by force, of course. Not by coercion. We understand that in a fallen world, the whole of which lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19), error must exist alongside the truth. As Christians, we do not seek, as some do, to outlaw from the public square every viewpoint but our own. We tolerate the existence of different ideas, and worldviews, and ways of life.

We Will Not Bow

But behind the pulpit—in Christ’s Church—there is one rule for the lives of Christ’s people. There is one sovereign standard that norms the thinking and the beliefs of the followers of Jesus, to the exclusion of all others. And that is Scripture alone. We must never so adopt the world’s notion of tolerance that we allow anything to rule our faith and practice but the voice of our Good Shepherd as spoken in His Word. We bow to Him alone.

John MacArthur has said it well:

Christ is our King. Scripture is our law. And in ways that have not been true in the past, Scripture and the laws of our country now collide head on. And we’re going to feel it. We are the target now. […]

I ran through my Bible the other day, just looking for everywhere I could find the term “bow down.” It’s all over the Old Testament. […] Unfaithful people bowed down before idols and godless kings. But faithful people did not bow down. Mordecai did not bow down. Daniel did not bow down. His friends did not bow down. Jesus did not bow down. Paul did not bow down.

These are going to be very challenging days. But we will not bow. We will be gracious, and we will be loving, but we will render to God what is God’s.

The Christian and Tolerance — The Cripplegate

Christians Need Not Fear Scientific Inquiry — Ligonier Ministries Blog

There is a sense in which the Christian should be the most passionate scientist of all because he should be rigorously open to truth wherever it is found. He should not be afraid that a new discovery of something that is true will destroy his foundation for truth. If our foundation for truth is true, all other truth can only support it and enhance it. It can’t destroy it. Therefore, Christians ought not to be afraid of scientific inquiry. This does not mean that we should uncritically accept all pronouncements and pontifications of scientists. Scientists are fallible and may occasionally make arrogant statements that go far beyond the realm of their own expertise.

I once read an essay by a well-known Nobel Prize-winning physicist (whose name will remain unstated so as not to embarrass him) who argued that the idea of “spontaneous generation” be abandoned in science once and for all. Spontaneous generation means that something comes into being with no cause. It comes from nothing. So far, so good. I was pleased to see a scientist debunk the myth of all myths, that something can come from nothing. This myth is still pervasive in the scientific community with respect to “chance.” Chance is given credit for creating the universe. However, such a prodigious feat is beyond the capabilities of chance. Why? Chance can do nothing because it is nothing. Chance is merely a word we use to explain mathematical possibilities. It is nothing. It has no power. It cannot produce, manage, or cause anything because it is nothing. It is spontaneous generation by another name.

I was glad the physicist repudiated spontaneous generation. My gladness abruptly turned to astonishment when the scientist said, “We must have a new model. We must speak in terms of gradual spontaneous generation.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. “Gradual spontaneous generation”? How can something gradual be spontaneous? How can something spontaneous be gradual?

Our scientist wanted to debunk the myth that something can come suddenly from nothing and replace it with a better myth that something can come gradually from nothing.

I use this illustration only to show that even the most astute scientists can nod. They can fall asleep at the switch and be suddenly very unscientific in their pronouncements. To believe in gradual spontaneous generation of anything is to leap not by faith but below faith to credulity. Such a concept defies both aspects of the scientific method: rational deduction and empirical observation. Not only is the idea in violation of reason (breaking the law of contradiction), but it is impossible to observe empirically. What microscope or telescope is strong enough to observe anything doing something gradually spontaneously?

Occasionally we read an article about why a certain scientist believes in God or why some other scientist does nor. I am delighted when a scientist says that he has studied his area of science and is driven to the awesome majesty of God. But he is no more an expert on the existence of God than you are. Why? Because that is a theological question, not a scientific one. Today when somebody steps outside of his area of expertise, people tend to follow and believe him. That is the basis of much advertising. For example, a baseball star may appear on television and promote a particular brand of razors. If that star were to tell me how to hit a baseball, he would be speaking with authority. But when he tells me the best razor blade to buy is a certain brand, then he is speaking outside his area of expertise. Advertisers understand that most people will easily transfer a person’s authority in one sphere to other spheres. Scientists may be guilty of this fallacy too. We must be wary of scientists who make theological statements outside the boundaries of their discipline.

