Daily Archives: July 27, 2019

July 27 Attacking the Roots of Sin

Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:5–2:2

Key Verse: 1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If you hurt someone as a result of a sin you committed, would you go to him or her for help in overcoming that sin? If you are like most people, you probably would not. Why? Because you would likely feel guilty or ashamed. Our human minds think this way because we have trouble understanding true forgiveness.

The beauty of this scenario is that God is not limited by human understanding. His thoughts are higher than ours, and His ways are different (Isaiah 55:8). When we sin against God, He is the very One we need to help us break free from the cycle of sin. Though this sounds ironic, it is the truth.

First John 1:9 tells us God will forgive us and cleanse us when we confess to Him. Essentially, no matter what we have done, God is willing to forgive us and to wash away the damaging residue that disobedience can leave upon our lives.

If you have an unconfessed sin in your life, do not feel like you have to hide from God. Instead, bring the matter to Him in prayer and receive the gift of His forgiveness. Being out of fellowship with God is a terrible place to be. Do not let fear keep you away from the One who loves you unconditionally. Return to Him today just as you are. There is no need to feel ashamed.

Lord, I do not know why I try to hide my sin from You, for You will not condemn a contrite heart. Search my soul and bring forth those hidden things so that I may confess them.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 218). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Guess which fruit of the Spirit is little spoken of and hardest to practice? — The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

You get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit!

People of an age know this saying. It used to be said quite often. In some small pockets, it still is.

It was a time when parents were the boss and the kids were supposed to gratefully and quietly receive whatever it is that was being handed out. No asking for something different. No demanding ‘I want it now’. No waiting till a more convenient time for them. It was eat this/do this now or forgo it totally.

I blame Burger King’s “Have it your way“. (Just kidding, but let’s take a look as a metaphorical example).

For 40 years Burger King has been touting that you don’t need to eat cookie cutter meals without substitutions, taking what’s presented as is (take THAT, McDonald’s) but you can mix and match to your liking. After 40 years BK decided that they weren’t only going to let you know that you can have it your way, but you can “BE your way”. In other words, create your own reality. All so that customers can make an emotional connection with the fast food company and their product. Sometimes I wonder about ad people…:)

Fernando Machado, Burger King’s senior vice president of global brand management, explained.

Burger King says in a statement that the new motto is intended to remind people that they can and should live how they want anytime. It’s ok to not be perfect … Self-expression is most important … By contrast, he said, “Be Your Way” is about making a connection with a person’s greater lifestyle. … champion individuality…

And so it continues.

‘Have it your way’ is the embedded motto of a generation. That’s fine, ad people can devise jingles and slogans all they want. The generation they’re aiming at with their message are constantly barraged with societal claims to individuality and instant gratification, so be it. It shouldn’t affect Christians. Until it does.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. (Prov. 25:28).

When a child of the millennium converts, he has to dispense with the cultural baggage he’s accumulated, here in the West anyway. They are a new creation and must unlearn the cultural mandates of self-indulgence and instant gratification. The child who won’t take no for an answer in the grocery aisle. The teen who demands a phone upgrade. The young man dilly-dallying in college. The young adults putting off marriage and children because they need more “me time.” All for the aim of gratifying desires and indulging lusts.

Have you noticed the little-talked about mandate in the Bible about self-control? Its silence in preaching and discussion is out of proportion to the number of times we’re told to practice it. I think we do need to talk about self-control more.

Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 1:5-7, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 speaks of self-control in the following particular sense. Discipline and self-control are important. I’ll lay the foundation of what self-control is before getting to why it’s critical to develop it.

In the Greek according to Strong’s, the word self-control as it is used in the above 3 verses, it’s “egkráteia (“self-control, Spirit-control”) can only be accomplished by the power of the Lord. Accordingly, 1466 /egkráteia (“true mastery from within”) is explicitly called a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:23).”

Today we will examine the fruit of self-control (Gal. 5:23). Basically, to have self-control means that we behave in a manner appropriate to the given situation. It means we defer when it is appropriate to defer. It means we speak when we need to speak. It means that we control our tempers and do not blow up every time things do not go our way. It means that we ignore the minor mistakes of others instead of trying to prove that we are always right.

Exercising self-control often means that we put other people before ourselves. It often involves putting the good of a group ahead of the good of an individual. Source

Since we know what self-control means, why is it important to cultivate it? Aside from the biblical mandate that says we must, that is.

Because self-control leads to self-denial. We are supposed to pick up our cross and deny ourselves. How can we deny ourselves if we can’t control ourselves?

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

If we are constantly indulging every whim, we won’t have developed the fortitude to deny ourselves on behalf of another person’s good. If we can’t control our tongue, for example, and display some restraint with what we want to say, we tarnish our witness before the unsaved. Even more so, in this age of self-expression and instantly fulfilled desires, a sacrificial, unselfish love will stand out like a beacon.

Here are some resources on developing self-control-

What does the Bible say about self-discipline?


Learning Self-Discipline


via Guess which fruit of the Spirit is little spoken of and hardest to practice? — The End Time

July 27 Depression

Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 19:1–18

Key Verse: Psalm 42:11

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

Martin Luther, the great leader of the Reformation, often dealt with severe periods of depression. Depression is still a problem that knows no educational, cultural, or financial boundaries.

In his book Healing for Damaged Emotions, Dr. David Seamands prescribes some practical helps:

Avoid being alone. When you are depressed, you do not want to be around people … force yourself to be with people.

Seek help from others. You can no more pull yourself out of depression than you can get yourself out of quicksand by pulling at your own hair. Seek out people and situations which generate joy.

Praise and give thanks. All the saints agree on this one. It was [Samuel] Brengle’s [the founder of the Salvation Army] way out. When he couldn’t feel God’s presence or really pray, he would thank God for the leaf on the tree or the beautiful wing of a bird.

Lean heavily on the power of God’s Word. Throughout the centuries, His people have found the Psalms to be the most beneficial.

Depression is not a dead end. There is a way out. Trust Him to lead you and to help you apply these liberating truths.

Dear Lord, when clouds of depression surround me, help me remember to praise You. Let me realize it is not a dead end. There is a way out and Your light illumines the way.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 218). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 27 He Is Faithful

Scripture reading: Hebrews 13:5–6

Key verse: 2 Corinthians 5:7

We walk by faith, not by sight.

There will be times in your spiritual walk when you feel as though all of heaven is shut up before you. You may wonder whether God has forgotten you or you have done something to disappoint Him. But nothing you do surprises God. He is omniscient and perfectly aware of your every action.

Even in times of personal failure, God’s love continues. He loves you unconditionally. His affections are based not on your performance but on His grace. You could never earn God’s love. He cares for you just as much when you stumble as He does when you walk closely beside Him. This is not an excuse for sin but an opportunity to learn to love Him better.

