Daily Archives: March 16, 2019

March 16 Overcoming Obstacles to Victory

Scripture Reading: Joshua 6:1–20

Key Verse: Joshua 6:5

It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.

It was huge, and it stood in their way. As Joshua looked at the fortifications of Jericho, he realized that taking the city was no small task, especially with the seemingly impenetrable wall that stood before him.

However, God promised Joshua that Israel would triumph, and Joshua believed Him. Joshua 6:5 records God’s command: “It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”

For generations to come, the children of Israel would ask about the onslaught at Jericho, to which their parents would respond that it was by shouts and trumpet blasts that the walls were destroyed, because the power of God was with them. No battering ram technology, no modern warfare strategy was necessary—only obedience. The lesson for you remains that God has a way for you to overcome every obstacle by His power. It may not be what you expect, but it is exactly what is needed.

As Theodore Parker prayed, “Give me, Lord, eyes to behold the truth; a seeing sense that knows the eternal right; a heart with pity filled, and gentlest truth; a manly faith that makes all darkness light.”

Lord, You are the Creator, the innovator in the face of the impossible. I give You all my obstacles, for I know that You alone can overcome them.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 79). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

March 16 God’s Workmanship

Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:34–40

Key Verse: Matthew 22:40

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Some evangelicals espouse the warped view that loving ourselves is selfish and wrong.

While Christians obviously are called to love God and others, loving ourselves in a biblical, nonnarcissistic fashion fosters a healthy spiritual balance. We love ourselves properly when we see ourselves as God sees us.

God declares His children to be His workmanship. He views us as men and women of inestimable worth—valuable enough to execute His own Son on our behalf.

Your clothes, home, car, work, and friends do not determine your worth. God does. He values you so much that He desires to spend eternity with you.

We also love ourselves rightly when we treat ourselves properly. As God’s masterpieces, we should take care of ourselves. Our bodies need balanced nutrition and exercise. Our personal grooming should be neat. We polish our furniture and wax our cars because they are objects of worth to us. Are we not worth more than they?

You are God’s good and lovely creation. The more you affirm God’s evaluation of yourself, the more you will adore Him and love others.

O God, You have declared me to be of inestimable worth. Help me view myself as You see me—valuable enough to execute Your own Son on my behalf.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 79). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

‘Fake dossier’: US Justice Department official warned FBI of Trump-Russia dossier’s bias

Recently-released testimony from a US Justice Department official sheds new light on the Steele Dossier. Bruce Ohr says he warned the FBI that it was likely “biased” against the US President. RT LIVE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFAcqaNzNSc Check out http://rt.com Subscribe to RT!

9Marks, SBC Leaders to Speak at Cultural Marxism Conference — Pulpit & Pen

Jonathan Leeman is the editorial director at 9Marx, the ministry founded by Mark Dever that once focused on helping local churches with their ecclesiology but now is a ‘woke’ Social Justice organization. Isaac Adams ia pastor at Dever’s church, Capitol Hill Baptist (he’s also a writer at Humble Beast, a hip-hop artist collective with dubious morality).

Also speaking is Ron Burns (he changed his name to Thabiti Anyabwile when he became a black nationalist) who has repeatedly maligned police officers, defended violent criminals because of their skin color, and endorsed Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary and Hillary Clinton in the presidential general election. Burns’ wife will also be speaking.

Along with the 9Marx pastors and Ron Burns, will be Isaac Adams, a Critical Race Theorist from Wheaton College. While lamenting the election of President Trump, Adams wrote that “white religious traditionalists” working with Muslims and liberal black Christians is an “overlooked gospel imperative” (source link). Leon Brown, another Critical Race Theorist who wrote for Alliance for Confession Evangelicals against ‘color blindness.’

Brian Davis, who has contributed to both The Social Gospel Coalition and 9Marx, will be speaking at the conference as well. Davis is on record at TGC of urging Christians to deprioritize agreement on social and political issues, just one in a long line of writers at TGC who urge Christians to build alliances based on ‘racial reconciliation’ rather than a Biblical worldview. Along with Davis will be a radical liberal, Judy Wu Dominick who wrote in Christianity Today that the election of Donald Trump made her “stand alone and weep.” In that post at CT, she also advocates for “reparations” (you’ll have to pay for the whole article).

Christina Edmondson – a “diversity consultant” will be speaking at the event. She helps churches understand their “privilege” and how it relates to sin, according to this interview. Her husband, Mika, is also speaking. Mika has claimed on Twitter that rejecting Social Justice is parallel to endorsing slavery. Korie Edwards will also be speaking. She is a profession of sociology at Ohio State University and helps run the Religious Diversity Initiative. She is author of the book, The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches, a book that attacks interracial churches, and claims that segregated churches are what’s best for believers.

Justin Giboney is an attorney and political strategist. He is a Democrat whose ambition is to convince evangleicals that there is a “third way” for those who want to be religious, but still want to be a part of the DNC. He is an elected delegate (2012 and 2016) for the Democratic National Convention. Giboney’s goal is to get as many evangelicals as possible to vote Democrat.

Irwyn Ince, president of the Reconciliation and Justice Network, will also be speaking with the 9Marx leaders. That organization claims that social “justice and reconciliation are core elements of the Gospel.”

Along with the Cultural Marxists and Democrat operatives already mentioned, other speakers include more renown leftists including Eric Mason, Jarvis Williams, Jemar Tisby, and Jackie Hill Perry.

The event advertises…

No conversation about reconciliation should be had without the entire family. Just Gospel is a family reunion—with a purpose! Join brothers and sisters from across ethnic, cultural, class, gender and political backgrounds to press for deeper unity in Christ. On day one, we’ll explore reconciliation in Christ across ethnic lines. On day two, we’ll discuss the power of the gospel to reconcile genders in Christ. Day three, we’ll consider how Christ holds us together across political differences.

Of 34 speakers on the website, three are Caucasian. These include 9 Marks’ Jonathan Leeman and JD Greear, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. The third is Garrett Kell, who is a contributor to the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Kell was also a staff member at Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

From what we can tell, there’s not a Republican among them. So much for diversity, I guess…

via 9Marks, SBC Leaders to Speak at Cultural Marxism Conference — Pulpit & Pen

March 17 – Born again — Reformed Perspective

…since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; – 1 Peter 1:23

Scripture reading: John 3

I read a story about an old church that sat empty and abandoned for a long time in a rundown neighborhood. The decaying building blended naturally into the whole area. Storefronts were boarded up. An old school building was padlocked. The place was grim, unswept, forgotten. Then one night everything changed. The old church was lit up. Parked cars lined the streets. The sound of music filled the air. What had been dead and abandoned had come to life. There have been many people like this old church, spiritually dark, empty, and without any life. Then, as if someone turned on a switch, they came to life!

What makes such a radical change in a person’s life? God makes His people born again by His Holy Spirit! The new birth gives us a new nature as well as a new and living hope (1 Peter 1:3). Peter explains that the new birth comes through the living and abiding word of God. By the Word(logos), he means “God’s self-revelation,” which would include both His spoken message of the Old Testament and the message of the gospel through Christ, our great prophet in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:1). God’s Word is living because it gives life to all who hear it and respond to it in faith. Has the Bible made an impact on your life? Does it continue to make an impact especially on this day of worship? God’s Word is life to all who respond to its message!

Suggestions for prayer

Praise God for the new birth and that He does not leave us dead in our trespasses and sins. Ask the Lord to enable His Word to have a continual impact on your life by His Holy Spirit.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB.

via March 17 – Born again — Reformed Perspective

ECFA Finally Suspends Harvest Bible Chapel’s Accreditation — Julie Roys

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has suspended Harvest Bible Chapel‘s accreditation following my report last week of gross misappropriation of church funds to support James MacDonald‘s lavish lifestyle. Also last week, I confronted the ECFA for continuing to accredit Harvest despite my repeated appeals to the organization to investigate financial impropriety at the church.

On Friday, the ECFA released a statement announcing that Harvest may no longer represent that it is an ECFA member or display ECFA’s membership seal. The ECFA also said that because of new information, it has “concerns” that the church may be “in serious violation” of four of ECFA’s Seven Standards.

