Daily Archives: July 24, 2019

July 24 Snares of the World

Scripture Reading: John 10:11–18

Key Verses: Hebrews 13:20–21

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Cattle ranchers know all too well that the barbed-wire fences designed to protect their livestock can become dangerous traps for curious animals. In an effort to reach grass that is just outside of the fence, cows often poke their heads between the twisted wires and become entangled in their razor-sharp snares.

At this point of entrapment, the cow is generally helpless. Though it may pull and thrash, the barbs only dig deeper into its flesh. It must now cry out for help. A seasoned rancher will be able to quiet the animal and carefully release it from its place of bondage.

Though it may not be quite as obvious, we, too, can become deeply entangled in the world’s snares. Many times traps can exist deep within the hearts of those around us. Inner struggles can often prove to be more painful and destructive than external trials.

How wonderful it is to know that we have a “seasoned rancher” in our lives! Jesus is often referred to as the Good Shepherd, and for good reason. Throughout the Bible, we are likened to sheep in need of direction and rescue. Jesus came to earth to physically, spiritually, and emotionally experience our trials firsthand. He came to answer our cries of help and to release us from the barbs of the evil one.

When the devil tries to ensnare you, there is no need to fight, struggle, and thrash. Instead, be still and call out to the attentive Good Shepherd. He tends to His flock faithfully and will be there for you in your time of need.

Lord, keep me from the snares of the world. Give me direction so I will not be entrapped by the barbs of the evil one.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 215). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 24 Anxiety

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:25–34

Key Verse: Matthew 6:34

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

In her booklet Overcome Your Worry, Pamela Reeve shares how the character and sufficiency of God are the antidote for every form of worry:

The provision of our God covers the past, the present, and the future. Peace comes from the possession of adequate resources.

God can keep our minds at peace, even as He’s promised, because we have adequate resources to take care of the sin and guilt of the past. We have the cross of Christ …

We have adequate resources for the present: That great Resource, the Holy Spirit, who will give us the wisdom we need, the enablement we need, the control we need—all that we need for the present.

… We have the adequate resources for the future if Christ is our Savior.

… All worry is basically distrust in the character and might of God. Exercising faith in God is the antidote to worry. Faith is believing that God is good.

… Are you worrying about something coming up ahead: Lack of finances, failing health, loss of a friendship? Keep filling your mind with the truth—God knows all about it. He has all the power to handle it for your good, and because He loves you so, He will.

O Lord, Your provision covers my past, present, and future. I rejoice that I can leave all my anxieties and worries with You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 215). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 24 An Open Door

Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 16:1–9

Key verse: Revelation 3:8

I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

Here are some requirements of faith:

Listening to God. Whenever you face change or need to make a crucial decision, take time to pray, and if possible, be still before God. You may miss God’s instructive voice because you have filled your life with noise and activity. Study His Word, and He will speak to you through the Scriptures.

Obeying God. It must have been difficult for Abraham to leave his home and loved ones in order to do what God wanted him to do. However, there was no other way. God instructed Abraham to leave Ur and travel to a place that God would reveal. Obedience is a direct doorway to blessings. It is something God takes very seriously and something He rewards generously.

Depending on God. God always is near. No matter what you face, He watches to see if you seek Him or chase after the affections of others. Allow Him to be your first choice in every situation, and He will bring blessings and hope to your life.

Waiting on God. God does not always answer your prayers immediately. He may make you wait. This testing is for a purpose: Will you cling to Him in faith or crumble in fear? Always hang on to your faith.

You never know when your Deliverer may open a door of immense hope.

Lord, I choose to listen to You, obey You, depend on You, and wait on You. I want to cling in faith rather than crumble in fear.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 215). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

07/24/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-0724

•Witness Wednesday phone fishing
•Ambivalence is worse than antipathy toward the Gospel
•Are movie passes better than the Gospel?
•Marcus the Atheist has rejected the Gospel without ever hearing it
•George the Catholic janitor doesn’t know how to get to heaven

Download Now (right click and save)

via 07/24/2019 — Wretched

John Piper Returns to Passion Conference in 2020, Joins Host of False Teachers — Christian Research Network

“So what’s the problem with the conference? For starters, it’s filled with false teachers — and Piper, who so many hold in such high regard as a solid Bible teacher, clearly approves of them. He is, in his own words, united with them. He isn’t there just to get on the stage to preach the gospel to their audience. He sees himself as one of them and clearly sees them all in full communion with him.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  John Piper used to be a reputable pastor. In Reformed circles, he was one that you could turn to for solid biblical advice and theological teaching….

But his slide into theological disarray began with his reinterpretation of the historic Westminster Catechism quote, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.” Piper wrote his own version of this into to what now says, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him.”

This new interpretation is not a doctrine found anywhere in Scripture, yet, this subtle change changes the entire dynamics of one’s theology. John Piper, who has regularly attended Louie Giglio’s Passion Conference for a number of years, has done so based on his own invention of this unbiblical doctrine. Of Louie Giglio, he writes in his bookAn All-Consuming Passion for Jesus…  View article →

Research

John Piper

Louie Giglio

via John Piper Returns to Passion Conference in 2020, Joins Host of False Teachers — Christian Research Network

Intelligent Design: The Most Reasonable Explanation for the Origins of Life — The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network

Intelligent Design: The Most Reasonable Explanation for the Origins of Life

A question that scientists, philosophers, and theologians have attempted to answer is how did life begin?

Essentially, there are only 2 possible explanations to this question:

  1. Life was created by chance; or
  2. Life was created by an intelligent designer.

COULD LIFE HAVE BEEN CREATED BY CHANCE?

Proponents of the theory that the Big Bang and all life thereafter was created by mere chance include:
-Charles Darwin, Naturalist (Geologist, Biologist)
-Richard Dawkins, Atheist (Evolutionary Biologist)
-Sam Harris, Atheist (Neuroscientist, Philosopher)
-Steven Hawking, Atheist (Theoretical Physicist)
-Lawrence Knauss, Atheist (Physicist)
-Michael Shermer, Atheist (Scientific Advisor)

The men listed above claim that Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) gives us the best explanation regarding the origins of life. However, even Darwin admits that his book is just an argument to his theory on natural selection. He never intended to be able to explain the origins of life.

Not only does chance not prove to be a reasonable conclusion it would have to…

I'm with Clive!FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE:
Intelligent Design: The Most Reasonable Explanation for the Origins of Life

via Intelligent Design: The Most Reasonable Explanation for the Origins of Life — The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network

A GOD WHO UNDERSTANDS YOU: The Reason Why You Have Trials And How God Uses Them To Bring You Back To His Loving Grace : These Christian Times

Why does God allow hardships in our life? Often times God uses storms or hardships in our life to get our attention. God desires the best for our lives and when we have drifted away he uses storms in our life to bring us back to him.

https://youtu.be/sWoefJmon5o

— Read on www.thesechristiantimes.com/2019/07/24/a-god-who-understands-you-the-reason-why-you-have-trials-and-how-god-uses-them-to-bring-you-back-to-his-loving-grace/

Barna Update: A Snapshot of Faith Practice Across Age Groups

Barna research has covered declining affiliation among Millennials, as well as younger generations’ reluctance to share about faith with others. Even so, among practicing Christians, levels of personal belief and practice are often remarkably similar across, regardless of age. Data drawn from FaithView, Barna’s new online database, offer an overview of Christian generations in the U.S.

How often do Christians attend church? What do they believe about God? Do they regularly open their Bibles? See how these key markers of faith trend across the age groups, from Elders to Millennials.

Read more

July 24, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Tuesday sued to block a U.S. House of Representatives committee from obtaining his New York state tax returns, with his lawyer accusing the Democratic-controlled panel of “presidential harassment.”

Army Secretary Mark Esper was sworn in as U.S. secretary of defense on Tuesday, hours after being confirmed by the Senate in a strong bipartisan vote that ended the longest period by far the Pentagon had been without a permanent top official.

A new U.S. rule aimed at slashing the number of asylum cases at the southern border with Mexico faces a court test on Wednesday when a federal judge will hear arguments about whether to block the measure pending trial.

South Korea protested on Wednesday against a Japanese plan to remove it from a list of countries that face minimum trade restrictions, saying it would undermine their decades-old economic and security cooperation and threaten free trade.

New U.S. proposals for a safe zone in north Syria do not satisfy Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, adding that an agreement on the issue needs to reached as soon as possible because Ankara has no patience left.

Facebook Inc will pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to resolve a government probe into its privacy practices and the social media giant will restructure its approach to privacy, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.

Nissan Motor Co warned on Wednesday that first-quarter profit tumbled around 90% percent, a day before it is expected to announce more than 10,000 job cuts as the crisis deepens at Japan’s second-largest automaker.

China warned on Wednesday that it was ready for war if there was any move toward Taiwan’s independence, accusing the United States of undermining global stability and denouncing its arms sales to the self-ruled island.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló could step down on Wednesday after almost two weeks of protests against his administration, sparked by the publication of offensive chat messages and a corruption scandal, local media reported.

AP Top Stories

Two veteran senators – a Republican and a Democrat – unveiled compromise legislation Tuesday to reduce prescription drug costs for millions of Medicare recipients, while saving money for federal and state health care programs serving seniors and low-income people.

Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh ordered the massacre of some 30 migrants he said were “mercenaries” sent to topple him in 2005, a member of the former strongman’s hit squad told a truth commission on Tuesday.

Iran has threatened to cut its imports from Brazil unless it allows the refueling of at least two Iranian ships stranded off the Brazilian coast, a sign of the global repercussions of U.S. sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Iran is ready for “just” negotiations but not if they mean surrender, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, without saying what talks he had in mind.

For the first time in seven years, the State Department did not list how many Americans were sexually assaulted, robbed, murdered or kidnapped in Jamaica in its 2019 Crime and Safety Report. That information was previously published in reports that were cited in a 2018 Free Press investigation, which found that sexual assaults of U.S. tourists in Jamaica is an historic and unchecked problem, with an estimated one American raped a month.

