Daily Archives: February 5, 2019

February 5 The Slave Market of Sin

Scripture Reading: John 8:30–36

Key Verse: Galatians 5:13

You, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Popular author Neil Anderson tells of a time when he was talking to a group about living a bondage-free life. One man spoke up and told how he had enjoyed a certain activity most of his life without feeling a trace of bondage to it.

“I paused for a second,” said Anderson, “then I said, ‘Well, congratulations, but can you stop?’

“I didn’t hear another remark from him again until the end of the class when everybody left. He came up and said, ‘So why would I want to stop?’

“I said, ‘That’s not what I asked; I asked if you could stop. What you think is freedom really isn’t freedom at all. It’s bondage.’

“Anybody who acts as his own God is in bondage to his sinful nature. We were sold into the slave market of sin. Jesus purchased us from the kingdom of darkness and saved us from ourselves. We are not our own; we were bought at a very high price, the precious blood of Christ. We are no longer slaves to sin but servants to Christ.”

Many of us can relate to this story. Maybe your sin is gossiping. Or perhaps you have a difficult time telling the truth. You want people to think well of you, so you create stories that portray you in a heroic light.

Whatever the weakness, God can set you free. Ask Him to expose any sin in your life. Can you or are you willing to give it up in order to live free?

Lord, I want to live free! Take every bondage. Cleanse every sin. Expose every area of my life that needs change. I am willing to give up everything in order to live free.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 38). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Healing from theological abuse.

Costi Hinn, nephew of Benny Hinn, is the Executive Pastor of Mission Bible Church in Orange County, CA and a Teaching Fellow for Reformanda Ministries. Due to his background and expertise, he educates churches and organizations around the world on strategies for dealing with the prosperity gospel. He is co-author of “Defining Deception” and his work has been featured on CNN, Christianity Today, and numerous other publications. He resides in Irvine, CA with his wife and three children.

“What can I do to heal and move on from the abusive theology and actions I have been a part of? What do you think my next step is? How to I get over this? How do I get stable after being so confused?”

In the following article Costi Hinn shares godly counsel on how to heal from theological abuse.


Costi writes:

It’s not uncommon for me to receive communication from people…

View original post 191 more words

Four Things Christians Should Understand About Islam | The Stream

A veteran shares what he learned while building relationships and having spiritual conversations with Muslims in Iraq.

When engaging Muslims, we must acknowledge that they have existed under a different narrative than we have; a narrative that often counters our own understanding of history, religion, and politics.

Politically motivated narratives make Islam a challenge to decipher. Further complicating our understanding are the myriad of well-meaning opinions, various Islamic sects, and numerous scholars who all proclaim their own opinions on what is the truth. Here are four fundamental aspects of Islam that everyone should understand — not from a scholar, but from a layman who has spent years of his daily life learning to know Muslims.

1. Isaac and Ishmael

A fundamental backdrop of my book series “The Conquests of Brokk,” is this question: Who is Isaac, who is Ishmael, and which one of them is the son of promise?

As a scout platoon leader in Iraq, I have made many dear friends. The Iraqi people are warm and generous. While on a security patrol, one local leader invited my platoon in to eat with him. We accepted, of course, and our conversation quickly turned to family, customs and traditions. Shia Iraqis were preparing to celebrate the holiday Eid, and this became my first introduction to the nuanced differences between Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

The Iraqi people are warm and generous. While on a security patrol, one local leader invited my platoon in to eat with him.

Eid honors Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael to show his faith to God. You read that right — Ishmael. What flows from the Muslims’ belief that Ismael was the son of promise is a cascade of robbed opportunities for the sons of Ishmael. Like Jacob and Esau, this can easily be interpreted as a tale of deceit. Who deserves the Holy Land? Who was the son of promise? Whose decedents are the chosen ones of God? In Islam, it is not Isaac, but Ishmael.

2. Jesus is revered, but not as Christ.

Prophet, Priest and King. These are the three offices that Christians believe Jesus of Nazareth holds. As Prophet, he reiterates God’s truth and proclaimed His future death on the cross. As Priest, he serves as our great High Priest, always interceding for his people to the Father. As King, Jesus rules over our universe.

Beware of confusion when witnessing to a Muslim about Jesus. They’ll likely tell you that you worship the same God or that they believe in Isa (Jesus) too. It might even get downright confusing because they won’t shy away from agreeing with you about Jesus. In fact, many will follow up His name with the same expression they provide their holy prophet — they will say “Isa, peace be upon him.”

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It’s true that they do believe in Jesus, but not as Priest or King. They believe in Jesus as a great prophet, but not as God or creator. And they certainly don’t believe He is the propitiation for our sins. Who Jesus is becomes the most important question in the world. We must clearly distinguish this simple truth before we can go anywhere else in the conversation.

3. Jihad

This is the source of much debate. Was Jihad to be an internal spiritual struggle? Is it an external struggle against non-believers? The truth is that, at different times, Jihad represents both struggles (Q 16:125, Q 22:39, Q 9:5, Q 9:29). There is no doubt that the Prophet Mohammed practiced warfare against non-believers and that throughout the history of Islam, Jihad as warfare has been waged at times. The question for Christians is: what should we do about it? I suggest two courses of action.

First, Christians are called to go out and make disciples. In this way, Islam and Christianity have equal and competing goals — regardless of the aims of achieving them. The necessary outcome of this realization is that both religions pose spiritual and, sometimes, physical threats to each other.

Second, we must acknowledge that the Bible tells Christians not to fear anyone who can destroy the body but not destroy the soul, instead, “be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Throughout history, Christians have been persecuted for sharing the gospel. Our call, however, remains unchanged. We must share the gospel fearlessly, pray for our enemies, and submit to God’s sovereignty in our lives when trials knock at the door.

4. Muslims suffer much.

I’m not saying that Christians aren’t targeted or don’t suffer too. They are and do. And there are certainly better policies and security measures that could be implemented to reduce terror in the majority of Muslim countries. But Christians are called to love, and not just love, but to have a “perfect love that casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). This is the type of love that God has for His people and the type of love His people should have for both the saved and the unsaved.

We must avoid the hostile political climate and acknowledge that when a bomb goes off in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Syria, Muslim families are also at risk of being hurt or killed. We should acknowledge that Muslim children are casualties and that Muslim parents are grieving. We must have compassion on and love for our neighbors.

If we allow fear to drive policies that cause Christians to avoid engaging Muslims (or the rest of the world) in honest debate about their souls, then we need only a mirror to reflect on our own relationship with the sovereign God of the universe.

Islam is a complicated religion that can be interpreted in many ways. But Christians must first understand our own responsibilities to our own God before we attempt to interpret another’s. When engaging Muslims, we must acknowledge that they have existed under a different narrative than we have; a narrative that often counters our own understanding of history, religion, and politics. We also must have compassion on these people and never give over to a fear that prevents us from proclaiming the gospel.

Thane Keller has deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and is the author of the science fiction thrillers “Fractal Space,” “Rogue Fleet,” and “Doomsayer.” He writes realistic military fiction that borders the fantastical. Visit him at thanekeller.com and engage with him on Twitter @ThaneKeller.

Source: Four Things Christians Should Understand About Islam

Pope Acknowledges Priests Have Sexually Abused Nuns — National Review

Pope Francis arrives to celebrate mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 5, 2019. (Tony Gentile/REUTERS)

Pope Francis acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday that priests and bishops have sexually abused nuns and several of those clergy have been suspended.

Some clergy have abused nuns to the point of “sexual slavery,” the pope said, adding that the Church is addressing the problem and “for some time we’ve been working on it.”

“It’s not that everyone does this, but there have been priests and bishops who have,” the pope said. “And I think that it’s continuing because it’s not like once you realize it that it stops. It continues.”

Pope Benedict XVI shut down a congregation of nuns in France “because a certain slavery of women had crept in, slavery to the point of sexual slavery on the part of clergy or the founder,” Francis revealed, adding that some priests have been suspended for their abuse of religious sisters.

“There are cases, usually in new congregations and in some regions more than others,” he said, explaining that the Church still deals with the issue on a case-by-case basis.

“Should we do something more? Yes. Is there the will? Yes. But it’s a path that we have already begun,” Francis told reporters.

Francis added that it is also a general “cultural problem” that women are treated like “second-class citizens.”

“I dare say that humanity hasn’t matured,” the pope said.

“We condemn those who support the culture of silence and secrecy, often under the guise of ‘protection’ of an institution’s reputation or naming it ‘part of one’s culture,’” the International Union of Superiors General, which represents all superiors general of institutes of Catholic women religious, said in a November statement. “We advocate for transparent civil and criminal reporting of abuse.”

The women’s magazine of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Women Church World, reported that nuns have kept silent about their abuse by priests for years in fear of retaliation and have even been forced to abort the babies they conceived by priests.

Abuse of nuns by clergy has been reported in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and India. Since the #MeToo movement, more sisters have felt empowered to report their experiences.

via Pope Acknowledges Priests Have Sexually Abused Nuns — National Review

Mid-Day Snapshot · Feb. 5, 2019

The Foundation

“He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” —Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution

SOTU: 2019 Preview and 2018 Review

The show will go on tonight, but how about a look back at last year’s achievements?

VA Gov. & Lt. Gov. Caught in Their Own Demo Trap

Northam’s racist past and Fairfax’s sexual-assault allegation put Democrats in a political bind.

Ambitious Booker Brings Spartacus Zeal to 2020 Race

He’s a showman who’s long had his eye on the next higher office. He’ll fit right in the field.

China Got the Geopolitical Shaft With a Big Discovery

The motherlode of rare-earth metals has been found on an island under Japanese control.

Homosexuals Reject ‘Transgender’ Claim

Andrew Sullivan points out how “transgenderism” destroys the concept of gender distinctions.

Good Samaritan With Gun Stops Road-Rage Incident

Dangerous incident with man clinging to hood of car driving at 70 MPH is brought to a peaceful end.

Video: The Truth About Nick Sandmann in 15 Minutes

The media, politicians, church officials, commentators, and celebrities rushed to judgment.

Video: Why You Can’t Argue With a Leftist

When two people share the same goals, they can disagree and still have a productive discussion.

Today’s Opinion

Cal Thomas
Slaughter of the Innocents Reaches New Depths
Dennis Prager
Moore, Kavanaugh, Northam: The Left’s Assault on Repentance
Rich Lowry
An Irrational Political Culture, About to Get More So
James Shott
Democrats’ Move Toward Socialism Isn’t Sitting Well With Their Base
Stephen Moore
Donald Trump’s Monetary Vindication
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Tuesday Top Headline Summary

SOTU immigration split, Trump inaugural subpoena, little trust in government, judicial activism, infanticide ban quashed, and more.