It’s stunning to me that it has taken this long for the ECFA to act. For example, in December, I reported that Harvest had used funds donated to Walk in the Word, MacDonald’s broadcast ministry, to pay for a deer herd at Camp Harvest in Michigan. This, despite the fact that MacDonald had claimed in a video formerly posted to the Walk in the Word website that “every dollar” donors give to Walk in the Word “goes directly into buying the airtime to get out the good news of Jesus Christ.” This was a blatant violation of ECFA Standard 7.2, which states: “Statements made about the use of gifts by an organization in its charitable gift appeals must be honored.”

Similarly, in February, I reported an admission by MacDonald that Harvest had taken $300,000-$350,000 more per year than “was reasonable” from Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF), the church’s former church planting network, to reimburse the church for alleged “shared services.”  I also reported MacDonald’s admission that Harvest had “used HBF money that was designated to cash flow other things.”

The fact that ECFA didn’t discover these violations itself is bad enough. But the fact that the group failed to act even after I reported these glaring violations is inexcusable. What it took to finally force the group’s hand was my report that MacDonald had funded African safaris, Florida vacations, and other luxury purchases with church funds. And even then, it took nearly a week for the group to act!

Given this stunning example of ECFA’s failure, I can’t imagine how anyone could put any trust in the group’s ability to hold any church or ministry “accountable” as it claims. ECFA President Dan Busby has a lot of explaining to do. I am still waiting for a response from Busby to my request for an interview.

Below is the ECFA’s complete statement about Harvest Bible Chapel, as well as its Seven Standards.

Statement From ECFA President Dan Busby

Regarding Harvest Bible Chapel Accreditation Status

“Based on information received March 11, ECFA’s board of directors has suspended Harvest Bible Chapel’s membership effective March 14, 2019.

“On November 28, 2018, ECFA opened a formal investigation of Harvest Bible Chapel to review their compliance of ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. During a site visit to the church in December, we thoroughly examined the information made available to us and believed the church was in compliance with our standards.

“Given the emergence of new information, we have concerns the church may be in serious violation of ECFA Standards 2, 3, 4, and 6. During the indefinite suspension, the church may not represent that they are an ECFA member or display ECFA’s membership seal. The investigation has been and will remain ongoing during the suspension as we work to determine whether Harvest Bible Chapel should be terminated, advised of the steps necessary to come into full compliance or whether they are in fact in compliance with our standards and should, therefore, be restored to full membership.”

ECFA’s Seven Standards

Standard 1 – Doctrinal Issues – Every organization shall subscribe to a written statement of faith clearly affirming a commitment to the evangelical Christian faith or shall otherwise demonstrate such commitment, and shall operate in accordance with biblical truths and practices.
Standard 2 – Governance – Every organization shall be governed by a responsible board of not less than five individuals, a majority of whom shall be independent, who shall meet at least semiannually to establish policy and review its accomplishments.
Standard 3 – Financial Oversight – Every organization shall prepare complete and accurate financial statements. The board or a committee consisting of a majority of independent members shall approve the engagement of an independent certified public accountant, review the annual financial statements, and maintain appropriate communication with the independent certified public accountant. The board shall be apprised of any material weaknesses in internal control or other significant risks.
Standard 4 – Use of Resources and Compliance with Laws – Every organization shall exercise the appropriate management and controls necessary to provide reasonable assurance that all of the organization’s operations are carried out and resources are used in a responsible manner and in conformity with applicable laws and regulations, such conformity taking into account biblical mandates.
Standard 5 – Transparency – Every organization shall provide a copy of its current financial statements upon written request and shall provide other disclosures as the law may require. The financial statements required to comply with Standard 3 must be disclosed under this standard. An organization must provide a report, upon written request, including financial information on any specific project for which it has sought or is seeking gifts.
Standard 6 – Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions – Every organization shall set compensation of its top leader and address related-party transactions in a manner that demonstrates integrity and propriety in conformity with ECFA’s Policy for Excellence in Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions.
Standard 7 – Stewardship of Charitable Gifts –
7.1 Truthfulness in Communications. In securing charitable gifts, all representations of fact, descriptions of the financial condition of the organization, or narratives about events must be current, complete, and accurate. References to past activities or events must be appropriately dated. There must be no material omissions or exaggerations of fact, use of misleading photographs, or any other communication which would tend to create a false impression or misunderstanding.
7.2 Giver Expectations and Intent. Statements made about the use of gifts by an organization in its charitable gift appeals must be honored. A giver’s intent relates both to what was communicated in the appeal and to any instructions accompanying the gift, if accepted by the organization. Appeals for charitable gifts must not create unrealistic expectations of what a gift will actually accomplish.
7.3 Charitable Gift Communication. Every organization shall provide givers appropriate and timely gift acknowledgments.
7.4 Acting in the Best Interest of Givers. When dealing with persons regarding commitments on major gifts, an organization’s representatives must seek to guide
and advise givers to adequately consider their broad interests. An organization must make every effort to avoid knowingly accepting a gift from, or entering into a contract with, a giver that would place a hardship on the giver or place the giver’s future well-being in jeopardy.
7.5 Percentage Compensation for Securing Charitable Gifts. An organization may not base compensation of outside stewardship resource consultants or its own staff directly or indirectly on a percentage of charitable contributions raised.

via ECFA Finally Suspends Harvest Bible Chapel’s Accreditation — Julie Roys

Killing Worship: The Experience (Part 1) — The Aquila Report

The pastor seemed to teach that God dropped the promise into Abraham. I was genuinely confused with what he was saying. The sermon then rehearsed Abraham’s stumbling along the way, as the next “Off-Roading Observation” called us to live our lives out-loud. As I was trying to figure out what he meant by this, all of the sudden, the lights went out, and the pastor had an imaginary conversation with God. God’s voice came out of the speakers and the pastor, pretending to be Abraham, had a real life imaginary conversation with God.


Years ago I was challenged by a churchgoer that I have no right to critique another church’s worship unless I have personally attended and witnessed for myself what is happening. I took this challenge and visited the local evangelical church in which thousands from the community were attending. The church adopted the Saddleback model of worship that still is, to this day, the common practice of many churches in the United States.

As I made my way to the worship center, I couldn’t help but to be impressed with what felt like a giant theater. I estimate that a few thousand seats were set up. There were a lot of grey haired baby-boomers. Families in general did not sit together. In fact, I really didn’t see very many families. There was a giant youth center next door where most of the young people gathered while the main service was happening.

I tried to discern a general liturgy or order of worship. This was a challenge. There was a worship team with three ladies, a band, and lead singer. The worship leader read a few verses from a Psalm that I assumed was to be some form of a call to worship. We then spent the first 25 minutes singing praise songs.

Read More 

via Killing Worship: The Experience (Part 1) — The Aquila Report

Thabiti Anyabwile Says Opposing Reparations for Blacks Comes From the Devil — Reformation Charlotte

Thabiti Anyabwile is the pastor of Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. and a council member for The Gospel Coalition. He is a leading voice in an aberrant movement in the visible Church that is calling for Christians to take up the cause of social justice, primarily through this outlet. The movement, as predicted by discerning Christians, has taken a stark turn toward a highly anti-gospel end and Thabiti is now calling not just for monetary reparations, but reparations as atonement for generational sins.

Thabiti is a spiritually dangerous man, yet he’s lauded as a prominent voice in conservative evangelical circles. He’s a regular speaker at The Gospel Coalition conferences, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and various other Evangelical and Southern Baptist events. Conservative churches promote his books and as a former associate of Mark Dever, esteem him as a credible voice on the spiritual health of churches and their members.

The reality is, Thabiti has introduced and continues to push one of the most sinister of spiritual poisons — not only that Christ’s sacrifice is insufficient to atone for sins, but that people of a certain skin color are guilty by that very virtue of generational sins.

