Daily Archives: August 26, 2019

August 26 The Peace of God

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53:4–6

Key Verse: Isaiah 59:2

But your iniquities have separated you from your God;

And your sins have hidden His face from you,

So that He will not hear.

Peace is not merely that state of calmness and ease which we seek in desperate times. It is ultimately the condition that can exist between God and man because of the redeeming work of Christ.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, a barrier was erected between the Creator and His creation, extinguishing any hope of relationship between the two. That barrier is called sin. It destroyed the harmony that had previously existed between God and man, and only a miracle could restore it (Isaiah 59:2).

The miracle came about two thousand years ago on a hill just outside Jerusalem. Jesus Christ submitted Himself to the most horrific death any man has ever suffered. Jesus didn’t merely die; He hung on the cross with the weight of all sin—past, present, and future—on His back. The full penalty for my transgression and yours was levied against Him that day. At the moment of Christ’s death, the massive temple veil dividing the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom, signifying reconciliation between man and God (2 Corinthians 5:18–19). Peace with God was now possible again.

Though an instrument of death and brutality, the cross stands as an eternal symbol of peace. But it is not until we bow at the pierced feet of Jesus and offer our lives to Him as a living sacrifice that true peace becomes a present reality. What greater peace could there be than to know that you have perfect harmony with God. This is His precious gift to you.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your peace that came to me by the way of the Cross. Thank You for paying the price for this priceless gift.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 249). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 26 Total Commitment

Scripture Reading: Jude 1

Key Verse: Jude 3

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Constantine was the first Roman emperor to take a serious interest in Christianity. During his rule, much was done to ease persecution against the church and to advance the gospel message.

  1. D. Douglas noted, “In a dream … Constantine saw a vision of a monogram composed of the first two Greek letters of the name of ‘Christ.’ The next day he had his soldiers inscribe that monogram on their shields and marched into battle.” The victory they gained was a political and military victory as well as a victory for Christianity over heathenism.

Constantine’s religious sentiments resulted in laws favoring Christianity. In a.d. 325, he organized the first ecumenical council, the Council of Nicaea, which was devoted to settling doctrinal disputes and unifying the church. One of the most important decisions reached was a ban against Arianism, a heresy that denied Christ is coeternal with the Father.

But even though Constantine took a bold step toward Christianity, compromise diluted most of his efforts. Pagan worship continued. Constantine maintained his pagan title “Pontifex Maximus.” He contended for the faith but invited compromise into his heart.

What banner waves above your heart? One of total commitment or one of compromise?

Dear God, I pull down the banners of self-will, self-sufficiency, and compromise that reign in my life. I lift the banner of total commitment to You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 249). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 26 A Way of Escape

Scripture reading: Psalm 95:1–11

Key verse: 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

For the past several days, we have been studying about temptation. As believers, we know that the victory is ours, and we are no longer under the powerful rule of sin. Jesus annihilated the final hold of sin over mankind. However, as we have said before, sin is a powerful enemy, and we must make a conscious decision to turn away from it and obey God.

If we fail to do this, we give the enemy room to build his power base of sin and deception in our lives. And while we may not be owned by the devil because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, he can surely darken our lives and leave us feeling defeated and worthless.

You may ask, “How can I possibly live a victorious life with so many temptations facing me each day?” The apostle Paul offered this insight: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

God always provides a way of escape from sin. If you fall, God does not want you to give up. Instead, you are to ask Him to forgive you and then continue in your walk with Him. This is the goodness of God’s love for you: He never stops loving you.

Lord, I know that there is no temptation I experience that is not common to man. Thank You that You have provided a way for me to escape. Help me to take it.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 249). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

CNN: ‘Our Ratings Are Only Tanking Because Trump Is Killing Off Viewers By The Millions’ | The Babylon Bee

ATLANTA, GA—CNN host Brian Stelter blamed President Trump for the network’s falling ratings Sunday, accusing the president of killing millions upon millions of people that otherwise might have tuned into CNN.

“If Trump weren’t killing off most of America by the millions, we’d still have a pretty solid viewer base,” Stelter bellowed at the three viewers watching Reliable Sources. “Airports, lobbies, waiting rooms, and gas station pumps are now playing CNN to absolutely no one, since Trump has killed them all.”

A guest on Stelter’s show suggested that Trump has killed more people than Hitler, Mao, and Stalin put together, and Stelter had to agree. “I’d probably put his death count at somewhere near 7.7 billion,” he said after doing some simple math on one of those giant novelty calculators he keeps handy for such an occasion. “We can’t overstate the damage this president has done to this once-great news station.”

After the segment blaming Trump for the deaths of millions and CNN’s subsequent decline, the station continued to air 24/7 Trump coverage, which mostly consisted of the hosts screaming at the sky.

Source: CNN: ‘Our Ratings Are Only Tanking Because Trump Is Killing Off Viewers By The Millions’

Hong Kong is the ‘new frontline in the battle against tyranny’, says Christian human rights campaigner | Christian Today

hong kong
Hong Kong police officers were filmed drawing their pistols at protesters(Photo: Twitter)

Christian human rights campaigner Benedict Rogers has condemned the Hong Kong police’s increasing heavy handedness after a 12-year-old was reportedly among the dozens of protesters detained during a day of violent clashes on Sunday.

For the first time since the pro-democracy protests began in June, the police deployed water cannon and fired a live shot to clear the streets.

The protests began in the district of Tsuen Wan before moving across to Tsim Sha Tsui, with 36 people arrested by the end of the day.

Mr Rogers, East Asia Team for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, strongly criticised the police handling of the protests.

“When a 12 year old kid is arrested and a police officer shoots a gun you know a rubicon has been crossed,” he said.

“Hong Kong is the new frontline in the battle for freedom against tyranny and repression and every freedom-loving person and government must stand with the Hong Kong people.”

He said that members of the Hong Kong government needed to “examine their consciences” in light of the escalating violence and asked that people pray for the city.

The protests have been going on for the last 12 weeks, having been ignited by an extradition bill that would see some suspects sent to mainland China for trial.  They have since grown to reflect the fears of Hong Kongers more generally concerning democracy, human rights and police brutality in the former British colony.

A key demand of the protesters is that Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam completely withdraws the bill, but there are others. They want Lam’s resignation and a change in the official rhetoric branding the protests as “riots”, as well as the unconditional release of arrested protesters.

An additional demand for an independent inquiry into the police response has been backed by Christian leaders.

On Sunday, Lam posted a message in Facebook suggesting the creation of a “dialogue platform” between the Hong Kong government and protesters to find a way forward.

“I do not expect dialogue to easily resolve the deadlock, stop demonstrations, or to provide solutions to problems,” she said.

“But continuing to fight is not the way out.”

She continued: “I know that in the current predicament, there is deep social resentment, and some citizens are very dissatisfied, or even angry with the government’s failure to fully meet the ‘five demands’.

“There is growing resentment among people of different political views and citizens of different positions, and even hatred may grow.”

— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) August 25, 2019

Source: Hong Kong is the ‘new frontline in the battle against tyranny’, says Christian human rights campaigner

Antisemitic beliefs spreading among evangelical Christians in America

Read the full story: Washington Post

While Trump calls most Jews disloyal, some American Christians are following pastors who blame Jews for a long list of the nation’s ills.

Source: Antisemitic beliefs spreading among evangelical Christians in America

Jackie Hill Perry Embraces Bethel Cult, Discernment Leaders Silent — Pulpit & Pen

A popular Intersectional celebrity who regularly preaches alongside men like John MacArthur recently endorsed a leader in what is perhaps the most radical sub-Christian and hyper-charismatic cult in America.

Jackie Hill Perry, a militant social justice warrior and subversive LGBTQ speaker, fully embraced Bethel Church’s Jen Johnson over the weekend. Perry, who is heavily promoted by Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan through The Gospel Coalition, upon which they serve on its leadership council, teaches that Same-Sex Attraction is not a sin unless acted upon (Jesus would disagree). Her engagement with Jen Johnson came upon the heels of a story this weekend, Bethel Church Goes Gay, in which (like Jackie Hill Perry) they have stated that God doesn’t necessarily desire to sanctify homosexuals.

WHO IS JENN JOHNSON?

Jenn Johnson is the daughter-in-law of Bethel Church lead guru and New Apostolic Reformation Apostle, Bill Johnson. This is the church that drops chicken feathers from the rafters (congregants believed they were from angels) and glitter from ventilation systems, and credits it to the Holy Spirit, calling it a ‘glory cloud.’ It is not an exaggeration to say that Bethel Church is the most extreme hyper-charismatic church of prominence in the United States, with weekly claims of absurdity.

At the same time Bill Johnson was claiming last year to have supernaturally healed 10 thousand of PTSD, he was unable to heal the child of the Bethel Music CEO, who was placed in Intensive Care (it turns out all he needed was hydration). Bethel Church, whose leaders sometimes claim to control things like the weather and claim that nothing happens on Earth without their permission, were unable to stop fires from consuming their community. These people even claim to raise the dead, and preach that temporal physical healing is promised in Christ’s atonement.

Bethel Church leaders embraced Christian Tarot Cards. Bethel Church leaders (like Bill’s wife) condoned necromantic “grave sucking” (and they’re still doing it). Their sermons are rife with insanely bad theology, with one Bethel leader claiming that Jesus came to him and apologized for sinning against him.

Jenn Johnson, the daughter-in-law of Bill Johnson, is a leader in Bethel Church and the co-founder of Bethel Music, of which discerning Christians have been warning you of the danger for years. She is also the “Senior Worship Pastor” for Bethel Church in Redding.

But aside from being a leader at Bethel Church, Jenn Johnson is herself downright crazy, if not demonic.