Along the pathway of faith, you can expect to face times of trials and difficulty when you feel as though you are completely removed from God. However, you are not to walk by sight but in the reality of the promise that He will never leave or forsake you (Heb. 13:5–6).

Faith always looks beyond the immediate to the eternal. The times you feel God is doing nothing in your life are usually the times He is doing His greatest work. Take heart. He may have you protected under the cover of His hand while He works out the necessary details for your advancement. Trust Him, and you will find Him faithful.

Precious Lord, help me look beyond the immediate to the eternal. Help me realize that the times when I feel You are doing nothing in my life are when You are doing Your greatest work.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 218). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

That’s Weird? So far No Tweets from Comey, Obama, Hillary or Brennan About Deep State Mueller’s Train Wreck in Front of Congress — The Gateway Pundit

Funny, but there haven’t been any tweets from the corrupt group that gave us all the Trump Russian collusion hoax since before Robert Mueller’s testimony in front of Congress.  What a train wreck these corrupt individuals planned in an attempt to removed President Trump from office through their coup.

Former Director James Comey tweeted about his ‘friend’ Robert Mueller hours before Mueller’s testimony in front of Congress, but he hasn’t been heard from since –

Barack Obama hasn’t left any tweets and Hillary Clinton has ignored the Mueller train wreck by tweeting about how her corrupt Clinton Foundation was somehow supposedly helping someone.  Of course, this is a lie based on Clinton Foundation actions to date.

Even the emotional and load mouthed former CIA Director under Obama has remained silent.  The self-proclaimed “Nonpartisan American” John Brennan hasn’t tweeted since Mueller showed the world that the Special Counsel was a criminal enterprise based on a bunch of lies –

In Brennan’s twitter handle, Brennan, who many believe was the architect of the Trump – Russia witch hunt, claims to be concerned about “our collective future”.

The only collective future that Brennan is concerned about is that of his criminal mafia Deep State.  These gangsters can’t be indicted soon enough.

via That’s Weird? So far No Tweets from Comey, Obama, Hillary or Brennan About Deep State Mueller’s Train Wreck in Front of Congress — The Gateway Pundit

THE UPDATED LIST: 130 Times the FBI, DOJ and/or Mueller Gang “Deviated from Standard Practice” or Committed Crimes in Efforts to Exonerate Hillary and Indict President Trump — The Gateway Pundit

On March 8th, 2019, we prepared a list of the more than 100 times that Obama’s Deep State FBI took actions that deviated from standard practice and/or were corrupt and/or were criminal in their efforts to exonerate Hillary from her crimes and then spy on and frame candidate and then President Trump.  After the Mueller train wreck this past week we thought we’d provide an updated list of these unbelievable actions.

As we noted in March, current and former FBI associates were embarrassed to even turn on their TV’s before the Mueller testimony.  Now they must be enraged.

Time magazine of all places reported about the many efforts the FBI took related to Hillary’s exoneration and then the framing of President Trump.  These corrupt and criminal actions have taken a desperate toll on the current members of the FBI –

In normal times, the televisions are humming at the FBI’s 56 field offices nationwide, piping in the latest news as agents work their investigations. But these days, some agents say, the TVs are often off to avoid the crush of bad stories about the FBI itself. The bureau, which is used to making headlines for nabbing crooks, has been grabbing the spotlight for unwanted reasons: fired leaders, texts between lovers and, most of all, attacks by President Trump. “I don’t care what channel it’s on,” says Tom O’Connor, a veteran investigator in Washington who leads the FBI Agents Association. “All you hear is negative stuff about the FBI … It gets depressing.”

Of course the employees of the FBI are in a funk, their fearless and corrupt leaders, as well as leaders in Obama’s corrupt DOJ, participated in extravagant efforts to exonerate the obvious criminal actions of Hillary Clinton, and then to do all they could to prevent candidate Trump from winning an election.  Then once the election was won by President Trump, they went to unheard of depths of deceit and corruption to attempt to remove him from office.

Here’s our list from March of more than 100 actions the Deep State FBI and DOJ took that were either outside of policy and/or were corrupt and/or were criminal surrounding the 2016 Presidential election and exoneration of Hillary Clinton and the setup/attempts to remove Donald Trump from office –

Read more: THE UPDATED LIST: 130 Times the FBI, DOJ and/or Mueller Gang “Deviated from Standard Practice” or Committed Crimes in Efforts to Exonerate Hillary and Indict President Trump — The Gateway Pundit

Nigerian Leaders Continue to Allow Genocidal Persecution of Christians — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

ABUJA, Nigeria (ChurchMilitant.com) – While international human rights groups are warning of “genocidal” persecution of Nigeria’s Christians, Nigeria’s Abp. Ignatius Kaigama wants government leaders to stop the violence.

Persecution of Nigeria’s Christians by well-armed Muslim Fulani militants is approaching genocidal levels, according to a report filed July 15 titled “Nigeria: The Genocide is Loading” by the international human rights organization Jubilee Campaign (JC). Their report submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, indicated Nigeria’s leaders are doing little to stop the genocide.

A senior Nigerian prelate, Abp. Kaigama of Abuja, Nigeria, is backing claims that biased authorities were blaming Christians instead of Islamic militants for the deadly violence.

“Biased and prejudiced official security reports,” said the archbishop, “heighten tension when they blame the victims instead of the aggressors because of the Nigerian ‘factor’ of tribal or religious affiliation. This sadly keeps the fire of the crisis raging.”

Coadjutor archbishop of Abuja, Kaigma has been watching the Christian persecution escalate with Islamic authorities doing little to stop it. In the midst of recent attacks, the archbishop noted that government security was seldom if ever present and contacted the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) for help. He was dumbfounded, however, when the DCP proceeded to blame Christians for prompting the militant attacks.

“When I called the DCP and asked how the situation was,” said Kaigma, “his immediate remark was, ‘Your people like fighting.’”

In his statement, however, Kaigma explained, “Generally, it is when the militant herdsmen vanish after their deadly attacks that the poor villagers try to react to protect or defend themselves.”

His testimony is backed by the July report filed by JC, which also held a press conference in Washington, D.C. July 15 to discuss their findings. JC’s director, Ann Buwalda, said at the press conference that Fulani militants have killed thousands of Christians in Nigeria and have displaced more than a million others.

“Why are there nearly 1 million IDPs [displaced Nigerians] from the northeast of Nigeria?” asked Buwalda.

Click here to read more.
Source: Church Militant

via Nigerian Leaders Continue to Allow Genocidal Persecution of Christians — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Second National Day of Mourning Announced to Memorialize the Murder of 20 Million Black Babies Through Abortion Since Roe V. Wade — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

The second National Day of Mourning is scheduled to memorialize the murder of 20,000,000 black babies, underscoring that “The most dangerous place for an African-American child is in the womb.”