The U.S. government will pay a minimum of $15 per acre to farmers hurt by President Donald Trump’s trade war with China under an aid package to be unveiled before the end of the week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday.

From ballistic missiles to unmanned drones, Yemen’s Huthi rebels appear to have bolstered their fighting capabilities, posing a serious threat to mighty neighbor Saudi Arabia.

The governor of Hawaii on Tuesday visited protesters blocking the construction of a giant telescope on the state’s tallest mountain while acknowledging that their grievances were not just about a new observatory but also about the treatment of Native Hawaiians going back more than a century.

The former principal of an elementary school in Ann Arbor has sued the district, saying she was pushed out of her job because she’s white. Shannon Blick, 39, had run Lawton Elementary School for five years and possessed what her lawyer calls a “spotless and pristine employment record” before she was placed on administrative leave in April and effectively forced to resign. The lawsuit seeks $5 million and claims that Blick was forced out of her job so the district could replace her with an African American principal.

BBC

The US Senate has voted to extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which was at risk of running out of money.

Cuba has dismissed the findings of a US academic study which found brain abnormalities in US diplomats who worked in Cuba.

Top Kenyan officials led by Foreign Minister Monica Juma have handed back 35.4kg of gold, worth at least $1m, smuggled from Tanzania.

WND

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas provides eight specialized housing halls, specifically tailoring them to fit the needs of students with numerous backgrounds or lifestyles, including nutritious students, study-intensive students and LGBT students. One floor is intended for black students. The housing options are reportedly popular among students.

Even the word “Christian” ran afoul of YouTube. An ad for a ministry to veterans was rejected for including the word “Christian.” “Please remove the unacceptable content to continue.”


Mid-Day Snapshot · July 24, 2019

The Foundation

“The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head.” —Noah Webster (1788)

It’s Mueller Time … Again

Stuttering, stumbling, asking to repeat questions — the special counsel’s testimony is a train wreck.


DOJ Opens Antitrust Probe of Big Tech

Social-media giants are on notice as government opens second antitrust investigation.


Democrats Demand Economy-Killing Marxist Wages

Even $15 an hour isn’t enough for some Democrats, who want a minimum wage of $20.


House Democrats Rebuke Anti-Semite ‘Squad’

The chamber overwhelming passed a resolution rejecting the anti-Israel BDS boycotts.


Comey Lied to and Spied on Trump

DOJ IG Michael Horowitz’s investigation may expose FBI misconduct at the highest levels.


Color of Skin or Content of Character?

What if Americans understood the differences between color and culture?


Video: Fiscal Conservatism Is Dead

Trump’s deal with Democrats unleashes spending, uncaps debt. Bill Whittle reflects.


Video: Minimum Wage Hurts Beginners

John Stossel investigates how Seattle’s $15 minimum wage killed entry-level jobs.



Today’s Opinion

Marc A. Thiessen
Bernie Sanders Runs Into Socialist Reality
Rebecca Hagelin
Donald Trump a Racist? Seriously?
Star Parker
Understanding Why ‘The Squad’ Screams ‘Racism’
Ben Shapiro
Why the Left Is Reconsidering Al Franken
Walter E. Williams
What’s Most Important?
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

Mueller testifies, Esper confirmed, anti-trust probe, BDS vote, 9/11 victim fund, and more.


Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Beto O’Rourke, and more.



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.

News – 7/24/2019

Democratic Republic of Congo: Ebola Virus Disease – External Situation Report 51
Since our last external situation report (data reported by 14 July 2019), 91 new confirmed EVD cases with an additional 75 deaths have been reported across the two affected provinces. We continue to observe sustained local transmission with a large number of cases in Beni Health Zone. In addition, cases continue to be exported from Beni to other health zones via the movement of cases and their contacts.

USGS reports magnitude 4.1 earthquake hit in Searles Valley, near Ridgecrest
The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a magnitude 4.1 earthquake struck Searles Valley early Tuesday morning. The quake was reported near Ridgecrest, less than a month following the massive 7.1 and 6.4 quakes that rocked the region earlier in July.

Strong earthquake 6 mag, Balleny Islands region
A earthquake magnitude 6 (ml/mb) has occurred on Tuesday, Balleny Islands region (0 miles). The temblor was picked up at 20:33:24 / 8:33 pm (local time epicenter). The earthquake was roughly at a depth of 10 km (6 miles). A tsunami warning has not been issued (Does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist).

BDS Proponent Ilhan Omar uses Israeli company to Power Website
Ilhan Omar (D, MN), who introduced legislation that seeks to protect those who want to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) Israel, uses an Israeli company to power her own website. Reddit user ‘EthanB111’, noticed that the site ‘IlhanOmar.com’ is powered by WIX, a company that allows its customers to easily build websites using simple drag and drop tools. WIX does not hide the fact that they are based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

What is the state of religious freedom in Israel & the Arab world? Here’s what the media is not telling you.
For the last several days, more than 1,000 Foreign Ministers, religious and civic leaders, academics and survivors of religious persecution from more than 100 countries have gathered in Washington for a State Department conference on advancing religious freedom. Keynote speakers have included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Pence, U.S. Ambassador At Large For International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Yazidi survivor of ISIS Nadia Murad, Sheikh bin Bayyah (considered one of the most influential Sunni Muslim theologians in the world), and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Is Bubonic Plague Predicted in L.A a Sign of Zechariah’s Prophecy in 2019?
During a Periscope broadcast on Friday, celebrity doctor Dr. Drew Pinsky, known simply as Dr. Drew, predicted that Los Angeles is in danger of an outbreak of Bubonic Plague in what he termed an imminent “apocalypse.” Ironically, Dr. Drew blamed civil liberties organizations, which he called “clueless do-gooders”, for exacerbating the problem by blocking alternative solutions for homelessness. He also referred to left-wing politicians as “disgustingly negligent.”

Dem Director: Rural White Americans ‘Not Grateful Enough’
David Atkins, a regional director for the California Democratic Party, who posted a nine-tweet thread on Thursday accusing “rural white Americans” of being “ungrateful” for what the federal government had done for them while charging the same group of voters with being “whiny” and “bigoted.” “You know who is not grateful enough? Rural white Americans,” Atkins wrote to begin his diatribe.

The rise of the Satanic Temple in Canada
As the national co-ordinator for the Satanic Temple in Canada, Marc has overseen the group’s latest developments and events since he started the chapter here in 2016. He says he got involved shortly after retiring from a decade in the Canadian military, searching for a new purpose in life, and new regimens. Many members, including Marc, were raised in devout Catholic households. Once they eschewed those beliefs, they found their way to Satanism. And it makes them feel whole. Lately, Marc can barely keep up with the sudden explosion of interest in the Temple and says hundreds of people across the country are trying to join.

Israel attacks Iranian stronghold in Syria – report
Syrian state television said on Wednesday there were reports of an Israeli attack on a strategic area in southern Syria where Western intelligence sources previously said Iranian-backed militias are known to be based. According to Ynet, explosions began around 12:40 a.m. near the Golan Heights. Then again at 1:00 a.m. two more explosions were heard. One in the Quneitra area and another in Tel al-Hara in the northwest of Daraa.

Boris Johnson: New PM to form government after taking office
Boris Johnson will head to Downing Street later after he takes over from Theresa May as prime minister. The new Conservative leader will take office on Wednesday afternoon following an audience with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. After entering Number 10, he is expected to announce a clutch of senior cabinet posts, including chancellor of the exchequer and home secretary.

Europe heatwave: French city of Bordeaux hits record temperature
The French city of Bordeaux has hit its highest temperature since records began, as Western Europe braces for the second heatwave to hit this summer. On Tuesday, Meteo France registered 41.2C (106.1F) in the south-western city, breaking a 2003 record of 40.7C. Forecasters predict a record-breaking run across Europe this week, including Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

Guatemala president seeks to unblock US migration deal
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has filed an appeal against a court ruling blocking a deal to reduce the number of asylum seekers reaching the US border. He said last week’s court injunction could damage ties with the US. This comes after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Guatemalan goods.

Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months
Do you remember the good old days when we had “12 years to save the planet”? Now it seems, there’s a growing consensus that the next 18 months will be critical in dealing with the global heating crisis, among other environmental challenges. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45% by 2030.

Iran claims U.S., Israel assassinated head of IAEA
The Iranian Tasnim News Agency published a report Wednesday quoting unnamed official sources suspecting Israel and the United States had assasinated Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency who died last week. According to the report, Amano was assassinated because he would not give in to pressure calling him to slander the Iranian nuclear plan…

Death toll from India, Nepal, Bangladesh floods jumps to over 300
The death toll from severe flooding in parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh rose to more than 300 on Monday, even as heavy rains are starting to ebb and water levels started to recede in some of the worst-affected areas.

Priest who said he urinated in communion wine, was attracted to satanism gets 25 years for child porn|
The Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, a retired Idaho priest who once claimed to have urinated in communion wine at least once at his church, was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison without parole for what investigators said was the most disturbing child pornography case they had ever seen.

BREAKING: House Passes Anti-BDS Resolution in Direct Opposition to Omar and Tlaib!
A recently-passed House resolution which opposed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has exposed a glaring rift among Democrats, as members of “The Squad” including Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib opposed the idea.

Mexico had the most murders on record for the first half of the year
Mexico set a new record for the number of homicides recorded during the first half of the year, with the number of deaths rising 5.3% compared to the same time period last year.

The Chiapas “Infectons” Are Crossing US Border with Implanted and Deadly Diseases
In Part One of this series, through a brief review of a previous give part series, itw as revealed that the Chinese fully plan to use bioweapons in order to exterminate as many Americans as possible as a potential prelude to a massive Chinese colonization of the United States. Much of this information was obtained from a 20 page leaked document containing the contents of Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe’s intentions to takeover America.

