Daily Archives: August 23, 2019

August 23 The Offer of Peace

Scripture Reading: John 16:25–33

Key Verse: John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

In John 14:27, as Jesus prepared for His imminent death, He spoke these words of comfort to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (nasb).

This heartfelt revelation established a reason to hope for generations of Christians to come. Jesus’ message of peace remains a beacon to us today in a world of conflict and unrest. His peace is different from the world’s, different from the fleeting glimpses of happiness and joy we receive from worldly pursuits. The peace of Jesus quiets anxious hearts and soothes troubled minds as nothing else can.

When you accept Jesus’ offer of peace, be prepared to experience spiritual wholeness and mental clarity like you have never known. Worry will suddenly become useless, and anxiety will soon evaporate like the morning dew.

Though no life on this earth is exempt from trials and occasional heartaches, when our confidence is in the One who has overcome the world (John 16:33), we can live with hope in our hearts. When our trust is in God, the enemy cannot win. Instead, God will use difficult times to increase our spiritual maturity and to demonstrate that He is the sustaining power in our lives.

Lord, Your peace is a promissory note that says You are in charge—You have already overcome the world that is trying to drag me down.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 246). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 23 Good: An Enemy of the Best

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:5–12

Key Verse: Proverbs 3:6

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

During the fifties, a television program aired called The Life of Riley. You may remember watching it. The idea was to portray a life that anyone would want to live. During the opening credits, the star of the series was shown lying back in a hammock with his arms folded behind his head, while others hurriedly cut grass and cleaned the yard behind him. However as the story unfolded, viewers quickly saw how unpredictable life can be.

The tragedy is that many people spend a lifetime trying to live the life of Riley. They opt for what appears fun and pleasurable rather than God’s best.

Oswald Chambers emphasized,

The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.

Many of us do not continue to grow spiritually because we prefer to choose on the basis of our rights, instead of relying on God to make the choice for us. We have to learn to walk according to the standard which has its eyes focused on God. And God says to us, as He did to Abram, “walk before Me” (Gen. 17:1).

Life at its best is not a lifetime void of trouble and pain, but a lifetime of joy and peace. The experiences we encounter along the way lead to deep wisdom and personal knowledge of divine hope and grace.

Dear heavenly Father, good is good, but best is better. I don’t want to settle for anything less than the best. You choose what is right for me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 246). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 23 A Target for Temptation

Scripture reading: 2 Samuel 11:1–27

Key verse: James 4:7

Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Temptation has one goal: to render the believer ineffective in his walk with God. King David knew this, and for the greater part of his life he lived with the awareness of what sin could do to his relationship with God. However, Satan, who is the author of sin, never signals defeat. He seeks to cut inroads of temptation into your life, causing you to become unfaithful in your devotion to God.

That was what he did in David’s life. In 2 Samuel, we learn that David should have been away with his army in battle. Instead, he remained at home. Had he become lazy? Proud? Self-sufficient? Bored? The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly what was going on in David’s heart, but we can surmise from what we are given that David was a target for Satan’s temptation. And more than likely, he invited it.

Bathsheba knew what she was doing that night as she stepped into the cool pool of water within eyesight of the king’s palace. That was the beginning of a desperate time for one of God’s greatest servants. The plot of temptation was set, and David became a willing participant.

No matter how tempting the situation seems, nothing is worth risking your sweet fellowship with God and the love of family members. Say no to the tempter, and cry out to God for His strength and protection so that the enemy will be defeated in your life.

I am saying no to the tempter and yes to You today! Give me strength, Lord, to defeat the enemy in every area of my life.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 246). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 23, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

1:14 those who are going to inherit salvation Refers to believers in the Son. The theme of inheritance appears throughout Hebrews (Heb 6:12; 9:15; 11:8; 12:17). Greek terminology for salvation generally indicates healing, wholeness, deliverance from danger, and victory over enemies. References in the nt usually refer to being saved from sin and death.[1]

1:14 ministering spirits. Angels are called “ministers” in v. 7. Their particular role is to serve those who are to inherit salvation, that is, Christian believers (on inheritance see 6:12, 17; 9:15). Salvation (see 2:3; 6:9) is possible only through Jesus’ work (2:10; 5:9; 9:28). The angels’ important role still pales in comparison to Jesus’ authority as Son of God exalted at the “right hand of the Majesty” (1:3, 13).[2]

1:14 — Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

We may not see most of their activity, but God has given His angels the job of “ministering” to us. We may never know how often an angel spared us from injury, guided us to safety, or engineered some success.[3]

1:14 Angels are mere servants (v. 7) who serve those who will inherit salvation. Salvation here is not justification because it is in the future, not in the past. The reference is to believers who inherit the Kingdom or rule in God’s kingdom as a reward for their service to the Son (9:28; Col. 3:24). The author is speaking about “the world to come” (2:5). References to salvation in 2:3, 10; 5:9; 6:9 probably also concern the future.[4]

1:14. In contrast to the Son ruling at God’s right hand, the angels are ministering spirits. Unlike the Son whose destiny is King over an eternal throne-kingdom, the role of the angels is to minister, not reign. In fact, they minister to those who will inherit salvation. By salvation, our author is thinking not of our Lord’s saving work on the Cross, but a future salvation associated with His Second Coming (emphasized in chap. 1). This is quite clear in light of his use of “salvation” in 9:28, as well as his explicit mention in 2:5 of “the world to come.” Although there is a salvation for believers to inherit, this can be jeopardized by their neglect (2:3). Thus before continuing the author will pause in 2:1–4 to warn his readers.[5]

1:14 The mission of the angels is not to rule but to serve. They are spirit beings whom God has created to minister for those who will inherit salvation. This may be understood in two ways: first, angels minister to those who are not yet converted; or, second, they serve those who are saved from the penalty and power of sin but not yet saved from the presence of sin, that is, those believers who are still on earth.

This means there are “guardian angels.” Why should we be surprised at such a truth? It is certain there are evil spirits who wage unceasing conflict against God’s elect (Eph. 6:12). Is it to be wondered at that there are holy angels who watch over those who are called to salvation?