This famous clip shows Jenn Johnson preaching that the Holy Spirit is “blue” and is like a “sneaky genie.”

She is – to use a technical and theological term – a nutjob.

WHO IS JACKIE HILL PERRY?

Jackie Hill Perry claims to be a “former lesbian” who is now married to a man, but she still has homosexual desires. In fact, at the core of Perry’s main message is the assertion that God does not (or probably will not) change the hearts of homosexuals when he saves them. Perry’s position on sodomy and sanctification is identical to that held by those of the controversial pro-LGBTQ+ Revoice Conference.

Perry is also a staunch Social Justice advocate, political liberal, and she seems to be theologically schizophrenic, bouncing all over the map regarding her own theological beliefs, even leading worship at an anti-Trinitarian Oneness Pentecostal cult last year.

Perry blames Christians for not being accepting enough of homosexuality and claims the church has hurt the “gay community.” She regularly uses her social media platforms to denounce the United States. Perry preaches to both men and women, attacks Complementarians on Twitter for believing women shouldn’t preach, and still carries herself in a ‘butch’ sort of way.

If twenty women were in a room with Jackie Hill Perry and were asked which one was probably a lesbian, most would point quickly to Perry, who still carries herself with the mannerisms of one not yet ‘freed indeed’ by the Holy Spirit.

WHY IS PERRY PROMOTED BY MOHLER, DEVER, DUNCAN, THE GOSPEL COALITION ET AL?

Jackie Hill Perry is an Intersectional goldmine. She is an ethnic minority. She is a “sexual minority.” She positions herself as a victim minority (being mistreated by heterosexuals and Caucasians in the church).

Any organization that is sold-out to Critical Race Theory would be eager to have Jackie Hill Perry as what Thomas Sowell calls a “mascot.” It doesn’t matter if Perry has little more to offer than being a mannish pseudo-lesbian with the ability to rhyme.

Perry, on the outside, has everything that the Evangelical Intelligentsia – who is convinced of their own White Privilege – want to promote in order to signal their virtue.

Perry is, for lack of a better word, a useful tool for the ‘woke,’ despite having nothing substantive to offer theologically.

The white men who run The Gospel Coalition have put Perry forward like a slave on their auction block, trading her from one platform to another because of her useful demographic traits.

Read more: Jackie Hill Perry Embraces Bethel Cult, Discernment Leaders Silent — Pulpit & Pen

Silicon Valley In California Is Building A Chinese-Style ‘Social Credit System’ That Grows Larger And Stronger With Every App You Download And Use — Now The End Begins

In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law and the Constitution.

We all gasped in shock and horror when we learned last year about China’s dystopian and chilling social credit system that looked and sounded a whole lot like the George Orwell novel ‘1984‘. But guess what? A very similar system is rising up here in America, not run by our government like the Chinese system is, but created by each and every one of us who download apps and use the “like” and commenting features. All this activity has created a system that is beginning to rate people and allow them access to the system, or to lock them out of it.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:16-18 (KJV)

Social media use has created a paradigm shift in our culture on a par with the invention of the automobile and the electric light bulb, that’s how much change has been wrought seemingly overnight. In the movie ‘The Matrix‘, we learn to our astonishment that Neo and all the rest of mankind are actually human batteries living in a pod, generating life for ‘the system’. Isn’t that what we are all doing on social media as well?

We post the everyday moments of our lives which, at the minute we upload them, become the property of the corporation we just gave them to. Even our social media profiles are not our own, evidenced by the fact that they can only be deactivated but never deleted. And that very system which we the people work to build every single day is now beginning to turn on us and decide who is allowed access and who is not. Soulless corporations are making billions and billions from our profiles, all that money gives them power, and all that power is now telling us how we will live.

Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system

FROM FAST COMPANY: Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.

Punishments can be harsh, including bans on leaving the country, using public transportation, checking into hotels, hiring for high-visibility jobs, or acceptance of children to private schools. It can also result in slower internet connections and social stigmatization in the form of registration on a public blacklist. China’s social credit system has been characterized in one pithy tweet as “authoritarianism, gamified.”

man-gets-live-microchip-implant-mobile-world-congress-technology-barcelona-spain-mark-of-the-beast-end-times-nteb-edgar-pons

IT CAN HAPPEN HERE

Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

The New York State Department of Financial Services announced earlier this year that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts. That Instagram pic showing you teasing a grizzly bear at Yellowstone with a martini in one hand, a bucket of cheese fries in the other, and a cigarette in your mouth, could cost you. On the other hand, a Facebook post showing you doing yoga might save you money. (Insurance companies have to demonstrate that social media evidence points to risk, and not be based on discrimination of any kind—they can’t use social posts to alter premiums based on race or disability, for example.)

The use of social media is an extension of the lifestyle questions typically asked when applying for life insurance, such as questions about whether you engage in rock climbing or other adventure sports. Saying “no,” but then posting pictures of yourself free-soloing El Capitan, could count as a “yes.”

You Will Wish You Watched This Before You Started Using Social Media

PATRONSCAN

A company called PatronScan sells three products—kiosk, desktop, and handheld systems—designed to help bar and restaurant owners manage customers. PatronScan is a subsidiary of the Canadian software company Servall Biometrics, and its products are now on sale in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

PatronScan helps spot fake IDs—and troublemakers. When customers arrive at a PatronScan-using bar, their ID is scanned. The company maintains a list of objectionable customers designed to protect venues from people previously removed for “fighting, sexual assault, drugs, theft, and other bad behavior,” according to its website. A “public” list is shared among all PatronScan customers. So someone who’s banned by one bar in the U.S. is potentially banned by all the bars in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada that use the PatronScan system for up to a year. (PatronScan Australia keeps a separate system.)

Judgment about what kind of behavior qualifies for inclusion on a PatronScan list is up to the bar owners and managers. Individual bar owners can ignore the ban, if they like. Data on non-offending customers is deleted in 90 days or less. Also: PatronScan enables bars to keep a “private” list that is not shared with other bars, but on which bad customers can be kept for up to five years. PatronScan does have an “appeals” process, but it’s up to the company to grant or deny those appeals.

UBER AND AIRBNB

Thanks to the sharing economy, the options for travel have been extended far beyond taxis and hotels. Uber and Airbnb are leaders in providing transportation and accommodation for travelers. But there are many similar ride-sharing and peer-to-peer accommodations companies providing similar services.

Airbnb—a major provider of travel accommodation and tourist activities—bragged in March that it now has more than 6 million listings in its system. That’s why a ban from Airbnb can limit travel options.

Airbnb can disable your account for life for any reason it chooses, and it reserves the right to not tell you the reason. The company’s canned message includes the assertion that “This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts. Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account.” The ban can be based on something the host privately tells Airbnb about something they believe you did while staying at their property. Airbnb’s competitors have similar policies.

It’s now easy to get banned by Uber, too. Whenever you get out of the car after an Uber ride, the app invites you to rate the driver. What many passengers don’t know is that the driver now also gets an invitation to rate you. Under a new policy announced in May: If your average rating is “significantly below average,” Uber will ban you from the service.

WHATSAPP

You can be banned from communications apps, too. For example, you can be banned on WhatsApp if too many other users block you. You can also get banned for sending spam, threatening messages, trying to hack or reverse-engineer the WhatsApp app, or using the service with an unauthorized app.

WhatsApp is small potatoes in the United States. But in much of the world, it’s the main form of electronic communication. Not being allowed to use WhatsApp in some countries is as punishing as not being allowed to use the telephone system in America.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH SOCIAL CREDIT, ANYWAY?

The most disturbing attribute of a social credit system is not that it’s invasive, but that it’s extralegal. Crimes are punished outside the legal system, which means no presumption of innocence, no legal representation, no judge, no jury, and often no appeal. In other words, it’s an alternative legal system where the accused have fewer rights.

Social credit systems are an end-run around the pesky complications of the legal system. Unlike China’s government policy, the social credit system emerging in the U.S. is enforced by private companies. If the public objects to how these laws are enforced, it can’t elect new rule-makers.

An increasing number of societal “privileges” related to transportation, accommodations, communications, and the rates we pay for services (like insurance) are either controlled by technology companies or affected by how we use technology services. And Silicon Valley’s rules for being allowed to use their services are getting stricter.

If current trends hold, it’s possible that in the future a majority of misdemeanors and even some felonies will be punished not by Washington, D.C., but by Silicon Valley. It’s a slippery slope away from democracy and toward corporatocracy. In other words, in the future, law enforcement may be determined less by the Constitution and legal code, and more by end-user license agreements. READ MORE

China and their Social Credit System

via Silicon Valley In California Is Building A Chinese-Style ‘Social Credit System’ That Grows Larger And Stronger With Every App You Download And Use — Now The End Begins

Biden, Once the Clear Favorite, Plummets to THIRD PLACE in National Poll — The Gateway Pundit

Once the clear favorite and leading contender for the Democratic Party presidential candidate nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden’s seemingly never-ending gaffes have led to him falling to third place in a national poll.

Biden is now polling at 19 percent behind Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are both at 20 percent, in the Monmouth University Poll.

“Biden has suffered an across the board decline in his support since June.  He lost ground with white Democrats (from 32% to 18%) and voters of color (from 33% to 19%), among voters without a college degree (from 35% to 18%) and college graduates (from 28% to 20%), with both men (from 38% to 24%) and women (from 29% to 16%), and among voters under 50 years old (from 21% to 6%) as well as voters aged 50 and over (from 42% to 33%).  Most of Biden’s lost support in these groups shifted almost equally toward Sanders and Warren,” Monomouth found.