In a series of tweets, Thabiti calls on the country to pay monetary reparations to blacks and connects reparations to personal atonement and essentially says that opposition to this line of thinking comes from the devil. He tweets,

thabiti anyabwile on twitter reparations money idolatry

So, for people who believe that it’s the mission of the church not to seek economic equality for one ethnic group at the expense of another, but to preach the gospel to to the lost, Thabiti says is idolatry. There was an entire statement written up — one that transcends ethnic divides, mind you — that opposes this line of thinking. The drafters of this statement are some of the most faithful expositors of the Word of God alive today, men like John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Voddie Baucham, and others. But to Thabiti, these men are idolaters of mammon.

He continues,

thabiti on twitter blaming white people for slavery

Nobody has argued that there was never any wrongdoing. Thabiti is making a false argument here — one that has absolutely no grounding in reality. What we deny is Thabiti’s notion of guilt by proxy — that white people today are guilty of racism and wrongdoing because of the past. This is not biblical and is a spiritually dangerous assertion.

Now here, he poses three loaded questions, “was a wrong committed?” “is it right to right the wrong?” and “what does God in His Word require of me to right the wrong?”

The book of Galatians teaches teaches that trying to “right your own wrongs” brings a curse upon you. “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

Here’s what’s really shocking though. He says wants more than just your tax dollars, he wants your “freedom from guilt.” Look here, he says that if the country will pay reparations to blacks, we can be “freed from our guilt.” In other words, in a statement that sounds a lot more like Roman Catholic indulgences than any doctrine derived from Scripture, he says you can atone for your sins with money.

First, to imply that anyone is guilty of sin that he did not commit is ungodly dangerous. Isaiah 5:20 says “woe to those” who would ascribe evil to good and vice versa. It’s sad that we give man of such prominence such a loud voice and pedestal to continue to push this profane reasoning. But he didn’t stop there. He actually implies that those of us who oppose this movement are of Satan.

Another leading voice in the reparations camp is Jemar Tisby who also teaches the efficacy of reparations as self-atonement. Why we continue to associate with these types is astounding. What they teach is foreign to historical, biblical orthodox Christianity and and certainly found nowhere in Scripture.

via Thabiti Anyabwile Says Opposing Reparations for Blacks Comes From the Devil — Reformation Charlotte

AOC Mocks God:”What Good Are Your Prayers When They Don’t Keep Pews Safe?”” | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

49 people were just ruthlessly gunned down at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is using it as an opportunity to mock God.

As you will see below, in response to the mass shootings she posed this question on Twitter: “What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?”  Conservatives were obviously her intended target, but her statement implies that either God won’t listen to our prayers and stop these terror attacks or that He simply can’t do it because He lacks the power to do so.  Either way, her statement is a direct attack on God and believers all across America are deeply, deeply offended by her statement.

What just happened in New Zealand is yet another example that demonstrates that the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis is rapidly disappearing.  Shooter Brenton Tarrant is a horribly deranged man who decided that he would gain worldwide fame by shooting a whole bunch of innocent people in cold blood.  And it turns out that he wasn’t even from New Zealand

A 28-year-old Australian man who was charged with murder was remanded without plea until his next appearance in court on April 5, while two others remain in police custody. NBC’s Australian subsidiary, Channel 7, say police sources have named one of the suspects as Brenton Tarrant.

The charged individual “traveled sporadically to New Zealand and stayed for varied amount of time,” but was not a resident of Christchurch, Ardern said in a statement.

In this day and age, this sort of thing can literally happen anywhere.  No community is truly “safe”, and we all need to understand that our world has fundamentally changed.

When a great tragedy like this happens, it is not time to jump on social media and try to use it to score political points.

Unfortunately, that is precisely what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others on the left have been doing.  Here is her full statement about “thoughts & prayers” in context

At 1st I thought of saying, “Imagine being told your house of faith isn’t safe anymore.”

But I couldn’t say “imagine.”

Because of Charleston.
Sutherland Springs.

What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?

If she had simply mocked gun owners, conservatives or her political opponents, that would have been bad enough.

But she didn’t stop there.

She mocked almighty God by implying that our thoughts and prayers are worthless.

There is no room in Congress for someone that would make such a statement, and I am calling on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to immediately resign.

Others on the left are relentlessly pointing their fingers at conservatives in the aftermath of this attack, but Brenton Tarrant was not a conservative.  In fact, he made this explicitly clear in the manifesto that he left behind

The terrorist gunman who killed 49 Muslims at a mosque in New Zealand said in his own manifesto that he wanted “no part of” conservatism, describing himself as an “eco-fascist” and expressing admiration for Communist China.

Answering the question “Were/are you a conservative?”, Brenton Tarrant wrote, “No, conservatism is corporatism in disguise, “I want no part of it.”

But you aren’t hearing that on the mainstream news, are you?

In his manifesto, Tarrant also expressed disdain for Donald Trump, and he openly admitted that the “nation with the closest political and social values to my own is the People’s Republic of China.”

That would make him a far left communist more than anything else.  But the mainstream media just keeps using terms such as “right wing extremist” to describe him.

Tarrant also made it abundantly clear in his manifesto that he wants to see “a civil war in the United States”

At three points in his manifesto, the shooter also states his intention to spark a civil war in the United States by triggering crackdowns on the Second Amendment. In his laundry list of motivations, the shooter spends the most amount of time discussing this goal, which he believes will ultimately lead to a “fracturing” of the U.S. along “cultural and racial lines.”

As he describes it, his attack will “Create conflict between the two ideologies within the United States on the ownership of firearms in order to further the social, cultural, political, and racial divide within the United States.”

Without a doubt, our nation is more divided today than we have ever seen in modern American history, and the stage is set for the mass societal chaos that I depicted in “The Beginning Of The End”.  I am stunned by all of the anger, frustration and hatred that I see throughout our society, and it is getting worse with each passing day.

If we don’t learn how to love one another, we simply are not going to make it as a society.

Loving others does not mean that you always have to agree with them.  We must always contend for the truth, but at the same time we have got to find a way to love those that are opposed to us.

Hatred never leads anywhere good, and Tarrant is a perfect example of that fact.  Sadly, our world is filled with more hate than ever before, and that is going to have very serious consequences for all of us.

Source: AOC Mocks God:”What Good Are Your Prayers When They Don’t Keep Pews Safe?””

10 Reasons Why the Bible Regards Women Higher than All Other Systems — The Cripplegate

It’s no secret, nor is it unclear. The Bible teaches things about women that clash with our fallen contemporary culture. Women may not function in the role of a pastor/elder (1 Tim. 2:12). Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church does to Christ (Eph. 5:22-24). Seasoned women are to shepherd younger women to, among other things, be “workers at home…[and] subject to their own husbands” (Titus 2:5).

Consequently, culture often reviles God’s word on the grounds that the Bible holds women as inferior to men. And the irony is, that contemporary western culture values women lower than just about any time and people in history. Yet, that same culture accuses the Bible of a low, insulting view of women. But, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, God’s inerrant word of the 66 books of the Bible regards women higher than any other ideology, religion, philosophy, or system in history. Nothing teaches a higher view of women than biblical Christianity. Here are ten reasons why:

  1. Women are created in God’s image, making them infinitely valuable. 

The value and equality of women is a frequently discussed topic in recent days. Various reasons are put forth for the value of women. For many in our day, a women’s value is grounded in her ability and opportunity to do everything a man does. For others, her value is in possessing equal, or greater, income as/than a man. Those reasons are, ironically, oppressive to women: if she doesn’t achieve some subjective cultural standard, then her worth is inferior. That’s a yoke they should not have to bear.

The Bible takes a different route altogether. A woman is infinitely valuable, not because of what she does or makes, but because of who she is:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Gen. 1:26-27).

Women are God’s image-bearers. That gives them inherent infinite worth, regardless of their abilities and achievements. The Bible does not hold up a socio-moral-economic bar and say to women, “If you can reach this, then you are valuable.” Women are valuable because they bear the image of God.

