Daily Archives: May 18, 2019

May 18 Three Elements of Prayer

Scripture Reading: Colossians 4:2–6

Key Verse: Colossians 4:2

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.

How would you assess your prayer life in its current state? Do you pray regularly? Are your prayers answered by God? If you find that you are less than satisfied with your times of fellowship with God, do not become discouraged. Many believers struggle to maximize their prayer lives, but the Bible has many wonderful tips for improvement:

  • We must devote ourselves to prayer (Colossians 4:2–4). We are to pray without ceasing, and with the expectation of seeing results. Devoting ourselves to prayer means making time for listening to the Father as well as for talking to Him.
  • We must stay alert in prayer (Ephesians 6:18–19). This means we must be aware as we pray. What should we be aware of? The schemes of Satan. The enemy wants to distract you from prayer. He wants your mind to drift and your heart to be troubled. If we expect these things, we can counteract them by focusing more intently on the task before us—communicating with God.
  • We should pray with a spirit of thanksgiving (Colossians 3:16–17). We should never forget to thank God for the goodness He has shown us, or for the goodness He will show us in the future. Thank Him for listening, for His faithfulness, and for the answer He will bring.

Begin incorporating these three elements into your prayer life as soon as possible, and wait in faith for God to honor your efforts.

Lord, give me a heart to pray without ceasing, the stamina to stay in focus, and a spirit of thanksgiving for Your faithfulness.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 145). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: What Shall I Render — The Thirsty Theologian

What Shall I Render to the Lord
MARTYRDOM Psalm 116:12–19

imageWhat shall I render to the Lord,
what shall my offering be,
for all the gracious benefits
He has bestowed on me?

Salvation’s cup my soul will take
while to the Lord I pray,
and with His people I will meet,
my thankful vows to pay.

Not lightly does the Lord permit
His chosen saints to die;
from death Thou hast delivered me,
Thy servant, Lord, am I.

The sacrifice of praise I bring
while to the Lord I pray,
and with His people I will meet,
my thankful vows to pay.

Within His house, the house of pray’r,
my soul shall bless the Lord,
and praises to His holy Name
let all His saints accord.

Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017).

Right tune, wrong hymn:

The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.

via In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: What Shall I Render — The Thirsty Theologian

May 18 Snared by the Schemer

Scripture Reading: Psalm 25

Key Verse: 1 Peter 4:7

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

Warren Wiersbe commented on our struggles with the enemy: “The word warfare in 2 Corinthians 10:4 means campaign. Paul was not simply fighting a little skirmish in Corinth; the attack of the enemy there was part of a large satanic campaign. The powers of hell are still trying to destroy the work of God (Matthew 16:18), and it is important that we not yield any ground to the enemy.”

Many believers fail to realize that they are in spiritual warfare on a daily basis. The enemy fights a relentless battle for our minds, thoughts, and beliefs. Our values are under constant attack as we are challenged to “get in step” with a society that has long since left its spiritual foundation far behind.

Don’t be rocked to sleep mentally by thinking that because you are a member of a certain church with a certain denomination as its backbone, there is no way you will fall to Satan’s deceptive temptations. In 1 Peter 4:7, we are told to be “serious and watchful.”

Even believers can fall prey to the enemy, so stand strong in Christ. Every thought, every issue that is raised up against God must be taken “captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5 nasb). You are the only one who can assume responsibility for your life.

Don’t be snared by the enemy into thinking that you don’t need Jesus Christ. Life is given to every fiber of your being.

O God, give me sound judgment and a sober spirit. Help me take captive every thought that is raised against You. Pour life into every fiber of my being.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 145). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 18 An Opportunity to Worship

Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 14:21–31

Key verses: 1 John 3:7–8

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

The erosion of Saul’s life began subtly. The enemy never announces his plans to lure us away from our devotion to Christ. Instead, he uses small and seemingly harmless tactics to draw us into deception and compromise.

One careless event changed the course of Saul’s life and eventually led to his denunciation by God and his death. Although God’s grace keeps the believer, sin has its consequences, and many times the relationship with God suffers. Make sure your life is free of spiritual erosion by asking God to give you a deep love for Him and His Word.

Amy Carmichael once wrote,

The story of Mary breaking her pot of ointment made me think of some among us who love their Savior and yet have not broken theirs (vessel of oil). Something is held back, and so there is no outpouring of that love, no fragrance in the house. It is shut up, not given.

The days are passing so quickly. Soon it will be too late to pour all we have on His feet. How sorry Mary would have been if she had missed her opportunity that evening—an opportunity that would never come again: “But you do not always have Me.” Soon He was among His foes. She could not have reached Him then.

Lord, I want to take every opportunity to worship You. I want to express my love to You right now. I pour out the fragrance of my life in a sacrifice of praise.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 145). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Dear Christian: STOP IT!! — The Messed Up Church

There are lots of things that Christians believe that are not in the Bible. At all.

What’s the point of being a “Bible-believing Christian” if you believe a bunch of stuff that isn’t even in the Bible? And even worse, why would you believe ideas that go against what God’s Word teaches us?!

If the ideas listed below pertain to you…

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If God really wanted us to “Achieve our Dreams” and “Fulfill our Destiny,” wouldn’t the Bible clearly tell us that? Wouldn’t there be verses in the New Testament where we (the church) would be instructed to “Dream Big” or “Get out of your comfort zone” or “Follow the dream in your heart” or something like that? Did Jesus die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, or did He die on the cross so our dreams can come true?

If we were supposed to have an “Encounter with God” and experience His “Presence” wouldn’t the Bible tell us that? Wouldn’t there be verses in the New Testament where we (the church) would be instructed to “Encounter God” and “Soak in His Presence?” Wouldn’t there be lots of information about how to have these experiences? Instead, there is only instruction about having correct doctrine and living according to that doctrine.

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If we are supposed to listen to a guy talk about “life lessons,” “relationship skills,” and “practical advice for successful living” at a church worship service, wouldn’t there be Bible verses in the New Testament where we (the church) are taught that? How is that even a “worship service?” Is a motivational speech really the same thing as hearing from God’s Word?

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If we (the church) were supposed to “follow the vision” that our “vision-casting” pastor gives us, wouldn’t there be a bunch of Bible verses telling us about that? Wouldn’t there be at least one Bible verse about this??

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If we are supposed to give 10% of our income to our church because that is how we prove our faith to God, so that He will reward us with a great increase, why aren’t there any Bible verses in the New Testament where we (the church) are taught this guarantee for prosperity? Why does the New Testament say that our lives on earth will be difficult if we’ve been given this “tithe your way to wealth” plan? Why didn’t Jesus or any of the Apostles teach, and then demonstrate, this principle for financial prosperity?