“The main takeaway from this poll is that the Democratic race has become volatile.  Liberal voters are starting to cast about for a candidate they can identify with.  Moderate voters, who have been paying less attention, seem to be expressing doubts about Biden. But they are swinging more toward one of the left-leaning contenders with high name recognition rather than toward a lesser known candidate who might be more in line with them politically,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.  He added, “It’s important to keep in mind this is just one snapshot from one poll.  But it does raise warning signs of increased churning in the Democratic nomination contest now that voters are starting to pay closer attention.”

Biden has lost support from Democrats who call themselves moderate or conservative (from 40 percent to 22 percent) as well as those who consider themselves liberal, dropping from 24 percent to 15 percent.

Fortunately for Biden, most of the lost support appears to be coming from states that vote later in the primary process — giving him a chance to regain momentum.

“Biden’s drop in support is coming disproportionately from later states that have less impact on the process. But if this trend continues it could spell trouble for him in the early states if it undermines his claim to being the most electable candidate.  This could benefit someone like Harris, who remains competitive in the early states and could use a strong showing there to propel her into the top tier.  Based on the current data, though, Warren looks like the candidate with the greatest momentum right now,” said Murray.

via Biden, Once the Clear Favorite, Plummets to THIRD PLACE in National Poll — The Gateway Pundit

August 26, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

5:2 This verse specifies the characteristic of God the Christian should imitate. Being imitators of God means being imitators of Christ in his sacrificial love.[1]


5:2 live in love Christ provides the model for how Christians are to live in love; His sacrificial death is the definition of love.

offering and sacrifice This description of Christ’s death draws on language from the sacrificial system in the ot. The first term, prosphora, alludes to that which the worshiper brings to God. The second term, thysia, refers to the sacrificing of animals.

fragrant smell In the ot, sacrifices are described as having an aroma pleasing to God (e.g., Exod 29:25; Lev 1:9).[2]


5:2 Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us. The Lord is the supreme example in His self-sacrificing love for lost sinners (4:32; Ro 5:8–10). He took human sin upon Himself and gave up His very life that men might be redeemed from their sin, receive a new and holy nature, and inherit eternal life (see note on 2Co 5:21). They are henceforth to be imitators of His great love in the newness and power of the Holy Spirit, who enables them to demonstrate divine love. a fragrant aroma. Christ’s offering of Himself for fallen man pleased and glorified His heavenly Father, because it demonstrated in the most complete and perfect way God’s sovereign, perfect, unconditional, and divine kind of love. Leviticus describes 5 offerings commanded by God for Israel. The first 3 were: 1) the burnt offering (Lv 1:1–17), depicting Christ’s perfection; 2) the grain offering (Lv 2:1–16), depicting Christ’s total devotion to God in giving His life to please the Father; and 3) the peace offering (Lv 3:1–17), depicting His peacemaking between God and man. All 3 of these were a “soothing aroma to the Lord” (Lv 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12; 3:5, 16). The other two offerings, the sin offering (Lv 4:1–5:13) and the guilt, or trespass, offering (Lv 5:14–6:7), were repulsive to God because, though they depicted Christ, they depicted Him as bearing sin (cf. Mt 27:46). In the end, when redemption was accomplished, the whole work pleased God completely.[3]


5:2. As imitators of God believers are to walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us. Christ showed the greatest act of love when He died in the place of sinners, paying for sin and conquering death. Jesus’ sacrifice was a sweet-smelling aroma to God.[4]


5:2 Another way in which we should resemble the Lord is by walking in love. The rest of the verse explains that to walk in love means to give ourselves for others. This is what Christ, our perfect Example, did. Amazing fact! He loved us. The proof of His love is that He gave Himself for us in death at Calvary.

His gift is described as an offering and a sacrifice to God. An offering is anything given to God; a sacrifice here includes the additional element of death. He was the true burnt offering, the One who was completely devoted to do the will of God, even to the death of the cross. His sacrifice of unspeakable devotion is eulogized as being for a sweet-smelling aroma. F. B. Meyer comments, “In love so measureless, so reckless of cost, for those who were naturally so unworthy of it, there was a spectacle which filled heaven with fragrance and God’s heart with joy.”

The Lord Jesus pleased His Father by giving Himself for others. The moral is that we too can bring joy to God by giving ourselves for others.

Others, Lord, yes, others!

Let this my motto be;

Help me to live for others

That I may live like Thee.

Charles D. Meigs[5]


5:2. To imitate God in this context means to walk in love. Love denies self. It is willing to give up self-interest for God’s sake. Since Jesus gave himself up for us, we ought to give ourselves up for him. To give oneself up means “to follow, to obey, to live in relationship with.” When we live with this attitude toward God, we please him just as a pleasant aroma pleases the one who smells it (see Lev. 1:17; 3:16; Isa. 53:10). Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins. We must become a living sacrifice, obeying him (see Rom. 12:1).[6]


Ver. 2.—And walk in love. Taking up anew the exhortation of ch. 4:1. Let your ordinary life be spent in an atmosphere of love. Drink it in from heaven, as plants drink in the sunshine; radiate it forth from eyes and face; let hands and feet be active in the service; let looks, words, and acts all be steeped in it. Even as Christ also loved us. The passing from the Father to the Son as our Example is not a new departure; for the Son reveals the Father, the Son’s love is the counterpart of the Father’s, made visible to us in the way most fitted to impress us. Though Christ’s love, like his Father’s, is eternal, the aorist is used, to denote that specific act of love which is immediately in view. And gave himself for us. The Pauline phrase (Gal. 1:4; 2:20; Titus 2:14; 1 Tim. 2:6), simple, but very comprehensive: “himself”—all that he was as God, all that he became as Man, a complete self-surrender, a whole burnt offering. “For us,” not merely on our behalf, but in our room (after verbs of giving, dying, etc.); this, indeed, being implied in the idea immediately following of a sacrifice, which, alike to the Jewish and pagan mind, conveyed the idea of a life given in room of another. An offering and a sacrifice to God. Offering and sacrifice are nearly synonymous, but the first probably includes the whole earthly career of Christ incarnate—his holy life, blessed example, gracious teaching, loving companionship, as well as his atoning death, which last is more precisely the θυσία, sacrifice. The offering and sacrifice were presented to God, to satisfy his justice, fulfil the demands of his law, and glorify his holy and righteous government. For a sweet-smelling savour. Allusion to Noah’s sacrifice of every clean beast and of every fowl—“the Lord smelled a sweet savour;” that is, the whole transaction, not the offering merely, but the spirit in which it was offered likewise, was grateful to God. The whole work of Christ, and the beautiful spirit in which he offered himself, were grateful to the Father, and procure saving blessings for all who by faith make the offering their own.[7]


2. And—in proof that you are so.

walk in love—resuming Eph 4:1, “walk worthy of the vocation.”

as Christ … loved us—From the love of the Father he passes to the love of the Son, in whom God most endearingly manifests His love to us.

given himself for usGreek, “given Himself up (namely, to death, Ga 2:20) for us,” that is, in our behalf: not here vicarious substitution, though that is indirectly implied, “in our stead.” The offerer, and the offering that He offered, were one and the same (Jn 15:13; Ro 5:8).

offering and a sacrifice—“Offering” expresses generally His presenting Himself to the Father, as the Representative undertaking the cause of the whole of our lost race (Ps 40:6–8), including His life of obedience; though not excluding His offering of His body for us (Heb 10:10). It is usually an unbloody offering, in the more limited sense. “Sacrifice” refers to His death for us exclusively. Christ is here, in reference to Ps 40:6 (quoted again in Heb 10:5), represented as the antitype of all the offerings of the law, whether the unbloody or bloody, eucharistical or propitiatory.

for a sweet-smelling savourGreek, “for an odor of a sweet smell,” that is, God is well pleased with the offering on the ground of its sweetness, and so is reconciled to us (Eph 1:6; Mt 3:17; 2 Co 5:18, 19; Heb 10:6–17). The ointment compounded of principal spices, poured upon Aaron’s head, answers to the variety of the graces by which He was enabled to “offer Himself a sacrifice for a sweet-smelling savor.” Another type, or prophecy by figure, was “the sweet savor” (“savor of rest,Margin) which God smelled in Noah’s sacrifice (Ge 8:21). Again, as what Christ is, believers also are (1 Jn 4:17), and ministers are: Paul says (2 Co 2:17) “we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ.”[8]


5:2 / Since forgiveness and love are bound together, believers are admonished to live a life of love. That love finds its example in Christ who gave himself up for us. By implication, the Christian’s love is to be expressed as a self-giving sacrifice (cf. 5:25). Love is the essence of God and is to be the main feature of the believer’s walk (peripateō). By mentioning Christ’s death, the apostle recalls words that were applicable to Jewish sacrifices—namely, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. The sacrifice of Jesus and the sacrificial life of love that believers live are pleasing to God.[9]


2  The example of Christ is appealed to alongside the example of God: their way of life must be marked by love, as Christ’s was. He showed his love by giving himself up to death on their behalf; the practical implication is clear, even if Paul does not spell it out expressly here as John does: “by this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

In an earlier letter Paul manifests his personal appreciation of this love when he speaks of “the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). It is open to every believer to use the same language: Christ loved each one of them individually and gave himself up for them, just as he loved the whole church collectively and gave himself up for it (Eph. 5:25). Paul can speak of Christ as giving himself up (cf. Gal. 1:4) and of the Father as giving him up (cf. Rom. 8:32); in the whole ordo salutis the Father and the Son act as one. When the Son’s giving himself up is spoken of, the language of sacrifice lies ready to hand. The lifelong obedience of Christ was an acceptable sacrifice to God: willing obedience is the only kind of sacrifice that God desires. His crowning act of obedience in saying “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Mark 14:36 and parallels), and in embracing the cross in that spirit, was preeminently acceptable. The writer to the Hebrews consistently speaks of the work of Christ in terms of sacrifice: Paul does so occasionally. The “fragrant odor” of all the main types of sacrifice in the levitical ritual betokened their acceptance by God;10 in the NT the language, like the idea of sacrifice in its totality, is transferred to the spiritual and personal realm. It is used of the perfect self-offering of Christ and of his people’s dedication of themselves and their means. The one other place in the Pauline writings where this phrase—“a fragrant odor”—occurs is in Phil. 4:18, where Paul uses it of the gift which his friends in Philippi had sent him: “a fragrant odor, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.”[10]