  2. The Bible forbids the killing of women.

In most cultures around the world, women beyond birth are not allowed to be killed. However, in the United States, for example, it is perfectly legal to kill women at any point between conception and birth. The United States has permitted roughly 60 million of such people to be killed since Roe v. Wade. About half of all births are female. So, the United States has allowed for the killing of roughly 30 million women since 1973. To say that this is unspeakably shameful treatment of women is an understatement. The Bible forbids such treatment of women (Exod. 20:13).

  3. The Bible forbids the sexual exploitation of women.

It’s obvious our culture has a hunger for exploiting women. The insatiable devouring of pornography is proof. Pornography does not only involve the exploitation of women, but it is largely that. The current statistics from the National Center of Sexual Exploitation on pornography are incredible:

  • 93% of boys and 62% of girls have seen pornography during adolescence
  • 64% of people ages 13-24 seek out pornography weekly or more often. One site reports that in 2016, people watched 4.6 billion hours of pornography on its site.
  • Analysis of the 50 most viewed pornographic videos found that 88% of scenes contained physical violence.

What is pornography conditioning boys, teenagers, and men to think about women? What is it setting them up for in their relationships with women? How is it preparing them for sacrificial, selfless, and loving marital relationships? How is it preparing them to parent productively and raise the next generation? What is it teaching them about the value of women?

This is a culture that largely exploits women. Doing so is totally forbidden in biblical Christianity, because the Bible regards women with great worth and sanctity (Matt. 5:28, 1 Cor. 6:18, 1 Tim. 5:2).

  4. The Bible forbids men from sexual interaction with a woman prior to marriage. 

With our colossal cultural confusion, some may ask, “How does that hold women in high regard?” Sexual interaction is giving oneself in the most intimate, vulnerable way to another. A bond and unity occur consequent of the sexual act. Women are not to be used for such interactions. Rather, the sexual relationship is reserved only for the context of a man in selfless commitment to the woman through marriage. Thus, the Bible’s prohibition of sexual relationship outside of marriage (Heb. 13:4) is one way in which the Bible holds women in high regard.

  5. The Bible holds husbands to the highest ethic of love for their wives. 

When a man enters a marriage relationship, he enters into the highest standard of love there is:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph. 5:25).

You can study marital love in every culture and every religion, and you will not find a standard which exceeds the love commanded in biblical Christianity. The Greek word translated, “love,” in Ephesians 5:25 has the idea of love regardless of the recipient’s deservedness or merit; it is love towards another which does not depend on the recipient, as to whether or not they deserve it; whether or not they will reciprocate; whether or not they are lovely. It is a steady, committed love in action that seeks to consistently care. It is a love that does not depend upon a feeling or emotion. There is no such command found in rabbinic literature or household codes for Greco-Roman culture in that time. Nor is there today.

It is fundamentally a Christ-imitating love which involves at least four aspects. First, Christ-imitating love involves initiating love. The husband must not lay out multiple conditions before he takes the first step to love; and continues to love. The biblical ethic of love is one which does not depend on reciprocation.

Second, Christ-imitating love involves umerited love; love that does not depend upon a wife’s merit; or how she is doing day to day. God loves us those he saves with an unmerited love. He loves us when we deserved the opposite. Though we have earned his wrath, he extends his love. Our sin only puts us in a place where God owes us punishment, but instead, he extends his Son to us. Those whom he saves are likened to the Bride of Christ, incredibly. So, Christ seeks out a Bride. The church—all saved everywhere—is called the Bride of Christ.

Now, here’s where Christ’s love gets more amazing. When a man seeks out a bride, he seeks out the best for himself. It’s not like that with Christ. When Christ sets out to get a bride for himself, he does not seek and choose the best to be his Bride, but the worst. In other words, he chooses to love sinners; he seeks out unlovely people to be his bride (Rom. 5:8). That is an unmerited love. Husbands are to love with such love.

Third, Christ-imitating love involves self-giving love. Christ gave himself as a penal substitutionary atoning sacrifice for his Bride. He gave all of himself for his Bride, the church. That’s the kind of love husbands are to show their wives.

Fourth, Christ-imitating love involves death-to-self kind of love. Just as Christ laid down his life, so must husbands for their wives. He did not consider his life more valuable than his Bride. Husbands are to follow that. They die to themselves on behalf of their wives. There is no higher type of love commanded for wives than that of the Bible.

  6. The Bible prohibits men from marrying more than one woman. 

It’s a question we hear often: “Why does the Bible permit polygamy?” It does not. Nowhere does God approve of a man marrying multiple women. “Well then, why did guys in the Bible like David and Solomon have tons of wives?” God does not approve of everything that is contained in his word. Many things in the Bible were recorded there by God to show what he disapproves; to show the consequences of that which he forbids.

The fact is, God’s design since creation is one man and one woman (Gen 2:22-24). Later, God applied his desire for monogamy in a warning to the Hebrew kings, forbidding them from multiplying wives (Deut. 17:17). The Bible prohibits a man from marrying more than one woman.

  7. The Bible forbids husbands from “falling out of love” with their wives. 

It’s a frequent tragedy we hear from couples. “We fell out of love.” For many, it’s then assumed that a breaking of the relationship is perfectly fine.

The Bible, however, does not permit the falling out of love. Instead, love is a self-denying, joyful commitment to the other based upon Christ’s love for us. Again, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25). Christ-imitating love involves an inseparable, permanent love. Christ loves us with such inseparable, permanent, unwavering love:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39).

This is the approach husbands must have towards their wives. Nothing must sway his loving commitment to her.

  8. The Bible commands people to consider women as more important than themselves. 

This is one of the greatest commands in the Bible:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Phil. 2:3-4).

The command is not restricted to women. But it at least includes them. Christians are to consider one another as more important than themselves.

  9. The Bible prohibits men from divorcing their wives.

God’s word does not permit men to cycle through marriages like some sort of workout program or diet fad. This is for life. Till death do us part is literal for God. Husbands are to fight to keep on sacrificially loving their wives, through thick and thin. The only exception for divorce is on the grounds of a wife’s sexual infidelity (Matt. 19:9). But even then, divorce is only a permission, not a command. Ideally, the couple would forgive and be reconciled to each other (Eph. 4:32). That the Bible prohibits men from divorcing their wives demonstrates that it holds women in highest regard.

  10. The Bible commands men to regard women with the highest moral purity. 

Finally, the Bible regards women higher than all other ideologies in that men are commanded to regard women with the highest moral purity. Any moral impurity towards women is forbidden:

Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity (1 Tim. 5:1-2).

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you (Eph. 5:3).

You could add to the list of reasons why the Bible regards women higher than any other ideology in history (e.g. a woman’s command to influence humanity at its earliest, formative years, etc.). Despite the protestations of culture, God’s word remains the standard for one’s view of women. History has not, and will not, present a system of higher regard for women than Scripture.

via 10 Reasons Why the Bible Regards Women Higher than All Other Systems — The Cripplegate

March 16 In the Presence of God

Scripture reading: Psalm 141:1–9

Key verse: James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Through prayer, you come in contact with the tremendous power of God. In prayer, you acknowledge your inability while professing your trust in Someone who will provide for your every need. If there is a need for wisdom, God’s Word tells you to ask (James 1:5). If there is a need for relief from stress, financial ruin, or some other trial, God is your answer and prayer is your connecting point.

Many Bible teachers have said that for a Christian, the distance between success and failure is the distance that it takes for him to drop to his knees in faith and prayer. We are not talking about naming and claiming something. We are talking about placing our trust and hope in God who commands us to seek His face. He may not always answer your prayers the way you want Him to, but He will answer them in love, according to His plan for your life.

Prayer allows you to step into the holy presence of God. It also gives you a spiritual opportunity to know and experience an intimate love that cannot be duplicated by the world. Make prayer a continuing goal in your life. The Lord hears you when you call to Him (Ps. 141). Also, study His Word for insight into the prayers of His saints. Many books have been written on prayer; however, the greatest manual on this subject remains God’s holy Word.

