Daily Archives: May 1, 2019

Do You Want God to Oppose You in Your Pride? – Blog – Eternal Perspective Ministries

We’re to see with God’s perspective, and He regards humility as something beautiful.

A while back I was asked to share some thoughts on 1 Peter 5:5 for a study series for my church. Here’s the video, and below is an edited transcript. I’ve made some substantial edits and additions, so the words below have a fair amount not in the video.

First Peter 5:5 (ESV) says:

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

What’s translated here as “humility,” or “humble yourselves” in the following verse, is a Greek word that means “low-lying.” It was used derisively by the Greeks and the Romans. To be accused of being humble was very negative because both those groups were proud people.

And we as Americans, as well as citizens of nations around the planet, are certainly proud people! We see this in sports, in politics, and sometimes even in preaching styles. Sadly, there are people who get up in their churches and on their television programs and posture and wear their prominent jewelry or flashy clothes and seemingly try to draw attention to themselves.

We see this sometimes with athletes, with some of the self-glorifying celebrations and the intimidation of their opponents. We see it sometimes in business people and musicians and actors and writers and for sure in politics. It’s rampant.  (Of course there are truly humble pastors, athletes, musicians, business people, and politicians. I know a number of them, so this isn’t a generalization, just a recognition that the pride problem is widespread.)

These kinds of things were normal to the Greeks and Romans, and are normal in America, but they’re not to be normal to the church, the body of Christ. We’re to see with God’s perspective, and He regards humility as something beautiful. Christ is our ultimate example of humility, as we see in John 13, when He washed the feet of His disciples.

“God opposes the proud,” this text says. That’s a word used for battle, and to oppose means to be at war with. Do you really want to be at war with God? No! Be at war with Satan. Sometimes for a great cause, you’ll be at war with people, even though you love them and pray for their conversion. But you and I never, ever want to be at war with God. That is a war we can never win! What could be more foolish than to pit yourself against God? Whatever God says He opposes is exactly what we should not be doing. So it’s not just wrong to be proud—it’s just plain stupid.  

“But he gives grace to the humble.” What could you want more than God’s grace? Our Christian lives begin with grace and we are saved by grace, but we are also sanctified by grace and will be glorified by grace. We need grace today, every bit as much as the first day we came to faith in Christ. “He gives grace to the humble.” Want more grace from God? Then here’s the formula: humble yourself. Or do you want God to fight you, go to war against you, and defeat and humiliate you? Then go ahead and be proud. It’s that simple.

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.” Notice it says all of you. There are no exceptions to this. No pastor or elder or leader inside or outside the church can get away with pride and arrogance. And notice it says, “Clothe yourselveswith humility.” Not “let yourself be clothed.” This is not Downton Abbey, where there’s a lady’s maid to dress the women, and a butler to dress the men. You have to put on your own clothes. God calls us to be servants, and no one dresses the servant!

This is active, not passive. We’re not to sit around and wait for God, or anyone else, to clothe us with humility. We actually have to clothe ourselves. You’ve probably noticed your clothes don’t magically appear on you each day. You have to go to the effort to select them and put them on. Likewise, humility doesn’t come naturally. We need to practice it by serving others, genuinely caring about them, and respecting them and listening to them and putting them, not us, first.

Again, I think the “all of you” is significant in this verse because there are no exceptions. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  If Jesus, the Creator and Master, came to serve, shouldn’t we follow His example?

Humility isn’t pretending that we’re unworthy so we’ll look good, or because we’re proud of being humble. Humility is truly realizing we are unworthy—and yet God has called us, loved us, sent His Son to the cross for us, and empowered us to live a life of service. True leaders are servants. That’s why Peter tells elders and pastors they must be “eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3). 

We might consider it a compliment to be called a servant. Someone might say, “You’re a real servant!” and we’ll wear that as a badge of honor. But how do we feel when we’re actually treated as servants? That’s the real test of our humility. Don’t serve others so you can be praised for being a servant. Serve others from a humble heart, realizing it is an honor to serve, as Jesus did. Nothing is more fulfilling than following His example. The true servant of God is one who follows the command “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Romans 12:3).

So do you want God to think highly of you? Do you want Him to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”? I certainly do. Isaiah 66:2 tells us how: “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”  

One of the great needs of our time, I think, is doctrinal humility, where we don’t attempt to reinvent the Christian faith, thinking our new interpretations of Scripture (especially those that just happen to conform to the changing values of our culture) are better that those of the supposedly ignorant people who preceded us in church history.

Some people say today, “Jesus talked about hell, and I get that, but I just don’t think a God of love could send people to an eternal hell.” So they’re tempted to start revising and airbrushing God’s message, and trying to make the gospel appear more positive in our culture. But it doesn’t work, and it’s not loving because when we love people, we will warn them and tell them the truth. We’re to do it in humility, but we are to warn them, not adjust God’s message.

The prodigal son left in pride, and returned in humility. What did his father do? He did what God the Father does for us: he wrapped his arms around him in grace. God opposes the proud, and we see that in the older brother, who’s proud of his virtues. But God gives grace to the humble and that’s what the father did for the prodigal son when he repented.

So remember, it’s not only wrong to oppose God by being proud—it’s utterly foolish. It will never work out well for us.  John Flavel, the great English Puritan of the 1600s, said, “They that know God will be humble; they that know themselves cannot be proud.” A. W. Tozer, one of my favorite writers, said, “God being Who and What He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full lordship on His part and complete submission on ours.”

First Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourself therefore under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” God has a time when He will lift us up, but if we go through our lives trying to lift up and exalt ourselves, it will not only fail, but it will also rob us of the opportunity for God to elevate us and others to speak well of us. Those things will only happen if we’ve avoided promoting ourselves out of pride, and served Jesus and others in true humility.

As usual, Charles Spurgeon said it well: “Many people have often been humbled, and yet they have not become humble. …The most hopeful way of avoiding humbling affliction is to humble yourself. Be humble that you may not be humbled.”
— Read on www.epm.org/blog/2019/May/1/oppose-pride-grace-humility

Wednesday Briefing May 1, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

Canadian father found guilty of ‘family violence’ for opposing sex reassignment of his teenage daughter What the gag order on a Canadian father means for parental rights in the sexual revolution The threat that homeschooling presents to the moral revolution: Why the British government is seeking to control the education of all children, even homeschoolers The post Wednesday, May 1, 2019 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com. 