2 Or imitating God may point to what Paul says next, for he says, “and walk in love” (present tense, imperative mood—i.e., “keep on conducting your lives in love”; NIV, “live a life of love”). Paul used the verb peripateō (“walk”) for the conduct of life in 2:2; 4:1, 17. “Love” represents the crucial divine trait to be imitated, and one that Paul has stressed for the community (recall 4:2, 15–16). Here Paul presents Christ’s self-giving love for his people as the pattern of love to emulate. With an active form of the verb, Paul insists that Christ “gave himself up” for his people (cf. v. 25; Gal 2:20). Employing language of the sacrificial system, Paul shows how love and giving are closely identified (cf. Jn 3:16). In Paul’s view, Christ’s death was a vicarious death—“for us”—and elsewhere Paul spelled out some of the benefits of Christ’s salvific work (e.g., 1:5, 7; 2:5–6). It was a sacrificial offering “to God” that was, literally, “for a smell of fragrance.” Paul paints the picture of the aroma of the sacrifice ascending to God and bringing God pleasure (cf. Ge 8:21; Ex 29:18; Lev 2:2, 9, 12). Paul clearly implies that God was pleased and accepted Christ’s offering. By implication, then, when believers love one another—i.e., when they sacrificially put others’ interests above their own—God is pleased with this offering to him. Paul employs this same language to capture what the Philippians demonstrated in giving Paul gifts (Php 4:18).[11]


2. And walk in love as Christ also hath loved us. Having called on us to imitate God, he now calls on us to imitate Christ, who is our true model. We ought to embrace each other with that love with which Christ has embraced us, for what we perceive in Christ is our true guide.

And gave himself for us. This was a remarkable proof of the highest love. Forgetful, as it were, of himself, Christ spared not his own life, that he might redeem us from death. If we desire to be partakers of this benefit, we must cultivate similar affections toward our neighbours. Not that any of us has reached such high perfection, but all must aim and strive according to the measure of their ability.

An offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet smelling savour. While this statement leads us to admire the grace of Christ, it bears directly on the present subject. No language, indeed, can fully represent the consequences and efficacy of Christ’s death. This is the only price by which we are reconciled to God. The doctrine of faith on this subject holds the highest rank. But the more extraordinary the discoveries which have reached us of the Redeemer’s kindness, the more strongly are we bound to his service. Besides, we may infer from Paul’s words, that, unless we love one another, none of our duties will be acceptable in the sight of God. If the reconciliation of men, effected by Christ, was a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour, we, too, shall be “unto God a sweet savour,” (2 Cor. 2:15,) when this holy perfume is spread over us. To this applies the saying of Christ, “Leave thy gift before the altar, and go and be reconciled to thy brother.” (Matt. 5:24.)[12]


Live as the Child of God (5:2)

In savoring their new identity the Ephesians are reminded that they are to live not only as children of God, but also to live as the Child of God. Held before us and the Ephesians is the example of Jesus Christ. We are told to “live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2). Imitating God means imitating his Son, and that means doing whatever is required to make our lives a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. The smell of Jesus, the fragrance of the Savior that we are to have waft from our lives, also includes offering and sacrifice.

The image that the apostle is bringing to mind, of course, is that of the Old Testament sacrifices where the people brought an offering to God and sacrificed it upon the altar so that its fiery consumption would cause the odor of a sweet sacrifice to God. There is much in the image that is pleasant. But it also reminds us that the fragrance from an altar does not come without some giving of self (an offering) and some dying of another (a sacrifice). There is no life of love without a degree of giving and dying.

As intimidating as that sounds, it may also be a source of comfort to us. In a world where we are tempted to advertise the earthly benefits of the faith, the Scriptures remind us of the theology of the cross. All who would be like Jesus must offer and sacrifice themselves. Luther taught that if we are truly to imitate Christ, then we must also in some measure suffer for the sins of others. The Reformer did not mean that we can atone for others’ sin, but we do suffer for their sake as we endure suffering so that they might know him.

In a world full of people caught up in sinful practices and attitudes, living like Jesus for the sake of others will involve both the giving of ourselves and the dying of self. Why is this a comfort? Because it allows me to confess that there is nothing unusual or odd in me when the purity and integrity to which God calls me also hurt me. Christian young men and women are too often ill-prepared for battle and weakened in spirit by the sense that they should not have to struggle much with the temptations of physical lust and personal gain. Such persons are tempted to think that if they were really holy, mature, and Christian, then it would not be difficult or painful to please God. But what is fragrant to God involves a giving and a dying of self—there is going to be some pain. If there were no pain involved, there would be no sacrifice. The fact that your obedience involves pain and struggle does not necessarily mean that God is displeased with you or that you are less spiritual than others. In fact, without the pain of giving and sacrifice there could be no fragrant offering to God. What enables us to bear and offer this pain is savoring our identity as children of God, and remembering that we are called to live as the Child of God who offered and sacrificed himself for us.[13]


On the Imitation of God

Ephesians 5:1–2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The fifth chapter of Ephesians begins with one of the most startling admonitions in the New Testament: “Be imitators of God.” It is the only place in the Bible where these words occur, and what makes them so startling is that they point to a standard beyond which there is no other. William Barclay calls this “the highest standard in the world.” Alexander Maclaren calls it “the sum of all duty.”2 To Martyn Lloyd-Jones it was “Paul’s supreme argument … the highest level of all in doctrine and in practice … the ultimate ideal.”

“Be imitators of God” reminds us of Thomas à Kempis’ classic, Of the Imitation of Christ. Thomas was born in 1380 at a time when Europe was in turmoil. The church was split by rival popes, one of whom still sat on the throne of St. Peter in Rome while the other exercised a rival rule in Avignon. The Hundred Years War was in progress. The Black Death had ravished city after city. Thomas grew up in the midst of corruption, unrest and disillusion, entered a monastery and, presumably in the 1420s, wrote what has since been called “the most influential book in Christian literature.” To be honest, Of the Imitation of Christ has never moved me as other books have, but it has been influential, and for more than five hundred years Christians have apparently found no difficulty with the concept of imitating the Jesus of history.

But the imitation of God the Father is quite another matter—or at least it seems so. How is it possible to imitate one who is infinitely above us, the sovereign God of the universe?

Incommunicable Attributes

Part of our problem comes from the nature of God and from what theologians call his noncommunicable attributes. In theological textbooks a distinction is made between God’s communicable attributes, in which we share, and God’s noncommunicable attributes, in which we do not share. For example, when we talk about God we often begin with the fact that he is self-existent, self-sufficient, and eternal.

Self-existent means that God has no origins and consequently is answerable to no one. This sets God utterly apart, for everything else does have origin and is accountable. Human beings are accountable to people (parents and friends), organizations (the church, the state, the company for which one works), and ultimately God. Everyone will face a final judgment.

Self-sufficient means that God has no needs and therefore depends on no one. That is not at all true of us. We need countless things—food, warmth, clothing, homes, companionship, oxygen. If our supply of oxygen is cut off even for a few minutes, we die.

Eternal means that God has always existed and will always exist. That is not true of us either. We have a point before which we did not exist. Moreover, we change as time passes. God does not change. He is always the same in his eternal being.

To these initial attributes, without which God would not be God, we can add such things as omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, majesty, and holiness in its fullest sense. We cannot be like God in these characteristics.

Omnipotent means all-powerful. We are not nor will we ever be all-powerful. If we could be, we would be God.

Omnipresent means being everywhere at once. We will never possess this ability. We are finite creatures and will always be finite.

Omniscient means knowing all things. We will never know all things. We will spend all eternity learning.

Majesty and holiness also set God off from his creation. They are what make him “wholly other.” We are not that. Each of these incommunicable attributes sets God apart from us and delineates an area in which we cannot and never will be like him.

But we are also overwhelmed by God’s communicable attributes, that is, those attributes in which we share. They are things like justice, wrath, wisdom, faithfulness, goodness, love, mercy, compassion, tenderness, forgiveness. We can exercise these attributes and indeed we ought to. But when we think of them in reference to God the Father, who is perfect in them, we are necessarily overawed and wonder properly if there is any point in comparing our wisdom to God’s wisdom, our goodness to God’s goodness, our faithfulness to God’s faithfulness, and so on.

That is a healthy comparison, which should humble us, if nothing else. But it is nevertheless true that in our text Paul says that we are to imitate God. We are to imitate God “as dearly loved children.” In other words, just as a son should imitate a good father (though he is not a father and cannot imitate his father in many respects) and just as a daughter should imitate a good mother (though she is not a mother and cannot imitate her mother in many respects), so should the children of God imitate God. And they have this going for them: They have the enabling life of God within through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Consequently, just as physical genes should lead a child in the direction of a parent’s chief characteristics, so should a Christian’s spiritual genes lead in the direction of the moral character of God.

Forgiving Love

When we look at the passage in which the command to imitate God occurs we see at once that it is not just any attribute of God that Paul has in mind for our imitating, though it would be possible to imitate God in more ways than the one he mentions. What Paul chiefly has in mind is the imitation of God’s love. Indeed, this is what ties Ephesians 5:1 to the end of chapter 4 and links it also to the following verse. (Ephesians 5:1–2 are part of the preceding paragraph.)