BREAKING: ILHAN OMAR SUPPORTERS Caught Threatening, Attempting “to Dox a Somali WhistleBlower” Who Revealed Ilhan’s Crimes
The Gateway Pundit was sent several updates last week on Ilhan Omar’s history of tax fraud and her marriage to her biological brother.

Trump Administration Set To Expand ‘Expedited Removal’ Of Illegal Aliens
The Trump administration is set to expand the ability to rapidly deport illegal aliens who cannot prove they have been in the U.S. for two years or more, according to a federal filing on Monday.

Patriot Missile Batteries Are Being Installed As Pentagon Reactivates Key Saudi Military Base That Was Previously Used To Stage All Previous Middle East Wars In The Gulf
In the Bible, the nation of Iran is called Persia, is mentioned 29 times and figures prominently in end times prophecy, and at the moment it seems that the United States is preparing for war with them on a fairly large scale. The Pentagon has reactivated the Prince Sultan Air Base, and is filling it right now with hundreds of troops and massive firepower. This is the same air base that the United States has previously used in every Middle East campaign. Add to that Britain announcing plans Monday to develop and deploy a Europe-led “maritime protection mission” to safeguard shipping in the vital Strait of Hormuz, and you got the recipe for another Gulf War.

Comey’s Cyber Spy in White House Stole Classified White House Material — Is Now Working for CNN
Yesterday a report was released that corrupt and fired former FBI Director James Comey had a spy in the Trump White House.  We know he stole information and shared it with Comey, the question is, did he try to frame the President as well?

CSI Beersheba: Israeli team develops tool to help detect blood at crime scenes
At crime scenes , forensic analysts work alongside investigators to collect evidence and analyze it for chemical, biological and physical markers, such as DNA.


Headlines – 7/24/2019

Greenblatt: Palestinians have aspiration, not right, to East Jerusalem capital – US plan won’t be based on ‘fictions of international consensus’

Ahead of peace plan rollout, Jared Kushner applies big data to Arab media

U.S. Mideast Envoy: Trump Hasn’t Decided When to Release Political Part of Peace Plan, Hope He Decides Soon

Commentary: Trump’s Economic Plan Is Necessary Because Peace Is Not Possible

Trump’s Middle East envoy faces resistance at U.N. Security Council

Trump’s Mideast envoy blasts UN Security Council over peace process

PA’s top diplomat: Another country will recognize Palestine by end of month

Hamas says ‘real opportunity’ for prisoner swap if Israel gets serious

House overwhelmingly OKs resolution opposing Israel boycott in rare bipartisan vote

Israel, US to increase energy cooperation in a variety of fields

Syria says Israel attacked posts held by its military, allied militias

Israel attacks Iranian stronghold in Syria

Lebanon accuses Israel of threatening civilian infrastructure

Israel: Iran smuggling dual-use items for Hezbollah arms by sea into Beirut port

‘The port of Beirut has become Hezbollah’s port’

Iranian news agency blames Israel for death of UN nuclear watchdog chief

France stresses need for Iran to respect nuclear accord

Iran is ready to negotiate but not if negotiations mean surrender – Iran president

US sanctions squeeze Iran middle class, upend housing sector

US may have downed more than one Iranian drone last week, top general says

Saudi cabinet says disruptions of maritime traffic violate international law

Iran vows to secure Strait of Hormuz

UK sent mediator to Iran to ‘plead for their ship to be freed’: Khamenei aide

Britain wins early European support for Hormuz naval mission

Pakistan’s Imran Khan says to meet Taliban in peace push

Afghanistan asks for explanation after Trump claims US could wipe it ‘off the face of the Earth’

Four dead in rebel attack on Thai army base

Russia expresses ‘deep regret’ over South Korea airspace violation, Seoul says

Boris Johnson wins race to become UK’s next prime minister

Israel congratulates new British PM Johnson, thanks May for friendship

Boris Johnson’s chaotic path to power finally pays off

‘I Don’t Know What He Will Do’: Europe Braces for Brexit With Boris Johnson

Editorial: Will Boris Johnson become the third Conservative prime minister to be undone by Brexit?

IMF downgrades world growth, warns of ‘precarious’ 2020

IMF says trade conflicts could make a sluggish global economy even worse

Puerto Rico officials order governor, aides to hand over phones amid scandal

7 striking photos show how massive the Puerto Rico protests really are

U.S. willing to offer Maduro guarantees he’ll be left alone if he leaves Venezuela

Trump Wants to Punish Guatemala Over Failed ‘Safe Third Country’ Deal

Mexico sets 1st half murder record, up 5.3%

Republican Senators Introduce a Resolution Deeming Antifa Members ‘Domestic Terrorists’

FBI Director Wray: Russia intent on interfering with U.S. elections

President Trump vowed millions of immigration arrests in dramatic raids. ICE caught 18 family members.

Mueller takes the TV stage; Democrats hope America tunes in

In high-stakes Mueller hearing, there are big risks for everyone

Barr says Mueller asked DOJ to send letter limiting testimony to ‘boundaries’ of report

Trump blasts decision to let aide accompany Mueller to testimony: ‘VERY UNFAIR’

Mitch McConnell: Mueller ‘case is closed,’ Americans ‘moved on’ from Russia investigation

Justice Dept. ratchets up antitrust scrutiny of Big Tech

The Department of Justice just launched a broad probe into whether big tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and others illegally harm competition

UPS Seeks Authority for Commercial Drone Flights

6.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Balleny Islands region

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Sumberasri, Indonesia

Ubinas volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Tropical Storm Dalila forms in the East Pacific

Tens of thousands without power after rare Cape Cod tornado touches down twice

Europe braces for another heatwave as forecasters predict record-breaking temperatures this week

Where will the West’s next deadly wildfire strike? The risks are everywhere

As rats overrun California cities, state moves to ban powerful pest-killers

Chinese scientists’ new technique to wipe out mosquito populations may provide vital new weapon against range of deadly diseases

Deadly fungal infections may increase with global warming

St Lucia, Barbados on Ebola alert

Christian doctor who nearly died of Ebola returning to Africa: ‘God has opened the doors’

Sex with HIV still a crime? Updated laws divide advocates

Russian LGBTQ activist is killed after being listed on gay-hunting website

Atlanta Mayor Hosts Drag Queen Story Hour at City Hall

Straight Pride Parade Permit Submitted To City Of Modesto


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Anthony Wade – Setting the Record Straight on Charismata, Cessationism, and Abuse of the Gifts (Part 1)

Julie Roys – 8 ways to rationalize sin from ‘The Bachelorette’

Juanita Bynum skips conference after pastor allegedly enters hotel room without permission

Lance Wallnau Hosts $997 per person ‘Spiritual Warfare’ Conference at Trump’s D.C. Hotel

New York Bans Declawing Cats, Allows Abortions Up to Birth and Infanticide


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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

July 24, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

7. The Prophet expresses more clearly here what we referred to in our last lecture,—that God is hard and severe toward refractory men, and that he is merciful and kind to the teachable and the obedient,—not that God changes his nature, or that like Proteus he puts on various forms; but because he treats men according to their disposition. As then the Prophet has hitherto taught us, that God’s wrath cannot be sustained by mortals; so now, that no one might complain of extreme rigour, he, on the other hand, shows that God favours what is right and just, that he is gentle and mild to the meek, and therefore ready to bring help to the faithful, and that he leaves none of those who trust in him destitute of his aid.

First, by saying that God is good, he turns aside whatever might be objected on the ground of extreme severity. There is indeed nothing more peculiar to God than goodness. Now when he is so severe, that the very mention of his name terrifies the whole world, he seems to be in a manner different from himself. Hence the Prophet now shows, that whatever he had hitherto said of the dreadful judgment of God, is not inconsistent with his goodness. Though God then is armed with vengeance against his enemies, he yet ceases not to be like himself, nor does he forget his goodness. But the Prophet does here also more fully confirm the Israelites and the Jews in the belief, that God is not only terrible to the ungodly, but that, as he has promised to be the guardian of his Church, he would also succour the faithful, and in time alleviate their miseries. Good then is Jehovah; and it is added, for help. The intention of the Prophet may be hence more clearly understood, when he says that he is for strength in the day of distress; as though he said,—“God is ever ready to bring help to his people:” And he adds, in the day of distress, that the faithful may not think that they are rejected, when God tries their patience by adversities. How much soever then God may subject his people to the cross and to troubles, he still succours them in their distress.

He lastly adds, He knows them who hope in him. This, to know, is no other thing than not to neglect them. Hence God is said to know them who hope in him, because he always watches over them, and takes care of their safety: in short, this knowledge is nothing else but the care of God, or his providence in preserving the faithful. The Prophet, at the same time, distinguishes the godly and sincere worshippers of God from hypocrites: when God leaves many destitute who profess to believe in him, he justly withholds from them his favour, for they do not from the heart call on him or seek him.

We now then understand the Prophet’s meaning. He shows, on the one hand, that God is armed with power to avenge his enemies; and, on the other, he shows that God, as he has promised, is a faithful guardian of his Church. How is this proved? He sets before us what God is, that he is good; and then adds, that he is prepared to bring help. But he does not in vain mention this particular,—that he takes care of the faithful, who truly, and from the heart, hope in him; it is done, that they may understand that they are not neglected by God, and also, that hypocrites may know that they are not assisted, because their profession is nothing else but dissimulation, for they hope not sincerely in God, however they may falsely boast of his name.[1]


7 The goodness of God forms a basic tenet of Israel’s faith, particularly celebrated in the psalmic literature whose language is prominent throughout v. 7 (e.g., 2 Ch 5:13; Pss 25:7–8; 69:16; 118:1, 29; 135:3; 136:1; 145:7–9; Jer 33:11). Also as here, it repeatedly forms the basis for the response of faith, expressed in trusting obedience (e.g., Ezr 8:18, 22; Pss 34:8; 73:1; 100:4–5, 106:1–3; 107:1–2; 109:21, La 3:25). Where the goodness of God is successfully impugned, faith soon crumbles (e.g., Ge 3:1–7; Nu 14:3, 27).

