Daily Archives: April 6, 2019

April 6 The Refining Process

Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:36–46

Key Verse: Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

One of the most reassuring traits of Jesus is the fact that He can relate to us. Regardless of how discouraged we might be or how weak and weary we feel, Jesus knows how we feel because He, too, felt likewise. But our weakness is not a sin. It is actually our pathway to strength.

While Jesus never sinned, He struggled like everyone, including in His prayer life. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus wanted to know if there was another way for God to accomplish His great plan without this impending painful separation.

Jesus was weak and weary, yet His trust in His heavenly Father remained firm. He knew this day was coming and this was God’s purpose for His life on earth, but it did not make the situation any easier. Jesus did not take up the cross lightly.

Jesus knew that His suffering was necessary to bring the world back into personal relationship with God. But it was still hard. It was still agonizing. Despite Jesus’ knowledge of how His death and resurrection would impact mankind forever, He struggled to pray. However, Jesus was without sin. The struggles in His prayer life, much like ours from time to time, show how struggling is a natural by-product of entering a battle for God’s kingdom.

But the struggles produce a refining process in us that glorifies our Lord and sharpens us more into His image.

Lord Jesus, You struggled with human weakness, with weariness, with temptation, and yet You didn’t sin. Give me the strength to rise above temptation too.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 101). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

April 6 Secured by Christ

Scripture Reading: Galatians 6:13–15

Key Verse: Ephesians 2:14

He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.

God calls us to serve Him out of love and devotion, not out of work or obligation. The Pharisees prided themselves in the fact that they kept the whole law. They believed that would please God and secure their salvation.

The sad point is that whenever you base anything—a marriage, a friendship, a job, or more important, your relationship with God—on works, you never know where you stand. There is always a degree of doubt involved because you are driven to achieve standards set by yourself and others.

Jesus set a new standard for your relationship with God: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). God never meant for the Jews to view the law as a pathway to salvation. Instead, it was given as preparation for the coming of Christ.

We can be sure of our salvation because we are secured by Christ and not by our performance. Some people say salvation by grace alone is “cheap talk.” But nothing is cheap about the Cross. Jesus Christ, the most valuable person who has ever lived, loves you so much that He willingly laid down His life that you might experience eternal life with Him. It is His gift of love to you.

Lord, thank You for laying down Your life so that I can experience eternal life with You. Thank You for Your gift of love. Help me realize Your grace is not cheap.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 101). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

US Military ‘blowback’ from Iran to Libya explained

Rick Sanchez explains the populist anti-immigrant sentiment on the rise in Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Austria and Italy and discusses the hand of US geopolitical bullying in causing the migrant crisis in Europe. Then investigative journalist and author Max Blumenthal joins to discuss his new book, “the Management of Savagery,” which explores the foundations of mass immigration and populist backlash in the globalist warmongering of elites in the US and NATO.

I’ve Repented So Why Do My Past Sins Keep Haunting Me?

We can’t erase the past, so instead of trying to forget it, rejoice in God’s grace that delivered you from your guilt and the power of your sin and the continuing guilt and power of your sin today. I think of Paul who always thought of himself as the chief of sinners because he had slaughtered Christians. That was what Paul was doing, so he could say, “My identity in myself, if I have to look at myself, is chief of sinners, but that’s not my real identity. My real identity is in Christ, seated with him in heavenly places. While I was dead in trespasses and sins, by nature a child of wrath, he delivered me.” That’s his new identity. ​

The Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1 says,

And if you call on Him as Father, who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were redeemed from the futile ways you inherited from your forefathers. Not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest in the last time for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God, having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart since you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable through the living and abiding Word of God for all flesh is like grass and all of its glory like the flowers of grass, the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord remains forever and this Word is the gospel that was preached to you. (1 Pet. 1:17-25)

A wonderful story a pastor friend told me; he had a woman come to him and she would always cry during the service and afterward he called her and said he said, “can I talk to you, you’re really struggling with something. And she said, “I can’t really be forgiven.” She said, “I had an abortion and I can’t get it out of my mind I’m that person who aborted her child.”

He said, “You know, based on James, if you confess your sins one to another God will forgive you.” He declared to her, “your sins are forgiven in Christ’s name.” And she says, “but what about the abortion that I had?” And he said, “What abortion?” God forgives and he really does forget even when we don’t.