 Canadian father found guilty of ‘family violence’ for opposing sex reassignment of his teenage daughter


 What the gag order on a Canadian father means for parental rights in the sexual revolution


 The threat that homeschooling presents to the moral revolution: Why the British government is seeking to control the education of all children, even homeschoolers





‘This is the Deed to Our Land’: Israel’s Ambassador Takes Out Bible at UN to Prove Jewish People’s Claim to Israel | CBN News

Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon used the Bible to defend the Jewish people’s claim to the land of Israel during a special session at the United Nations Security Council on Monday. 

The Design and Scope of the Atonement — Ligonier Ministries Blog

In an age wherein the ground of theology has been saturated by the torrential downpour of existential thinking, it seems almost suicidal, like facing the open floodgates riding a raft made of balsa wood, to appeal to a seventeenth-century theologian to address a pressing theological issue. Nothing evokes more snorts from the snouts of anti-rational zealots than appeals to sages from the era of Protestant Scholasticism.

“Scholasticism” is the pejorative term applied by so-called “Neo-Orthodox” (better spelled without the “e” in Neo), or “progressive” Reformed thinkers who embrace the “Spirit” of the Reformation while eschewing its “letter” to the seventeenth-century Reformed thinkers who codified the insights of their sixteenth-century magisterial forebears. To the scoffers of this present age, Protestant Scholasticism is seen as a reification or calcification of the dynamic and liquid forms of earlier Reformed insight. It is viewed as a deformation from the lively, sanguine rediscovery of biblical thought to a deadly capitulation to the “Age of Reason,” whereby the vibrant truths of redemption were reduced to logical propositions and encrusted in dry theological tomes and arid creedal formulations such as the Westminster Confession of Faith.

The besetting sin of men like Francis Turretin and John Owen was their penchant for precision and clarity in doctrinal statements. As J. I. Packer observed in his introduction of John Owen’s classic work, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ:

“Those who see no need for doctrinal exactness and have no time for theological debates which show up divisions between so-called Evangelicals may well regret its reappearance … . Owen’s work is a constructive broad-based biblical analysis of the heart of the gospel, and must be taken seriously as such … . Nobody has the right to dismiss the doctrine of the limitedness of the atonement as a monstrosity of Calvinistic logic until he has refuted Owen’s proof that it is part of the uniform biblical presentation of redemption, clearly taught in plain text after plain text.”

The “monster” created by Calvinistic logic to which Packer refers is the doctrine of limited atonement. The so-called “Five points of Calvinism” (growing out of a dispute with Remonstrants (Arminians) in Holland in the early seventeenth century) have been popularized by the acrostic T-U-L-I-P, spelling out the finest flower in God’s garden:

T — Total Depravity
U — Unconditional Election
L — Limited Atonement
I — Irresistible Grace
P — Perseverance of the Saints.

Many who embrace a view of God’s sovereign grace in election are willing to embrace the Tulip if one of its five petals is lopped off. Those calling themselves “four-point Calvinists” desire to knock the “L” out of Tulip.

On the surface, it seems that of the “five points” of Tulip, the doctrine of limited atonement presents the most difficulties. Does not the Bible teach over and over that Jesus died for the whole world? Is not the scope of the atonement worldwide? The most basic affirmation the Evangelical recites is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world … .”

On the other hand, it seems to me that the easiest of the five points to defend is limited atonement. But this facility must get under the surface to be manifested. The deepest penetration under that surface is the one provided by Owen in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

First, we ask if the atonement of Christ was a real atonement? Did Jesus really, or only potentially, satisfy the demands of God’s justice? If indeed Christ provided a propitiation and expiation for all human beings and for all their sins, then, clearly, all persons would be saved. Universal atonement, if it is actual, and not merely potential, means universal salvation.

However, the overwhelming majority of Christians who reject limited atonement also reject universal salvation. They are particularists, not universalists. They insist on the doctrine of justification by faith alone. That is, only believers are saved by the atonement of Christ.

If that is so, then the atonement, in some sense, must be limited, or restricted, to a definite group, namely believers. If Christ died for all of the sins of all people, that must include the sin of unbelief. If God’s justice is totally satisfied by Christ’s work on the cross, then it would follow that God would be unjust in punishing the unrepentant sinner for his unbelief and impenitence because those sins were already paid for by Christ.

People usually get around this by citing the axiom, “Christ’s atonement was sufficient for all, but efficient only for some. What does this mean? The Calvinist would interpret this axiom to mean that the value of Christ’s sacrifice is so high, His merit so extensive, that its worth is equal to cover all the sins of the human race. But the atonement’s benefits are only efficient for believers, the elect. The non-Calvinist interprets this axiom in slightly different terms: Christ’s atonement was good enough to save everyone — and was intended to make salvation possible for everyone. But that intent is realized only by believers. The atonement is efficient (or “works”) only for those who receive its benefits by faith.

As I said, this is still a form of “limited atonement.” Its efficacy is limited by human response. Sadly, this kind of limit puts a limit on the saving work of Christ far greater than any limit of the atonement viewed by Reformed theology.

The real issue was the design, or purpose, of God’s plan in laying upon His Son the burden of the Cross. Was it God’s purpose simply to make salvation possible for all but certain for none? Did God have to wait to see if any would respond to Christ to make His atonement efficient? Was it theoretically possible that Jesus would die “for all” yet never see the fruit of His travail and be satisfied?

Or was it God’s eternal purpose and design of the Cross to make salvation certain for His elect? Was there a special sense in which Christ died for His own, for the sheep the Father had given Him?

Here our understanding of the nature of God impacts strongly and decisively our understanding of the design and scope of the Atonement. To deal with every biblical text that bears on those questions, the best source I know of is John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

via The Design and Scope of the Atonement — Ligonier Ministries Blog

May 1, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

1:4 — We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will remember your love more than wine.

To make both our marriages and our churches work as God wants them to, we must get involved with others of like mind who delight in us and our successes. No one grows in perpetual solitude.[1]

4a The girl’s stimulated condition makes her impatient for privacy. The “king” brought her to his chambers. Is this a regal union and 1:5–8 an imagined pastoral fantasy? Or is the boy a shepherd whom the girl pretends a king? The reader cannot know for certain. Whether in fact or in fantasy, the girl is whisked away to the private royal suite.

4b The strophe concludes with other voices expressing their admiration for the king. In English the second personal pronoun has no gender, but in Hebrew it is clear that the praise is directed to the king. Terminology akin to worship occurs here in the Song: “Let us rejoice! Let us exalt! Let us remember!” The king, whoever he may be, inspires veneration by his peers.[2]

1:4 / Let the king bring me: The Hb. is most naturally translated by simple past narration (“the king brought me”), although the niv translation as a wish is possible and makes a nice inclusion with v. 2a (older editions of the niv read: “The king has brought me”).