In this context, as an expression of covenantal commitment to defend his people, the Lord himself is a “refuge” or stronghold of protection (māʿôz, “strength”; cf. Ne 8:10; Pss 27:1; 31:2, 4; 37:39; Pr 10:29; Isa 25:4; Jer 16:19). He “cares for” (yādaʿ, lit., “knows”; e.g., Ex 33:12; Pss 31:7; 91:14; Jer 1:5; 12:3) the faithful, acknowledging their relationship to him and the claim on his goodness, which is inherent in that relationship. The “trouble” from which he gives protection is graphically illustrated in Judah’s sufferings at the hands of Assyria. It demands a “trust” that is too often missing or misplaced, but it affords one of Scripture’s most dramatic testimonies to the Lord as a “refuge” for those who indeed put their hope in him (Isa 33:2–4; 37:3, 6–7, 29–38; cf. Isa 12:2; 26:3–4). The note of grace sounded here, highlighted by its juxtaposition to the surrounding verses, is already implicit in v. 3, and it foreshadows the theme of Judah’s vindication in the following sections (vv. 12–13, 14; 2:2[3]).[2]


Judgment in a Context of God’s Care for His Own (1:7)

7 Good is Yahweh,

a refuge in the day of adversity.

And he knows those who seek shelter in him.

The message of Nahum up to this point appears purely in negative terms. Almost nothing but judgment has been discussed. But now it becomes apparent that those who turn to the Lord have nothing to fear. He is good, and his people shall enjoy an abundant salvation. Actually the judgment on Nineveh must be viewed from the perspective of God’s intent to show mercy to his people. He responds to their cry for relief from oppression by sending judgment on their enemies.

Indeed, it must be recognized that God’s “own,” his favored ones who find him to be merciful, cannot be identified merely as “Israel” after the flesh. As a matter of fact, precisely the historical context of Nahum’s declaration of the goodness of God to those whom he knows indicates that a simplistic or purely ethnic definition of “Israel” cannot apply. Earlier in God’s dealing with the inhabitants of Nineveh through the ministry of the prophet Jonah, God indicated that he could be just as merciful to the heathen Ninevites as he had been to his own people. The fact that Nineveh in Nahum’s day was targeted for devastation could not blot out the reality of the earlier mercy shown to the inhabitants of Nineveh in response to their faith and repentance. For Israel too would bear the brunt of devastations by the same Babylon that was to bring judgment on Assyria. The Lord is good—but only to those who seek shelter in him. This phrase suggests not merely faith, entrustment to the Lord. It recognizes an imminent danger from which the person who trusts must seek deliverance. The ultimate source of this danger is in the Lord himself as he manifests his righteous judgments. But the repentant sinner seeks for help in none other than him.

According to the prophet, God knows those who seek shelter in him. This “knowing” of the Lord must be understood in the full biblical sense of “loving” with the most intense care. When the prophet Amos declares that God has “known” Israel alone among all the nations of the earth, he cannot mean that God possesses cognitive information about only one nation in the world (cf. Amos 3:2). Instead, he means that this people alone as a nation has received the special love of God.

The Lord knows those who seek shelter in him, meaning that he loves them, cares for them, cherishes their well-being. This concept belongs precisely in this context because it provides a proper framework for understanding God’s coming judgment that will devastate the earth. For the sake of his people, as a step toward the full realization of their salvation, God shall judge Nineveh and the Assyrians.“Goodness” in God is most frequently associated with covenant fidelity (ṭeseḏ; cf. 2 Chr. 5:13; 7:3; Ezra 3:11; Ps. 106:1; 136:1; etc.). Particularly in association with the glory of God manifested in his dwelling among his people it is declared that the Lord is good. Those who seek shelter in the temple of God will find out just how good and merciful he is.[3]


God is with his people (v. 7)

The great nineteenth-century preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, said, ‘Have you read this chapter through? It is a very terrible one; it is like the rushing of a mighty river when it is nearing a cataract. It boils and seethes and flows with overwhelming force, bearing everything before it; yet right in the middle of the surging flood, stands out, like a green island, this most cheering, comforting and delightful text.’

What an oasis of peace it is for the uniqueness of God is revealed here. All people are good some of the time, but he, the Lord Almighty, is good all of the time, as the hymn writer said:

How good is the God we adore,

Our faithful, unchangeable friend,

Whose love is as great as his power

and knows neither measure nor end.

God’s people were rightly fearful. But, in the past, the city of Nineveh had seen the goodness of God on display when he sent the reluctant preacher, Jonah, to them. So none of them could ever accuse him of being unfair now because he had been gracious in the past. The Ninevites had responded to Jonah’s message with repentance and that had brought salvation and blessing to them because God did not destroy them. Tragically, they had forgotten his mercy. Trouble was coming their way and the only way of escape was by seeking safety in the presence of the one true God.

Reminding the people of past events, Nahum says, ‘The Lord is good’, and many people should be able to acknowledge that fact. He then goes on to describe the positive benefit from a living relationship with God.

A refuge required

God is referred to here in a way that the ancient people could readily understand as a ‘refuge in times of trouble’. There were no early warning systems, or ground-to-air missiles to give protection to the population at large. They needed to be in a safe place. Safe cities were specifically designed to cater for large numbers who could take refuge when an enemy was advancing on their land. Here, God is compared by Nahum to a refuge. When people come to him, they find that he is the one who cares for them, not just in their lifetime, but also through death and on into eternity.

The ultimate example of this is the Lord Jesus who, on one occasion, was challenged by the Jews to prove that he really was the Christ. He used a simple, but profound, illustration to impress upon them that he is God. He said about his people, ‘I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.’ Then he probably brought his hands together in a firm clench and said, ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:28–30). That is the ultimate refuge, locked into God’s hands, safe and secure, never to slip or fall.

It was as if Nahum were saying, ‘Nineveh, to the world at large, you may appear big brash and brave, but nothing compares to having God as Lord and Saviour, and his covenant people are to rejoice in this great fact.’

The result of faith

Nineveh is reminded that God is the ultimate carer: ‘He cares for those who trust in him.’ He shows grace to all people but especially to those who have put their trust in him. (For a more in-depth study of this great subject see Grace—amazing grace by Brian Edwards.) But there is a great warning issued here for his love will not overlook sin; and to be true to himself, God must punish sin. This is what Nahum sets alongside the grace of God.[4]


Ver. 7.—The Lord is good. The Targum adds unnecessarily, “for Israel” (Ps. 25:8). He is “good,” in that he is a strong hold in the day of trouble, as in the perilous time when the Assyrians attacked Judæa (comp. Ps. 27:1; Jer. 16:19). He knoweth; loves and cares for (Ps. 1:6; 37:18; comp. 2 Tim. 2:19; and see note on Amos 3:2).[5]


1:7. The Lord’s people are reminded that the Lord is good. He will provide a stronghold, a place of safety and protection in the day of their trouble. And God has a personal knowledge of His people who flee to Him for protection: He knows those who take refuge in Him.[6]


[1] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Twelve Minor Prophets (Vol. 3, pp. 430–431). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Armerding, C. E. (2008). Nahum. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, pp. 572–573). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Robertson, O. P. (1990). The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah (pp. 69–70). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Anderson, C. (2005). Opening up Nahum (pp. 36–39). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[5] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Nahum (p. 2). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[6] Boyle, M. J. (2014). Nahum. In The moody bible commentary (p. 1381). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

July 24 A Passion to Serve Him

scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 11:22–28
key verses: John 10:27–28

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

The young convert shook his head in disbelief. He thought becoming a Christian would somehow inoculate him from future trouble. Christianity does not provide immunity from heartache and trouble. However, in the heartache, God promises never to leave us. His protection and wisdom are available to all who are His. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27–28 nasb).

In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul provided an extensive list of the personal trials he faced as a result of his love for Christ. Several times he was beaten to the point of death. Many times he was rejected and ridiculed for his desire to further the kingdom of God.

What was the driving force behind his life? What kept Paul from giving up? A passion for God—the very thing that sustains you when fear and adversity threaten your existence.

A passion for God goes beyond fondness. It is a love for God that is constant, regardless of circumstances. With a passion for God you never want to walk away from what God has given you to do. But if you should, you know you can come home because God has a passion for you, and God’s love never grows cold.

O Lord, give me a passion for You and Your purposes. Let it burn within me. May its flame never grow dim.[1]


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

24 july (1859) 365 Days with Spurgeon

How saints may help the devil

“That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them.” Ezekiel 16:54

suggested further reading: Nehemiah 5:1–9

The church of Christ appears to be as worldly as the world itself, and professors of religion have become as sharp in trade and as ungenerous in their dealing as those that have never professed to serve him. And now what does the world say? It throws this in our teeth. If it is accused of loving the things of time and sense, it answers, “And so do you.” If we tell the world that it has set its hopes upon a shadow, it replies, “But we have set our hope upon the selfsame thing in which you are trusting; you are as worldly, as grasping, as covetous as we are; your protest has lost its force; you are no longer witnesses against us—we are accusers of you.” Another point in which the sinner often excuses himself is the manifest worldliness of many Christians. You will see Christian men and women as fond of dress, and as pleased with the frivolities of the age, as any other persons possible could be; just as anxious to adorn their outward person, so as to be seen of men; just as ambitious to win the praise which fools accord to fine dressing, as the most silly fop or the most gaudy among worldly women. What saith the world, when we turn round to it, and accuse it of being a mere butterfly, and finding all its pleasures in gaudy toys? “Oh! Yes,” it says, “we know your cant, but it is just the same with you. Do you not stand up and sing,

‘Jewels to thee are gaudy toys,

And gold is sordid dust’

And yet you are just as fond of glittering as we are; your doctors of divinity pride themselves just as much in their D.D. as any of us in other titles.”

for meditation: Do your deeds give the world reasons to glorify God (Matthew 5:16) or excuses to blaspheme God (Romans 2:24)?

sermon no. 264[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 212). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

24 JULY 365 Days with Calvin

Praising God in Fetters

And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely. Acts 16:23

suggested further reading: Psalm 5

Even when Paul and Silas lay bound with fetters, they lauded God in prayer. So it appears that neither the reproach they suffered, nor the stripes that made their flesh smart, nor the stink of the deep dungeon, nor the danger of death that was at hand, could hinder them from giving thanks to the Lord joyfully and with glad hearts.

