Monthly Archives: August 2019

August 31 The Pathway to Peace

Scripture Reading: Psalm 116:1–7

Key Verse: Psalm 116:7

Return to your rest, O my soul,

For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Let’s take a closer look at our passage from yesterday, Jeremiah 6:16:

  1. “Stand in the ways and see.” In a time of turmoil, our minds race ahead to think of all that could happen in the future. We ask ourselves lots of “what if” questions and frequently fall victim to unfounded worry. To “stand” means to turn our mind from its troubling thoughts of the future and to focus on God. It is similar to being at an intersection with signs pointing many different ways. We wait until we know which direction the trail is heading.
  2. “Ask for the old paths, where the good way is.” The road of trouble has been well traveled by the saints of the faith, and their footsteps have made it into a path of glory to God. Meditate on the cries of King David in the Psalms or on the prayers of others in the Bible. Ponder their responses as well as the way they reveal their faith and trust in God even while suffering greatly. Accept the Spirit’s revelation of the ancient path of faith and the good way of trust. Then pray for courage to walk those paths as Jesus did.
  3. “Walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.” With eyes firmly fixed on our Savior, resolve to walk down this road of suffering in a way that is honoring to Him. Draw deeply on the Holy Spirit’s strength for the next step, and seek to be obedient in thought, word, and deed. You will discover that as you follow Him, sweet, soul-satisfying rest will be found.

Lord, I choose the pathway of peace. Help me to stand firm in times of turmoil. Enable me to ask where the good way is, and then to walk in it.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 254). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Lust in 1 John — Blog & Mablog


We are beginning a short series of sermons in 1 John, but the messages are of a topical nature. Although these messages will revolve around particular topics, I believe that when we are done, we will have apprehended the larger message of the book via a somewhat different route—different, that is, from a verse-by-verse exposition. So over the next few weeks I would like to ask you to read and reread this short letter, and to do so with the following words in mind. As it happened, they all begin with the letter L, but that was more or less an accident. The words we will be considering are lust, liar, life, light, and love. The first of these is lust.

The Text:

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15–17).

Summary of the Text:

We are sometimes tempted to think that certain verbs are inherently virtuous. But the virtue or vice in any transitive verb is found, in the first place, in the direct object, and secondly in the adverb. Take the verb love, for instance. What do you love, and how are you loving it? If you love evil things as opposed to righteous things, then that is a direct object problem. If you love God and the Bible, but in a spirit of self-righteousness, then that is an adverb problem.

In our text here, we are directly commanded not to love the world. Not only so, but the word is that world-famous Greek verb, agapao. Do not love the world, John says, or the things in the world (v. 15). This kind of prohibited love is exclusionary. If a man has it, then he does not have the love of the Father in him (v. 15). No man can serve two masters—one love will expel the other. John then gives us a list of the things that are in the world, the things that he had in mind with his earlier broad prohibition. First is the lust of the flesh (v. 16), then the lust of the eyes (v. 16), and then third, the pride of life (v. 16). These are not of the Father, but rather of the world (v. 16), which is why the one excludes the other. The world is transient, it passes away. The lusts within the world are also transient, and they too pass away (v. 17). But the one who does the will of God abides forever (v. 17).

The Heart of Worldliness:

So these three things are what characterize the world, in the sense John is using it here, and taken together, they are the very definition of worldliness. So in order to have this thing called “worldliness,” you do not need Times Square bedecked in neon, or downtown Babylon on a Saturday night, or Vanity Fair. All you need is one prohibited tree. Please note the italics.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”

1 John 2:16

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat”

Gen. 3:6

What This Lust Actually Is:

When we moderns use the word lust, we usually mean desire in the sexual sense, although we still have the older sense in modern English in words like wanderlust. And while John’s usage would include that sexual sense, he is not limiting it that way at all here. The word is epithymia, and simply means craving or intense desire. The word thymia means desire, and eipthymia means heap big desire, intense desire.

The World We Are Not to Love:

Now of course, we know from the most famous verse in the Bible that God loves the world (John 3:16). We see the same thing repeated here in 1 John (1 John 2:2; 4:9). Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. When God loved the world. He was loving sinners in need of salvation. When we are told not to love the world, we are being told not to love the way these sinners have locked themselves into their need to be saved.

So there is a world system, still sunk in sin, and that system of worldliness has certain defined characteristics. First, it passes away (1 John 2:17). The world does not recognize us as the sons of God, and they fail at this recognition because they did not understand the Lord for who He was (1 John 3:1; 4:17). The world hates genuine believers (1 John 3:13). The world is filled up with lying prophets (1 John 4:1). The world has the spirit of antichrist, which denies the Incarnation (1 John 4:3). The world wants to listen to its own (1 John 4:5).

But this world is nevertheless overmastered by believers, who have the great God with them and within them (1 John 4:4). And so the world is overcome or conquered by us, using the instrumentality of faith (1 John 5:4). What is it that conquers the world? Is it not our faith?

The Great Sin of Worldliness:

When it comes to moral theology, it is a commonplace to say that the cardinal sin is the sin of pride. And considered from a certain vantage point, I believe that this is certainly true. Quite right—pride can be found at the center of every motion of every sin. But if we zoom out, and consider our lot as interconnected individuals, I would want to say that the cardinal sin is that of worldliness. We are prideful individuals, certainly, but we are worldly together. Worldliness is our mortal enemy because it pits one rule against another—the rule of God in Christ over against the rule of whatever is in fashion according to all the regnant non-Christs.

So the biblical view here is binary. There are two roads you can walk, and only two. There are two tables you may eat from, and only two. There are two houses where you may live, and only two. They are Christ and the world. You are either in Christ or you are in the world. And if you get to know Christ well, you will recognize that world in an instant, whatever get-up she put on this time. Her makeup changes, her tattoos are all temporary, her outfits change, but it is always the same allure.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”

James 4:4

But beware. When John writes to us about turning away from lust, he is not talking about a weekend on Bourbon Street in the first instance. He is talking about a lust for respectability—although it is a respectability that always make room for a little sin on the side. Sin is always included in the annual budget. Some of it is out in the open, while some of it is tolerated with a wink and a nod.

Revealed Fathers:

Your desires reveal who your father actually is. Lusts are always inherited from your father, and desires are always passed down to sons and daughters.

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do”

John 8:44

The alternative is Christ. Always Christ, and only Christ—Christ crucified, Christ buried, Christ risen, Christ enthroned, and Christ in you. He is the only one who can bring you a new Father. No one comes to the Father, He said, but by me (John 14:6). New Father, new desires. Born into a new life, you find that new life wants new things. All your tangled lusts are taken away, and are replaced with a hunger and a thirst for righteousness. Not a thirst for Pharisaism. Not an eagerness for laws of hammered tin. Not a hunger for religious bread made out of legalistic sawdust. Not an intense desire to become a self-righteous fop. Not all screwed up in the adverbs. Not a faux-holiness.

No. A few Father gives you the desire to be truly holy, which is to say, He gives you a deep desire to be happy. This replaces the old desire, the old lust, which, while it pretends to want happiness, actually wants to be unhappy on its own terms. We would much rather be unhappy on our own terms than to be happy on God’s terms. That, in fact, is the heart of all our problems.