Adapted from an answer given on Episode 115 of the Core Christianity Radio Show. 

Source: I’ve Repented So Why Do My Past Sins Keep Haunting Me?

Keiser Report: The Too Big to Fail Investment Universe (E1367)

Check Keiser Report website for more: http://www.maxkeiser.com/ In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy discuss the recent Bank of America report, ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Investment Universe’. The report provides dozens of charts and data points looking at where the investment universe stands ten years after the financial catastrophe.

The Easter Story: Important Facts All Christians Need to Know | Crosswalk.com

The story of Easter is the story of an empty tomb. No one knows with complete certainty where the tomb of Jesus was located, but this shouldn’t be surprising. After the resurrection, the location of the tomb didn’t matter anymore since Jesus was no longer in it.

What is Easter?

On Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, we celebrate what is arguably the most important event in all of human history: Jesus rising from the dead. All of Christianity and all eternity hinges on the truth of the resurrection. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then our faith is lacking in meaning and is just another interesting philosophy. But if the resurrection is true, then it is the clearest proof that Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be – the Son of God and the Savior of the world. All of the evidence points to the truth of the resurrection, and the result is changed lives.

Why is the timeline important?

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:53-54

Throughout Scripture, events happen in a certain order for a certain reason, and God often works not only through what happens, but through how and when things happen. The order of events, in this case, shows a fulfillment of prophecies and reveals why Jesus is called the ‘Lamb of God.’

Immediately before the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus sat at the Passover meal with his disciples and explained how the meal represented not only the past, but also what was about to happen in the following days. Jesus had to make the ultimate sacrifice at the time of Passover. He also had to be taken down from the cross before sunset, because this was the beginning of the Sabbath. Each event fit inside a larger picture of what God had been doing through his people for centuries and set the stage for what he had planned for the next few thousand years.

What did the Last Supper really mean?

“Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

Christians everywhere celebrate what we call ‘communion’ or the ‘Lord’s Supper’ because of what happened the night before the crucifixion. Jesus and his disciples were celebrating the Passover together, and a small part of this observance involves drinking a cup and the breaking and eating of unleavened bread. The entire observation of Passover is a remembrance of how God delivered the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt, and each element is a symbol of that. As they celebrated this meal, Jesus reaffirmed the original meaning of deliverance from physical slavery while adding to it the meaning of freedom from spiritual slavery. His broken body is represented in the bread, and his blood in the cup. In him and through his sacrifice, the symbolism has now been fulfilled.

What happened in the garden of Gethsemane?

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

The garden of Gethsemane is a grove of olive trees that is still there today. Some of the trees are over 2,000 years old and would have been young trees at the time Jesus was there on the night he was arrested. Located in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount is just a short walk away across the Kidron Valley. As Jesus prayed in the garden, he could see the temple, and could likely hear the hustle and bustle of people gathering for the Passover.

It is here that he prayed the most agonizing prayer ever to be lifted up. After the Last Supper with his disciples, he took them out to pray in the garden where he predicted Peter’s denial and prayed for God’s will to be done in him.

Why was Jesus put on trial?

“And they began to accuse him, saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.’” Luke 23:2

Jesus went through several trials, and all of them were legally out-of-line, even by ancient standards. His first trial was before the Sanhedrin, the leading council of Israel, where he was charged with blasphemy for claiming to be God. The meeting of the council was called at night, and all the witnesses brought against Jesus were poor witnesses at best.

The council had no authority to sentence him to death, so they brought him to Pilate, the Roman governor who held that power. Pilate found no cause for getting involved in what he saw as a local religious dispute, so when he found out that Jesus was from Galilee, he sent him off to Herod, the leader of Galilee, who was also in Jerusalem for the Passover. Before Herod, Jesus was mocked and beaten and then sent back to Pilate. Pilate finally allowed his crucifixion in order to “satisfy the crowd” (Mark 15:15).

There was no legal reason for Jesus to be crucified. He had not blasphemed or opposed paying taxes. Yet, it was God’s will that Jesus die on our behalf to take away our sin. There was no stopping the plan of God, no matter how painful. Out of this pain and even in this dark hour, a path was being laid for the resurrection and the glorious hope of eternal life and triumph over the grave.

Why was Jesus crucified?

The crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most horrifying, yet most startlingly beautiful things that has ever happened. Crucifixion was not unique to Jesus but was a common Roman practice. Criminals, outlaws, and others were regularly crucified in the Roman world. Perhaps the most striking thing about the method of his death was that it was so strikingly common. Crucifixion was not an unusual sight for the people of Israel under Roman occupation. What was unusual is that this man had committed no crime worthy of crucifixion.

In fact, he had committed no crime at all.

The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, was a soldier and a politician known to be cruel in his methods and by no means a softhearted man. Yet even he expressed regret for allowing the crucifixion of Christ to proceed.

Where was he crucified?

“They came to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’).” Matthew 27:33

Jesus was crucified on a hill known as ‘The Skull’ outside of Jerusalem. Some Bible versions translate this as Calvary (Latin) or Golgotha (Aramaic). It seems to have been a common place for these types of executions. It could have been so named because the hill looked like a large skull, or because of the many executions that regularly occurred there.

How did Jesus die?

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.” Luke 23:46

To say the death of Christ was excruciating is no stretch, as the word excruciating itself is derived from the word crucifixion. It literally means ‘the pain of a crucifixion.’

Suffering from blood loss, extreme pain, and muscle spasms from being nailed to a cross, the victim eventually lost the strength and ability to continue taking air and died from suffocation. The moment Jesus died, it would seem that all was lost and his vision of God’s kingdom had died with him.

But the story was not yet over.

What happened when he died?

When Jesus died, the hope of his followers was also on the verge of death. The one who they followed and believed in had died the death of a common thief. Yet there were many other things that occurred which the Bible tells us of:

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” Matthew 27:51-54

Where was Jesus buried?

“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.” John 19:41

After the crucifixion, a man named Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Jesus to be placed in his tomb. Joseph was a wealthy man, a member of the council, and a follower of Jesus. After they had hastily prepared his body for burial, a large stone was rolled in front of the entrance, and Roman guards were placed in front of it.

Jesus had gained quite an energetic following, and there was concern that someone may attempt to steal the body, claiming that Jesus had returned from the dead. These guards would fulfill their duty to ensure that the stone stayed in place and that no one would move it.

They never anticipated it being moved from the inside.

How did the resurrection happen?

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” Luke 24:5-6

The moment that death was defeated is the moment that Jesus arose from the dead and walked out of that borrowed grave! We don’t understand how this happened; only that through the power of God, it did happen! The first people to see the empty tomb and to see him resurrected were women who had followed him: “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus” (Luke 24:1-3).

How can you be saved?

“In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 1 Peter 1:3

The death and resurrection of Jesus means that there is hope in this hopeless world; that there truly is a God; and that not only does he understand us, but he became one of us. He took our sins upon himself and is alive today. Romans 10:9 says that “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

It is that simple. If we truly believe he is who he says he is and that he rose from the dead as he said he would, it will forever change the way we think and live.

This is the time of year that life begins to bloom around us. Spring replaces winter, and as the air begins to warm there is a sense of rejuvenation and refreshing—a feeling that the old is being made new all over again. It is fitting that we celebrate the resurrection at this time of year, and also fitting that we embrace the new life offered to us through our living Savior.

Source: The Easter Story: Important Facts All Christians Need to Know

Kids Aren’t Born Trans — Christian Research Network

“I underwent my own “sex change” in April 1983. I had no idea then that I would be here today talking about the subject, or that the evidence against “born that way” had started oozing out as early as 1979, four years before I was mutilated.”

(Walt Heyer – CNSNews)  People who pursue a cross-sex identity aren’t born that way, and children should not be encouraged to “transition” to the opposite sex, according to a reference work endorsed by the American Psychological Association.

Yet every day I hear from another parent who tells me that a child’s therapist, after an appointment or two, strongly recommends that the parent allow the child to change his or her name and personal pronouns, live as the opposite sex, and get on the track toward irreversible medical interventions.

Laura Haynes, a licensed psychologist in California, recently reviewed the APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology and highlighted its research findings about transgender children.

Among those findings, cited on page 744 of Volume 1:

—“In no more than about one in four children does gender dysphoria persist from childhood to adolescence or adulthood,” with the majority of affected boys later identifying as gay, not transgender, and up to half of affected girls identifying as lesbian, not transgender. View article →


Homosexual Agenda

via Kids Aren’t Born Trans — Christian Research Network

Assange – Year 7: How Ecuador-US ties changed post-asylum granting

Wikileaks claims to have obtained a ‘press strategy’ agreed on by Ecuador and the UK – in the event its founder Julian Assange is extradited to US. Rumours are circulating that he’s about to be kicked out… and potentially handed by UK to US.