The entire text says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” It is in loving that we are to imitate the Creator.

What kind of a love is this? The passage answers this question in several ways, and the first answer is that this love is to be forgiving. Since God the Father forgave us through the work of Christ, we are to forgive one another. This is love’s nature.

This link between God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others is important, because it is only through knowing ourselves to be forgiven that we are set free to forgive others lovingly. People are in desperate need of forgiveness. Some years ago I was talking with a friend who is a psychiatrist, and he said, “As far as I am concerned, most of what a psychiatrist does is directly related to forgiveness. People come to him with problems; they feel guilty about their part in them; they are seeking forgiveness. In effect, they confess their sins to the counselor and find that he forgives them. Then a pattern is set up in which they can show their change of heart in tangible ways toward others.”

In his book on confession John R. W. Stott quotes the head of a large mental hospital in England as having said, “I could dismiss half my patients tomorrow if they could be assured of forgiveness.”

That is what we have in Jesus Christ—forgiveness—and because we find forgiveness there, we can in turn be forgiving. God’s forgiveness is not a mere overlooking of sin, as though he said, “Well, boys will be boys (or girls will be girls). We’ll overlook it for now; just don’t let it happen again.” God takes sin with such seriousness that he deals with it fully at the cross, and it is on that basis—the death of Jesus—that we can know we are forgiven.

Do you know that, really know it? So long as you think you are a pretty good person who does not really need to be forgiven, you will naturally have a very hard time loving and forgiving others. But if you know yourself to have been a sinner under God’s just wrath, all that is changed. God says that in his sight even the best of us is vile to the extreme:

It is written,

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

there is no one who understands,

no one who seeks God.

All have turned away,

they have together become worthless;

there is no one who does good,

not even one.”

“Their throats are open graves;

their tongues practice deceit.”

“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”

“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood;

ruin and misery mark their ways,

and the way of peace they do not know.”

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:10–18

That is the way God sees us. If we see ourselves through his eyes, knowing our vile rebellion against his love and moral standards and yet finding ourselves forgiven on the basis of Christ’s death for us, then we will inevitably love and forgive others. For nobody can act as badly toward us as we have acted toward God, and yet he has forgiven us.

If we are not forgiving in our love, we really do not know the extent of God’s forgiveness of us. We still consider ourselves to be better than we are. But if we see ourselves as forgiven sinners, then we will be set free to love others in imitation of God.

Giving Love

The second thing these verses teach about the love of God, which we are to imitate, is that it is a giving love—not merely forgiving but also giving. Again, God is the model of such love, and the point at which it is most clearly demonstrated is the cross.

What is it that God chiefly gives us? He has given us all things, of course. Before Adam and Eve were even created God had prepared a wonderful environment to receive them. It was a place of beauty and interest, with meaningful work to do. Sin marred that environment, as we know. But even marred by sin, our experience of God’s gifts to us is not entirely unlike the experience of our first parents. God has given us life itself, and he has placed us within an imperfect but nevertheless beautiful and fascinating world. And the work we have to do in it is important. Having said this, however, we have to admit at once that it does not even come close to an expression of the full measure of God’s giving love. For that, like God’s forgiving love, is seen primarily at the cross:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20).

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

I am particularly interested in Philippians 2:5–8, for those verses tell us that even Jesus did not merely give up things to save us; he gave himself. He did not only give up things which were outward accompaniments of his divinity: his outward glory, the service of the angels, his position at the right hand of God the Father: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” The heart of the passage is that Jesus gave himself, to the point of even death: “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.” The greatest expression of love is not that it gives things or even that it gives up things, but that it gives itself.

In this too we are to be God’s imitators. Years ago, Donald Grey Barnhouse was counseling a couple who were having marital difficulties. The husband spoke in frustration at one point, saying, “But I don’t understand it. I have given you anything a woman could want. I’ve given you a nice house. I’ve given you a car. I’ve given you all the clothes you can wear. I’ve given you …” The list went on.

At last the man ended and his wife replied sadly, “Yes, John. That much is true. You have given me everything … but yourself.”

Why don’t we give ourselves to other people? It is because we are afraid to, and because we are selfish. We want ourselves for ourselves, and we are afraid that if we give ourselves to others, we will be hurt or disappointed. Only those who have God are set free from these fears and can give to others out of God’s own immensity.

Living Love

The third thing our text teaches about the love of God which we are to imitate is that it is to be a living love: forgiving, giving, but also living. It occurs in verse 2, where Paul says, “and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

There are two things that a living love suggests. First, it suggests a practical or active love. This is what Paul’s whole section on practical Christianity involves. For if we ask, “What does it mean to ‘live a life of love’?” the answer is in the very thing Paul has been saying. To use the outline of the last chapter, it means: (1) to put off lying and speak truthfully, (2) to put off anger, (3) to put off stealing and work for a living instead, (4) to put off unwholesome talk and instead speak to help others, and (5) to put off bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice, and instead to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. That is what it means to live a life of love.

Second, living love suggests love that is made alive by the very life of God and is therefore an eternal love, as God is eternal. What a need we have for this today! Our loves are weak and faltering, variable and untrustworthy. What we need in our loves is something of the character of God’s love as Paul writes about it in Romans:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35–39

Can you be an imitator of God in such an eternal love as that? The answer, if we look only to ourselves, is no. No, we cannot. Nothing that is natural to us is eternal, or forgiving or giving either, for that matter. But the answer is yes, if we look to God. The very man who wrote Ephesians 4:1 said, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).

But we must spend time with God if that is to happen. The word that our text translates “imitate” or “imitator” is mimētai, from which we get our English word “mimic.” Mimic means to copy closely, to repeat another person’s speech, actions, or behavior. That is what we are to do with God. We are to repeat his actions, echo his speech, duplicate his behavior. How can we do that if we do not spend time with him? We cannot, because we will not even know what his behavior is. Spend time with God! Spend time with God in prayer. Spend time with God in Bible study. Spend time with God in worship. It is only by spending time with God that we become like God. We need men and women who are like God today.[14]


[1] Wallace, D. B. (2017). Perseverance of the Saints. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1877). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eph 5:2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Eph 5:2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Bond, J. B. (2010). The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 881). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1941). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, p. 170). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ephesians (pp. 207–208). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 353). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[9] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 255). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[10] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 368–369). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[11] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 133). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[12] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 304). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[13] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 238–239). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[14] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 171–177). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

An Open Letter to the Vice-President of the United States — Blog & Mablog

This post originally ran February 13, 2017.

Mr. Vice-President,

I am writing you as one who has appreciated your work, and as one who has been most grateful for your presence and influence in the new administration. Your impact has not gone unnoticed, and we thank God for you. I am extraordinarily mindful of what you did in appearing to speak at the pro-life march. I have thanked God for you. We have prayed for you.

At the same time, there has also been obvious influence in the other direction, and so I wanted to take this opportunity address you in my capacity as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that you are a believer, and that you respect the authority of the holy Scriptures. I am appealing to those Scriptures, and come to you as a fellow servant of those Scriptures. I know, in fact, that we agree on this common ground.

I saw that you recently defended the president’s approach to LGBTQ issues, in his extension of President Obama’s executive order on LGBT rights. In the past you have said that you are a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third, in that order. In the past you have recognized that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” But just recently, in this interview with George Stephanopoulos, you said that you applauded the president’s continued inclusion of the “LGBT community” in this way.  You further said that there is no room in a patriot’s heart for prejudice. This is problematic in many ways, which I would like to take a moment to explain.

In the first place, as you well know, no responsible Christian leader advocates queer-bashing. But as you also know, the activists on the left have labored industriously to equate every form of principled biblical opposition to sexual perversion with such hatred, bigotry, and prejudice. You cannot echo this language, acting as though this were a battle with prejudice, without complicity in perpetuating the impression that the Christians who oppose sexual perversion on biblical principle are doing so because of discrimination and prejudice. But it is not prejudiced to read Leviticus, I Kings, and Romans with a submissive heart.

You are not the first person that God has been extraordinarily kind to with regard to high office, promoting you well beyond what many were expecting. You have been promoted far beyond what most in the world were expecting just a few months ago. Not only has this happened many times in history, but it has also happened many times within the pages of Scripture. Because we have accounts of this sort of thing in Scripture, we know exactly what God thinks of it.

You are a believer in an unbelieving system of power. Men have been right where you are— Joseph and Daniel come to mind—and they have stood true. Others, unfortunately more than just two, have been given glorious opportunities and have decided to rely on the pragmatic wisdom of flattering courtiers instead, rather than relying on the unvarnished, unpolished, unadorned Word of God.

As the examples of Joseph and Daniel show, there is no compromise in the mere fact of your presence in the halls of unbelieving power. We rejoice in that fact. There is no compromise through being in the presence of compromise. But nevertheless the challenges are great there. More men have stumbled there than stood. Let me give you some examples.

“Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, and rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; but hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back: Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam” (1 Kings 14:7-10)

“And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon . . .” (1 Kings 11:9-11)

These two examples show, as do others, that when God promotes a man to high office, requiring certain things from him there, and then that man does not do what God asks of him, God knows and recalls the fact of the promotion. God remembers how this happened. God says, in effect, you were nobody in your own eyes, and in the eyes of all Israel, but I took you and placed you to be a leader of this people. Why, when I have done all this for you, have you so quickly abandoned the wisdom that I set before you?

Here is another example, with the word of the Lord coming to Jehu:

“Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin . . .” (1 Kings 16:2).