The event, scheduled for Aug. 30–31, is set to showcase how Planned Parenthood has deceived and destroyed black families.

Most reports cite that 20 million black babies have been murdered since the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States.

Catherine Davis, president of The Restoration Project, one of the sponsors of the event, told Church Militant that 20 million is a low estimate, explaining:

It is difficult to get an accurate number of black lives lost to abortion because every state is not required to report their numbers, and Connecticut, Florida, California and Illinois do not report their numbers by skin color. What is consistently reported, however, is that black women obtain between 30–37% of abortions each year.

According to Right to Life Michigan, 36% of all abortions in the United States in 2014 were performed on black women, however, only about 13.3% of the total population is black.

Davis describes the event as “a processional — as in funeral,” that protests Planned Parenthood’s “socially engineered master plan called The Negro Project.”

The Negro Project refers to Margaret Sanger’s eugenic plan for black Americans. Bruce Fleury, an author who has written extensively on it, described it as a “diabolical, duplicitous, dangerous, disastrous and deadly plan for Black America.”

Fleury sees the black population as being in mortal danger of extinction if Americans don’t wake up and fight the battle against abortion.

It was initiated in 1939 by Sanger’s Birth Control Federation of America, an early form of Planned Parenthood. Its purpose was to promote contraception use among the black population of the South, using black ministers to push the cause.

In a letter to Clarence Gamble, heir of the Procter and Gamble soap company, in 1939, Sanger wrote: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the [Negro] minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

Davis explained the convoluted legal machination of Planned Parenthood of taking the “legal” act of abortion and implementing it in an illegal way, i.e., targeting Black women and babies based on the color of their skin, adding that it has not been legal to do so since the passage of the Civil Rights (1964) and Voting Rights Acts (1965).

Click here to read more.
Source: Church Militant

via Second National Day of Mourning Announced to Memorialize the Murder of 20 Million Black Babies Through Abortion Since Roe V. Wade — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Trump Reveals He Gave Attorney General Bill Barr Authority to Release Declassified Spygate Documents to Devin Nunes — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump told Sean Hannity this week that he has given Attorney General Bill Barr the authority to give declassified Spygate documents to Devin Nunes.

Trump praised Bill Barr and said he has given him all of the documents he needs to investigate the origins of Spygate.

The president revealed that he also gave Barr the authority to release the declassified Spygate documents to whoever else needs them, including Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.

“I’ve also given him [Barr] authority to release it to whoever he wants, whether it’s his people or frankly perhaps people like Devin Nunes who is a star,” Trump said pointing out how badly Nunes has been attacked by the rabid Democrats for being a brave warrior fighting to get to the bottom of Spygate.


President Trump in late May announced that at the recommendation of Attorney General Bill Barr, he has directed the Intel Community to quickly and fully cooperate with Barr’s investigation into surveillance activities.

President Trump ordered declassification of the intelligence related to the spying on his presidential campaign in 2016.

Award-winning journalist John Solomon previously said that President Trump will start with the release of “Bucket 5” documents, the exculpatory statements that the FBI possessed about its targets before it went to the FISA Court.

Sara Carter then added that “Bucket 5” includes transcripts and tapes of Papadopoulos and Carter Page saying there was no way the Trump campaign was working with Russia.

Barr and Durham are currently focusing on transcripts of recordings made by a government source who met with Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos.

Durham is also taking a closer look at the start date of the FBI probe. The FBI opened “Crossfire Hurricane” on July 31, 2016, however, it is now clear the FBI began spying on Trump and his campaign much earlier.

via Trump Reveals He Gave Attorney General Bill Barr Authority to Release Declassified Spygate Documents to Devin Nunes — The Gateway Pundit

Court Subpoenas Jeffrey Epstein’s Personal Pilots for Flight Logs — Will Show Bill Clinton on 27 Flights, Most with Underage Girls — The Gateway Pundit

Presecutors subpoenaed Jeffrey Epstein’s personal pilots who flew the mult-millionaire and his celebrity guests to his private island.
Forbes reported:

 Federal prosecutors subpoenaed Jeffrey Epstein’s personal pilots—who flew Epstein’s celebrity friends around the world—in the hopes they can corroborate the accounts of women who allege Epstein transported them on private planes to facilitate their sexual abuse.

  • Prosecutors might be able to use the pilots’ testimonies to confirm the accounts of Epstein’s accusers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The 66-year-old former financier is charged with two counts of sex trafficking and sex conspiracy, and allegedy ran a sex ring of dozens of underage girls.
  • Multiple women have filed civil lawsuits against Epstein that mentioned the pilots. None of the pilots, however, were named as defendants.
  • From around 1998 to 2002, the women said, Epstein allegedly conspired with his pilots and associates to make sure he avoided law enforcement.

Last week investigative reporter Conchita Sarnoff, the author of “Trafficking” on the Jeffrey Epstein case, joined Shannon Bream and said Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s plane 27 times and ALMOST EVERY TIME that Clinton was on the plane there were underage girls on the plane.

Sarnoff also said Bill Clinton was lying about his flights with Jeffrey Epstein.

Conchita Sarnoff spoke with Sean Stone on Russia Today about her book “Trafficking” back in April 2016.

Epstein was given only 13 months in prison instead of the minimun 20 years given to other child sex perpetrators.

Sarnoff told RT the abused girls were all under the age of 16-years-old. Sarnoff then read from her book on victim Virginia Roberts who told the judge during court proceedings that Epstein had several prominent clients.

Sarnoff read this part from her book,

“Towards the end of that testimony he asked her about former President Bill Clinton. And she says that there, that there was sexual conduct and foreplay and there was a bed on Epstein’s jet. And she goes on to say what they did and then when Scarola (attorney for victims) asked her, “When you say here what do you mean?”… She placed former president Clinton on the island where Jeffrey Epstein has his residence.

Sarnoff continues to read from her book and the victim’s testimony, “And then the attorney asks her, “Were all of you staying at Jeffrey’s house on the island including Bill Clinton? And she responds, “That is correct.”

This is a devastating interview!

via Court Subpoenas Jeffrey Epstein’s Personal Pilots for Flight Logs — Will Show Bill Clinton on 27 Flights, Most with Underage Girls — The Gateway Pundit

Weekend Snapshot · July 27, 2019 – Top Stories This Week

Executive Summary: Mueller’s Capstone Testimony

“Far from breathing life into his damning report, the tired Robert Mueller sucked the life out of it.”

Does Anyone Care About the National Debt?

Congress and White House negotiators are working to spend ever more of your money.

Is Being Poor a Good Reason for Asylum?

Making money to build a bigger house back home doesn’t fit the historic definition.

The Demos’ Socialist Cloward-Piven Pivot

What objectives and strategies do the Democrat Party and CPUSA have in common?

Omar to America: ‘You Bunch of Racists’

Stop being bigots, she says, and start implementing the Left’s socialist agenda.

