Daily Archives: April 2, 2019

April 2 A Call to Repentance

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:44–49

Key Verses: Luke 24:46–47

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

The truth is that all have sinned. Everyone has done things that are wrong and made bad decisions. All people have hurts and concerns. There is not a person who has absolutely no regrets, and there is not one living soul who can be saved without Jesus.

In Luke 24:46–47, Jesus said forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name. The good news is that every person can escape the consequences of sin through the blood of Christ.

Christians often attempt to construct great arguments about why accepting Christ as Savior is profitable and good. Yet the beauty of the gospel is its simplicity. Everyone has sinned. Everyone needs forgiveness from sin. Jesus provides that forgiveness. Repent and accept Him as your Savior.

All people have sins and hurts with which they need help. The call to repentance is the pathway to Christ. Lead them to Jesus, and you will have fulfilled the goal of the Cross.

Lord, let me never forget that where religion is complicated, faith is simple: Jesus died for my sins and through repentance I am reconciled to God.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 97). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Spiritual Whores Trusting in the Sacred Groom — Unfathomable Grace

Israel had again broken the national covenant given them by the Lord. They had played the part of unfaithful spiritual whores. They had not obeyed, worshiped, or performed acceptably. They had not “kept covenant” with God, and as a result of their spiritual fornication, they had received a small portion of the just wages they deserved. Temporally, they were plagued by the enemy nations that surrounded them, and they were made miserable.

However, when they called upon their Spiritual Husband — the Lord, he mercifully sent them another judge. Gideon was his name, and through this very frail man, he mightily saved his Chosen People. Through Gideon’s warring ministry, the Lord set his Precious Bride up for another 40 years of political and temporal prosperity.

Following Gideon’s victory over Zebah, Zelmunna, and the Midianites, an intriguing  offer was made to the victor:

Judges 8:22     Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”

At this point, Gideon was wise and humble. He did not immediately accept their offer:

Judges 8:23     Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.”

Oh, if only Gideon would have stopped there, but he did not:

Judges 8:24-27     And Gideon said to them, “Let me make a request of you: every one of you give me the earrings from his spoil.” (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) And they answered, “We will willingly give them.” And they spread a cloak, and every man threw in it the earrings of his spoil. And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and besides the collars that were around the necks of their camels. And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah ….

The commentaries seem divided on what exactly transpired here. There are three prevailing views:

  1. Some feel Gideon broke no commandment and was merely establishing Ophrah as a city in which God was King. From this point forward, Ophrah would be known as the city mocking pagan rulers and seeking the guidance of the One True King.
  2. Some feel Gideon broke the First Commandment and set up another god to be worshiped. Like his father, they believe he erected a false pagan idol.
  3. Some feel Gideon broke the Second Commandment and worshiped the true God in an ungodly fashion. He erected an image of the priestly ephod* ordained by God to be worn by the High Priest which was most likely in Shiloh. (Judges 18:31)

However, whatever his rationale, the trajectory and result was sad:

Judges 8:27-35     … And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family  …  As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, and they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.

It is my opinion that Gideon worshiped improperly by means of the ephod, and this failure led him to worship improperly in all other areas of his life. Gideon began to live like a king, collected for himself a harem of wives, birthed numerous pagan children, named one of them Abimilech, which means, “My Father is King,” and left behind a family of idolatrous fornicators turning from God, turning to idols, turning on one another. A family of spiritual whores was his legacy, and what a horrible final chapter this was.


Friends, do we see how quickly we can go whoring after other gods? Like Gideon, we are always breaking the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Commandments. In our flesh, we are religious whores never faithfully …

  • Worshiping God only. (1st)
  • Worshiping God rightly. (2nd)
  • Worshiping God seriously. (3rd)
  • Worshiping God communally. (4th)

Do we see how this leads to whoring in other ways? We are like Gideon, always breaking the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Commandments. In our flesh, we are religious whores never faithfully …

  • Worshiping God by honoring his authority figures. (5th)
  • Worshiping God by safeguarding the lives of those made in his image. (6th)
  • Worshiping God by means of marital intimacy and communion. (7th)
  • Worshiping God by honoring the private property of others. (8th)
  • Worshiping God by our speech. (9th)
  • Worshiping God by our lusting best. (10th)

Do we see how quickly we can leave behind us a family of whores. Like Gideon, our sins can lead to the devastating sins of those to the third and fourth generation. Our spiritual infidelity can contribute to our children’s spiritual fornication.


photo-1519741357542-22a23fd3627bHowever, do we understand the Covenant of Grace, for it is very different than the National Covenant of Works set up with Gideon and Israel?

In the Covenant of Grace, Jesus was treated like the spiritual whore. He was dressed up in our whorish garb, stripped naked, used, abused, and forsaken by his Father. He did this because this was what we earned. The Holy Son of God became the religious whore for us.

Then, in the Covenant of Grace, Jesus washed us and treated us in accordance with what he earned. He washed us by his blood, his Spirit, and his Word. He made us clean, holy, spotless, and radiant. Then he clothed us with his own royal robe and caused us to perpetually smell good in his presence. Religious whores were made pristine brides only because of the sacrifice and merit of Jesus Christ.

Then, in the Covenant of Grace, Jesus promises to save religious whores and their children. He loves to pass along the same mercy and grace to those damaged by their parents. The result is, many religious whores end up with a righteous legacy and lineage that they never earned or deserved.

Then, in the Covenant of Grace, we respond with good worship. The Commandments become guiding principles proceeding forth from willing hearts. It is almost like they are in our new, redeemed, Gospel-informed, Gospel-motivated DNA. We don’t have to keep them. We want to keep them. We cannot imagine not keeping them. We long to only keep them, for oh how we have learned to love God’s good Law. So now, let us in accordance with our new hearts:

  • Practice worshiping God only. (1st)
  • Practice worshiping God rightly. (2nd)
  • Practice worshiping God seriously. (3rd)
  • Practice worshiping God communally. (4th)
  • Practice worshiping God by honoring his authority figures. (5th)
  • Practice worshiping God by safeguarding the lives of those made in his image. (6th)
  • Practice worshiping God by means of marital intimacy and communion. (7th)
  • Practice worshiping God by honoring the private property of others. (8th)
  • Practice worshiping God by our speech. (9th)
  • Practice worshiping God by lusting best. (10th)

And then, let us sing and dance as we see our children following in our footsteps. This is not what we can control. This is not what we can “make happen,.” This is not what we have earned. Such a blessing is only the free gift of our gracious Savior, and he loves passing along Gospel-grace from one generation to another.

Oh friends, it is time to worship properly. Let’s grab our children and give honor, glory, worship, and obedience to the Son, and let’s enjoy it like never before.

 

 

 

*     The ephod was a sleeveless tunic, and upon it was worn the breastplate which contained 12 precious stones representing the tribes of Israel. The ephod had a pouch to contain the Urim and Thummim — stones or jewels used to discern the Lord’s will. (Exodus 28:6-30; 1 Samuels 23:6-9)

via Spiritual Whores Trusting in the Sacred Groom — Unfathomable Grace

April 2 Eternal Benefits of the Cross

Scripture Reading: Romans 3

Key Verse: Romans 5:1

Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The self-substitution of Christ for man’s sin is the heart of the Cross. Because of His death at Calvary, Christ allows believers to enjoy the eternal benefits of these central truths:

Propitiation. The wrath of God against sin was fully vented on His own Son at the cross. Christians never need to fear angering God. Our sin is forgiven, and even God’s chastisement for sinful behavior is motivated by compassion.

Redemption. Christ’s death purchased us out of the slavery of sin. His shed blood paid the penalty of death and ransomed us from sin and evil. We have been delivered from the kingdom of Satan and placed into the kingdom of God’s Son.

Justification. By God’s grace we no longer are guilty before God. Christ’s death secured our verdict, releasing us from the sentence of death. He declares us righteous and credits His righteousness to our account.

Reconciliation. Once enemies, God and man are now friends. The Cross made a permanent change possible between formerly alienated man and God. The right Man is now on our side, and we are on His.

Dear Lord, thank You for the eternal benefits of the Cross—that my sin is forgiven, I am redeemed from the slavery and penalty of sin, justified and reconciled with You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 97). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

April 2 The Favor of God

Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 3:1–10

Key verse: Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days,

That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Does God care more for you than anybody else? No. Does He care less for you than anybody else? No.

God cares for you in precisely the same manner He does for each of His children—with complete justice, fairness, goodness, and equality.

His forgiveness is just for you. His love is custom designed to meet your most excruciating emotional and spiritual needs. His Word speaks to you personally.

He calls you by name as He did Samuel (1 Sam. 3). He is intimately acquainted with every single one of your peculiar ways (Ps. 139) and has numbered each of your days on planet earth (Ps. 90:12).

Yet you are not to stand still and bask in all this attention lavished on you. God takes care of you, His workmanship, so that you may engage in a lifetime of extending His goodness to others.

Assured of Christ’s unstinting, unreserved grace and favor toward you in every circumstance, you may wake up each day with a positive outlook and the knowledge that He is at work through you to accomplish His objectives.

God has some good works for you to do today. No one can do them but you.

Thank You, dear Lord, that You know me by name. You are intimately acquainted with every one of my ways and have numbered each of my days.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 97). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

April 2, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

Chicago voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to choose between two African-American women running for mayor, with the winner of the historic vote inheriting a city steeped in violent crime and wracked by fiscal woes.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is against expanding the nine-member Supreme Court, a proposal some liberal activists have advocated to effectively reverse President Donald Trump’s appointment of conservative judges.

The Black Hawk military helicopter flew over Iowa, giving a senior U.S. agriculture official and U.S. senator an eyeful of the flood damage below, where yellow corn from ruptured metal silos spilled out into the muddy water.