But we must go back to the main point of the passage—not the existence of guardian angels, but the fact that angels are inferior to the Son of God just as servants are inferior to the Universal Sovereign.[6]

14 The concluding rhetorical question is actually an exegetical comment on Ps 104:4, quoted in v 7. The designation of the angels as λειτουργικὰ πνεύματα, “serving spirits,” echoes the key words in the quotation, πνεύματα and λειτουργούς. The assertion that the angels are sent forth on a mission of service (εἰς διακονίαν) to the heirs of the salvation is a logical inference from the biblical text. Angels clearly have their place in the economy of redemption, but it is not at the Father’s right hand. They are ordained to ministry in the world of humanity (cf. Strathmann, TDNT 4: 231). The readers are, in fact, οἱ μέλλοντες κληρονομεῖν σωτηρίαν, “those who are to inherit salvation.” This formulation conveys the further implication that entrance into the inheritance of salvation is the central theme of the new revelation (cf. 2:3–4; 9:15).

The rhetorical question in v 14 is designed to call the hearers to decision. It demands an affirmative answer. They are to recognize that in contrast to the Son, who is invited to share the divine presence and splendor, angels are sent forth on a mission of assistance to those who find themselves oppressed and confused in a hostile world.[7]

1:14. In contrast to the authority of God’s Son, angels have a servant role. They serve in God’s behalf. He gives them orders which they carry out. Their primary duty is to care for believers. The Old Testament promised that angels would deliver believers (Ps. 34:7). The New Testament records angelic rescues (Acts 12:7–10).[8]

14. Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

From the throne of God and from the seat of honor, commands are given to angels to work in behalf of and for the benefit of the believers, who will inherit salvation. Whereas Jesus sits enthroned in majesty and grandeur, angels are ministering spirits. They must obey and serve. Not a single angel is excluded. Even archangels, including Gabriel and Michael, are sent by God to work in the interest of the saints (Luke 1:11–38; Jude 9).

Scripture teaches that angels are ministering spirits, “sent to serve those [the people of God] who will inherit salvation.” Angels announce the law of God (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2); deliver messages to God’s people (Isa. 6:6–7; Dan. 8:18–19; 9:20–23; 10:12, 14; Luke 1:18–19); minister to the needs of the people of God (1 Kings 19:5, 7; Ps. 91:11–12; Matt. 18:10; Acts 7:38; 12:15; 1 Cor. 11:10); are appointed guardians of cities and nations (Ezek. 9:1; Dan. 10:13, 20–21; 11:1; 12:1); and will gather the elect at the time of Christ’s return (Matt. 24:31; Mark 13:27). However, the angels have not been commissioned to teach or preach to the elect. Nor are they given power to govern God’s people, although the angels stand in the presence of God and share his plans (Zech. 1:12–13).

The angels constitute a numberless host, for John relates in Revelation that he “heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand” (Rev. 5:11; see also Dan. 7:10). Their work continues until the time of the judgment, when Jesus, sitting on his throne, will say to the elect: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matt. 25:34).

The reference to salvation as an inheritance that the elect will receive on judgment day ought to be understood in the broadest possible sense. When the elect are in the presence of Christ, they will no more experience death, mourning, crying, or pain (Rev. 21:4). They will enter a blessed and glorious state reserved for them and given to them for eternity. They shall be with Christ forever. That is the fullness of inherited salvation.

In this quotation the contrast between the Son and the angels has been brought to a climax: Jesus is sitting on the throne and is sending the angels to serve the believers. The contrast indeed is striking. In spite of their holiness, their status, and their dignity, the angels continue to function as ministering spirits to the inheritors of salvation. In a sense, therefore, angels are inferior to the saints.[9]

14. ministering spirits—referring to Heb 1:7, “spirits … ministers.” They are incorporeal spirits, as God is, but ministering to Him as inferiors.

sent forth—present participle: “being sent forth” continually, as their regular service in all ages.

to ministerGreek, “unto (that is, ‘for’) ministry.”

for themGreek,on account of the.” Angels are sent forth on ministrations to God and Christ, not primarily to men, though for the good of “those who are about to inherit salvation” (so the Greek): the elect, who believe, or shall believe, for whom all things, angels included, work together for good (Ro 8:28). Angels’ ministrations are not properly rendered to men, since the latter have no power of commanding them, though their ministrations to God are often directed to the good of men. So the superiority of the Son of God to angels is shown. They “all,” how ever various their ranks, “minister”; He is ministered to. They “stand” (Lu 1:19) before God, or are “sent forth” to execute the divine commands on behalf of them whom He pleases to save; He “sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3, 13). He rules; they serve.[10]

1:14 / What then is a realistic estimate of angels and their function? They are ministering spirits; but, as has been shown, they have a subordinate role of serving God. God’s concern is not with angels, but with us, and he accordingly sends them to bring help to those who will inherit salvation. God and the Son are the source of our salvation, as the author will demonstrate so boldly in this epistle. By God’s grace, his servants serve us in and toward this end. The idea of personal aid from angels builds on an ot motif (e.g., Ps. 91:11), recalls the ministry of angels to Jesus (Matt. 4:11; compare 26:53), and is meant as a note of personal comfort and encouragement in the face of real difficulty for these Jewish Christians.[11]

14 The lack of any contrasting citation in v. 14 allows Ps 110:1 to remain the final quotation and the pastor’s definitive description of the present achievement and position of the Son. Verse 7 has convinced the pastor’s hearers that the angels are temporal created beings, God’s “ministers,” here called “ministering spirits.” The hearers must, however, also understand the nature of angelic service. The pastor denies the popular belief that angels ruled the nations or that they performed a heavenly priestly ministry by insisting that “all” of them, in contrast to the sovereign, exalted Son, are “sent out.” The priestly connotation of the word “ministering” makes this denial more emphatic.85 Furthermore, this use of “spirits” (see on 1:7) is unusual and probably indicates the “ethereal” nature of the angels. The Son is in charge of the nations (1:2–3) and, as the pastor will affirm, he alone is heavenly Priest. This vague description of angelic assistance to God’s people draws attention to the all-sufficient ministry of the Son (cf. Acts 12:4–11; 27:23).