Tuesday Short Cuts

Non Compos Mentis: “Now Brewed With Wind Power.” —Budweiser’s claim in a Super Bowl ad

Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

“American Gospel: Christ Alone, Film Review” by Reagan Rose | The Master’s Seminary Blog

In American Gospel: Christ Alone, we are treated to the melding of excellence in craft with excellence in content. It tackles false gospels in a sensitive and thought-provoking manner which makes it a must-watch for believers who love the true gospel.

I vividly remember the first time I heard someone use “abominate” as a verb. It was John Piper and he was talking about the prosperity gospel.

In the U.S. there has arisen a particularly virulent form of false teaching—a gospel which promises cash and comfort to Christ’s followers, and in so doing bilks the poor, the needy, and the ill. It’s a gospel which elevates man and deposes God. The film American Gospel: Christ Alone by Transition Studios tackles this teaching, along with several other false gospels, in a sensitive and thought-provoking manner.

One of the great blessings to the church recently has been the emergence of quality Christian documentary filmmaking. We’ve been blessed by the fruits of the creative labors of folks like Media Gratiae and Stephen McCaskell. The work of Brandon Kimber and his Transition Studios adds to that growing library of excellent films which are educational, entertaining, and edifying. In American Gospel: Christ Alone, we are treated to the melding of excellence in craft with excellence in content.

I want to share five features of American Gospel which set it apart and make it a must-watch for believers who love the precious truths of the gospel.

An Admirable Craftsmanship

This film would be laudable even if we set aside the content and just looked at it purely as a specimen of documentary filmmaking. The story is composed of interviews, archival footage, and animated graphics. And if viewers aren’t paying attention, they may not even notice that this film has no narrator stringing that content together. This is an impressive feat. But Kimber pulls it off to great effect. The craftsmanship of this documentary speaks to Kimber’s talent as a filmmaker and story-teller.

I can’t tell you what joy that brings to me. The lack of quality Christian media has long been a gaping hole in the efforts of the true church. Just this past weekend the so-called church of Scientology spent millions to air a well-produced, high-quality recruitment ad to millions of souls around the world. Yet, so much of Christian film making is shoe-string budget hack jobs with poor acting, atrocious scripts, and if we’re lucky the films will at least not say something heretical. The best we can usually hope for is a moralistic plot. Ironically, hoping for gospel truth in a well-made Christian film is usually a pipe-dream.

What is truly encouraging about this film from an artistic standpoint, therefore, is that such skilled film making is used in service of even more admirable content.

A Striking Depth

I was impressed by the theological depth of American Gospel. Even as it took aim at the worst of the worst in the health and wealth movement, Roman Catholicism, and other sub-gospels, it didn’t take the low road of mere mockery.

A film like this could have surrendered itself to easy potshots at heretical crackpots. It’s a sad feature of so many believers, who are otherwise sound theologically, that they often simply mock false teaching. Though it’s easy to laugh off the clownish Osteens of the world with their Cheshire grin, awe-shucks platitudes, and brazen money-grabs, the truth is millions are deceived by these people. And they will not be shaken from those philosophical bonds just because some Reformed guy jeered at them.

No, American Gospel takes the high road and thoughtfully, carefully tears down every philosophy that raises itself up against the knowledge of God. This film isn’t a takedown of false gospels, it’s a dissection. There is a theological depth to this film that speaks to the theological acumen of its creator and his interviewees.

It’s a great cast of people who make up the interviews, too, by the way. The film features voices like Ray Comfort, Mark Dever, Costi Hinn, Paul Washer, Michael Horton, and our own Steven J. Lawson and John MacArthur. Additionally, there are interviews with many people who were saved out false movements to a living hope by the true gospel.

The interviewees don’t waterski over theology, they take a deep dive. You’ll find more open Bibles than mere opinions here. There are discussions of subjects like the theology of trichotomy—the teaching that man is made up of body, soul, and spirit. And they show how this belief actually stands stands behind the “little god” theology of the worst corners of the self-exalting health & wealth movement.

They point out how that old heresy of Gnosticism is expressed through the law of attraction, “the Secret,” and from the pulpits and the books of prosperity charlatans. At one point R. Scott Clark wryly remarks, “If your teaching is being promoted by Oprah, that might raise some warning flags.”

They also spend time talking about exaggerated views of kenosis (that Christ actually emptied himself of deity), the doctrine that Jesus performed His works as a born again Christian and not as God, and that convenient huckster’s trick of claiming that if you speak against the “man of God” you will be cursed. The film doesn’t just say these things are bad teachings, it explains why from the Scriptures.

In fact, it is so biblical and kind in presentation, that I found myself thinking of people I know who believe some of these things with whom I’d like to watch this film. You could watch it with someone who entertains some of these beliefs without immediately making them feel attacked or putting them on the defensive.

In the film, Sean Demars, states it plainly, “Bad theology hurts people.” And that’s really what this film is about. It exposes the false gospels of the American church with particular attention given to the massively influential movement often called the prosperity gospel—a false gospel homegrown in the United States of America which is now being exported all over the world.

A Damning Indictment

At the Strange Fire conference in 2013, hosted right here on the campus of Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary, Conrad Mbewe begged the American church to stop exporting the false gospel of the prosperity movement to Africa. In the film, Justin Peters echoes this sentiment when he sadly notes that most of the so-called “Christian world” is characterized by the false gospel Americans spread. It’s a damning indictment.

Missionaries from these false movements are going to the world and replicating a message of false hope, twisting God’s Word to turn men away from eternal hope. Paul Washer says it well, “It is a pain to know that people do not know Jesus. It is a greater pain to know that often times Jesus and Christianity is being distorted.”

This is precisely the sort of thing John MacArthur, president of The Master’s Seminary, who makes an appearance in this film, has stood against for decades. This is no minor deviation, no principle of only secondary importance which needlessly divides us from otherwise sound brothers in Christ—this is a different gospel entirely. And if the true church will not stand up against this abomination, who will?

As I watched, I found myself convicted for the times when I have simply laughed at internet memes as though no serious person could possibly fall for the message of these frauds. The truth is, the people who are being caught up in these false teachings are the most vulnerable among us. It is the suffering and the down-trodden, desperate for hope, who are most often caught in the net of a message which promises healing and financial safety.

An Unexpected Balm

Another feature that struck me about American Gospel was the interviews with precious suffering saints. I was frequently brought to tears by people struggling under illness who sought hope in the prosperity gospel, but after coming up empty-handed, finally found true and lasting peace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. They no longer sought for God to change their circumstances but accepted that God was using their circumstances to change them.

I think suffering Christians will discover an unexpected balm in this film as they are reminded of the true hope provided in Christ Jesus, a hope which transcends suffering, sanctifies us, and increases our dependence on the Master. True and lasting joy cannot be found in the short-sighted hope of mere physical comfort. It is found in the fount of all blessing Himself, and in the trust that He is a faithful and loving God who does not cause suffering to His creatures without a loving purpose.

A Clear Gospel Message

But what stood out most to me in this documentary was the juxtaposition of truth and falsehood. Like a sparkling diamond against a black velvet backdrop, the gospel shimmers in all its glory when set against the vapid, self-serving, abominable putrescence of the false gospels presented in this film.

May the Lord use this film to open the eyes of many to the insidious wickedness of false gospels, and more importantly, to the truth of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, for His glory and for their eternal joy. And may it be a reminder to believers of the wonderful gift we have in the gospel. May it cause us to praise God with renewed thankfulness for opening our eyes to the truth.

You can rent American Gospel: Christ Alone on iTunes, Vimeo, and Amazon now.

Reagan Rose is the Digital Platforms Supervisor at Grace to You. He is also the author of Redeeming Productivity, a blog about how Christians should approach getting things done. Reagan earned his Master of Divinity from TMS in 2017.

Source: American Gospel: Christ Alone, Film Review

02/05/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-0205

•The best of Wretched Radio:
•God is a cessationist
•5 Clichés that need to die
•What if my pastor won’t let me serve because of my theology?
•Are all sins equal?
•How do we observe the Sabbath?
•How to provoke your children to anger
•How to destroy your marriage

Download Now (right click and save)

via 02/05/2019 — Wretched

Navigators Welcomes 2019 With Their Contemplative Trend By Promoting Jesuit Prayer Practice — Lighthouse Trails Inc

Navigators is a Christian organization, founded in 1933 by a young man named Dawson Trotman, that eventually became a household name in the evangelical church.* The Navigators motto is, “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.” However, Navigators and its publishing arm NavPress have been on a contemplative trend for over 15 years, and in the January 2019 issue of the Navigator’s newsletter, “Worldwide,” it is evident that the stakes have become much higher.

Navigators History of Promoting Contemplative Prayer

In 2005, Lighthouse Trails posted a news brief titled, “NavPress – Whatever Happened to Navigators?” that stated, “Today, NavPress has become a leading publisher for contemplative spirituality books.” Some of the authors NavPress publishes include Brennan Manning, Jan Johnson, Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, and Bruce Demerest. NavPress is also publishing Eugene Peterson’s The Message (which is a key product for NavPress).

Read more: Navigators Welcomes 2019 With Their Contemplative Trend By Promoting Jesuit Prayer Practice — Lighthouse Trails Inc

Alerts About False Teachers and False Teachings — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

A review of an interview with William Lane Craig demonstrates problems with the theology of some who are acclaimed as top-notch apologists. I, personally, would never point anyone to Craig for defending the faith.
James MacDonald escapes the consequences of his actions!  The leaders of Harvest are not acting biblically. MacDonald should never again exercise any leadership roles in the church.
Another false teacher/heretic seem to be born every minute.  Kevin Zadai is a new one on me!
Another example proving the Pope does not represent ChristAnd another one: he is promoting violation of laws. Do we really need more proof that the Pope is not a Christian?
The Gospel Coalition has continued their slide into apostasy, and now they are assisting the forcing of children to not have two parents.
Black Hebrew Israelites — a dangerous, racist cult.
Russell Moore has gone beyond the pale, and has been promoting apostasy and learning from false teachers.
Todd White has proven he isn’t a Christian, but a tool of Satan.
Proof that Hillsong is an heretical organization.
Mark Driscoll is still a dangerous wolf.
Andrew Wommack — beware that he is just another vicious wolf.
Do not trust the teachings of David Barton.
A Bit of Humor
A funny way to make a very good point about “worship” music.

via Alerts About False Teachers and False Teachings — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

RenewAmerica Newsletter for February 5, 2019

February 5, 2019
CLIFF KINCAID — All freedom-loving people support the overthrow of the tyrannical socialist Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela. But President Trump’s replacement, Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido, is also a socialist. His Popular Will party is a “progressive” party and a member of the Socialist International…. (more)

February 4, 2019
SELWYN DUKE — It’s certainly a sign of the times that Governor Ralph Northam’s resignation has been demanded not because of an apparent endorsement of infanticide, but because of a 1984 yearbook photo. Yet another sign is how, while Virginia’s Northam is condemned for having appeared in blackface or a KKK costume, another man is being honored despite having actually appeared before a KKK rally and preaching strict racial separation…. (more)

