Daily Archives: May 16, 2019

May 16 The Price of Prayerlessness

Scripture Reading: Psalm 102:1–17

Key Verse: James 4:8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Have you ever considered the fact that each one of us pays a price when we allow our prayer lives to fall by the wayside? Of course this is not a monetary price; instead, it is a spiritual price.

When we fail to make prayer a priority—essentially forfeiting our time alone with God—we will begin to feel an emptiness in our lives, accompanied by a strange sense of unrest and uneasiness. In contrast, when our prayer lives are active, the weight of these burdens will be lifted from our shoulders by the mighty hand of the almighty God.

With this in mind, why would anyone choose to cease praying? The sad truth is that many of us have become so accustomed to weariness and hardship that we feel lost or uncomfortable without it. Yet, if we continue to nurture this style of living, we will begin to rely upon ourselves instead of upon God, thereby making ourselves vulnerable and at risk for disaster.

The clear solution, then, to avoid these difficulties is to place high priority upon our fellowship and communication with God. After all, we must be in contact with our heavenly Father in order to hear His voice and to understand and follow His will for our lives.

If you have allowed distance to come between you and your heavenly Father, confess this to Him today. When you renew your prayer life—the most important piece of your Christian walk—you will once again be able to experience God’s blessings and His best for your life.

Father, I have deliberately distanced myself from You by withdrawing from my prayer time. I am sorry. I surrender this burden of walking alone and seek again Your face.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 143). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 16 Your Best Defense

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7–10

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:10

I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

One of the saddest accounts of temptation’s fury is Peter’s denial. He denied the notion that he would desert the Lord, but that was exactly what happened (Matt. 26:33).

Peter was accustomed to taking charge of a situation. In many ways, he was fearless, especially out on the open Sea of Galilee with the sails of his fishing boat flailing in the wind and the bow crashing through the waves. But that was a familiar environment for Peter, not like what he experienced the night of Christ’s arrest.

In fact, none of the disciples were ready for what happened. They were even less prepared to witness the Crucifixion. Peter ended up denying the Lord three times, just as Jesus predicted. What did the temptation involve, and why did Peter yield to the enemy’s snare?

Somehow Peter forgot the principle of godly strength. The apostle Paul later recorded this principle in 2 Corinthians 12:10: “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Jesus is your only sure strength. When temptation comes, your best defense is not to fight it in your own ability but to go to God in prayer. Claim your position as His child, stand firm in your faith, and acknowledge His strength as yours.

Though Peter fell, Jesus encouraged him not to give up. When temptation traps you, know that Christ will forgive and restore you, just as He did Peter.

Heavenly Father, You are my strength and defense against temptation. I am Your child. I stand firm in my faith and acknowledge that when I am weak, then I am strong![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 143). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 16 When the Word Comes Alive

Scripture reading: Psalm 19:1–14

Key verse: Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight,

O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

On a scale of one to ten (with ten indicating the highest frequency), where do you rank your practice of meditation on Scripture? Despite the value God places upon musing on and pondering His truth (Josh. 1:8), the Christian seldom prioritizes meditation.

Dr. J. I. Packer describes one reason for our poor spiritual health in this area.

“If I were the devil, one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible … I should do all that I could to surround it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorn hedges, and man traps, to frighten people off.”

  1. Kent Hughes highlights the profit of meditation on the Bible in his book Disciplines of a Godly Man.

We may be challenged, convicted, and exhilarated with the call to meditation. The question is, how is this to be done?… Ideally, we are to make meditation a part of our regular devotion, giving hidden time to reverently muttering [speaking to ourselves] God’s Word.

But even our busy schedules can be punctuated with Scriptural meditation—in the car, at lunch break, or waiting for a bus. Select a choice text, write it on a card, and slip it into your pocket. Pull it out in those spare moments. Murmur it. Memorize it. Pray it. Say it. Share it.

When the Word really comes alive in your heart, you will enter a new dimension of prayer, praise, and worship.