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If unbelievers just need to hear how God is “crazy about them” because they’re “so awesome” in order to become Christians, wouldn’t the Bible clearly tell us that? Why doesn’t the Bible mention our deep need for self-esteem? Is the Gospel message really about how great we are, and that we just need to “know our true identity?” If we just need to realize how very special we are, why didn’t Jesus give us a pep talk instead of dying on the cross?

(What the??)

(What the??)

If we Christians can speak things into existence, using the power of our words, why don’t we just do it? Why do we have so many “experts” who must go into elaborate detail to explain it? Why are there 90 million books, seminars and sermons that teach this-shouldn’t they just “speak it into existence?” When did Christians stop noticing that this is actually witchcraft? Does the phrase “casting spells” ring a bell?

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If God really wanted to have an “intimate love relationship” with us, wouldn’t His Word say so? Furthermore, if God is longing for this “intimate love relationship” why are we constantly failing at it? Why is God constantly failing at it? Doesn’t an “intimate love relationship” between God and a man sound kinda weird and creepy (not to mention between God and a married woman).

If God is passionate about having an intimate love relationship with us, why doesn’t He answer our prayers the way we want Him to? And if we’re supposed to use the analogy of a marriage, what kind of spouse is constantly withholding stuff in order to establish a close, intimate relationship? Furthermore, if He wants us to totally depend on Him for every need so He can show us He’s really there, why doesn’t He just do it? Why all the confusion?

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If we are supposed to be in a constant state of hunger as we say “more Lord, more…” wouldn’t the Bible tell us that? Wouldn’t there be clear Bible verses teaching us to continually ask God for “more?” Why are there no Bible verses telling us to “always be desperate and hungry?”

If God needs to use big, emotional revivals to accomplish His will on earth wouldn’t He have told us to “fill stadiums” in the Bible? Why does the Bible (specifically, the New Testament) describe the establishment of the Church if gigantic revival meetings are so important?

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If the Bible is the totally sufficient Word of God why do we need so many new teachings? Why do so many people run towards the latest new “word from God?” Why is everybody and his brother writing books that make outlandish promises that go against the Bible?

If the Church is in desperate need of “new revelations” (for various reasons: to understand the end times, to have “Apostolic Alignment,” to attain the secrets of intimacy with God, etc.), doesn’t that prove the insufficiency of the Bible? Is it any wonder that so many Christians are not at peace: they believe there’s always something new and better around the corner that they better not miss… followed by something new and better that’s right around the next corner that they better not miss… (And none of this is from God!)

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Here are some more articles that might be of interest:

“Bible-Believing” Christian??

Frequently Abused and Misused Bible Verses

Assertions and Assumptions are NOT the Foundation of the Church

via Dear Christian: STOP IT!! — The Messed Up Church

Facebook Includes Conservative Star Candace Owens on “Hate Agents List” — Follows Platform’s Pattern of Eliminating Conservative Voices — The Gateway Pundit

Facebook suspended conservative star Candace Owens on for stating facts about liberal policies promote fatherless homes.

For this she was suspended by Facebook for 7 days.

Facebook later restored Candace’s account following the online outrage of Facebook’s latest conservative ban.

Facebook’s is working overtime to shut down conservative voices before the 2020 election takes off.

Facebook has been eliminating traffic to conservative websites since the 2016 election.

The fact that Facebook is targeting conservative publishers should not be a surprise to Gateway Pundit readers.

We have been reporting on this for over a year now. In July 2018 we released a study where we looked at several top conservative websites and discovered that the publishers had lost an average of 93% of their Facebook traffic.

This is a bloodbath.

Now this…
On Saturday Allum Bokhari at Breitbart published exclusive information on a Facebook “hate agents” list that included conservative star Candace Owens.

Facebook is gunning for Candace and other conservative pundits and publishers.

Facebook maintains a list of “hate agents” for monitoring and potential termination, according to a source inside the company. Among the names reportedly on the “hate agent” list? Star pundit and black conservative activist Candace Owens.

According to the source, a Facebook employee who spoke exclusively to Breitbart News, the spreadsheet of “hate agents” that includes Owens was posted to an internal employee discussion group initially founded by Brian Amerige, the former Facebook engineer who quit the company over concerns about political intolerance.

The source claimed that the spreadsheet includes the names of prominent right-wing and alternative media figures who were recently banned from the platform.

Candace Owens is also included in the spreadsheet, in a separate category marked “extra credit.”

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed to Breitbart News that the list exists, and did not deny that Owens’ name appears on it, but believes that there has not yet been an investigation into her.

Facebook, Google and Twitter will continue to blacklist, censor, shadow ban and eliminate conservative voices before the 2020 election, just like they did in the 2018 election.

They will do so because they can.

If only there was a real opposition party that would fight these attacks on free speech.
If only.

via Facebook Includes Conservative Star Candace Owens on “Hate Agents List” — Follows Platform’s Pattern of Eliminating Conservative Voices — The Gateway Pundit

May 18, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Ver. 44.—“Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” This is the pervading principle of both dispensations.

  1. Originally man was created in the image of God. (Gen. 1:27). St. Paul tells us that the likeness consisted “in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). The likeness continued until man fell. After the Fall, God’s image, though not obliterated, was no longer reflected in man, except in a blurred and perverted manner, as in a cracked mirror. Man ceased to be holy, and his communion with God was lost.
  2. The desired effect of revealed religion is to recover the lost image and so to restore communion between God and man. Under the old dispensation, a legal and conventional holiness was brought about by means of the sacrifices and purifications. Man was replaced in a state of symbolical, though not real holiness, and so far and so long as that state was maintained by ceremonial rites and cleansings, the relation of communion with God was symbolically restored and preserved. In the new dispensation, that which was symbolized only before, became really effected in the case of those who, having been adopted in Christ, were sanctified by the operation of the Holy Spirit in their heart, and thus “put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
  3. Higher conception of holiness under the gospel than the law. Under the Law, on the principle, “Ye shall be holy,” is founded the command to abstain from ceremonial uncleanness or defilement; “Ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, … neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth on the earth” (ch. 11:44). In the New Testament, the same principle is invoked as the ground of avoiding moral, not physical, uncleanness, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.… for God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (1 Thess. 4:3–7). And the very text before us is quoted for the purpose of urging upon the Christians no mere ritual purification, but the highest spirituality of life. “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:15, 16).
  4. Practical conclusion. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). “What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” (2 Pet. 3:11). Carnal cleanness is not sufficient; moral uprightness is not sufficient; our aim must be holiness, as God is holy, and as this holiness was manifested in Christ.[1]