February 4, 2019
AMY CONTRADA — A depraved sadomasochist (BDSM) orgy is set to take place in Cleveland, Ohio the last weekend in April 2019. The “Cleveland Annual Leather Weekend” (CLAW) has been taking over upscale hotels for years now with no interference. It is time to interfere and STOP this outrage. Hotels booked this year by CLAW are the downtown Cleveland Westin, Marriott, Hampton Inn, and Aloft…. (more)

February 4, 2019
NEIL BRIAN GOLDBERG — Many years ago, I had success in the music industry. My songs were being heard all over the world, but I was never happy. I was a very troubled and afflicted young man. After much “self-improvement”‘ work, great progress was made, but still, I had not changed. Finally, I heard about “Emotional Trauma Release,” a technique where one talks about their feelings lying on their backs in the presence of a facilitator, who keeps pointing you back to your feelings. “How does that make you feel?”… (more)

February 4, 2019
WALL STREET JOURNAL — President Trump in Tuesday’s State of the Union is expected to issue a plea for national unity at a moment of deep partisan divisions, with the Democratic-controlled House and the White House at an impasse over spending priorities while Mr. Trump threatens to do an end-run around both chambers of Congress to pay for a wall on the southern U.S. border…. (more)

February 4, 2019
“If Gladys Knight wanted to come back out for halftime, I would not be mad.”
COUNTRY LIVING — Sure, Tom Brady secured a record sixth Super Bowl ring on Sunday – -but the New England Patriots weren’t the only big winners of the night. Before kickoff, Gladys Knight took the turf for an incredible rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Clad in a crystal-embellished white gown and sparkling booties, the 74-year-old performed a soulful version of the national anthem that received rave reviews from the Atlanta crowd and beyond…. (more)


February 4, 2019
CHUCK NORRIS — Whether or not you’re a part of the declining viewership of the NFL, there’s a ray of light worth noting in professional football and in particular this year’s Super Bowl. We sometimes forget as debates about kneeling during the national anthem rage on, there are a host of real and inspirational American patriots who are at the heart of every NFL team. I’d like to highlight a few football warriors who stand out not only for their athletic abilities on the field but their perseverant strategies in life. They share a part of a new video just out for the 2019 Super Bowl…. (more)

February 4, 2019
DAILY CALLER — Democratic Washington Sen. Patty Murray moved to block a measure Monday that would have outlawed infanticide. The bill, presented by Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, was titled the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” and would have offered medical care and legal protections to infants who survived attempted abortions…. (more)

February 4, 2019
You’ll never guess why you may likely never see movie again on TV
WORLDNETDAILY — You may never see the 1964 film “Mary Poppins” on television again – – now that the New York Times has labeled it racist. In a piece for the paper by Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, criticizes one of the film’s iconic moments, when Mary Poppins joins Dick Van Dyke’s Bert to dance on a rooftop for the classic song “Step in Time.”… (more)

February 4, 2019
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Border residents in New Mexico say they are hesitant to report suspicious immigration activity to local and federal law enforcement because they fear the Mexican cartels moving drugs or people into the U.S. will retaliate against them…. (more)


February 4, 2019
JOE KOVACS — Some of the biggest names in the Democratic Party ganged up Sunday on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a fellow Democrat, urging him to resign his position in the wake of controversy over a 1984 yearbook photo featuring a man in blackface and another dressed as a Ku Klux Klansman…. (more)

February 3, 2019
NEWSMAX — Less than 24 hours following the spectacular revelation that Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam had a medical school yearbook page featuring himself in blackface or a Ku Klux Klan hood, sources in Richmond told Newsmax the embattled governor would resign over the weekend…. (more)


February 3, 2019
REUTERS — A high-ranking Venezuelan air force general said he had disavowed President Nicolas Maduro and now recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim head-of-state, according to a video circulating on Twitter on Saturday…. (more)

February 3, 2019
NEWSMAX — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro proposed early parliamentary elections on Saturday, seeking to shore up his crumbling rule after a senior general defected to the opposition and tens of thousands thronged the streets in protest at his government…. (more)

February 3, 2019
NEWSMAX — The top American diplomat said the United States has formally suspended its obligations under a Cold War-arms treaty with Russia. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday the Trump administration has acted after what he calls “Russia’s material breach” of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty and its failure to come into compliance in the two months since Washington gave notice of its intent to withdraw from the pact…. (more)

February 2, 2019
ABC8 — A photo released on Friday afternoon of Governor Ralph Northam’s 1984 yearbook page from Eastern Virginia Medical School shows two men, one in blackface and another in a KKK robe…. (more)


February 2, 2019
NEWSMAX — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam apologized on Friday for a photograph on his 1984 medical school yearbook page showing two people at a party in racist garb, one smiling and in blackface and standing next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan costume…. (more)


January 31, 2019
JERRY NEWCOMBE — We live in a time when tolerance is just a one-way street. Those who clamor loudest for tolerance are the most intolerant people around if they are offended – – which happens often these days. To wit, the recent story involving the Covington kids…. (more)

January 31, 2019
BRYAN FISCHER — The Democrat Party, fresh off electoral victories last fall, is flexing its muscles on behalf of sheer, unadulterated brutality, cruelty, and savagery…. (more)

January 31, 2019
WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D.) commented Wednesday about a controversial 40-week abortion bill and in so doing said the law allows an abortion to take place after the infant’s birth. “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” Northam said, alluding to the physician and mother discussing whether the born infant should live or die…. (more)


January 31, 2019
‘Health care provider’ killed record number of babies
WORLDNETDAILY — Planned Parenthood long has marketed itself as a “health-care” provider for women, downplaying abortion, but its own annual report documents hundreds of thousands of unborn babies killed. And its president, Leana Wen, recent affirmed the organization’s “core mission.”… (more)

January 31, 2019
NEWSMAX — Vice President Mike Pence plans to head to Miami on Friday, home to the country’s largest community of Venezuelan exiles, to rally support for the opposition ahead of Venezuelan protests against President Nicolas Maduro, a White House official said…. (more)

January 31, 2019
BREITBART — There are three migrant caravans headed to the United States’ southern border with Mexico, according to top Pentagon official John Rood. Rood testified to the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that one of the caravans contains over 12,000 migrants…. (more)


January 30, 2019
NEWSMAX — Regardless of warnings from conservative Republicans about the dangers of declaring a state of emergency, President Donald Trump would do just that on Feb. 15 if Congress fails to appropriate money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the White House tells Newsmax…. (more)

January 30, 2019
House speaker ‘traitor’ beholden to illegal aliens
WORLDNETDAILY — Amid all the talk about impeaching President Trump, more than 100,000 people have signed a White House “We the People” petition calling for the impeachment of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of treason…. (more)

 

Barna Update | Almost Half of Practicing Christian Millennials Say Evangelism Is Wrong

Sharing one’s faith—evangelizing—is a core practice among many religions. For Christians, it’s viewed as a mandate from Jesus himself before he departed earth: commanding his disciples to “spread the good news.” Yet, today, a number of factors are curbing many Christians’ enthusiasm for faith-sharing, including the decline of religion in America, a spreading apathy toward spiritual matters and a growing cultural suspicion of people of faith.

It is against this backdrop that Barna is releasing Reviving Evangelism, a new report based on research commissioned by Alpha USA. This study looks at the faith-sharing experiences and expectations of Christians and non-Christians alike. Among the major findings in this report is the revelation that Christian Millennials feel especially conflicted about evangelism—and, in fact, almost half believe it is wrong to share their faith.

Read more: https://www.barna.com/research/millennials-oppose-evangelism/

February 5 The Basis for Belief

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:89–96

Key verse: Isaiah 51:1

Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness,

You who seek the Lord:

Look to the rock from which you were hewn,

And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.

What is the basis for what you believe? If you say the way you were raised or what you were taught in school, then your belief system could be faulty. God needs to be the basis for the principles you hold dear. His Word is a sure guide through the difficult circumstances of life. In fact, God prepares you to face the future as you read and study His Word.

When you are tuned in to the Word of God, you are tapping in to the infinite mind of Christ. The temptation to think that God is not personal or interested in what you are facing quickly fades. God’s Word teaches us that He is actively involved in every aspect of our lives. Knowing that God eternally cares for you is a good place to start as you seek to build a strong spiritual foundation. Pastors and clergymen can teach you about the Lord and how to worship Him, but the Holy Spirit living within you illuminates the truth of God to your heart.

When you understand the principles of God’s Word and apply them to your life, your vision changes. You see things from God’s perspective and are more willing to trust Him with the entirety of your life.

Some say the Bible is difficult to understand. However, if you will begin to read through its contents, God will help you understand His truth and principles.

Heavenly Father, through Your Word enable me to see things from Your perspective and become more willing to trust You with my life. Illuminate Your truth to my heart.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 38). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

A Morality Tale Lived Out: The Bizarre Headlines from the Commonwealth of Virginia — Blog – AlbertMohler.com

In recent decades, the Commonwealth of Virginia has served as a barometer for the entire nation. Once a solidly “red” state, Virginia has become a “purple” state thanks to massive political and demographic transitions. Virginia’s boundary with Washington D.C. is the gravitational force that pulls Virginia from the right to the center-left. Thus, in every presidential election cycle, the political pundits and campaign operatives all ask the same crucial question: “Which way will Virginia go?”

In recent days, however, Virginia is the subject of disturbing headlines that cascade from the national news media—headlines that the citizens of Virginia did not foresee.

It all started in the early part of last week when the Commonwealth’s Governor, Ralph Northam, advocated for a radical abortion bill that would legalize abortion up to the moment of birth—indeed, in this horrifying interview, Governor Northam appeared to support infanticide. By the end of the week, the headlines took an unprecedented turn.

A page from the Governor’s 1984 yearbook surfaced. The page disclosed a picture on Northam’s personal page of a man in blackface and another wearing the robes of the Ku Klux Klan. By Friday night, the governor apologized for his presence in the photograph though he could not remember which person he was.

The story did not end there.

On Saturday, the Governor held one of the most bizarre press conferences in American political history. Northam changed his tune, declaring that he was neither of the individuals pictured. His apology only extended to the presence of the photograph on his personal page in the yearbook of the Eastern Virginia Medical School. Moreover, Northam admitted that at some point between 1984 and 1987, he did participate in a party where impersonated Michael Jackson in blackface. Despite this admission and growing political pressure, the Governor insists he will not resign. By Sunday night, however, the Democratic Party, at both the state and national levels, decided that it needed Ralph Northam to step aside. Democratic leaders have called upon Northam to vacate the governor’s mansion and make way for the Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax.

The story, as you now might expect, took another bizarre turn.

By Monday, press reports surfaced of sexual assault allegations against the Lieutenant Governor. The headline in The Washington Post read, “Va. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax denies sex assault allegation from 2004.” Theresa Vargas from The Washington Post reported, “Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax issued a statement early Monday denying a sexual assault allegation that appeared on the same conservative website that posted a racist photograph from Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page.”