But when He becomes your Father, when you are born anew, you have gladly surrendered the point. And when you have surrendered that point, you have said your farewells to the world system of lust and striving.


via Lust in 1 John — Blog & Mablog

August 31 Keep Building and Growing

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:10–15

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 1:9

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Developers and builders work hard to make sure that structures meet the required building codes. From electrical wiring to masonry and framing, all materials must be of a specified quality and assembled in a safe manner. If they are not, then the security and physical well-being of the future occupants are at risk.

As a believer, you are involved in the long-term building of your spiritual “house.” Christ is the strong foundation, and He guides the ultimate construction of your faith and character. Along the way, as you choose to submit to His carpentry, you select the building materials that go into your spiritual house.

Being obedient, using your tongue for the edification of others, acting as a peacemaker, refusing to give in to selfishness, and doing anything that reflects the fruit of the Spirit—all are solid building blocks of a life being conformed to the image of Christ. One day Jesus will judge the quality of the house of your life: “Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work” (1 Cor. 3:12–13 nasb).

Remember, though, that this evaluation has nothing to do with salvation. Jesus will inspect your structure only for the purpose of giving good gifts in the measure of the work you did here.

Dear heavenly Father, I’ve started this journey of commitment and change. Please help me continue. Someday You will review the quality of my spiritual house. I want to pass inspection.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 254). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Worldview and Apologetics in the News | Truthbomb Apologetics (08-31-2019)

Yale professor, computer scientist rejects Darwinism, now finds Intelligent Design compelling

Marvel Announces First Openly Gay Superhero In Cinematic Universe

Review: 13 Reasons Why (Season 3)

Democratic Party embraces nonreligious voters, criticizes ‘religious liberty’ in new resolution

Fifteen Science Papers Retracted Over China Illegal Organ Harvesting

Newly deciphered Moabite inscription may be first use of written word ‘Hebrews’

Intelligent Design Opponents Don’t Know What They’re Talking About, But Love Telling You ID is Stupid Anyway

Remarkable New Films on Faith and Work

Interview: Craig Keener on his new book, “Christobiography”

Christian authors blast Amazon for banning their books, selling pedophilia titles

Courage and Godspeed,

Our last edition is here.

Source: Worldview and Apologetics in the News

Jackie Hill Perry: Discernment Review

By Elizabeth Prata

Jackie Hill Perry is a self-described rapper, writer, teacher, and poet. She is also a married mother of two and an ex-Lesbian converted to Christianity ten years ago at age 19. She expresses her Christianity through spoken word poetry, music, and essays (some at The Gospel Coalition). She has published two CD’s, and is author of the 2018 book Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been. An upcoming Bible study is due to be released this October called, Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture. Perry says she feels compelled to share the wondrous truths of Jesus through her God-given gifts as communicator.

Perry is also friends with and partnered to in ministry with some spurious characters, all in the name of ‘not being tribalistic’ according to Perry. She recently photographed herself with Bethel Church’s…

View original post 2,051 more words

Dems explicitly vote to condemn ‘religious liberty’ | WND

“In God We Trust” is America’s national motto.

Democrats, who who famously booed the mention of God in their party platform, now have condemned “religious liberty” and praised the religiously “unaffiliated.”

The Washington Examiner reported the Democratic National Committee approved a resolution “taking aim at religious liberty.”

At a summer meeting in San Francisco, the DNC adopted a resolution concerning the “nonreligious.”

It explains that the the “Religiously Unaffiliated Demographic has tripled in the last two decades, now representing 25 percent of the overall American population and 35 percent of those under the age of 30.”

Further, they “overwhelmingly share the Democratic Party’s values,” with support for same-sex marriage, open borders and more.

And the “nonreligious have often been subjected to unfair bias and exclusion in American society, particularly in the areas of politics and policymaking where assumptions of religiosity have long predominated.”

“WHEREAS, those most loudly claiming that morals, values, and patriotism must be defined by their particular religious views have used those religious views, with misplaced claims of ‘religious liberty,’ to justify public policy that has threatened the civil rights and liberties of many Americans, including but not limited to the LGBT community, women, and ethnic and religious/nonreligious minorities.

“BE IT RESOLVED, that the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE recognizes: 1. The value, ethical soundness, and importance of the religiously unaffiliated demographic, a group of Americans who contribute in innumerable ways to the arts, sciences, medicine, business, law, the military, their communities, the success of the Party and prosperity of the Nation; and 2. That religiously unaffiliated Americans are a group that, as much as any other, advocates for rational public policy based on sound science and universal humanistic values and should be represented, included, and heard by the Party.”

The Secular Coalition of America embraced the statement.

“Nonreligious Americans want to work with people of all faiths to build an effective government that serves and protects all of our rights equally,” Sarah Levin, the director of governmental affairs for the organization, said in the Examiner report. “At the end of the day, it is critical that all political parties embrace and work with the secular community to ensure that policy is driven by science and evidence, not sectarian beliefs. Religiously unaffiliated Americans strongly identify with secularism, and will fight to protect the separation of church and state.”

WND reported in June the DNC, in apparent acknowledgement that the party has a “God problem,” hired a religious outreach director.

Rev. Derrick Harkins, who held a similar position in 2012, is former senior vice president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, which recently celebrated “rejoicing in the queerness of God.”

Democrats have alienated themselves from many religious voters by promoting abortion and same-sex marriage. In 2016, Trump won 80 percent of the white evangelical vote.

During the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, delegates booed, jeered and shook their fists when the chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, affirmed the adoption of an amendment to the party’s platform that restored a mention of God.

He had to call for a vote three times before he could make the declaration that, in his opinion, the ayes made up two-thirds of the vote.

After the first vote, which sounded like a dead heat between the yes and no votes, he said, “In the opinion of the … let me do that again.”

The second vote sounded the same, and Villaraigosa looked offstage for help and advice.

A woman came up behind him and said, “Let them do what they’re going to do.”

On the third vote, Villaraigosa was prepared and stated that in his opinion, two-thirds of the voters said “aye,” apparently without considering the volume of the voice vote.

Shaking fists and jeers erupted before he could finish speaking.

The platform of the party drew nationwide astonishment just a day earlier when it removed a reference to God and a declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Source: Dems explicitly vote to condemn ‘religious liberty’

The Duplicitous World of Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias | Virtue Online

The Duplicitous World of Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias
He inflated his credentials, engaged in an online sexual relationship with a woman and participated in an abortion


By David W. Virtue, DD
July 10, 2019

This is not a story I would have chosen to write. Ravi Zacharias is not an Anglican, but he has spoken at Anglican events and in Anglican churches across the globe. He spoke recently at the 10th Annual Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America in Plano, Texas. I heard him speak and quoted him in one of my stories. He was impressive and received an ovation at the conclusion of his message to more than 1,100 faithful Anglicans. Some of what I am about to expose has been whispered about for some time, and while I was aware of it, I wrote nothing, thinking that it was just gossip and hearsay; scandal laid needlessly at the foot of a good evangelist and apologist for the Christian Faith. As time wore on the rumors and charges grew, a sudden flurry of recent emails sent to me, forced me to change my mind. VOL reached out to Ravi Zacharias on several occasions seeking comment about the charges but got no reply.