11:44 I am the Lord your God: The word for Lord is Yahweh, the name by which God had revealed Himself to Moses (Ex. 3:14, 15; 6:2, 3). Consecrate yourselves means “make yourselves holy.” You shall be holy; for I am holy: This is the foundation of the so-called Holiness Code of chs. 17–26. To be holy means to “be separate.” God is holy as the transcendent Creator, above and apart from nature. To be separate to God is much more important than to be separate from other things. As God’s people are separated to Him, we become more and more conformed to His image, to be the persons God intended us to be when He created the first man and the first woman in His image (Gen. 1:26, 27). Holiness in God’s people involves grace, righteousness, integrity, peace, and mercy, because these are characteristics of the God who has redeemed us and whom we serve.[2]


11:44, 45 Consecrate yourselves … be holy, for I am holy. In all of this, God is teaching His people to live antithetically. That is, He is using these clean and unclean distinctions to separate Israel from other idolatrous nations who have no such restrictions, and He is illustrating by these prescriptions that His people must learn to live His way. Through dietary laws and rituals, God is teaching them the reality of living His way in everything. They are being taught to obey God in every seemingly mundane area of life, so as to learn how crucial obedience is. Sacrifices, rituals, diet, and even clothing and cooking are all carefully ordered by God to teach them that they are to live differently from everyone else. This is to be an external illustration for the separation from sin in their hearts. Because the Lord is their God, they are to be utterly distinct. In v. 44, for the first time the statement “I am the Lord your God” is made, as a reason for the required separation and holiness. After this verse, that phrase is mentioned about 50 more times in this book, along with the equally instructive claim, “I am holy.” Because God is holy and is their God, the people are to be holy in outward ceremonial behavior as an external expression of the greater necessity of heart holiness. The connection between ceremonial holiness carries over into personal holiness. The only motivation given for all these laws is to learn to be holy because God is holy. The holiness theme is central to Leviticus (see 10:3; 19:2; 20:7, 26; 21:6–8).[3]


11:44–45 For I am the Lord. This self-identification is used here for the first time in the book; it occurs frequently from ch. 18 on. for I am holy. Cf. 19:2; 20:26; 21:8. The Lord, who is himself holy, calls his people to consecrate themselves, i.e., dedicate themselves to holiness (Hb. hitqaddesh), and to be holy, i.e., practice a holy lifestyle. Cf. 20:7–8 and note. who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Personal consecration (in which a person imitates God’s own character) is a response to God’s gracious initiative (cf. Ex. 20:2). First Peter 1:16 applies the same principle to Christian readers, portraying them as the heirs of this special status.[4]


11:44–45 Since the Lord had made the Israelites uniquely his by delivering them from the land of Egypt, they must be holy as he is holy (Ex 19:2). It was necessary that the people maintain their ritual cleanness in everyday activities as well as in sanctuary worship. The food offered to the Lord in worship involved the partaking of portions by the priests and the people. For God to continue his presence among the people, they must practice the same measure of holiness in their homes. Since it was inevitable that the people became unclean, they must consecrate themselves by undergoing these cleansing procedures.[5]


[1] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1910). Leviticus (pp. 173–174). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[2] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 171). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Le 11:44). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 231). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Matthews, K. A. (2017). Leviticus. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 174). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Pro-Abortion Organizations Teaming Up for Nationwide Protests to #StopTheBans on Tuesday — The Gateway Pundit

A slew of pro-abortion organizations are teaming up for nationwide protests against the wave of pro-life legislation popping up to challenge the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling.

The protests are being set up by a coalition of organizations including the ACLU, All* Above All Action Fund, EMILY’s List, Indivisible, MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, UltraViolet, and Women’s March.

The organizations are calling for people to protest at statehouses, town squares, and courthouses across the nation at noon on Tuesday.

“We will show up to speak out and fight back against this unconstitutional attempt to gut Roe and punish women. Politicians shouldn’t be making decisions best left to women, their families, and their doctors,” a website set up for people to find protests near them states.

The website claims that  “this is Trump’s anti-choice movement… and it’s terrifying, particularly for women of color and low-income women who are most affected by these bans.”

The protests have been promoted by many influential Democrats, including 2020 Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

via Pro-Abortion Organizations Teaming Up for Nationwide Protests to #StopTheBans on Tuesday — The Gateway Pundit

You’ve been warned: Widespread US face surveillance is ‘imminent reality’, says tech privacy report | RT

Georgetown researchers are warning Americans about a sophisticated real-time face surveillance system that’s about to become an “imminent reality” for millions of citizens across the country.

The ‘America Under Watch’ report is a warning that authorities in select US cities may soon be able to pick you out from a crowd, identify you, and trace your movements via a secret network of cameras constantly capturing images of your face.

Also on rt.com Farcical recognition tech? NYPD ‘used Woody Harrelson pic for beer thief search’

The report claims both Detroit and Chicago purchased software from a South Carolina company, DataWorks Plus, that gives police the ability to scan live video from cameras located at businesses, health clinics, schools, and apartment buildings. Both cities say they are not currently using the technology.

Facial recognition software has proven problematic for violating ppl’s civil liberties and discriminating against Black people and (to a lesser extent), other POC. Seems like a waste of an investment given the composition of the city of #Detroit.

— Educate to Liberate LLC (@NefertariNkenge) May 15, 2019

I think it’s helpful to treat privacy like a form of environmental health. Violations of privacy are sometimes individual, and always collective.

— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) May 17, 2019

DataWorks says it provides software which “provides continuous screening and monitoring of live video streams.” The system is also designed to operate on “not less than 100 concurrent video feeds.”

According to the research team’s report, live footage is captured by cameras installed around Detroit as part of Project Green Light, a public-private initiative to deter crime which launched in 2016. The expanse of the police department’s facial recognition policy last summer, however, means the face recognition technology can now be connected to any live video, including security cameras, drone footage, and body-worn cams.

RT @copystar: “Detroit’s real-time face surveillance is designed to operate together with a program called Project Green Light Detroit, an initiative launched in January 2016 that has dramatically expanded the city’s network of surveillance cameras” … pic.twitter.com/9mdRomXfjB

— Green Light Detroit (@D_GreenLight) May 16, 2019

Illinois, meanwhile, is host to one of the most advanced biometric surveillance systems in the country, the report claims, adding that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the Chicago Transit Authority have had face surveillance capabilities since “at least 2016.

Similar face surveillance is also apparently on the horizon for NYC, Orlando, and DC.