The pastor’s opening declaration of the Son’s divine appointment as “heir of all things” (v. 2) bears fruit in this concluding description of God’s people as those “who are about to inherit salvation.” The Son determines both their past and their future. Through him they are the heirs of the OT people of God and thus the recipients of all previous revelation. Through him and the fulfillment he has achieved they are “about to inherit” (1:14) the “salvation” he will bring at his return (9:28). The pastor would not have his hearers forget their past, but his emphasis is on their future. Above all he would have them live so that they will receive this inheritance through the exalted One who is “heir of all things.” In order for them to understand both the privileges that are theirs and the gravity of their situation he will describe how the eternal Son became the fully sufficient, exalted Savior through his incarnation in 2:5–18. As noted above, these verses record the Son’s obedient response to the Father’s affirmations and invitation recorded in 1:5–14. These first two chapters serve as the basis for 4:14–10:18, the pastor’s fuller explanation of the Son’s sufficiency in terms of the high priesthood soon to be introduced in 2:17–18.

However, the pastor can restrain himself no longer. In 2:1–4 he must begin to exhort all who would hear to live as those “who are about to inherit salvation.” The faithful perseverance necessary for reception of this inheritance is founded on giving their full attention and allegiance to “the great salvation” (2:3) the Son has provided. In vv. 1–14 the pastor has prepared his hearers to respond to this exhortation by describing the magnitude of the One through whom the salvation he would have them attend has been revealed and provided. In 2:5–18 he follows up this exhortation by beginning to describe the effective nature of this salvation and the means of its provision.[12]

14 The most exalted angels are those whose privilege it is to “stand in the presence of God” like Gabriel (Luke 1:19), but none of them has ever been invited to sit before him, still less to sit in the place of unique honor at his right hand. Their standing posture betokens their promptness to execute his commands, or simply to abide his pleasure.

Thousands at his bidding speed

And post o’er land and ocean without rest:

They also serve who only stand and wait.

All of them, the highest angels as well as the lowest, are but servants of God, “ministering spirits” (a phrase which echoes the language of Ps. 104:4 as quoted above in v. 7), and not to be compared with the Son. More remarkable still, their service is performed for the benefit of a favored class of human beings, the heirs of salvation. That these should be the beneficiaries of angelic ministry may well be due to their close association with the Son of God, by whom they are being brought to glory (2:10). These angels are clearly different beings from the hostile world-rulers and elemental spirits mentioned in Paul’s epistles, whose influence has been broken over the lives of those who have died with Christ.118

The salvation here spoken of lies in the future; it is yet to be inherited, even if its blessings can already be enjoyed in anticipation. That is to say, it is that eschatological salvation which, in Paul’s words, is “nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11) or, in Peter’s words, is “ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:5). Our author does not need to explain to his readers what he means by this salvation; the term and its meaning are familiar to them already. What they do need to understand is the fearful danger to which they will be exposed if they treat this salvation lightly.

The Son of God’s ascendancy over angels has thus been asserted and confirmed by the testimony of Old Testament scripture. Some of the Old Testament passages adduced, and especially the first and the last (Pss. 2:7; 110:1), were already well established in the church as messianic testimonies, and were acknowledged as having met their fulfilment in Jesus. In them Jesus was addressed by God in terms that surpassed the honors enjoyed by the mightiest of archangels, who indeed are called upon to pay him homage in recognition of his sovereignty over them. And the authority of the gospel which the readers of this epistle had embraced was the authority of Jesus, the Son of God, supremely exalted by his Father. As God had no greater messenger than his Son, he had no further message beyond the gospel.[13]

14 The quotations are finished, and the author sums up his argument with another comment specifically on the status of angels that picks up the language of v. 7. They are “serving spirits,” God’s workforce in looking after his human subjects. The Son came to provide “salvation” for human beings (cf. “purification for sins,” v. 3), as ch. 2 will spell out further, and now that it has been made available it is for them to “inherit” what is now theirs (cf. the Son himself “inheriting” all creation and a supreme name as his by right, vv. 2 and 4). Angels neither provide that salvation nor do they need it for themselves (2:16); their role is merely the subordinate function of looking after those who are to be saved.[14]

14. Are they not all, &c. That the comparison might appear more clearly, he now mentions what the condition of angels is. For calling them spirits, he denotes their eminence; for in this respect they are superior to corporeal creatures. But the office (λειτουργία) which he immediately mentions reduces them to their own rank, as it is that which is the reverse of dominion; and this he still more distinctly states, when he says, that they are sent to minister. The first word means the same, as though he had said, that they were officials; but to minister imports what is more humble and abject. The service which God allots to angels is indeed honourable; but the very fact that they serve, shews that they are far inferior to Christ, who is the Lord of all.

If any one objects and says, that Christ is also called in many places both a servant and a minister, not only to God, but also to men, the reply may be readily given; his being a servant was not owing to his nature, but to a voluntary humility, as Paul testifies, (Phil. 2:7;) and at the same time his sovereignty remained to him entire; but angels, on the other hand, were created for this end,—that they might serve, and to minister is what belongs to their condition. The difference then is great; for what is natural to them is, as it were, adventitious or accidental to Christ, because he took our flesh; and what necessarily belongs to them, he of his own accord undertook. Besides, Christ is a minister in such a way, that though he is in our flesh nothing is diminished from the majesty of his dominion.

From this passage the faithful receive no small consolation; for they hear that celestial hosts are assigned to them as ministers, in order to secure their salvation. It is indeed no common pledge of God’s love towards us, that they are continually engaged in our behalf. Hence also proceeds a singular confirmation to our faith, that our salvation being defended by such guardians, is beyond the reach of danger. Well then has God provided for our infirmities by giving us such assistants to oppose Satan, and to put forth their power in every way to defend us!