A White House whistleblower has said the Trump administration overruled security experts to give questionable security clearances to more than two dozen people, including the president’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Two Republican state attorneys general on Monday urged a federal appeals court to uphold the Obamacare federal healthcare law, saying that striking it down would be disruptive for patients, doctors, insurers and employers.

A powerful leader of India’s low-caste community on Tuesday told a court that setting up dozens of statues of herself reflected the will of the people to honor her and others at the bottom of the rigid Hindu caste hierarchy.

Pakistani social media campaigner Hanzala Tayyab leads about 300 ultra-nationalist cyber warriors fighting an internet war with arch-foe India, in a battle that is increasingly sucking in global tech giants such as Twitter and Facebook.

Bitcoin burst to its highest level in almost five months on Tuesday, sending smaller cryptocurrencies up, with analysts ascribing the move to a major order by an anonymous buyer that triggered a frenzy of computer-driven trading.

U.S. bank regulators proposed a rule on Tuesday that would discourage large banks from heavily investing in debt issued by other large banks by requiring them to hold additional capital against such investments.

The United States has halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete U.S. step to block delivery of the jet to the NATO ally in light of Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

AP Top Stories A US-backed force said Tuesday it was chasing Islamic State group jihadists in eastern Syria, as coalition warplanes pound the militants more than a week after their “caliphate” was declared defeated.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., will soon learn the conclusions of an investigation into allegations tshe violated campaign spending laws during her time as a Minnesota state lawmaker.

The Taliban stormed checkpoints in northern and western Afghanistan, killing at least eight members of the country’s security forces and in one attack, setting off an hours-long gunbattle, provincial officials said as a U.S. envoy arrived in Kabul on Monday to push for peace talks.

Despite pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to keep oil supplies flowing and put a lid on rising prices, the Saudis and other members of the cartel remain resolved to restrain production to avert a glut.

A cease-fire deal appeared to take hold between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers on Sunday, with Israel expanding the permitted fishing zone and easing some tight restrictions on movement through its two main crossings with the Palestinian enclave.

More than 113 million people across 53 countries experienced “acute hunger” last year because of wars and climate disasters, with Africa the worst-hit region, the UN said Tuesday.

The Republican mayor of El Paso, the largest American city on the US border with Mexico, has warned Donald Trump that if he goes ahead this week with his threat to close the border it would have a “detrimental, almost draconian” impact on the entire region.

Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro has called on armed pro-government groups to help subdue unrest as he announced a 30-day electricity rationing plan set to inflict further pain on the population.

A woman from Nebraska has given birth to her own granddaughter, after acting as a surrogate mother for her son gay son and his husband.

BBC

NASA has called India’s destruction of a satellite a “terrible thing” that could threaten the International Space Station (ISS). The space agency’s chief, Jim Bridenstine, said that the risk of debris colliding with the ISS had risen by 44% over 10 days due to the test.

The Red Cross (IFRC) says that it can begin distributing crucial aid supplies to crisis-hit Venezuela in two weeks.

Japan has announced that the name of its new imperial era, set to begin on 1 May, will be “Reiwa” – signifying order and harmony. The country’s current era, Heisei, will end in a month with Emperor Akihito’s historic abdication.

Iran has ordered the evacuation of about 70 villages in the south-western province of Khuzestan due to a growing risk of floods, state media report. At least 45 people have died in the past two weeks after heavy rains, with flooding affecting at least 23 of the country’s 31 provinces.

WND

President Trump’s charges that the media is the “enemy of the people” has hit pay dirt in the public where 57 percent now believe that the press publishes “fake news” to drive their political agenda.

No morning joe, no problem. All you need is your imagination. That’s because simply thinking about coffee or looking at something that reminds you of a steaming-hot cup can incite a caffeine-like reaction in the brain, new research shows.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Apr. 2, 2019

The Foundation

“A good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life.” —George Washington (1790)

Biden Learns Democrats Eat Their Own

The old, white, male former VP is facing allegations of inappropriate touching.


Red Flags About ‘Red Flag’ Laws

If due process is protected, that’s one thing. The trouble is leftist contempt for our rights.


Zuckerberg Calls for Regulation of the Internet

Facebook’s CEO doesn’t believe in free speech and wants a seat at the regulating table.


How a Sub Shortage Happened

And what the U.S. Navy needs to do about it to defend America’s national interests.


Singer Gathers 12,000 Letters to Medal of Honor Recipients

Janine Stange is also the first person to sing the national anthem in all 50 states.


Video: Students Support Socialism … Until It’s Applied to Their GPA

Do you support forcing those with high GPAs to help those with lower grades?



Today’s Opinion

Cal Thomas
If Not an Emergency, What Is It?
Rich Lowry
Pelosi, Not AMLO, Is Driving the Border Crisis
Stephen Moore
The Biggest College Scandal of All
Kay Coles James
Socialism Is Trending in America — Here’s What the Younger Generation Needs to Know
Hans von Spakovsky
No Right to College for Illegal Immigrants
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Tuesday Top News Executive Summary

Immigration czar, border personnel redeployed, health care, capital punishment, “red flag” laws, and more.


Tuesday Short Cuts

The BIG Lie: “I don’t know anybody who got anything wrong.” —CNN’s Jake Tapper on the Russian-collusion narrative



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.

News – 4/2/2019

Congo Ebola outbreak spreading faster than ever – WHO
Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak is spreading at its fastest rate yet, eight months after it was first detected, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

US Measles Cases At Second Highest Since Disease Was Eliminated In 2000
The number of U.S. measles cases through the first three months of this year have surpassed the count for all of 2018, health officials say. There have been 387 cases through March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. There were 372 last year. The numbers are preliminary, and may change. But the 2019 tally is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported.

Netanyahu announces Putin visit, just after phone call on Syria
Both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Kremlin confirmed Tuesday that that a brief working meeting would now be held between the two leaders, just five days before the April 9th Israelis elections.

Kinneret rises additional 10 centimeters
The Kinneret’s (Sea of Galilee) rose 10 centimeters (approximately about four inches) since Monday, the Water Authority noted. The rise, similar to the one reported Monday, brings the Kinneret to 21 centimeters more than it was at the end of last week. Since the beginning of the rainy season, the lake has risen by 2.8 meters. Now standing at 1.14 meters above the lower red line, the Kinneret would have to rise another 3.06 meters to be full.

THAAD Deployed Permanently to Israel
The Israel Defense Forces has announced the U.S. THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system is to be fully deployed, permanently, into the Israel-based Arrow anti-missile defense system. THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) protects against tactical and theater ballistic missiles at ranges of 200 kilometers, and altitudes of up to 150 kilometers, intercepting the missiles both within and outside the atmosphere.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Pope Francis Meets With Muslim King In Morocco And Declares That Jerusalem Should Never Belong Solely To The Jews
Just like everything that comes out of the mouth of the Roman pope, it was a tiny nugget of truth encompassed about with layers and layers of lies. Yes, Jerusalem is claimed by Jews, Christians and Muslims, absolutely, but of those three only the first two are mentioned in the bible as being ordained by God. The Muslims are the bastard children of Abraham, and are specifically mentioned in the Bible as have none inheritance.

Russian spy plane flies over Area 51, 10+ other US military sites
A Russian spy plane flew over Area 51 and several other military bases in the U.S. last week for a surveillance mission. The Tu-154M plane equipped with electro-optical imaging systems landed in Great Falls, Mont., on Wednesday to begin its surveillance mission of U.S. military installations as authorized under the Open Skies Treaty, The Drive reported. The surveillance flight flew over sites in California and Nevada, including Area 51 at Nellis Test and Training Range (NTTR).

Ilhan Omar braces for results of campaign-finance probe
Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., marched into Congress demanding the House change its rules so she could dress as she wanted and later made anti-Semitic comments that prompted a resolution. Now she’s facing an investigation into complaints she spent campaign funds on her divorce lawyer as well as personal travel. Sinclair Broadcasting Group reported the results of the investigation will be announced as early as next month.

Twitter greenlights death for all Israelis
Twitter allowed a Muslim news editor to post a tweet calling for the death of all Israelis. Hassan Soleimani, editor-in-chief of the Mashregh News website, which is close to Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, boasted that Twitter informed him he didn’t violate the social-media giant’s rules,

After Trump-Russia Collusion Proved a Hoax, Rachel Maddow’s Ratings Take Massive Dive
When you constantly concoct lies and fabrications based on loose information at best and suck your audience in with your wild-eyed delusions, don’t be surprised when that audience leaves you the moment they discover you’re a fraud.

Trump Is Reportedly Mulling The Creation Of An ‘Immigration Czar’
The White House is reportedly deciding whether to bring on an “immigration” or “border czar” to help President Donald Trump coordinate his immigration agenda. The Trump administration is mulling two potential candidates for the proposed position: Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli or Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, according to sources who spoke with the Associated Press. The selected candidate could be brought on to assist Trump coordinate his goals across the several federal agencies that manage immigration.

US stops delivery of F-35s to Turkey
Delivery of F-35 fighter jet parts to Turkey halted in response to purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system. Military experts are concerned that the deployment of S-400s would put the security of allied weapon systems, particularly F-35 aircraft and radar facilities, in danger.

Prophecy News Talk: The Golan Thanks President Trump
Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, a resident of the Golan Heights, sends out a personal thanks to President Donald Trump for his prophetic acknowledgment of Israeli sovereignty. (video)

Hamas rejects Israeli request to implement ceasefire MOU after elections
The Egyptian security delegation will announce in the next day or two whether there is progress between Israel and Hamas on reaching a long-term ceasefire agreement or whether these attempts have failed, according to a report by a Palestinian journalist in the Gaza strip. The reporter said it looks like Hamas and Israel may be at a standstill.