This is not merely an intellectual issue. One of the men who compromised in just this way was the wisest man who ever lived. This is a moral issue, and since courage is the testing point of every virtue, as C.S. Lewis once said, it is a courage issue.

As you consider these things, as I trust you will, there are three factors you must keep in mind.

The first is the state of your own soul. I know that you believe you have been brought to this place to accomplish great things, and I also believe that you have in fact been positioned by God to do wonderful things. But there are always two directions to go wherever you are, and that would be the obedient direction and the disobedient one.

However grand the project, however likely it may seem that if you just trim at these edges here  or there you will gain the world, remember what our Lord Jesus taught us. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul (Matt. 16:26)? That is the ultimate bad bargain. Remember also that the Lord himself was once taken to a high mountain and was there shown all the kingdoms of this world, and their glory—and this would include the kingdom that you are now privileged to help lead—and He refused the offer. Think about this. What you are being offered, Jesus was once offered. And He refused it because the offer came on the devil’s terms.

This is what you must resolve before God to do. When that moment comes—and I can tell that it is coming, and is almost upon you—this is what you must do. You must refuse the caYou must refuse the candied offers that will come, and you must defy all the threats that will immediately follow your refusal.ndied offers that will come, and you must defy all the threats that will immediately follow your refusal.

The second thing is that you must remember you are dealing with liars and cheats. Even if you did decide to bend and accommodate them, they will only take it as an indication that it is time for them to change all the terms and demand something new, and even more appalling. They will never be satisfied with anything you give them, so why give them anything? There are other letters in their abecedarian perversions. At some point soon in the proceedings, they will add B and P. At what point do you get off? At what point do we defy them and all their lusts?

Keep in mind that obedience is never easier to start later. Obedience now makes obedience later more attainable. Compromise now does the same thing. Compromise now makes it much easier to continue with the compromise. The man who takes one hundred dollars from his employer now will find it harder, not easier, to resist when the occasion arises to take a thousand.

Obedience greases the skids for more obedience. Disobedience greases the skids for more disobedience. The pragmatic spirits around you are lying their heads off. You do not want to find yourself two years from now, standing in the shambles of a once promising opportunity, wondering what the hell happened. If that happens, I want you to remember that this letter happened, and recall what the Scripture teaches. And what the hell happened is that Hell happened. Hell lies and then lies some more. This is why Scripture is filled with stories of men who wobbled after God had personally escorted them to the top. Don’t be another example of that old and overdone story. That story never ends the way the flatterers said it would.

Third, remember that you have many true friends across the country. Those in the media like to call people like this your “base,” but this is not really a cluster of people politically considered. The people of God are not a lobbying group, not a base in that sense. But these are the people who want you to stand, who want you to be vindicated, who want you to be promoted, who want you to prosper. These are the people who pray for you. After the Lord, these are the people you do not want to disappoint. And the alternative should be easy—disappointing the people who hate you, who want to tear you to pieces, and who don’t believe a word you say about discrimination and prejudice.

I said at the beginning that I was writing to you in my capacity as a minister of Jesus Christ. Part of the propaganda spread by the evil one has been to get the people to laugh off expressions like that. It can easily be made to seem risible, like Belushi in The Blues Brothers saying that they are “on a mission from God.” But just like in the Bible, we still have political rulers who are evil, political rulers who are good, and political rulers who are good but who have not removed the high places. A prophetic word needs to be spoken to all of them—whether rebuke, encouragement, or admonition.

And this prophetic word never comes from anybody with respectable credentials. In that sense I certainly qualify—I am a nobody in north Idaho with Internet access. But I am also a minister of Christ, and I am writing to you in His name.

So in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, here is the admonition. You know better. I know that you know better. I watched you interviewed about Bradley Manning, and admired how you made a point of referring to him as Private Manning over and over again, doing so in order to avoid honoring him with the name of Chelsea or the pronoun her. That was well done. You were walking carefully, but without compromise. What you were doing was obvious, but not obnoxious or provocative.

But you have now begun to do the one thing that you may not do. You may not defend corruption. You may be around it—in fact, you must be around it. This is what God has called you to. But you may not, as Jesus reigns, start strewing aromatic flowers over the cesspool. You may not start talking as though tolerance of sexual perversion were diversity. You must not act as though believing Christians really are homophobic and need to get over their “prejudice.” That narrative is the central lie—Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall—and the language you used in the interview with Stephanopoulos was a badly handled accommodation to that narrative. But the narrative is false, and further, you know that it is false. Return to an honest and winsome statement of your own convictions.

When this kind of thing comes up again—as it will, probably next week—you need to have an honest response ready. This response needs to be respectful of the president, but it must not maneuver you into calling good evil and evil good (Is 5:20).

I really believe that you want to help make America great again. But mainstreaming sexual deviance is not the way that happens. That is how we become one with Nineveh and Tyre. John Adams once said that our Constitution presupposes a moral and religious people, and that it is wholly unfit for any other. This testimony is true.

We will continue to pray for you.

Cordially in Christ,

Douglas Wilson

via An Open Letter to the Vice-President of the United States — Blog & Mablog

Big Tech Plans Social Scores | Fast Company

Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.

In place since 2014, the social credit system is a work in progress that could evolve by next year into a single, nationwide point system for all Chinese citizens, akin to a financial credit score. It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.

It can also award points for charitable donations or even taking one’s own parents to the doctor.

Punishments can be harsh, including bans on leaving the country, using public transportation, checking into hotels, hiring for high-visibility jobs, or acceptance of children to private schools. It can also result in slower internet connections and social stigmatization in the form of registration on a public blacklist.

China’s social credit system has been characterized in one pithy tweet as “authoritarianism, gamified.”

Authoritarianism, gamified. https://t.co/V7JARJwU7t ht @VitalikButerin @FrankPasquale

— Steve Randy Waldman (@interfluidity) October 4, 2015

At present, some parts of the social credit system are in force nationwide and others are local and limited (there are 40 or so pilot projects operated by local governments and at least six run by tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent).

Beijing maintains two nationwide lists, called the blacklist and the red list—the former consisting of people who have transgressed, and the latter people who have stayed out of trouble (a “red list” is the Communist version of a white list.) These lists are publicly searchable on a government website called China Credit.

The Chinese government also shares lists with technology platforms. So, for example, if someone criticizes the government on Weibo, their kids might be ineligible for acceptance to an elite school.

Public shaming is also part of China’s social credit system. Pictures of blacklisted people in one city were shown between videos on TikTok in a trial, and the addresses of blacklisted citizens were shown on a map on WeChat.

Some Western press reports imply that the Chinese populace is suffocating in a nationwide Skinner box of oppressive behavioral modification. But some Chinese are unaware that it even exists. And many others actually like the idea. One survey found that 80% of Chinese citizens surveyed either somewhat or strongly approve of social credit system.

It can happen here

Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

Insurance companies

The New York State Department of Financial Services announced earlier this year that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts. That Instagram pic showing you teasing a grizzly bear at Yellowstone with a martini in one hand, a bucket of cheese fries in the other, and a cigarette in your mouth, could cost you. On the other hand, a Facebook post showing you doing yoga might save you money. (Insurance companies have to demonstrate that social media evidence points to risk, and not be based on discrimination of any kind—they can’t use social posts to alter premiums based on race or disability, for example.)

The use of social media is an extension of the lifestyle questions typically asked when applying for life insurance, such as questions about whether you engage in rock climbing or other adventure sports. Saying “no,” but then posting pictures of yourself free-soloing El Capitan, could count as a “yes.”

PatronScan

A company called PatronScan sells three products—kiosk, desktop, and handheld systems—designed to help bar and restaurant owners manage customers. PatronScan is a subsidiary of the Canadian software company Servall Biometrics, and its products are now on sale in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

PatronScan helps spot fake IDs—and troublemakers. When customers arrive at a PatronScan-using bar, their ID is scanned. The company maintains a list of objectionable customers designed to protect venues from people previously removed for “fighting, sexual assault, drugs, theft, and other bad behavior,” according to its website. A “public” list is shared among all PatronScan customers. So someone who’s banned by one bar in the U.S. is potentially banned by all the bars in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada that use the PatronScan system for up to a year. (PatronScan Australia keeps a separate system.)

Judgment about what kind of behavior qualifies for inclusion on a PatronScan list is up to the bar owners and managers. Individual bar owners can ignore the ban, if they like. Data on non-offending customers is deleted in 90 days or less. Also: PatronScan enables bars to keep a “private” list that is not shared with other bars, but on which bad customers can be kept for up to five years.

PatronScan does have an “appeals” process, but it’s up to the company to grant or deny those appeals.

Uber and Airbnb

Thanks to the sharing economy, the options for travel have been extended far beyond taxis and hotels. Uber and Airbnb are leaders in providing transportation and accommodation for travelers. But there are many similar ride-sharing and peer-to-peer accommodations companies providing similar services.

Airbnb—a major provider of travel accommodation and tourist activities—bragged in March that it now has more than 6 million listings in its system. That’s why a ban from Airbnb can limit travel options.

Airbnb can disable your account for life for any reason it chooses, and it reserves the right to not tell you the reason. The company’s canned message includes the assertion that “This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts. Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account.” The ban can be based on something the host privately tells Airbnb about something they believe you did while staying at their property. Airbnb’s competitors have similar policies.

It’s now easy to get banned by Uber, too. Whenever you get out of the car after an Uber ride, the app invites you to rate the driver. What many passengers don’t know is that the driver now also gets an invitation to rate you. Under a new policy announced in May: If your average rating is “significantly below average,” Uber will ban you from the service.