The scientific method of inquiry is based upon a combination of two elements of knowledge: induction and deduction. Induction involves observing, measuring, and checking out particulars. Deduction involves applying formal laws of logic ar-rd coherency to those particular pieces that have been found. Both elements are needed in seeking truth. Some people are strong at induction and weak at deduction. Others are strong at deduction but are little short on their research, experimentation, or observation.

Christian science is, in the fullest sense, the responsible, sober, careful, humble investigation of truth using both induction and deduction, yet assuming at all times Aquinas’s principle that truth meets at the top. Our age cries for talented scientists who see the scientific inquiry as a true vocation and as a response to the mandate of God Himself. Rather than flee from the scientific enterprise or embrace intellectual schizophrenia that only destroys, Christians are needed by the thousands to venture into the realm of nature, armed with the knowledge of grace. We can show that a God who exists on the other side of the wall is concerned with life on this side of that wall.

When we oversimplify theology or oversimplify science, we encounter many difficulties between the two. Science is a complex enterprise. So is theology. Their relationship is to be studied closely and deeply if we are to discover an ultimate harmony between them.

One of my all-time favorite anecdotes concerns the meeting of a theologian and an astronomer. The astronomer was frustrated with the theologian for making religion too complicated. He said, “Why are you fellows so obscure? you talk about supralapsarian this and traducianism that. You quibble over fine points of predestination and God’s omniscience. For me religion is simple; it’s the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

“I understand your frustration,” replied the theologian. “You astronomers often confuse me with your talk of expanding universes this and exploding novae that. You’re always talking about astronomical perturbations and galactic anomalies. For me astronomy is simple: It’s twinkle, twinkle little star.”

This excerpt is adapted from Making a Difference by R.C. Sproul.

Christians Need Not Fear Scientific Inquiry — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Is God Real? The Case from the Transcendent Laws of Logic — Cold Case Christianity

My criminal cases are largely circumstantial in nature. I seldom have eyewitnesses who can identify the suspect directly or tell me exactly how the killer committed the crime. Instead, I have to carefully build cumulative, circumstantial cases on the foundation of many interconnected pieces of indirect evidence. This is not unusual; the vast majority of criminal cases tried around the country are circumstantial. In cases such as these, the strength of the prosecutorial argument is found in the collection of evidences rather than in any one particular piece. When several lines of evidence point to the same conclusion, the inference becomes more and more reasonable. The case for God’s existence is similarly constructed. Is God real? The cumulative circumstantial case points to a reasonable inference.

This case is constructed with many pieces of evidence from divergent areas of consideration. The evidence from cosmology, biology and philosophy converge on the same reasonable conclusion. The existence of God is the most reasonable explanation, given the evidence we see in our universe. One important line of evidence is the existence of the transcendent Laws of Logic. We’ve been examining the evidence from these laws here at ColdCaseChristianity.com:

The Transcendent Laws of Logic Require a Transcendent Source
The lawgiver capable of producing the immaterial, transcendent laws preceding our existence must also be an immaterial, transcendent and pre-existent mind. This description fits what we commonly think of when we think of a Creator God. If God exists, He is the absolute, objective, transcendent standard of truth. The Laws of Logic are simply a reflection of His nature. God did not create these laws. They are a reflection of His rational thinking, and for this reason, they are as eternal as God Himself.

The Transcendent Laws of Logic Are Not Brute Realities of the Universe
When the atheist says the Laws of Logic “simply exist”, he’s begging the question; he’s not providing an explanation for the eternal, uncaused and necessary existence of the laws (saying they exist does not provide us with an explanation for their existence). Theists, on the other hand, make a case for God’s existence from a number of evidential lines, providing a reasonable foundation from which logical absolutes can then be elucidated. Atheism fails to explain how the Laws of Logic can be eternal and uncaused and what role they play in causing all other contingent realities. Theism, on the other hand, accounts for the existence of the Laws of Logic by pointing to the existence of an omniscient and omnipotent uncaused, first cause possessing perfect rationality (by virtue of His limitless power) who also acts as the first cause of all other dependent (contingent) creations.