Nasa: India’s satellite destruction could endanger ISS
Nasa has called India’s destruction of a satellite a “terrible thing” that could threaten the International Space Station (ISS). The space agency’s chief, Jim Bridenstine, said that the risk of debris colliding with the ISS had risen by 44% over 10 days due to the test. However he said: “The international space station is still safe. If we need to manoeuvre it we will.”

Google AI Ethics Council Is Falling Apart After a Week
Google recently appointed an external ethics council to deal with tricky issues in artificial intelligence. The group is meant to help the company appease critics while still pursuing lucrative cloud computing deals. In less than a week, the council is already falling apart, a development that may jeopardize Google’s chance of winning more military cloud-computing contracts.

Netanyahu to meet Putin in Moscow on Thursday
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will fly to Moscow on Thursday to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Israeli leader’s office said on Tuesday. The statement did not elaborate on the intended topics of discussion. The two leaders will meet five days before Israel’s April 9 election in which the right-wing Netanyahu faces a strong challenge from a centrist candidate.

U.S. halts F-35 equipment to Turkey, protests its plans to buy from Russia
The United States has halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete U.S. step to block delivery of the jet…in light of Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system. U.S. officials told their Turkish counterparts they will not receive further shipments of F-35 related equipment needed to prepare for the arrival of the stealthy jet…

U.S. disaster aid won’t cover crops drowned by Midwest floods
The Black Hawk military helicopter flew over Iowa, giving a senior U.S. agriculture official and U.S. senator an eyeful of the flood damage below, where yellow corn from ruptured metal silos spilled out into the muddy water. And there’s nothing the U.S. government can do about the millions of bushels of damaged crops here under current laws or disaster-aid programs, U.S. Agriculture Under Secretary Bill Northey told a Reuters reporter…

CBS News Posts Unusual Story Glorifying Human Traffickers
On Saturday, CBS News posted a rather unusual story that seems to mollycoddle and glorify a group of individuals of a rather unique “profession”: Human smugglers.

CBP Agent: Border Crisis ‘So Far Out of Hand You Wouldn’t Believe It’
Appearing Monday on CNN with anchor Jim Sciutto, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent Chris Cabrera defended President Donald Trump’s threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border amid rising illegal immigration, conceding, “It’s so far out of hand you guys wouldn’t believe it if you saw it.”

Alyssa Milano Says She Loves God, Quotes Bible To Push Abortion
Actress Alyssa Milano has been leading the charge in opposing pro-life legislation seeking to protect unborn babies with beating hearts from slaughter by abortion in Georgia. Milano penned a letter signed by 50 Hollywood heavyweights calling for a boycott of the state if H.B. 481, also known as the “heartbeat bill,” passes.

New York Times Shocked to Discover Pompeo Is a Christian
The New York Times revealed in an A10 story of Sunday’s edition that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is, in fact, an evangelical Christian.

Colorado Sheriff: I’ll Go To Jail Before I Enforce Gun-Control ‘Red Flag Law’
One Colorado sheriff has defiantly stated that if his state passes a new gun law permitting family members, roommates, or law enforcement to petition a judge to remove a person’s firearms if they’re considered dangerous to themselves or others, he’ll go to jail rather than enforce it.

Alibaba Group Debuts Advanced Facial Recognition Guest Check-In At Their FlyZoo Hotel In China That Will Soon Become The Global Standard
FlyZoo, which is reportedly a Chinese pun for “must stay,” is a 290-room ultra-modern boutique hotel in Hangzhou, China that lets guests play with technology, check in with ease, and spend the night in the future for a low price of around $205—and at the cost of your privacy.

Maryland Assisted Suicide Bill Dies
Maryland rejected assisted suicide when a bill that passed the House of Delegates later stalled in the state Senate.

WATCH: ‘Teen Vogue’ Advises Teenagers About Biological Sex: ‘Binary Is Bulls***’
In an attempt to confuse teenagers about the naturally-occurring biological differences between men and women, Teen Vogue has released a video titled, “5 Common Misconceptions About Sex and Gender.” The video features various speakers insisting that gender is a fluid construct and “binary is bulls***.” Additional comments also mock the concept that if a boy has a penis, he’s a boy, and if a girl has a vagina, she’s a girl.

Obama Caught Secretly Funding Sudanese Al-Qaeda Affiliate
The Obama administration gave American taxpayer’s money to a terrorist group – the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA) a Sundanese al-Qaeda affiliate.

Clapper: Obama responsible for Russia-collusion probe
James Clapper, President Obama’s director of national intelligence, was defending his boss’s legacy when he responded in a CNN interview to President Trump’s claim that the previous administration did nothing about Russian meddling in U.S. elections.

Faith-Based Movie Producer Pure Flix Shocks Hollywood As Pro-Life Movie ‘Unplanned’ Has $6 Million Opening Weekend Despite Limited Release
Christian movie producer Pure Flix has made some amazing movies including the ‘God’s Not Dead’ series which have done very well at the box office. Now they have turned their attention to the true life story of Abby Johnson, who defected from Planned Parenthood to become a pro-life activist after witnessing an abortion at 13 weeks. ‘Unplanned’ stunned Hollywood watchers with it’s surprising resonance with movie goers. But in reality it’s not such a shock. Millions of Americans are not in favor of killing the next generation of our citizens.


Headlines – 4/2/2019

Abbas threatens: We will take fateful steps – PA chairman blasts Israel ahead of publication of Trump peace plan

Abbas to Arab leaders: US will tell Israel to annex part of West Bank

Reports: Islamic Jihad planning large Gaza attack to derail ceasefire talks

Greenblatt: US ‘will not waver from support of Israel defending itself’ against Hamas

From Gaza classrooms to the DNC, Palestinian female terrorists are all the rage

East Jerusalem Arabs targeted in second apparent hate crime in a week

PA stops referring Palestinian patients to Israeli hospitals

Gantz: Netanyahu using ‘info-terror’ from fake accounts to ‘steal’ elections

Gantz: Netanyahu leading campaign of terror on our consciousness

Brazilian President Bolsonaro visits Western Wall, Palestinians angry at Jerusalem mission

Palestinians consider recalling envoy over Brazil’s Jerusalem trade mission

Rivlin meets Trudeau, thanks him for standing up to BDS, anti-Semitism

IDF, US wrap up air defense exercise; THAAD anti-missile system to leave Israel

Report: Through Pompeo, Israel warns Lebanon of new Hezbollah missile plant

ISIS bride claims she’d be model citizen if she’s allowed to return to US: ‘I didn’t hate America’

US planning new Iran sanctions, may target oil waivers

Iran FM Zarif: U.S. sanctions slow flood aid, ‘economic terrorism’

Iran denies gas pipeline explosion in western Iran

Turkey’s Erdogan suffers setback as opposition heads for victory in Istanbul and other cities

Stunning setbacks in Turkey’s elections dent Erdogan’s aura of invincibility

Erdogan’s AKP says it will appeal Ankara results, expects outcome to shift

Erdogan pays electoral price for Turkey’s tumbling economy

Saudi oil company named world’s most profitable business

US peace envoy returns to Kabul ahead of Taliban talks

US suspends F-35 deliveries to Turkey over Russian arms

Treaty’s End Would Likely Start New U.S. vs. Russia Nuclear Arms Race, Study Finds

New Zealand Introduces Gun Control Bill Expected To Become Law Within Weeks

Gang Refuses to Bow to New Zealand’s Gun Reforms: ‘We Can’t Guarantee Our Own Safety’

Millions without water as Venezuela crisis deepens

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal alternatives, as fears of messy departure grow

Brexit options: Stick close to EU? Crash out? Think again?

UK’s May risks ‘total collapse’ of government in Brexit impasse

Brexit in meltdown – May under pressure to forge softer divorce deal

On what should have been Brexit weekend, churches and cathedrals open their doors for prayer and dialogue

Pope Francis Slams Leaders Who Build Walls: Eventually They ‘Will End Up Becoming Prisoners’

America would run out of avocados in weeks if Trump shuts border with Mexico, grower warns

Massive caravan on ‘illegal immigration superhighway’ to press strained border resources

Pew Research: U.S. Home to Nearly 20% of World’s Migrant Population

Trump considers adding ‘immigration czar’

Trump Team Overruled 25 Security Clearance Denials, Official Tells Congress

Senate Democrats to introduce constitutional amendment to abolish Electoral College

U.S. Airlines Hit by System-wide Outages, Problem Resolved

Google AI Ethics Council Is Falling Apart After a Week

Facial recognition is coming to hotels to make check-in easier—and much creepier

Cal, Lawrence Livermore Scientists Create 3D Printer With Potential To Print Living Organs

6.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Port Mathurin, Mauritius

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Sulangan, Philippines

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Mohean, India

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Mohean, India

5.2 earthquake strikes Iranian province of Kermanshah near Iraqi border

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Mohean, India

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 14,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 12,000ft

China forest blaze: 30 firefighters killed in Sichuan

Mozambique cholera outbreak grows

Despite Threat from Hollywood, Georgia Passes Fetal Heartbeat Bill

‘Unplanned’ makes twice the expected box office sales despite social media censorship

Celebrating Pride around the world

UN slams ‘inhuman’ Brunei law on death by stoning for adultery, gay sex

Can Joe Biden Survive Another #MeToo Moment?

Biden accuser Lucy Flores says she’d still support Biden over Trump

Whoopi Goldberg Defends Biden: ‘I Don’t Want Joe to Stop’ Kissing and Smelling Women’s Hair

Polish Catholic Priests Burn Harry Potter Books And Occult Items

New scientific discovery supports Bible’s Adam and Eve story, science writer says

Israeli Archaeologists Uncover ‘Very Exciting’ Seals Pointing Directly to the Bible


Apostasy Watch Daily News

What is “Rededicating Your Life to Christ” and is it Biblical?