Democrats Demand Economy-Killing Marxist Wages

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

DOJ Opens Antitrust Probe of Big Tech

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

Groupthink Campus Culture

“Inclusive” language standards on campus are all about crushing free thought.

Promise Exceeded: Trump’s Deregulatory Record

“We’ve hit 13 to 1,” said the OMB’s Russ Vought of regulations cut for each one added.

The American Dream or an American Nightmare?

Republicans are running to lead America. Democrats are just running it down.

Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

Quote Of The Week

“Allow me to reiterate my unpopular opinion that it is ridiculous to have a prosecutor produce a 400-page report for public consumption and then testify for the TV cameras over a matter that he couldn’t decide was a crime or not.” —Rich Lowry


Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 07/27/2019

‘I Am Not a Christian’: Former ‘Pastor,’ Author Joshua Harris Kisses Christianity Goodbye   Jul 26, 2019 05:46 pm

VANCOUVER — Author and former pastor Joshua Harris, most known for his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” announced on Friday as a follow-up to last week’s Instagram post advising of his separation from his wife that he no longer identifies as a Christian. He also apologized to those who identify as homosexuals, stating that he regrets his teaching on sexuality…

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‘Appalled’ WV Senator Sends Trump Letter Over Use of Lord’s Name in Vain During NC Rally   Jul 20, 2019 08:39 pm

CHARLESTON, W.V. — A Democratic senator in West Virginia who supports Donald Trump has sent the president a letter to ask that he consider his “terrible choice of words” as he twice used the Lord’s name in vain during Wednesday’s rally in North Carolina. Sen. Paul Hardesty, D-Logan, sent the exhortation to Trump on Thursday to remind him that the name of God…

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Joshua Harris, Who Recanted ‘Kissed Dating Goodbye’ Book, Announces Separation From Wife   Jul 23, 2019 12:02 pm

VANCOUVER — Author and former pastor Joshua Harris, most known for his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” — which he officially recanted last year, has announced that he and his wife have mutually agreed to separate, citing “significant changes” that have occurred in their thinking. The announcement has generated various reactions, from sorrow over kissing…

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Teens Who Threw Rocks From Overpass, Friend’s Stone Killing Man, to Be Sentenced as Adults for Joking, Laughing Afterward   Jul 24, 2019 08:17 pm

FLINT, Mich. — Four teens who had been throwing rocks off a highway overpass, and who were with a fifth friend whose rock struck a man’s windshield and ultimately killed his passenger, will be sentenced as adults, a judge ruled on Tuesday. He cited that the boys had repeatedly joked and laughed about the matter and the possible ramifications in SnapChat…

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8-Year-Old Oklahoma Boy Seeks to Be Adopted by Christian Family   Jul 20, 2019 01:05 pm

NORMAN, Okla. — An eight-year-old boy in foster care in Oklahoma says that he would like to be adopted by a Christian family and find a forever home. Demarion is in the second grade and will turn nine in October. He was placed up for adoption in May and says that he would like a permanent family with brothers and sisters. He doesn’t like being shifted from home…

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Atlanta Mayor Hosts Drag Queen Story Hour at City Hall   Jul 22, 2019 01:55 pm

ATLANTA — The mayor of Atlanta, Georgia recently hosted a Drag Queen Story Hour at City Hall. “We want to thank our friends at the @ATLHawks, @AtlantaFalcons, @WholeFoods, @GABeverage and @atlantapride for partnering with us for Drag Queen Story Hour,” the City of Atlanta’s Department of LGBTQ Affairs posted to social media on July 1. According to a graphic…

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Judge Rules South Carolina School District May Not Formally Present Prayers, Religious Music at Graduation   Jul 24, 2019 02:10 pm

Photo Credit: Zelman Menash GREENVILLE, S.C. — A federal judge appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama has ruled that a South Carolina school district may not formally present student prayers during graduation ceremonies, nor may it use religious music for the event. “The district shall not include a prayer – whether referred to as a prayer,…

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Indian Christians Brutally Attacked by Hindus During Worship Service   Jul 22, 2019 07:07 pm

Photo Credit: FancyCrave/Pexels (International Christian Concern) — Last Sunday, Christians were seriously injured in an attack by Hindu radicals in Belchori Village in the North Indian State of Jharkhand. The incident took place when eight Christian families from Friends Missionary Prayer Band refused to recant their Christian faith when threatened. At the…

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Kentucky Tells Church Optometry Ministry Giving Away Used Glasses to Poor it Is Breaking Law   Jul 24, 2019 10:56 pm

(Fox News) — For 16 years, a Kentucky church member has been giving away prescription glasses to the poor. His program, Kendall Optometry Ministry, has become so successful, it has helped thousands of people across 79 countries. But the state now says the program is illegal and it wants Holland Kendall, the president of Kendall Optometry Ministry, to meet optical…

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California Couple Arrested After Allegedly Strangling Newborn Baby Inside Hospital   Jul 21, 2019 06:20 pm

Photo Credit: Pexels OXNARD, Calif. (CBSLA) — A woman and her boyfriend were arrested Friday evening after a newborn baby died from strangulation shortly after being born, authorities said. Oxnard police officers responded to St. John’s Medical Center at 1600 N. Rose Ave shortly before 8 a.m. to reports of a suspicious injury. Upon their arrival,…

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July 27, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

15. By saying that the day of Jehovah was nigh upon all nations, the Prophet may be regarded as reasoning from the greater to the less: “If God will not spare other nations, how canst thou escape his hand?” In a like manner does Jeremiah speak in chap. 49: he addresses the Idumeans in these words, ‘Behold, they shall drink of the cup, who have not been by judgment condemned to drink; and shalt thou not taste? by drinking thou shalt drink to the very dregs.’ He shows then that the Idumeans deserved a double vengeance; for if indeed they were compared with the Assyrians and Chaldeans, the fault of the latter would appear small: the Chaldeans might pretend some causes for the war, they were aliens, they were, in short, professed enemies; but the Idumeans were neighbours and kindred. The same thing might be also said of other nations. But the words may be explained in a simpler manner; and that is, that God would not only take vengeance on one or two nations, but on all. “See,” he says, “a change will take place not only in one corner, but in the whole world. The Lord will thus show that he is the judge of the whole earth. Hence it follows, that the Idumeans also must render an account, for God has resolved to execute judgment on all nations; no one whatever shall be passed by.”

Behold, then, nigh is the day of Jehovah. We have said that the time in which Obadiah prophesied is unknown to us. But it is no matter of wonder that he declares that nigh is the day of Jehovah; for the Lord hastens not after the manner of men; but, at the same time, he knows his own seasons; and this is ever accomplished, that when the ungodly think themselves to be at rest, then sudden destruction overtakes them.