Also on rt.com China creates facial recognition app to tell pandas apart

The report authors, Clare Garvie and Laura M. Moy, are now calling for a “complete moratorium on police use of face recognition” to give communities a chance to decide whether they want to be monitored in their streets and neighborhoods.

Last week, San Francisco became the first US city to ban facial recognition software used by police and other municipal agencies.

 

Source: You’ve been warned: Widespread US face surveillance is ‘imminent reality’, says tech privacy report

House Democrats pass Equality Act bill to put sexual orientation and gender identity above religious liberty

WINTERY KNIGHT

21 states have SOGI anti-discrimination laws 21 states have SOGI anti-discrimination laws

Remember watching that video of the fascist thug Democrat Brian Sims, as he bullied the pro-life lady who was praying outside of an abortion clinic? Well, imagine that abusing Christians who take the Bible seriously became the law of the land, and a minority of secular leftist were empowered to use government as a weapon to silence and coerce Bible-believing Christians.

Regular readers will be familiar with the cases where gay activists went after bed and breakfasts, wedding venues, photographers, florists, bakers, etc. who refused to participate in celebrations of same-sex marriage. Christians oppose same-sex marriage, because the leader of the religion defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. However, religious liberty wasn’t a defense in these cases, because these states had passed “SOGI laws”, which made it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Equality…

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Weekend Snapshot · May 18, 2019 – Top Stories This Week

Armed Forces Day

Land of the free because of Patriot Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen.


Alabama Hopes to Challenge Roe v. Wade

The objective is to have SCOTUS rule on whether an unborn child is indeed a person.


Leftists Fear SCOTUS Overturning Precedent (Except When They Don’t)

Their measure of “correct” rulings is preference, not the Constitution.


Trump Refocuses on Immigration Overhaul

The president seeks to shift immigration to a more merit-based rather than family-based system.


The ‘More Equal Than Others’ Act

House Democrats are poised to pass the grossly misnamed “Equality Act” today.


America Deserves Spygate Answers

AG Barr has tasked John Durham with digging into the misuse of intel assets against Trump.


Selling Out American Exceptionalism

There are some serious implications for our 30-year trade war with Red China.


New ‘Adversity Score’ Added to SAT

Schools seek to instill even more bias and victimitis into admissions testing.


Robocallers Now an FCC Target

Americans can all agree on one thing: Everyone hates spam phone calls.


There Are Heroes Among Us

Mass shooters are increasingly encountering brave people who are fighting back.



Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Quote Of The Week

“If your argument is that we should be killing babies because they might end up poor, I’m wondering what’s stopping you from wiping out the homeless population. If your standard of whether someone should live or die is their probable quality of life, why stop in the womb?” —Allie Beth Stuckey

Source

May 18 The Appeal of Temptation

scripture reading: 2 Samuel 11
key verse: John 8:44

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Temptation is not sin. If that was true, then our Lord would have sinned when tempted by Satan. But Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, without sin, so that He might pay our sin debt.

Temptation is the appeal to engage in a form of unholy conduct. Dr. Henry Thiessen described the fundamental components of temptation in Systematic Theology: “Satan’s temptation may be summed up as appealing to man in this way: it made man desire what God had forbidden, to know what God had not revealed, and to be what God had not intended for him to be.”

God establishes boundaries in your personal relationship with Him. He allows you tremendous degrees of personal freedom to think, act, and speak, but His Word clearly defines when your thoughts, deeds, and words transgress His boundaries.

Temptation always entices you to transcend God’s borders. It seduces you into thinking something or someone else other than God can meet your emotional, physical, or spiritual needs.

Temptation is a trap of excess and indulgence, tripped by self–gratification. It need not be sprung.

Father, I want to live within the boundaries You set. Keep me from the traps of excess and indulgence sprung by my self–gratification.[1]


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

18 may (1856) 365 Days with Spurgeon

God alone the salvation of His people

“He only is my rock and my salvation.” Psalm 62:2

suggested further reading: Mark 9:1–8

If God alone is our rock, and we know it, are we not bound to put all our trust in God, to give all our love to God, to set all our hope upon God, to spend all our life for God, and to devote our whole being to God? If God be all I have, sure, all I have shall be God’s. If God alone is my hope, sure, I will put all my hope upon God; if the love of God is alone that which saves, sure, he shall have my love alone. Come, let me talk to thee, Christian, for a little while, I want to warn thee not to have two Gods, two Christs, two friends, two husbands, two great Fathers; not to have two fountains, two rivers, two suns, or two heavens, but to have only one. I want to bid thee now, as God hath put all salvation in himself, to bring all thyself unto God. Come, let me talk to thee! In the first place, Christian, never join anything with Christ. Wouldest thou stitch thy old rags into the new garment he giveth? Wouldest thou put new wine into old bottles? Wouldst thou put Christ and self together? Thou mightest as well yoke an elephant and an ant; they could never plough together. What! Wouldest thou put an archangel in the same harness with a worm, and hope that they would drag thee through the sky! How inconsistent! How foolish! What! Thyself and Christ? Sure, Christ would smile; nay, Christ would weep, to think of such a thing! Christ and man together? Christ and Co? No, it never shall be; he will have nothing of the sort; he must be all. Note how inconsistent it would be to put anything else with him.

for meditation: What candidates for an equal share of the devotion due only to the Triune God do you face? Give them the same answer as Jesus gave Satan (Matthew 4:10).

sermon no. 80[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 145). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

18 MAY 365 Days with Calvin

Restraining Anger

And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Jonah 4:9

suggested further reading: Proverbs 16:27–33

God did not merely reprove his servant Jonah because he did not patiently bear the withering of the gourd but because he became angry, and his anger was excessive. Jonah was grieved beyond measure and without restraint, so his anger was justly condemned by God as a fault.

The answer of Jonah confirms this, for we see how obstinately the holy prophet repels the admonition of God by which he should have been restored to a right mind. Jonah was not ignorant of God’s words. Why, then, was he not smitten with shame? Why was he not moved by the authority of the speaker to immediately repress the fierceness of his mind?

It often happens that, once the minds of men are blinded by a wrong feeling, they will not listen to God, even if he thunders and explodes from heaven. Since we find such an example of perverseness in this holy man, Jonah, how much more should not every one of us fear? Let us learn to repress our feelings of anger and to bridle them at the beginning, lest they burst forth to such a greater extent that we eventually become altogether obstinate.