The Washington Post reported that the woman who levied these accusations against Fairfax did indeed consent to kissing, but the episode ended with a forceful act that left her “crying and shaking.” By midnight on Monday, Fairfax released another statement that the Washington Post had for several months investigated the accusation but could not prove the woman’s testimony because of inconsistencies within the allegation and the absence of corroborating evidence. Thus, The Washington Post “made the considered decision not to publish the story.”

Then, in yet another bizarre turn, the Washington Post explained that though they did not originally publish the story, it denied that there had been inconsistencies with the woman’s claim.

The stories swirling out of Virginia has everyone on the defensive: The Governor has appeared in racist photographs, the Lieutenant Governor has been accused of sexual assault, and The Washington Post is defending its decision to not run the story of credible sexual assault accusations in the first place.

Amid this firestorm and chaotic tumult, several important questions arise with tremendous worldview significance: If there were no inconsistencies or a lack of corroborating evidence, why did The Washington Post fail to report sexual assault allegations against the second highest official in the Commonwealth of Virginia? Moreover, why did The Washington Post run numerous other stories of sexual assault allegations based on highly circumstantial and uncorroborated evidence—stories like the ones The Washington Post published about the then nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh?

Why the difference? Why did The Washington Post print a story in one case but not in another? The Washington Post will now have to defend its apparent double-standard: In one case involving a conservative nominee to the Supreme Court, The Washington Post ran accusations based on circumstantial and unsubstantiated claims. In another case involving the Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, The Washington Post exhibited restraint, even though the paper admitted that the evidence against Fairfax was strong and did not contain irregularities.

In this fast-paced and volatile political environment, many politicians and news outlets rush to judgment. The political left and the mainstream news outlets excoriated Kavanaugh and delivered a guilty verdict before any trial. Will those same infallible judges follow suit on a case where there is now an admission of a sexual relationship between this woman and the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia? Will they follow the logic of their own reasoning and accusations? These are massive quandaries that raise another equally important question: How does anyone come to a responsible conclusion?

This is a palpable morality tale lived out and developing before our eyes. The morally significant actors in Virginia are not just the Governor nor the Lieutenant Governor, but the reporters, editors, and publishers of the magazines and newspapers who have taken up the solemn responsibility of reporting the news. News outlets like The Washington Post bear a significant moral responsibility for the information they dispense. We know exactly the message The Washington Post intended to send in the case of Judge Kavanaugh. What will be the message they send in the case of the Virginia Lieutenant Governor?

Christians understand that all of life in one sentence is a succession of morality tales. Few make the moral nature of those tales so immediately apparent as we see in this story, still unfolding.

A Morality Tale Lived Out: The Bizarre Headlines from the Commonwealth of Virginia — Blog – AlbertMohler.com

Death Culture: Who Was Margaret Sanger, Why Should We Care? — David Fiorazo

Some Americans justify abortion for any reason at any time, others have simply become desensitized to the murder of the unborn in mother’s wombs; but for the rest of us, failure to learn from history and to speak up is having detrimental consequences.

What Adolf Hitler did to millions of Jews through eugenics and sterilization, Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger has dwarfed by pioneering a movement leading to the abortion of over one hundred million babies in the United States since the 1920s. Sadly, most people are ignorant of this horrible history leading to ideas such as population control and euthanasia. Proud promoter of eugenics and racism, Margaret Sanger is celebrated today by most feminists and liberals. So what’s the truth behind this dark history?

Ninety-four. Remember this number. A baby is aborted at a Planned Parenthood facility somewhere in America every 94 seconds. In that same amount of time, Planned Parenthood receives over $1,100 in federal funding. That equals more than twelve taxpayer dollars a second and allows them to abort over 912 lives every day. How did it get to the point in America where we kill our own and call it a choice? It didn’t happen overnight, but an abortion is committed – Every 94 seconds…

Less than two percent of abortions are due to rape or a mother’s life being threatened, so why do we rarely hear an honest discussion about reducing or eliminating the 98% of abortions performed because of convenience, selfishness, and other unbiblical reasons? Furthermore, why do we continue allowing government to force all working Americans to pay for all of abortions in America?

We need to look at how this ongoing evil has come to be accepted in a land that used to be considered a “Christian nation.” In order to do this, it’s important to expose Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s legacy of death and destruction. We dug up some shocking history of this warped, wicked worldview.

Eugenics is the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of mankind, especially by discouraging reproduction by people who have genetic defects or are presumed to have undesirable traits (negative eugenics) OR, encouraging reproduction of the fittest: persons presumed to have desirable traits (positive eugenics). Hold on to your coffee while we connect some dots.

In her book The Pivot of Civilization, Margaret Sanger mentioned “constructive eugenics,” saying:

“…we are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of an ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all…”

Reports indicate the Nazi’s were inspired by the population control movement in America in the 1920s and 30s. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger promoted a eugenic ideology that eventually led to the gas chambers in Germany. A truth seeking, fair-minded person cannot read Sanger’s writings without seeing her ungodly influence.

Sanger’s publication, The Birth Control Review, was founded in 1917 and through the years, she often published articles from socialists and eugenicists such as Ernst Rudin. Rudin (1874-1952) was a psychiatrist who worked as Adolf Hitler’s director of genetic sterilization and founded the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene, which was Germany’s racial purity program.

But most people fail to realize it was the United States that led the forced sterilization movement which began on the mentally ill and on prisoners. Between 1907 and 1939, more than 30,000 people in twenty-nine states were sterilized, many of them unknowingly or against their will, while they were incarcerated in American prisons or mental institutions. Nearly half the operations were carried out in California.

According to her own autobiography, Margaret Sanger spoke to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey in 1926. Just three years later, Sanger’s “American Birth Control League” laid the groundwork for her first abortion clinic in Harlem.

Sanger argued for compulsory sterilization and segregation for people with disabilities.

In 1932, Margaret Sanger published “A Plan for Peace” in the April issue of her Birth Control Review. Here is part of her agenda:

  • “To give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.
  • To apportion farm lands and homesteads for these segregated persons where they would be taught to work under competent instructors for their entire lives.
  • “The first step would thus be to control the intake and output of morons, mental defectives, epileptics.
  • “The second step would be to take an inventory of the secondary group such as illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, dope fiends; classify them in special departments under government medical protection, and segregate them on farms and open spaces as long as necessary…

That same year, Ernst Rudin’s article, “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,” was also published in Sanger’s Birth Control Review journal. Then in 1933, Rudin drafted the Nazi Sterilization Law in Germany which originally called for the sterilization of “schizophrenics,” “alcoholics,” and “manic-depressives” – the subjects of Rudin’s research. As these legal sterilizations began, programs were already underway to sterilize “black” Germans and expanded to include Jews, Gypsies and, in the words of Rudin, other “inferior race types.”

After World War II had concluded, the horrors of eugenics, concentration camps, human experimentation, and the gas chamber were exposed. Margaret Sanger acted quickly and deceptively to distance herself from the Third Reich’s “Final Solution.” Her idea to change the name of her Birth Control League (aka Birth Control Federation) was shrewd, and the organization became “Planned Parenthood Federation.”

Until 1942, birth control and eugenics were nearly impossible to separate. Prior to World War II, Sanger was outspoken about her views on race, and used the influence of prominent New York blacks to further her cause. Margaret Sanger reiterated the need for black ministers to head up the project in a letter to Clarence Gamble in Dec. 1939:

“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

Is it a coincidence nearly 80% of Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority communities today?

Sanger worked closely with William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, co-founder of the NAACP on the “Negro Project,” and invited other prominent black leaders to be advisors and help limit births in the Harlem community.

The Bible teaches about God creating life. Psalm 139:13-16 states:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and won­derfully made; your works are wonderful…. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made…. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

And the first human being in the pages of Scripture to recognize the Lord Jesus Christ was John the Baptist – in his mother’s womb before he was born!

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:41

Margaret Sanger taught that the campaign for abortion is “practically identical with the final aim of eugenics.” In 1934, she suggested that only parents approved by government or eugenics leaders be allowed to have children, and that a strict code be enforced to stop the overproduction of children.

Sanger reasoned that by requiring a license for mothers to give birth, it would protect society from those who are unfit. Part of her “American Baby Code” included:

Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit for parenthood.

Article 5. Permits for parenthood shall be issued upon application, providing the parents are financially able to support the expected child, have the qualifications needed for proper rearing of the child, have no transmissible diseases;

Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.

One only needs to look to China for disastrous consequences of its enforcement of an awful, totalitarian one-child policy. But the rotten fruit of Margaret Sanger has already brought decades of destruction and the devaluing of human life.

According to LifeSiteNews, in 1960, Psychiatrist Dr. Jerome Kummer and Zad Leavey, Deputy District Attorney of Los Angeles, suggested at an annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA), that abortion laws be changed to allow for, as the New York Times reported, “medical, eugenic and humanitarian reasons.”

Then in 1962, Alan Guttmacher, M.D. began his years as president of Planned Parenthood. The following year (1963) Betty Friedan published her book, The Feminine Mystique. Then, in 1964, the platform of the American Eugenics Party was presented and read in part, “The United States is already over-populated. We must stop all immigration and impose birth controls.”

Liberals today such as Hillary Clinton, Katie Couric, Oprah, Hollywood actresses, and many others have praised Margaret Sanger’s work. Manhattan even honored the radical feminist icon with Margaret Sanger Square.

I even saw a photo of a plaque with a quote by Margaret Sanger, saying, “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body.”

Conversely, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states:

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

This is not just a political issue! If abortion eliminates a human life, then abortion is a moral and spiritual issue!

Please pray for hearts to change, and it must start with true believers in Christ. Church leaders need to boldly speak up because this is a matter of life and death. We must also elect con­servative, pro-life, and pro-family representatives to local and state legis­latures.

Pastor John MacArthur stated:

“If you’re a Christian, you cannot vote for a person or party that slays babies in the womb.”

Next to the gospel of repentance and salvation, this is the most important battle in our culture because every human being has the right to life, and those rights come from God, not government.

*Video courtesy of Freedom Project Media 

“There’s not a single fetal or maternal condition that requires third trimester abortion. Not one. Delivery, yes. Abortion, no.” – Omar L. Hamada, MD, MBA

More resources:

Black Genocide: How Planned Parenthood Duped America

Extensive: All You Need to Know about the History of Planned Parenthood

Inspiring Hitler? Planned Parenthood’s Buried History

Margaret Sanger Spoke to the Ku Klux Klan: Why Does PP Still Support Her?

13 Things You Didn’t Know About Planned Parenthood Founder

Targeting Black Babies for Murder is Not Racist?