But this benefit he grants especially to his chosen people; hence that angels may minister to us, we must be the members of Christ. Yet some testimonies of Scripture may on the other hand be adduced, to shew that angels are sometimes sent forth for the sake of the reprobate; for mention is made by Daniel of the angels of the Persians and the Greeks. (Dan. 10:20.) But to this I answer, that they were in such a way assisted by angels, that the Lord might thus promote the salvation of his own people; for their success and their victories had always a reference to the benefit of the Church. This is certain, that as we have been banished by sin from God’s kingdom, we can have no communion with angels except through the reconciliation made by Christ; and this we may see by the ladder shewn in a vision to the patriarch Jacob.[15]

[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Heb 1:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2362). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1637). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] Tanner, J. P. (2010). The Epistle to the Hebrews. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (pp. 1036–1037). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2160–2161). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Lane, W. L. (1991). Hebrews 1–8 (Vol. 47A, p. 32). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[8] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 11). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[9] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 49–50). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[10] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, pp. 442–443). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[11] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 36). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[12] Cockerill, G. L. (2012). The Epistle to the Hebrews (pp. 115–116). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[13] Bruce, F. F. (1990). The Epistle to the Hebrews (Rev. ed., pp. 64–65). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[14] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 45). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[15] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (pp. 49–51). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

August 23 The Guide

scripture reading: Psalm 23
key verse: 1 Corinthians 10:11

All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

A major function of the Holy Spirit is to guide God’s children. But too often the leadership of the Spirit is ascribed to methods and sources of which the Father has no part.

In Knowing God, J. I. Packer helps us to understand the fundamental error and make the proper course correction:

Earnest Christians seeking guidance often go wrong about it. They look for a will–o’–the–wisp; they overlook the guidance that is ready to hand, and lay themselves open to all sorts of delusion.

Their basic mistake is to think of guidance as essentially inward prompting by the Holy Spirit, apart from the written Word.

The true way to honor the Holy Spirit as our guide is to honor the Holy Scriptures through which He guides us. The fundamental guidance which God gives to shape our lives … is not a matter of inward promptings apart from the Word but of the pressure on our consciences of the portrayal of God’s character and will in the Word.…

The Spirit leads within the limits which the Word sets, not beyond them.

O Lord, I haven’t passed this way before. Guide me this day by Your Holy Spirit. Lead me within the limits set by Your Word. Don’t let me stray beyond them.[1]

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

23 august (1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Five fears

“Yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him.” Ecclesiastes 8:12

suggested further reading: Luke 12:4–12

Fear may be yoked into the service of God. True fear, not fearing, but believing, saves the soul; not doubt, but confidence, is the strength and the deliverance of the Christian. Still, fear, as being one of those powers which God has given us, is not in itself sinful. Fear may be used for the most sinful purposes; at the same time it may be so ennobled by grace, and so used for the service of God, that it may become the very grandest part of man. In fact, Scripture has honoured fear, for the whole of piety is comprehended in these words, “Fear God”; “the fear of the Lord”; “them that fear him.” These phrases are employed to express true piety, and the men who possess it. Fear, I have said, may ruin the soul. Alas! It has ruined multitudes. O Fear, you are the rock upon which many a ship has been wrecked. Many a soul has suffered spiritual destruction through you, but then it has been not the fear of God, but the fear of man. Many have rushed against the thick bosses of the Almighty’s shield, and defied God, in order to escape the wrath of feeble man. Many through fear of worldly loss have brought great guilt into their consciences; some through fear of ridicule and laughter have not had the boldness to follow the right, and so have gone astray and been ruined. Yea, and where fear does not work utter destruction it is capable of doing much damage to the spirit. Fear has paralysed the arm of the most gigantic Christian, stopped him in his race, and impeded him in his labours. Faith can do anything, but fear, sinful fear, can do just nothing at all, except prevent faith from performing its labours.

for meditation: The one you seek to please is the one you fear (Galatians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4).

sermon no. 148[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 242). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Friday Briefing August 23, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com


 New Research Confirms That Atheists and Agnostics Tend to Know More about Religion Than Other Unbelievers, But Why?


 In an Increasingly Secular America, Why Are Few Politicians Willing to Identify as Atheist?


 Pete Buttigieg and His Faith Campaign: What it Means, and What it Doesn’t





23 AUGUST 365 Days with Calvin

Hoarding Manna

As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. 2 Corinthians 8:15

suggested further reading: Exodus 16

The Lord has not prescribed to us a homer or any other measure by which the food of each day is to be regulated, but he has imposed upon us frugality and temperance, and has forbidden that anyone should go to excess, taking advantage of his abundance.

So let those who have riches, whether left by inheritance or procured by industry and efforts, consider that their abundance is not intended to be exhibited in intemperance or excess but to relieve the necessities of their brethren. For whatever we have is manna, regardless of where it comes from, provided it is really ours. Riches acquired by fraud and unlawful strategies are unworthy to be called manna, but are rather quails sent by the anger of God (Num. 11:31).

As in hoarding manna, either from excessive greed or from distrust, what is saved immediately putrefies, so we need not doubt that the riches that are heaped up at the expense of other people are also accursed and will soon perish. Furthermore, that happens in connection with the ruin of the owner. So we are not to think that the way to increase our possessions is to work toward our own advantage for a long time while defrauding those who are poor of the beneficence that we owe them.

I acknowledge, indeed, that equality is not imposed upon us to make it unlawful for the rich to live in greater elegance than the poor, but equality is to be observed in such a way that no one is allowed to starve, and no one hoards his abundance at the expense of defrauding others.

for meditation: Thinking of our money as manna is an excellent way to remember its origin and its intent. Hoarding will bring no gain. If the Lord has blessed us with great gifts, we should determine how we can best use them in his service and for the poor in our fellowship. If we have little, we should not be anxious but trust that the Lord will move the hearts of those who have more than us to help us.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 254). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

August 23 – As the Lord had commanded — Reformed Perspective

“As the Lord had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did; and they divided the land.” – Joshua 14:5

Scripture reading: Joshua 14:1-5

Repetition is used in the Old Testament to emphasize the main point that is being expressed. In our passage today the phrase “as the Lord had commanded” is repeated twice, signifying that we must notice this truth. Joshua begins his work as God’s “Registrar of Deeds.” With Eleazar the high priest, he casts lots in order to determine which tribe of Israel receives which part of the Promised Land. Both verse 2 and verse 5 emphasize that they do this “as the Lord had commanded.”