Father, thank You for the privilege of coming into Your presence. I am grateful for the opportunity to know and experience intimacy that cannot be duplicated by the world.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 79). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

March 16, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Epitome of Praise

And most of the multitude spread their garments in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees, and spreading them in the road. And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after were crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest!” (21:8–9)

As Jesus began to ride into the city on Monday, most of the multitude spread their garments in the road. It was an ancient custom (see 2 Kings 9:13) for citizens to throw their garments in the road for their monarch to ride over, symbolizing their respect for him and their submission to his authority. It was as if to say, “We place ourselves at your feet, even to walk over if necessary.”

While those people were putting their clothes in Jesus’ path, others were cutting branches from the trees, and spreading them in the road. From John 12:13 we learn that the branches were from palm trees, symbolic of salvation and joy and picturing the magnificent tribute that the “great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” one day will present “before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches … in their hands” (Rev. 7:9). There was great excitement and ecstasy as the multitude proclaimed praise to the Messiah, to the Rabbi from Galilee who taught with such authority and who had healed their diseases and even raised the dead.

The Lord was now completely surrounded by a mass of humanity, perhaps several hundred thousand people, some of whom were going before Him and some who followed after Him. Fickle as they would prove to be, the people now disregarded the warning of “the chief priests and Pharisees [who] had given orders that if anyone knew where [Jesus] was, he should report it, that they might seize Him” (John 11:57). The expectations that the Messiah would bring deliverance were so great that the crowd became totally caught up in what, from a human perspective, was a frenzy of mob hysteria. Yet completely in accord with God’s plan, they unwittingly fulfilled prophecy, just as Caiaphas unwittingly fulfilled prophecy when, a few days earlier, he had arrogantly declared to fellow members of the Sanhedrin: “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” As John went on to explain, Caiaphas did not say that “on his own initiative; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation” (John 11:49–51).

Seemingly with one voice, the whole multitude was crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!” The Hebrew word hosanna is an exclamatory pleas meaning “save now.” But the crowd on that day was not interested in Jesus’ saving their souls but only in His saving their nation. Like the Twelve, they had long wondered why, if Jesus were truly the Messiah, He had not used His supernatural powers against the Romans. Now at last, they thought, He will manifest Himself as Conqueror. They were about to celebrate Passover, which commemorated the Lord’s miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. What better occasion could there be for the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah, to make the ultimate and final deliverance of His people from tyranny?

The people wanted a conquering, reigning Messiah who would come in great military power to throw off the brutal yoke of Rome and establish a kingdom of justice and righteousness where God’s chosen people would have special favor. But Jesus did not come to conquer Rome but to conquer sin and death. He did not come to make war with Rome but to make peace with God for men.

Although the shouts of the multitude were entirely appropriate and were, in fact, fulfillment of prophecy, the people had no idea of the true significance of what they were doing, much less of what Jesus would soon do on the cross in their behalf. They neither understood the Lord nor themselves. He intentionally did not enter Jerusalem with a powerful retinue of soldiers who would fight for Him to the death. He entered instead with a ragtag multitude of ordinary people, most of whom despite their loud proclamation of His greatness, would soon turn against Him, and none of whom would stand by Him

The multitude acknowledged Jesus as the Son of David, which was the most common messianic title. They were crying out for Messiah’s deliverance, pleading, in effect, “Save us now, great Messiah! Save us now!” They were quoting from a popular praise psalm from the Hallel (Psalms 113–118), in particular Psalm 118, which was also a psalm of deliverance, sometimes called the conqueror’s psalm. Almost two centuries earlier, the Jews had hailed Simon Maccabeus with the same psalm after he delivered the Acra from Syrian domination.

The multitudes knew who Jesus was, but they did not understand or truly believe what they knew. They were right in their belief that He was the Messiah, the Son of David, and that He had come in the name of the Lord. But they were wrong in their belief about the sort of Deliverer He was. They knew He was a king, but they did not understand the nature of His kingship or His kingdom. They did not realize any more than Pilate that the kingdom He came then to bring was not of this world (John 18:36). That is why, when it dawned on them a few days later that Jesus had not come to deliver them from the Romans, they turned against Him. When they clamored before Pilate for the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus (John 18:40), they shouted, in effect, the words Jesus had predicted in the parable of the nobleman: “We do not want this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).

The people wanted Jesus on their own terms, and they would not bow to a King who was not of their liking, even though He were the Son of God. They wanted Jesus to destroy Rome but not their cherished sins or their hypocritical, superficial religion. But He would not deliver them on their terms, and they would not be delivered on His. He was not a Messiah who came to offer a panacea of external peace in the world but to offer the infinitely greater blessing of internal peace with God.

Many people today are open to a Jesus who they think will give them wealth, health, success, happiness, and the other worldly things they want. Like the multitude at the triumphal entry, they will loudly acclaim Jesus as long as they believe He will satisfy their selfish desires. But like the same multitude a few days later, they will reject and denounce Him when He does not deliver as expected. When His Word confronts them with their sin and their need of a Savior, they curse Him and turn away.

The Romans were godless and cruel oppressors, and the Lord would not allow them to survive indefinitely. But they were not His people’s greatest enemy. Their greatest enemy was sin, and from that they refused to be delivered. God would allow the holy Temple of His chosen people to be destroyed long before He allowed their pagan oppressors to be destroyed. He would, in fact, allow those very pagans to destroy the holy Temple.

On the day after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem Jesus “entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer;” but you are making it a robbers’ den’ ” (Matt. 21:12–13). That cleansing of the Temple was purely symbolic and had little lasting effect. The mercenary moneychangers and sacrifice sellers were doubtlessly back in business the next day. But less than forty years later, in a.d. 70, the Romans would utterly destroy the Temple, after which, just as Jesus foretold, not one stone of it was left upon another that was not torn down (Matt. 24:2). Not until modern times, nearly two thousand years later, could even its ruins be identified.

As far as the true intent of the people was concerned, Jesus’ coronation was a hollow, empty pretense. The words of the multitude were right, but their hearts were not. In any case, He had not come at that time to be crowned but to be crucified.

He will be crowned one day in a way that is perfectly befitting. The times of rejection will be over, and at His name “every knee [will] bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and … every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11). The first time He came, He came to provide men’s salvation. But when He comes again, He will come to display His sovereignty. His great and ultimate coronation is described by John:

And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped. (Rev. 5:8–14)[1]

9. Hosanna to the Son of David. This prayer is taken from Psalm 118:25. Matthew relates expressly the Hebrew words, in order to inform us, that these applauses were not rashly bestowed on Christ, and that the disciples did not utter without consideration the prayers which came to their lips, but that they followed with reverence the form of prayer, which the Holy Spirit had prescribed to the whole Church by the mouth of the Prophet. For, though he speaks there of his own kingdom, yet there is no reason to doubt that he principally looks, and intends others to look, to the eternal succession, which the Lord had promised to him. He drew up a perpetual form of prayer, which would be observed, even when the wealth of the kingdom was decayed; and therefore it was a prevailing custom, that prayers for the promised redemption were generally presented in these words. And the design of Matthew was, as we have just hinted, to quote in Hebrew a well-known psalm, for the purpose of showing that Christ was acknowledged by the multitude as a Redeemer. The pronunciation of the words, indeed, is somewhat changed; for it ought rather to have been written, Hoshiana, (הושיע נא) Save now, we beseech thee; but we know that it is scarcely possible to take a word from one language into another, without making some alteration in the sound. Nor was it only the ancient people whom God enjoined to pray daily for the kingdom of Christ, but the same rule is now laid down for us. And certainly, as it is the will of God to reign only in the person of his Son, when we say, May thy kingdom come, under this petition is conveyed the same thing which is expressed more clearly in the psalm. Besides, when we pray to God to maintain his Son as our King, we acknowledge that this kingdom was not erected by men, and is not upheld by the power of men, but remains invincible through heavenly protection.