The king: The use of royal language is taken by some to indicate that the male lover (or, alternatively, a rival to the central man) is to be identified with Solomon. It is more likely that “king” is an image used to express the woman’s esteem for her lover (compare the English “Prince Charming”).[3]

1:4 The complexity of the interchanges in this book are illustrated in this verse. The headings help sort out the speakers. The king: This is Solomon; yet aside from the title (v. 1), he is not identified by name as a protagonist until 3:7, 9, 11 (his name in v. 5 is part of a descriptive phrase). chambers: This means the bridal chamber. The verse ends with the thoughts of the young woman as she gazes at her lover: Rightly do they love you employs the verb for love found in v. 3, indicating romantic feelings.[4]

1:4 let us run. This is better understood as spoken by the Shulammite, rather than the daughters of Jerusalem, in the sense of “let us hurry.” The king has brought me. This is better understood as the desire of her heart—”Let the king bring me into his chambers”—rather than a statement of fact. We will extol your love. The daughters of Jerusalem affirmed the Shulammite’s praise in v. 2.[5]

1:4a The king is probably a term of endearment, indicating the woman’s high regard for her lover rather than referring to his actual position. (However, many who follow the Shepherd Hypothesis read this as referring to Solomon; see Introduction: Alternative Interpretations.)

1:4b This is the first speech of the “others,” who function like a chorus. They join the shepherdess in her praise for the shepherd (you is masculine) by picking up her words from v. 2. They probably refers back to the “virgins” of v. 3, who are presumably the same as the “daughters of Jerusalem” (v. 5).

1:4 Longing for intimacy prefigures the longing for intimacy with the love of Christ (1 John 4:7–21).[6]

1:4 Draw me after you The word mashakh can mean “to seize” or “carry off” (Psa 28:3). The woman longs for her lover to come for her, wishing he would take her away.

the king This line can be seen as a fulfillment of the woman’s wish from the beginning of the verse. Though the designation “king” may indicate literal royalty, it may be a term of endearment for the lover.

Let us be joyful and let us rejoice in you The second half of Song 1:4 is a summarizing refrain or chorus. It emphasizes that the man’s love (dod) is better than wine (20), and that the young women are correct to love (ahev) him (1:3). While the identity of the singers is uncertain, they are likely the “daughters of Jerusalem” from 1:5.[7]

1:4 The king has brought me. This is the first of five occurrences of the word “king” (1:4, 12; 3:9, 11; 7:5). Here in v. 4 there are two possibilities: either the king is Solomon, who has tried unsuccessfully to win the girl’s affections, or he is her lover, whom she romantically fantasizes as her king. The latter interpretation is to be preferred (see Introduction: Characteristics and Themes). The paragraph ends, as it began, with the girl referring to her absent lover in the third person (vv. 2–4 note).

We will exult and rejoice in you. The “daughters of Jerusalem” (v. 5) agree with the girl that the love of her lover is better than wine (v. 2).[8]

1:4 The reader cannot take for granted the identity of the “king.” Some commentators suggest the epithet referred to Solomon, while others propose that the royal title “king” reflected wedding festival language, in which the bridegroom was accorded the status of “king.” The “king” could have been an unidentified third party, although this option seems unlikely. An allegorical reading correlates the “king” with God, or Jesus. In a literal reading, the Song is a celebration of the tenderness of marriage which is, after all, a serious biblical concern (e.g., Eph 5:21–33).[9]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (So 1:4). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] Schwab, G. M. (2008). Song of Songs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, pp. 380–381). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Huwiler, E. (2012). The Songs of Songs. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (pp. 250–251). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 795). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (So 1:4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1216). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (So 1:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[8] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 937). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[9] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 981). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Overcoming Financial Worry, Part 2 | Grace to You: Radio Podcast

It’s easy—especially when you’re going through financial hardship—to think a raise or a new job will solve your problems. But today on “Grace to You,” John MacArthur will show you the true source of peace—and why more money doesn’t erase financial stress.


Quick Shot Responses to “Jesus was just a man” (Cold-Case Christianity S5E9) — Cold Case Christianity

In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner offers a number of brief, rhetorically powerful responses to the objection: “Jesus was just a man.” Why should we trust what the Bible says about Jesus? Did he demonstrate his deity? These Quick Shot responses are designed to help you remove intellectual obstacles when talking about God with your friends and family members. They are also available on the Cold-Case Christianity Phone App so you can access them as you are interacting with others.

Be sure to watch the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast on NRBtv every Monday and Saturday! In addition, here is the audio podcast (the Cold-Case Christianity Weekly Podcast is located on iTunes or our RSS Feed):

via Quick Shot Responses to “Jesus was just a man” (Cold-Case Christianity S5E9) — Cold Case Christianity

Core Christianity | 7 Steps to Walking the Spiritual Walk

Romans on Living Life in the Spirit

Life in the Spirit is a journey, and while there are many great passages throughout Scripture that discuss the role and person of the Holy Spirit, Romans 8 is perhaps one of the most insightful. Here are 7 suggestions that will fuel a passion for the things of the Spirit and further educate how to live a life directed by him.

1. Walk in the Spirit (Rom. 8:4)

There is no shortcut to learning how to walk with the Spirit. It’s not just for ultra-spiritual people nor is it reserved for charismatic Christians. Life according to the Spirit is not simply trying to do the right thing, nor is it trying to live according to God’s Law. Walking in the Spirit is the central metaphor for describing what it means to live as a Christian. The person who walks according to the Spirit will, in fact, have the essence of the Law fulfilled in his life.

2. Set your minds on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5)

The question “how does one overcome the pull of the flesh?” sounds like an old riddle: How can someone extract all of the air out of a drinking glass? The most direct way to get all the air out of a glass is by filling it with something else. You cannot extract thoughts that displease God from your mind. Like [the solution to the riddle], you need to be filled up with thoughts—indeed with an entire mindset—that is oriented toward the things of the Spirit (e.g. Gal. 5:22–23).

3. Put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit (Rom. 8:13)

The person who has been regenerated by the Spirit is not stuck in sin. By the Spirit, the pull of the flesh can be resisted. To “put to death the deeds of the body” is pretty much the same thing as “saying no to sin,” but unlike the anti-drug campaign among youth many years ago, just say no by itself will never be successful. Just saying no will never allow you to consistently overcome sin. Then what must you do? You must say no by the Spirit.

4. Be led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14)

The Holy Spirit leads us broadly (always) and more specifically (sometimes). He always leads us through his written Word, which was revealed to the prophets by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20–21). We are to prayerfully, carefully, and humbly apply broad biblical wisdom to the situations we face in our lives.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit leads us directly. The Holy Spirit can choose to act in any way and according to any timetable that he wishes; we do not dictate to him how or when he will move. Since the Bible gives many examples of him acting more specifically, we should anticipate that he will sometimes choose to lead us directly if we are open and available to his guidance.