The Transcendent Laws of Logic Are Not Merely Human Conventions or Observations
If the Laws of Logic are merely accepted human conventions, they would, in essence, be subject to a “vote”; the laws could be changed if enough people agreed. By contrast, God did not create the Laws of Logic. These laws are simply a reflection of the thoughts and logical character of God, and as such, they reveal His logical, perfect, unchanging nature. While it is true that there are different categories of Logic applying to different aspects of propositional truth, mathematics and reasoning, the basic underlying principles of Logic remain intact and foundational.

The transcendent Laws of Logic are best accounted for by the existence of a transcendent, logical, perfect and unchanging God.
Click To Tweet

The transcendent Laws of Logic are best accounted for by the existence of a transcendent, logical, perfect and unchanging God. This single piece of evidence from the Laws of Logic, like any piece of evidence in a cumulative, circumstantial case, may not be convincing in isolation from the larger case for God’s existence. But when considered in combination with other lines of evidence, the most reasonable inference becomes clear. Is God real? The cumulative, circumstantial case is compelling. There’s more than enough reason to conclude God exists and is active in the world. Learn more about the scientific and philosophical evidence pointing to a Divine Creator in God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Apologetics at Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

Is God Real? The Case from the Transcendent Laws of Logic — Cold Case Christianity

January 18, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

10:1 This verse probably contains a veiled polemic against Baal and Baalism (see also Jer 14:22; Am 5:8; cf. further Barker, “The Value of Ugaritic,” 120–23). Yahweh, not Baal, is the one who controls the weather and the rain and gives life and fertility to the land; therefore, God’s people are to pray to him and trust in him. Some scholars regard the spring rains as literal; others understand them as spiritual and typical. Perhaps both are in view, the literal rains being also typical of spiritual refreshment. Certainly in the grand consummation of the messianic era, both the physical and spiritual realms will flourish (cf. Isa 55:10–12; Hos 6:3; Joel 2:21–32).[1]

What to practise (v. 1)

The ninth chapter of Zechariah’s prophecy closed with the Lord promising to give the people bountiful crops (9:17). Now he tells them that they must pray for rain.

The success of the crops in Israel depended on two rains: in the planting season, which was in the autumn, and just before the harvesting season in the spring. Matthew Henry observes, ‘If either of these rains failed, it was very bad with that land.’

So here is something remarkable. The Lord had promised bountiful crops for his people (9:17), but he told them that they must pray to that end! The former rain had evidently fallen, but they were not to assume that the latter rain would fall. If they would pray for it, they would be richly rewarded with ‘flashing clouds’ and ‘showers of rain’.

We always want to know why it is necessary to pray for something if God has already promised it. Here’s the answer: God wants us to! He has appointed prayer as the channel through which his blessings flow. If we were to receive his blessings apart from asking, we would not prize them to the degree we should.

The Bible frequently uses rain as an emblem of God pouring on his people an abundance of spiritual renewal and vitality. Therefore, the Lord was telling his people what they needed to get beyond their low, sad condition. A good spiritual rain would do it! And he could provide it! But they needed to ask! Joyce Baldwin notes, ‘When it comes to deeper, spiritual needs of which the rain is a symbol … there is no help but in God.’

All this should make us ask ourselves if we are asking God for true revival. T. V. Moore writes, ‘When the Church pours out a fulness of prayer, God will pour out a fulness of his spirit.’ There will be no revival until God’s people earnestly desire it. We must not be satisfied with past blessings (the former rain). We must fervently desire the fullness of God’s blessing now and in the future (the latter rain). And we must pray, pray, pray (2 Chr. 7:14)! We can easily vex ourselves with the problem of ‘unanswered prayer’. A greater problem by far, however, is ‘unasked prayer’ (James 4:2).[2]

Ver.1. Ask of Jehovah. This summons to prayer is not a mere expression of God’s readiness to give (Hengstenberg), but, both from the force of the words and the connection, is to be literally understood. Rain stands as a representative for all blessings, temporal and spiritual. In the time of the latter rain, is merely a rhetorical amplification, for it cannot be shown that the latter rain was more necessary than the early rain for maturing the harvest. Cf. Deut. 11:13–15, from which the expressions here are taken. Lightnings are mentioned as precursors of rain. Cf. Jer. 10:13; Ps. 135:7, where, however, a different word (בְרָקִים) is used. Give them, i. e., every one who asks.[3]