Death Culture: Who Was Margaret Sanger, Why Should We Care? — David Fiorazo

The Murder of Discernment in Modern Christianity — Christian Research Network

The willingness to accept discernment when talking about cults, false religions, and well-known charlatans is one thing.  But when the lens of discernment is turned to the celebrity pastor, teacher, podcaster, or fellow, professing “brother,” the willingness for discretion is deleted, particularly when it’s pointed at “our” favorite celebrity. 

(Justin Pierce – Bible Thumping Wingnut)  The Christ-chosen, Spirit-inspired Apostle, Paul, told Timothy to warn “the brothers” of false teachers, the wolves, who bring false doctrines and demonic lies disguised as truth.

“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus,being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.”  1 Timothy 4:6

The “good servant” is to do this.  The “good servant” can be recognized by the sheep as one who is doing this.  It is a mark of faithfulness, of obedience in a life wedded to Christ’s truth and willing to endure scorn for the sake of his Lord and Savior.  These “good servants” are men of God, a gift to the church given by Christ Himself.  They are worthy our attentive ears because they are the Bereans.

Bereans are being slaughtered by professing brothers

In our contemporary church, however, Bereans are being slaughtered by professing brothers who falsely believe unity is enhanced by the lack of biblically-informed, biblically-commanded, critical discernment.  The professing church is murdering Bereans.

It is more popular to murder with scorn and disregard those who use the Biblical gift of discernment than it is to simply thank them for loving the brothers enough to expose and kill the wolves and false teachers who wear the clothing of a shepherd (“kill” them by the very act of destroying their false doctrines with God’s truth and exposing them as charlatans).

The mantra of today’s worldly, deceived “Christianity” has become “Touch not the Lords Anointed.” Either the explicit or implicit clamoring of this ill-used phrase wreaks a disastrous effect within the church and, it is exacerbated most visibly by the increasing prevalence of “celebrity” Christianity that has overtaken every facet of the modern church. View article →

Research:

The Murder of Discernment in Modern Christianity — Christian Research Network

My Interview on The Drew Marshall Show: Lawsuits, Megachurches, & Why Investigative Journalism is a Holy Pursuit — Julie Roys

I had a great time interviewing with Drew Marshall on his show, which is Canada’s most listened-to spiritual talk show. We talked about the accusations of wrongdoing against Chicago-area megachurch, Harvest Bible Chapel, and its pastor, James MacDonald. We also talked about investigative reporting, and why I, as a Christian, believe it’s a holy pursuit.

Since Drew’s show targets both Christians and non-Christians, I tried to speak to both audiences, especially those who write off all Christians because of a few bad apples. I thought our discussion was productive and hopefully brought more light than heat.

My Interview on The Drew Marshall Show: Lawsuits, Megachurches, & Why Investigative Journalism is a Holy Pursuit — Julie Roys

Pope Re-Writes Scripture, Says God is a Pluralist Who Wills “Diversity of Religions” — Reformation Charlotte

Catholics, Muslims, and people of all faiths must work together to promote unity, respect, and an “awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and
sisters,” the Pope declared in a recent joint statement he signed with Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, during an interfaith meeting in Abu Dhabi.

The pope, who is also anti-Christ, says that pluralism is the divine will of God — just like race, sex, and language.

Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept;

God, of course, is not a pluralist — God, being the creator of all things has the inherent right to reveal who He is and to make known how He desires to be worshiped. And he has done this through His son Jesus Christ, who has declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

The pope, no stranger to setting himself up in the place of God, referring to himself as the “vicar of Christ” on Earth, has taken it upon himself, once again, to deny the clear teaching of Scripture and instead, insert a doctrine of demons. By stating that this is “divine wisdom,” he declares that this knowledge that comes from God.

It is the pope’s desire — not God’s — to see all faiths unified under the authority of the Vatican. Of course, the Catholic Church is open to all religions partaking in communion with them, so long as it isn’t Protestant, biblical Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church has anathematized biblical Christianity, stating that anyone who holds to the “solas” of the Reformation is apostate.

If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone,[114] meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.

Council of Trent, Canon 9

Biblical Christianity, of course, rejects the doctrines of the Catholic Church and declares the exclusivity of Christ. It is Christ alone that saves, “and there is salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12),” and that “by grace you have been saved through faith … not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9).”

Pope Re-Writes Scripture, Says God is a Pluralist Who Wills “Diversity of Religions” — Reformation Charlotte

Senate Democrats block legislation protecting babies from being killed after birth

WINTERY KNIGHT

What does it really mean to be "pro-choice" on abortion? What does it really mean to be “pro-choice” on abortion?

A lot of conservatives complain that Republicans don’t pass enough pro-life legislation when they hold the House, Senate and White House. The truth is, the House Republicans DID pass some pro-life legislation from 2016-2018. Some of it got signed into law, but most of it died in the Senate, because of the Democrats.

The Washington Times reports on a bill – Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – that just died in the Senate:

An effort by Senate Republicans to enhance protections for newborns who survive abortions, spurred by New York and Virginia bills making it easier to perform late-term procedures, was blocked Monday by Democrats.

[…]“There are only two sides of the debate on the floor debate tonight: You’re either for babies, or you’re defending infanticide,” said Mr. Sasse in his floor speech. “That is actually what the legislation is…

View original post 381 more words

February 5, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

the blessings of abiding branches

every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.… If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (15:2b–5, 7–11)

Three distinguishing marks of the true branches stand out in this analogy. First, they bear fruit (vv. 2, 4, 5, 8). That characteristic most clearly sets them apart from the false branches (cf. vv. 2, 8). Second, they also abide (remain; continue) in Christ’s love (v. 9). Finally, they operate in full cooperation with the source of life, keeping His commandments by following the perfect example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who always obeyed the Father (v. 10). As Jesus had earlier told those who professed faith in Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). Obedience proves that a person’s love for Christ is genuine (John 14:15, 21, 23), a point John makes clear in his first epistle: believers confess their sins (1:9), unbelievers deny them (1:8, 10); believers obey God’s commandments (2:3), unbelievers do not (2:4); believers demonstrate love for others (2:10), unbelievers do not (2:9, 11); believers live in patterns of righteous (3:6), unbelievers do not (3:9).

But that does not mean that those who love Christ will always obey perfectly; there are times when we lapse into disobedience and fail to abide fully in Christ. Paul admonished the Corinthians,

I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1 Cor. 3:1–3)

Jesus rebuked the Ephesian church for its diminished devotion to Him: “I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). John, after making the absolute statement “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin,” immediately added “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:1–2). Therefore the Lord’s exhortation to abide in Him is appropriate not only for unbelievers, but also to remind and warn believers who are not abiding in Him in the fullest sense.

Because He wants them to be spiritually productive, the Father takes every branch that bears fruit and prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. Pruning

was … an essential part of first-century viticultural practice, as it is today. The first pruning occurred in spring when vines were in flowering stage. This involved four operations: (1) the removal of the growing tips of vigorous shoots so that they would not grow too rapidly; (2) cutting off one or two feet from the end of growing shoots to prevent entire shoots being snapped off by the wind; (3) the removal of some flower or grape clusters so that those left could produce more and better-quality fruit; and (4) the removal of suckers that arose from below the ground or from the trunk and main branches so that the strength of the vine was not tapped by the suckers. (Colin Kruse, The Gospel According to John, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003], 315)

The Father prunes the true branches by removing anything that would sap their spiritual energy and hinder them from fruitful results. His pruning involves cutting away anything that limits righteousness, including the discipline that comes from trials, suffering, and persecution. The knowledge that the Father uses the pain that Christians endure for their ultimate good should eliminate all fear, self-pity, and complaining. The classic text in Hebrews reminds those undergoing God’s painful, pruning chastening,

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Heb. 12:7–11; cf. 1 Cor. 11:32)

In the Father’s infinite wisdom and absolute, sovereign control of all of life’s circumstances, He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28; cf. 5:3–5; Gen. 50:20; Deut. 8:16; 2 Cor. 4:16–18; James 1:2–4).

But suffering is merely the handle of the Father’s knife; the blade is the Word of God. You are already clean, Jesus told the eleven true disciples, because of the word which I have spoken to you. Because they had embraced the gospel through Christ’s teaching, the eleven had been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (cf. John 3:3–8; Titus 3:4–7). That same gospel is found today in the Scriptures, the “word of Christ” (Col. 3:16). The Word is instrumental in believers’ initial cleansing at salvation (cf. Rom. 1:16), and it also continually purges, prunes, and cleanses them.

God uses His Word as the pruning knife, because it “is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12), but He uses affliction to prepare His people for the Word’s pruning. The psalmist affirmed the connection between affliction and the Word’s work in his life when he wrote, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.… It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Ps. 119:67, 71). Psalm 94:12 also makes that connection: “Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, and whom You teach out of Your law.”

The Lord’s words emphasize two important truths regarding spiritual conduct: Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. First, since all true believers, those who abide in Christ and He in them, will bear spiritual fruit, there is no such thing as a fruitless Christian. John the Baptist challenged his hearers to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:8), and warned that “every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (v. 10). Contrasting true and false teachers, Jesus said, “Every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:17–20). In Luke 6:43 He added, “There is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.”

Second, believers cannot bear fruit on their own, because as He plainly stated, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (cf. Hos. 14:8). There may be times when believers have lapses, when they fail to be faithful to their life in Christ. But true branches, through whom the life of the vine flows, cannot ultimately fail to produce fruit (cf. Pss. 1:1–3; 92:12–14; Prov. 11:30; 12:12; Jer. 17:7–8; Matt. 13:23; Rom. 7:4; Gal. 5:22–23; Eph. 5:9; Phil 1:11; Col. 1:10; James 3:17).

A popular misconception equates fruit with outward success. By that common standard, external religion, superficial righteousness, having a large church, a popular ministry, or a successful program are considered fruitful. But the Bible nowhere equates fruit with superficial, external behavior or results, which deceivers and hypocrites, as well as non-Christian cults and religions can duplicate. Instead, Scripture defines fruit in terms of spiritual qualities. “The fruit of the Spirit,” Paul reminded the Galatians, “is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). Those Christlike traits mark those through whom His life flows.

Praise offered to God is also fruit. The writer of Hebrews exhorts his readers, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15; cf. Isa. 57:19; Hos. 14:2).