Three main charges have been leveled at evangelist and apologist Ravi Zacharias.

The first is that he claimed to have earned degrees from respectable institutions that he never obtained. Along with that are claims he made that he studied at a number of well-known institutions, claiming to lecture alongside academic men he claimed to have a relationship with.

Secondly, that he engaged in an online sex relationship with a woman who sent him nude photos and he did not tell her to cease and desist. When she threatened to go public, he threatened to commit suicide. An out-of-court settlement was reached and the whole matter disappeared. How much was paid? Did it come out of Ravi Zacharias Ministries? If so, did that violate his non-profit status?

Thirdly, and most sadly, he told a woman who got pregnant by his brother several decades ago, to go and get an abortion. The woman in question did and she tells her story here. She is clear that by doing so she is not suing Zacharias and is not after money, she simply wants the world to know that his views on abortion are hypocritical.


Read more: The Duplicitous World of Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias

How Central Banks Lost Control Of The Market, In One Chart | Zero Hedge

Article Image

The topic of this year’s Jackson Hole was, in not so many words, the fading power of central banks which for the past decade, had been the only game in town. However, with interest rates back to record lows, and the ECB (and soon Fed) set to restart QE, the outcome will be even worse than last time, sending the world into Albert Edwards’ infamous deflationary ice age.

But one didn’t have to go all the way to Wyoming to observe the waning power of central banks. A quick look at the following chart from Bank of America would have sufficed.

As BofA’s equity derivatives team led by Stefano Pascale and Benjamin Bowler notes, the year 2018 was characterized by the awakening of vol from 2017’s historical lows as investors adjusted to CBs showing less sensitivity for markets.

Meanwhile, Bank of America’s buy-the-dip rule, which worked 9 out 11 times from 2013-2017 when central banks were in their prime, failed 4 times in 2018, and only after the ~20% selloff of Q4 did the Fed flip to a much more dovish rhetoric.

This historical U-turn led to a record start to 2019 for risk assets and one of the sharpest drops in cross-asset vol ever. However, an ominous, if 30,000 ft. view shows that, despite CBs’ best efforts to contain risk this year, the genie can’t be put back in the bottle, and cross-asset vol is unlikely to return to 2017 bubble-lows.

This is shown best through the lens of Bank of America’s GFSI Market Risk indicator, which despite virtually every central bank turning dovish in 2019, is unchanged on average between 2018 and 2019. Indeed, among its cross-asset components and including credit spreads, rates and commodity vol are on average markedly higher in ’19 than in ’18 (less negative numbers indicating higher vol), FX vol has hit new lows this year, and equities and credit are showing similar levels of stress.

Why is this notable? Because as the BofA strategists conclude, “this is important evidence that the market’s trust in central bank support is waning and that the 2017 ultra-low levels of vol are probably behind us.”

The bigger problem, as Jackson Hole demonstrated and as Bill Dudley’s subsequent op-ed confirmed, is that central bankers’ trust in themselves is collapsing, to the point where they are engaging in irrational, panicked actions and unsure what to do when the next recession inevitably hits. Which is why all they can do is delay the inevitable downturn by preventing the S&P from sliding back to its fair value for as long as they can.

Source: How Central Banks Lost Control Of The Market, In One Chart

For Second Week In A Row, Fed Buys Treasuries | Zero Hedge

Authored by Chris Hamilton via Econimica blog,


  • After 250 weeks without a purchase of Treasuries (since Oct. 2014), for the second week in a row, the Federal Reserve bought Treasuries.
  • The $14 billion in purchasing is in stark contrast to zero purchases since Quantitative Easing ended and selling during Quantitative Tightening.
  • When the Fed sells Treasuries, asset prices struggle, but when the Fed buys Treasuries, asset prices have surged.

Chart below shows the Fed’s total Treasury holdings (red line) versus the weekly change in Treasuries (black columns) since 2014.  The QE taper is visible with the first dashed yellow line, the Quantitative Tightening the second dashed yellow line, and then the QT taper highlighted by the third dashed yellow line.  Now, the Fed seems to have begun a new period of Treasury purchasing…but for how long and for what purpose, only Mr. Powell knows.

To put things in perspective, the chart below shows the Fed holdings of Treasuries (red line) and weekly change in Treasury buying (black columns) since 2003.  Clearly visible is the activist role the Fed has taken since the GFC…QE1, QE2, Operation Twist, QE3, Quantitative Tightening…and now???

And just to highlight the immediate and incredible impact of the Federal Reserve purchasing of Treasuries on equity prices, the chart below is weekly changes in Treasury purchases (yellow columns) versus the Wilshire 5000 (red line), representing all publicly traded US equities.

Data via St. Louis FRED.

Plunge Protection Team saves the world (from a 5% dip) once again.

Source: For Second Week In A Row, Fed Buys Treasuries

August 31 Living What You Believe

Scripture reading: Revelation 3:20–22

Key verse: John 10:10

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Peter followed the lead of James and instructed us to resist the enemy by standing firm in our faith. James’s letter to the early church was written long before Peter’s. In it, James addressed the persecuted Christians living outside Palestine.

The dispersion of Jewish believers came at the hands of the Roman government and was an attempt to disrupt the growing force of the New Testament church. Away from their homes and, in many cases, away from those they loved, Jewish believers faced all kinds of trials and temptations. Warren Wiersbe stated: “One of the major problems in the church was a failure on the part of many to live what they professed to believe.”

Failing to live what we profess to believe is a major problem. It also is a major assault tactic of Satan. For the enemy to achieve his goal of discouraging the believer, he must first gain access to that person’s life through sin. This is where he can easily catch us off guard if we are not in tune with the Spirit of God.

Jesus stands ready to fight for you. However, if you allow the enemy to gain access to your life through sin, you will suffer a sure defeat.

James instructed us to resist Satan’s temptations. Use the name of Jesus Christ as your strong defense. Victory comes when you are eternally linked to the Savior.

Father, make me strong in the face of temptation. Deliver me from the muck and mire of the valleys of this world. I want to continually dwell spiritually on the mountaintop with You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 254). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Rep Jim Jordan: ‘Comey Owes the Country an Apology’ | The Epoch Times

Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Thursday, Aug. 29 that he doesn’t owe former FBI director James Comey an apology, noting that Comey “owes the whole country” one.

Jordan has been an open critic of Comey, saying in 2018 that Comey thinks “the rules don’t apply to him.” Comey was fired as FBI director May 9, 2017, and allegedly gave four memos to personal attorneys afterward.

“Jim Comey is the guy who allows the dossier to be used to get a warrant to spy on a fellow American citizen, and Jim Comey is the guy who leaks sensitive information, broke the rules of the FBI, leaked sensitive information to The New York Times through his friend Daniel Richman—for what reason?” he said Thursday on “The Ingraham Angle.”