5. Know the Fatherhood of God by the Spirit (Rom. 8:15–17)

Without the Holy Spirit, we would never know our freedom and identity as God’s adoptive children. Thankfully, God has freely given us his Holy Spirit, and these verses from Romans 8display three amazing things the Spirit does: 

  1. He acts as the go-between who takes us out of a place of slavery and fear and brings us into a place of adoption and acceptance. 

  2. He helps us to cry out to God as Father. 

  3. He testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. 

6. Hope in the Spirit (Rom 8:22-25)

The biblical concept represented by the English word hope is so strong that it is almost a synonym for “eager expectation.” The focus of the expectation isn’t that life will get better here; it is absorbed with the glorious life to come. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in all this? Rom 8:23 says: “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Paul claims that it is because we have the Spirit, not despite it that we groan. In this passage, it is precisely the presence of the Spirit within you that causes you to feel this particular kind of suffering—the longing for final redemption in the midst of a fallen world. In this way, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives reminds us of the stark contrast between the wonderful things God has prepared for us who believe and this fallen world that is so full of sin, suffering, and futility.

7. Pray in the Spirit (Rom. 8:26–28)

These two verses (Rom 8:26–27) are so rich and helpful in our lives in the Spirit.

  1. We learn that we are weak when we come to prayer. We often don’t know what to pray for in any given situation. The concern is not about the manner of prayer (the “how”), but rather the content of our prayers—what do we actually pray about?

  2. We learn that the Spirit joins to help us when we are struggling to know how to pray by interceding for us with wordless groaning. It is not, as some propose, that we should just pray whatever we want since we don’t have any idea how to pray, and that the Spirit fixes them up and prays on our behalf to the Father. Rather, the verb often translated as “helps” has a preposition attached to the front of it, which suggests that it really means “joins to help.”

  3. The Spirit is searching our hearts and knows that we have a mindset that is focused on him, even if we do not know exactly what we are supposed to pray.

  4. The result is that our prayers are prayed “according to the will of God” because the Holy Spirit is moving us thus to pray and is presenting the prayers that he is guiding us to pray to the Father.

 Content adapted from Walking in the Spirit by Kenneth Berding. This article first appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.
— Read on corechristianity.com/resource-library/3/1241

05/01/19 Weeping over Lostness — ChuckLawless.com

READING: 1 Samuel 19-20, Luke 19:28-20:8

The holy city of Jerusalem would not listen to Jesus. He was the fulfillment of the words of their prophets, but they would not listen to Him. He knew, in fact, that judgment was going to come to that city. Their city would be destroyed because, as He reminded them, “you did not recognize the time when God visited you” (Luke 19:44).

What was Jesus’ response to that coming reality? The scriptures tell us that “he wept for it [the city]” (Luke 19:41). The contrast is great – the people were rejoicing that the Messiah had come to the city, but Jesus burst into tears over them. Indeed, His grief was so great that the English word “wept” doesn’t fully capture the emotion behind Jesus’ actions.

I can’t help but wonder today if I truly grieve over non-believers destined for judgment apart from their having a relationship with Jesus. Do I weep because their hearts are far from God? If I claim to be a pastor and professor of evangelism and don’t weep over lostness, I am in the wrong work.

PRAYER: “God, please break my heart over people who have rejected You.”

TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Samuel 21-24, Luke 20:9-26

via 05/01/19 Weeping over Lostness — ChuckLawless.com

Late-Term Abortions Outnumber Homicides in New York City 1,485 to 352 — Pulpit & Pen

3D /4D ultrasound of late-term unborn child

[Micaiah Bolger | LifeNews] Shocking new government statistics show that there are more than four times as many late-term unborn victims of abortion in New York City as victims of homicide.

CNS News reported on the comparison earlier this week in response to mainstream news outlets’ claims that late-term abortions are “rare.”

The comparison is based on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the New York Police Department.

The latest CDC report on abortionprovides the numbers for 2015. In New York City, there were 1,485 abortions at or after 21 weeks gestation that year. In contrast, the NYPD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported 352 victims of “murder and non-negligent manslaughter” in New York City in 2015.

That equates to 4.1 late-term unborn victims of abortion and .96 victims of homicide per day in the city, according to the report.

In the U.S. as a whole, there are thousands of unborn babies aborted at or after 21 weeks annually. In 2015, the total was 5,597, according to the CDC; however, the number actually is much higher. The CDC total includes only 39 states that reported gestational ages.

States that do not report gestational ages to the CDC are: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York State, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

While New York state does not, New York City does.

The city saw 63,610 abortions in 2015, according to the report.

Abortion statistics from New York City demonstrate the rampant destruction of abortion on unborn babies’ lives. Pro-lifers have pointed out for years that more unborn African American babies are aborted than are born in the city.

Continue reading here.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Micaiah Bilger and originally published at LifeNews.]

via Late-Term Abortions Outnumber Homicides in New York City 1,485 to 352 — Pulpit & Pen

How Will You Respond to the New Tyranny? We Need to Decide NOW — CultureWatch

People always have at least two choices to make in the face of tyranny, repression, censorship, and attacks on their fundamental rights and freedoms: they can stand up and resist, or they can simply submit and give in. Yes, there may be other options, but when push comes to shove, these are the main two responses we can make.

Do we say no to Big Brother tyranny and do what we can to resist the various forms of fascism emerging everywhere in the West, or do we just cowardly give up, refuse to stand for what is right, and just go with the flow? At some point soon we all may need to make such a choice.

I think we should be clear about how we will respond now, and not wait until it is really crunch time. We need to decide ahead of time whether it will be fight or flight. It will do little good when the really hardcore crackdown begins and we finally start to think about this. Make up your minds now!

I discuss all this in light of some recent updates to the ongoing Israel Folau saga. Of course if you have no idea what the Folau saga is all about, you may have been living on the moon for the past month. I only wrote four recent articles on the matter myself! Here are two of them:



The outspoken Christian sportsman has called down upon himself the wrath of nearly everyone – sporting bodies, the media, politicians, commentators, even Christian leaders – all because he thought it was good to share some biblical truth in public. The persecution and opposition have been unrelenting ever since.

But the matter will just not go away quietly. Things are still bubbling along, and just in the past few days we have had other athletes responding to this matter. One took a stand, but then seemed to have quickly backed down and apologised. As one media report says:

Rugby star Samu Kerevi has apologised for ‘offending’ fans after declaring ‘I love Jesus’ in an Instagram post at Easter. The Queensland Reds captain caused controversy among fans when he shared a Bible verse on his Instagram account on Easter Thursday.