We must note the general rule here that though we find it difficult to pray as we ought, we must praise God. For though the desire to pray arises from feeling our want and miseries, and therefore is, for the most part, joined with sorrow and carefulness, yet the faithful must so bridle their affections that they do not murmur against God. The right form of prayer, then, joins two affections: care and sorrow, by reason of the present necessity which keeps us down; and joyfulness, by reason of the obedience whereby we submit ourselves to God, and by reason of the hope which, showing us the haven nigh at hand, refreshes us even in the midst of shipwreck.

That is the form that Paul prescribes to us. He says to us, let your prayers be made known to God with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6). But note the circumstances of this teaching. The pain of his stripes were grievous, prison was troublesome, and dangers were great, but in all this, Paul and Silas ceased not to praise God. We gather by this how greatly they were encouraged to bear the cross. So Luke reports that the apostles rejoiced because they were counted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of the Lord (Acts 5:41).

for meditation: Isn’t it true that our prayers in times of terrible suffering and trouble easily become little more than complaints? Rather than praising God and humbly asking that his will be done, we use prayer as a forum to air our grievances against him. Paul and Silas did otherwise. Though their sufferings are great, they praise him in prayer and song. Remember his example when you next turn to God during a particularly troublesome time.[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 224). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Mark Levin has done it again! | American Thinker

The social and political fiber of America cannot survive a media establishment that is a propaganda organ of the socialist statists.

Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism (2017) was Mark Levin’s sixth New York Times bestseller.  I reviewed it and applauded his scholarship and conservative advocacy here at American Thinker.  Now I applaud his seventh New York Times bestseller as of June 15, 2019, Unfreedom of the Press, where Mr. Levin provides a scholarly historical discussion of American journalism, and exposes current journalism as a source of progressive socialist partisanship that poisons American political life.

Levin starts at the beginning with the nascent American journalism of pre–Revolutionary War America.  The press was then actively promoting independence.  Mr. Levin discusses those early-day print media that were quite active and influential.  Pamphlets and newspapers were energetic pro-independence sources of information for the citizens.

Mr. Levin educates the reader on the partisan nature of newspapermen and reporters in 18th- and 19th-century America, but his book moves forward in time to explain the problem of increasingly activist ideological journalism and media that have negatively impacted American politics and brought on an age of intellectual totalitarianism.   

Levin moves forward to the 20th century to explain the peculiar development of what I would call arrogant journalism — journalism of an elite group of image-makers and ideologues who wrote highly partisan and politically drenched “news” that was progressive in tone and attitude, intended to influence public opinion and certainly never shy about framing news and selecting news for a political motive or agenda.  News became a setup in terms of bias, the bias of an elite and progressive oligarchy that didn’t hesitate to slant and select and editorialize on stories and vilify or denigrate any opposition or opposing viewpoints.  The goal of journalism and the media became to control the political environment and influence politics, to tell people what to think and what to value, imposing an ideologically progressive slant to news.

Levin provides the history and tells the story in 226 heavily referenced pages, and he exposes the current mainstream media as unable to live up to their claims of being objective, fair, and impartial reporters.  So mainstream journalism and editorial commentary have become indistinguishable, with front-page news always carrying a heavy dose of partisan advocacy that has resulted in a collapse of the media’s role as advocates of civility, conscientious government, and republicanism in the political science sense of the word.  Journalists are now trendsetters and influence-makers, not reporters of events.

Todays media, print, and electronic news reporters claim objectivity and impartiality, but that is just not the case.  They not only participate in politics as advocates, but report on politics and other matters as advocates from a particularly leftist ideology while pretending to be fair and not advocates.  The problems of media political activities and the revolving door from progressive government enclaves to the media is not to be denied, and it always revolves best for the leftist progressive ideology.  Media vote Democrat, lean Democrat, and even move in and out of Democrat positions of power and influence, back and forth to media positions, so there is no chance the media would be objective and impartial in reporting and framing stories and reports.  The influence and effect cannot be ignored.

Levin pursues the issue when he tracks the movement for “objectivity” in journalism that was a popular journalistic notion beginning in the early 20th century, riding on the crest of the Progressive Era that accelerated during the Wilson presidency and continued into the 1920s.  Journalists were urged to adopt objectivity by developing a consistent method of testing information so personal and cultural biases would not undermine the accuracy of their reporting.  Media were clearly influenced by government during the regime of FDR, and so the concept of “objective” reporting was easily cast aside in favor of pandering to a government monolith created by FDR and the powerful Democratic Party.  Selecting and slanting the news was well developed by FDR, but it started earlier with other presidents, and the influence of government and ideological movements was always present.  “Scientific journalism” of the early 20th century suffered an early demise and gave way to “interpretive reporting” in the ’30s and ’40s, well developed in the ’50s.  Facts, opinion, slant, bias, preconceptions — all became justified by the media’s sense that it was their duty to educate the ignorant polis.  The result was news with a slant and an attitude that made for biased selection, gathering, and reporting of the news with no effort to restrain the most ideological, not even from the editors.  The result is that more than 90 percent of the media vote Democrat and are leftist-, socialist-, progressive-leaning in a country that is half and half, but moving left because the media is pushing left.

As Levin explains, a tunnel-vision, monolithic political group in charge of modern media results in a propaganda-type situation with biased selection and even misrepresentation of the news.  The media are so committed that they believe that those who disagree are evil, a classic sign of the True Believer syndrome described by Eric Hoffer.  They think there is only one way of thinking: leftist-statist-progressive.  Moreover, as with all True Believers, the goal is suppression or destruction of opponents and opposing those who disagree with them, embracing the activist progressive philosophy, using the media power they have to promote their ideology opposed to American founding principles and the traditions, politics, mores, and fundamental elements of Western civilization.

Now that journalist are part of the progressive True Believer movement, espousing advocacy in the manner of John Besides, today’s self-righteous liberal media elites have graduated from such trifling concerns as pursuing objective standards while pretending to adhere to them.  They have fully embraced the philosophy of progressive intellectual John Dewey, that the Progressive Movement must aggressively use the power of media to influence the poplace.  The goal is progressive socialism and suppression of dissent or opposition.  

Levin says the press is essential to educate and communicate ideas while assessing ideologies and political ideas, but it is also is important to create community and promote civil and social comity.  The press is doing just the opposite, creating a totalitarian and intolerant progressive ideology and agenda.  The media advocacy is founded on propaganda and intellectual bullying carried out socially and certainly is dependent on the reach and the power of the media.  The media of today are threatening the survival of America, and they relish their role in the destruction of what is in favor of what they want — a progressive totalitarian future.

Levin warns that the republic requires a functional and honest media, not a propaganda organ for progressivism.  A great republic cannot survive without a media committed to constitutional limited government by the consent of the governed.  The social and political fiber of America cannot survive a media establishment that is a propaganda organ of the socialist statists.  

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. is a physician and inactive attorney in Brownwood, Texas.

— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/07/mark_levin_has_done_it_again.html

CrossTalk: Is everything racist? – YouTube

Politics is supposed to be about the art of the possible. This means compromises and tolerance. Sadly, this is no longer the case. Enforced speech and character assassination are now the rules of engagement. Today if you say the wrong thing, think a different thought – you must be silenced.

— Read on m.youtube.com/watch

July 24 – Remember and believe, so that you can stand firm in faith — Reformed Perspective

“While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho.” – Joshua 5:10

Scripture reading: Joshua 5:10-12

You can be sure that it was no coincidence that God brought Israel into Canaan when He did, just before it was time to celebrate the Passover.

From a military point of view, from a human point of view, celebrating the Passover at that moment and in that place made no sense. But, spiritually speaking, Israel said, We can’t go forward, we can’t take up the struggle of faith, without the strength that the LORD gives us, by faith in the gospel. Armies that depend on their own strength, on weapons and strategies, prepare for war by making careful plans and gathering as many weapons and soldiers as they can get. But for God’s people, the war is already won. And getting ready for the battle is a matter of nourishing our faith.

At that moment, and at that place, on the plains of Jericho, Israel said, We need to celebrate the Passover. Yes, God commanded us to celebrate it every year. But we’re going to celebrate the Passover because we need to go to war and fight to take possession of our inheritance. So we need to strengthen our faith by remembering what the LORD did for us when He brought us out of Egypt. That is, we receive the strength to stand in the battle against our spiritual enemies – by hearing the gospel, and celebrating the Lord’s Supper – so that we remember and believe what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that by the work of the Holy Spirit, you will be strengthened for the fight against sin, the devil and his whole dominion when you hear the preaching of the gospel and participate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario.

via July 24 – Remember and believe, so that you can stand firm in faith — Reformed Perspective

July 24, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Best News Ever Heard

John 20:18

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

The story of Christ’s appearance to Mary Magdalene and his commissioning her to tell the disciples of his resurrection concludes with the statement that she did what he told her to do. This is deceptively simple because it is actually a record of the first announcement of the best news this world has ever heard. It was an announcement of the Lord’s resurrection.

When World War II ended, the joyful news was flashed around the globe, and at once people everywhere were ecstatic. I was just a lad at the time. My father had been in the service for some years, and the family was then stationed at a large military base in the southern United States. We were far from the action. But even now I can recall the yelling and shouting that occurred when news came of the war’s end. The ending of World War II was great news. Yet, great as that news was, it did not compare with the truly stupendous news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This message was better then, and it is even better today.

Unshakable Evidence

Let me ask a very simple question and then give a few plain answers. Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ the best news the world has ever heard? The answers are: because it is true, because it came after an apparent defeat, because of all that it proves, and finally because it demands a lifesaving response from each of us.