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Comey reportedly sent screenshots of a memo, complete with instructions, to a close friend who gave information to The New York Times after he was fired from the FBI. He testified in 2017 that his intent was to begin a probe into investigating whether Russia interfered with the 2016 election.

“I’m not going to apologize,” Jordan continued. “Jim Comey owes the country an apology because he put us through this for two and a half years, and we know he did it. We know he did it because he was out to get the president based on what happened at that Jan. 6 meeting … they did it to try to get information, trap the president. All the while, he was telling the president, ‘you’re not under investigation.’”

The Justice Department’s inspector general released a report Thursday stating Comey didn’t safeguard “sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment” and violated FBI policy in how to handle memos, which were about conversations with President Donald Trump.

The report did note that while he failed to keep sensitive information safe and broke FBI rules, it “found no evidence” that Comey provided classified information to the press. After the report, Comey wrote on Twitter: “I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice.”

Jordan also wrote on Twitter that Comey thinks “he’s above the law.”

“Jim Comey’s responsible for the whole darn two-and-a-half-year thing,” he told Ingraham.

By Shelby Talcott

Source: Rep Jim Jordan: ‘Comey Owes the Country an Apology’

Democrats ready to replace worship of God with worship of the state | Washington Times

Democrats can’t seem to figure out whether they want to use the government to drive Christianity underground or just replace the biblical version with fake Christianity.

These aren’t mutually exclusive goals; either one brings America closer to a secular, socialist state whose unofficial religion is atheism.

Democratic presidential contenders like former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg invoke Christianity to shill for taxpayer-funded, unrestricted abortion and the family values of Sodom, plus confiscation of wealth and redistribution. Note to the media: Why aren’t Democrats and Republicans being asked what they think of Drag Queen Story Hour? Anyone?

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the Democratic National Committee adopted a resolution on Aug. 24 hailing the “religiously unaffiliated” as the “largest religious group within the Democratic Party, growing from 19% in 2007 to one in three today.”

That’s great news for those Democrats who would love to replace worship of God with worship of the state.

The DNC resolution declares “that morals, values, and patriotism are not unique to any particular religion, and are not necessarily reliant on having a religious worldview at all.”

Really? So, where did American morals and values come from? The DNC might want to try to identify areas of the world not influenced by Christianity or Judaism that have nonetheless embraced the sanctity of life, individual rights, free markets, self-government and women’s rights.

They’ll be looking for a long time.

Many nonbelievers are patriotic, have strong personal integrity and strong opinions. But the moralistic language they use is derived from the very faiths that they claim have no value. If everyone has his or her own “truth,” and everything is relative, who can say what’s right or wrong?

The Declaration of Independence credits God as the source of justice, stating that, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Likewise, as John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

That’s because the U.S. Constitution’s design for maximum human liberty works only when the people have a moral compass beyond their own appetites. Absent that, we can rationalize anything.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports,” George Washington wrote in his Farewell Address. “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”

Based on concepts enshrined in British Common Law, which the great English jurist William Blackstone traced to the Bible, Christians led the campaign to end the slave trade. Across the world, Christians created hospitals and clinics. They criminalized infanticide, child marriage, child and spousal abuse, gladiatorial combat, death games and immolation of widows, to name a few reforms. Some also behaved very badly, justifying their inhumanity by misusing the Bible.

The American Revolution led to a hunger for self-governance that rocked the world. It’s not for nothing that brave Chinese dissident students erected a model of the Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square.

The DNC’s resolution calls for “rational public policy based on sound science and universal humanistic values.” Science is, indeed, marvelous. But there’s no acknowledgement that the scientific method arose in Christian countries precisely because of the biblical view of an ordered universe with a discoverable design.

Finally, before the Democrats embrace atheism as their new-found faith, they might want to take a closer look at the surveys.

Some polls show that up to 25 percent now choose “atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular’” when asked about religious affiliation. However, this may be quite misleading. The Pew Research Center’s latest figures show that only 3 percent of the U.S. population identifies as atheist, notes Glenn Stanton, a researcher at Focus on the Family, in The Federalist.

“Yes, there has been a sizable increase here over the last decade, but that’s up from only 1.6 percent of all adults,” he writes. “Comparatively, if you could fit all the serious Christians in the United States on a couple of Greyhound buses, all the atheists could fit in the backseat of a Prius with room to spare.”

People who were nominal Christians in mainline denominations now describe themselves as unaffiliated, or “nones.” Meanwhile, evangelical churches are growing rapidly.

“Robust Christianity is not shrinking, not even among young adults,” Mr. Stanton writes. “It is holding quite firm and even growing in many important ways. It is increasingly liberalized, orthodoxy-denying, and lukewarm faith that’s tanking as if it has a mill stone around its neck.”

That’s something to think about when the Democrats celebrate unbelief in their midst or trot out pagan customs masquerading as Christian tolerance.

• Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times.

Source: Democrats ready to replace worship of God with worship of the state

Jackie Hill Perry Uninvited From Answers in Genesis Women’s Conference — Christian Research Network

“Hill Perry’s picture has been removed from the speaker line-up on the Answers in Genesis page — which was also confirmed by Answers staff.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  Jackie Hill Perry is a woke feminist ex-lesbian who is a contributor at The Gospel Coalition and regular speaker in the New Calvinist SBC/PCA speaking circuit. Hill Perry has been in the forefront of Christian news for the last several days due to her obstinance to correction regarding her approval of the false gospel-preaching chicken feather-dropping Bethel Church.

Hill Perry announced on Instagram that she isn’t “tribalistic” in who she fellowships with and that regardless of what other people think, she’s going to roll with heretics. Why? Because, according to Hill Perry, simply because teachers teach falsely doesn’t make them a false teacher.  View article →


Jackie Hill Perry

via Jackie Hill Perry Uninvited From Answers in Genesis Women’s Conference — Christian Research Network

Saturday Sampler: August 25 — August 31 — The Outspoken TULIP

It horrifies me now, but I used to almost buy into the perverted interpretation of Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15 that people use to justify same sex attraction. In Did Jesus struggle with his gender and his sexuality? Was he tempted to same sex attraction? Elizabeth Prata of The End Time debunks the myth that same sex attraction is morally neutral.

Being in my mid-60s, I appreciate Tim Challies for challenging me through his article, Gray Hair and a Righteous Life. But really, younger readers need his counsel just as much as we seniors do.

As a contributing writer for Morning by Morning, Chelsea Stanley shares Songs of the Saints: Overcoming Anxiety Moment by Moment as a testimony to God’s grace in using a hymn to keep her mind focused on Him. I think you’ll appreciate her encouragement.

Tom from excatholic4christ takes on some Twisted logic from an ecumenically-minded evangelical by reminding us what Roman Catholicism actually teaches. His understanding of both Catholic and Protestant doctrine qualify him to address ecumenical sentiments.

For a fascinating read, visit Growing 4 Life, where Leslie A explains How We Are Like the Moon to demonstrate reasons for avoiding worldliness. As usual, she challenges us — and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Complementing the post by Elizabeth Prata that I referenced earlier, Fred Butler of Hip and Thigh writes The Last Temptation of Christ as a rebuttal to the growing acceptance of so-called gay Christians. If Elizabeth’s essay introduced you to the Biblical perspective on homosexual temptation, Fred’s will expand on her presentation. Both articles deserve your time and attention.