10:1. Further, the Lord promised to provide for Israel in the messianic kingdom. God would send the spring rain in response to Israel’s prayer, bringing agricultural blessing to the people.[4]

10:1 The latter rain (Deut. 11:14) refers to the rain that comes in late spring and is essential for an abundant grain harvest.[5]

10:1 Ask rain from the Lord. In light of the promised blessings of 9:17, the prophet encourages the people to request these blessings from the Lord, with confidence. There will be literal rain and spring rain (Apr./May) in the kingdom (cf. Is 35:1–7) making the land flourish, but the promise here extends to refer to spiritual blessings (cf Hos 6:1–3). The “spring rain” of spiritual grace and goodness from God will bring refreshment to people’s souls (cf. Is 44:3).[6]

10:1 In view of the Lord’s promise to provide the grain and new wine for his people (9:17), they should look to him in faith for “rain.” The Israelite agricultural economy was dependent on rain for its success, especially the spring rain. Since pagan gods such as Baal also claimed to make the storm clouds that controlled the rainfall, a crucial test of Israel’s faithfulness to the Lord was, from whom would they seek the rain?[7]

10:1 the season of the spring rain The rains that commence in March or April are known as the spring rain or latter rain. The former rains are those of autumn that follow the harvest time. See Joel 2:23 and note.[8]

10:1 Those being exhorted to look forward to messianic fruitfulness (9:17) are reminded that predictive prophecy is almost never without an immediate application. Even now, one can pray for the divine rain without which a later harvest will not come (cf. Hos. 6:1–3; Joel 2:23–32).[9]

[1] Barker, K. L. (2008). Zechariah. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, p. 800). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Ellsworth, R. (2010). Opening Up Zechariah (pp. 101–102). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[3] Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., & Chambers, T. W. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Zechariah (p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Rydelnik, M. A. (2014). Zechariah. In The moody bible commentary (p. 1429). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1114). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Zec 10:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1763). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Zec 10:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[9] 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., Zec 10:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Media rip Trump over ‘lies’ – what about Obama’s? – WND

These three major Obama policy decisions – Obamacare, leaving Iraq and “stimulus” – were based on deception. But unlike today’s anti-Trump “truth-telling media,” Obama’s media cheered, saluted or looked the other way.

The media’s “President Donald Trump is a congenital liar” narrative reeks of rampant hypocrisy to those who repeatedly complained while the same media gave President Barack Obama pass after pass for eight years. Obama wanted to become a “transformational” president. He succeeded, thanks in large part to a fawning, compliant media that mostly supported Obama’s policies and ignored the falsehoods he used to pursue them.

Obamacare, to quote former Vice President Joe Biden, was a “big f–-ing deal.” Similarly, pulling all troops from Iraq and spending nearly $1 trillion for so-called economic stimulus programs were also big deals. Each decision required deception that the Trump-hating media were only too happy to ignore.

First, Obamacare. Obama promised it would “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year” and that “if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.” Obama falsely claimed that as his mother lay dying from cancer in Hawaii, she had fought with her insurance carriers about her hospital and medical bills. But the biggest falsehood was the promise that Obamacare would “bend the cost curve” down – that compelling insurance companies to carry people with pre-existing conditions would actually reduce health-care costs.

But in an unguarded moment, economist Jonathan Gruber, a key Obamacare architect, admitted: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.” About Romneycare, the Massachusetts health-care plan he helped craft, Gruber made another admission: “The dirty secret in Massachusetts is the feds paid for our bill, OK? In Massachusetts we had a very powerful senator you may know named Ted Kennedy. … Ted Kennedy and smart people in Massachusetts had basically figured out a way to sort of rip off the feds for about 400 million dollars a year.”

Second, the economic “stimulus” plan. In December 2008, Vice President-elect Joe Biden said, “Every economist, as I’ve said, from conservative to liberal, acknowledges that direct government spending on a direct program now is the best way to infuse economic growth and create jobs.” A couple weeks later, President-elect Obama said, “There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan to jumpstart the economy.”

Actually, there was disagreement, and a great deal of it.

More than 200 economists, including several Nobel Prize winners, disagreed with his plan to “stimulate” the economy with government spending. In a full-page ad taken out by the libertarian Cato Institute, these economists, joined later by 130 more economists, said: “With all due respect, Mr. President, that is not true. Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. … It is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. … Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.”