Dear Lord, as I meditate on Your truths today, let the Word come alive in my heart.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 143). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Bible Insert)

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The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Bible Insert)We’ve been investigating the case for the reliability of the Old Testament by examining the process of transmission, the verification of archaeology and the appearance of fulfilled prophecy in the text. The ancient scribes employed a trustworthy system of checks and balances as they copied the original texts, and the accuracy of transmission process was successfully tested with the discovery of the Isaiah text in the Dead Sea Scroll collection. The ancient Jewish believers and Church Fathers also embraced the Old Testament as the Word of God. In addition, archeological discoveries have since confirmed many of the Old Testament accounts, and these archaeological evidences are rich compared to other written claims about the ancient past. Finally, the Old Testament Scriptures contain fulfilled prophecies  (including amazing prophecies about the coming Messiah), establishing the Divine nature of the texts. Based on this evidence, the following summary can be created related to the case for the reliability of the Old Testament:

(1) The Old Testament Has Been Faithfully Transmitted

(a) Careful Masoretes Subscribed to an Incredibly High Standard
(b) The Dead Sea Scrolls Confirm the Transmission Process
(c) Ancient Sources Confirm the Early Canon of the Old Testament

i. Prologue to Ecclesiasticus
ii. Philo
iii. Jamnia
iv. The Early Church Fathers
v. Josephus

(2) The Old Testament Has Been Verified with Archeology

(a) Findings from Neighboring Cultures

i. The Ebla Tablet
ii. Archaeological digs in the city of Bogazkoy, Turkey
iii. Archeological Digs in Sargon’s Palace in Khorsabad
iv. The Belshazar Tablet
v. The Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet

(b) Extra-Biblical confirmation of Biblical events

i. The campaign into Israel by Pharaoh Shishak
ii. The revolt of Moab against Israel
iii. The fall of Samaria
iv. The defeat of Ashdod by Sargon II
v. The campaign of Sennacherib against Judah
vi. The siege of Lachish by Sennacherib
vii. The assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons
viii. The fall of Nineveh as predicted by the prophets
ix. The fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar
x. The captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon

(3) The Old Testament Has Been Confirmed by Prophecy

(a) Accurate Predictions of Ancient Historical Events

i. Babylon Will Rule Over Judah for 70 Years
ii. Babylon’s Gates Will Open for Cyrus
iii. Babylon’s Kingdom Will Be Permanently Overthrown
iv. Babylon Will Be Reduced to Swampland
v. The Jews Will Survive Babylonian Rule and Return
vi. The Ninevites Will Be Drunk in Their Final Hours
vii. Nineveh Will Be Destroyed By Fire
viii. Tyre Will Be Attacked By Many Nations
ix. Tyre’s Stones, Timber and Soil Will Be Cast Into Sea
x. The Jews Will Avenge the Edomites

(b) The Old Testament Accurately Predicts The Coming Messiah

i. Daniel 9:25
ii. Nehemiah 2:5,6

This brief summary has been re-created in the form of a Bible Insert and is available on our Home Page from the link in the right tool bar. Download the insert (along with the inserts from prior months) and start collecting these resources related to the case for the Christian worldview. We hope to encourage and equip you to be a better Christian Case Maker.

Source: The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Bible Insert)

China Launches Campaign to ‘Dismantle’ and Eliminate House Churches

China Launches Campaign to ‘Dismantle’ and Eliminate House Churches

China’s government launched a new campaign in April to eradicate underground house churches so that only state-sanctioned and heavily restricted Three-Self churches remain.

The new campaign, according to International Christian Concern (ICC), is called Return to Zero. The goal is to “dismantle the scale [of churches], dissolve the organization, and dismiss the church,” sources told ICC.

The ultimate goal is “eliminating Christianity” from the public sphere, ICC said.

Churches within China are required to register with the government and become part of the Three-Self movement. Pastors within the Three-Self movement submit their sermons to government officials for approval. In some Three-Self churches, children are prohibited by the government from attending.

Such restrictions have driven millions of Chinese to join illegal, unregistered house churches.

Under Return to Zero, house churches either must join the Three-Self movement or disband.

In April, Zaidao Church in Beijing was visited by government officials and told to join the Three-Self movement, ICC reported. The congregation is part of the China Gospel Fellowship, a house church network.

China shut down the 1,000-member Shouwang Church — a house congregation — earlier this year.

“So far, there have been churches across the country that were oppressed with different tactics by local government, with the aim to force them to join Three-Self, or cease their activities,” an unidentified Christian scholar told ICC. “Those who refuse will be banned, or have to shut down their churches. For those large networks of house churches, the government’s attitude is to firmly strike and destroy them.”