The Bible also identifies sacrificial love in meeting the needs of others as fruit. Referring to the monetary gift he was collecting for the needy believers at Jerusalem, Paul wrote to the Romans, “Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain” (Rom. 15:28). Acknowledging the Philippians’ financial support of his ministry, Paul told them, “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account” (Phil. 4:17 nkjv). Supporting others who are in need is a tangible expression of love, which is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

Fruit may also be defined as holy, righteous, God-honoring behavior in general. Such conduct is “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:8); the fruit produced by the good soil (Matt. 13:23) of a transformed life; the “fruit of the Light [that] consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Eph. 5:9); the “fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:11); the “peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11). Paul prayed that the Colossians would be continually “bearing fruit in every good work” (Col. 1:10), because Christians were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Finally, the Bible defines fruit as converts to the gospel—not the artificial fruit of superficial “believers,” but genuine disciples who abide in the true vine. Referring to the Samaritans who were coming out to Him from the village of Sychar, many of whom would believe savingly in Him (John 4:39, 41), Jesus said, “Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together” (v. 36). He declared of His sacrificial death, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). Paul expressed his desire to the Christians in Rome to win converts in the imperial capital: “I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles” (Rom. 1:13). At the close of his letter, Paul greeted “Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ” (16:5 nkjv). In 1 Corinthians 16:15 the apostle referred to “the household of Stephanas,” as “the first fruits of Achaia,” while in Colossians 1:6 he rejoiced that “in all the world also it [the gospel; v. 5] is constantly bearing fruit and increasing.” John wrote of the 144,000 evangelists, who will be redeemed during the tribulation, “These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:4).

Another blessing comes in Jesus’ promise If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. That sweeping, all-encompassing promise presupposes that three conditions are met. First, the prayer Jesus promises to answer must be offered in His name; that is, consistent with His person and will, and so that He might display His glory in answering it (cf. the exposition of 14:13–14 in chapter 9 of this volume).

Second, the promise is only to those who abide in (have a permanent union with) Jesus Christ. God does not obligate Himself to answer the prayers of unbelievers, though He may choose to do so if it suits His sovereign purposes.

The final condition is that Christ’s words abide in the person making the request. Words translates the plural form of the noun rhēma, and refers to the individual utterances of Christ. The promise of answered prayer comes only to those whose lives are controlled by the specific commands of God’s Word (cf. Ps. 37:4). On the other hand, both Psalm 66:18 and James 4:3 warn that those controlled by sinful, selfish desires will not have their prayers answered.

The true branches also have the privilege of living lives that glorify God. My Father is glorified by this, Jesus told the disciples, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. The greatest theme in the universe is the glory of God, and to live a life that brings God glory is the believer’s highest privilege and duty. Only those who are in union with Christ can glorify God. Paul wrote, “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me” (Rom. 15:18; cf. 1 Cor. 15:10; Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:29).

Jesus further promised that those who abide in Him will experience His love. Just as the Father has loved Me, He said, I have also loved you; abide in My love. The way to do that is to keep His commandments, just as He kept His Father’s commandments and abides in His love. Righteous obedience is the key to experiencing God’s blessing.

The crowning blessing, to which all the rest contribute, is full and complete joy. The Lord promised to impart to believers His joy—the joy that He shares in intimate fellowship with the Father. These things I have spoken to you, Jesus said to the eleven, so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. The Lord promised that His own joy will permeate and control the lives of those who walk in communion with Him. Just a short time later, Jesus reiterated this promise in His High Priestly Prayer to the Father: “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves” (John 17:13). Such joy comes only to the obedient, as David learned to his sorrow. After his terrible sin with Bathsheba, he cried out, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Ps. 51:12). But the obedient receive “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).[1]


God Glorified … In You

John 15:8–11

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

The connection between John 15:7 and John 15:8 is the connection that the glory of God has with prayer according to the will of God, a connection that we have already seen in John 14:13–14 (“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”). But here the emphasis is different. In John 14 the emphasis was upon prayer itself. That it was to be answered was to be a comfort to the disciples. In John 15 the emphasis is upon the glory of God.

In this text the glorification of God is linked to four elements, each of which should be abundantly visible in the life of each Christian. The elements are: fruitfulness, love, obedience, and joy. Each one is linked to the central theme of the chapter, the need for Christians consciously to remain in Christ, and should receive careful attention.

Fruitfulness

The first of these ideas is fruitfulness, which Jesus highlights by saying, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (v. 8). The flow of thought is that if we are Christ’s and remain in him, then we will be fruitful in the Christian life and God will be glorified in our fruitfulness. Moreover, the fact that we are fruitful will be a proof that we are indeed Christ’s disciples.

At this point we should probably talk about the real meaning of fruitfulness, for if we fail to do that or if we define fruit wrongly, we are inevitably going to discourage some Christians, which we should not do. Let me explain what I mean. If we begin with a phrase like Paul’s words of expectation in writing to the Romans—“that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles” (Rom. 1:13)—and if we therefore identify the fruit of the Christian life with converts to Christ, then we will discourage any who, for whatever reason, do not see many come to the Lord. And we will discourage those who, because of sickness or old age or whatever unfavorable circumstances, are unable to do much and who are therefore made to feel they are useless.

It is true, of course, that these other items may be looked at as fruit in a certain sense. The Bible does so itself. But the real fruit is that listed in Galatians 5:22–23: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” This fruit is the fruit of Christ’s own character within us. It is his love, joy, peace, and so on, within the Christian. Once we see this, we see that a fruitful life can belong to any child of God regardless of his age or circumstances. He or she need not be disheartened by advancing years or by suffering. In fact, the person may even be encouraged by them, for it is in such circumstances that the character of the Lord can shine brightest and others can best see that he is truly his Lord’s disciple.

Do not think that in taking this approach I am denying the need for fruit in the sense of conversions. We obviously need these too. But the starting point, indeed the indispensible heart of the Christian’s witness, is this divine character. Apart from it, the effort to save others is like an apple tree trying to produce other apple trees. It cannot be done in that fashion. First, the apple tree must produce apples. After that the apples, which contain apple seeds, will produce other apple trees.

Love

The second of Christ’s emphases is love. This follows naturally since love is a fruit of the Spirit. In fact, it is the chief fruit, for “the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). Jesus speaks of it saying, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (v. 9).

As I look at that verse I see three parts to it. The first part is a declaration of love: “I have loved you.” We know that these are wonderful words to hear at any time, if they are true. “I love you.” “I have loved you from the moment I first set eyes upon you.” “I will always love you.” This is the basis of any good marriage, when the love expressed is the fullest measure of love. It is the basis of a Christian home in the love between parents and children. In a different sense it is the basis of friendship and certainly of fellowship within the church. But if this is true when the words are spoken by mere men and women, how much more wonderful they are when spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, as here, and when we are the ones loved. This is an astonishing love, for there is nothing in us that could give cause for it. We are sinners. Jesus is holy. We have rebelled against God. Nevertheless, Jesus loves us.

The steps of the expression of his love are these. To begin with, he loved us with an electing love. This is the stage of love revealed in Deuteronomy 7 in relation to Israel: “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you …” (vv. 6–8). He loved you because he loved you. That is the heart and full substance of it. As Spurgeon has written, “Election is based upon affection, and that affection is its own fountain.”

Next, the Lord became a man like us, so great was his love for us. It is written of love in marriage, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Thus did the eternal Son. He left his Father’s home in heaven to come to earth to woo and wed his bride, the church. He redeemed her. The incarnation is Jesus becoming like us so that we might become like him.

Finally, having elected us in love and become like us in a human form, Jesus died for us. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). That is true, and the greatest example of it is the death of Jesus himself. Said Spurgeon, “That laying down of life in our Lord’s case was specially a proof of love, for he died voluntarily; there was no necessity upon him, as upon us, to die. Other men, if they died for us, would but pay the debt of nature a little before its time; but Jesus died who needed not to die, so far as he himself was concerned. He died also amid circumstances of pain, and shame, and desertion, which made that death peculiarly bitter. The death of the cross is to us the highest proof of our Savior’s infinite love of us. He must die the death of a felon, between two thieves, utterly friendless, the object of general ridicule; and this he must do as bearing our sins in his own body. All this makes us say, ‘Behold how he loved us!’ O beloved! can we doubt Christ’s love, since he laid down his life … ?”

It is not only a sublime declaration of love that we have in this verse. We also have the measure of that love; for Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” I suppose that we would rejoice in the love of Christ for us even if his love were but a part-time or half-hearted thing. For him to love us at all would be remarkable. But this is not what he says; nor is it the case. Jesus says that he has loved us, not with an imperfect or even a “perfect” human love, but rather with the greatest love there is; namely, the love which has existed within the being of the Godhead from all eternity and which will exist to all eternity, the love of the Father for him and (we must obviously add) his love for the Father. Is there a greater love than that? It is impossible that there could be. This love is without beginning or end. It is without measure. It is without change. It is according to the measure of this great love, and consequently with that love itself, that Christ loves us.

One thing more. First, we saw Jesus’ declaration of his love for us. Second, we saw the measure of that love. Third, we have the challenge of love, which is, in this case, to “continue” it. If we continue in his love, then we will be remaining in him and prove fruitful.

Obedience

The third word in this catalog of elements contributing to God’s glory is obedience, though it is expressed in a challenge to keep Christ’s commands, as has been done elsewhere. “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (v. 10).

Are we tired of this emphasis by now, this emphasis upon Christ’s commands? I suspect that we are; but if we are, the fault is in us and not the commands. For, as John says in his first epistle, “His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). Then what is wrong? I suspect that what is wrong with us is that we are not really as anxious to do Christ’s commands as we would like to think we are; thus, the emphasis upon obedience (we have had it several times already in the last discourses, and we will have it several times more) exposes our halfhearted commitment to the will of Christ and so gives birth to feelings of true guilt.

What happens to us is precisely what happened to Peter when, following the resurrection, the Lord was recommissioning him to service. Peter had denied the Lord three times in the presence of the servants and soldiers in the courtyard of the high priest. So Christ recommissioned him with a threefold pattern. He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

Peter was aware of his recent failure, but he did love Jesus. So he replied in what I believe to be an air of genuine humility, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

After a short time Jesus asked Peter again, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter replied that he did.

Again Christ gave the commission, “Feed my sheep.”

Finally the Lord asked Peter the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” This time we are told, “Peter was grieved because he asked him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ ”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15–17).

Why was Peter grieved? He was grieved because the third repetition reminded him of his threefold denial and hence awakened grief and true guilt for what he had done. Moreover, the questioning had suggested that perhaps, just perhaps, Peter’s first effusive answer, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,” could not be taken at quite its face value. Peter was always prone to blurt something out, but did he really mean it? Did he mean it enough to take a servant’s role in caring for Christ’s sheep? Did he mean it enough to continue to fulfill this or any other command of Christ until his life’s end? Ah, that was quite a different matter. And Peter, like us, did not enjoy being reminded of his weakness.

We need to be reminded anyway. That is the point of the repetition. “If you love me, obey my commands” (14:15). “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me” (14:21). “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teachings” (14:23). “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love” (15:10). “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (15:14). The point is obvious. We must keep Christ’s commands if we are to be Christ’s disciples and grow in his love.

Let us note one thing further. It is true that we are reminded to obey all that Jesus has given us by way of instruction. But even as he tells us this, Jesus points out that he is asking of us no more than he has already asked and given of himself. “Just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love” is his comparison. We can be encouraged by this, knowing that the One who instructs us has himself set the pattern and will give us strength to do as he requires.