Who would know that the holy prophet could have been brought to such obstinacy? Let us be reminded by this remarkable example how furious and unreasonable are the passions of our flesh. Therefore we ought to restrain these passions before they gather more strength than they ought.

for meditation: Do you ever let passions rise to the level where you are totally incapable of accepting and digesting rebuke, even if it comes from God? Jonah’s shocking impudence demonstrates that he had this problem. Remember his account when you next feel your passions rise, and heed its warning.[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 157). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics

Disney’s ‘Tolkien’ Movie Cuts Out the Christian Faith That Inspired His Life and Work

Stop the Ill-Named ‘Equality Act’: Your Religious Freedom at Stake

Was Jonah Really Swallowed by a Big Fish?

Texas Christian College Students Vote to Ban Chick-fil-A From Their Campus Over LGBT Issues

Louis Farrakhan Delivers Anti-Semitic Speech About ‘Satanic Jews’ At Chicago Catholic Church, Pastor Won’t Apologize

Erwin Lutzer lays out 5 false gospels within evangelical churches

Expert Psychologist Blocked on Twitter for Expressing Clinical Opinion on Transgenderism

Local- From Hagerstown to Kentucky, a food/clothing drive is helping those in need

Hey Max Boot, Here’s Why I Would Be Unlikely to Vote for an Unapologetic Atheist

Sheltering Little Aardvarks

Ex-Atheist Dr. Sarah Salviander On Atheism

‘One of the strongest’ pro-life bills heads to governor in Missouri

Debunking 9 myths surrounding Alabama’s abortion law

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Our last edition is here.

via Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics

Why Are We Here? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Ask ten people these questions, and you may get ten different answers.

The existentialist says we make our own meaning. The nihilist says there is none. The hedonist says our purpose is to pursue pleasure and avoid pain, while others seek riches or fame. And so it goes with all of the skeptical, secular philosophies of our day.

These philosophies may sound clever, and they have come to permeate our culture. Yet they share a fatal flaw: they fail to see life from God’s perspective.

In today’s message from his video teaching series Dust to Glory, R.C. Sproul surveys the book of Ecclesiastes and sets forth the biblical answer to the meaning of life: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (12:13–14).

There is more to life than the here and now. The wicked will face eternal consequences. But as believers in Jesus Christ, we have hope for the life that is to come.

Watch today’s message

via Why Are We Here? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

May 18, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

14:27 — “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The peace of Jesus “surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) because it has a supernatural source in the heart of Christ Himself. His peace keeps us from fear and worry because it brings us straight to Him.[1]


Supernatural Peace (John 14:27)

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (14:27)

Turmoil, both public and personal, is a reality that marks this fallen world. Such unrest is perhaps most clearly seen on the international level, as nations clash against each other in war. Many years ago, historians calculated that in the previous 3,500 years, the world had seen less than 300 years of peace (cf. Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History [New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968], 81). It has also been estimated that in the last five and a half millennia, more than 8,000 peace treaties have been broken, and more than 14,000 wars fought with a combined total of about four billion casualties. Even though there have always been illusions of global peace, this world continues to be unsuccessful in the effort to pursue that elusive goal.

The concept of peace is, of course, much broader than just the realm of international social harmony. People want peace in their personal lives, relief from the relentless pressures and problems that each day brings. The language of peace fills conversation. People seek “peace and quiet” to be refreshed from the din of life; they are told to “make peace” with their past; they expect local law enforcement to “keep the peace” and stop those who disturb them. Even when this life ends, the concept of “resting in peace” is so commonplace it has become a synonym for death itself.

Sadly, though people pursue it their entire lives, left to themselves they have no idea how to find true peace. Those who look for it in temporal things like social change, economic stability, or some recreational experience are always disappointed. Only God’s Word can authoritatively point to the relationship that produces lasting peace.

Both the Old and New Testaments underscore the divine source and character of true peace. One of the most important theological terms in the Old Testament is the word shalom (“peace”). The word, which occurs approximately 250 times, was sometimes used as a greeting (Judg. 19:20; 1 Sam. 25:6, 35), as it is in modern Hebrew. Shalom can also refer to the absence of strife between people (Gen. 26:29), nations (1 Kings 4:24), and between God and man (Ps. 85:8). In this latter sense, it will be the hallmark of the future messianic kingdom (Ps. 29:11; Isa. 2:4; 9:6–7; 52:7; 54:13; 57:19; 66:12; Ezek. 37:26; Hag. 2:9). But shalom also speaks of personal peace—not merely in the negative sense of absence of trouble or conflict, but positively of completeness, wholeness, contentment, welfare, health, prosperity, harmony, and fulfillment. Peace is one of the blessings that flow from a right relationship to God.

True biblical peace does not depend on the circumstances of life, but lives above them. One Greek lexicon defines the New Testament word for peace (eirēnē) as “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.” It was this type of peace that characterized the apostle Paul, who wrote: “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Phil. 4:11–12). Paul remained calm and at peace in the midst of the most trying circumstances, such as being thrown into prison (Acts 16:23–25), savagely attacked by an unruly mob (Acts 21:30–39), or caught in a raging storm at sea (Acts 27:21–25).

Humanity defines peace primarily in negative terms. For example, in some languages the word for peace means, “to be without trouble,” “to have no worries,” or “to sit down in one’s heart.” Peace to most people means the absence of war, strife, quarrels, disagreements, hostility, or unrest. They see it as deliverance from or the absence of any external conflict and every inner turmoil, resulting in an undisturbed and tranquil state of mind. But this understanding of peace is incomplete, because true peace is much more than just the absence of conflict. Armed with an inadequate definition, unbelievers are incapable of finding peace. They do not understand what they are looking for, and therefore fail to look in the right place.

There is only one source of true peace, as this simple yet profound verse (27a–b) reveals. The setting in which this magnificent promise was given is the upper room on the night before Christ’s death. The Lord, knowing His disciples were brokenhearted because He was leaving them, gave the eleven a farewell message of comfort and hope. As noted in the previous chapter of this volume, Jesus promised them that through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit He would continue to be with them, as would the Father and the truth. That marvelous legacy would turn the disciples’ temporary sorrow over His death into eternal joy. It also served as the basis for the supernatural peace that He now promised to them.

This one brief statement reflects four features of divine peace: its nature, source, contrast, and result.

The Nature of Peace

Peace I leave with you; (14:27a)

Objectively, peace in the New Testament has to do with a person’s standing before God; subjectively, with the believer’s resulting experience of peace in everyday living. Peace with God, of course, is the bedrock on which all other peace is based. If there is no peace with God, then there cannot be any real peace in this life. Thus, objective peace is a necessary prerequisite for subjective peace, neither of which are possible for the unsaved person to enjoy.