Hope Carpenter defends Pastor John Gray and wife Aventer, tells critics ‘I cut people’

Prophet Paul Cain part 5 – The Method

Prophet Paul Cain part 6 – The Madness

Traverse City church pastor charged in sexual assaults of 2 men

Despite Threat from Hollywood, Georgia Passes Fetal Heartbeat Bill


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RenewAmerica Newsletter for April 2, 2019

April 1, 2019
Fighting for injured workers’ rights

RENEWAMERICA STAFF — In Utah, unethical “insurance medical examiners” hired to deprive injured workers of guaranteed Workers Compensation medical and other benefits are protected by “state policy” from any liability for harm resulting from their fraudulent examinations…. (more)


April 1, 2019
Alan Keyes explains ongoing erosion of America’s self-government
ALAN KEYES — Largely in service to their factious partisan agenda, the Democrats are promoting proposals that strip all the features our constitutional government intended to prolong the sovereignty of the people of the United States and prevent the imposition of any form of tyranny over them. They pretend that the features they target are artifacts of archaic anti-democratic prejudices. In fact, their agenda is, in every respect, a tool of regression…. (more)

April 1, 2019
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump on Sunday called for an investigation into how Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “fraudulent” probe started. “Everybody is asking how the phony and fraudulent investigation of the No Collusion, No Obstruction Trump Campaign began,” Trump tweeted. “We need to know for future generations to understand. This Hoax should never be allowed to happen to another President or Administration again!” Read Newsmax: Trump: Investigate How ‘Fraudulent’ Mueller Probe Started | Newsmax.com Urgent: Do you approve of Pres. Trump? Vote Here in Poll… (more)

April 1, 2019
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump last year told confidants he was planning to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat with conservative Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, reports Axios. “I’m saving her for Ginsburg,” Trump said as he was deliberating over filling Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat, according to three sources who spoke with the news outlet. Read Newsmax: Axios: Trump Plans to Pick Barrett for Ginsburg’s SCOTUS Seat | Newsmax.com Urgent: Do you approve of Pres. Trump? Vote Here in Poll… (more)

April 1, 2019
DAILY CALLER — Former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy predicted Sunday that the U.S. intelligence community might stop providing information to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff because he leaks “like a screen door on a submarine.”… (more)

April 1, 2019

DAILY CALLER — In a deposition for a lawsuit related to the dossier in June 2018, former British spy Christopher Steele acknowledged his infamous report could be the product of Russian disinformation. But Steele, a former MI6 officer who worked in Moscow, dismissed the possibility he was hoodwinked by Russian operatives who planted anti-Trump dirt…. (more)


April 1, 2019

DAILY CALLER — “Unplanned,” a film on a former abortion clinic director who became pro-life, opened in theaters Friday, but Twitter temporarily suspended the movie’s account Saturday, causing pro-lifers to question its reasoning…. (more)


March 30, 2019

HARTFORD COURANT — A Connecticut woman says Joe Biden touched her inappropriately and rubbed noses with her during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich when he was vice president, drawing further scrutiny to the Democrat and his history of unwanted contact with women as he ponders a presidential run… (more)


March 30, 2019
Nation’s first online news organization pulling together in leader’s absence
DAVID KUPELIAN — Dear WND readers, friends and allies, Since WND is a Christian organization, when adversity strikes we strive to remember that God is firmly in charge. Recently, adversity hit hard when our company’s founder and CEO, Joseph Farah, suffered a serious stroke. After spending several days in the hospital undergoing extensive testing and evaluation, he is now home, resting comfortably and recovering…. (more)

March 30, 2019
‘Unplanned’ ‘may be a movie that you would be greatly interested in seeing’
BOB UNRUH — WND reported the establishment across America is so upset by the release of “Unplanned,” a movie that reveals the inside story of Planned Parenthood’s abortion profit machine, networks were refusing to sell its makers advertising…. (more)

March 30, 2019
ANITA CRANE — The movie “Unplanned” is about how brutal truth helped Abby Johnson to choose beautiful truth and redemption. Ten years ago, Johnson left her job as the director of Planned Parenthood’s facility in Bryan, Texas, where 22,000 babies were aborted while she worked there. Since then, she has exposed the abortion industry and the facility went out of business…. (more)

March 30, 2019
Wants Senate to also call for release of Obama communications
WORLDNETDAILY — In an effort to uncover the origins of the Trump-Russia allegations, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., declared Friday he would not vote for a nonbinding resolution calling for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be made public unless relevant communications by Obama-era officials also are released…. (more)

March 30, 2019
‘Mother of all caravans’ said to be forming in Central America
ART MOORE — President Trump warned Friday that unless Mexico immediately stops all illegal immigration into the United States, he will shut down the border next week. The warning via Twitter came as yet another caravan of asylum seekers from Central America headed for the southern frontier…. (more)

March 28, 2019
‘She called me to bully me on behalf of the DNC’
WORLDNETDAILY — In a string of tweets, a Huffington Post journalist charged that an editor at NBC/MSNBC is working on behalf of Democratic Party. HuffPo’s Yashar Ali claimed he was badgered by NBC/MSNBC managing editor of politics Dafna Linzer. “She called me to bully me on behalf of the DNC,” Ali wrote. “Does being a Guardian of the Truth involve trying to intimidate actual journalists for doing their jobs?” asked a blogger for the Twitter news aggregator Twitchy. “HuffPost’s Yashar Ali got his answer…”… (more)

March 28, 2019
FOX NEWS — President Trump, in an exclusive wide-ranging interview Wednesday night with Fox News’ “Hannity,” vowed to release the full and unredacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants and related documents used by the FBI to probe his campaign, saying he wants to “get to the bottom” of how the long-running Russia collusion narrative began…. (more)

March 28, 2019
NEWSMAX — Americans can learn a great deal from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation – – it just won’t have anything to do with the Russia collusion hoax. In the end, Mueller’s $30 million investigative apparatus failed to produce any evidence of collusion between President Trump’s 2016 election campaign and the Russian government, despite nearly two years of intense effort by Mueller’s team of partisan lawyers with extensive ties to the Democratic Party…. (more)

March 28, 2019
Demands in FOIA lawsuit copies of communications about ‘dossier’
WORLDNETDAILY — Obama administration appointees James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence at the time, and John Brennan, the former CIA director, are in the bull’s-eye of a new Judicial Watch Freedom of Information lawsuit…. (more)

March 28, 2019
WASHINGTON TIMES — Donald Trump supporters caught up, but not charged, in a 34-month Russia investigation point to March 20, 2017, as the day their troubles really started. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence opened its most publicized hearing into Russia election interference…. (more)

March 28, 2019

PAUL BEDARD — Sen. Rand Paul escalated his demand for an investigation into former Obama officials who “concocted” the anti-Trump Russia scandal, revealing that former CIA Director John Brennan was the key figure who legitimized the charges and discredited “dossier” against the president…. (more)


March 27, 2019
NEW YORK POST — The Green New Deal failed to pass a procedural vote in the Senate Tuesday, with Democrats slamming the GOP motion as a “sham” and with two exceptions voting “present” in protest…. (more)

March 27, 2019
‘Unplanned’ earlier hit with ‘R’ rating for being about abortion
WORLDNETDAILY — The “Unplanned” movie, scheduled to open Friday, was filmed largely under cover of anonymity because it’s about Planned Parenthood’s abortion business. And it’s been given an “R” rating, not because of any nudity, violence or mature language, but because it’s about the violence of abortion. Its makers were denied permission by a publisher to use certain music because of the subject…. (more)

March 27, 2019
Pompeo announces expansion of existing ‘Mexico City Policy’

WORLDNETDAILY — When President Trump took office, he began acting on his commitment to a pro-life America immediately, reinstating the Mexico City Policy that pulled U.S. funding from the business profits of the International Planned Parenthood Federation…. (more)


March 27, 2019
REAL CLEAR POLITICS — Tucker Carlson opines on how the media reported the summary of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and why they are angrier than ever instead of being happy an American president was not compromised by Russia. Carlson said they should apologize but knows that the media will “escape what they deserve.”… (more)

March 26, 2019
Former CIA chief seriously backpedaling after Mueller report

WORLDNETDAILY — As a CNN commentator, former Obama CIA Director John Brennan repeatedly insisted Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation would unearth crimes by the president and his aides, openly accusing Trump of treason…. (more)


March 26, 2019
NEWSBUSTERS — The Media Research Center would like your assistance in helping those suffering from Collusion Delusion Syndrome (CDS). Many journalists are baffled, sad, and bewildered after the Mueller report failed to find collusion or obstruction by Donald Trump. In a special video, MRC President Brent Bozell explained, “The Media Research Center, with your help, is sending a special care package to every member of the news media and on Capitol Hill suffering from CDS.”… (more)

 

April 2, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Paul’s Warning of God’s Destruction

But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. (1:8–9)

The Judaizers who were misleading the Galatian churches probably had impressive credentials and may have been among those who claimed to be from the Jerusalem church and to be authorized by James, the leader of that church (see Acts 15:24). In addition to proclaiming their modified form of the gospel, which Paul declared to be no gospel at all, they sought to undermine Paul’s authority and teaching in every way they could.

Although the particular heresy of the Judaizers was legalism, Paul’s warning applies equally to the opposite perversion of libertinism or antinomianism, which, under the guise of freedom in Christ, removes all standards of righteousness and morality. Of such false teachers Jude wrote, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Whether as restrictive legalism, permissive liberalism, or cultic perversion, any teaching that adds to or takes away from God’s revealed truth is a distortion of the gospel and perverts the nature and the work of Christ.