In the name of the Lord. He is said to come in the name of God, who not only conducts himself, but receives the kingdom, by the command and appointment of God. This may be more certainly inferred from the words of Mark, where another exclamation is added, Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, which cometh in the name of the Lord; for they speak thus in reference to the promises; because the Lord had testified that he would at length be a deliverer of that nation, and had appointed as the means the restoration of the kingdom of David. We see then that the honour of Mediator, from whom the restoration of all things and of salvation was to be expected, is ascribed to Christ. Now as it was mean and uneducated men by whom the kingdom of Christ was called the kingdom of David, let us hence learn that this doctrine was at that time well known, which in the present day appears to many to be forced and harsh, because they are not well acquainted with Scripture.

Luke adds a few words, Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest; in which there would be no obscurity, were it not that they do not correspond to the song of the angels, (Luke 2:14;) for there the angels ascribe to God glory in heaven, and to men peace on earth; while here both peace and glory are ascribed to God. But there is no contradiction in the meaning; for, though the angels state more distinctly the reason why we ought to sing, Glory to God—namely, because through his mercy men enjoy peace in this world—yet the meaning is the same with what is now declared by the multitude, that there is peace in heaven; for we know that there is no other way in which wretched souls find rest in the world, than by God reconciling himself to them out of heaven.[2]

9 Crowds ahead and behind may be incidental confirmation of two other details. First, John 12:12 speaks of crowds coming out of Jerusalem to meet Jesus. Apparently the Galilean pilgrims accompanying Jesus and the Jerusalem crowd coming out to greet him formed a procession of praise. Second, the fact that the Jerusalem crowds knew he was approaching supports the stopover in Bethany, which allows time for the news to spread. Messianic fervor was high, and perhaps this contributed to Jesus’ desire to present himself as the Prince of Peace.

The words of praise come primarily from Psalm 118:25–26. “Hosanna” transliterates the Hebrew expression that originally was a cry for help: “Save!” (cf. 2 Sa 14:4; 2 Ki 6:26). In time, it became an invocation of blessing and even an acclamation, the latter being the meaning here (cf. Gundry, Use of the Old Testament, 41–43). “Son of David” is messianic and stresses the kingly role Messiah was to play (cf. Mark, Luke, and John for explicit references to “kingdom” or “king”). “He who comes in the name of the Lord” is cited by Jesus himself a little later (23:39; cf. 3:11; 11:3), but some scholars object that if this phrase had been a messianic acclamation by the people, the authorities would have stepped in. The words, they say, must be a formula of greeting to pilgrims on the way to the temple.

Such an assessment betrays too stark an “either-or” mentality to weigh the evidence plausibly. “Son of David” in the previous line is unavoidably messianic, and the authorities do raise objections (v. 16). But crowd sentiments are fickle. On the one hand, acclamation can rapidly dissipate, so instant action by the authorities was scarcely necessary; on the other hand, it is foolish to antagonize the crowd at the height of excitement (cf. 26:4–5, 16). “Hosanna in the highest” is probably equivalent to “Glory to God in the highest” (Lk 2:14). The people praise God in the highest heavens for sending the Messiah and, if “Hosanna” retains some of its original force, also cry to him for deliverance.

Two final reflections on this verse are necessary. First, Psalm 118 was not only used at the Feast of Tabernacles (m. Sukkah 4:5) but also at the other two major feasts, Dedication and Passover—at the latter as part of “the great Hallel” (Pss 113–18). The use of Psalm 118 is, therefore, no support for Manson’s suggestion (see Overview, 21:1–11). Second, Walvoord’s interpretation stumbles badly: “They recognized that he was in the kingly line, although they do not seem to have entered into the concept that he was coming into Jerusalem as its King.” On the contrary, it is hard to think of the crowd’s making fine distinctions between “kingly line” and “king.” Moreover, one growing thrust of this gospel is, as we have seen, that even where Jesus was perceived, however dimly, as King Messiah, he was not perceived as Suffering Servant. In the expectations of the day, it was fairly easy for the crowd, after hearing Jesus’ preaching and seeing his miracles, to ascribe messiahship to him as much in their hope as in conviction. But it was far harder for them to grasp the inevitability of his suffering and death and the expansion of the “people of God” beyond the Jewish race.[3]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 3, pp. 260–263). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Vol. 2, pp. 451–453). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 495–496). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 03/16/2019

Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals Invites Pastor Who ‘Loves the Darkness’ to Speak at Reformed Conference   Mar 14, 2019 04:09 pm

BYRON CENTER, Mich. — In a move that some would say is counter to its mission of “calling the church … to repent of its worldliness,” The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has invited an unorthodox pastor and podcaster who espouses a love for all things dark—from horror movies to death metal to dark fiction—and whose “Pastors in Cars Smoking Cigars” series…

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‘Pope Francis’ Meets With Mormon Leader Russell Nelson, Discusses ‘Mutual Concerns’ Over Societal Issues   Mar 11, 2019 01:18 pm

ROME — Jorge Bergoglio, the leader of Roman Catholicism, met on Saturday with Mormon leader Russell Nelson and Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The two discussed their “mutual concerns” about various societal issues, and exchanged gifts, which included Bergoglio’s writings on the Islamic religion. Some opine that the meeting is another example…

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TBS Show ‘Miracle Workers’ Depicts God as Uncaring Figure Who Makes Bet to Stop Him From Blowing Up Earth   Mar 09, 2019 11:57 am

Concerns are being raised over a blasphemous new television show called “Miracle Workers” that depicts God as a bumbling, Michelob-guzzling, uncaring figure who decides to blow up Earth, and is faced with a bet from a female worker that if she can answer even a single prayer marked “impossible” that he must spare the world. The prayer ends up being the task of…

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Prosecutors Drop Case Against Evangelist Arrested While Preaching Christ Outside Drag Queen ‘Naughty Tour’   Mar 13, 2019 04:03 pm

EL PASO, Texas — Prosecutors in Texas have dropped their case against an evangelist who was arrested in 2017 while preaching on the sidewalk outside of “A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour” as he refused to relocate due to the complaints of the hearers. As previously reported, Ryan Denton of Christ in the Wild Ministries, who preaches at college…

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Pastor of Underground Church in Kenya Beaten Unconscious   Mar 12, 2019 02:22 pm

Photo Credit: Johnny Marou (Morning Star News) – The Somali pastor of an underground church in Kenya near the Somali border suffered a broken thigh bone and other injuries after Muslim extremists beat him with wooden clubs on Friday night (March 8), sources said. Pastor Abdul (surname withheld for security reasons), a 30-year-old father of three, had…

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‘A Certain Sound’: New Book Challenges Christians, Churches to Think Biblically About Open Air Preaching   Mar 11, 2019 05:52 pm

A new book has been released that teaches modern-day Christians about the biblical practice of open air preaching, and encourages the Church to get out of its comfort zone and take the gospel to a lost and dying world for the glory of God. “It’s not some kind of weird, radical way of evangelizing. It’s actually very biblical and it’s pretty normal actually if…

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Iowa Supreme Court Upholds Ruling Requiring State to Allow Medicaid Coverage for ‘Sex Change’-Related Surgeries   Mar 09, 2019 08:12 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court has unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that determined the State must allow “sex change” operations to be covered under Medicaid. “he history behind the rule supports our holding that the rule’s express bar on  Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgical procedures discriminates against transgender Medicaid…

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Full Appeals Court Rules Ohio May Exclude Planned Parenthood From Funding for Federal Health Programs   Mar 12, 2019 06:33 pm

CINCINNATI, Ohio — The full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a prior ruling from three of its judges and has determined that the State of Ohio may lawfully exclude the abortion and contraception giant Planned Parenthood from receiving funding for federal health programs. The court ruled that while mothers have a so-called “right” to an abortion, no…

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Illinois Reproductive Health Act Declares ‘Fundamental Right’ to Abortion, No ‘Independent Rights’ for Unborn   Mar 12, 2019 02:11 pm

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An Illinois bill that declares that women have a “fundamental right” to abortion and that a “fetus does not have independent rights” apart from his or her mother has been assigned to a House committee for consideration. The Reproductive Health Act, presented by Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, has already generated opposition as an estimated…

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Couple Beaten, Congregation Member Missing in Persecution of China’s Early Rain Covenant Church   Mar 15, 2019 02:33 pm

Photo Credit: Cacahuate/Free Map Viewer (Morning Star News) – Following the arrest of 44 worshipers from house church meetings in southwestern China in February, police in Chengdu this month arrested a married couple from the church and beat them during interrogation, the church reported. The couple, identified as Liu and his wife Xing, of Early Rain…

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Weekend Snapshot — Top Stories This Week · Mar. 16, 2019

Elitists Caught Cheating College Admissions

We predict the scandal’s fallout will be greater calls from the Left for “free college.”