Since the rebellion of Adam and Eve (cf. Gen. 3), the human race has been at war with God. All violate His holy law and deny Him glory, and therefore are His enemies. The Bible calls this rebellion sin, and declares every human being (with the exception of Jesus Christ) to be a sinner (Rom. 3:23). From birth, every man and woman opposes God—both by heritage (Rom. 5:18; cf. Pss. 51:5; 58:3) and by personal choice (cf. Rom. 3:10–18). No one is neutral because, as Jesus said in Luke 11:23, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” In Genesis 8:21 God’s own commentary on His fallen creation was that “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (cf. Job 15:14). Thus, having set themselves against God’s law, all people inevitably face His wrath and the penalty of eternal punishment.

Humanity hates God (cf. John 15:18–19; 1 John 2:16–17), and all who are part of the world system cannot be at peace with Him: “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

The good news, however, is that enemies of God can be reconciled to enjoy eternal peace with Him through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; for it is through Him that God has chosen “to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20; cf. Acts 10:36; Eph. 2:14–17). In Romans 5:1 Paul wrote, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because Christ paid sin’s penalty on the cross, those who trust in Him are “reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10; cf. v. 11; 2 Cor. 5:18–21; Col. 1:22). At the moment of justification, the rebellion ends, all sins are forgiven, and enemies become sons of God (cf. Rom. 8:12–17).

As a result, those who formerly had a “mind set on the flesh [resulting in] death” now have a “mind set on the Spirit [resulting in] life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). Thus Paul called the gospel the “gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15), because it is the good news of how sinful rebels can be at peace with God through Christ.

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ to satisfy God’s holiness was necessary so there could be peace between sinful men and holy God, since righteousness and peace are inseparably linked (cf. Ps. 85:10). Because God is holy and just, He requires that a penalty be paid when sinners violate His law. It is only because Christ’s sacrifice fully satisfied the demands of divine justice that God can “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). Though perfectly righteous, Christ was punished in the place of all who believe as though He were a sinner, so that they through faith in Him could be treated as though they were perfectly righteous. Thus, through Christ’s substitutionary atonement and the imputation of His righteousness to sinful men (2 Cor. 5:21), the enemies of God can become His friends (James 2:23).

That objective peace of justification results in experiential peace. This is not peace with God but “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension,” meaning that it transcends human insight, analysis, and understanding. This peace “will guard [believers’] hearts and [their] minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). The Greek word translated “guard” is a military term meaning, “to keep watch over.” The peace of God protects believers from anxiety, doubt, fear, and distress. Thus, it is not passive but active; far from being affected by circumstances, it triumphs over them, turning sorrow into joy, fear into boldness, and doubt into confidence. This is the peace that Jesus promised to His followers.

Experiential peace is an essential part of the Christian life. “The kingdom of God,” wrote Paul, “is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). Later in Romans the apostle added this benediction: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (15:13). Paul gave a similar benediction at the end of 2 Thessalonians: “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance” (2 Thess. 3:16). Peace is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22)—given by the Helper whom Christ sent to indwell His people (cf. the discussion of John 14:16–17 in the previous chapter of this volume). Such peace not only manifests itself in private tranquility, but also in harmony with other believers (Mark 9:50; Rom. 14:19; 2 Cor. 13:11; Eph. 4:3; 1 Thess. 5:13; 1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 3:2).

The Source of Peace

My peace I give to you; (14:27b)

Because He is the “God of peace” (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20; cf. Judg. 6:24; Isa. 9:6; 1 Cor. 14:33; 2 Cor. 13:11; 2 Thess. 3:16), God is the one source of all true peace; hence Jesus said, My peace I give. As with every blessing in the Christian life, peace comes from all three persons of the Trinity. The oft-repeated salutation in the New Testament Epistles, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; Col. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:2; cf. Eph., 6:23; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philem. 3; 2 John 3) indicates that God the Father and Jesus Christ are the source of peace. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to impart that peace to believers (Gal. 5:22). Like the rest of the legacy Jesus left the disciples, the peace He promised to give them would come in fullness on the day of Pentecost.

Christ called that peace, My peace. It is the same peace that kept Him calm in the face of mockery, scorn, hostility, hatred, betrayal, and death (cf. 1 Peter 2:23). Christ’s peace provides believers with a serenity and freedom from worry and anxiety that is unaffected by and triumphs over even the most difficult of circumstances. In the midst of the trials and temptations of life, believers do well to fix their “eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). It is only in looking to Christ that anyone can find peace and settled confidence in the midst of any hardship.

The Contrast to Peace

not as the world gives do I give to you. (14:27c)

In the truest sense, no real peace is to be found in the world. Godless people in a godless world are by nature enemies of God and in a state of resultant turmoil. The world only offers an experience of a momentary, fleeting tranquility through self-indulgence, materialism, love, romance, substance abuse, false religion, psychotherapy, or a host of other placebos. But the world’s pseudopeace is in reality the bliss of ignorance. If unbelievers understood the wrath of God, and the agonizing, unrelieved, eternal torment awaiting them in hell, they would never enjoy a moment’s peace in this life.

The Bible repeatedly emphasizes that the world’s peace is inadequate. “ ‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the Lord” in Isaiah 48:22. In Isaiah 57:21 the prophet echoed the Lord’s words: “ ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’ ” In Jeremiah 6:14 God excoriated the false prophets who had “healed the brokenness of [His] people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (cf. 8:11; Ezek. 13:10, 16). “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace!” Jesus lamented over Jerusalem, “But now they have been hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42). The apostle Paul wrote of unbelievers that “the path of peace they have not known” (Rom. 3:17). In the end times, “while [unbelievers] are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3). Like wayward Israel finally admitted, “We waited for peace, but no good came; for a time of healing, but behold, terror!” (Jer. 8:15). The world’s peace is only an illusion. A peace based on temporarily positive circumstances or ignorant escapism is not genuine peace at all. The reason people lack peace is not emotional, psychological, or circumstantial, but theological. As noted earlier in this chapter, only those who know Jesus Christ can have peace with God and, subsequently, experience true peace in this life.

The Pursuit of Peace

“Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (14:27d)

After promising to give His disciples peace, Jesus repeated His command that they not let their heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (see the exposition of v. 1 in chapter 9 of this volume). There is no inconsistency between Christ’s promise and His command, however. The Bible teaches that Christians are responsible to appropriate God’s promises. The Holy Spirit indwells and empowers believers, but they in turn are to be filled with (Eph. 5:18) and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25). Christians have been given eternal life; in response they are to “consider [themselves] to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11) and “present [themselves] to God as those alive from the dead” (v. 13). The Holy Spirit is their supernatural teacher (1 John 2:20, 27), yet that does not negate believers’ responsibility to study the Scriptures diligently (2 Tim. 2:15). The same apostle Paul who wrote “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20) also wrote “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:26–27).