It would be easy for us to read over this repetition, but it is here for a reason. You might think, “All they are doing is dividing up the land. Why is it so important who lives here and who lives there?” What is important is not what they are doing, but how they are doing it! “As the Lord had commanded” them – That is the point being stressed.

This underscores the truth that God cares about ALL that we do, how He wants us to be faithful in even the small things of life, just as much as in the big things of life. The Lord considers Joshua’s work as “Registrar of Deeds” just as important as him exterminating Canaanites. So too in your life today. No command from God is small. No work done for the Lord is “insignificant.” Whether you are a CEO or are doing another load of laundry; do it faithfully, with all your heart, for His honour and glory.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for the work that He has given you to do. Ask Him for the strength and diligence to do it well. Ask Him to use you today for His honour and glory.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ed Marcusse is the pastor of the Oak Glen United Reformed Church of Lansing, Illinois.

via August 23 – As the Lord had commanded — Reformed Perspective

August 23, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

13:13 Teacher and Lord. This double title gives special significance to the claim of Christ over the disciples’ lives. Later, they would call Him “Lord” in acknowledgement of His deity (20:28).[1]

13:13 Teacher Jesus leads by example; by affirming this title here, He instructs the disciples to follow His example as they have already committed to doing. He reminds them that even in difficult times or in situations they consider beneath them (see note on v. 5), they must follow Him. See note on 1:38.

I am Jesus is likely evoking God’s chosen way of identifying Himself in the ot—saying that He is Yahweh, the God of Israel and ruler of the universe. This parallels what John says about Jesus in 1:1–4 and what Jesus knows of His own identity, revealed in v. 3. See note on 4:26.[2]

Ver. 13.—Ye name me the Teacher and the Lord. “Rabbi and Mara,” the names of reverence which disciples of the Hebrew teachers were accustomed to offer to their masters. Φωνεῖν means to name, and the two nominatives are used appellatively, not as vocatives. Tholuck regards them as vocatives. Scholars dared not address their teachers without some marks of respect. Διδάσκαλος is John’s equivalent for דבי, my Master (see ch. 1:29; 20:16). And ye say well; for so I am. At this supreme moment he does not repudiate this high function, nor abate any of his lofty claims. He was most obviously the highest in his condescending love. He had given no more amazing proof of the originality and supremacy of his nature than this inversion of all ordinary relations. So I am—more, indeed, than “the Teacher,” “the Saviour,” more than “the Master,” as Peter said on a memorable occasion, “God was with him,” and be was Immanuel—“God with us,” and “Lord of all” (Acts 10:37, 38).[3]

13. Ye call me Master—Teacher.

and Lordlearning of Him in the one capacity, obeying Him in the other.

and ye say well, for so I am—The conscious dignity with which this claim is made is remarkable, following immediately on His laying aside the towel of service. Yet what is this whole history but a succession of such astonishing contrast from first to last?[4]

13 Jesus continues, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you say well, for I am” (v. 13). The nouns are literally “the Teacher” and “the Lord,” but the clause cannot be translated “You call me the Teacher and the Lord” (indirect discourse), for this would require accusatives. Rather, the nouns are in the nominative case, which must therefore be understood as the nominative with the definite article used in place of a vocative for direct address.67 Yet it is a ceremonious, almost confessional, vocative, perhaps something closer to Thomas’s famous words of confession, “My Lord and my God!”69 (20:28). Almost from the Gospel’s beginning, Jesus’ disciples have in fact addressed him as “ ‘Rabbi’—which means teacher” (1:38), and as “Lord.”71 They also, on occasion, refer to him in the third person as “the Teacher” (11:28), and as “my Lord” (20:13) or “the Lord” (20:2, 13; 21:7, 12), to the point that even the Gospel writer within the narrative sometimes follows their example (see 6:23; 11:2).[5]

13 The basic premise of Jesus’ argument is that the disciples acknowledged him to be their Teacher and Lord. The order is significant. The disciples came to know Jesus first as Teacher (equivalent to Rabbi, the title normally used by Jewish students when addressing their master) and later as Lord. They had been with him in public ministry for almost two years before he asked, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:15–16). While it is true that the day will come when every tongue will confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Php 2:11), during his earthly ministry Jesus did not demand the obedience appropriate to lordship from those who had not come to know him first as Teacher. The disciples, however, were correct in acknowledging him as Teacher and Lord because, as Jesus said, “That is what I am.” He was not simply one who had taught them; more important, he was their Lord.[6]

[1] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1538). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jn 13:13). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. John (Vol. 2, p. 189). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[4] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 154). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 734–735). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[6] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 548–549). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Brannon Howse: August 22, 2019 | Worldview Weekend

The Tavistock Method & Psychological Campaign to Convince You to Surrender (Part 5): A perfect example of how people are duped, compromised, and converted by the psychological warfare of the cultural Marxists. In today’s broadcast, Brannon uses an April 2019 article from the New York Times in which a liberal, social justice, liberation theology (Marxism mixed with Christianity for what Brannon coined ‘Marxianity’) professor from Danny Akin’s Southeastern Southern Baptist Seminary is interviewed. The article explains how White, Southern Baptists are eager to prove they are not racist Trump supporters by inviting black professor and black liberation theology proponent Walter Strickland to their church to speak. Strickland is a proponent of black theology author, James Cone. Yet, Strickland admits that he does not mention the name of Cone to those to whom he speaks. Brannon explains that the scenario laid out in the New York Times is proof the cultural Marxists are winning. First the cultural Marxists label Christians and conservatives. Secondly, the Christians and conservatives shrink in fear of the label. Thirdly, they jump through the hoops set up by the cultural Marxists in order to prove they are not deserving of the label to which they have been assigned. Yet, by complying to the wishes and re-education of the cultural Marxists, they actually validate the label given to them by the cultural Marxists. Finally, by going through the re-education requested by the cultural Marxists, they end up being converted to the values, policies, and group consensus of the cultural Marxists. Topic: What does the data collection being conducted in America’s schools and implementation of the REAL I.D. have to do with the Tavistock Method?   