Against any and every distortion of the gospel of Christ, Paul declares, But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Even if Paul or any of his associates were to change their teaching, the Galatians should not listen to them but treat them like heretics, which they would then be. Even an angel from heaven should be rejected if he were to present a gospel different from the one originally taught by Paul. The Jews believed that the divine law came through angels (cf. Heb. 2:2), and the Judaizers may have made the point that this made the Old Covenant and its attendant ceremonies and traditions binding.

Paul was, of course, speaking hypothetically. He would never have changed his teaching, and an angel who was truly from heaven (and therefore set apart from the fallen angels identified with hell) could not teach anything contrary to God’s revealed truth. But the apostle was reaching for the most fanciful possibilities imaginable to make his point that absolutely no messenger, no matter how seemingly godly and good, should be believed or followed if his teaching does not square with God-revealed apostolic doctrine. The truth outranks anyone’s credentials, and every teacher or preacher must be evaluated on the basis of what he says, not who he is.

Many false systems are attractive because they emotionally appeal to love, brotherhood, unity, and harmony. Many false teachers are popular because they seem to be warm and pleasant and claim to have great love for God and for others. It is because distortions of the gospel by such deceptive personalities are so appealing that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).

William Hendricksen paraphrases Galatians 1:8 in this way: “Even if we or a holy angel must be the object of God’s righteous curse, were any of us to preach a gospel contrary to the one we humans previously preached to you, then all the more divine wrath must be poured out on those self-appointed nobodies who are now making themselves guilty of this crime.”

Paul turns from the hypothetical to the actual as he reiterates his concern. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. The repetition reflects the passion of the apostle for gospel truth.

As we have said before refers to an earlier visit, not to the preceding clause in the text, since now (arti) is an adverb of time. The sense seems to be, “What I said at that time I am saying again now.” From the start of his ministry among them, Paul had warned them of imminent gospel perversions. The gospel which you received refers to the once for all (aorist tense) preaching of the good news of grace in Christ which they had previously believed.

False teachers not only should not be believed or followed but should be left to God’s judgment to be accursed. Accursed translates anathema, which refers to that which is devoted to destruction. The apostle John wrote, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.… If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds” (2 John 7, 10–11).

Christians are to have nothing to do with false teachers, no matter what their credentials. It is both naive and unscriptural to believe, for instance, that staying in a religious school or church that denies the Bible and distorts the gospel gives a believer the opportunity to be a positive influence for the Lord. Even a leader like Timothy, well trained in divine truth, was warned to stay away from error and to concentrate on the pure truth of God (1 Tim. 4:6–7, 13; 2 Tim. 2:15–17). To subject oneself to false teaching, no matter how orthodox one’s own convictions may be, is to disobey God and to compromise and weaken one’s testimony and to tolerate distortion of the grace of God in Christ.[1]


8. But though we. As he proceeds in defending the authority of his doctrine, his confidence swells. First of all, he declares that the doctrine which he had preached is the only gospel, and that the attempt to set it aside is highly criminal. But then he was aware, the false apostles might object: “We will not yield to you in our desire to maintain the gospel, or in those feelings of respect for it which we are accustomed to cherish.” Just as, at the present day, the Papists describe in the strongest terms the sacredness with which they regard the gospel, and kiss the very name with the deepest reverence, and yet, when brought to the trial, are found to persecute fiercely the pure and simple doctrine of the gospel. Accordingly, Paul does not rest satisfied with this general declaration, but proceeds to define what the gospel is, and what it contains, and declares boldly that his doctrine is the true gospel; so as to resist all further inquiry.

Of what avail was it to profess respect for the gospel, and not to know what it meant? With Papists, who hold themselves bound to render implicit faith, that might be perfectly sufficient; but with Christians, where there is no knowledge, there is no faith. That the Galatians, who were otherwise disposed to obey the gospel, might not wander hither and thither, and “find no rest for the sole of their foot,” (Gen. 8:9,) Paul enjoins them to stand steadfastly by his doctrine. He demands such unhesitating belief of his preaching, that he pronounces a curse on all who dared to contradict it.

And here it is not a little remarkable, that he begins with himself; for thus he anticipates a slander with which his enemies would have loaded him. “You wish to have everything which comes from you received without hesitation, because it is your own.” To show that there is no foundation for such a statement, he instantly surrenders the right of advancing anything against his own doctrine. He claims no superiority, in this respect, over other men, but justly demands from all, equally with himself, subjection to the word of God.

Or an angel from heaven. In order to destroy more completely the pretensions of the false apostles, he rises so high as to speak of angels; and, on the supposition that they taught a different doctrine, he does not satisfy himself with saying that they were not entitled to be heard, but declares that they ought to be held accursed. Some may think, that it was absurd to engage in a controversy with angels about his doctrine; but a just view of the whole matter will enable any one to perceive, that this part of the apostle’s proceedings was proper and necessary. It is impossible, no doubt, for angels from heaven to teach anything else than the certain truth of God. But when the credit due to doctrines which God had revealed concerning the salvation of men was the subject of controversy, he did not reckon it enough to disclaim the judgment of men, without declining, at the same time, the authority of angels.

And thus, when he pronounces a curse on angels who should teach any other doctrine, though his argument is derived from an impossibility, it is not superfluous. This exaggerated language must have contributed greatly to strengthen the confidence in Paul’s preaching. His opponents, by employing the lofty titles of men, attempted to press hard on him and on his doctrine. He meets them by the bold assertion, that even angels are unable to shake his authority. This is no disparagement to angels. To promote the glory of God by every possible means was the design of their creation. He who endeavours, in a pious manner, to accomplish this object, by an apparently disrespectful mention of their name, detracts nothing from their high rank. This language not only exhibits, in an impressive manner, the majesty of the word of God, but yields, also, a powerful confirmation to our faith, while, in reliance on that word, we feel ourselves at liberty to treat even angels with defiance and scorn. When he says, “let him be accursed,” the meaning must be, “let him be held by you as accursed.” In expounding 1 Cor. 12:3, we had occasion to speak of the word ἀνάθεμα. Here it denotes cursing, and answers to the Hebrew word, חרם, (hhĕrĕm.)[2]


8 The truth of the gospel message is of such high value that Paul now verbalizes the unthinkable: if anyone, whether Paul and his companions or even an angel from heaven itself, a messenger who enjoys the presence and glories of God, should preach a gospel other than the gospel of salvation by faith in the person, word, and work of Christ, he or she should be “eternally condemned” (anathema, GK 353). This is extremely strong language, but the stakes could not be higher. At issue is God’s redemptive grace and the means for fallen humanity to receive that grace. Alternative gospels, such as those preached by Paul’s opponents, distort God’s intended redemptive activity and leave humanity to suffer the just result of sinfulness. These gospels do not reconcile people to God, do nothing to remedy human sinfulness, and thus must be condemned in the strongest possible way—particularly since God has provided in the gospel of Christ the way of escape, and that is the gospel the Galatians have already embraced. Bearers of false gospels may be persuasive and appealing, and their messages may resonate with their hearers at some level, but even Satan may appear as an “angel of light” (2 Co 11:14). The church must take care to sift the teaching of God’s purported messengers, so as to protect against teaching that leaves its hearers in danger of eternal destruction.

Paul’s language of condemnation (literally he says, “Let them be damned”) is discomfiting to some in today’s inclusion-at-all-costs, nonconfrontation, and truth-is-relative culture. They would prefer that he had not written in such a straightforward manner, and consequently these words are often ignored or explained away. They suggest that Paul is driven by jealousy of the success of his opponents or that he is guilty of being emotionally distraught and so has spoken rashly. Thus his words here need not be taken all that seriously.

This, of course, will not do. A false gospel that is not the gospel does not lead people to life. Boice, 429, notes, “If the gospel Paul preaches is true, then both the glory of Jesus Christ and the salvation of men are at stake.… If men are taught a false gospel, they are being led from the one thing that can save them and are being turned to destruction (cf. Mt 18:6).”[3]


The Reaction of the Apostle Paul (verses 8–10)

The situation in the Galatian churches should by now be clear. False teachers were distorting the gospel, so that Paul’s converts were deserting it. The apostle’s first reaction was one of utter astonishment. Verse 6: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ. Many evangelists of later generations have been similarly astonished and distressed to see how quickly, how readily converts relax their hold of the gospel which they seemed to have so firmly embraced. It is, as Paul writes in Galatians 3:1, as if someone has bewitched them, cast a spell over them; and this is, in fact, the case. The devil disturbs the church as much by error as by evil. When he cannot entice Christian people into sin, he deceives them with false doctrine.

Paul’s second reaction was indignation over the false teachers, upon whom he now pronounces a solemn curse. Verses 8 and 9: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. The Greek word twice translated ‘accursed’ is anathema. It was used in the Greek Old Testament for the divine ban, the curse of God resting upon anything or anyone devoted by Him to destruction. The story of Achan provides an example of this. God said that the spoil of the Canaanites was under His ban—it was devoted to destruction. But Achan stole and kept for himself what should have been destroyed.

So the apostle Paul desires that these false teachers should come under the divine ban, curse or anathema. That is, he expresses the wish that God’s judgment will fall upon them. The Galatian churches, it is implied, will surely then not accord such teachers a welcome or a hearing, but refuse to receive or listen to them, because they are men whom God has rejected (cf. 2 Jn. 10, 11).

What are we to say about this anathema? Are we to dismiss it as an intemperate outburst? Are we to reject it as a sentiment inconsistent with the Spirit of Christ and unworthy of the gospel of Christ? Are we to explain it away as the utterance of a man who was the child of his age and knew no better? Many people would, but at least two considerations indicate that this apostolic anathema was not the expression of personal venom towards rival teachers.

The first is that the curse of the apostle, or the curse of God which the apostle desires, is universal in its embrace. It rests upon any and every teacher who distorts the essence of the gospel and propagates his distortion. This is clear in verse 9, ‘As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching.…’ There is no exception. In verse 8 he specifically applies it to angels as well as men, and then adds himself also: ‘But even if we.…’ So disinterested is Paul’s zeal for the gospel, that he even desires the curse of God to fall upon himself, should he be guilty of perverting it. The fact that he thus includes himself clears him of the charge of personal spite or animosity.