Joy

In the last verse, Jesus introduces the fourth and final element that is to be in us and by which the Father shall be glorified. It is joy. Christ adds it, I am sure, to indicate that his commands actually lead in precisely the opposite direction from being grievous. They lead to the fullness of that joy that is of God and that is rightly listed as the second virtue in the list of the Spirit’s fruit in Galatians. Jesus says of this virtue, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (v. 11).

This sentence speaks of the Christian’s joy in three senses: joy attained, joy abiding, and joy abounding. Joy is to be attained as a result of the things Jesus had been teaching. This is the reason why the Christian must abide in him, so that the views, outlook, and aspirations of the Master will be those of the disciples as well. This is the reason for the twofold repetition of the word “joy”—“my joy” and “your joy.” The joy of Jesus is to be the joy of the disciple. His joy was a wonderful thing, for it was not deterred by suffering or any other circumstance. In fact, it rejoiced in hardship; for we read that Jesus “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). Where did he find that joy? The answer is in his intense desire to do the will of his Father: “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices” (Ps. 16:8–9).

Second, the verse speaks of joy abiding—that “my joy may be [remain] in you.” The point of this phrase is that joy does not necessarily remain. Many things can destroy it. Sin can destroy it. So can disobedience or unbelief. David confessed this in the great fifty-first psalm, crying out to God, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (v. 12). It was not that his salvation was lost, only that the joy had evaporated. This always happens when we become separated from Christ in the sense of having the fellowship that once was ours broken. In contrast to this, we must abide in him; for when we abide in him the joy abides also.

Finally, the verse speaks of abounding joy. This is the meaning of the clause “and that your joy might be complete.” I wish that all Christians were more joyful, and, as I read this verse, I sense that the Lord desires this too. Unfortunately, there are many long faces and dour looks. There is too much defeat, too much unhappiness. It does not need to be that way. Rather we should be able to rejoice in Christ, even in the face of arrest, beatings, crucifixion, and death, as he did.

When joy, linked to fruitfulness, love, and obedience, is found in the life of a Christian, all can see it and know that the source is divine. We can never produce these things. We cannot produce the Spirit’s fruit. We cannot produce love. We cannot produce joy. But Jesus can do it as we abide in him.[2]


Abiding in Christ

John 15:6–11

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:7–8)

As Jesus prepared to depart from his disciples, he taught them a parable consisting of three parts, spelling out the conditions of their spiritual fruitfulness in his absence. The first two parts depicted God’s provision on our behalf. First, Jesus would himself be “the true vine,” securing by his obedience eternal life to give to those who come to him in faith. Second, the Father would be the vinedresser, tending to our spiritual growth primarily by pruning the fruitful branches. Both of these are divine actions, accomplished for our benefit by God’s grace.

The third element of the parable presents believers’ responsibility. In order to bear fruit as living branches, Christians are commanded to abide in Christ. “Abide in me, and I in you,” Jesus said. “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).

The Meaning of Abide

Jesus’ teaching on abiding in him is evidently of great importance, as seen not only by the fact that Jesus taught this parable on so pivotal an occasion as the night of his departure but also in the extended treatment he gave to the subject. It is clearly important for Christians to understand what it means to abide in Christ. The Greek verb meno means “to dwell or remain.” J. C. Ryle explains how it speaks of our relationship with Christ:

To abide in Christ means to keep up a habit of constant close communion with Him, to be always leaning on Him, resting on Him, pouring out our hearts to Him, and using Him as our Fountain of life and strength, as our chief Companion and best Friend. To have His words abiding in us, is to keep His sayings and precepts continually before our memories and minds, and to make them the guide of our actions, and the rule of our daily conduct and behavior.

Jesus amplifies his own teaching by relating our abiding in him, first, to our resting in his love: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love” (John 15:9). This informs us that the Christian who abides in Christ is one who believes, trusts, relies on, and rests within Christ’s love for his own. Even while Christ’s love for his disciples is unbroken, it is still possible for Christians to “live without being mindful of Christ’s love for them and so break the closeness of their fellowship.” This is why Jesus urges us to remain in his love. John wrote of this in his first epistle, emphasizing that “we know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16 niv). To be a Christian is to know the love of God in Christ, who died on the cross for our sins. To abide in Christ is then to rely on that love, so that in all things we draw near to him, look to him in faith, and confidently expect his saving grace to be at work in our lives. Jesus has proved his love for us forever on the cross; now we are to abide in his love.

Jesus points out to us an analogy between his relationship of love with the Father and our relationship of love with him: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9). This reminds us that Jesus’ love for us consists of more than mercy and compassion, since the Father does not pity the Son but rather delights in the Son, approves of his Son, and desires the fellowship of his Son. Likewise, then, Jesus delights in his people, approves of those who are cleansed by his blood (1 John 1:7), and delights in those whom he takes as his disciples.

How many Christians are paralyzed in their spiritual lives by a dread of Christ’s disfavor and disapproval. They see a constantly frowning face in heaven. But Jesus says that his love for us is like the Father’s love for him. We might say that Jesus not only loves us but likes us. Indeed, the primary biblical metaphor for Christ’s love for the church is that of a groom for his bride. A groom longs for his bride with great delight and piercing joy. The Bible tells us that since believers are robed in the perfect imputed righteousness of Christ (Gen. 3:21; 2 Cor. 5:21), then “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isa. 62:5). No man marries a woman simply because he feels sorry for her, and Jesus’ love for us is one of joy in fellowship, delighting in our redeemed persons for his own sake.

Christians who know and rely on Christ’s love will respond by obeying his commands. This is the second relationship that Jesus identifies with abiding in him: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:10).

Jesus is not saying that we are saved by obedience, since we are saved by faith alone in his perfect saving work for us. What he is saying is that as we rely on his love for us and respond with loving obedience to his commandments, the result is that we are drawn near to abide in his love. Ours should be the grateful, devoted attitude of David in Psalm 40:8: “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” The source of this submitted will is our knowledge of God’s love for us, and its effect is our abiding in Christ.

These very words were ascribed to Jesus in the New Testament (Heb. 10:7), so that his obedient love to the Father sets the pattern for our obedient love to him: “just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:10). Jesus took great pleasure on earth in showing his love to the Father by obeying his commands. Likewise, our love for Christ and our abiding in him involves the submission of our will to his will, so that on the path of obedience that Jesus himself walked we have close fellowship with him. Realizing this, we are warned against thinking that abiding in Christ manifests itself in mystical experiences. Instead, abiding in Christ manifests itself in devoted obedience to his Word. Jesus is describing a lifestyle of abiding in him that moves from love to love. In the fourth chapter of his first epistle, John enlarges on this theme, stating that “in this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). Our defining reality as Christians, he says, is God’s love for us in Christ and Christ’s love for us on the cross. Both the Father and the Son continue to love us so that believers live through Christ, abiding in his love, living for his pleasure, and accepting his will as our own. John sums up the Christian life, saying, “We love because he first loved us” (4:19), and the way that we show our love is through joyful obedience to Jesus’ commands.

This mentality was displayed by the aged bishop Polycarp, when the Roman proconsul urged him to renounce Jesus in order to escape being thrown to the beasts in the arena. Polycarp answered, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” Every Christian should reason likewise: what wrong has Jesus ever done so that I might disobey the commands of him who loved me so?

Abiding in Christ Delivers Us from Judgment

Having defined abiding in him in terms of his love and our obedience, Jesus also sets before the disciples four great results that ensue from our abiding in him. The first is that abiding in Christ delivers us from the judgment of God. Jesus expressed this truth in negative terms, speaking of false professors who do not abide in him: “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:6).

Throughout the New Testament, fire is used to depict the torments awaiting those who stand under God’s judgment for sin. An important example is Jesus’ parable of the weeds in Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus said that he has planted his good seed in his field, but the evil one has come and planted weeds there also. The weeds in that parable represent false professors and correspond to the fruitless branches in John 15. Jesus said that we should not concern ourselves with trying to sort the wheat from the weeds, but that we should leave the task for when the harvester comes. He explained, “The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:39–42). This is one of many places where hell is described as a place of personal, physical, and perpetual torment as God’s just penalty for sins (see Matt. 3:12; 5:22; 7:19; Mark 9:47; etc.).

Jesus speaks here of God’s judgment not on sinners generally but on professing believers who did not possess his saving life and bear good fruit. In the context of the Farewell Discourse, we think of Judas Iscariot as the classic example of a false professor who was first removed and then condemned by God. Jesus referred to him as the “son of destruction” (John 17:12), that is, one doomed to eternal judgment for his betrayal of Christ.

The Old Testament background for Jesus’ teaching on the burning of the fruitless branches is Ezekiel 15:1–6. The prophet pointed out that the wood of the vine is good for nothing unless it bears fruit. “Is wood taken from it to make anything? Do people take a peg from it to hang any vessel on it?” he asked (15:3). The wood of the vine is so useless that it will not even serve as a peg. Therefore, if it will not bear fruit, it can be used only for fire, and even then it burns too quickly. Since the vine was a symbol of Israel, this was a warning of God’s judgment, which soon fell on fruitless Jerusalem through the siege of Nebuchadnezzar and the city’s destruction. God warned, “Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (15:6).

Christians should look on the fall of Jerusalem and realize how useless to God is fruitless religion. A profession of faith in Christ is of no interest to God unless it goes on to bear the fruit of a godly life, and such an empty profession of faith renders us fit only for the fires of God’s judgment. It was with this in mind that James wrote that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). He did not mean that we are saved by a combination of faith and works, but rather that saving faith is always a faith that goes on to bear the fruit of good works, along with a changed life. According to Jesus, then, false professors of faith will sooner or later be taken away by God (John 15:2), and they will ultimately be subjected to God’s fire, all because they never truly embraced Jesus as Savior and therefore died without their sins’ being forgiven.

In contrast, to abide in Christ is to be delivered from God’s judgment, since the branches that abide in him bear fruit through their possession of saving life. How urgent it is that every professing believer actually abide in Christ—relying on his love, living in close fellowship with Jesus, and bearing the good fruit of obedience to the commands of the Bible—which is the only kind of faith that actually saves us from the just wrath of God on our sins.

Abiding in Christ Leads to Power in Prayer

A second result is that abiding in Christ leads to power in prayer. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you,” Jesus taught, “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).

This promise is essentially the same as the one made in John 14:13–14: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” The difference here is the nuance of Christ’s words abiding in us. Jesus earlier said that if we ask in his name, he will answer our prayers; now he insists that we must pray with his Word abiding in us.

A. W. Pink explains that Jesus refers here to a life that is “regulated by the Scriptures.” Jesus speaks of his “words,” which refers to “the precepts and promises of Scripture personally appropriated, fed upon by faith, hidden in the heart.… It is … constant and habitual communion with God through the Word, until its contents become the substance of our innermost beings.”

