"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
As we continue to learn about prayer, there are three important elements that we should incorporate into our intercession. We all should ask that we and other believers
may increase in the knowledge of God. By knowing more about Jesus and drawing closer to Him, we will catch a greater vision of God, and as a result, will love Him. This passage is essentially a prayer to help us obey His Word, because those who love Him keep His commandments (John 14:15).
may be strengthened and sustained with the power of God. The church is weakened any time we attempt to do something in our own strength. Our most successful efforts come not by power or might, but by God’s Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). His peace and presence are required if we are to live victoriously, regardless of circumstances.
may give thanks of His salvation. We have qualified as saints of God because—and only because—He has qualified us. He chose us. He sent His Son to die for us. He gave us the gift of faith. He forgave us. He redeemed us. He reconciled us. He justified us. He is sanctifying us. And He will glorify us. Our part is to thankfully obey Him and live for Him every single day.
Lord, I pray that I will increase in knowledge and be strengthened and sustained by Your power … I thank You for my salvation.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Heresy always contains enough truth to be attractive. However, Satan, the author of heresy, never offers us the complete truth. He always offers counterfeits. Any teaching that leads people away from God and causes them to question the validity of the Scriptures is deadly.
The false teachers of Peter’s day taught that Jesus was a good man, an acclaimed teacher, and a prophet from God. They even imitated His teaching but stopped seriously short of professing His deity.
Today’s false teachers have much more than a foot in the doorway to our churches, educational institutions, and businesses. They are allowed to openly profess their beliefs as truth. They teach belief in a god, but not the God of the Bible. They teach that we can become godlike if we will practice self-discipline and search within ourselves to find truth.
Nothing could be more steeped in deception. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6 nasb).
The best defense to the enemy’s deception is personal knowledge of God and His truth. Set your heart on knowing the true God, and He will expose the false teaching of those around you.
Father, I come to You through the way, Jesus Christ. Help me guard against the deception of the enemy. Expose all that is false. Reveal to me the truth of Your Word. I set my heart to know You.
 Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 157). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Glorifying God seems to be such a titanic goal that it can frighten us into inaction: “My life is a mess. I am so erratic. How can I ever glorify God?”
Lao-tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Glorifying God is an eternal process that begins on earth and continues in heaven. Our heavenly existence will be forever focused on exalting God. Realizing that, we can take the initiative to begin glorifying Him one day, one act, one thought at a time.
Each day is God’s gift. You have multitudes of opportunities to honor God through your conduct and conversation. Thus, glorifying God means seeking to maximize each occasion with a deliberate step of obedience. When you falter, which will be often, you confess your disobedience, thank Him for His complete forgiveness, and move on with the task.
What could be more pleasing to your heavenly Father than to daily glorify Him? Establish that lofty aim as your supreme objective, and then live each day in humble dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit and obedience to His revealed truth.
Dear Lord, help me to glorify You today one act and one thought at a time. If I falter, forgive me, and help me to move on with the task.
“And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” ~ 1 Timothy 3:7
The matter of a man’s testimony before the watching world is a frequently neglected topic. While churches give credence to the opinion of their members regarding a candidate’s qualifications for leadership, the opinions of unbelievers are often dismissed as irrelevant, biased, and ignorant. After all, unbelievers are blind to the truth and despise the things of the Lord (cf. 1 Cor 2:14).
How could they possibly give a helpful assessment of a believer’s character?
Some Christians—in an extreme reaction to the oft- (and wrongly-) quoted statement attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words”—also (wrongly) react by placing the emphasis entirely on what Christians profess, thereby implying that in the end, the consistent display of honorable behavior has little to do with evangelism.
Yet Paul states otherwise (1 Tim 3:7). According to the apostle Paul, the opinion of unbelievers matters—so much so that their assessment of a man, if negative, may even derail his aspirations for eldership in the church.