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— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-august-22-2019

Brannon Howse: August 21, 2019 | Worldview Weekend

The Tavistock Method & Psychological Campaign to Convince You to Surrender (Part 4) As we have learned in this series, the Tavistock Institute learned that if you put enough stress on a subject in a group setting you could stress them out to the point they would let go of their moral compass and convictions. Topic: Are democrats in Minnesota and other states, brainwashing elementary children to be sexually active in order to groom them as sex slaves? The Minnesota legislature voted in the spring of 2019 to include the book “Its Perfectly Normal” in its state-wide Comprehensive Sex Education program. The book contains such graphic illustrations that it is a violation of the Minnesota obscenity laws to show the images online or on television. A state prison refused literature related to the book because it deemed the material to be a violation of obscenity laws. Yet, the book is for fourth grade children. Why would such a book be presented to children if not for the specific cause of stressing out the child, embarrassing the child, and then breaking down natural walls of innocence and inhibition so they might let go of their convictions and thus be successfully set up for brainwashing? Topic: The book is promoted by Planned Parenthood and includes the promotion of abortion. Are the democrats pushing this book on America’s elementary school children doing so because they receive money from Planned Parenthood for their election and re-election and Planned Parenthood makes their money from abortions? Topic: We take your calls. 

Download File Here

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-august-21-2019

Brannon Howse: August 19, 2019 | Worldview Weekend

The Tavistock Method & Psychological Campaign to Convince You to Surrender (Part 3). Today Brannon shares from an article written in 1940 by John Rawlings Rees of the Tavistock Institute. Rawlings admits their goal is propaganda, deception, and to infiltrate every power center in America in Great Britain to push mental hygiene. The goal of mental hygiene is to label conservatives and Christians as having mental health issues. Rawlings admits their goal of using newspapers, magazines, novels and films to push mental health under names such as economy and efficiency. Rawlings admits that the easies groups to penetrate with their brainwashing and propaganda was the teaching profession and churches. Topic: How have the goals of the Tavistock Institute been largely accomplished in America today? Topic: We take your calls. 

Download File Here

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-august-19-2019

Are Mental Impressions Divine Revelation? — Grace to You Blog

In the lead-up to the Truth Matters conference in October, we will be focusing our attention on the sufficiency, authority, and clarity of Scripture. One of our previous blog series, Looking for Truth in All the Wrong Places, stronglyemphasizes those doctrines. The following entry from that series originally appeared on June 12, 2017. -ed.

You have undoubtedly heard people say things like, “God is calling me to the mission field,” or “God led me to attend this college,” or “We feel God wants us to get married.” Perhaps you have even said such things yourself.

Christians who use expressions like those often mean they have had an impression or a strong feeling that they interpret as a disclosure of the divine will. Even people who believe prophecy and divine revelation have ceased sometimes fall into the trap of thinking God speaks directly to us through subjective means.

Normally people who make such claims have no intention of equating their mental impressions with divine revelation. They regard the subjective “leading of the Lord” as something far less than prophetic. Yet they believe God somehow communicates His will personally to individuals through inner promptings, signs, feelings of peace or uneasiness, strong impressions on the mind, or other similar means.

For reasons we shall examine, it is not wise to seek divine guidance through subjective impressions like these. Nowhere does Scripture encourage us to attempt to discern God’s will through such means. As we shall see, that sort of decision making can lead to confusion, disappointment, and sometimes spiritual tragedy.

And the truth is that treating subjective impressions as messages from the Holy Spirit is not really much different from claiming to receive divine revelation. Though most Christians who follow subjective impressions would not dream of listening to extrabiblical “prophecies,” in effect they are doing the same thing.

In fact, some advocates of modern prophetic revelation want to erase any distinction between subjective impressions and the gift of prophecy mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12–14. Professor Wayne Grudem, for example, who has produced the most thorough theological defense of the modern prophecy movement, believes God is giving revelation today chiefly through mental impressions. He even defines revelation as “something God brings to mind.” [1] Wayne Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1988), 42, 115. He suggests that when God providentially brings a thought to a believer’s mind, that is the New Testament gift of prophecy in operation. Thus he has elevated mental impressions to the level of prophetic revelation.

Grudem’s work has had widespread influence. And it is in many respects a fine study. He shows biblically why important distinctions must be made between Old Testament prophecy, apostolic prophecy, and the New Testament gift of prophecy. In places (but not everywhere) his exegesis of the pertinent texts is very helpful. He includes a crucial appendix on the sufficiency of Scripture which, if heeded by his friends in the modern prophecy movement, would provide a remedy against the serious abuses that have so plagued the movement. And he offers another important appendix showing that the canon of Scripture is closed.

But it is at this very point that Grudem’s position seems most inconsistent. If the canon of Scripture is really closed; if (as Grudem rightly suggests) “it is in Scripture alone that we are to search for God’s words to us”; [2] The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 299. and if, in his words, “the Bible is sufficient to equip us for living the Christian life” [3] The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 300. —then what point is there in seeking additional “revelations” like the prophetic messages Grudem advocates? It is unfortunate that Grudem relegated his thoughts on the canon of Scripture and the sufficiency of Scripture to the book’s final appendixes. If this had been the starting point for his study of prophecy, perhaps he would have reached very different conclusions.

Grudem’s defense of prophetic revelation has opened the door to a host of bizarre and misleading “prophecies” that have plagued evangelical Christianity over the past several years. Scores of churches worldwide have implemented Grudem’s theology and are encouraging people to share mere mental impressions as if they were prophetic messages from God. Ironically, Grudem’s work is frequently summoned to defend even the most outlandish aspects of a movement that has utterly ignored his many clear warnings against abuse of the prophetic gifts.

To his credit, Grudem appeals for a view of prophecy that “would still include a strong affirmation of the closing of the New Testament canon (so that no new words of equal authority are given today), of the sufficiency of Scripture, and of the supremacy and unique authority of the Bible in guidance.”[4] The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 15. He writes, “I am asking that charismatics . . . stop calling [prophecy] ‘a word from the Lord’—simply because that label makes it sound exactly like the Bible in authority.” [5] The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 14. Elsewhere he writes, “Remember that what is spoken in any prophecy today is not the word of God, but is simply a human being reporting in merely human words something which God has brought to mind.” [6] The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 262. He also warns that modern prophecy

should not be thought of as “God’s very words,” nor should the speaker preface his or her remarks with words which would give that impression, such as, “Thus says the Lord,” or, “Hear the words of God,” etc.—those statements should be reserved for Scripture alone. Something like, “I think the Lord is showing me that . . .” or, “I think the Lord is indicating that . . .” or, “It seems that the Lord is putting on my heart a concern that . . .” would all be much more appropriate, and far less misleading. [7]The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 133.