The Fijian-born sports star posted a picture of him from a recent match with the caption: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  The 25-year-old added: ‘Thank You Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I love you Jesus.’

While most fans supported Kerevi for promoting his religious beliefs, some questioned whether he would show publicly declare his support for gay Australians. ‘I know a lot of gay kids and adults in our sport would love to hear a rugby leader like you say you love and respect them for who they are – are you willing to endorse that message?’ wrote one fan. ‘I hope you don’t support Israel’s comments Samu,’ added a second.

Kerevi later apologised for upsetting some fans with his Easter post, The Australian reported. The rugby ace dedicated his apology to ‘anyone that I have offended in giving praise to our God on a weekend that we take off to celebrate his sacrifice for you and I’. When contacted by the Daily Mail Australia, a spokesman for Queensland Rugby declined to comment ‘as Kerevi had quoted a text from the Bible celebrating Easter’.

Kerevi’s bizarre apology comes as Rugby Australia prepares to hold a hearing about whether star Israel Folau should be stripped of his multi-million dollar contract for saying gays would ‘go to hell’. Rugby Australia will hold a hearing into the Folau matter on Saturday. The 30-year-old, who is a devout Christian, was handed a ‘high level’ breach notice over posts he made on social media on Twitter and Instagram on April 10.

So he seems to have backtracked big time. But other athletes – notably other Pacific Islanders – are now getting some backbone and supporting Folau in a very public manner. Says one report:

Rugby Australia is facing a potential Polynesian player mutiny after one of the Wallabies’ most exciting prospects claimed all Pacific Islanders “might as well just be sacked” because of their religious beliefs. In an explosive development days out from Israel Folau’s attempt to save his multimillion-dollar career at an RA code of conduct hearing, Queensland Reds and Wallabies hooker Taniela Tupou took to Facebook to express his support for the under-fire superstar.

“Seriously ?????????? Might as well sack me and all the other Pacific Islands rugby players around the world because we have the same Christian beliefs ??????,” Tupou posted late on Tuesday night. I will never apologise for my faith and what i believe in, religion had nothing to do with rugby anyways ???????? #TYJ”

Tupou, aka “Tongan Thor”, attached a link to an earlier post from fellow Wallabies teammate and Reds captain Samu Kerevi, who felt compelled to apologise for taking to Instragram at Easter thanking “Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I love you Jesus#”.”

“I appreciate the kind words from everyone,” Kerevi posted. “But to be clear I’m not apologising for my faith in Jesus Christ my saviour. God will always come first in my life and many other professional rugby players. Today, I felt things were taken out of context in regards to certain articles. I do not feel obliged to apologise to people because of the situation happening right now with a brother of of mine.”

According to this second report, Kerevi has not backed down as much as it first appeared. Be that as it may, we do know that overwhelmingly most athletes – whether in rugby or not – have been too cowardly to say anything. Certainly next to none have come out in public support of Folau.

And if they did, they too came under massive attack, with a few also backing down. For example Gary Ablett of the AFL spoke out briefly, then backtracked almost as fast. And an English footballer, Billy Vunipola, has been given real grief by the Rugby Football Union for daring to publicly support Folau as well.

All this underlines the need for all of us Christians to make up our minds ahead of time on where we will stand on these sorts of issues. Will we decide ahead of time to stand strong, proclaim truth, and not worry about the inevitable attacks, including some rather unpleasant consequences, or will we decide that we will not stand and be counted when such a stance is most needed?

The choice is up to you. We either act courageously here or we act cowardly. We either decide that Jesus and the Bible will fearlessly be championed in public – especially as they more and more come under attack – no matter what the negative fallout, or we will decide saving our own skin is more important.

Whose side are you on? You better settle this matter real soon. Things are getting worse by the day in terms of freedom of religion and the ability to live out your faith in the public arena. These six quotes on courage will not go astray here:

“Desperate times call for faithful men, and not careful men. The careful men come later and write the biographies of the faithful men, lauding them for their courage.” Doug Wilson

“It’s going to demand a lot of courage before too long— to really live and maintain the true Christian life according to the Word of the Living God.” Leonard Ravenhill

“The true follower of Christ will not ask, ‘If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?’ Rather he will say, ‘This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!’” A. W. Tozer

When people say ‘You can’t do that, it’s not safe!’ quote Brother Andrew: “God said to go. He didn’t promise you would come back.”

“Rule of thumb: if your principles evaporate the moment courage is required to defend them, you have no principles. You’re a panderer, not a warrior.” Matt Walsh

“Once upon a time, there was a safe, private place to take your controversial stand for Jesus. No more. If you are going to stand, you will be shot at—either figuratively or literally.” John Piper

And three biblical texts come to mind here about making the right choices. They are well worth closing with.

Joshua put it this way (Joshua 24:15): “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

And Elijah issued a similar call for making a choice (1 Kings 18:21): “Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him’.” Or as Jesus himself put it in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with me is against me.”

via How Will You Respond to the New Tyranny? We Need to Decide NOW — CultureWatch

THAT’S OKAY: Democrats Shrug 2020 Democratic Candidate Joe Biden’s Racist Past — These Christian Times

Joe Biden kicked-off his Presidential Campaign holding a rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Despite the very small turnout, Infowars reporter Millie Weaver was able to confront Biden supporters about his racist comments from the 1970s supporting segregation.

via THAT’S OKAY: Democrats Shrug 2020 Democratic Candidate Joe Biden’s Racist Past — These Christian Times

The Beltway Bidens: Creepy and crooked – WND / by Michelle Malkin

I challenge middle-class Joe and his moocher son to find a rank-and-file union member’s child who has enjoyed such spectacular career success and largesse.

Now that Creepy Joe Biden thinks he has put to rest all the cringy questions about his grabby hands, he has reverted to one of his old-time shticks: middle-class Joe. Champion of the masses. Hero of the hoi polloi. A six-term U.S. senator and two-term vice president, which equates to 44 back-slapping, log-rolling, favor-trading years in Washington, this decrepit Beltway swamp-dweller wants flyover Americans to believe that he’s really just like you and me.

To which I can only reply with one hearty syllable: HA!

Reality-based reporting and informed commentary since the rollout of Biden 2020 has rightly focused on the Biden family’s ideological and interest-conflicted dalliances with Ukraine and China. But let’s first start with a reminder about elite Biden privilege closer to home.