Half of Pastors Worry Speaking Out on Social Issues Will Offend People | Christianity Today Magazine

Protestant clergy feel the pressure around addressing LGBT identity and same-sex marriage, but that doesn’t mean they’ll change their message.

Protestant pastors aren’t as concerned about religious liberty as they were just a few years ago, amid high-profile cases challenging Christian convictions on abortion and marriage, but they increasingly feel the tension around whether and how to address hot-button moral and social issues.

According to a comprehensive new religious freedom and pluralism report released by the Barna Group this year, 9 out of 10 Christian pastors say helping Christians have biblical beliefs about specific issues is a major part of their role as clergy.

But they sense the pressure from all sides: Many express being subject to scrutiny from outside their congregations as well as within them. “The stakes are high in the public square,” the researchers wrote. “The issues pastors feel most pressured to speak out on are the same ones they feel limited to speak on,” with LGBT issues and same-sex marriage at the top.

Half of Christian pastors feel occasionally or frequently limited in their ability to speak out by concerns they will offend people, Barna reported.

Pastors also recognize how shifting views on sexuality will continue to impact the religious liberty landscape. Barna found that three-quarters (76%) of US clergy believe religious freedom is becoming less valued, and just under half (44%) predict that other freedoms will be at risk in the coming decade.

Religious Freedom Fears

Pastors from non-mainline Protestant traditions—generally evangelical groups like Southern Baptists, Pentecostals and charismatics, non-denominational Christians, and those from Wesleyan-Holiness backgrounds—are more likely than leaders from other traditions to believe that clergy play a unique role in defending religious freedom …

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Source: Half of Pastors Worry Speaking Out on Social Issues Will Offend People

Mike Huckabee identifies ‘biggest threat’ to moral fiber of US, why it’s the Church’s fault

(Photo: NRB)Former Governor Mike Huckabee, the host of Huckabee on TBN, appears at Proclaim 19, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Anaheim, California.

Redefining gender and sexual identity is the “greatest threat” to the moral fiber of America, said former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, and the fault lies with the Church.

“The biggest threat to biblical principles today is the failure to apply a biblical standard of maleness and femaleness,” Huckabee told The Christian Post during a sit-down interview last week in Anaheim, California. “We are creating this illusion that there is no gender, there is no identity, and I’m blaming the Christian Church.”

The 2008 and 2016 Republican presidential candidate explained that California’s introduction of “no-fault divorce” in 1970 created the mindset that marriage “wasn’t really that important” and that one “could go in and out of it without a second thought.” Prior to that time, some kind of marital fault had to be demonstrated before a divorce could be granted.

“That’s when we first started losing that sense of sacredness of what marriage meant,” he argued. “So I’m not really that surprised that same sex-marriage has become in vogue because the Christian Church were the ones who essentially abdicated a strict responsibility about what biblical marriage should look like.”

“Once you’ve destroyed that, why can’t you have any and everything?” he continued. “The gender dysphoria we’re seeing today is largely due to the fact that the Church has failed to present very clearly the words of Jesus and Genesis 5:2: ‘Male and female He created them.'”

Huckabee pointed out that society today celebrates single parenting and posits the idea that fathers “really aren’t necessary” when it comes to raising children.

“There are some people who are in single parenthood, not because they want to be, but because they were forced to be. And we ought to give [them] all the support,” he clarified. “But we should never pretend that it is as good as a loving mother and father in a home where a child sees both genders play out their norms because that’s the modeling of behavior that would be ideal for a child to grow up in.”

Huckabee, who served as a Southern Baptist pastor before entering politics, said that in order for things to change, the Church needs to clearly present a biblical view of gender and identity — even though it’s not considered “politically correct.”

“People are afraid that if they are really biblical, it will alienate people and I think that’s nonsense,” he contended. “Yes, it will alienate some people who are more interested in preserving the lifestyle they have chosen than a lifestyle that will be practical and will work. But it will also be a lifesaver for the people who are really looking for genuine truth.”

Source: Mike Huckabee identifies ‘biggest threat’ to moral fiber of US, why it’s the Church’s fault