If those warnings were consistently heeded, charismatic “prophets” could save their churches much grief and confusion.

But even in the denomination Grudem himself once identified with—the Association of Vineyard Churches—his words of caution are frequently ignored in the prophets’ actual practice.

James Ryle is himself a Vineyard pastor [Ryle passed away in 2015, Ed.]. He does give lip service to Grudem’s caution. He writes,

How often have you heard someone say casually, “The Lord spoke to me,” or “The Lord told me” to do this or that?

. . . Many within the church use these terms to justify their own desires and opinions. Possibly they feel that this puts what they are saying beyond challenge. After all, how does one argue with a “word from the Lord”?

In light of this problem I have found it a good policy to avoid such expressions and simply say, “It occurred to me” when I am sharing some insight which I’ve received in prayer or devotions. This removes unnecessary stumbling blocks and allows more people to hear the message without being distracted with the way the word is being presented. [8] James Ryle, Hippo in the Garden (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 1993), 30-31.

But note the significant difference between Grudem’s position and Ryle’s. Grudem believes prophecy is merely “something God brought to mind”—not “God’s very words.” He seems eager to avoid confusion on this point. Ryle’s perspective is markedly different. He says he employs terminology like “It occurred to me” to avoid “unnecessary stumbling blocks.” But he clearly does think of prophecy as God’s very words. After analyzing the dangers of saying things like “God spoke to me,” he states, “Nonetheless, the Lord does speak to us today.” In practice he cannot avoid placing modern words of prophecy on the same level with the written Word of God.

Ryle does this perhaps without even realizing it. He repeatedly cites Matthew 4:4 in defense of modern prophecy: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God[9] Hippo in the Garden, 32, 39, 62 (emphasis added).—taking a verse that clearly speaks of Scripture and applying it to modern words of prophecy.

Furthermore, despite his stated preference for expressions like, “It occurred to me,” Ryle never once uses that expression or any like it in his book. Instead, the book is filled with statements like, “I heard the voice of the Lord,” “The voice of the Lord spoke to me,” “God was speaking to me again,” “The Lord Himself was standing before me . . . speaking directly to me,” “Again I heard the voice of the Lord. . . . The Lord continued [speaking]. . . . The Lord seemed to pause. . . . Then He delivered the knockout blow,” “The Lord was saying to me,” “The Lord spoke to him, telling him to call [me],” “He speaks to me,” “I received a word from the Lord,” “I sensed the Holy Spirit say to me,” “I treasure these words from the Lord, holding them in my heart with the deepest regard,” “These were the exact words I was given,” “The prophetic word from the heart of the Lord was spoken,” “This is what the Holy Spirit showed me,” and similar expressions. [10] Hippo in the Garden, 13-14, 15, 18, 20, 25-29, 83, 91, 113, 115-116, 142.All Ryle’s interpretations of his own dreams and visions are stated with dogmatic conviction.

Ryle continually uses terminology that suggests he has canonized modern prophecy—at least in his own mind. “The Holy Spirit inspires us to speak through any number of means,” he says, referring to his prophecies as “inspired utterance.” [11] Hippo in the Garden, 99.] At the end of the book, Ryle suggests that when the hippo of modern prophecy comes into the garden of mainstream evangelicalism, “the church will be found in the midst of the world, speaking forth the words of God to a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we will shine as light, holding forth the word of life.” [12] Hippo in the Garden, 292 (emphasis added).

So in practice, Ryle finds it impossible not to equate his own prophecies with the words of Scripture, even though he appears to be trying to avoid this error. (In one place, Ryle says, “We must stop putting our own words in the Lord’s mouth. . . . Scripture alone is our sure foundation.” [13] Hippo in the Garden, 54-55. To that I add a hearty amen.)

He is not alone in this failing. Anyone who is truly convinced that God is speaking fresh words of revelation will inevitably view the later prophecies as somehow more relevant and more personal than the message of Scripture, which is more than two thousand years old. Inevitably, wherever personal prophecy has been stressed, Scripture has been deemphasized. Two thousand years of church history confirms that this is true.

(Adapted from Reckless Faith.)

via Are Mental Impressions Divine Revelation? — Grace to You Blog

Is Jesus The Only Way?


Is Jesus the Only Way?

One of the most controversial issues in religious dialogue is whether there is one way of salvation. In other words, the biblical claim that Jesus is the only possible Savior for the human race (Matthew 11:27; John 1:18; 3:36; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 1: 5:11-12) is considered to be overly exclusive and arrogant. In the Bible, people do experience salvation by the explicit preaching of the gospel (Luke 24:46-47; John 3:15-16;20-21; Acts 4:12; 11:14; 16:31; Romans 10:9-10-13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Hebrews 4:2; 1 Peter 1:3-25; 1 John 2:23; 5:12). Furthermore, the New Testament does not reveal Jesus as any ordinary prophet or religious teacher. Rather, it reveals Him as God incarnate (John 1:1; 8:58-59;10:29-31;14:8-9;20-28; Philipians 2:5-7; Col 2:9;Titus 2;13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1).

So how can the disciple of Jesus make an exclusive truth claim that Jesus is the only way of salvation…

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The Terror of Deflation v. The Love of Inflation by Ron Paul (Video)

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Can you imagine the money, that you work so hard for, actually increasing in purchasing power every year? Can you imagine your bills gradually falling over the years, instead of relentlessly rising? Of course you can’t! And the reason that you can’t is because of the government-created monopoly called The Federal Reserve.