In this day of dismantling God-given gender roles, I praise God for courageous men like Allen Nelson IV. His Things Above Us post, Why it’s Not Good for Man to be Alone, beautifully portrays marriage between a man and a woman.

For his weekly contribution to The Cripplegate, Jesse Johnson tackles the latest trend in political correctness by writing Was Jesus a person of color? An immigrant? A Palestinian? Honestly, some of the stuff liberal “Christians” come up with boggles the mind!

Let’s think about these Three ways the prosperity gospel has infected our churches, which Stephen Kneale lists in his blog, Building Jerusalem. Don’t expect this piece to be comfortable reading, but do expect it to help you pray in ways that seek God’s honor and glory. That is why you pray, right?

via Saturday Sampler: August 25 — August 31 — The Outspoken TULIP

August 31, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

United in God’s Kingdom

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, (2:19a)

Whether believers were previously apart from God and His people or whether they were previously nearby, they became one in Jesus Christ. Whether they were former strangers and outcasts or former aliens and guests, all believers in Christ become fellow citizens of God’s kingdom with the saints—the believers from every age who have trusted in God. God’s kingdom has no strangers or aliens, no second-class citizens. “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20), Paul declares, and the only citizens of heaven are God’s saints.

united in god’s family

and are of God’s household, (2:19b)

As if being members of His divine kingdom were not enough, God’s gracious work in Christ draws us even closer and makes us members of God’s household. Because we have identified ourselves with His Son by faith, God now sees us and treats us exactly as He sees and treats His Son—with infinite love. Because the Father cannot give anything but His best to the Son, He cannot give anything but His best to those who are in His Son. “Both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father,” the writer of Hebrews tells us, “for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.… Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are” (2:11; 3:6; Rom. 8:17).

Heavenly citizenship and family membership are not distinct roles or positions but simply different views of the same reality, because every kingdom citizen is a family member and every family member is a kingdom citizen.

If believers have no distinctions before God, they should have no distinctions among themselves. We are fellow citizens and fellow family members, equal in every spiritual way before God. If God accepts each one of us, how can we not accept each other?[1]

We Are Dear to God (2:19)

Unfolding the implications of the preceding summary that “through him [Christ] we both [Jews and Gentiles] have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Eph. 2:18), the apostle says to the Gentiles now in the church, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people” (Eph. 2:19). Paul puts before us the grand consequence of the cooperative work of the Trinity in our behalf. Through the cleansing work of Christ we can now approach the heavenly Father. The word Paul uses to describe our “access” to God is used in New Testament times to describe access to a throne room. Our Father is a King.

Paul’s careful wording reminds us that we can enter the presence of the King of the universe and seek his favor because he loves us as his own children. By the sacrifice of the Son, the effects of our sin have been washed away. Now we—although of Gentile origins—can approach the Father with the same status as the covenant people of old. And the Holy Spirit himself ushers us forward, announces our presence, and carries our petitions.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit unite in heavenly power and compassion to grant us purity, peace, and purpose. The trinitarian theology of this passage (Eph. 2:18; cf. 2:22) is reminiscent of other trinitarian texts in Paul’s letters (e.g., 1 Cor. 12:4–6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4–6), but here there is a special emphasis on the effect of their cooperative work on our corporate status.

No Longer Foreigners (Eph. 2:19a)

Having access to the Father means that we are no longer foreigners and aliens to the covenant (Eph. 2:19). This is the converse of what was previously said: “You who are Gentiles by birth … were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:11–12). Alienation from God and isolation from his promises and privileges characterized our former status, so that we were without hope and the comfort of God in this world of loneliness, trouble, and transition. But it is “no longer” so. We are no longer aliens and foreigners.

But Fellow Citizens (2:19b)

We are fellow citizens with God’s people. If you have been an alien in a foreign country, then you understand how important such citizenship is. In your own country, you conduct business, seek medical attention, participate in government, have legal protections, and do not even think of the privileges. But if you travel to another country where you have no automatic rights—you worry about whether your medical insurance will apply, or whether your currency will work, or whether you will have legal rights if you get in trouble. When you are a stranger in a strange land, you feel vulnerable, alone, and wary every day.

Having citizenship in the ancient world also meant that you had special rights and protection. This is why the city officials at Philippi, who had beaten Paul and Silas without a trial, became so alarmed when they learned the two were Roman citizens (Acts 16:38–39). The officials knew that the protection and power of Rome could be exercised against them for their treatment of its citizens. So when Paul here reminds us that we are “fellow citizens” with God’s people, he is reminding us that we have the power and protection of heaven. We are as treasured as any of the covenant people. Countering the vulnerabilities we feel in our travel through this world, Paul says we have the privileges of our heavenly citizenship to protect us.

And Family (2:19c)

Our privileges are not exhausted in our citizenship. Paul says that in addition to having the rights of citizens, we also have the benefits of being in God’s family. “You are … members of God’s household” (Eph. 2:19c), Paul says to the Ephesian Gentiles. Here the apostle narrows the circle of intimacy for those now in the Ephesian church. Paul began by broadly saying, “You are no longer foreigners and aliens.” Then he draws the relationship closer, saying, “You are fellow citizens.” Now he tightens that relationship even further by saying to people very different in race, class, and origin, “You are part of the same family.”

Paul makes this relationship even more special by reminding the church that it is not just any family of which they are members; they are members of God’s family. We understand how special this wording is when we see that Paul uses this word for family (oikeios) to refer to actual family members in 1 Timothy 5:8 and in a metaphorical sense to speak of the family of God (the “household of faith”) in Galatians 6:10 (cf. oikos in 1 Tim. 3:15). Thus even the adopted children of God (Eph. 1:5) can be assured that God is their Father and they are his family. Paul wants us to understand the great privilege and comfort that come from knowing that God claims us as his own family no matter what our past difficulties or failures.

Humorist Garrison Keillor tells the story of a young woman named Lydia who tires of her staid and proper upbringing in Lake Wobegon. She moves to New Orleans and takes up in the revelry until it, too, becomes routine. She longs for something more. Eventually she discovers that the “something more” is to feel important to someone, to be cherished and loved. She takes up with a man that she has met amidst the parties. He moves in with her, but he cannot leave aspects of the revelry that have become compulsive in his life. He cannot keep a job, but gives her the job of picking up his beer bottles that daily litter the floor and the sofa. She eventually tires of him, too. One day she leaves a month’s rent on the TV and leaves him asleep at midday to make life on his own.

She takes the bus back to Lake Wobegon. They whisper about her there. Her days of ill repute generate much conversation over coffee at the local café where she now works. Though she is back at home, she is a foreigner. Familiar surroundings only make her feel more alien, reminding her that she does not belong here.