First, Jesus’ resurrection is good news because it is true. It is always possible to have reports of events that sound like good news but later prove to be disappointments because the facts of the reports are wrong or the events did not actually happen. Referring again to World War II, this very thing occurred several times before the war really ended. False reports of the war’s end spread; they were eventually proved false and so were terribly disappointing. The same was true of reports of a near end to the war in Vietnam. This was not the case with news of Jesus’ resurrection.

We do not have space in one message to go into the evidences for the resurrection of Jesus Christ at length, but we can suggest a few of them. The first great evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the evidence of the narratives themselves. These stand up to the most stringent of critical scrutinies. To begin with, they are apparently four independent accounts. They were obviously not made up in collusion; for if they were, they would not possess the number of apparent contradictions they contain: the number of angels at the tomb, the number of women who went to the garden, the time of their arrival, and other things. These accounts can be harmonized, but the point is this: had the writers gotten together to make up a story, the apparent discrepancies would have been eliminated. On the other hand, it is also apparent that they did not make up the stories separately, for if they had done this, there would never have been the large measure of agreement they possess. The setting and the characters are the same, and the sequence of events makes sense. What does this mean? Just this: If the accounts were not made up in collusion and if they were not made up separately, the only remaining possibility is that they were not made up at all. That is, they are four true, independent accounts by those who knew the facts they wrote.

Next there is the evidence of the empty tomb, coupled with the evidence of the moved stone and the undisturbed graveclothes. How are we to account for these things? Some have imagined that either the Roman or Jewish authorities moved the body. But they had no reason to do this, especially since it would have involved violating the officially sealed tomb; and, had this occurred, it is inconceivable that the true circumstances would not have been revealed later after the disciples had appeared in Jerusalem, proclaiming their belief in Jesus’ resurrection. It would have been easy for Jesus’ enemies to produce a body had there been one. On the other hand, the friends of Christ did not steal the body of Jesus, for they would hardly have been willing to die (as most of them later did) for a deception.

It is possible to add the changed character of these men as an evidence, for whatever happened turned them from disillusioned cowards into mighty proclaimers of the Christian message.

Then, too, we must add the fact that Jesus appeared, not just to one or two women in a garden under somewhat eerie circumstances, but to a wide variety of people in numerous circumstances. Paul lists many such appearances, noting that one time Jesus appeared to a group of five hundred believers (1 Cor. 15:6).

Again, one of the great evidences of the resurrection is the unexpected and unnatural change of the day of worship from Saturday, the Jewish day of worship, to Sunday in Christian services. Nothing but the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday explains it.

What are we to say of these evidences? Matthew Arnold, not overstating the case, once said, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the best attested fact in history.” Lawyers in particular have seen this truth. Some of the best books on the resurrection have been written by lawyers, some of whom originally set out to disprove it. I am thinking of men like Frank Morison, Gilbert West, J. N. D. Anderson, and others. Sir Edward Clark, another English jurist, once wrote, “As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidences for the first Easter day. To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling.… As a lawyer I accept it unreservedly as the testimony of men to facts that they were able to substantiate.”

This is the first reason why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is good news. It is good news, not merely because it is a nice story which gives us an opportunity for a holiday once a year, but because it is true. As truth it is one of the most stupendous and important facts of history.

Wellington Defeated

Second, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is good news because it came after an apparent defeat. A victory is always good news, but news of victory after news that a battle has apparently been lost is even better.

Let me illustrate this by the way in which news of the Battle of Waterloo first came to England. There were no telegrams or radio sets in those days, but everyone knew that a great battle was pending and they were anxious to hear what would happen when Wellington, the British general, faced Napoleon. A signalman was placed on the top of Winchester Cathedral with instructions to keep his eye on the sea. When he received a message, he was to pass the message on to another man on a hill. That man was to pass it to another. And so it was to go until news of the battle was finally relayed to London and then across England. At length a ship was sighted through thick fog on the English Channel. The signalman on board sent the first word—“Wellington.” The next word was “defeated.” Then fog prevented the ship from being seen. “Wellington defeated!” The message was sent across England, and gloom descended over the countryside. After two or three hours the fog lifted, and the signal came again: “Wellington defeated the enemy!” Then England rejoiced.

In the same way, Jesus’ death plunged his friends into sadness. It was an apparent defeat. But on the third day he rose again in victory. When Jesus died men might have cried, “Christ is defeated, wrong has triumphed, sin has won.” But after three days the fog lifted and the full message came through to the world: “Jesus is risen; he has defeated the enemy.”

Essential Doctrines

Third, the resurrection is good news because of all that it proves. What does it prove? The answer is: It proves all that needs to be proved. It proves the essential doctrines of Christianity.

In the first place, it proves that there is a God and that the God of the Bible is the true God. Reuben A. Torrey, who often spoke and wrote well on these themes, put it this way: “Every effect must have an adequate cause … and the only cause adequate to account for the resurrection of Christ is God, the God of the Bible. While here on earth, as everyone who has carefully read the story of his life knows, our Lord Jesus went up and down the land proclaiming God, the God of the Bible, ‘the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ as he loved to call him, the God of the Old Testament as well as the New. He said that men would put him to death, that they would put him to death by crucifixion, and he gave many details as to what the manner of his death would be. He further said that after his body had been in the grave three days and three nights, God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of the Bible, the God of the Old Testament as well as the God of the New Testament, would raise him from the dead. This was a great claim to make. It was an apparently impossible claim. For centuries men had come and men had gone, men had lived and men had died, and so far as human knowledge founded upon definite observation and experience was concerned, that was the end of them. But this man Jesus does not hesitate to claim that his experience will be directly contrary to the uniform experience of long, long centuries.…

“That was certainly an acid test of the existence of the God he preached, and his God stood the test. He did exactly the apparently impossible thing that our Lord Jesus said he would do.… The fact that Jesus was thus miraculously and marvelously raised makes it certain that the God who did it really exists and that the God he preached is the true God.”

Second, the resurrection proves Jesus’ deity. When Jesus lived on earth, he claimed to be equal to God and that God, this God, would raise him from the dead three days after his execution by the Roman authorities. If he was wrong in this, his claim was either the raving of a deranged man or blasphemy. If he was right, the resurrection would be God’s way of substantiating the claim. Did he substantiate it? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Yes, he did! So the resurrection is God’s seal on Christ’s claim to divinity. This is why Paul, who knew that Jesus had been raised, writes that Jesus was “declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). This is good news! If Jesus is God, then God is like Jesus. It means that God is not distant, arbitrary, or unreal. He is a God who loves us and who came to earth to give himself a ransom for our sins.

Then, too, the resurrection proves that all who believe in Jesus Christ are justified before God. Paul teaches this in Romans also, for he states that Jesus “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). How does this happen? Jesus had claimed that his death would atone for man’s sin. He said that he had come “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). He died as he said. But the question still remained: Can it be true that the death of this one man is acceptable to God on behalf of others? Suppose he had sinned? In that case, he would have been dying for his own sin rather than the sins of others. Did he sin? Or was his atonement accepted? Three days pass. Christ rises. Thus, his claim is established. God has shown by the resurrection that Christ was sinless and that he has accepted his atonement.

Torrey said this: “When Jesus died, he died as my representative, and I died in him; when he arose, he rose as my representative, and I arose in him; when he ascended up on high and took his place at the right hand of the Father in the glory, he ascended as my representative and I ascended in him, and today I am seated in Christ with God in the heavenlies. I look at the cross of Christ, and I know that atonement has been made for my sins; I look at the open sepulcher and the risen and ascended Lord, and I know the atonement has been accepted. There no longer remains a single sin on me, no matter how many or how great my sins may have been.”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ also proves that the believer in Christ can have a supernatural victory over sin in this life, for Jesus lives to provide supernatural power to do it. This is an argument developed in the sixth chapter of Romans. In the opening verses of that chapter Paul writes, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Rom. 6:4). This means that by faith all who believe in Christ are united to Christ so that his power becomes available to them. We may be weak and utterly helpless, unable to resist temptation for a single minute. But he is strong, and he lives to give help and deliverance. Victory is never a question of our strength, but of his power. His power is what we need.

Torrey, whom I have just quoted, tells a story that illustrates this point. He tells of four men who were once climbing the most difficult face of the Matterhorn. There was a guide, a tourist, a second guide, and a second tourist, all roped together. As they went over a particularly difficult place, the lower tourist lost his footing and went over the side. The sudden pull on the rope carried the lower guide with him, and he carried the other tourist along also. Three men were dangling over the cliff. But the guide who was in the lead, feeling the first pull upon the rope, drove his ax into the ice, braced his feet, and held fast. The first tourist then regained his footing, the guide regained his, and the lower tourist followed. They then went on and up in safety.

So it is in this life. As the human race ascended the icy cliffs of life, the first Adam lost his footing and tumbled headlong over the abyss. He pulled the next man after him, and the next and the next until the whole race hung in deadly peril. But the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, kept his footing. He stood fast. Thus, all who are united to him by a living faith are secure and can regain the path.

Finally, Jesus’ resurrection is evidence for our own resurrection and of a life with Jesus in glory beyond the grave. Jesus said when he was here on earth, “I am going … to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2–3). He is preparing that place now. Can we trust him? Was he telling the truth? The resurrection vindicates these claims.

Come and Learn

I have given three good reasons why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the best news this world has ever heard: (1) because it is true, (2) because it came after an apparent defeat, and (3) because of what it proves. But there is a fourth reason also. Jesus’ resurrection is good news because it demands a lifesaving response in faith from each of us. Have you responded in faith to this One who died for you and rose again on that far-off first Easter morning?

This is worth asking, because we recall that according to Mark’s Gospel those to whom Mary first gave this report did not respond positively. They did not believe her: “When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it” (16:11). It was only after Christ’s further appearances and a further proclamation of the message that they came to him.