New Zealand Assailant(s): Fascist Anarchist, Not ‘Right Wing’

The Left blames the Right for the violent actions of a deranged, racist fascist.

‘Second Amendment Sanctuaries’

Rural counties in blue states defy leftist gun-control laws that undermine constitutional rights.

Court Opens Crack in Federal Law Protecting Gunmakers

Connecticut Supreme Court okays Sandy Hook victims’ liability lawsuit against Remington.

A Black Female Harvard Professor Reconsiders the Second Amendment

“The NRA has long been a boogeyman for me.”

Deficit Spending as Far as the Eye Can See

Trump’s budget shifts balance from 10 years to 15, while funding military and a border wall.

Pelosi Rejects Impeachment … For Now

She concedes not enough evidence for impeaching Trump, while still leaving the door open.

Obama’s Department of Injustice Quashed Clinton Investigation

Newly released testimony from Lisa Page highlights egregious abuse of power.

John Roberts and the Siren Song of Institutionalism

The chief justice may be more worried about preserving precedent and institution than the Constitution.

Many Teens Stressed, Depressed, Obsessed With Self

The deleterious effect social-media technology has on mental health is becoming clear.

Renewable Energy’s Inconvenient Truths

Wind and solar cannot compete with fossil fuels and nuclear energy for efficiency.

Quote Of The Week

“For most kids, college is about the ‘experience.’ For parents, it’s about social status and credentials. For administrators, it’s about money. For many professors, it’s about ideological indoctrination. Few people in any of these groups care about the actual education.” —Matt Walsh

ECFA Suspends Harvest Bible Chapel’s Accreditation

Under James MacDonald, megachurch may have been in “serious violation” of 4 out of 7 stewardship standards, says Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Harvest Bible Chapel had its accreditation suspended this week by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), after “new information” led to concerns that former senior pastor James MacDonald’s administration was in “serious violation” of 4 of the agency’s 7 standards for biblical and ethical financial stewardship.

“During the indefinite suspension, the church may not represent that they are an ECFA member or display ECFA’s membership seal,” wrote president Dan Busby in a statement released Friday afternoon. Harvest used to display ECFA’s seal prominently on its online giving page.

“The investigation has been and will remain ongoing during the suspension as we work to determine whether Harvest Bible Chapel should be terminated, advised of the steps necessary to come into full compliance,” wrote Busby, “or whether they are in fact in compliance with our standards and should, therefore, be restored to full membership.”

On Wednesday, Julie Roys—author of a months-long investigation into MacDonald’s leadership published by World magazine that contributed to his February firing—devoted a blog post to critiquing ECFA’s affirmation late last year that Harvest remained a member in good standing despite what she called “glaring improprieties.”

Roys summarized her findings on Harvest’s “extremely disconcerting, and potentially fraudulent, activity”:

For example, the church has repeatedly used money donated for one purpose to fulfill other purposes. Money given to Walk in the Word, the broadcast ministry of recently-fired Harvest founder James MacDonald, was used to develop a deer herd …

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Source: ECFA Suspends Harvest Bible Chapel’s Accreditation

Confirmed: Senator John McCain and His Associate David Kramer Pushed Fake Russia Dossier to FBI and Over Dozen Left-wing Journalists — The Gateway Pundit

Newly released information confirms that the late Senator John McCain and his longtime associate David Kramer pushed the fake Trump – Russia dossier to the FBI and also to over a dozen left-wing journalists.

In December we reported that John McCain and his associate David Kramer pushed the fake Russia dossier to the FBI and Buzzfeed News.  The Daily Caller reported:

A longtime associate of late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain provided a copy of the infamous Steele dossier to BuzzFeed News, according to an explosive court filing released Wednesday.

David Kramer, a former State Department official who was an executive at the McCain Institute, provided BuzzFeed News reporter Ken Bensinger with a copy of the dossier Dec. 29, 2016, according to a filing submitted Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro.

Yesterday additional court filings were released that show that Kramer provided the fake dossier to multiple individuals in the media.

Newly unsealed court filings show how the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and an associate shared with the FBI and a host of media outlets the unverified dossier that alleged the Russians had compromising information on now-President Trump.

McCain had denied being the source for BuzzFeed after it published the dossier, which was funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but had acknowledged giving it to the FBI.

Not only did the deceased Senator McCain lie about providing the bogus dossier to the FBI, another filing on Friday reported by FOX News reports that Kramer provided the dossier to over 12 far-left journalists –
In another filing, David Kramer — a former State Department official and McCain associate — said in a Dec. 13, 2017, deposition that the dossier was given to him by author and former British spy Christopher Steele, which he then provided to more than a dozen journalists at outlets including CNN, BuzzFeed and The Washington Post. The details were first reported by The Daily Caller.

The report was also shared with State Department official Victoria Nuland, Obama National Security Council official Celeste Wallander and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.

The filings were unsealed as part of an ongoing libel case against BuzzFeed by a Russian businessman.

Jeff Carlson at the Epoch Times provided a list of journalists who were provided the dossier by Kramer –

Kramer, who is an affiliated senior fellow at the McCain Institute, revealed in his deposition that he had been in contact with 14 journalists and producers about the dossier. These contacts included:

  • ABC News: Brian Ross, Matt Mosk
  • BuzzFeed: Ken Bensinger
  • CNN: Carl Bernstein
  • The Guardian: Julian Borger
  • McClatchy: Peter Stone, Greg Gordon
  • Mother Jones: David Corn
  • NPR: Bob Little, Rachel Martin
  • The Washington Post: Tom Hamburger, Rosalind Helderman, Fred Hiatt
  • The Wall Street Journal: Allan Cullison

Kramer, who does not appear to have spoken with The New York Times, noted that both Simpson and Steele were speaking to the Times directly because “they felt it required investigation by a serious news outlet, and they seemed to have chosen The Times at that point.”

Note that Kramer provided the fake dossier to Bernstein from CNN.  The same individual who was praised as a hero by the far-left for bringing down President Nixon the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s.

The news Friday is devastating to the far-left media and Never-Trump politicians who attempted the coup on President Trump.  More damaging information is expected in the days ahead.

via Confirmed: Senator John McCain and His Associate David Kramer Pushed Fake Russia Dossier to FBI and Over Dozen Left-wing Journalists — The Gateway Pundit

Mariolatry and the Deceit of Rome — Reformation Charlotte

A Biblical Examination of Mariolatry From Rome’s Official Sources

One of the points of controversy that is still acknowledged between biblical Protestants and the Church of Rome is over “mariolatry,” or the place of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. I want to examine what the official documents of the Catholic Church say, because Catholic apologists often tell a different story. The quotes below are from Lumen Gentium (“Light of the Nations”), promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1964, out of the work of the Second Vatican Council. So, it is not one man’s opinion, nor is it some obscure ancient document. These portions, from Chapter VIII, “The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the Mystery of Christ and the Church,” are from the English translation found on the Vatican’s own website. So, again, there is no allowance for claiming that I am using distorted or obscure sources.

Mary’s Supposed Victory Over the Serpent

She is already prophetically foreshadowed in the promise of victory over the serpent, which was given to our first parents after their fall into sin

Lumen Gentium(sec. 55).

The text cites Genesis 3:15 for this statement. In the Douay-Rheims translation, that verse reads, “I will put enmities [sic] between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she [sic] shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” “She” is from the Latin version. In the Hebrew, the pronoun is masculine singular, which is why most translations read “he” (or “He”).

In apparent embarrassment over this error, the New Jerusalem Bible reads “it,” and the New American Bible puts “they.” All three are Catholic versions of the Bible. The use of “He” points to Jesus as the seed of the woman, i. e., of Eve, not Mary, who shall crush the head of Satan, and we in Him (Romans 16:20).