Source: China Launches Campaign to ‘Dismantle’ and Eliminate House Churches

Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing reveal Brennan was the mastermind of the Russia hoax | American Thinker

The two people with the best track record of predictions give us a preview of coming attractions.

Anyone closely following the Russia hoax and its collapse understands that D.C. super-lawyers Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing have by far the best track record in accurately calling out the nature of the scandal and identifying the coming revelations.  I do not know either of them and have not communicated with them personally, but judging from their public statements, and inferring from their career histories, they must have very highly placed sources talking to them about the case — and quite possibly asking for advice or acting as sounding boards — about future actions to ensure that the facts are properly aired and the persons responsible for the abuses are held to account.  All of this is in the face of the fiercest possible resistance by members of the Deep State embedded in law enforcement, intelligence agencies, the DOJ, and the media — and maybe even in the White House staff.

Yesterday, they spent an hour with Sebastian Gorka on his Salem Radio syndicated talk show and gave us a preview of sorts about where the scandal is headed next.  The entire show is available on YouTube, minus most of the commercial breaks, and well worth a listen.  If you haven’t got much time, I suggest you start at about 20 minutes into the video and follow through to the end, 15 minutes later.

YouTube screen grab.

The most important bombshell they released is that they believe that John Brennan, then head of the CIA, was the core of the conspiracy.  Victoria Toensing added that this is because Clapper is too dumb to pull off such an operation.

They also revealed that Admiral Mike Rogers is happily willing to testify about the abuses he uncovered, which actually triggered the initiation of the Russiagate plot.  Recall that when he was head of the National Security Agency (NSA), which comprehensively monitors telecommunications, he discovered that political appointees in the White House were using its database on a huge scale to monitor political opponents and acted to cut off that access.  Suddenly cut off from their ability to spy on political opponents, and almost certainly fearful of public exposure should Hillary Clinton be defeated, the wheels were put in motion (with Brennan in the lead) to generate the Steele dossier and the FISA warrants to both spy on and tar the threat of a Trump presidency.

There is lot of other discussion that follows that is very intriguing, including consideration of the lack of whistleblowers in the FBI and DOJ among the numbers of people not in the top layer of political appointee management circles.  That none of the career officials tasked with implementing the hoax spoke up at the time bespeaks a rot in the organizational culture that will not be corrected by mere changes in top-level personnel.  While President Trump and others are always careful to focus on the people at the top and exonerate the “99%” of the working-level agents in the FBI (and by extension the DOJ), Toensing and DiGenova are not so sanguine.  That people would remain silent when asked to implement actions that are clearly wrong indicates that the rot extends far below the political appointees.

Their discussion of Christopher Wray, the FBI head who is still defending the agency, is indicative of the real source of the problem.  As Toensing puts it: “The only thing he’s ever cared about is his next job.”  That, in my opinion, is the real problem with federal (and other government) bureaucracies.  To get ahead, you don’t make waves, and you don’t call out problems; you just please the people who can help you get the next promotion.

Toward the end, they express confidence that the truth will come out because A.G. Barr is determined to get to the bottom of it.  That is consistent with my own view that the only reason why Barr would have left his lucrative law practice to return to head the DOJ (and endure vilification from the Democrats fearful of the truth coming out) is his dedication to making sure that the institutions of justice return to the path of integrity and adherence to the design of the Constitution.

Hat tip: Roger Luchs.

Source: Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing reveal Brennan was the mastermind of the Russia hoax

Franklin Graham Challenges Representative Who Said God’s Doesn’t Belong in Congress

Franklin Graham Challenges Representative Who Said God’s Doesn’t Belong in Congress

Evangelist Franklin Graham took to Twitter this week chastising Democrats for omitting the phrase “so help me God” from witness oaths, and singling out a Tennessee representative who said God doesn’t belong in Congress.

“Why has the Democratic Party turned its back on God? @RepCohen of TN said, ‘I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque—but not in Congress,’” said the first of a series of tweets made by Graham on May 14.

The tweets were in response to a New York Times article highlighting a new policy by numerous committee heads dropping the traditional phrase “so help me God,” from witness oaths. The Times quoted U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, chairman of the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, taking a swipe at the religious beliefs of Republicans.

“I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque — but not in Congress,” he said, adding that what Republicans are doing “is using God.”

“And God doesn’t want to be used,” Cohen said.

Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, took direct aim at the Democrat party, saying many of its members want to eliminate the Almighty so they are free to live without a moral compass.

“We need more of God, not less! What @RepCohen is suggesting is what Communism did in Eastern Europe & is still doing in places around the world like Cuba. Communism only allows worship inside approved churches,” he continued. “God is our Creator & the maker of the universe. He is present everywhere; He is not limited to churches or temples. The root of the issue is that many politicians don’t want God in any part of their politics or our country’s business because His standards condemn their sins.”

The new practice also has not set well with several Republicans who are pointing out the omission every time the modified oath is read. South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan pointed out that “the oath was incorrect and incomplete” after House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee chair, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGett, of Colorado, read the oath without the phrase.

Jason Lemieux, director of Government Affairs for the Center for Inquiry lauded DeGette.

“She stuck to her guns in upholding the secular character of our government, and lo, the world did not come to an end. Instead, she helped the approximately 95 million nonreligious Americans feel represented by their government,” he said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, who also interrupted a recent Judiciary Committee hearing, said the phrase is more than symbolic.

“The intention behind it was to express the idea that the truth of what was being said was important not just in the moment, but would go into eternity, and someone was watching and would ultimately be our judge,” Johnson said. “Some would call that mere symbolism, but to many of our founders, it was deeper than that.”

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan/Staff

Source: Franklin Graham Challenges Representative Who Said God’s Doesn’t Belong in Congress

U.N. Adopts Measure Promoting Abortion over Member-Country Objections — National Review

The chairwoman of a U.N. commission has forced the adoption of a measure that implicitly promotes abortion over the objections of more than one country.

via U.N. Adopts Measure Promoting Abortion over Member-Country Objections — National Review

Trump Opposes LGBT Equality Act – It’s ‘Filled with Poison Pills’

Trump Opposes LGBT Equality Act – It’s ‘Filled with Poison Pills’

The Trump administration has come out against the Equality Act, which could face a floor vote Friday and would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in non-discrimination laws.

Religious liberty and conservative groups warn the bill, if passed and signed into law, could have devastating effects on women’s rights and religious freedom.

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” a senior administration official told the Washington Blade and several other media outlets.

The Equality Act (H.R. 5) would amend federal laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit and the jury system. Among the amended laws would be the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act.

It would be the most significant LGBT rights bill ever passed. It has 240 co-sponsors, only three of which are Republicans. The rest are Democrats.

But religious liberty groups are warning the bill isn’t as innocent as its name indicates.

“[W]hile it may sound nice to some ears, this bill actually poses a devastating and unprecedented threat to religious freedom and the progress that women have made toward true equal treatment in law and culture,” Sarah Kramer of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) wrote in an online analysis.

The Equality Act, ADF says, would infringe on the rights of Christian business owners, churches and adoption agencies.

It would “threaten individuals, business owners, and non-profit organizations” by “forcing them to express messages or promote events that violate their deeply held religious convictions,” Kramer wrote.

It would prohibit churches and religious nonprofits “from requiring their employees to live out their religious beliefs about marriage, sexual morality, and the distinction between the sexes.”

“[Churches] would be required to open their sex-specific facilities to members of the opposite sex. For one Massachusetts church, that would mean it would have to open its women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence to biological males,” she wrote.

The Equality Act would “threaten religious foster care and adoption agencies with closure if they operate according to their beliefs that the best place for a child is a home with a married mother and father.”

It also would harm women’s sports, Kramer wrote, by allowing “male athletes who identify as female to compete in women’s and girls’ athletic competitions.”

“At a Connecticut state track meet, two biological males identifying as girls beat out the female competitors in several events, taking first and second place,” Kramer wrote. “… In Alaska, the same happened – a biological male competed as a girl at the state championship and won.”

Even supporters of the Equality Act are warning women’s sports are in danger. Doriane Coleman, Martina Navratilova and Sanya Richards-Ross wrote a Washington Post editorial saying the bill “would make it unlawful to differentiate among girls and women in sports on the basis of sex for any purpose.”

“The evidence is unequivocal that starting in puberty, in every sport except sailing, shooting and riding, there will always be significant numbers of boys and men who would beat the best girls and women in head-to-head competition,” the three women asserted. “Claims to the contrary are simply a denial of science.”

Source: Trump Opposes LGBT Equality Act – It’s ‘Filled with Poison Pills’