In God’s Word we find that Jesus tells us not to expect comfortable circumstances or the absence of trials and temptations. What we should seek is faith to trust Christ, strength to obey God’s will, grace to transform our lives, and compassion to care for a lost world. In John 15, Jesus has stressed the vital importance that we abide in him, relying on his love and obeying his commands. Surely abiding in him, then, is something for which we should pray, with confidence that Jesus has promised to bless prayers that are offered according to his Word. According to Jesus’ promise, whenever we pray for the priorities he has taught in Scripture, we should pray with an absolute certainty of divine answers. Do we pray for grace to believe, for compassion on the lost world so that we will witness the gospel, or for courage to stand against the pressures of the world and of sin? We must pray for these things, and when we pray Jesus’ own words back to our Lord, when his teaching forms the substance of our pleas, we can be assured that they will be heard with favor in heaven.

If we wonder why we do not seem to enjoy greater power in prayer, we are given a vital clue in this passage. Perhaps our lack of power in prayer stems from a lack of abiding in Christ and in his Word. F. B. Meyer writes: “If you abide in Christ in daily fellowship, it will not be difficult to pray aright, for He has promised to abide in those who abide in Him; and the sap of the Holy Ghost securing for you fellowship with your unseen Lord, will produce in you, as fruit, desires and petitions similar to those which He unceasingly presents to His Father.” The “secret” to power in prayer, then, is to live closely enough to Christ that our own desires, expressed in prayer, have been molded by his Word.

An example of how abiding in Christ works with prayer was given by Corrie ten Boom in one story of her poor but godly father, Casper. Living under Nazi occupation in Holland, their family faced many difficulties and great poverty. On one occasion, they had prayed for God to send a customer to buy a watch so that they could pay their overdue bills. A customer did come, picking out a quite expensive watch, and casually remarked as he paid that another merchant had sold him a defective watch. Corrie’s father asked the man whether he could examine that watch, and pointed out that only a minor repair was needed. He assured the man that he had been sold a fine-quality watch by the other merchant and gave his money back as the man returned the watch that he had been going to buy.

Little Corrie asked, “Papa, why did you do that? Aren’t you worried about the bills you have due?” Her father replied that it would not honor the Lord to allow another man’s reputation to be wrongly harmed, especially since the other merchant was a believer. He assured the little girl that God would provide, and just a few days later a man came and bought the most expensive watch they had, the sale of which not only paid their bills but also paid for two years of Corrie’s education. How simple it would have been for Casper to take the man’s money and claim God’s answer to prayer! But he put obedience to Christ first, and then did not lack for anything, since abiding in Christ produced not only obedience but also great power in prayer.

Abiding in Christ Glorifies the Father

The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins by telling us that man’s chief end is “to glorify God.” This highlights the importance of the third result of abiding in Christ, that in this way we glorify the Father. Jesus added, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8).

This is an important statement, first, because it reminds us that we “prove” our discipleship by bearing fruit to the Lord. Jesus adds that the same fruit that grants us assurance of salvation also brings glory to the Father. This indicates that if we are not abiding in Christ and bearing the fruit of changed lives, then we are denying God glory that ought to be his. It is easy for us to speak of praising God and to sing hallelujahs, but the way that God especially desires to be glorified in us is by our transformed lives. That our lives might contribute to the glory of the one, true, and eternal God ought to fill our hearts with wonder and amazement. Moreover, that we might give something back to the God who has given his own Son for our salvation ought to spur us with great zeal for the glory of the Father.

Christ’s fruit in our life glorifies the Father before the holy angels, who Peter says long to look into the things of the gospel (1 Peter 1:12). Our changed lives vindicate God’s saving purpose before the accusations of the devil. Back in the garden, God cursed Satan, declaring that he would be made to eat dust (Gen. 3:14). One of the chief ways in which God feeds the Serpent dust is by first forgiving our sin through Christ’s blood and then actually making us holy, so that even Satan must glorify God in our salvation. The fruit of our lives further glorifies God before the watching world. Gordon Keddie writes that even the hard-hearted world “cannot but see the hand of God in the saving change of an otherwise corrupt and condemned sinner.” The unbeliever “may pour contempt on his friend who is converted and gives up his former wicked ways, but he knows somehow that he protests too much and is really covering a deeper amazement at a change that he cannot explain.”

When Jesus says that our fruit proves our discipleship, a corollary principle is that many professing Christians lack assurance and peace in their salvation, some living with great doubt and fear, because they are careless about abiding in Christ. Ryle observes, “Men are content with a little Christianity, and a little fruit of the Spirit, and do not labour to be ‘holy in all manner of conversation’ (1 Peter 1:15). They must not wonder if they enjoy little peace, feel little hope, and leave behind them little evidence.” The way for us to receive the most benefit from our faith is the same way that we are of maximum usefulness to the Lord: if we will abide in Christ, we will bear much fruit so as both to glorify the Father and to prove our discipleship.

Abiding in Christ Fills Us with Joy

Fourth, Jesus states that abiding in Christ fills us with joy: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). The world insists that turning from sin to follow Christ is bound to take all the pleasure out of life. Jesus insists that exactly the opposite is in fact true. The way to possess true and abiding joy—not the joy of the world, but what Jesus calls “my joy”—is to abide in him.

It is obvious from this that we may fail to know the joy that ought to be ours. We lose our joy when our fellowship with Christ is broken through worldly distractions. Disobedience and unbelief steal our joy. This is why David pleaded in his great prayer of repentance, “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Ps. 51:11–12). David missed the spiritual joy that he had previously known, and he pleaded with God not only to forgive him but also to restore his presence and therefore his joy. Jesus found his joy in pleasing the Father through obedience. Leon Morris comments: “It is not cheerless, barren existence that Jesus plans for his people. But the joy of which he speaks comes only as they are wholehearted in their obedience to his commands.”

Jesus stated his desire that by abiding in him, “your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Jesus was not speaking here of a fairy-tale happiness in which all our worldly dreams come true. Jesus never promised a carefree life to his followers, but he did offer us fullness of joy as his life grows in us. Hebrews 12:2 says that “for the joy that was set before him” Jesus endured the cross, so that even that great baptism of suffering could not snuff out the eternal flame of his joy. Abiding in him, as a living branch in the true vine, we experience his life flowing into us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, so that our deep experience of blessing matures into the rich wine of spiritual joy as we abide in him.

Do you find that you long for the fullness of Christ’s joy in your life? It is evident that Jesus longs for this, too. Indeed, there can be no greater object in love than for the One we adore to have joy in our fellowship. We do not need to live joyless lives, but we do need to abide in Christ, relishing his love, offering our obedience in return, and then abounding in the perfect divine joy that he has eternally possessed and that he delights to give to those who abide in him.[3]


9. As the Father hath loved me. He intended to express something far greater than is commonly supposed; for they who think that he now speaks of the sacred love of God the Father, which he always had towards the Son, philosophise away from the subject; for it was rather the design of Christ to lay, as it were, in our bosom a sure pledge of God’s love towards us. That abstruse inquiry, as to the manner in which the Father always loved himself in the Son, has nothing to do with the present passage. But the love which is here mentioned must be understood as referring to us, because Christ testifies that the Father loves him, as he is the Head of the Church. And this is highly necessary for us; for he who, without a Mediator, inquires how he is loved by God, involves him in a labyrinth, in which he will neither discover the entrance, nor the means of extricating himself. We ought therefore to cast our eyes on Christ, in whom will be found the testimony and pledge of the love of God; for the love of God was fully poured out on him, that from him it might flow to his members. He is distinguished by this title, that he is the beloved Son, in whom the will of the Father is satisfied, (Matth. 3:17.) But we ought to observe the end, which is, that God may accept us in him. So, then, we may contemplate in him, as in a mirror, God’s paternal love towards us all; because he is not loved apart, or for his own private advantage, but that he may unite us with him to the Father.

Abide in my love. Some explain this to mean, that Christ demands from his disciples mutual love; but others explain it better, who understand it to mean the love of Christ towards us. He means that we should continually enjoy that love with which he once loved us, and, therefore, that we ought to take care not to deprive ourselves of it; for many reject the grace which is offered to them, and many throw away what they once had in their hands. So, then, since we have been once received into the grace of Christ, we must see that we do not fall from it through our own fault.

The conclusion which some draw from these words, that there is no efficacy in the grace of God, unless it be aided by our stedfastness, is frivolous. For I do not admit that the Spirit demands from us no more than what is in our own power, but he shows us what we ought to do, that, if our strength be deficient, we may seek it from some other quarter. In like manner, when Christ exhorts us, in this passage, to perseverance, we must not rely on our own strength and industry, but we ought to pray to him who commands us, that he would confirm us in his love.[4]


9–10 The measure of the Father’s love for the Son is the measure of the Son’s love for the disciples. Since the Son lived a life of perfect obedience and spoke only what the Father told him to speak (8:28; 12:50), it is not surprising that the Father’s love for the Son would be duplicated in the love of the Son for his disciples. The responsibility of the disciples is to “remain in [his] love” (cf. the parallel in Jude 21, “Keep yourselves in God’s love”).

How this is accomplished is clearly set forth in the following sentence: “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love” (v. 10). Love for God is defined in 1 John 5:3 as “obeying his commands.” The model for Christian obedience is the obedience of the Son (“just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands”). Christian ethics are integrally related to the person and conduct of Jesus himself. Obedience should not be thought of as simply compliance with a set of regulations but as wholehearted commitment to a way of life springing from and expressing the very nature of God. Obedience is not burdensome. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt 11:30). Satan wants to make us think of obedience as restrictive and palpably unfair (cf. Ge 3:1–5); in actuality, obedience frees us to become everything that someday we will rejoice to be. In the meantime we will find that the enjoyment of each day is determined by our willingness to allow our lives to be directed by the express will of God.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (pp. 146–151). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 1171–1176). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 2, pp. 291–300). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[4] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 2, pp. 112–113). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 576). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

February 5 Talking to God

scripture reading: Jeremiah 33:1–3
key verse: Ephesians 1:18

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

The Hebrew word used for “mighty” in God’s dialogue with the prophet Jeremiah is the same word that described the fortified cities of Canaan. Is there a connection?

The Israelites’ success in conquering Canaan and enjoying its fruit was linked to their ability to destroy the walled fortifications. That happened as they depended on God.

Your progress in knowing and obeying God and realizing His blessing in every detail of your life likewise hinges on receiving His wisdom and power. Prayer is the supernatural means by which Christ unveils His sovereign counsel and mind, giving you the direction and insight you need for yourself, your family, and your career.

Such treasures are discovered only through communion with God. They are not available to a prayerless person who is a walled fortress of mere intellect or good intentions.

Would you like the God of creation to show you great and mighty things? Is your life stuck in a rut, void of God’s power and presence, lacking His loving, wise touch? If so, call on Him. Whether His answer is “yes,” “no,” or “wait,” you can overcome your problem or reach your goal through His reply.

Dear Lord, help me conquer every walled fortification of the enemy in my life. Get me out of my rut. Show me great and mighty things.[1]


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