She goes to her parents’ home for Thanksgiving. She sits at the table but feels out of place, not at home, although she is at home. So, as soon as the pie is eaten and the dishes are piled at the kitchen sink, she goes to a remote part of the living room to escape the relatives who now seem alien to her. Tracing her hand along the fireplace mantle, she glances over all the familiar objects in all the familiar places, and then sees an unfamiliar picture. It is her picture from her senior year in high school. There she is fresh-faced with every hair in place, but there is something different about the picture now. Beneath her image in the frame is stuck a little label typed from her father’s old Remington typewriter. It simply says, “Our Lydia.” How strange to be labeled in one’s own house, and yet Lydia knows the purpose. Before the world and against all the whispers this was her father’s announcement to everyone who came into the house and knew nothing or everything about her: “This is ‘Our Lydia.’ ” The “our” meant so much. Those three letters were as jewels to her, each one a diamond that said she was treasured in this house. No matter how far she had traveled in distance or behavior, no matter how foreign her place or practices, no matter what had transpired, no matter the time passed, no matter the rumors told, or the truth revealed—amidst all the transitions and enduring beyond them she was a member of this family. She was “Our Lydia.”

God says in this passage that we are his family. We are treasured in his house always, always. Whatever transitions come, whether they are transitions away from current location or away from his approval, whether they are transitions of success or failure, whether they are transitions of family or difficulty or career, the love of our Father will never waver. His heavenly power and protection are active in our behalf wherever we go—near or far, to places familiar or alien—because we are citizens of his kingdom and members of his family. Through Christ we not only have access to our Father’s presence, we also have access to our Father’s heart. There his Spirit advocates for us with tenderness beyond our provoking, and pronounces to our heart what the heavens announce to the world: “You are our child, and you will always be.”

The words sound wonderful. But our fears, frailties, and failures make us wonder how confident we can be of God’s unfailing love. How strong or fragile is our relationship with the heavenly Father? Can we lose it? How sure can we be of heaven’s love in a world of transitions? Paul answers these questions too.[2]

19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers. The Ephesians are now exclusively addressed. They were formerly strangers from the covenants of promise, but their condition was now changed. They were foreigners, but God had made them citizens of his church. The high value of that honour which God had been pleased to bestow upon them, is expressed in a variety of language. They are first called fellow-citizens with the saints,—next, of the household of God,—and lastly, stones properly fitted into the building of the temple of the Lord. The first appellation is taken from the comparison of the church to a state, which occurs very frequently in Scripture. Those who were formerly profane, and utterly unworthy to associate with godly persons, have been raised to distinguished honour in being admitted to be members of the same community with Abraham,—with all the holy patriarchs, and prophets, and kings,—nay, with the angels themselves. To be of the household of God, which is the second comparison, suggests equally exalted views of their present condition. God has admitted them into his own family; for the church is God’s house.[3]

19 This final subsection begins with a favorite Pauline way of drawing a summation or conclusion: “therefore,” “so then,” “consequently” (ara oun; other uses include Ro 5:18; 7:3, 25; 9:16, 18; 14:12, 19; Gal 6:10; 1 Th 5:6; 2 Th 2:15). Paul tells the Gentile readers what is no longer true of them as a result of Christ’s actions. No longer are they “foreigners” (v. 12) and “aliens” (paroikos, GK 4230)—a word that connotes a foreigner or alien in either a literal (Ac 7:6, 29) or some metaphorical sense (1 Pe 2:11; these are its only other NT uses). Together “foreigners and aliens” functions as another hendiadys (two words expressing one idea), roughly equivalent to “excluded from citizenship in Israel” (v. 12). Happily that exclusion has terminated. The reverse is true: they enjoy full citizenship; literally they are “fellow citizens [sympolitai, GK 5232] of the saints” (hagiōn, NIV “God’s people”). To whom does Paul refer in using the term “saints” here? To which preexisting group are these Gentiles joined? Options include (1) Israel; (2) Jewish Christians; (3) the initial generation of Christians; (4) all Christians; and (5) angels (recall that some see “saints” as angels in 1:18). The first three have little to commend them. Yoder Neufeld, 125, argues against making a choice, taking “saints” broadly for all holy ones—human and angelic. Best opines that “saints” here includes “glorified saints” raised to heaven along with the heavenly angels. But lacking other evidence in the context, I see no need to so complicate the reference. As mentioned earlier, “saints” or “holy ones” typically designates all the people of God (1:1; cf. 4:12; 5:3; 6:18). This may be a circuitous way of speaking of the body of Christ, but we have seen that Paul savors such language in this letter. The best option is the simplest one: these Gentiles who believe have joined the company of God’s holy people as citizens with full rights.

Changing the metaphor from the political realm to that of the family, Paul describes these Gentiles as “members of God’s household.” The term oikeios (GK 3858)—used only here and in 1 Timothy 5:8 (“immediate family”) and Galatians 6:10—refers to “persons who are related by kinship or circumstances and form a closely knit group, members of a household” (BDAG, 694). No longer outsiders, not guests or even distant relatives, Gentiles now enjoy full membership in God’s immediate family or household. Where is this household located, and who is in it? Paul’s earlier references to believers “in the heavenly realms” might suggest that this is another example of realized eschatology, picturing the entirety of the people of God with whom God dwells (2:22; cf. Rev 21:3).[4]

19  The first Gentile believers who were admitted to a church comprising Jewish Christians could well have felt ill at ease; it was desirable that they should be made to feel completely at home. The church had a Jewish base; its members had Jewish presuppositions, and it would have been too easy for Gentile Christians to do or say something which was felt to be out of place. What indeed was their status in such a community? Were they there on sufferance, as visitors, like the God-fearing Gentiles who attended synagogue in cities of the dispersion? Was their position like that of resident aliens in a Greek city, or that of peregrini in Rome? In a crisis like that which arose in Antioch when Peter and others abandoned the practice of table-fellowship with Gentile Christians, the latter must have got the impression that they were at best second-rate citizens. Against this apparent demotion of Gentile Christians Paul protested vigorously at Antioch (Gal. 2:11–14), and it is Paul’s attitude that finds uncompromising expression here. Gentile Christians are not adherents or visitors or second-rate citizens in the believing community; they are full members. If the community is viewed as a city, they are citizens, not resident aliens. The “saints” with whom they are fellow-citizens are the original “saints”—“we who first placed our hope in Christ,” as they are called in Eph. 1:12. Gentile believers are now included among the “saints”—not only among the followers of Jesus but among the people of God of all ages. Once the Gentiles had no place among the people of God, but now a new situation has come about—a situation to which Paul has already applied words from the book of Hosea:

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’

and her who was not beloved I will call ‘my beloved.’

And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’

they will be called ‘sons of the living God’ ” (Rom. 9:25–26).

If the community is viewed as a house or household, the Gentile believers are full members of the family—not household servants but sons and daughters, with all the rights of inheritance that sons and daughters enjoy. The Father to whom they have access is the same Father as he to whom their brothers and sisters of Jewish origin have access—it is by the same Spirit that his Gentile and Jewish children alike acknowledge him as their Father.