WhatsApp

You can be banned from communications apps, too. For example, you can be banned on WhatsApp if too many other users block you. You can also get banned for sending spam, threatening messages, trying to hack or reverse-engineer the WhatsApp app, or using the service with an unauthorized app.

WhatsApp is small potatoes in the United States. But in much of the world, it’s the main form of electronic communication. Not being allowed to use WhatsApp in some countries is as punishing as not being allowed to use the telephone system in America.

What’s wrong with social credit, anyway?

Nobody likes antisocial, violent, rude, unhealthy, reckless, selfish, or deadbeat behavior. What’s wrong with using new technology to encourage everyone to behave?

The most disturbing attribute of a social credit system is not that it’s invasive, but that it’s extralegal. Crimes are punished outside the legal system, which means no presumption of innocence, no legal representation, no judge, no jury, and often no appeal. In other words, it’s an alternative legal system where the accused have fewer rights.

Social credit systems are an end-run around the pesky complications of the legal system. Unlike China’s government policy, the social credit system emerging in the U.S. is enforced by private companies. If the public objects to how these laws are enforced, it can’t elect new rule-makers.

An increasing number of societal “privileges” related to transportation, accommodations, communications, and the rates we pay for services (like insurance) are either controlled by technology companies or affected by how we use technology services. And Silicon Valley’s rules for being allowed to use their services are getting stricter.

If current trends hold, it’s possible that in the future a majority of misdemeanors and even some felonies will be punished not by Washington, D.C., but by Silicon Valley. It’s a slippery slope away from democracy and toward corporatocracy.

In other words, in the future, law enforcement may be determined less by the Constitution and legal code, and more by end-user license agreements.

Source: Big Tech Plans Social Scores

6 Highlights About Gen Z From New Poll Include Low Value On Spirituality, High Value On Chick-fil-A — The Federalist

The Morning Consult’s latest poll, “Understanding Gen-Z,” examines the most diverse and best-credentialed generation thus far.

Gen-Z is comprised of those born between 1997 and 2012. The Morning Consult notes in the poll that research on Gen-Z is in preliminary phases, as the first Gen-Z adults are just now entering the workforce.

The poll highlights six notable traits about Generation Z, some of which come as a shock.

1. Gen-Z Adults Ranked ‘Spirituality’ as Their Lowest Value

When asked what the most important value is to their identity, 81 percent of those polled said “honesty.” Seventy-two percent of respondents said “responsibility,” and 71 percent said “commitment.” While all of these attributes are a testament to the hard-working nature of Gen-Z, their lowest-ranked value was “spirituality.” Only 39 percent of respondents said “spirituality” was the most important value to their identity.

2. One-Quarter of Gen-Z Adults Aspire to Be Famous

As influencer culture grows more prevalent among young Americans, it really is no surprise that nearly one-quarter of Gen-Z adults aspire to be famous. The Morning Consult reported that 23 percent of respondents sair being famous is important to them. That is eight points higher than the response from millennials (Gen Y) and 15 points higher than Generation X.

3. Gen-Z Trusts Government More than Business

When asked how much they trust institutions, Gen-Z said they had a majority of trust in the following areas:

  1. The military (68%)
  2. Police (56%)
  3. The public education system (56%)
  4. Their local government (55%)
  5. The Supreme Court (54%)
  6. The healthcare system (54%)

Due to their age, one of the first presidential election cycles Gen-Z adults have watched and had the ability to vote in was the 2016 election. That was, of course, the election in which Bernie Sanders’s anti-business and socialist platform came to life. Sanders’ ideas may have seeped into the minds of Gen-Z adults who now see Wall Street and elitists as the enemy and big government as the solution.

When asked how much they trust institutions, Gen-Z said they had minimal trust in the following areas:

  1. Big business (42%)
  2. The news media (40%)
  3. Silicon Valley (33%)
  4. Wall Street (32%)
  5. Hollywood (29%)

4. Trump’s Election Affected Them More than 9/11

Although the margin is relatively small, 64 percent of Gen-Z adults said President Trump’s election had a bigger effect on their worldview than the 60 percent who said 9/11 had a large effect on their worldview.

5. Fox News and BuzzFeed Are Their Top News Sources

Of the news sources that Gen-Z adults consume the most, Fox News and BuzzFeed tied for the number one spot at 27 percent.

News sources such as ABC News and CNN fell in at third and fourth place, respectively; however, they have declined in viewership among Gen Z comparative to older generations.

Thirty-seven percent of older generations say they consume ABC News on a weekly basis and 25 percent said they consume CNN on a weekly basis. With Gen Z, ABC news has taken a 14-point hit. Only 23 percent of Gen-Z adults say they consume ABC News and CNN on a weekly basis.

6. Chick-fil-A Ranks Higher than Instagram

Gen-Z adults ranked their “most loved brands,” and notoriously Christian brand Chick-fil-A ranked higher among the respondents than Instagram did.

Chick-fil-A came in 11th place, behind companies such as Google, Netflix, Walmart, and Target. Instagram, one of the most popular social media apps, came in at 15th place.

Chrissy Clark is a staff writer at The Federalist. Follow her on social media @chrissyclark_ or contact her at chrissy@thefederalist.com.

via 6 Highlights About Gen Z From New Poll Include Low Value On Spirituality, High Value On Chick-fil-A — The Federalist

While at G7 Trump Retweets Judicial Watch Tweets Depicting Efforts to Combat Deep State DOJ and FBI — The Gateway Pundit

President  Trump is at the G-7 but he still found time to share tweets depicting the hard work Judicial Watch is taking to address corruption and crimes in the US government.

Judicial Watch is doing the dirty work in getting to the bottom of Spygate –

Judicial Watch is seeking records from the US government related to the Steele Dossier author Christopher Steele’s communications after he was fired by the FBI –

Judicial Watch follows our lead in identifying apparent fraudulent activities committed by Ilhan Omar (or whatever her real name is) –

Judicial Watch’s great investigator Chris Farrell discusses the many lies former FBI Director James Comey made when exonerating Hillary Clinton in the FBI’s bogus investigation of her emails –

Judicial Watch uncovered 14 referrals of FBI employees to the OPR of which many were never prosecuted –

Judicial Watch shows that the FBI cannot keep track of foreign nationals with shady backgrounds that the FBI brought into the US –

Everyone knows Representative Adam Schiff cannot be trusted –

Judicial Watch uncovered that disgraced James Comey committed crimes when he took to his house and outside of official custody classified documents and memos related to his discussions with President Trump –

Judicial Watch did more to bring justice to the election process than any entity since the 2016 Presidential election –

President Trump and Judicial Watch are on the same side of law and justice.  They are doing more to ensure justice than the Democrats have done in decades!

via While at G7 Trump Retweets Judicial Watch Tweets Depicting Efforts to Combat Deep State DOJ and FBI — The Gateway Pundit

Bethel Church Suggests ‘LGBTQ+’ People ‘Who Feel Fulfilled and Happy As You Are’ Don’t Need to Change or Repent — Christian Research Network

“Various photos online also show members of Bethel visiting cemeteries to try to soak up the anointing of the deceased, including the graces of John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth and others. While Johnson has stated that he does not endorse the practice, and Vallotton once said that he had never heard of the idea, some note that photos online show Johnson’s wife Beni laying on the tombstone of C.S. Lewis and hugging the tombstone of Charles Finney.”

(Heather Clark – Christian News Network)  Bethel Church, led by Bill Johnson, is raising new concerns after it posted to its Facebook page on Thursday that its program for those who struggle with homosexuality has never had the message of “all must change,” suggesting that those who “feel fulfilled and happy as [they] are” aren’t required by God to repent….

Bethel has raised many concerns over the years for its unorthodox teachings and practices, such as “grave soaking” and the purported sightings of falling gold dust and feathers during services.

“God loves all people, LGBTQ+ and straight. The message of CHANGED has never been ‘All Must Change,’” it wrote. “We share these stories specifically for Christians who are unfulfilled in identifying as LGBTQ+. For those of you who feel fulfilled and happy as you are, we love you!”

“God doesn’t force people to change, and people — including Christians — shouldn’t force others to change, either. We stand against any and all forms of shame, manipulation, force, humiliation, or physical harm in so-called ‘ministry’ or therapy,” Bethel continued. “CHANGED is a safe space for Christians seeking an alternative to LGBTQ+ as they follow their faith according to their personal convictions.”  View article →

Research

Bethel Redding

New Apostolic Reformation

Discernment

via Bethel Church Suggests ‘LGBTQ+’ People ‘Who Feel Fulfilled and Happy As You Are’ Don’t Need to Change or Repent — Christian Research Network

August 26, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Friday lashed back at a new round of Chinese tariffs by heaping an additional 5% duty on some $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods in the latest tit-for-tat trade war escalation by the world’s two largest economies.

China said on Saturday it strongly opposes Washington’s decision to levy additional tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese goods and warned the United States of consequences if it does not end its “wrong actions”.

The chair of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee said on Sunday she remained concerned about Facebook’s plans for a digital currency after meeting the government officials in Switzerland that Facebook has said will regulate it.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday he would tell President Donald Trump at this weekend’s G7 summit to pull back from a trade war that is already destabilizing economic growth around the world.

Iran has sold the oil from a tanker released by Gibraltar after weeks in the custody of British Royal Marines and the vessel’s owner will decide on its next destination, IRIB news agency quoted an Iranian government spokesman as saying on Monday.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Monday his country had a right to defend itself after Israeli drone strikes that were like a “declaration of war”.

Brazilian warplanes are dumping water on the burning forest in the Amazon state of Rondonia, responding to a global outcry over the destruction of the world’s largest tropical rain forest.

President Donald Trump said on Monday that India and Pakistan could handle their dispute over Kashmir on their own, but he was there should they need him.