The Meaning of a “Good Reputation”
The phrase “a good reputation” literally means “a good witness.” The word “witness” refers to a “confirmation or attestation” of something based particularly “on the basis of personal knowledge.” What is under consideration here is not what the man himself testifies to. Rather, Paul states the man “has” (he possesses, owns) such a witness.
In other words, a candidate ready for leadership in the church is one who already enjoys a good witness.
In this case, what is to be confirmed or testified to is the man’s character. Based on first-hand, personal knowledge, a statement of approval is required concerning the irreproachability of a man’s life—that he practices from Monday to Saturday that which he preaches on Sunday.
The source of this assessment is to come “from those outside the church”—or more literally, “from those outside.” Those who are “outside” are those who are not members of “the household of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Tim 3:15).
As commentators Lea and Griffin state, “The mention of the leader’s name should not cause derision among the opponents of the gospel. The behavior of the leader should provide an example of integrity and commitment to the gospel he professes.”
What is remarkable is the weight Paul assigns to the opinion of unbelievers in the assessment of a leader’s character. While it is easy to discount the judgments of unbelievers as biased or warped, Paul gives a defining role to such judgments. In fact, even on the basis of an unbeliever’s reproach a man can be disqualified from leadership in the church. As Donald Guthrie states,
It is not that outsiders are arbiters of the church’s choice of its officers, but that no minister will achieve success who has not first gained the confidence of his fellows.
Strauch also writes,
The unsaved watch and are very astute. They observe what a Christian is like at work and in the community, and will be the first to see if there is a dichotomy between profession and practice. Their opinion of a Christian leader’s character cannot be dismissed, for it affects the entire church’s witness.
As with the previous qualities, Paul explicitly states the rational basis for his requirement: “so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim 3:7b).
For Paul, a bad testimony of a man’s life made by the watching world results in two costly consequences for him:
First, it leads to a fall into reproach. The word for “reproach” is a strong word referring to an extreme disgrace. It is the exact opposite of the word “above reproach” found at the beginning of this list (1 Tim 3:2a).
Who observes this extreme disgrace?
Most likely, the assessment comes from those same “outsiders” who were observing the professing believer’s conduct. When unbelievers observe that a believer does not practice what he professes, they cast disparagement on the man, the church he attends, and the message he believes. But such a negative assessment is intensified when it is made against a believer in leadership.
As Strauch writes, “A Christian leader with an unfavorable testimony in the local community will ‘fall into reproach’ in a far more destructive way than those he leads.”
Second, a bad testimony leads to a fall into the snare of the devil. The word “snare” is sometimes used to refer to “a device used to catch animals,” or—as in this case—to refer to “that which causes one to be suddenly endangered or expectantly brought under control of a hostile force.”
What is this “hostile force”? It is actually a who. Paul identifies it: “the devil.” The word Paul uses for “devil” is one which emphasizes Satan’s adversarial, slanderous nature. He ever lives to insult and revile the people of God, particularly when they stumble.
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Paul describes the devil as a hunter who discreetly sets his trap to catch the elder without warning. How does he succeed? He catches his prey by bringing to the attention of the world the hypocrisy of the church leader.
The devil’s methods to discredit believers in general and Christian leaders in particular cannot be underestimated. He has had thousands of years to study the hearts of men and refine the weapons he uses—which commonly include pride (see 1 Tim 3:6), wealth and success (see 1 Tim 6:9), women, andambition.
He lays his traps with skill, and every Christian—especially those aspiring to positions of leadership within the church—must be aware of his schemes.
Cultivating a Good Testimony
Paul’s words emphasize the need to consider the influence your life has on the unbelievers who observe your lifestyle. These unbelievers may be as close as unsaved family members, but they also include neighbors, coworkers, fellow students and teachers, and even the government. The kind of influence you have on them is not a moot point, but one which either establishes or denies your readiness for leadership and influence in the church.