In writing to the Christians of Rome, Paul implies that some of the Gentiles among them were inclined to look down on their Jewish fellow-Christians as poor relations, mercifully rescued from an apostate nation, and he warns them against such an attitude: “remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you” (Rom. 11:18). They had been cut out of the wild olive, the fruitless shoot to which they originally belonged, and grafted into the good olive tree, to share the nutriment and fertility of the true people of God. The credit was not theirs; they were entirely indebted to God’s mercy. In our present epistle there is no suggestion that its Gentile recipients stood in need of such a warning; what they are given is full encouragement to magnify the grace of God which has rescued them from their former place as rank outsiders and instated them among his children.[5]

2:19 / Now that the apostle has discussed the effects that Christ’s death had upon Jews and Gentiles (2:14–18), he returns to his discussion of the Gentiles to complete the contrasts that he began earlier. At one time they were foreigners who did not belong to God’s people (2:12), but now they are no longer foreigners (xenos) or aliens (paroikos). Foreigners are people outside a country or community, with no special rights or privileges. The word for aliens (paroikos) often is translated as “sojourners,” a term that accentuates the transient nature of the Gentiles. In that condition they were like aliens with an “immigrant visa,” which granted them limited rights and privileges, but not full citizenship or permanent residency.

But the status of the Gentiles has changed remarkably: First, the author uses a political expression and affirms that they are now fellow citizens (sympolitai) with God’s people, that is, they are on equal standing with the historic people of God. Second, he uses the imagery of a building (oikos) to affirm that they are members of God’s household.[6]

19. Now, therefore—rather, “So then” [Alford].

foreigners—rather, “sojourners”; opposed to “members of the household,” as “strangers” is to “fellow citizens.” Php 3:19, 20, “conversation,” Greek, “citizenship.”

but—The oldest manuscripts add, “are.”

with the saints—“the commonwealth of (spiritual) Israel” (Eph 2:12).

of God—the Father; as Jesus Christ appears in Eph 2:20, and the Spirit in Eph 2:22.[7]

Ver. 19.—So then ye are no more strangers and foreigners. “Sojourners” is nearer πάροικοι than “foreigners;” it denotes persons dwelling in a place, but without citizen rights and privileges; but as such persons are usually foreigners, it is immaterial which term is used. But ye are fellow-citizens with the saints. The saints are the chosen ones of all time (comp. Heb. 12:22, “But ye are come unto Mount Zion,” etc.). “Their names are engraven on the same civic roll with all whom ‘the Lord shall count when he reckoneth up the people.’ It is as if they who had dwelt in the waste and howling wilderness, scattered defenceless and in melancholy isolation, had been transplanted, not only into Palestine, but had been appointed to domiciles on Mount Zion, and were located in the metropolis, not to admire its architecture, or gaze upon its battlements, or envy the tribes who had come up to worship in the city which is compact together; but to claim its municipal immunities, experience its protection, obey its laws, live and love in its happy society, and hold communion with its glorious Founder and Guardian” (Eadie). And (members) of the household of God. A nearer relation to God and a higher privilege is denoted here. You are not guests or occasional visitors, but permanent dwellers in the house and members of the family. Compare the Queen of Sheba’s words to Solomon (1 Kings 10:8).[8]

God’s kingdom (verse 19a)

According to verse 12 the Gentiles used to be stateless and disenfranchised outsiders, ‘alienated from the commonwealth (politeia) of Israel’. But now, he says to them, you are fellow citizens (sumpolitai) with the saints, which seems here to mean the Jewish people, the saints or ‘holy nation’. Only a few years previously the word politeia had been used of Roman citizenship in Paul’s conversation with the tribune in Jerusalem. Now he writes of another citizenship. Although he does not develop the metaphor, he appears to be alluding to citizenship of God’s kingdom. The kingdom of God is neither a territorial jurisdiction nor even a spiritual structure. God’s kingdom is God himself ruling his people, and bestowing upon them all the privileges and responsibilities which his rule implies. To this new international God-ruled community, which had replaced the Old Testament national theocracy, Gentiles and Jews belonged on equal terms. Paul is writing while the Roman Empire is at the zenith of its splendour; no signs had yet appeared of its coming decline, let alone of its fall. Yet he sees this other kingdom, neither Jewish nor Roman but international and interracial, as something more splendid and more enduring than any earthly empire.7 And he rejoices in its citizenship more even than in his Roman citizenship. Its citizens are free and secure. The words no longer strangers and sojourners but … citizens emphasize the contrast between the rootlessness of a life outside Christ and the stability of being a part of God’s new society. ‘We no longer live on a passport, but … we really have our birth certificates, … we really do belong.’

God’s family (verse 19b)

The metaphor changes and becomes more intimate: you are … members of the household of God. A kingdom is one thing; a household or family is another. And in Christ Jews and Gentiles find themselves more than fellow citizens under his rule; they are together children in his family. Paul has just written in the previous verse of the new and privileged access ‘to the Father’ which Jews and Gentiles enjoy through Christ (verse 18), and earlier in the letter he has enlarged on the blessings of ‘adoption’ into his family (1:5). Soon he will have more to say about God’s archetypal fatherhood (3:14–15) and about the ‘one God and Father of us all’ (4:6). But here his emphasis seems to be less on God’s fatherhood than on the brotherhood into which, across racial barriers, the Father’s children are brought. ‘Brethren’ (meaning ‘brothers and sisters’) is the commonest word for Christians in the New Testament. It expresses a close relationship of affection, care and support. Philadelphia, ‘brotherly love’, should always be a special characteristic of God’s new society.[9]

19. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow-citizens with the saints and members of the household of God … The Ephesians, believers from the Gentiles for the greater part, had been “strangers” (see verse 12), as it were citizens of another country, but no longer were they to be considered mere foreigners who happened to be visiting the people of another land. Nor were they even to be regarded as aliens or sojourners, mere Gibeonites who dwelt in the midst of Israel without having obtained full rights of citizens. Cf. Exod. 2:22; Acts 7:6. On the contrary, they are “fellow-citizens” (a word occurring only here in the New Testament) with the saints, that is, with all those who were separated from the world and consecrated to God as a people for his own possession. The church is not to be divided into first-class members (Jewish converts to Christianity) and second-class members (Gentile converts to Christianity). The terms of admission are the same for all: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, a faith working through love. The rank or standing is also the same. Expressing this thought in language still more intimate, the apostle declares that these former Gentiles are now “members of the household” of God. The household or family is a more intimate unit than the state. “Brothers and sisters” (household-members) is a more endearing term than “fellow-citizens.”[10]

2:19. Redeemed Jews and Gentiles are no longer estranged from each other but are fellow citizens of the kingdom of God. Race or nationality make no difference. All are redeemed people through Christ’s cross. God’s people represents the niv interpretation of the Greek hagion, literally, “holy ones.” Other interpreters see the holy ones as Israel, Jewish Christians, the first Christian generation, all believers, or the angels of heaven. The contrast may be between who the Gentiles were—aliens—and who they now are—kingdom citizens along with those who have always been kingdom citizens—Jews. In that case they have extended the meaning of holy ones so that it is no longer limited to Jews but also includes Gentiles, now meaning all believers. The reference could maintain the discussion of being seated in the heavenly realm and allude to the angels as other inhabitants there. Most likely, it is a general reference to people of God from all generations and uses the contrast of the Gentiles’ previous state to enhance the understanding of their present state. Alienated foreigners with no citizenship papers, they have joined the people of God with heavenly citizenship. Not only are they citizens of a heavenly kingdom, but they are also members of a spiritual family, God’s household.[11]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 81–82). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 122–125). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 241–242). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 79–80). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 302–303). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[6] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 200). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[7] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 346). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[8] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ephesians (pp. 66–67). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[9] Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians (pp. 104–106). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[10] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, p. 141). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[11] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, pp. 114–115). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

US Military to Crack Down on “Fake News” and Conservative Content Online Before 2020 Election — The Gateway Pundit

Since 2016 the Democrats have blamed “fake news” for Hillary Clinton’s surprise loss in the 2020 election.