Pope Pius IX (in Ineffabilis Deus) said of this verse, “These ecclesiastical writers in quoting the words by which at the beginning of the world God announced his merciful remedies prepared for the regeneration of mankind . . . saying, ‘I will put enmities between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed’ taught . . . that his most Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, was prophetically indicated; and, at the same time, the very enmity of both [Mary and her Son] against the evil one was significantly expressed.” And Pope John-Paul II wrote (in Mulieris Dignitatem) “It is significant that [in Galatians 4:4] St. Paul does not call the Mother of Christ by her own name, ‘Mary,’ but calls her ‘woman’: This coincides with the words of the Protoevangelium in the book of Genesis (cf. Gen. 3:15). She is that ‘woman’ who is present in the central salvific event that marks the ‘fullness of time: This event is realized in her and through her.”

Pope Francis Statue of Mary
Pope Francis holds incens in front of the Virgin Mary statue in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on January 1, 2018, as he leads the holy mass to mark the world day of peace. / AFP PHOTO / Vincenzo PINTO

Mary as Mediatrix

The Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix [“helper”], Adjutrix [also meaning “helper”], and Mediatrix [the Latin feminine form of “mediator”]. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ, the one Mediator

Lumen Gentium (sec. 62).

So, Mary is called “advocate,” “helper,” and “mediator.” “Advocate” (I John 2:1) and “Mediator” (I Timothy 2:5) are titles of Christ, and “helper” (John 14:16) is a title of the Holy Spirit, but, we are assured, the use of those titles for Mary does not impinge on the dignity of Christ. Well, if they say so, who am I to argue? The document continues, “The unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude, but rather gives rise to, a manifold cooperation, which is but a sharing in this one source.” That is utter gobbledygook. If one gives the title of mediator to someone other than Christ, it is mere doublespeak then to claim that the title does not impinge on the mediatorial role of Christ.

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

The Church indeed, contemplating her [i. e., Mary’s] hidden sanctity, imitating her charity, and faithfully fulfilling the Father’s will by receiving the word of God in faith, becomes, herself, a mother… Imitating the mother of her Lord, and by the Holy Spirit, she keeps with virginal purity an entire faith, a firm hope, and a sincere charity

Lumen Gentium (sec. 64).

So, here, the Catholic Church applies to herself the attributes that she has ascribed to her mythical Mother Mary. Thus, all the circumlocutions that they have used to worship (without worshiping) Mary were really for the benefit of creating an aura of perfection for herself! “While in the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin” (sec. 65). So, while the Church is perfect, holy, and without sin, the members thereof are not. Is the subterfuge not plain? By proclaiming the church free of sin, but the members not, she can then assume a tyrannical place over her members, a place from which her teachings and demands are above scrutiny or doubt.

Catholic Mary Exaltation Perpetual Virginity

The Exaltation of Mary

Placed by the grace of God, as God’s Mother, next to her Son, and exalted above all angels and men, Mary intervened in the mysteries of Christ, and is justly honored by a special cult [sic] in the Church

Lumen Gentium(sec. 66).

So, while claiming that she doesn’t worship Mary (or the other saints), Rome at the same time teaches a cult of Mary, a distinction without a difference. “The various forms of piety toward the Mother of God, which the Church, within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine, according to the conditions of time and place and the nature and ingenuity of the faithful, has approved, bring it about that, while the Mother is honored, the Son, through Whom all things have their being, and in Whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, is rightly known, loved, and glorified, and that all His commands are observed” (ibid.). So, how do we know that all the worship of Mary stays within “sound and orthodox” limits? Well, because the Catholic Church says so. And if that strikes you as circular, well, according to the Vatican Council, you just are not understanding things correctly. Maybe you should ask the “Helper” for help with that.


Why have I written all of this? Because Protestants have been pointing out the idolatry (in this case, mariolatry) of the Catholic Church for hundreds of years. Yet, Rome has denied it from one side of their mouths while promoting it from the other. That is simple deception, equivocation, obfuscation. Use what term you will. What it cannot be called is Christian. It is baptized paganism, destructive of the soul, and under the judgment of God. All of the self-serving doublespeak of Rome merely proves all the more that she is no church of Christ, but a mere cult, the synagogue of Satan, the Whore of Revelation 17, and the enslaver of men’s souls.

See Also:

via Mariolatry and the Deceit of Rome — Reformation Charlotte

Did You Have an Abortion and Feel That God Will Not Forgive You?

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

I decided to republish this article after listening to Jan Markell’s interview of Pastor JD Farag on her radio broadcast on March 16th.  They discussed the heinous new laws which allow abortion up to the day of delivery.  They also talked about the fact that “unwanted” babies who are born alive will be left to die – no care given to them.

I pray that this article brings comfort from the Lord to women who have had abortions and feel that God just will not forgive them.

Orignal Article:

Writing usually comes easy to me. Not so with this article. You see, I believe that the Lord wants me to be vulnerable, and to step out in faith. I believe that He wants to use me to help others. I pray that this will glorify the Lord and will help others who are bound by the lies of the evil…

View original post 1,829 more words

March 16 Facing Winds of Adversity

scripture reading: Hebrews 13:5–9
key verse: Psalm 57:1

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.

When the winds of adversity whip up swirling whitecaps of stress, you can rely on several calming biblical truths to anchor your inner person.

First, recall God’s activity in the lives of His people (and yours) in the past: “Remember those who led you.… Imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7 nasb). The lives of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, Peter, and Paul are illustrations of God’s dealing with men. Examine His methods. Investigate their response.

Second, count on God’s fixed, unfluctuating character: “Jesus Christ is the same” (Heb. 13:8 nasb). God rewards your faith as He did Abraham’s, your obedience as He did Joshua’s, your commitment as He did Daniel’s, your repentance as He did David’s. You can depend on God to act consistently with the revelation of Himself through His Word.

Third, magnify the power of God’s grace: “It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace” (Heb. 13:9 nasb). Grace works every time. Grace is His supernatural provision for every need, every problem, every circumstance. Grace overwhelms every obstacle, overflows every failure, overcomes every dilemma.

Heavenly Father, give me the grace that overwhelms every obstacle, overflows every failure, and overcomes each dilemma. I rest in the assurance that Your grace works every time.[1]

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

16 march (1856) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Good works

“Zealous of good works” Titus 2:14

suggested further reading: 1 Timothy 2:8–15

It would be a good thing, perhaps, if we went back to Wesley’s rule, to come out from the world in our apparel, and to dress as plainly and neatly as the Quakers, though alas! they have sadly gone from their primitive simplicity. I am obliged to depart a little sometimes, from what we call the high things of the gospel; for really the children of God cannot now be told by outward appearance from the children of the devil, and they really ought to be; there should be some distinction between the one and the other; and although religion allows distinction of rank and dress, yet everything in the Bible cries out against our arraying ourselves, and making ourselves proud, by reason of the goodliness of our apparel. Some will say, “I wish you would leave that alone!” Of course you do, because it applies to yourself. But we let nothing alone which we believe to be in the Scriptures; and while I would not spare any man’s soul, honesty to every man’s conscience, and honesty to myself, demands that I should always speak of that which I see to be an evil breaking out in the Church. We should always take care that in everything we keep as near as possible to the written Word. If you want ornaments here they are. Here are jewels, rings, dresses, and all kinds of ornament; men and women, you may dress yourselves up till you shine like angels. How can you do it? By dressing yourselves out in benevolence, in love to the saints, in honesty and integrity, in uprightness, in godliness, in brotherly-kindness, in charity. These are the ornaments which angels themselves admire, and which even the world will admire; for men must give admiration to the man or the woman who is arrayed in the jewels of a holy life and godly conversation. I beseech you, brethren, “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”

for meditation: Isaiah 3:16–23: God is concerned about our outward appearance and our attitude to it. He wants spirituality, not showing off (1 Peter 3:3–4).

sermon no. 70[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 82). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.