He draws this conclusion, As thou hast done, so shall it be done to thee. There seems, however, to be here an implied comparison between the chastisement of the chosen people and the punishment which shall be inflicted on other nations. When the Idumeans saw that the kingdom of Israel and of Judah was trodden under foot, they thought that the children of Abraham were thus punished because they had despised their own Prophets, because they had become immoral and perverse in the extreme. Thus they exempted themselves and others from punishment. Now the Prophet declares that God had been the judge of his people, but that he is also the judge of the whole world, and that this would quickly be made evident. When, therefore, he says, that nigh was the day of Jehovah, he had, I have no doubt, a regard, as I have already said, to the chastisement of the Church; as though he said, “As God has proved himself to be one who justly punishes sins with respect to Israel and Judah; so also at length he will ascend his tribunal to judge all the nations; no one, therefore, shall escape punishment. All then in their different conditions shall be constrained to give an account of their actions, for the Lord will spare none: and though he has begun with his Church and his own house, yet there will come afterwards the suitable time to take vengeance, when he will extend his hand to punish all heathen nations.” This seems to me to be the real meaning.

Rightly then does he conclude, As then thou hast done, it shall be done to thee: “Think not that thou shalt be unpunished for having gone against thy brother. It was God’s purpose to exhibit an example of his severity towards others, while he spared thee; but thou hast abused his forbearance; for thou mightest have remained quiet at home: the Lord will then repay thee.” And then he subjoins, Thy reward shall recoil, or return, on thine own head. Here the Prophet announces what Christ also says, ‘With what measure any one measures, it shall be repaid to him,’ (Matth. 7:2.) This sentence is worthy of being noticed: for when God leaves the innocent to the will of the ungodly, they think that they may do whatever they please with impunity, as though they were the executioners of God. As then they become thus insolent when the Lord spares them, let us take notice of what the Prophet says here,—that a reward is prepared for every one, and that whatever cruelty the ungodly may exercise, it shall be returned on their own heads. [1]

The Day of the Lord (Obadiah 15–16)

15–16 / As a consequence, in contrast to the day of Edom (above), there will be the day of the Lord. Verses 15–16 should actually be connected with verses 11–14 in an unbroken stanza, but I have separated them here simply to emphasize the contrast between Edom’s day and God’s. Verses 15 and 16 are connected rhetorically with verse 14 by , “for,” an important word that the niv has omitted from the beginning of both verses 15 and 16. Thus, the sense is: Edom should not have betrayed Judah, for or because the day of the Lord is near, and because it will be judged along with all the nations on that day.

The concept of the day of the Lord had its roots in the wars fought by Israel’s tribal federation during the time of the Judges and of the early monarchy. In those wars, called “holy wars” by scholars because they were fought according to fixed cultic rules, it was believed that Yahweh fought for Israel with cosmic weapons. The popular belief therefore arose in Israel that Yahweh would finally bring in a time or day when all of Israel’s enemies would be defeated and Israel would be exalted among the nations. Most of the prophets denied that popular belief and declared that disobedient Israel would also be judged. Rather than being a time of Israel’s triumph, the day would bring wrath and darkness and destruction, leaving perhaps a remnant of its people (cf. Amos 5:18–20; Isa. 2:6–22; Ezek. 7:5–27; Joel 1:1–15; 2:1–11; Mal. 4:5). Obadiah reverses that usual prophetic picture of gloom and declares that the day of the Lord will be a time of salvation for the chosen people, while Edom, and indeed all of Israel’s enemies, will be no more, verse 16.

Obadiah uses two traditional pictures in these verses. First, he employs what scholars have called a “synthetic view” of sin, in which the sin of Edom returns upon its own head as its punishment, verse 15. It is a common view in the Scriptures (cf. Jer. 50:15, 29; Ezek. 35:15; Joel 3:4, 7): evil returns upon the evil doer, not automatically, but as a consequence of Yahweh’s working (cf. 1 Kgs. 8:31–32; Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). As Edom has done to Judah, so it shall be done to Edom.

Second, Obadiah uses the figure of all the nations forced on the day of Yahweh to drink of the cup of wrath (cf. Jer. 25:15–29; 49:12; Lam. 4:21). Edom, God says, profaned the holy hill of Zion with drinking and boisterous celebration of Judah’s fall, verse 16. But Edom and all nations will have another draught—the draught of God’s wrath from the cup of God’s anger, and they will drink and gulp and swallow that draught until they have disappeared from history.[2]

15. For—resumptive in connection with Ob 1:10, wherein Edom was threatened with cutting off for ever.

the day of the Lord—the day in which He will manifest Himself as the Righteous Punisher of the ungodly peoples (Joe 3:14). The “all” shows that the fulfilment is not exhausted in the punishment inflicted on the surrounding nations by the instrumentality of Nebuchadnezzar; but, as in Joe 3:14, and Zec 12:3, that the last judgment to come on the nations confederate against Jerusalem is referred to.

as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee—the righteous principle of retribution in kind (Le 24:17; Mt 7:2; compare Jdg 1:6, 7; 8:19; Es 7:10).

thy reward—the reward of thy deed (compare Is 3:9–11).[3]

15 The oracle now enters a new section which sets in overall context the predictions of doom against Edom: the Day of Yahweh is coming! This great day of Yahweh’s sovereign intervention militarily and politically, long expected by the prophets (cf. Amos 5:18–20; Isa 13:6–13; Jer 46:10; Zeph 3:8; cf. G. von Rad, “The Origin of the Concept of the Day of the Lord,” JSS 4 [1959] 97–108; D. Stuart, “The Sovereign’s Day of Conquest,” BASOR 221 [1976] 159–64), will be the occasion for Edom’s defeat. Edom’s fate is not isolated but is caught up in a general judgment action “against all the nations” (על־כל הגוים) which, like all proper judgments, will reverse evil and establish good on a worldwide scale (cf. Isa 13:11, also within a foreignnation oracle). Thus what Edom deserves it will get, much in the manner of lex talionis (cf. Lev 24:20; Deut 19:21), the punishment fitting the crime precisely. The very things Edom had done to others, thus incurring God’s wrath (as also in Joel 3:4–8, etc), will now be done to Edom. The opportunistic attacker and spoiler will itself be attacked and despoiled.[4]

15 This verse bridges the halves of the book, uniting the more particular oracle against Edom (2–15) with the more general one concerning Israel and the nations (16–21; see Introduction).