Since that time Democrats and far left groups have been working overtime to eliminate conservative content online.  Conservatives have seen their presence on social media completely eliminated.

Tech giants were very upset when they learned they played a role in Trump’s win and vowed not to let this happen again.  So in 2017 and 2018 Facebook deleted conservative content to their users including suburban women.  Over 1.5 billion page views were stolen from conservative publishers after Facebook changed their rules and decided what content they would allow users to share.  Several top conservative publishers were put out of business.

Twitter also regulary censors conservative content.  A 2019 study found Twitter censors conservatives over liberals at a 21 to 1 ratio.  And Google has been caught numerous times, thanks to James O’Keefe and Project Veritas, hiding conservative content in their search results.

The tech giants started using far left organizations like CAIR, the radical far left SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League to crack down on and eliminate conservative voices.

New far left front groups were created like “Lead Stories” and “Newsguard” to label conservative content as fake news in favor of establishment conspiracy media.

Republicans and the Trump White house have done NOTHING to stop this.

Even banks are now banning conservative voices.

The Gateway Pundit has reported on this for years now.  

Today Bloomberg reported the US military will now work to eliminate “fake news” from the internet before the 2020 election.  You know what that means.

This is a new use of our tax dollars.  

Clueless Republicans will likely cheer this move as now government moves in to eliminate free speech in America.

Never before has the First Amendment been under such a serious threat in America.  And unfortunately the GOP is eager to assist.

Will this new military operation ban The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC or the Washington Post for their years of lies about President Trump?

You know the answer to that.  Of course not.  The new anti-free speech government program is only going to target conservative voices.

By now it should be clear to patriotic Americans.  This Republican Party will not on your side.  You are on your own.   Democrats are out to destroy America and Republicans are silent.

They may even go along with it.

via US Military to Crack Down on “Fake News” and Conservative Content Online Before 2020 Election — The Gateway Pundit

More than Half of American Satanists Identify as LGBTQ — Christian Research Network

The Satanist said, “I think that’s because they feel disowned and disenfranchised from the traditional religious institutions. So, you have a population willing to embrace a religious identification that is boldly willing to speak out to the contrary.”

(Pulpit & Pen)  According to the head of the Satanic Temple of the United States, more than half of the Satan-worshippers in their organization are homosexuals or the gender-confused.

Lucien Grieves (a pseudonym), the head of the U.S. Satanic Temple told a British publication that more than half of the Satanists in America are LGBTQ.

Grieves told Attitude magazine, “From the start, when one of our early actions was the Pink Mass, a lot of LGBTQ people were looking for another community that didn’t see them as defined by their sexual orientation.”

Now, the membership has grown to more than 50% LGBT, even though they constitute only 2% of the American general population.  View article →

via More than Half of American Satanists Identify as LGBTQ — Christian Research Network

SON OF HOPE: The Boundless Love and Mercy of God

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Many years ago, I found an amazing story which I believed without hesitation. If you are older, as I am, or if you are just a student of history; you will remember a manhunt in NYC for one called “Son of Sam.”

His name is David Berkowitz and he shot and killed 6 people and wounded 7 more. This was so horrific back then. We have been desensitized to killing because the mass shooters of our day have brought killing to a whole new level.

The story which I read was that David Berkowitz, who is in a maximum security prison, had come to faith in Jesus as his Savior.  David did not stop at being saved, his whole life is about sharing the love and mercy of Jesus Christ with others in prison.

I think of David Berkowitz when he was “Son of Sam” as a type of Saul…

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Latest Christian Movie From Kendrick Brothers ‘Overcomer’ Is A Must-See Tale Of God’s Love And Power To Redeem Even The Most Hopeless Situation — Now The End Begins

The faith-based Christian film “Overcomer” surpassed all expectations during its opening weekend with an impressive $8.2 million from just 1,723 screens across the country.

We went to see the latest offering from Christian movie producers the Kendrick brothers, ‘Overcomer’, and did not walk away disappointed. Though it gets off to a somewhat slow start, by about a third of the way into the film it really grabs your attention. By the time it reaches its conclusion, the sad-happy tears generated by watching God’s redemptive power in action will be flowing in bulk down your cheeks, at least they were on my face.

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:5 (KJV)

One of the best ways you can witness to someone who is unsaved is to take them to a movie like this where the gospel is on full display, and the production values are high. Christians everywhere need to go out and watch this movie this weekend, and support it. We need more movies like this to counteract the endless onslaught of darkness produced by Hollywood. Seeing this movie almost made me want to be in the acting business again…

New Faith Based Film ‘Overcomer’ Scores Big At Box Office

FROM CBN NEWS: The latest project from Alex and Stephen Kendrick, “Overcomer” tells the story of high school basketball coach John Harrison. He and his team face an uncertain future when their town’s largest manufacturing plant shuts down unexpectedly.

As hundreds of people move away, John reluctantly agrees to coach cross-country, a sport he doesn’t even like. His outlook soon changes when he meets Hannah Scott, an unlikely runner who pushes herself to the limit. Inspired by the words and prayers of a new friend, John starts to train Hannah for the biggest race of her young life.

“We are glad to have filmed this new feature in the charming and beautiful city of Columbus, Georgia. We felt so welcome and truly appreciate the many businesses, schools and loving pastors and churches who came alongside us to support our efforts,” said Stephen Kendrick, the film’s co-writer and producer.

“Overcomer” also stars actress and evangelist Priscilla Shirer who plays a leading role as the school principal.

“Those that have seen the film were really on the edge of seat with anticipation and excitement as they watch the story unfold,” Shirer said. “There were twists and turns that they were not expecting and so that really did entertain them while they were watching the film,” she added.

“When they walk away I’ve been hearing people really ask themselves the question, ‘Who have I let define me and is my significance tucked away in illegitimate places like my success or in the approval of a certain group of people?’”

It’s been nearly four years since the Kendrick brothers stunned Hollywood with their blockbuster faith-based film, “War Room,” which grossed over $67 million following an $11.3 million debut in 2015.

Christian publisher LifeWay is also releasing multiple resources for adults and children as companion study guides to the movie.  The materials include Bible study kits with books geared toward small groups, adults, teenage boys and girls as well as middle schoolers.  READ MORE

Overcomer Movie – Official Trailer

via Latest Christian Movie From Kendrick Brothers ‘Overcomer’ Is A Must-See Tale Of God’s Love And Power To Redeem Even The Most Hopeless Situation — Now The End Begins