The second consideration is that his curse is uttered deliberately and with conscious responsibility to God. For one thing, it is expressed twice (verses 8 and 9). As John Brown, the nineteenth-century Scottish commentator, writes: ‘The apostle repeats it to show the Galatians that this was no excessive, exaggerated statement, into which passion had hurried him, but his calmly formed and unalterable opinion.’ Then Paul goes on in verse 10: Am I now seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. It seems that his detractors had accused him of being a time-server, a man-pleaser, who suited his message to his audience. But is this outspoken condemnation of the false teachers the language of a man-pleaser? On the contrary, no man can serve two masters. And since Paul is first and foremost a servant of Jesus Christ, his ambition is to please Christ, not men. It is therefore as ‘a servant of Christ’, responsible to his divine Lord, that he measures his words and dares to utter this solemn anathema.

We have seen, then, that Paul uttered his anathema both impartially (whoever the teachers might be) and deliberately (in the presence of Christ his Lord).

Yet somebody may ask, ‘Why did he feel so strongly and use such drastic language?’ Two reasons are plain. The first is that the glory of Christ was at stake. To make men’s works necessary to salvation, even as a supplement to the work of Christ, is derogatory to His finished work. It is to imply that Christ’s work was in some way unsatisfactory, and that men need to add to it and improve on it. It is, in effect, to declare the cross redundant: ‘if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose’ (Gal. 2:21).

The second reason why Paul felt this matter so keenly is that the good of men’s souls was also at stake. He was not writing about some trivial doctrine, but about something that is fundamental to the gospel. Nor was he speaking of those who merely hold false views, but of those who teach them and mislead others by their teaching. Paul cared deeply for the souls of men. In Romans 9:3 he declared that he would be willing himself to be accursed (literally, to be anathema), if thereby others could be saved. He knew that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. Therefore to corrupt the gospel was to destroy the way of salvation and so to send to ruin souls who might have been saved by it. Did not Jesus Himself utter a solemn warning to the person who causes others to stumble, saying that ‘it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea’ (Mk. 9:42)? It seems then that Paul, far from contradicting the Spirit of Christ, was actually expressing it. Of course we live in an age in which it is considered very narrow-minded and intolerant to have any clear and strong opinions of one’s own, let alone to disagree sharply with anybody else. As for actually desiring false teachers to fall under the curse of God and be treated as such by the church, the very idea is to many inconceivable. But I venture to say that if we cared more for the glory of Christ and for the good of the souls of men, we too would not be able to bear the corruption of the gospel of grace.

Conclusion

The lesson which stands out from this paragraph is that there is only one gospel. The popular view is that there are many different ways to God, that the gospel changes with the changing years, and that you must not condemn the gospel to fossilization in the first century ad. But Paul would not endorse these notions. He insists here that there is only one gospel and that this gospel does not change. Any teaching that claims to be ‘another gospel’ is ‘not another’ (verses 6, 7, av). In order to make this point, he uses the two adjectives heteros (‘another’ in the sense of ‘different’) and allos (‘another’ in the sense of ‘a second’). The Revised Standard Version brings it out: ‘You are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel.’ In other words, there are certainly different gospels being preached, but this is what they are—different. There is not another, a second; there is only one. The message of the false teachers was not an alternative gospel; it was a perverted gospel.

How can we recognize the true gospel? Its marks are given us here. They concern its substance (what it is) and its source (where it comes from).

  • The substance of the gospel

It is the gospel of grace, of God’s free and unmerited favour. To turn from Him who called you in the grace of Christ is to turn from the true gospel. Whenever teachers start exalting man, implying that he can contribute anything to his salvation by his own morality, religion, philosophy or respectability, the gospel of grace is being corrupted. That is the first test. The true gospel magnifies the free grace of God.

  • The source of the gospel

The second test concerns the gospel’s origin. The true gospel is the gospel of the apostles of Jesus Christ, in other words, the New Testament gospel. Look again at verses 8 and 9. Paul’s anathema is pronounced on anybody who preaches a gospel which is either ‘contrary to that which we preached to you’ or ‘contrary to that which you received’. That is to say, the norm, the criterion, by which all systems and opinions are to be tested, is the primitive gospel, the gospel which the apostles preached and which is now recorded in the New Testament. Any system ‘other … than’ (av), or ‘contrary to’ (rsv), or ‘at variance with’ (neb) this apostolic gospel is to be rejected.

This is the second fundamental test. Anybody who rejects the apostolic gospel, no matter who he may be, is himself to be rejected. He may appear as ‘an angel from heaven’. In this case we are to prefer apostles to angels. We are not to be dazzled, as many people are, by the person, gifts or office of teachers in the church. They may come to us with great dignity, authority and scholarship. They may be bishops or archbishops, university professors or even the pope himself. But if they bring a gospel other than the gospel preached by the apostles and recorded in the New Testament, they are to be rejected. We judge them by the gospel; we do not judge the gospel by them. As Dr. Alan Cole expresses it, ‘The outward person of the messenger does not validate his message; rather, the nature of the message validates the messenger.’

So then, as we hear the multifarious views of men and women today, spoken, written, broadcast and televised, we must subject each of them to these two rigorous tests. Is their opinion consistent with the free grace of God and with the plain teaching of the New Testament? If not, we must reject it, however august the teacher may be. But if it passes these tests, then let us embrace it and hold it fast. We must not compromise it like the Judaizers, nor desert it like the Galatians, but live by it ourselves and seek to make it known to others.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Galatians (pp. 16–17). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 31–33). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Rapa, R. K. (2008). Galatians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 565–566). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Stott, J. R. W. (1986). The message of Galatians: Only one way (pp. 24–28). Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

April 2 What Really Happened at the Cross

scripture reading: Romans 3
key verse: Romans 5:1

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The blood, agony, and torture of the cross of Christ are well known, even to unbelievers and adherents to other religions. The Cross, however, was far more than mere historic melodrama. Its significance lies not in the emotional experience of the participants but in the reality of what God accomplished through His Son’s death.

At the cross of Calvary our sins were forgiven. The penalty of sin was death. Christ suffered that divinely decreed punishment on our behalf, thus enabling God to forgive us of our transgressions based on Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice.

At the cross death was defeated. Since Christ tasted the bitter dregs of death at Calvary and rose again three days later, death no longer reigns over those of us who place our trust in Him. Christ triumphed over the grave, and we who come to Him for salvation share in that awesome conquest.

Perhaps you have viewed the Cross with supreme sympathy for our suffering Messiah but never understood what His death entailed. If so, realize today that on the cross Christ died for your sins and overcame death. Come to Him for forgiveness of your sins, and gain the gift of eternal life.

Thank You, Father, that through the cross of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I have forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.[1]


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

2 april (preached 1 april 1855) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Joseph attacked by the archers

“The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel).” Genesis 49:23, 24

suggested further reading: Acts 4:1–12

“The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner.” It is said that when Solomon’s temple was being built, all the stones were brought from the quarry ready cut and fashioned, and there was marked on all the blocks the places where they were to be put. Amongst the stones was a very curious one; it seemed of no describable shape, it appeared unfit for any portion of the building. They tried it at this wall, but it would not fit; they tried it in another, but it could not be accommodated; so, vexed and angry, they threw it away. The temple was so many years building, that this stone became covered with moss, and grass grew around it. Everybody passing by laughed at the stone; they said Solomon was wise, and doubtless all the other stones were right; but as for that block, they might as well send it back to the quarry, for they were quite sure it was meant for nothing. Year after year rolled on, and the poor stone was still despised, the builders constantly refused it. The eventful day came when the temple was to be finished and opened, and the multitude was assembled to see the grand sight. The builders said, “Where is the top-stone? Where is the pinnacle?” they little thought where the crowning marble was, until some one said, “Perhaps that stone which the builders refused is meant to be the top-stone.” They then took it, and hoisted it to the top of the house; and as it reached the summit, they found it well adapted to the place. Loud hosannas made the heavens ring, as the stone which the builders refused became the headstone of the corner. So is it with Christ Jesus.

for meditation: To begin with, man saw to it that the first shall be last; in the end God saw to it that the last shall be first. Where do you place the Lord Jesus Christ?

sermon no. 17[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 99). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Progressive Virtue Signaling: The Refuge of Scoundrels | National Review

Actor Jussie Smollett leaves court after charges against him were dropped by state prosecutors in Chicago, Ill. March 26, 2019.(Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters)

Virtue-signaling is now the refuge of scoundrels.

Since ancient times, it has always been scary when moral auditors audit their own. Or as the Roman satirist Juvenal put it of male guardians entrusted to shield chaste girls from randy males, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (“Who will watch the watchmen?”)

When humans sense that there’s neither an earthly nor divine deterrent between them and social acceptance, power, riches, or their appetites, what follows is a foregone conclusion.

Such exemption is precisely the problem with modern American progressivism. It currently enjoys almost a captive mainstream media. It assumes the lockstep approval of the university. The movies that come out of Hollywood pound progressive themes. Most foundations fund race, class, and gender agendas. Popular culture has defined cool and hip as left-wing. In sum, all the secular dispensators of moral approval are hard left.