Robert Hunter Biden, youngest son of the veep creep, secured a prestigious direct commission to the U.S. Naval Reserves in 2012 as a public affairs officer. The program recruits civilians without prior military service who have “special skills that are critical to sustaining military operations.” Biden the younger’s primary qualification for the cushy part-time job was his last name. The power of nepotism came in handy when Bidenspawn was forced to seek not one, but two waivers, to nail down the gig.

Ordinary applicants have to meet age restrictions (under 40 at the time he sought the position, now 42). He was 43. Then hapless Hunter needed a second waiver to get a pass for prior cocaine use. Granted! Only six public affairs officers received such direct appointments from the Navy Reserves that year. Amazing, isn’t it, that there wasn’t a single other applicant in America (population: 327 million) with a clean drug history and proper age eligibility to take the slot.

But for all that string-pulling effort, Hunter Biden barely served a year. After testing positive for – wait for it – cocaine during a random drug test, he was discharged quietly in February 2014. The hush-hush deal, undisclosed until a whistleblower told The Wall Street Journal eight months later, was yet another perk of Biden patronage. So was his immunity from any investigation or review of his law license by the Connecticut bar. And so, too, was his quick career bounce back.

A month after his humiliating discharge from our military, Biden’s coke-abusing party boy was appointed to the board of director of Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, Burisma Holdings, owned by a powerful Russian government sympathizer, who had fled to Russia that year. It’s also the same company a top Ukrainian prosecutor was investigating for corruption before he was fired – at the behest of Papa Biden, according to Joe himself, who bragged about threatening to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine during a Council of Foreign Relations speech in 2018.

After reporting earlier this month that Ukrainian officials are still probing the shady company and its dealings with Baby Biden, The Hill’s John Solomon proposed pointed questions for the Democratic presidential front-runner: “Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden’s firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe … (and) should you have recused yourself?”

Similar queries apply to Hunter Biden’s other position at investment firm Rosemont Seneca, which snagged a $1 billion deal in 2013 with the Commie-run Bank of China, first reported by investigative author Peter Schweizer, just days after Daddy B had met with China’s president, Xi Jinping.

As I catalogued in “Culture of Corruption” more than a decade ago, name-trading and favor-extracting are the story of Hunter the Privileged and Joe the Enabler’s lives:

  • Hunter’s first job, acquired after Joe Biden won his 1996 Senate reelection bid in Delaware, was with MBNA, the credit card conglomerate and top campaign finance donor to then Sen. Biden. The elder Biden secured his custom-built, multimillion-dollar house in Delaware’s ritziest Chateau Country with the help of a leading MBNA corporate executive. Biden went on to carry legislative water for MBNA in the Senate for years.
  • Hunter became a “founding partner” in the lobbying firm of Oldaker, Biden and Belair in 2002. William Oldaker was Papa Biden’s former fundraiser, campaign treasurer and general counsel. Under Oldaker’s tutelage, Hunter lobbied for drug companies, universities and other deep-pocketed clients to the tune of nearly $4 million billed to the company by 2007.
  • Hunter held a top position at Paradigm Global Advisors, a hedge fund holding company founded with the veep’s brother, James, and marketed by convicted finance fraudster Allen Stanford. Hunter oversaw half a billion dollars of client money invested in hedge funds while remaining a D.C. lobbyist. The ill-fated venture went bust amid nasty fraud lawsuits.
  • Hunter also served on the board of directors of taxpayer-subsidized Amtrak, for which his father secured a $53 billion high-speed train initiative.

I challenge middle-class Joe and his moocher son to find a rank-and-file union member’s child who has enjoyed such spectacular career success and largesse.

The Beltway Bidens: Not just creepy but also crooked. And most definitely still not like us.
— Read on www.wnd.com/2019/04/the-beltway-bidens-creepy-and-crooked/

Documentary on Catholic Priests Using Nuns as “Sex Slaves” Pulled | Hollywood Reporter

Article Image

French director Marie-Pierre Raimbault and investigative journalist Eric Quintin shot the documentary, Sex Slaves in the Catholic Church, over three years, basing it on firsthand testimony of nuns who claim they were used as “sex slaves” by priests. The women say when they presented their allegations to church authorities at the Vatican, they were ignored and often moved elsewhere in a cover-up that stretched across four continents.

Arte first aired the film in March. Some 1.5 million French viewers caught the original broadcast, with a further 1.7 million watching on replay, making it the most-watched documentary of the year for the channel. The film has sold worldwide.

Pope Francis has publicly acknowledged the problem, noting that the Vatican had to dissolve a French order because its sisters had been reduced to “sexual slavery” at the hands of its founder and other priests.

In November, the organization representing all the world’s female Catholic religious orders, the International Union of Superiors General, denounced the “culture of silence and secrecy” that prevented nuns from speaking out and urged sisters to report abuse to their superiors and police.

— Read on www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/documentary-catholic-priests-using-nuns-as-sex-slaves-pulled-1206023

GOD AND OUR MONEY: Discover The Path To Generosity And How To Trust God With Your Personal Finances In Your Life — These Christian Times

When you consider your finances, what comes to mind? What you have or don’t have? Whom you owe or what to buy? Do you feel stress, or are you at peace? God’s Word offers much wisdom for our financial decisions. In this message, Dr. Stanley covers common concerns, discussing what God thinks, says, and promises regarding personal finances—and what we can expect if we are obedient to His principles. Discover the path to generosity and provision as you learn how to trust Him with this important area of life.

via GOD AND OUR MONEY: Discover The Path To Generosity And How To Trust God With Your Personal Finances In Your Life — These Christian Times

Franklin Graham asks Trump to label ‘civil rights’ group ‘terrorists’ – WND

Franklin Graham

Samaritan’s Purse CEO Franklin Graham is calling on President Trump to designate the Council on American-Islam Relations a terrorist organization.

CAIR, which was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing case, already has been given that designation by the United Arab Emirates.

Calling itself a Muslim civil-rights organization, it aggressively tries to stamp out criticism of Islam with its “lawfare” campaign.

Graham, on Facebook, discussed the reports that Trump is thinking about designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

“While he’s at it, the label should also be applied to CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations), which is the mouthpiece in Washington for radical Islam,” he wrote.

CAIR was created by operatives of Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Graham said the president “is right about the Muslim Brotherhood – they should definitely be designated a terrorist group.”

“The Muslim Brotherhood has been behind the killing of Christians around the world for decades. The destruction this group has brought to the churches and Christian population in Egypt is incredible.”

He continued: “They are also responsible for killing other non-Muslims and even turning their violence on peaceful Muslims who disagree with them. They are already considered a terrorist organization by the governments of several countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. I’m thankful we have a president who is not afraid to take on extremist groups like this.”