As is the case with all of God’s promises, then, believers are responsible to appropriate Christ’s promise of peace. Psalm 34:14 commands God’s people to “seek peace and pursue it” (cf. 1 Peter 3:11), while Psalm 119:165 declares that “those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Similarly, Isaiah 26:3 reveals that it is those who steadfastly trust Him that God keeps in perfect peace, and Isaiah 32:17 links experiencing peace with living a righteous life. Paul instructed Timothy to pursue peace (2 Tim. 2:22), and Peter exhorted his readers, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14). James also connected peace with godly living when he wrote, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable … And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17–18). In fact, one way God produces peace in our lives is by chastening us: “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11).

When we trust in His goodness, faithfulness, and provision, God fills us “with all joy and peace in believing” (Rom. 15:13). To live in anguish over the past, anxiety concerning the present, or apprehension about the future is to fail to appropriate that peace. As noted earlier, believers are to be “anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let [their] requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard [their] hearts and [their] minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pointed out the sinful folly of allowing fear and worry to corrode the believer’s experience of divine peace:

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear for clothing?” For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt. 6:25–34)

God has forgiven the past, provided for the present, and guaranteed the future, leaving nothing to legitimately disrupt the believer’s peace. Applying that principle to his most difficult circumstances, the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed … For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:8–9, 17–18)

The good news of the gospel is that the war between the sinner and God can end, since the treaty ending that war was purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The resulting experiential peace becomes a guiding and controlling principle in every believer’s life. In Colossians 3:15 Paul exhorted Christians, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Brabeuō (“rule”) was used to describe the work of an umpire in deciding the outcome of an athletic event. Believers can allow Christ’s peace to referee the choices they make by asking two crucial questions. First, they should ask whether what they are considering is consistent with the reality that they are now at peace with Christ and thus part of His kingdom (cf. Col. 1:13). Anything that would disrupt the oneness and harmony they enjoy with Him must be rejected. Paul illustrated that principle in 1 Corinthians 6:17–18 when he wrote, “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality.” Their union with Christ compels Christians to purity.

A second consideration concerns how the choice will affect the peace of mind that comes with a clear conscience (cf. Rom. 14:22–23; 1 Cor. 8:12). Thoughts, words, and deeds consistent with the peace of Christ will result in a clear, good, and blameless conscience (Acts 23:1; 24:16; 2 Cor. 1:12; 1 Tim. 1:5, 19; 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3; Heb. 13:18; 1 Peter 3:16); those that are not will result in a troubled, accusing conscience (1 Sam. 24:5). Christians who live in unrepentant sin forfeit the experience of peace and assurance that is Christ’s legacy to His people. Remembering his sin with Bathseba, David declared to God:

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away

Through my groaning all day long;

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to You,

And my iniquity I did not hide

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”;

And You forgave the guilt of my sin. (Ps. 32:3–5)

The unsettled, guilt-ridden conscience is made whole when the believer confesses his sin to God and repents (cf. 2 Cor. 7:10; 1 John 1:9). Knowing that his sin has been forgiven (through the cross) and that his relational fellowship with God has been restored (through confession and repentance), the believer can once again experience the profound peace that God offers to all of His children.

On the night before His death, the Lord promised supernatural peace to His troubled disciples. By pointing to Himself as the giver of peace, rather than to the fearful circumstances they faced in His absence, Jesus offered His followers a peace that is unmoved by the events of this world and that lasts forever. It was this peace that characterized Him throughout His sufferings. And it would also mark His followers through the many persecutions they would face on His behalf.

Charles Wesley, the famous hymn writer, summed up the God-focused nature of the Christian’s peace with these fitting words:

I rest beneath the Almighty’s shade,

My griefs expire, my troubles cease;

Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed,

Wilt keep me still in perfect peace.[2]


27. Peace I leave with you. By the word peace he means prosperity, which men are wont to wish for each other when they meet or part; for such is the import of the word peace in the Hebrew language. He therefore alludes to the ordinary custom of his nation; as if he had said, I leave you my Farewell. But he immediately adds, that this peace is of far greater value than that which is usually to be found among men, who generally have the word peace but coldly in their mouth, by way of ceremony, or, if they sincerely wish peace for any one, yet cannot actually bestow it. But Christ reminds them that his peace does not consist in an empty and unavailing wish, but is accompanied by the effect. In short, he says that he goes away from them in body, but that his peace remains with the disciples; that is, that they will be always happy through his blessing.

Let not your heart be troubled. He again corrects the alarm which the disciples had felt on account of his departure. It is no ground for alarm, he tells them; for they want only his bodily presence, but will enjoy his actual presence through the Spirit. Let us learn to be always satisfied with this kind of presence, and let us not give a loose rein to the flesh, which always binds God by its outward inventions.[3]


27 On the eve of his departure from the world, Jesus bestowed on his disciples the legacy of peace. In that day eirēnē (“peace,” GK 1645) was used as both a greeting (Ro 1:7) and a farewell (Mk 5:34). The Greeks thought of peace in essentially negative terms, namely, the absence of hostility. In Hebrew thought, however, peace also designated a positive sense of well-being. The LXX regularly uses eirēnē to translate the well-known Hebrew šalôm (GK 8934). Jesus further identifies peace as “my peace,” the total well-being that results from a perfect relationship to God. It was his peace because he would purchase it by his own death and grant it as a gift to those who would accept it. Peace is a blessing that involves all the positive benefits flowing from Jesus’ victory over sin and death. Like all spiritual blessings, it cannot be earned but must come as a part of the free gift of salvation.

The peace of Jesus differs from the peace that the world gives. That “peace” depends largely on circumstances, which by definition are in a state of constant flux. Tasker, 168, lists as examples of the world’s peace temporary freedom from distraction and anxiety, the peace of momentary flight from all that is unpleasant, and the peace of false security. They all fall woefully short of the rich blessings of God’s personal presence in the life of the believer.