Third, the Iraq pullout. Obama pulled out of Iraq against the advice of his national security team. His secretary of state, secretary of defense, national security adviser, CIA chief, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq all advised Obama to leave a stay-behind force. But when ISIS grew and metastasized, Obama eventually sent back 5,000 troops, where they remain today.

Did the president, who once referred to ISIS as “a JV team,” admit his costly mistake? On the contrary, Obama claimed that President George W. Bush’s Iraq timetable forced him to withdraw. Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 presidential campaign, also claimed the Bush agreement forced Obama to withdraw based on the timetable supposedly agreed to by the U.S. and Iraq. Never mind that in 2011, then-Secretary of State Clinton advised Obama to keep some troops in Iraq, an acknowledgment that he could have negotiated to do just that.

FactCheck.org, a “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters” run by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, examined the claim that Bush tied Obama’s hands on Iraq:

“We take no position on whether the U.S. should have left some combat troops in Iraq. But the record shows that (President Bush) agreed to the withdrawal deadline and agreed not to leave behind a residual force. Likewise, the Clinton campaign’s response that Iraq wouldn’t allow the Obama administration to renegotiate the terms of the withdrawal ignored criticism that Obama didn’t try hard enough. That criticism isn’t just partisan.” And most notably, “His own defense secretary said Obama wasn’t actively engaged in the negotiations and allowed the opportunity to ‘slip away’(emphasis added).”

These three major Obama policy decisions – Obamacare, leaving Iraq and “stimulus” – were based on deception. But unlike today’s anti-Trump “truth-telling media,” Obama’s media cheered, saluted or looked the other way.
— Read on www.wnd.com/2019/01/media-rip-trump-over-lies-what-about-obamas/

Core Christianity | An Open Letter to the Sexual Sufferer

Dear friend,

How do you rebuild after sexual victimization? To experience such evil devastates so many aspects of who you are. Your expectations about life are forever darkened. Primal fears of danger awaken. In time they will ebb; they may even go dormant; but they will not go extinct until the day when you have no more reasons to fear. 

How do you ever come to terms with betrayal and violation at the hands of an evildoer? There are no easy answers or quick solutions. Other people—who genuinely care, who want to be helpful—often don’t really understand. Pain and woe bring a loneliness—“The heart knows its own bitterness” (Prov. 14:10). Even people who do understand the experience often offer explanations and advice that fall well short of wisdom.

There are no easy answers, but there are fruitful ways to go forward. Where do you begin? Let me say a few things that I hope will serve as landmarks to orient you.

First, know you are not alone.

The person who most matters truly understands your experience. God himself knows. Your true Father knows your vulnerability (Ps. 103:13–14). His love is wise and does you great good. Jesus sheltered within his Father’s care—ponder his experience of grave evil as captured in Psalm 31. You are also invited to shelter within God’s care when you’ve been savaged by human evil. The LORD walks beside his beloved children. He speaks tender, persistent, life-nourishing words. He is full of goodness and wisdom. The life-giving Spirit speaks to the heart deeper than the most awful experience. 

Second, other people can help.

No one can know and love you with the depth, immediacy, and constancy of God. But in his steady light, we can help each other. A trustworthy person makes a big difference. Let me put myself in your place as the sufferer, and imagine that you seek to be a sympathetic and wise friend to me. If we could take a long walk side by side, and if our conversation would emerge and develop slowly, and if we could allow silences to absorb the weight of unspeakable words, and if we would consider well before we speak, and if we can leave a weighty matter and revisit it later, then there is much that we might say to each other that is life-giving. To find the right kind of person is to receive a gift from God. To be the right kind of person to someone else is to become a gift from God.

Third, practice using the word “abuse” as a verb, not a noun.

This may sound like a small thing, but it can be surprisingly helpful. Here’s what I mean. “Abuse” has become a buzzword and a catchall for everything from opioid addiction, to hostile words, to being beaten up, to being sexually assaulted. It often obscures more than it reveals. Its prevalence in our vocabulary impoverishes our perception of evil and limits our ability to find better words to describe the experience of grave evils.