A good testimony can be cultivated by applying these principles:
Obey the law
The government is one category of “outsiders” who observes the quality of people’s lives and is charged with making assessments on their innocence or guilt. Anything from obeying city by-laws to paying taxes are opportunities for Christians either to demonstrate their “good testimony” or to provide an opportunity for unbelievers to cast reproach on the name of Christ (Rom 13:2-4; 1 Pet 2:14).
Word hard at your work
Christians should understand the dignity and purpose of work better than anyone. Though sin carried the curse into the domain of work, work itself is not a consequence of sin. From the very beginning man was created to work, and such work was never intended to be selfish in nature. Work is exercising dominion over creation to make the world a better place as a reflection of the skill and power of God, and for the good of human beings and creation itself. As J. I. Packer states,
All work . . . is oriented to the welfare of other people—directly or indirectly. The answer to the question [of how Christians can view their daily work as ministry] is to be conscious of your work as service to people.
As such, Christians should be very conscious of their testimony in the workplace—particularly with respect to the quality of their labors. Unless unable to work because of physical handicaps, Christians should always provide a net surplus to society and never live in perpetual dependence (1 Tim 5:8; Col. 3:23; 1 Thess. 4:11-12; 1 Tim 6:1).
The more hostile the culture becomes to the gospel, the more Christians consider retreating into isolation. But isolation is no way to fulfill one’s obligation to be a light to the world (Matt. 5:14-16; Phil. 2:14-15).
Be a worldly saint
In other words, be a true saint who does not withdraw from but rather engages in the world for the purpose of evangelism. Search for ways to be active in the affairs of unbelievers. The example of Christ is particularly profound on this point (Matt. 9:10-13; 1 Tim 1:15a).
Note also the instruction of the apostle Paul. While we are to avoid a “sinning brother” until he repents, we are not to avoid the “unbelieving sinner” (1 Cor. 5:9-13).
Love the church
The unusual love believers have for each other is intended not only for the benefit of the Christian community, but for the benefit of the watching world. By observing this love in genuine display, unbelievers will be attracted to it (John 13:34-35).
Be ready to speak
This is where the statement—“Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words”—falls sadly short. As important as good works are to evangelization, words are essential (Rom. 10:14-17; 1 Pet. 3:15-16).
Love the lost
Many Christians do not care about their testimony in the world because they lack true compassion for the lost. If we truly loved the lost, we would be deeply concerned about the influence each of our actions has on unbelievers (1 Tim. 1:15a; 1 Tim. 2:1-4).
Wage wise warfare
Christians must be alert to the spiritual battle taking place over their testimony before the watching world. The devil is setting unseen traps—all with the goal of destroying Christians’ witness. Such a reality calls for alert and diligent warfare against these schemes (Eph. 6:11-12; 1 Pet. 5:8-10).
Thus, the church should not too readily dismiss the opinion of the world when approving a man for leadership. The world is astute, and it observes a man where his character is tried most – in his daily life outside the walls of the church.
Brad Klassen joined the seminary faculty in 2013. He serves as an associate professor of Bible exposition.
If the 2016 US election taught us anything, it’s that the FBI feels it’s necessary to send people to spy on the campaigns of candidates who might have ties to Russia. We’ve also learned that the agency’s bar for launching a massive counterintelligence investigation is incredibly low – spending what President Trump says was $40 million to probe flimsy rumors that Russia has ‘dirt’ on another candidate.
Which brings us to Bernie Sanders – who honeymooned in the USSR and campaigned for the Marxist partyduring the Reagan era. And while that may have put him in great company with former Obama intel chiefs James Comey and John Brennan, there’s just no way to know if Sanders is a 77-year-old manchurian Red Dawn candidate, ready to strike at the heart of Democracy.
Adding to the possibility of Putin Puppetry was special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that 13 Russian ‘trolls’ he indicted were instructed “to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.” In other words – when Bernie was a contender, Russia wanted him to win.