The day of the Lord is the ultimate goal towards which history is heading. In it, God will punish those who oppose him and bring relief to his own people. Israel understood herself as included in the latter category, but found that she was rather in the former, due to rebellion and breach of covenant (Joel 1:15; 3:14; Am. 5:18–24). She will be among the punished nations (Dt. 32:35–36; Zc. 14:1–3), here exemplified by Edom. Edom will be punished in ways related to her own wrong doings, an example of ‘tit-for-tat’ or, more technically, of lex talionis (cf. Lv. 24:19; Je. 50:15, 29). God’s justice is being vindicated in not letting the guilty go unpunished.[5]

V.15. Edom illustrates God’s judgment to come on all nations (cf. Isa. 34:2) who rebel in arrogance against God. The day of the Lord may refer to any time God judges by entering into world affairs (e.g., Ezek 30:3; see comments under “Major Interpretive Problems” in the Introduction to Joel). Most frequently, though, it refers to (a) God’s judgments in the Great Tribulation and at the return of Jesus Christ in glory, and/or (b) God’s establishing of the Millennium. In other words the Lord’s “day” is when He will bring all things under His rule.

Edom’s humiliation foreshadows what the Lord will do to all nations who similarly mistreat Israel. Besides her past humiliation, Edom will be repopulated in the future (see comments on Obad. 16) and with other nations will again come under God’s wrath in the forthcoming day of the Lord when Christ returns to establish His reign.

God’s judgments on Edom corresponded to her crimes. What she (you is sing.) had done to Judah would then be done to her: (1) She looted Jerusalem (v. 13), so she was looted (v. 6; cf. Jer. 49:10). (2) Edom killed Judean fugitives (Obad. 14; cf. Amos 1:11), so she was slaughtered (Obad. 8; cf. Isa. 34:5–8; Ezek. 32:29; 35:8). (3) She handed over Judean survivors to the enemy (Obad. 14; cf. Ezek. 35:5), so Edom’s allies expelled her (Obad. 7). (4) Edom rejoiced over Judah’s losses (Obad. 12; cf. Ezek. 35:15), so she was covered with shame and destroyed (Obad. 10).[6]

15 The day of the Lord is a technical term used by the prophets to indicate the day of God’s judgment (Amos 5:18–20). Here the term likely refers to the time when God would judge all the nations, including Edom, that had participated in Judah’s destruction. As you have done: The nature of God’s judgment always reflects the nature of the sin being judged.[7]

15 — “As you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head.”

Repeatedly in Scripture God says that He will use a man’s own sin against him in judgment. “He made a pit and dug it out,” said David of the wicked, “and has fallen into the ditch which he made” (Ps. 7:15).[8]

15 day of the Lord. God’s near judgment of Edom in history (vv. 1–14) was a preview of His far judgment on all nations (vv. 15, 16) who refuse to bow to His sovereignty (cf. discussion of “Day of the Lord” in Introduction to Joel).[9]

15 The Edomites should discontinue their enmity against God’s people because (For) the day of God’s universal judgment is near. The day of the Lord is a term for events that especially vindicate God’s character and purposes (see Ex. 32:34; Deut. 31:16–19; 32:35–38 for background). The term can be used for near-term judgments on God’s own people (Amos 5:18–27, the exile of Israel; and Zeph. 1:7, 14, the fall of Jerusalem) or on nations that oppress them (Isa. 13:6, the punishment of Babylon), as well as for events far off with universal significance (Mal. 4:1, 5). The NT applies the term “day of the Lord” to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Pet. 3:10). (On the theme of “the day of the Lord,” see note on Amos 5:18–20; see also The Day of the Lord in the Prophets.) As you have done. The judgment will be based on retributive justice. Prophetic-judgment texts typically reflect this standard. The correspondence between misdeeds and punishment shows the punishment to be appropriate, fair, and deserved.

15 On the day of the Lord, see note on Isa. 13:6. On the principle of just retribution, see note on Prov. 1:18.[10]

15 day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. For the day of the Lord, see Is. 2:11, 12. Now the prophet sets the judgment of Edom against the larger backdrop of God’s moral reckoning with all nations. This episode with Edom is only a small preview of God’s judgment; He will not stop until He has cleansed His world of all His enemies. The connection between Edom and the rest of the nations is their shared rebellion against God.[11]

15 The prophets looked for God’s intervention to establish perfectly His rule and His justice on earth. Often this is called “the day of the Lord.” However, as any major act of God in judgment or deliverance is a foreshadowing of that day, it too can be called a “day of the Lord.” Here the final day of the Lord is in view. All the heathen will be judged.[12]

15 The day of the Lord was a time of retribution for the Edomites because of their cooperation with the conquering Babylonians in the day of Judah’s distress (see note at vv. 12–14). What you deserve is lit “your payback or retribution.” Retribution would come upon Babylon the ally of Edom (Ps 137:8) and all who had insulted Judah (Lm 3:61–64). The promise of “retribution on your heads” to all Israel’s enemies will be fulfilled in the last days (Jl 3:4, 7).[13]

[1] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Twelve Minor Prophets (Vol. 2, pp. 445–446). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Achtemeier, E. (2012). Minor Prophets I. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 248–249). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 681). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Stuart, D. (1987). Hosea–Jonah (Vol. 31, pp. 419–420). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[5] Baker, D. W. (1994). Obadiah. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 812). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[6] Baker, W. L. (1985). Obadiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, pp. 1457–1458). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1062). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[8] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ob 15). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[9] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ob 15). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[10] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (pp. 1681–1682). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[11] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1284). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[12] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ob 15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[13] Parsons, G. W. (2017). Obadiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1397). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

July 27 Stewards of God’s Mysteries

scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1–7
key verse: 1 Timothy 1:5

The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.

The Corinthian church’s bickering over personality and popularity was all quite ridiculous to Paul. He described both himself and Apollos in this humble way: “Servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1).

That is, in essence, what every Christian is—regardless of level of spiritual maturity. We are servants because Jesus is Lord and Master of all. Those who aspire to leadership in the body of Christ have a divine prerequisite: ever–increasing servanthood. None of us should labor with the idea that others will admire us.

We are stewards because Jesus is the Owner and Giver of all: “For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7 nasb).

Jesus has given us abundant and eternal life in His name. As our Maker and Redeemer, He has endowed us with natural and spiritual gifts. He has equipped us with the Holy Spirit and His Word. He teaches us, leads us, and reveals His ways to us. He is the Source of all. That removes all grounds for haughtiness and bragging in the Christian life. Paul, the chief of all sinners, knew it better than most (1 Tim. 1:15).

Do you?