There is some news that is restricted by its very nature. It applies to one or two individuals but not to everyone. A promotion is good news to the man who receives it but not to the two or three others who failed to get the job. The results of an election are good news to the winning party but not to the losing party. Even so generally applicable a report as a reduction of federal taxes is good only to those who pay taxes or who live in the country where the reduction is to take place. Almost all human news is so restricted. But the news of the resurrection is for all. What is your relationship to the risen Lord? Have you heard the good news? Have you believed it? Have you trusted in him? This is the heart of Christianity. It is not to be found in the liturgies of the churches, nor in the specific formulations of Christian theology, important as they may be. Christianity is Christ, the risen Christ. He died and rose again for you. Won’t you come to him?[1]


The Greatest News Ever Heard

John 20:18

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. (John 20:18)

During England’s war with Napoleon Bonaparte, the people of London anxiously awaited news from the battlefields of Europe. On one occasion, a British admiral attempted to convey news of a victory by the Duke of Wellington during his Peninsula campaign. Using a semaphore system, the admiral transmitted his first word: “Wellington.” The next word soon followed: “defeated.” At this moment, fog enshrouded the signals so that no more could be seen. In this form, the news reached London: “Wellington defeated!” It took several hours for the fog to lift, allowing the rest of the signal to be sent. There on the mast could now be seen the final letters of its message from the war: “the enemy.” How this changed everything: “Wellington defeated the enemy!” When this new message was quickly spread, the nation’s gloom was replaced with a great joy.

The news of Wellington’s victory at the battle of Waterloo, when it finally came, was all the more wonderful in that it was so unexpected. England had been led to believe that all was lost, so the news of victory brought great rejoicing. Something similar happened with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross and was buried, a fog fell upon the hearts of his disciples so that their faith virtually died. But when the tomb was found empty on Sunday morning, with angels announcing that “he has risen” (Matt. 28:6), the joy of the believers was all the greater. Even better was the news brought by Mary Magdalene, who reported, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). This was the greatest news ever heard, not only because it was so unexpected but because it is true, because of what it proves about God, and because of what it signifies to us and offers to all.

Great News That Is True

We live in an age when readers are jaded by reported news that turns out not to be true. News of a great sale at your favorite store turns out to be a cheap ploy to get customers in the door. News passed along by friends turns out to have been distorted or mistaken. Even news reported in the papers and on television often turns out to have been skewed by ideology or agenda. But the greatest news ever heard—the report of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead—is news that can be verified as accurate and true. This is why the Christian church has delighted to repeat the words first spoken by the angel in the empty tomb: “Come, see” (Matt. 28:6). We invite the world to examine the proofs for Jesus’ resurrection, asserting with the apostle Paul that God has publicly proved the claims of Christ, giving “assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

So compelling is the evidence for Christ’s resurrection that it has been described as “the best attested fact in history.” Let me develop this evidence. First are the New Testament documents, which come to us with far more reliable attestation than any other such ancient testimony. All four Gospels attest to the resurrection. Some people are troubled by the minor variations in the different Gospel accounts, but that is consistent with what we would expect of an honest recounting from different perspectives. Furthermore, telltale signs of tampering are absent. For instance, in the Jewish culture of the apostles’ time, women had such low standing that their testimony was rejected in the courts. Yet the Gospels present women as the first eyewitnesses, hardly a strategy that one would employ to commend a faked story. The Gospel records present themselves as credible testimony to the resurrection.

Second, there is the matter of the empty tomb and the missing body. Matthew states that the authorities drummed up a false story that the disciples came at night and stole Jesus’ corpse (Matt. 27:62–66). This proves that the Jewish leaders did not have the body, for with it they could easily have discredited the resurrection. Moreover, are we to believe that the disciples overcame the Roman guards, broke the seals without being noticed, and made off with Jesus’ body from a rock tomb? None of the disciples were men of power or wealth, and they all had scattered in fear. Furthermore, it is quite clear from all the Gospels that despite Jesus’ advance warning, the disciples were not expecting him to rise from the dead but were as surprised as anybody else. Therefore, the stolen-body theory fails as simply ludicrous, and the missing body speaks eloquently for the resurrection.

This leads, third, to Jesus’ postresurrection appearances. The Gospels record a great many of these. Matthew tells us that the group of women ran into the resurrected Jesus outside the tomb. John adds that later that day, Jesus appeared and talked to the gathered disciples (John 20:19–20). Many subsequent appearances of Jesus are also recorded in the Gospels, including Jesus’ ministry to overcome Thomas’s unbelief (John 20:26–28) and Luke’s record of Jesus’ ministry to the Emmaus road disciples (Luke 24:13–35). The book of Acts tells us, “He presented himself alive to [the disciples] after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Finally, Paul recounts his own record of Christ’s postresurrection appearances, culminating with his conversion on the Damascus road. Paul writes:

He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and … he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (1 Cor. 15:4–8)

Notice Paul’s claim that at the time of his writing most of the witnesses to Christ’s postresurrection appearances were still living. He was happy to include that detail, inviting investigation. If the Gospel records were a fraud, there were plenty of living witnesses to expose it. Nor can these visitations be written off as delusions, for so great a number of people on different occasions can hardly conspire to have the same hallucination.

That leads to a fourth piece of evidence. The first is the Gospel records themselves, then the empty tomb and missing body, and then the postresurrection appearances. There may be no better attestation to Christ’s resurrection, however, than the resulting transformation of the disciples. Somehow we have to account for the energizing of a dispirited group of fugitives into the fearless band of apostles who boldly proclaimed the gospel of Christ in Jerusalem so soon after Christ’s execution and then intrepidly took that same message across the ancient world to the seat of power in Rome itself.

Let us delve deeper here. Perhaps the resurrection was a hoax. If it was, then Peter and John certainly knew that it was, for not only were they the leading disciples but the Gospels make it clear that they were witnesses of the empty tomb. Whatever they saw powerfully motivated them, Peter especially. The Gospels, in their astonishing honesty, admit that on the night of Jesus’ arrest, Peter three times denied knowing Jesus. This was before Jesus was even tried or executed. How is it, then, that after seeing the instructive example of Jesus’ torturous death, this same Peter stood before the Jewish leaders just a few weeks later and passionately preached the first Christian sermon? Peter declared to the same violent leaders who had crucified his Lord: “You, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 2:23–24 niv). What can explain this turn of events except the resurrection itself?

Predictably, Peter was threatened and beaten by the authorities. Yet Peter and John did not relent in their preaching of the risen Jesus. Luke tells us how they responded: “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:41–42).

You might explain this transformation as the power of a delusion or the determination to play a losing hand all the way to the end, but the only credible explanation is that Peter and John saw the empty tomb, met the risen Lord Jesus, and knew that the resurrection was a fact. They were personal witnesses, and their lives were transformed with power. Along with all the other disciples, they cheerfully faced years of hardship and persecution for the gospel, all but one of them suffering death for a message that they refused to betray. G. Campbell Morgan concludes:

It may be that in the history of the race, individual men have been found, who, swept by some fanaticism, have been willing to die for fraud.… But this is not a case of isolated individuals, but a whole company and society of men and women and children, ever increasing in number, all of them more or less having to suffer in those early centuries; and the central fact, for the declaration of which they endured all things, was this story of the resurrection.

The fifth and last evidence is the Christian church. The New Testament says that in the power of the Holy Spirit, secured for the disciples by the risen Lord Jesus, the gospel message would demolish strongholds of enemy thought, bringing men and women from all over the world to a saving knowledge of God through Jesus Christ, creating in him a new society of holiness and love. This is precisely what has happened, and we gather today to add our ongoing testimony to the reality of Christ’s resurrection power in the world.

“I have seen the Lord,” Mary Magdalene said (John 20:18), and her message of Christ’s resurrection is set before the watching eyes of the world. The great Princeton theologian Charles Hodge evaluated these proofs for Christ’s resurrection against accepted standards of legal veracity. He pointed out that for a fact to be proved, it must be of such a nature as to be capable of verification and certain knowledge by the witnesses. The witnesses themselves must be of sound mind and integrity. Hodge concludes, “If these conditions be fulfilled, human testimony establishes the truth of a fact beyond a reasonable doubt. If, however, in addition to these grounds of confidence, the witnesses give their testimony at the expense of great personal sacrifice, or confirm it with their blood … then it is insanity and wickedness to doubt it. All these considerations concur in proof of the resurrection of Christ, and render it the best authenticated event in the history of the world.” According to Peter, preaching in Jerusalem just weeks after Christ’s crucifixion, so sure are the proofs of Jesus’ resurrection that they enable us to “know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36), morally obliging us before God to accept the evidence and believe on Jesus as the resurrected Savior.

Great News about God

Seeing that the Gospel record of Jesus’ resurrection is proved to be true, Mary’s message of seeing the Lord is also great news because of what it tells us about the God of the Bible.

First, Christ’s resurrection proves that the God of the Bible is the true and living God. Reuben A. Torrey explained: “Every effect must have an adequate cause … and the only cause adequate to account for the resurrection of Christ is God, the God of the Bible.” After all, Jesus spent his years of ministry teaching about the Bible’s God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, and the God and Father of Jesus himself. Before his arrest, Jesus made the claim that when he had been crucified, God would raise him from the dead. Torrey writes: “This was … an apparently impossible claim. For centuries men had come and men had gone, men had lived and men had died, and so far as human knowledge … was concerned, that was the end of them. But this man Jesus does not hesitate to claim that his experience will be directly contrary to the uniform experience of long, long centuries.… That was certainly an acid test of the existence of the God he preached, and God stood the test.”