The result is that progressive actors and institutions understand that even their bad behavior will be contextualized rather than audited. Such medieval-style exemption gives them a natural blank check to overreach and to act unethically, crudely, and even unlawfully — as they might not have if they had expected ramifications.
— Read on www.nationalreview.com/2019/04/progressive-virtue-signaling-jussie-smollett-morris-dees/

2 APRIL 365 Days with Calvin

Tasting the Good of the Land

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land. Isaiah 1:19

suggested further reading: Deuteronomy 28:1–14

In saying Ye shall eat the good of the land, Isaiah refers to the fruits that the earth yields to supply the necessities of life. In some sense, the earth may be said to be unkind when it does not produce its fruits and keeps them, as it were, in its bosom. Yet I have no doubt that Isaiah here alludes to the promises of the law, in which God declares that, for those who fear him, he will bless the earth and cause it to produce a great abundance of all good things. “The Lord shall make thee plenteous in … the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee” (Deut. 28:11).

Yet when God offers us the conveniences of earthly life, it is not because he wishes that our attention should be confined to our present happiness. That is what hypocrites value and what entirely occupies their minds. No, he offers us the good of the land so that by the contemplation of it we may rise to the heavenly life, and that, by tasting so much goodness, he may prepare us for the enjoyment of eternal happiness. God was especially accustomed to act in this manner toward the ancient people, so that by tasting present benefits, as by a shadow, they might be called to heavenly inheritance.

This distinction ought to be carefully observed, so that we might apply this instruction to ourselves according to the degree of prosperity with which God has exalted us. The prophet intends to show us that true happiness, with its accompaniments, consists of obedience to God; and that the wicked, by their obstinacy, bring upon themselves every kind of calamity. Therefore all our distresses ought to be ascribed to the sins and crimes that we have committed.

for meditation: It is proper that we welcome earthly blessings for what they are—blessings. Still, we should not forget that they point to greater things beyond this earth. Regardless of how many earthly blessings we may possess, we should strive to obtain heavenly ones. What steps can you take in your life to take neither earthly nor heavenly blessings for granted?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 111). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Tuesday Briefing April 2, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

The Supreme Court makes a narrow decision on a death penalty case: A look at the media coverage, the divide of the court, and the delay between crime and punishment

How changing opinions on the death penalty highlight the moral transformations in Western culture over recent decades

The New York Times is shocked that Mike Pompeo’s theology shapes his practice, but why? How every person’s worldview, whether religious or not, influences their decisions

The post Tuesday, April 2, 2019 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.

Download MP3

— Read on albertmohler.com/2019/04/02/briefing-4-2-19/

A deep look at the Deep State | American Thinker Blog

When I discovered that

YouTube

If you missed this program, do yourself a favor and watch it, embedded below. Under the very skillful questioning of the host, they opened up about the backstory of the uncovering of the biggest political scandal in our history. I have followed the scandal closely and learned some new and shocking information. John Solomon’s “mailbox” story is both shocking and revealing.

Make no mistake, the Republic itself has been at bay, and it is only because of a few courageous journalists and public officials that we are now in a position to fight back – hard.

I cannot think of another program on television that comes close to

Hat tup:Bryan Demko
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/04/a_deep_look_at_the_deep_state.html

April 2, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

3. Wherefore have we fasted? He proceeds farther with the same subject, and says that feigned and perverse worshippers of God are not only blinded by their hypocrisy, but likewise swell with pride, so that they venture openly to murmur at God, and to complain when he presses hard upon them, as if he had done them a grievous injury. “Dost thou reject our services, fastings, and prayers? Why are they not acceptable to thee? Do we not vex ourselves in vain?”

He has admitted, as we have already said, that hypocrites have some outward show of holiness, by which they deceive men; but now he declares that inwardly they are also puffed up and intoxicated by pride, while they have pretended good works, by which they think that they satisfy God, and, on this pretence, they carry themselves high against the prophets, and indulge in the worst vices, such as unbelief, rebellion, and obstinacy against God, distrust, cruelty, fraud, and pillage. These are light matters in themselves, and are easily washed away by other external exercises; for the former are their pre-eminent merits, in which they think that the worship of God consists, and from which they hope to obtain the pardon of all their sins. Thus they “strain out a gnat, and do not scruple to swallow a whole camel.” (Matt. 23:24.) If such characters had been found among the Jews only, and if the world had changed its disposition, we should have needed to seek far for examples; but since we have experience of the same thing every day, there is no necessity for giving ourselves much trouble about the exposition of this passage.

This complaint may be viewed as referring both to the word and to the hand of God. In both ways God judges hypocrites; for he rebukes by the word, and punishes for their obstinate malice; and therefore those words may be viewed as referring both to the chastisements and to the preceding reproof. For my own part, I interpret it as relating to the word, and as a rebuke to hypocrites, who boasted of their fastings, and contrasted them with the censures of the prophets; as if they were the true worshippers of God, and were unjustly rebuked. I differ from those who think that the people blame God for treating them harshly during their captivity. On the contrary, it appears to me that they complain of the prophets for rebuking them with great sharpness and seventy; for the Jews wished to be regarded as devout and religious persons, and could not patiently endure to be condemned for impiety and wickedness. For this reason the Prophet exposes their dispositions, and shews that they make war with God, that they may not suppose that they have to deal with him as a private individual.

Ye find pleasure and exact all your labours. In the second part of the verse he refutes, in the name of God, those virtues which hypocrites proclaim with the sound of a trumpet. It is, because they do not nevertheless lay aside the sinful dispositions of the flesh, or begin to deny themselves; for he condemns them chiefly on the ground of having been devoted to their desires, and next he enumerates particular kinds of vices. Hence we may easily infer that their heart is not moved by any anxiety to repent.[1]


58:3 on the day of your fast While fasting was an appropriate act of worship, their motives for fasting were self-serving. They claimed to have humbled themselves, but their actions are motivated by pride.

and you oppress all your workers Their outward religious observances were meaningless if they did not experience the change of heart that would inspire them to treat others justly. Compare Isa 1:11–17.[2]


58:3 fasted … oppress. Despite their religiosity they were not concerned with justice for others (cf. 1:15–17; 59:2; Hos. 6:4–6; Amos 5:23, 24; Zech. 7:8–12). Instead of setting the day aside so that all can fast and pray, they wanted to rest while others worked.[3]


[1] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Vol. 4, pp. 227–228). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 58:3). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1034). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

40 Days to the Cross: Week Four – Tuesday

Confession: Psalm 90:9–17

For all of our days dwindle away in your rage;

we complete our years like a sigh.

As for the days of our years, within them are seventy years

or if by strength eighty years, and their pride is trouble and disaster,

for it passes quickly and we fly away.

Who knows the strength of your anger,

and your rage consistent with the fear due you?

So teach us to number our days

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Return, O Yahweh. How long?

And have compassion on your servants.

Satisfy us in the morning with your loyal love,

that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,

for as many years as we have seen calamity.

Let your work be visible to your servants,

and your majesty to their children.

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,

and establish for us the work of our hands,

yes, the work of our hands, establish it.

Reading: Mark 13:14–23

“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be” (let the one who reads understand), “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains! The one who is on his housetop must not come down or go inside to take anything out of his house, and the one who is in the field must not turn back to pick up his cloak. And woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! But pray that it will not happen in winter. For in those days there will be tribulation of such a kind as has not happened from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will happen. And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has shortened the days.

“And at that time if anyone should say to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ ‘Behold, there he is,’ do not believe him! For false messiahs and false prophets will appear, and will produce signs and wonders in order to mislead, if possible, the elect. But you, watch out! I have told you everything ahead of time!”

Reflection

But as the Lord Himself says, “Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray” (Matt 24:4–5 nrsv). But see how He has pointed out the judgment of the true Christ: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:27 nrsv).

When, therefore, the true Lord Jesus Christ shall come, He will sit and set up His throne of judgment. Also, the gospel says, “He shall separate the sheep from the goats” (Matt 25:32 [Paraphrase])—that is, the righteous from the unrighteous. As the apostle writes, “For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor 5:10 nrsv). Moreover, the judgment will be not only for deeds, but for thoughts also, as the same apostle said, “Their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all” (Rom 2:15–16 nrsv).

—Rufinus of Aquileia

A Commentary on the Apostles’ Creed

Response

Paul says we must take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). It’s easy to focus on the external workings of faith, but what about our thoughts? Do you love Christ with your thoughts?[1]


[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

04/02/19 The Lord’s Presence — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Joshua 1-4; Luke 5:27-6:11

The days must have been both exciting and challenging ones for Joshua. Moses was dead, and it was Joshua’s turn to lead God’s people. It was his task now to lead them into the Promised Land—a land about which he had learned decades before. Then, he had pleaded with the people to trust God and take the land; that generation did not, but now Joshua was leading another generation into the land.

The enemies still awaited there, but Joshua had these promises in his head:

  • “I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or abandon you.” (Josh 1:5)
  • “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lordyour God is with you wherever you go.”(Josh 1:9)
  • “Certainly the Lord your God will be with you, as he was with Moses.” (Josh 1:17)

God Himself gave the promise of His presence, and the people later confirmed it. It was in God’s power that Joshua could be “strong and courageous” (Josh 1:6, 7, 9, 18), no matter what enemies he and the Hebrew people would face. And, God would indeed lead His people miraculously across the Jordan River, just as He had done at the Red Sea for another generation.

Today, we know that God is with us, too. In fact, He lives in us through His Holy Spirit. With that simple but profound truth in mind, we should allow nothing to keep us from serving God fully. Nothing should frighten or discourage us when the Lord our God in with us.

PRAYER: “God, remind me daily of Your presence in my life.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Joshua 5-7; Luke 6:12-36

via 04/02/19 The Lord’s Presence — ChuckLawless.com

April 2 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Leviticus 5; Psalms 3–4; Proverbs 20; Colossians 3

 

the contrasts in colossians 3 are so stark they are haunting. On the one hand, the sins in 3:5–9 are foul: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, lying. Greed is labeled “idolatry” (3:5). One can see why. In effect, one worships what one most desires. If greed lies at the heart of our deepest desires, then acquisitiveness has become our god, and we are idolaters.