Meanwhile, Bernie and his wife Jane were placed under FBI investigation for bank fraud in 2017 related to a $10 million loan Jane took out for her very ill-fated Burlington College fiasco, though we’re unsure if their home, office and hotel room were raided like Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s. Politico reported that prosecutors were also investigating allegations that Sen. Sanders’ office inappropriately urged the bank to approve the loan.
And while a top Sanders adviser told CNNin November that the Vermont US Attorney’s Office notified Jane that charges would not be filed, how do we know for sure that Russians weren’t involved?
Which begs the question – when is the FBI going to investigate, raid, and send informants into the Sanders campaign? He might after all be a Kremlin agent, right?
“Although Chan said that he would put together a team to help him research those he promotes in the future, he has largely dug in his heels on the topic and insists that unity is more important than Biblical truth.”
(JD Hall – Pulpit & Pen) It should be evident to anyone paying attention that, like many charismatics, the Holy Spirit is not at work in Francis Chan. If He were, Chan would have more discernment, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 5:14, 1 Corinthians 12:10). But instead of exercising any discernment, Chan has chosen to partner himself with the most notorious false teachers on the planet and promote them as brothers in Christ.
The latest news from Chan reveals that he is a man that is very likely one who should be ‘marked and avoided’ as a false teacher (Romans 16:17).
Following on the heels of his partnership, endorsement, and promotion of men like the famous parlor-tricksters and faux-miracle carnival barkers, Benny Hinn and Todd White at The Send Conference, Chan claimed to have not previously investigated the prosperity preachers and wasn’t aware of their heresies. Most evangelicals responded incredulously because it’s hard to believe that Chan was unaware of their heresies; but, it’s easier than believing he doesn’t care about their heresies. View article →
“Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement.”
(Melissa Quinn – Washington Examiner) Justice Clarence Thomas said Tuesday the Supreme Court will not be able to duck the issue of abortion forever and raised concerns about the potential for abortion to “become a tool of eugenic manipulation.”
Thomas’ warning came in a concurring opinion in which he agreed with a decision by the Supreme Court not to review a provision of an Indiana law that bans abortion on the basis of race, sex, or disability. In an unsigned opinion, the high court upheld another provision of the law that mandates the burial or cremation of fetal remains after an abortion.
The measures at the center of the dispute were signed in 2016 by then-Gov. Mike Pence. View article →
Ron Paul discussed the news that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is “gravely ill” on Thursday’s episode of the Liberty Report, noting that if he dies in that prison the US and UK will not look very different from North Korea.
Paul is encouraging people to speak out for Julian Assange amid news that his health has deteriorated to the point where he is now in the hospital wing at Belmarsh Prison.
On Wednesday, WikiLeaks confirmed that Assange is so gravely ill that he could not even have a normal conversation with his lawyer.
Speaking about his concerns over Assange’s treatment, Paul asked if the US and UK are trying to kill Assange. He brought up the case of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was imprisoned by North Korea and not released until he was in a vegetative state — dying shortly after his release.
“The Korean government abused him and they killed him,” Paul said. “Then they brought him back here when he was terminal.”
Paul said that if Assange dies in that prison, we will not look much different than North Korea.
Assange is currently imprisoned at Belmarsh Prison in the United Kingdom and facing eighteen charges under the Espionage Act in the United States for his publication of the Iraq and Afghan War Logs. If extradited and convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.`
Prior to his arrest, Assange spent nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, unable to receive proper medical treatment, despite the lack of sunshine and fresh air taking a toll on his system. Doctors who visited him there wrote an article for the Guardian pleading for him to be allowed to go to the hospital for treatment, headlining their account “We examined Julian Assange, and he badly needs care — but he can’t get it.”
The doctors wrote, “experience tells us that the prolonged uncertainty of indefinite detention inflicts profound psychological and physical trauma above and beyond the expected stressors of incarceration. These can include severe anxiety, pathological levels of stress, dissociation, depression, suicidal thoughts, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain, among others.”