The fact that Christ’s resurrection proves the God of the Bible is good news, because the Scriptures proclaim a God of glory and grace. True, the God of the Bible is sovereign, righteous, and holy so as to judge all sin with the curse of death. But the Bible also reveals him as a God of compassion and mercy for sinners. Most notably, the Bible says that God “so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Speaking of God’s Son, the resurrection also proves the deity of Jesus Christ. It cannot credibly be denied that during his time on earth, Jesus claimed to be equal to God and taught that God would prove Christ’s deity by raising him from the dead on the third day. One of the accusations at Jesus’ trial had been that he claimed that Jerusalem’s temple was a symbol for him, the One in whom God dwells with his people (Matt. 26:61). When asked for a sign to prove his divine claims, Jesus pointed to Herod’s temple, which had taken forty-six years to build, and compared it to himself: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). John explains that Jesus was referring to his own death and resurrection, a proof of Christ’s deity that the disciples remembered after Jesus had risen from the grave (2:21–22).

Harry Houdini became famous as the world’s greatest escape artist by having himself chained inside a nailed crate and thrown into a river, emerging alive just in time to survive. But not even Houdini could do what Jesus claimed that he would do and then did. Jesus was publicly tortured and put to death at the orders of a Roman governor, his death overseen and assured by a battle-hardened Roman centurion. When Jesus had been publicly certified as dead, his body was provided to a rich believer, who performed the accepted burial rites on Jesus’ body. The body, wound with spice-laden strips of cloth, was placed in a tomb, the door of which was shut, sealed, and then guarded by Roman sentries who watched over the grave on pain of death. Virtually nothing more could possibly have been done to prove that Jesus really was, as the Apostles’ Creed puts it, “crucified, dead, and buried.” Yet Jesus still rose from the grave, providing such clear proof of his resurrection that only rebellious obstinacy can account for its denial. As the apostles would go on to preach, the resurrection set God’s seal on Jesus’ claim to deity. Paul wrote to the Romans, for instance, that Jesus “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4).

A third great claim that Jesus proved by his resurrection was his promise that his death would atone for the sins of believers. Jesus said that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). He died, but how can we know that his death was acceptable to God as a Sacrifice for our sins? Perhaps Jesus had somehow sinned, so that his death would not be acceptable as a Sacrifice for others. Perhaps his claims were overblown: it was a great claim, after all, that he would pay in his suffering and death the penalty for all the sins of all the people who believe in him. How can we know that by trusting in him, we really are forgiven and justified before God?

The answer and proof of Christ’s atonement and our justification in him is Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. Paul says that Jesus “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). Torrey writes: “When Jesus died, he died as my representative, and I died with him; when he arose, he rose as my representative, and I arose in him; … I look at the cross of Christ, and I know that atonement has been made for my sins; I look at the open sepulcher and the risen and ascended Lord, and I know the atonement has been accepted. There no longer remains a single sin on me, no matter how many or how great my sins may have been.”

Great News for Us

Because it proves Christ’s atonement for our sins, Mary Magdalene’s report, “I have seen the Lord,” is the greatest of all the news that we have ever heard. But there are other reasons why the resurrection of Jesus is great news for us. The resurrection proves that the Savior we trust is a living and exalted Lord. It was marvelous news for the Old Testament Jacob when he learned that Joseph, the son he had presumed dead, was in fact alive (Gen. 45:26). How great was Jacob’s joy when he traveled to Egypt and resumed living contact with his well-beloved child. Similarly, those who read the Gospel accounts of Jesus Christ and see in him the greatest, most sublime, most beloved Teacher, Lord, and Savior are filled with the same joy as Mary Magdalene experienced when we learn that Jesus is not dead but lives in heaven. We can now look forward to an eternity of communion with him.

Not only did Jacob rejoice to learn that Joseph was alive, but moreover, Joseph was seated on the throne of Egypt and empowered to dispense the riches of that mighty realm. How much greater is Mary Magdalene’s report to us, since we find that Jesus has now ascended to the throne of heaven. There, Paul writes, Jesus is seated at God’s right hand, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And [God] put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:21–22). What can harm us now or hinder the cause of Christ’s kingdom, since our Lord has taken the seat of divine, eternal power in heaven? Paul reasons: “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38–39).

News of Christ’s resurrection thus assures us of power for our present struggles in life. Paul prayed that our hearts would be enlightened, to know “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead” (Eph. 1:17–20). This says that in sending his Spirit to empower us for life and godliness, Christ has given us the same power by which he was raised from the dead so that we might prevail in faith through the many trials of our lives.

Christ’s resurrection not only testifies to the power available to believers in the present, but also assures Christians of our own place in heaven and of a future glorious resurrection of our bodies. Jesus had said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms.… And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2–3). He also said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (11:25). Can we trust Jesus for these claims—that he will give us present spiritual power to prevail in faith and a resurrection into glory when he returns? We can believe him, since he proved his claims by his resurrection from the grave.

Great News for All

The final reason why Mary’s report, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18), is the greatest news ever heard is that it is good news for all. Some news is good, but not for everyone. The news of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo was good for the English but bad for the French. Almost all earthly good news is like that: one benefits, but another loses. The good news of Jesus’ resurrection is different because he is the only One who paid the price for the blessings that he now offers to all. Only one thing is required: we must respond to the evidence of Jesus’ atoning death and glorious resurrection with saving faith. We must trust Jesus, based on the Gospel record, to be our Savior and surrender our hearts to him as our Lord. Have you done that? If not, what will you say in your defense when God demands a reason why you rejected the greatest good news, news that glorifies him as the God of grace and truth and conveys his mercy for sinners? Because the resurrection is true, the Bible urges all: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Finally, having believed, and having come to know the living Lord Jesus for ourselves and having felt his saving power in our lives, let us take the place of Mary Magdalene so that others may hear, believe, and be saved. “I have seen the Lord,” she declared. If God’s Spirit has shined the gospel truth in your heart, then you have also seen the Lord in the living Word of the Bible. Now Jesus calls you to take up the calling that he first gave to Mary: to go and tell others the greatest news ever heard, the news that Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, is alive to reign forever and grant eternal life to all who will believe.[2]


[1] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 1581–1586). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 2, pp. 645–654). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

Quick Shot Responses to “Being a Good Person is All That Really Matters” (Cold-Case Christianity S5E18) | Cold Case Christianity

In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner offers a number of brief, rhetorically powerful responses to the objection: “Being a Good Person is All That Really Matters.” Doesn’t God care more about your behavior than your religious beliefs? Why should anyone believe that God wouldn’t simply honor good behavior instead of religious conviction? These Quick Shot responses are designed to help you remove intellectual obstacles when talking about God with your friends and family members. They are also available on the Cold-Case Christianity Phone App so you can access them as you are interacting with others.

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

— Read on coldcasechristianity.com/videos/quick-shot-responses-to-being-a-good-person-is-all-that-really-matters-cold-case-christianity-s5e18/

07/24/19 Idolatry — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Job 8-10, Acts 19:21-20:6

Paul was correct in his assessment: “gods made by human hands are no gods at all” (Acts 19:26). It’s as simple as understanding that the one who creates something is greater than that which he creates. The Creator—not the creature—is God. Demetrius surely wanted others to believe otherwise in order to protect his business, but the apostle Paul got it right.

I nevertheless wonder how often we get attached to, and even idolize, our things—that is, the things that human beings have created. Many of us have elevated our possessions, our bank account, our positions, and our “stuff” to such significance that they become our gods. We make things and then turn around and worship the things we’ve made.

It’s a silly and destructive direction to take, but such is the nature of idolatry. It lures us with the brightness of its fire, and then it burns us with its heat. May God remind us all day long that “gods made by human hands are no gods at all.”

PRAYER: “God, I want to worship You alone. Guard me from setting up false gods in my life.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Job 11-14, Acts 20:7-38

via 07/24/19 Idolatry — ChuckLawless.com

July 24 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Judges 7; Acts 11; Jeremiah 20; Mark 6

 

the chapter before us (jer. 20) provides insight both into Jeremiah’s external circumstances at this stage of his ministry, and into his inner turmoil.

(1) Jeremiah’s external circumstances: the priest Pashhur son of Immer is the “chief officer” in the temple, presumably the chief security officer, serving under the current high priest. The prophetic actions and words Jeremiah has delivered in the previous chapter, announcing the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, have been interpreted as something near treasonous, if not blasphemous, the more so because Pashhur has been among those who have “prophesied lies” (20:6) to the effect that God would never let this city fall to the pagans (cf. 14:14–15). So he has Jeremiah arrested and beaten, presumably with the legal limit of forty stripes (Deut. 25:3—that number was reduced by one in Paul’s day to ensure that the limit was not accidentally exceeded, 2 Cor. 11:24). Jeremiah spends a night in the stocks, devices guaranteed to cause the terrible pain of cramped muscles. By the next morning Pashhur has second thoughts and lets Jeremiah go. If he thinks this leniency will reduce the prophet to cowering jelly, he is mistaken: Jeremiah uses the occasion to assign Pashhur a new name meaning “terror on every side” (20:3–4)—another picturesque anticipation of the judgment sure to fall, when all of Pashhur’s false prophecies will be exposed for what they are.

(2) Jeremiah’s inner turmoil: if the prophet is outwardly courageous, the following verses (20:7–18) disclose something of his personal anguish. By this point Jeremiah has been predicting judgment for decades, and it has not yet fallen. It has become progressively easier to dismiss him and mock him. The Lord’s forbearance becomes an excuse for cynicism (as in 2 Pet. 3:8–9). Jeremiah temporarily resolves on silence, but so strong is the prophetic word burning within him that he cannot hold it in (20:9). So he speaks, and his erstwhile “friends” listen with sneering condescension, hoping he will say something that will enable them to report him to the authorities and get this silly man into trouble (20:10). Jeremiah oscillates between a focused and brilliant faith utterly confident that the Lord will finally vindicate him (20:11–13), and a debilitating despair that frankly wishes he had never been born and wallows in understandable self-pity (20:14–18).

Perhaps there are some servants of the Lord who have never experienced such highs and lows. But they are rare. Certainly those who serve in hard places almost invariably mirror Jeremiah’s experiences in some degree. Pray for Christian leaders, especially those whose patch is profoundly discouraging.[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.