CNN reported the Trump administration plans to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a “foreign terrorist organization.”

It’s “working its way through the internal process,” according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

The designation would penalize any individual assisting the group or any company doing business with it.

The administration, however, doesn’t have unanimity on the plan yet, CNN said.

The Trump administration recently stunned the Islamic world by designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

Columnist Michelle Malkin reminded readers of CAIR’s background.

“Following the horrible massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, CAIR flacks were out in full force decrying ‘Islamophobia’ and calling for crackdowns on ‘hate speech’ (by which they mean any and all negative thoughts or words about CAIR or Islam). CAIR executive director Nihad Awad was first out of the gate to blame President Donald Trump; target Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson, whom the left wants to silence; and renew opposition to White House efforts to tighten our immigration and entrance policies, including the travel ban affecting terror-sponsoring countries upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court,” she said.

“While they drape themselves in the mantle of ‘civility,’ the CAIR brigade speaks viciously and cavalierly about their enemies. [Rep. Ihlan] Omar says Trump is not ‘human.” On an Arab-American talk show, she mocked a college professor who treated terrorist organizations al-Qaida and Hezbollah with gravity. She cackled at how he named them with a sternness in his voice and questioned why the words ‘Army’ and ‘America’ are not uttered with equal contempt. I can hear the ululations of agreement at the CAIR banquet now.”

Malkin explained: “They thrive on violence whether Muslims are the victims or the perpetrators. CAIR operatives are first to claim systematic oppression and fear of a ‘backlash’ if bloodthirsty Islamic jihadists slay innocent Americans. It’s always our fault and it’s always our responsibility – to curtail our speech, give up our gun rights, undergo sensitivity training, accept inflated statistics about ‘hate crimes’ and apologize for everything. CAIR wants to shut up its critics in the name of ‘stopping the hate’ because it doesn’t want us talking about its dirty, dangerous deeds.”

She warned readers not to forget CAIR’s designation as an unindicted terror co-conspirator in 2007 in the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation and others for providing support to violent Hamas jihadists.

And federal law enforcement investigators banned interactions with CAIR to “prevent CAIR from publicly exploiting such contacts with the FBI.”

Its officials also have been defendants in a number of terrorist cases.

And it “helped manufacture the ‘Clock Boy’ fake hate claim in Texas – after which, Clock Boy jetted off to Qatar to cash in on a Muslim Brotherhood-linked educational scholarship,” she said.

“Never forget: CAIR works every day to silence Muslim reformers, apostates, Christians, Jews, infidel scholars, border security advocates, anti-Shariah activists and investigative independent journalists, on college campuses, TV airwaves and the internet, to prevent us from exposing the truth about Islamic supremacism,” Malkin said.
— Read on www.wnd.com/2019/04/franklin-graham-asks-trump-to-label-civil-rights-group-terrorists/

Report: Trump White House Considering Designation of Muslim Brotherhood as Terror Group… — The Last Refuge

This is something many anticipated in 2017; particularly with the Mid-East visit by President Trump; but it never happened.  However, according to the New York Times, President Trump has a renewed push toward designating The Muslim Brotherhood as an official terrorist group.

The Brotherhood is the political umbrella organization for a variety of extreme Islamist organizations; and was the primary driver of regional uprising during the Islamist Spring (Tunis, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen etc). Former President Obama looked warmly upon the Brotherhood and worked earnestly with them to fulfill their ideological goals.

The most visible effort of the political Brotherhood was in Egypt with the election of Mohammed Morsi; which led to widespread violence/chaos and the eventual call by the Egyptian people for General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to step-in.

The Brotherhood leadership was exiled from Egypt, and after a short time in Qatar -and confrontation by the Gulf Cooperation Council-  they were given safe harbor in Turkey by Recep Erdogan.  They likely remain in Turkey today.

By crafting themselves as a political ideology, the Brotherhood has allies in many areas, including within the U.S. government. Senator John McCain was aligned with the Brotherhood, as are many deep state officials and allies within the U.S. State Department and intelligence community.  Former Secretary of State Kerry and CIA Director John Brennan supported the Brotherhood; as does current Rep. Adam Kinzinger and former Presidential candidate Evan McMullin.

via Report: Trump White House Considering Designation of Muslim Brotherhood as Terror Group… — The Last Refuge

May 1 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Numbers 8; Psalm 44; Song of Songs 6; Hebrews 6


the “apostasy” passage, Hebrews 6:4–6 (compare 10:26–31) has historically been the focus of considerable theological and pastoral dispute.

The nub of the question is, can genuine believers lose their salvation? Some Christians reply affirmatively, though it is hard to square such affirmations with, for instance, the “golden chain” of Romans 8:29–30 or the unqualified assertions of John 6:39–40, 44. Some Christians have therefore suggested that what Hebrews envisages is not falling away from eternal life but falling away from useful service. On the face of it, the language of Hebrews 6 and 10 is sterner than that. Others postulate that the warning is merely hypothetical or even beneficial—a means of grace that guarantees believers will not apostatize. But if we know that, it is difficult to take the warning seriously, for we are assured in advance that the set of apostates is an empty set—and that makes the warning slightly ludicrous and not the desperately serious thing that the author of Hebrews thinks it is. Still others argue that elsewhere the New Testament may teach the perseverance and the preservation of the saints, but here it presupposes that some will fall away—and we must simply live with the tension, not to say contradiction.

My own view is that the issue turns on two points, with an important pastoral implication. First, it is not as if Hebrews teaches one thing and Paul and John another. Paul entreats Christians to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5), yet constructs the golden chain. John warns that branches in Christ (the true vine) may be cut off (John 15:1–8), yet insists that Christ will preserve all those the Father has given him. There is therefore nothing useful to be gained by pitting Hebrews 6 against, say, John. It aligns very well with one element in John and Paul. Second, one must ask if the individual descriptions (“enlightened,” “tasted of the heavenly gift,” etc.) in Hebrews 6 and 10 require us to think of genuine Christians. The answer to this question is tied to our theology of conversion and to what is meant by “genuine Christian.” The New Testament gives many instances of people who taste enough of God’s grace to turn their lives around and join the visible church, even though they do not have the kind of grace that enables them to persevere. Even Hebrews 3:6, 14 presupposes as much. Under such a “tight” definition of genuine Christian, none falls away. The question then becomes, “Will you persevere? Is your experience of grace so light that you can walk away from the cross?”

What are the pastoral implications? The reflections suggest that the Bible provides wonderful reassurance to the weak and fainthearted, but threatens the openly defiant with a stern probing of the genuineness of their profession of faith.[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.