On the other hand, the virtues briefly spelled out in 3:12–17 have always been associated with genuine Christian character. Here I wish to focus on the last two verses: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (3:16–17).

(1) The “word of Christ” is not exactly the Scriptures. It is the Gospel—but the primary access we have to that Gospel is the Scriptures. The expression “word of Christ” is sufficiently flexible that it can mean either the word that Christ taught or the word about Christ. Insofar as the Gospel itself was both proclaimed by Jesus Christ and so embodied in his person and ministry that it is also what the apostles say about him, “the word of Christ” embraces both meanings.

(2) This is what is to dwell in us richly. It is to fill our memories, occupy our horizons, constitute our priorities. We are so to reflect on it, as we turn it over in our minds and learn how it applies in every area of our lives, that, far from occupying a little religious corner of our experience, it will dwell in us richly.

(3) This must take place not only in the privacy of personal study and reflection but also in our mutual instruction and admonition. Whatever teaching takes place within the local church, it must be full of the Gospel and its rich, life-transforming implications and applications.

(4) Over against all that is foul and all that is idolatrous, Christians are to be characterized by gratitude. We have been called to peace, the apostle says. “And be thankful” (3:15). The singing of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs is to be done “with gratitude in your hearts to God” (3:16). Indeed, the apostle concludes, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (3:17, italics added).[1]


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

HOLLYWOOD LOVES MOLOCH: ‘Unplanned’ Star Fires Back At Alyssa Milano’s Call to Boycott Georgia Over ‘Heartbeat Bill’ — These Christian Times

Actress Alyssa Milano is leading the charge against the new pro-life “heartbeat bill” that the Georgia Senate passed earlier this month, and “Unplanned” star Ashley Bratcher is firing back.

via HOLLYWOOD LOVES MOLOCH: ‘Unplanned’ Star Fires Back At Alyssa Milano’s Call to Boycott Georgia Over ‘Heartbeat Bill’ — These Christian Times

RussiaGate: “Why Did This Ever Start In The First Place?” | Zero Hedge

“It is possible to see Russiagate as a political assassination attempt, using law enforcement as the weapon.”

Authored by Peter van Buren via WeMeantWell.com,

Trump and the Russians has created an army of “Mueller Truthers,” demanding additional investigations. But Republicans are also demanding to know more, specifically how the FBI came to look into collusion, and what that tells us about the tension between America’s political and intelligence worlds. In Rudy Giuliani’s words “Why did this ever start in the first place?”

The primordial ooze for all things Russia began in spring 2016 when the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, through a company called Fusion GPS, hired former MI6 intelligence agent Christopher Steele to compile a report (“the dossier”) on whatever ties to Russia he could find for Donald Trump.

Steele’s assignment was not to investigate impartially, but to gather dirt aggressively – opposition research, or oppo. He assembled second and third hand stories, then used anonymous sources and Internet chum to purported reveal Trump people roaming about Europe asking various Russians for help, promising sanctions relief, and trading influence for financial deals. Steele also claimed the existence of a “pee tape,” kompromat Putin used to control Trump.

Creating the dossier was only half of Steele’s assignment. The real work was to insert the dossier into American media and intelligence organizations to prevent Trump from winning the election. While only a so-so fiction writer, Steele proved to be a master at running his information op against America.

In July 2016 Steele met with over a dozen reporters to promote his dossier, with little success. It could not be corroborated. Steele succeeded mightily, however, in pushing his information deep into the FBI via three simultaneous channels, including the State Department, and via Senator John McCain, who was pitched by a former British ambassador retired to work now for Christopher Steele’s own firm.

But the most productive channel into the FBI was Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr. Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS, the front company for Steele, having previously done contract work for the CIA. Nellie passed the dossier to her husband, along with her own paid oppo research, so that he could use his credibility at DOJ to hand-carry the work into the FBI. Bruce Ohr, despite acknowledging it broke all rules of protocol and evidence handling, did just that on July 30, 2016. He stressed to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe the material was uncorroborated and had been compiled by Christopher Steele, who wanted it used to stop Trump.

The dossier landed in welcoming hands. The FBI immediately opened an unprecedented investigation called Crossfire Hurricane into the Trump campaign. It sent agents to London to meet Australian ambassador Alexander Downer, who claimed to have evidence George Papadopoulos, one of Trump’s junior-level advisers, was talking to Russians about Hillary’s emails. The FBI’s timing of the new investigation into Trump – only days after they closed their investigation into Clinton’s email server – can be considered a coincidence by those of good heart.

Peter Strzok, the senior FBI agent managing the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and Lisa Page, a lawyer on his team (the two were also lovers), purposefully kept investigation details from political appointees at DOJ to the extent that only five people actually knew the full measure of what was going on, ostensibly to prevent leaks.

In fact, the point seems to have been to avoid oversight, given how weak the evidence was supporting something as grave as the Republican nominee committing treason. If you are looking behind the headlines for why Trump fired Andrew McCabe, besides his personal sympathies for Hillary, look there. Strzok and Page appear to have had an agenda of their own. In a text they wrote “Page: ‘[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Strzok: ‘No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.’”

With a wave of a hand the dossier the FBI was warned was partisan bunk was transformed into evidence. Steele himself morphed from paid opposition researcher to paid clandestine source for the FBI, with the fact that he had recently retired from a foreign intelligence service, British or not, ignored. It was all just an excuse anyway to unleash the vast intelligence machine against Trump, the imagined Manchurian Candidate.

Papadopoulos, the man in London, as a linchpin was also preposterous. He was a kid on the edges of the campaign, who “bumped into” a shady Russian professor who just happened to dangle the most explosive thing ever, Hillary’s emails. Papadopoulos then met the Aussie ambassador to Britain, Alex Downer. Papadopoulos gets drunk, tells the tale, which then falls whole into the FBI’s lap. Ambassador Downer, by the way, had previously arranged a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation. Papadopoulos was introduced to Downer by an Australian intelligence agent who knew him through her boyfriend, stationed at the Israeli embassy as a “political officer.”

Carter Page’s case was more of the same. Page, as a key actor in the Steele dossier, wold serve as an early excuse to get FISA surveillance eyes and ears on the Trump campaign. The FBI had a paid CIA asset, University of Cambridge professor and American citizen Stefan A. Halper, contact Page and dangle questions about access to Clinton emails.

Halper had earlier been trying separately to entrap Papadopoulos (the professor offered the inexperienced campaign aide $3,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to London to write a white paper about energy), and also met with Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis in late August, offering his services as an adviser. Clovis declined. Ultimately both Papadopoulos and Page also rebuffed Halper, though both would later encounter a young woman in London claiming to be Halper’s assistant who tried to reinterest the boys.

Though to obtain multiple FISA warrants the FBI characterized him as an “agent of a foreign power,” Carter Page was never charged with anything. Halper dropped off the media’s radar, but is almost certainly a US intelligence asset. He had earlier worked with British intelligence to pay for Michael Flynn to visit the UK. Halper’s main US-based funding source is an internal Pentagon think tank. The Washington Post reported Halper had in the past worked for CIA directly. Halper was implicated in a 1980s spying scandal in which CIA officials gave inside information on the Carter administration to the GOP. Halper also married into a senior CIA official’s family.

It is clear the FBI was desperately trying to infiltrate Halper into the Trump campaign as part of a full-blown intel op, recruiting against Trump’s vulnerable junior staff. Even though the recruitment failed, the bits and pieces learned in the process were good enough for government work. At issue was that Steele’s dossier formed a key argument in favor of a FISA warrant to spy on Trump personnel. The dossier was corroborated in part in the warrant application by citing news reports that later turned out to be themselves based on the Steele dossier. In intelligence work, this is known as cross-contamination, a risky amateur error the FBI seems to have taken a chance on hoping the FISA judge would not know enough to question it. The gamble worked.

The FBI needed something as backup, so their investigation into Trump, now focused on the FISA surveillance, could be said not to have rested entirely on the dubious Steele dossier. Surveillance, intended and incidental, would eventually include Jeff SessionsSteve BannonCarter PagePaul ManafortRichard GatesMichael Cohen, and likely Trump himself.

Had Hillary won the story would have ended there, in fact, likely would never have come to light. But with Trump’s victory, the dossier had one more job to do: prep the public for all to come.

There has been no discussion as to why, in possession of information the FBI seemed to believe showed the Russians were running a global full-court press to themselves recruit inside Trump’s inner circle, Trump was never offered a defensive briefing. Such a warning – hey, you are in danger – is common inside government. But in Trump’s case it never happened. Instead, in echo of the dark Hoover years, the FBI used its information to try and take down Trump, not protect him.

Though the dossier had already been widely shared inside the media, the State Department, and the intelligence community, it was only on January 6, 2017 Comey briefed it to president-elect Trump. No one really knows what was said in that meeting, but we do know after holding the dossier since summer 2016, only four days after the Trump-Comey meeting Buzzfeed published the document and the world learned about the pee tape. Many believe someone in the intel community gave “permission” to the media, signaling Brennan, Clapper, Hayden, et al, would begin making publicstatements the dossier “could be true.”

John Brennan was a regular on television and other media claiming over two years there was evidence of contacts between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, pimping off his time as CIA director to suggest he had inside information. He went as far as testifying before Congress in May 2017 that there was evidence of contacts between Russian officials and Trump campaign figures, though now says he might have been given “bad information.”

After that, no item that could link the words Trump and Russia was too small to add to the pile of pseudo-evidence.

It would be easy to dismiss all this as a wacky conspiracy theory if it wasn’t in fact the counter-explanation to the even wackier, disproved theory Donald Trump was a Russian asset. It is possible to see Russiagate as a political assassination attempt, using law enforcement as the weapon. Someone might do well to double-check if Christopher Steele was in Dealey Plaza during the Kennedy assassination.