Dear God, help me never lose sight of the fact that I’m only a steward of my gifts and abilities. I want to use the resources You have given me to the best of my ability.[1]

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

27 july (preached 18 December 1853) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The Father of lights

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

suggested further reading: Revelation 21:22–22:5

The apostle, having thus introduced the sun as a figure to represent the Father of lights, finding that it did not bear the full resemblance of the invisible God, seems constrained to amend it by a remark that, unlike the sun, our Father has no turning or variableness. The sun has its daily variation; it rises at a different time each day, and it sets at various hours in the course of the year. It moves into other parts of the heavens. It is clouded at times, and eclipsed at times. It also has tropic; or, turning. It turns its chariot to the South, until, at the solstice, God bids it reverse its rein, and then it visits us once more. But God is superior to all figures or emblems. He is immutable. The sun changes, mountains crumble, the ocean shall be dried up, the stars shall wither from the vault of night; but God, and God alone, remains ever the same. Were I to enter into a full discourse on the subject of immutability, my time, if multiplied by a high number, would fail me. But reminding you that there is no change in His power, justice, knowledge, oath, threatening, or decree, I will confine myself to the fact that His love to us knows no variation. How often it is called unchangeable, everlasting love! He loves me now as much as he did when first he inscribed my name in his eternal book of election. He has not repented of his choice. He has not blotted out one of his chosen; there are no erasures in that book; all whose names are written in it are safe for ever.

for meditation: As part of creation the sun speaks of the character of God (Romans 1:20) but even at its brightest can only give a glimpse of his glory. Praise God for the Lord Jesus Christ, the true light (John 1:9) whose face, when transfigured, shone like the sun (Matthew 17:2); God the Son has made God the Father of light known to us (John 1:18).

1st sermon at new park St.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 215). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

27 JULY 365 Days with Calvin

Learning from History

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him. Romans 4:23

suggested further reading: Hebrews 4

This passage reminds us of our duty to seek to profit from the examples recorded in Scripture. Heathens have said that history is the teacher of what life ought to be, but since that history has been handed down by them, no one can derive sound instruction from it. Scripture alone justly makes this claim. For in the first place, it prescribes general rules by which we may test all other history so as to render it serviceable to us. Second, it clearly points out what things we are to follow and what we are to avoid. But as to the special truth that it teaches, it possesses the peculiarity of clearly revealing the providence of God, his justice and goodness toward his own people, and his judgments on the wicked.

If we would make the right and proper use of sacred histories, we must remember to use them by drawing sound doctrine from them. In some parts they instruct us how to form our life; in others, how to strengthen faith; and in still others, how we are to be stirred up to serve the Lord. In forming our life, the example of the saints may be useful, for we may learn from them sobriety, chastity, love, patience, moderation, contempt of the world, and other virtues. What may serve to confirm faith is the help that God gave these saints, the protection that brought them comfort in adversity, and the paternal care that God always exercised over them.

The judgments of God and the punishments inflicted on the wicked will also help us, provided they fill us with the fear that imbues our hearts with reverence and devotion.

for meditation: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The biblical narratives are not there simply for our information; they are meant for our instruction. That is, let us not simply learn about the heroes of faith, but also learn from them.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 227). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

July 27 – Whose side are you on, anyway? — Reformed Perspective

“Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us, or for our adversaries?’ And he said, ‘No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.’” – Joshua 5:13b, 14a

Scripture reading: Joshua 5:13-15

The night before the conquest of Jericho, Joshua was alone, and at a certain moment, he was startled by a man standing before him, with his drawn sword in his hand. Joshua asked him, Are you for us, or for our adversaries?

The man said, No. It’s a strange answer. He is obviously ready to fight. So he must be for Israel or for Jericho. One or the other. But he says, No; in other words, I’m not on either side. I am the commander of the army of the LORD. It will become very clear that this man is the LORD Himself, and Israel is His people, and they were there to take possession of the land that He had promised them. So why didn’t he say, “I’m on your side, Joshua?”

Maybe it sounds strange to say it this way, but we always have to remember that the LORD isn’t on our side. The Bible says in lots of places that God is with us and for us. But, He’s not on our side, in the sense that He takes up our agenda, that He’ll always make sure things always work out the way we want them to. God is sovereign, and He’s working on His agenda. And that’s good news, because His agenda is infinitely more wonderful than ours. He has decided to glorify Himself not by doing what we want Him to do, but by saving us from our sin by grace through faith in Christ.

Suggestions for prayer

Glorify God for taking you up in His sovereign purpose, so that you receive the indescribable blessing as He vindicates the honor of His Name.

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 27 – Whose side are you on, anyway? — Reformed Perspective

July 27, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

Pride Forfeits Honor (9:35)

Ironically, pride keeps people from obtaining the very honor that they seek. Proud people—even those in ministry—battle for position and seek to promote themselves, but end up forfeiting true honor and often end in humiliation. Honor is reserved for the humble. Like many in our day, the disciples viewed spiritual pride as normal, desirable, and legitimate. After all, pride characterized the most revered men in Israel, the religious leaders, who “[did] all their deeds to be noticed by men … they broaden[ed] their phylacteries and lengthen[ed] the tassels of their garments. They love[d] the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men” (Matt. 23:5–7; cf. 6:1–5).

Jesus knew what the disciples were thinking (Luke 9:47), even if they refused to express it. Sitting down, as rabbis commonly did when they taught, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Pursuing accolades, affirmation, and exaltation from men forfeits the true reward (Matt. 6:1–5) that comes to those who are willing to be last, not to those who have to be first.[1]

35 Jesus assumed the posture of a Jewish rabbi—he sat down (Mt 5:1; 13:1; Lk 5:3; Jn 8:2; cf. Mk 12:41) and called the Twelve to him. True greatness comes through service of others. To become first, you must be last—the position of a lowly servant. The term “servant” (diakonos) commonly referred to a table waiter or domestic servant, someone whose sole purpose was to meet the needs of others. Swete, 205, writes, “The spirit of service is the passport to eminence in the Kingdom of God, for it is the spirit of the Master Who Himself became diakonos pantōn [‘servant of all’].” This teaching is a complete reversal of worldly values. How important this principle was for Jesus can be seen by its repetition throughout the gospel tradition (Mk 10:31, 43–44; Mt 20:26–27; 23:8–11; Lk 22:24–27; cf. Php 2:1–11; Gos. Thom. 22). The very fact that the disciples were concerned about who was greatest underscores again their failure to understand Jesus’ statements about his suffering and death. The kind of service Jesus was talking about involved radical self-sacrifice for others.[2]

35 The question of precedence was resolved on the authority of Jesus: he who wishes to be first must determine to be the servant of all. This surprising reversal of all human ideas of greatness and rank is a practical application of the great commandment of love for one’s neighbor (Ch. 12:31; Lev. 19:18) and a reaffirmation of the call to self-denial which is the precondition for following Jesus (Ch. 8:34, where the formulation “whoever wishes to come after me” is parallel to “whoever wishes to be first” in Ch. 9:35). The order of life for the disciples in their relationship to each other is to be the service of love. By transforming the question of greatness into the task-orientation of service, Jesus established a new pattern for human relationships which leaves no occasion for strife or opposition toward one another. The disciples’ thoughts were upon the period of glory, when questions of rank seemed appropriate (cf. Ch. 10:35–37); Jesus redirected them to his insistence that the way to glory leads through suffering and death. The point of suffering is here located in the service to be accomplished, where service means specifically sacrifice for others. The disciples cannot order their relationships as they please but are to recognize in one another men under whom they place themselves as servants. Jesus thus decided their question in a way which is in keeping with his proclamation of his own messianic vocation (cf. Ch. 10:43–45). This was clearly recognized in Polycarp’s exhortation to the men whose task was to discharge the office of servants in the church at Philippi: “Likewise must the deacons be blameless … walking according to the truth of the Lord, who was ‘the servant of all’ ” (ad Phil. 5:2).[3]