Core Christianity | What to Do With Your Wavering Faith

 Whatever we think of the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, many of us will identify with the description he gave of his faith: “I suppose my own faith, you know, it’s like a bit like trying to get Virgin Radio when you’re driving through the Chilterns. It sort of comes and goes. I mean sometimes the signal is strong, and then sometimes I’m afraid it just vanishes. And then it comes back again.”[1]

The Problem

This is true of most of us, even if few will admit it. The main question is, what do we do with this wavering faith, with this poor connection? We can ignore it and let it be. This is a common reaction, especially since we all lead busy lives and live in a world where the word faith is used casually and flippantly. In my experience, this doesn’t help. The signals will just become fainter, causing either discouragement or indifference.

Or we can despair, thinking there is something seriously wrong with us, and that’s obviously not the answer either. Instead, it’s important to recognize that our wavering faith is a common condition in our present earthly state where Christians – as Martin Luther used to say – are simul iustus et peccator (simultaneously righteous and sinful). Like Paul, we can end our cries of frustration or despair (“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Rom. 7:24) with an expression of thanks to the only true Answer (“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Rom. 7:25).

Faith is a Gift

Like Paul, we can move from frustration to praise by the simple act of remembering. We can remember that God is the Giver. Christian faith is a gift that cannot be mustered up. It can only be received. And the Bible tells us that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). 

This is particularly true of the preached word. “How are they to hear without someone preaching?”, said Paul (Rom. 10:14). And that’s not just because of the scarcity of written Scriptures. Hearing God’s word from another, especially one who has been given authority to proclaim it, helps us to leave our Gollum’s cave of inner mumblings to receive a counter-intuitive announcement. Remembering these simple biblical truths helps us to be constant in our attendance to the means of grace – the preached word and sacraments – which are meant to foster and strengthen our faith.

The Proper Object of Faith

We should also remember that the Christian faith has a specific object: Christ. This might seem obvious, but it’s often easy to fall prey to the platitudes we hear all around us. Many tell us to have faith, with or without a specific object. They might tell us to have faith in ourselves, or, as an online article puts it, “faith in any potential outcome in our lives.” For the author of that article, faith is “the knowledge, deep down inside, that things will get better.”[2] 

The problem is, digging deep down inside can instead uncover a swirling cauldron of fear and confusion. We can never find true faith by looking inside of ourselves, nor can we strengthen our faith by keeping tabs on it. When the famous preacher Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898) was lying in excruciating pain after a protracted illness and a series of possibly more damaging treatments, his lifetime friend Clement Read Vaughan (1827-1911) hasted to uphold his wavering faith.

“You want more faith,” he said. “Do you remember, in the stress of your trial, how faith comes? Let me remind you, although you know it. You know we are sanctified through the truth. Sanctification is just the growth of the particular graces of the spirit, of which faith is one. Just here is where Christians make a great mistake. When they want more faith or want to know whether the faith, they have is the right sort of faith, instead of looking at the things to be believed, they turn their eyes inward and scrutinize their faith.” 

To prove the absurdity of this habit, Vaughan gave Dabney the example of a bridge. “Now, suppose a traveler comes to a bridge,” he continued, “and he is in doubt about trusting himself to it. What does he do to breed confidence in the bridge? He looks at the bridge; he gets down and examines it. He doesn’t stand at the bridge-head and turn his thoughts curiously in on his own mind to see if he has confidence in the bridge. If his examination of the bridge gives him a certain amount of confidence, and yet he wants more, how does he make his faith grow? Why, in the same way; he still continues to examine the bridge. Now, my dear old man, let your faith take care of itself for a while, and you just think of what you are allowed to trust in. Think of the Master’s power, think of his love; think how he is interested in the soul that searches for him, and will not be comforted until he finds him. Think of what he has done, his work. That blood of his is mightier than all the sins of all the sinners that ever lived. Don’t you think it will master yours?”[3]

The Guarantee of Our Faith

This is the same reminder the author of the Book of Hebrews provides. After giving a definition of faith and a long list of biblical examples in chapter 11 (many of whom also wavered and failed), he reminds us that Jesus is “the founder and perfecter of our faith,” and exhorts us to look to him, remembering who he is and what he has done and continues to do (Heb. 12:2). 

As our intercessor in Heaven, Jesus is still saying to us what he said to Simon Peter, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Lk. 22:31). We can be sure of this: Christ’s prayers will never return void, and “he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ,” even if our feelings tell us otherwise (Philippians 1:6).

— Read on corechristianity.com/resource-library/3/1417

The Federal Reserve Is Behind Every Recession and Depression Including This One | The Common Sense Show

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Bill Maher has said that he wants to take Trump down at any cost including having a recession. And at the heart of it all, there has never been a recession, or depression, that the Federal Reserve has not caused. Here is the story…

— Read on thecommonsenseshow.com/conspiracy-economics-united-states/federal-reserve-behind-every-recession-and-depression-including-one

08/23/19 Blessed to Bless — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Psalms 67-69, Romans 13:1-14:12

The Lord has been incredibly good to me. I could start listing the blessings He’s given me, and I’d still be writing for hours. What the psalmist reminds me today is that God blesses me NOT for myself, but for the sake of the nations. He makes His face shine upon us “so that [His] ways may be known on earth, [His] salvation among all nations” (Psa 67:2).

In fact, the writer of psalm 67 bookends the psalm with this reminder, ending the song with “May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him” (Psa 67:7). In between the bookends, he twice offers this refrain that shows us the goal of God’s blessings: “May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you” (Psa 67:3, 5). He blesses us so the nations would “be glad and sing for joy” (Psa 67:4).

So, I must think today about how I use the blessings God gives me to help get the gospel to the peoples of the world. It’s easy, frankly, for me to give to my local church that then gives a portion of our offerings to missions. My question really is whether I give sacrificially for the nations; the question I must ask myself is, “Do I give only out of the abundance of God’s blessings, or do I give until I feel the reality of the sacrifice?” God has given so much to me that I don’t want to give only minimally to Him. I want to give well so the nations sing for joy.

PRAYER: “Lord, thank You for Your blessings. I commit to giving more to Your work for the sake of people around the world.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Psalms 70-73, Romans 14:13-15:13

via 08/23/19 Blessed to Bless — ChuckLawless.com