The peace Jesus provides is the peace of sins forgiven and of reconciliation to God. It is a peace that “transcends all understanding” (Php 4:7). Therefore, even though Jesus will soon depart, the disciples need not be “troubled” or “afraid.” (Knox translates the latter verb, deiliaō, GK 1262, with “to play the coward”; Berkeley has “to be intimidated.”) For the early Christians fear was incompatible with faith. Though opposition was strong, they should not be alarmed. Paul writes that not being frightened by the opposition is a sign to the opposers of their coming destruction (Php 1:28).[4]


27 In a way this verse introduces a new subject. There has been no talk of peace until now. But in another way there is nothing new, for the peace that Jesus gives is the natural result of the presence within people of the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus has been speaking. Peace is Jesus’ bequest to his disciples. Peace was commonly used at this time as a word of greeting (20:19, 21, 26) or of farewell. It thus comes in aptly in this final discourse of our Lord’s. But the expression used here is not the usual formula of farewell; Jesus is using the term in his own way and for his own purpose. The repetition of “peace” is impressive. The concept is important. Having stated positively what he gives, Jesus goes on to differentiate this gift from anything that the world can give. When the world uses “Peace” in a greeting it expresses a hope. It can do no more. And even that it usually does in no more than a conventional sense like our “Good-bye” (= “God be with you”). But Christ effectually gives people peace. Moreover, the peace of which he speaks is not dependent on outward circumstances, as any peace the world can give must necessarily be. Because he gives people such a peace Jesus can enjoin them not to be troubled in heart79 nor cowardly. A Christ-given serenity excludes both. In the Bible “peace” is given a wider and deeper meaning than in other Greek writings. For the Greeks (as for us) peace was essentially negative, the absence of war. But for the Hebrews it meant positive blessing, especially a right relationship with God. This is to be seen in the Old Testament, and it is carried over into the New.81 The word here has its fullest content.[5]


27 The impression that Jesus’ speech is drawing to a close (v. 25) is heightened by his next words, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give to you” (v. 27a). This first mention of “peace” in the entire Gospel stands as the positive sequel to the words with which he began, “Let no one’s heart be shaken!” (v. 1), and to those very words he now returns, framing the entire discourse: “Let no one’s heart be shaken, nor let it be fearful!” The added words, “nor let it be fearful” (v. 27b), are significant. Jesus himself, as we have seen, had been “shaken,” or troubled (11:33; 12:27; 13:21), but never “fearful,” a term implying cowardice or lack of courage. With these words (right on the heels of the promise of the Advocate!), he implies that his disciples are still badly in need of his “peace,” with some distance yet to go before truly “believing” in him” (vv. 1, 10, 11) or “loving” him (vv. 15, 21, 23) as they should. In the same breath, he takes another opportunity (as in vv. 17 and 19) to distance himself and the disciples from “the world” and the way the world sees things. In saying, “Not as the world gives do I give you,” his point is that the “peace” he leaves with his disciples is not necessarily what the world calls peace—that is, the absence of conflict. Without quite saying so, he hints that persecution may await them, and that this would not be incompatible with the “peace” he is offering them, for the peace he offers is in their “heart,” not in their outward circumstances. He will make this explicit later on when he finally bids them farewell: “These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace. In the world you have distress, but take courage, I have overcome the world!” (16:33).[6]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Jn 14:27). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (pp. 121–129). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[3] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 2, pp. 101–102). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 569). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John (pp. 583–584). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[6] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 792–793). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

05/18/19 Wisdom — ChuckLawless.com

READING: 1 Kings 2-3, John 4:1-26

More than 35 years ago, I was a 20 year-old pastor at my first church. I look back on those days, and I wonder why that congregation hired me in the first place. Then, I wonder why they didn’t fire me several times in the 2.5 years I was their pastor. I knew the Lord had called me to preach, but that’s about all I knew. I pray that all my sermons recorded on cassette tapes in those days have somehow been consumed in fire. And, I can only hope that those church members who are still living have forgotten all the mistakes I made.

I’m sure I asked God for wisdom at times, but I doubt it was with the passion of Solomon when he prayed these words: “Lord my God, You have now made Your servant king in my father David’s place. Yet I am just a youth with no experience in leadership. Your servant is among Your people You have chosen, a people too numerous to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant an obedient heart to judge Your people and to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kgs 3:7-9). Solomon knew that his youthfulness and inexperience made him unqualified to lead God’s people, and he would not have the wisdom to lead them. Thus, his request was for just that—a discerning heart that walked in obedience.

I am aware today that I too seldom seek God’s wisdom as I attempt to lead in my various roles. I know better, but I’m still guilty of self-dependence at times. Thus, the prayer that accompanies this devotion matters much to me.

PRAYER: “God, give me the wisdom needed to seek Your wisdom every day.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Review and catch-up day

via 05/18/19 Wisdom — ChuckLawless.com

May 18 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Numbers 27; Psalms 70–71; Isaiah 17–18; 1 Peter 5

 

in chapters 14–16 isaiah records oracles against Philistia (to the west of Jerusalem) and against Moab (to the east). Now (Isaiah 17–18) he speaks against Syria to the north (with its capital Damascus) and Cush to the south. Ancient Cush was made up of modern Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somaliland, i.e., a large area south of the fourth cataract of the Nile River. By the late eighth century b.c., Cush had merged with Egypt, which is still in view in chapters 19–20. Indeed the twenty-fifth dynasty, which ruled this huge region, were Ethiopians.

Recall that the crisis King Ahaz of Judah faced in Isaiah 7 was an alliance between Syria and Israel, designed to thwart Assyria; Syria and Israel tried to force Judah to join their alliance. So this oracle is against Damascus (17:1) the capital of Syria, and includes Ephraim (17:3—another name for the northern kingdom of Israel). Syria and Israel, so threatening to Judah, would soon be destroyed by Assyria. Damascus fell in 732, Samaria ten years later. After their destruction they would be like an emaciated man (17:4), like a field after harvest with only a few stalks left (17:5), like a grove of olive trees in which the fruit has been plucked and beaten with only a few olives left (17:6). The ultimate cause of the destruction of these nations is their idolatry (17:7–8), bound up with fertility cults (17:10–11).

The means for destroying Syria and Israel is depicted in 17:12–14—almost certainly Assyria, which is in turn destroyed. Yet Isaiah speaks of “many nations” (17:12): once again we have stumbled across prophetic foreshortening, Assyria serving as a model both of all the means of temporal judgment that God uses, and of the fact that he brings all nations to account, even those his providence has deployed as the club of his wrath (cf. 10:5).

If there is no help for Judah and Jerusalem in the nations of Israel and Syria (and still less in Assyria), there is also no help in the other regional power, Egypt/Cush (chap. 18). Egypt sends its ambassadors to Judah (and doubtless to other minor states) to try to woo them into their camp (18:1). Isaiah speaks to them (18:2)—almost certainly he actually speaks to the king in a prophetic oracle about the ambassadors, rather than addressing them directly—and in brilliant rhetoric describes the destruction of their nation. Yet he also heralds a time when Egyptians, just one of the many “people of the world” (18:3), will see the banner the Lord raises and bring gifts to “Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty” (18:7).

Why fawn over pagan nations (and thinkers!) when the Lord himself will judge them, and when they will one day bow to him?[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.