Ver. 35.—And he sat down, and called the twelve. He sat down, with the authority of the great Teacher, to inculcate solemnly a fundamental principle of the Christian life. If any man would be first, he shall be last of all, and minister of all. These words are capable of two interpretations. They might be regarded as analogous to our Lord’s words elsewhere, “He that exalteth himself shall be abased;” as though they indicated the penalty which attaches to unworthy ambition. But it is surely far more natural to regard them as pointing out the way to real greatness, namely, by humble service for Christ’s sake.[4]

The solemn moment has now arrived for Jesus to show his disciples what should be the true attitude of any kingdom citizen. 35. So he sat down, called the twelve to him, and said, If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.

Having summoned the men into his immediate presence, Jesus, by means of the gesture of sitting down, as already explained, indicates that as their Teacher, he is about to give them a very important lesson. That lesson is this: their idea of what it means to be “great” must be changed; in fact, radically reversed. True greatness does not consist in this, that from a towering height a person, in a self-congratulatory manner, has the right now to look down upon all others (Luke 18:9–12); but in this, that he immerses himself in the needs of others, sympathizes with them and helps them in every way possible. So, if any person—whether he be one of The Twelve or anyone else—wishes to be first, he must be last; that is, servant of all.

Jesus must have repeated this lesson many a time throughout his ministry, probably at various places and in slightly varying ways. See also Matt. 20:26, 27; 23:11; Mark 10:43, 44; Luke 9:48b; 14:11; 18:14. In fact, is not this a lesson that is stressed throughout Scripture? See Job 22:29; Prov. 29:23; Isa. 57:15; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5.

As to self-centered ambition and vanity, “Before downfall goes pride; and before stumbling, a haughty spirit” (Prov. 16:18). Was not this the experience of Sennacherib (2 Chron. 32:14, 21), of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:30–33), and of Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:21–23)? On the other hand, note what is said about the commended centurion (Matt. 8:8, 10, 13), the humble Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:29; cf. Matt. 15:27, 28), and the penitent tax-collector (Luke 18:13, 14).

One reason why the lesson taught by Jesus is unforgettable is that he himself was constantly exemplifying it in his own life (Mark 10:44, 45; Luke 22:27; John 13:1–15; Phil. 2:5–8).[5]

9:35. Jesus did not focus on their arguing about who was the greatest. He spoke frankly, telling them if they wanted to be first, they must be last. The theme of servanthood echoes throughout Mark’s Gospel and reaches its greatest expression in chapter 10. Jesus stated again that human values are not necessarily kingdom values. In human institutions, we may fight for status. We may be concerned about being in the right crowd or being seen by powerful people. The old adage, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know,” has no place in the kingdom of God in the way the world means it.

In another sense, it is only who you know that can gain you entrance into God’s kingdom. But the image of a humble man or woman falling on his or her knees before God in repentance and asking for pardon and grace is a much different image than that of the businessperson cuddling up next to the person on a higher rung of the ladder.[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2015). Mark 9–16 (pp. 37–38). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Wessel, W. W., & Strauss, M. L. (2010). Mark. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 849). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Lane, W. L. (1974). The Gospel of Mark (pp. 339–340). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. Mark (Vol. 2, p. 7). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[5] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark (Vol. 10, pp. 357–358). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] Cooper, R. L. (2000). Mark (Vol. 2, p. 151). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

07/27/19 Some Jews from Asia — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Job 18-20, Acts 21:26-22:5

It takes only one person to generate a controversy in the church. One person can create trouble, gather others to support his position, and lead them in the wrong direction. One person can spark a fire that soon burns out of control.

Then, imagine what happens when you multiply that one. The controversy grows stronger and spreads more rapidly. Today’s reading, in fact, tells us of such a situation: “When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd . . .” (Acts 21:27). In the minds of his enemies, Paul was the instigator of a revolution, teaching against Jewish tradition and even, they thought, bringing Gentiles into the temple and defiling it. His enemies riled up the crowd, and “the whole city was stirred up” (Acts 21:30). So angry were the people, in fact, that they tried to kill Paul.

This revolt against Paul didn’t begin en masse, however, with the entire crowd all at once determining to stand against him. The text tells us that “some Jews from the province of Asia” started the stir. My prayer is that I would not be one to start a stand against the work of God, nor would I join any crowd who does so.

PRAYER: “Father, keep me so focused on You that I don’t get distracted by others.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Review and catch-up day

via 07/27/19 Some Jews from Asia — ChuckLawless.com

July 27 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Judges 10; Acts 14; Jeremiah 23; Mark 9


much of jeremiah 23 is a denunciation of the “shepherds” destroying and scattering the sheep of God’s pasture (23:1; compare Jer. 10 and meditation for July 14). The long section denouncing the lying prophets (23:9–40) is one of the most penetrating presentations of the differences between true prophets and false in all of holy Scripture. Its pathos is deepened by the asides of the prophet Jeremiah, asides that not only disclose some element of the true prophet but expose Jeremiah’s own heart: “My heart is broken with me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the Lord and his holy words” (23:9). The blistering condemnation of dreams that are enthusiastically passed around the circles of the prophets, while these same prophets fail to speak God’s word faithfully (23:25–39), has a contemporary relevance that only the blind could miss.

But here I want to focus on the first six verses. In the light of the abysmally immoral and idolatrous kings condemned in the previous chapter, and in the light of the destructive shepherds introduced in this chapter, God presents the ultimate solution. It has three components:

(1) God will destroy the destructive shepherds (23:2). That is a theme we have seen before, and one that takes up a fair bit of this chapter.

(2) More importantly, God himself will gather the remnant of the flock from where they have been scattered, and he will bring them back to their pasture. “I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing” (23:4), the Lord declares. In other words, the promise of an end to the exile and a return of the remnant is now cast in the categories of a scattered flock being returned to its pasture. But there is also an element of expectation that transcends the historical end of the exile: the Lord himself will provide a quality of “pastors” (i.e., “shepherds”) who will transcend what the people have experienced in the past.

(3) In particular, God “will raise up to David a righteous Branch” (23:5). The Davidic line will be little more than a stump, but a new “Branch” will grow out of it, “a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land” (23:5). His days will bring safety and salvation for the covenant people of God. “This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness” (23:6). Just so: for by him, God will be both just and the One who justifies the ungodly, vindicating them by the life and death of the Branch from David’s line (Rom. 3:20–26).[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.