What the Church Should Know About China and the Internet — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

Did you know that there are more Internet users in China than the entire population of the United States combined with the population of Russia, Japan, and Mexico? With all of those people online, the Chinese government censors what the people see. In order to protect their people from harmful information, the Communist government restricts the people from an open and full version of the Google search engine, Facebook and Twitter, The New York Times, and even Peppa Pig.

Why should the church be paying attention to the Internet usage and censorship that’s taking place in China? Why does this really matter?

China Needs Jesus More than China Needs Google

With over 802 million surfing the Internet on a daily basis, China has the highest population of Internet users in the world. However, there online experience is not the same as most other people around the world. The Chinese government restricts what the people of China can view online. They are not allowed to use Google as a search engine nor can they interact on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The Chinese government restricts the information that the people can receive as they seek protect their people from harmful messages in form of religious, social, political, and pop-culture ideas.

Make no mistake about it, Google wants China and the people of China want Google. With an estimated 1.92 billion people out of the total 4.1 billion worldwide Internet users are expected to make an online purchase in 2019, there is an ever expanding market to capture among the people of China. It doesn’t take a financial trade expert to see that this is a big deal centered on money. However, what the church must realize is that while the ongoing negotiations and discussions take place between China and major tech companies about how to work within the nation’s Internet policies—the church must pay close attention in order to be prepared to use the available technologies to deliver the gospel to China. The people of China need Jesus far more than they need Google. For the church, it’s not about money—it’s about good news for unreached people. The largest religious view in China presently is non-religious (43.5% of the 1.4 billion people). There is only 9.2% of the total population of China professing to be Christian. The nation of China needs Jesus.

Freedom of Speech Is Not the Same as Freedom of Search

While Google wants China, the tech giant is not interested in delivering Jesus to China. That’s not their goal. It’s not the goal of Wikipedia, Twitter, or Facebook either. They are all interested in the available financial market opportunities. As Google provides a search product for the people of China that filters out everything that’s prohibited such as competing religious views, political ideas, pop-culture trends, and other social information that the leadership of China forbids—Google will work within their system in order to capture the financial opportunities. Why is this important?

If search engines can restrict social trends and religious views from the people of China—the same exact thing can happen in the United States. In fact, there have been instances of Internet censorship that have been accused in recent years on platforms such as Twitter with people being banned or blocked or restricted due to their offensive information. This is critically important especially when you see pictures online of Google meeting with pro-abortion activists and organizations about how to deliver the message and resources of “reproductive freedom” to women around the world

Interestingly enough, such blocking is not the result of a Communist government working to control their people, but instead it’s based solely upon the opinion of the major social media companies. In other words, they’re in control of what is and what isn’t considered harmful or offensive. Is that really free speech? No, but the freedom of speech does not equate to the freedom to search or speak on social media platforms.

The church must continue to speak up and speak out online and in the social media spaces, however, we must be prepared for further censorship and restrictions as the progressive liberal views of our nation continue to spread. Until then, while the daylight remains, we must capitalize on these opportunities and continue to spread the hope of Jesus and the good news of the gospel to all peoples in order for the whole world to know the joy of Christ. The church cannot trust Google to be the megaphone for the gospel around the world. We can use technology while we can, but we must go and preach the gospel and plant churches in dark regions around the world regardless of what help tech companies provide along the journey.

via What the Church Should Know About China and the Internet — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

James MacDonald Expected to Pay ‘unreimbursed personal expenses’ — ChurchLeaders

The leaders of Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) are seeking to get their financial house in order, so to speak. The church recently lost its seal of approval from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). On Sunday, April 27, 2019, church leaders announced they will be taking a deep dive into former Pastor James MacDonald’s discretionary account, and that they will ask him to pay the church back for “unreimbursed personal expenses.”

“The greatest area of failure to meet ECFA’s standards was in the management and control of the former Senior Pastor’s discretionary account,” a statement posted to Harvest’s website reads.

No One Was Keeping MacDonald’s Discretionary Account in Check

As the statement goes on to explain, this account was funded by money from HBC’s general fund and a smaller amount from Walk in the Word, MacDonald’s radio program. In 2018, the discretionary account received $315,000 from the general fund and $136,000 from Walk in the Word, for a total of $415,000. The problem, the statement explains, is that the account was managed by three people in 2018 who are “no longer employed” by HBC, and it was managed in a way that was “outside our standard accounting controls” with “no line-item accountability.” Meaning, only three people (one of which was MacDonald) in the church knew how that money was being spent, and those three people were apparently fiercely loyal to MacDonald and his agenda. Scott Milholland, the former COO of Harvest, was one of the three. He resigned in December, before MacDonald left, citing a desire to go serve elsewhere due to his role at Harvest no longer being “the best fit.”

Milholland’s departure would serve as a foreshadowing of the departures to take place within the leadership of HBC in the coming months. Members of the elder board as well as several staff members have left HBC this year.

The question arises why the ECFA deemed HBC fit in December of 2018. The organization had been tipped there was something suspicious going on with HBC’s finances and so made some inquiries regarding their seven standards for financially responsible organizations. The elder statement explains the “ECFA did not receive the necessary information in order to accurately assess our standing as members because the detail of the usage of this discretionary account was not known.” However, in January former employees started giving HBC information about how the money from the discretionary account had been spent and managed. HBC leaders shared their newfound information with the ECFA, who suspended their membership. On April 15, 2019, after a phone call during which the ECFA learned even more information about the account, HBC’s accreditation status was terminated.

What’s the Next Step for Harvest?

As far as moving forward is going, the leadership has taken a few steps. Namely, they have closed out the discretionary account and cut off the credit cards attached to it. That seems easy compared to the other, potentially monumental task they have undertaken: They are combing through the last four years of activity on the account. “If items were classified as expenses rather than taxable fringe benefits, we will adjust tax documentation to be accurate,” the statement explains. Additionally, the new elder board is tasked with changing the church’s bylaws “to ensure that something like this can never happen again.”

Church leaders have also hired an external law firm that has commissioned an “out-of-state account firm that specializes in not-for-profit organizations and forensic accounting” to conduct a review of the church. The findings from this review will then be presented by the law firm to the leadership of the church, the church’s auditor and the congregation.

Oh, and one more thing: “Harvest Bible Chapel will seek reimbursement from James MacDonald if any items are deemed by the accounting firm to be unreimbursed personal expenses.” That interaction may be interesting to follow, given MacDonald’s history of angry outbursts.

The statement concludes that once changes are implemented, the church is “eager to re-apply for membership with the ECFA.”

via James MacDonald Expected to Pay ‘unreimbursed personal expenses’ — ChurchLeaders