Put the word to work as a verb along with other words that tell the story. For example, “He used me sexually, misused me, and abused me,” communicates what happened. It captures the drama of facing terrible evil. Or consider this: “I was manipulated. My trust was betrayed. I was treated like an object, a sexual receptacle for his hostile lust. He mistreated me, violated me, and harmed me. I was molested, groped, and raped.” Active verbs tell the story. “I was done wrong. Someone sinned against me. Someone did terrible evil.” Evil is specific. Evil hurts. Evil destroys. Can you hear the difference? 

As a noun, abuse is disconnected from Scripture. But when you can tell the story of being treated wrong, then you find touch points everywhere in Scripture. See, for example, Psalm 10’s chilling description of facing a predator—and notice how candidly that psalm expresses faith’s neediness and a firm awareness of the one who can rescue us. We might even say that Scripture is about encounters with liars, assailants, enemies, rapists, killers, deceivers, and mockers. And Scripture is about how God cares and what he does to deliver us from evil.

Finally, notice how God’s character shines brightest when life is darkest.

Dante’s Divine Comedy places treachery in the deepest pit of hell. Sexual violation is a betrayal of trust and inhabits the deepest darkness. But in the face of betrayal, God is safe. In the face of great suffering, God cares. In the face of despair, God gives true hope. In the experience of being dirtied and humiliated, God washes us clean. In walking the hard road of coming to terms with being sinned against, God is practical and realistic. There is always a next good step to take in the right direction—and he will walk beside you all the way home. 

May the Lord make his face shine upon you,


Content adapted from Making All Things New by David Powlison. This article first appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission. 

Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Stop Complaining” (Parts 1 and 2) — Grace to You Blog

Scripture is clear that Christians serve a God who is uniquely all-sufficient to meet our every need (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Peter 1:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

By definition, calling anything sufficient is to acknowledge it is inherently adequate to satisfy a particular need. Some things in this life are sufficient for us in certain moments and situations. But nothing in this fallen world is truly all-sufficient—nothing can completely and permanently satisfy our physical and emotional needs.

Often in this life, our needs—or, more accurately, the wants that we convince ourselves are needs—are not met, or at least they aren’t met to our satisfaction. It is in such instances that we are quick to lose sight of the all-sufficient God we profess to love and trust. And that’s when we begin to complain.

If we’re honest, we have to admit that we’re all prone to complaining. From our earliest childhood, we develop a propensity to fulminate over our unmet wants and needs. Today even grown adults whine in hopes that somehow, someone—perhaps even God—will fulfill their quests for personal happiness and contentment, regardless of how fleeting it may be.

Survey the landscape of society in general—and, sadly, the evangelical church in particular—and it’s as if everyone has something about which they can complain. This tidal wave of dissatisfaction is particularly evident in social media, where the ubiquitous expressions of one’s personal displeasure are offered indiscriminately. From marital discord and misery to sociopolitical anxiety to financial frustrations, no one appears to be content.

God’s people must not be so cavalier with their complaints. We need to see such incessant, dissatisfied bleating the way heaven does—as a sin against a sovereign and omniscient God who knows and faithfully provides what is best for His elect (Psalm 84:11).

In his messages “Stop Complaining, Part 1” and “Stop Complaining, Part 2” (from his series from Philippians called The Secret to Contentment), John MacArthur defines complaining as a “wicked and proud sin” that is “a symptom of a deep-seated spiritual problem: failure to trust God and failure to submit to His providential will.” John confronts us with one of the more profound rhetorical questions to be found in all of Scripture: “Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins?” (Lamentations 3:39).

We tend to take the opposite perspective and attempt to downplay the sinfulness of our complaining, seeing it as less severe than murder, adultery, or lying. And we foolishly presume the Lord will likewise overlook or ignore it. But God takes complaining very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that in Numbers 11:1, He killed some of the Israelites who “complain[ed] of adversity in the hearing of the Lord.”

As John MacArthur asserts in these messages, “Few sins are uglier to God than the sin of complaining.”

Are you a complainer? Do you harbor an attitude of discontentment? Are you dissatisfied with the life situation in which a sovereign God has placed you? Or perhaps the better question is this: Do you believe that the God in whom you have entrusted your destiny in the next life is sufficient and adequate to meet your needs in this life—as He promised He would (Philippians 4:19)?

Click here to listen to “Stop Complaining, Part 1” and “Stop Complaining, Part 2.”

Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Stop Complaining” (Parts 1 and 2) — Grace to You Blog