Oil prices rose on Monday after the United States and China both suggested they could ease up in a trade war that has undermined the outlook for the global economy and crude demand.

An Oklahoma judge on Monday will decide whether Johnson & Johnson should be held liable in a $17 billion lawsuit alleging the drugmaker’s marketing practices fueled the opioid epidemic by causing a flood of painkillers in the market.

AP Top Stories

Russian state officials admitted Monday that radioactive gases with isotopes of barium, strontium and lanthanum were found in test samples following an explosion at a military test site but insisted there was no danger in the area.

The blocky, 36-foot-long, yellow- and white-striped vessel bobbing off the coast of the United Kingdom sure doesn’t look like much. But Maxlimer just might be the most important ship in the world right now. Maxlimer is totally robotic. And it’s poised to be the first unmanned surface vessel, or USV, to cross the Atlantic. The journey could prove the case for a host of new oceangoing drones: crewless cargo ships; unmanned oil tankers; robotic work boats.

Malaysia is in talks with at last six countries on the possibility of using palm oil to pay for arms, as Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy seeks to replace old equipment to boost its defense.

A third British warship is heading to the Gulf, the Royal Navy announced Saturday, amid heightened tensions in the region.

Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar charged in France with raping two women, has also been accused of taking part in the gang rape of a journalist, French judicial sources said Sunday.

CNN reported Wednesday that 28 people have been arrested since August 4. Among them are teenagers accused of posting violent threats on social media, grown men who authorities say possessed massive stockpiles of guns, and even a Florida mom who police say threatened to shoot up an elementary school because her children were being rezoned there.

Saudi Arabia intercepted six missiles fired by Yemeni rebels at the southern city of Jizan on Sunday, a Riyadh-led military coalition said, as the insurgents escalate cross-border attacks.

BBC

International leaders at the G7 summit have agreed to provide logistical and financial support to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest. French President Emmanuel Macron said G7 countries would release $22m.

Argentina will use its dollar reserves to shore up declines in its currency, Treasury Minister Hernan Lacunza has said, as markets brace for a default. Debt ratings agency Fitch said the peso’s recent depreciation “suggests a real risk of default”.

A vast “raft” of volcanic rocks stretching over 58 sq. miles is drifting through the Pacific Ocean, scientists say. The sea of pumice – the size of 20,000 football fields – was first reported by Australian sailors earlier this month. Experts say the mass likely came from an underwater volcano near Tonga which erupted around 7 August according to satellite images.

Nigeria has the 11th highest percentage of child marriage in the world. So three Nigerian teenagers decided to change this and started a campaign to end child marriage. The initiative, called “It’s Never Your Fault”, aims to amend the law in Nigeria and protect children’s rights.

All major UK airports must introduce 3D baggage screening equipment before the end of 2022, the government says. Ministers say the technology will boost security, speed up pre-boarding checks, and could end the restrictions on travelling with liquids and laptops. The equipment, similar to CT scanners used in hospitals, is already being installed at London’s Heathrow Airport.

WND

Police officers working under the supervision of an international law enforcement authority in Africa have hit the jackpot with their latest border security operation. They’ve freed up to 100 potential human trafficking victims, including 35 children, confiscated a stash of solid gold bars being moved across international boundaries and prevented the distribution of thousands of pounds of illegal pharmaceuticals.

A major privacy advocate is asking California to suspend a training program for law-enforcement officers conducting “mass surveillance” of drivers, because it includes outdated and incorrect information, and acts as a sales promotion for the private company running the database.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Aug. 26, 2019

The Foundation

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government.” —George Washington (1796)

As Trade War Escalates, China Calls for Calm

Trump ups the ante on tariffs following China’s imposing $75B in new tariffs on U.S. goods.


Distorting the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Imagine knowing how much a medical procedure cost before undergoing it…


Student Debt — Cost vs. Value

Expense and subsequent debt are skyrocketing, while the value of the investment diminishes.


ISIS Is Not Dead

In fact, the Islamic State is growing in Afghanistan as well as Syria and Iraq.


Obama’s Million-Dollar Oceanfront Hypocrisy

Barack and Michelle Obama used their fortune to buy a mansion right on the coast.


Seat at the Table: A Guide to Black Outreach

Seven things we can all do to reach a community in need of compassionate help.


Video: Shallow Thoughts With AOC, Part IV

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t really have other kinds of thoughts.


Video: LaPierre’s Lavish Lifestyle Corrodes NRA’s Crucial Mission

National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre comes under fire for luxurious spending.



Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
Transforming America
Todd Starnes
Leftists Declare War on ‘Archaic’ and ‘White Nationalist’ Pledge of Allegiance
Guest Commentary
America’s Medal of Honor Small Town
Peggy Noonan
Mind Your Manners, Says Edith Wharton
Kathryn Jean Lopez
An End to the Agony
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Monday Top News Executive Summary

China trade-deal buzz, G7 concludes, Barack Obama’s climate hypocrisy, Joe Walsh’s opportunism, and more.


Monday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Allie Beth Stuckey, Dr. Alan Frances, Bill Maher, Erick Erickson, and more.



Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

Headlines – 8/26/2019

3 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza as tensions soar; Iron Dome intercepts 2

IAF airstrikes hit Hamas camp in Gaza after three rockets fired into Israel

Qatari envoy says funds for Hamas helping prevent new Gaza war

Supreme Court bans two far-right candidates from September elections for racist incitement

US State Department removes all mention of Palestinian Authority on official State Department website

Lebanon warns Israel against blatant aggression

Lebanon: Israel ‘aggression’ a ‘threat to regional stability’

Hezbollah chief threatens Israel with reprisal: ‘Wait for us at the border’

As Hezbollah Leader Blasts Israel, Iran-backed Militias Struck on Iraq-Syria Border

Israel blamed as deaths reported in airstrike on pro-Iran Iraqi militia

IDF footage shows pro-Iranian fighters trying to launch armed drone at Israel

IDF identifies 2 killed in Syria strike as Iranian-trained Hezbollah fighters

IDF: Foiled drone strike planned and funded by Iran from luxury villa near Damascus

From Persian Gulf to Israel, a drone war takes flight in Mideast

After strike on drone plot, Israeli ministers warn Iran is ‘not safe anywhere’

Pompeo speaks with Netanyahu on Iran, backs Israel’s preemptive raid

Netanyahu: States hosting Iranian attacks on Israel will ‘bear the consequences’

PM: Israel will not sit idly by as Iran prepares attacks

Israel Drawing Its Last Breaths, Says Iranian Commander Behind Foiled Drone Attack

Top Iranian general warns Israel that strikes will bring end to ‘Zionist regime’

Why Iran Is Risking a Major Escalation With Israel

Iran blacklists US-based think tank over ‘economic terrorism’

High-stakes gamble: Iranian envoy gets surprise G-7 invite

Trump caught off guard as Iran’s Zarif visits G7 summit town

Trump official calls Zarif’s G7 appearance a ‘curveball’

Macron sparks confusion after inviting Iran’s foreign minister to G7 summit

Iran’s Zarif leaves G7 talks, unclear if progress made to ease tensions

Iran says it will not negotiate missile work, wants to export more oil

Sudan triggers state of emergency in east over tribal clashes

Arab Coalition forms a Saudi-UAE committee to stabilize Yemen ceasefire

US, Taliban push for peace at Doha talks

40 Christians on pilgrimage attacked by suspected Hindu radicals in India

Russia fires nuclear-capable missile from North Pole

Russia says it launched 2 ballistic missiles in the Arctic Ocean as part of combat training

Water Cannons and a Gun Shot: Hong Kong Protest Violence Intensifies

Smart lamppost toppled to ground by Hong Kong demonstrators over Chinese surveillance fears

Beach In Spain Evacuated After Explosive Device Found In Water

Sydney’s homeless accommodation reaches ‘crisis point’

At G-7, Trump says he is not happy about North Korea missile tests

Tension Between Trump, World Leaders Takes Spotlight at G-7 Summit

Trump ruined a G7 summit dinner by insisting the group readmit Russia

Trump says Johnson ‘right man’ for Brexit, at fractious G7 summit

Trump will be blamed for a global recession if he continues his trade war with China, says Boris Johnson

Trump on US-China trade war: ‘I could declare a national emergency’

Graham: ‘Accept the pain’ that comes with trade between US and China

Mark Penn: Trump should push China but drop Twitter

President Trump Announces “Tremendous” Trade Deal With Japan At G-7

Wisconsin GOP Chairman: Midwesterners Know Better Than To Dismantle the Trump Economy

Psychiatrist on CNN: Trump “May Be Responsible for Many More Million Deaths” Than Hitler, Stalin, Mao

Gigantic asteroid ‘God of chaos’ more than Eiffel Tower’s size, moving towards Earth

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Guapi, Colombia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Buala, Solomon Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Severo-Kuril’sk, Russia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 25,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 23,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Nevados De Chillan volcano in Chile erupts to 14,000ft

Asamayama volcano on Japan erupts to 11,000ft

Sangean Api volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Trump suggests ‘nuking hurricanes’ to stop them hitting America – report

Two years after Harvey’s devastation, the wake-up call has not been heeded

Tropical Storm Dorian could be hurricane when it reaches a Puerto Rico still in recovery

Pope, urging prayers, says Amazon forest vital for Earth

Brazil’s army fights Amazon fires after hundreds more flare up

A firefighting Supertanker plane from the US is helping in the Amazon rainforest

The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs

Bernie Sanders indicates climate plan will require nationalization of US energy production

Back To School: Mutant Super Lice Found In 42 States, Including Florida

Dozens who lived in same neighborhood diagnosed with brain tumors

A novel technology for genome-editing a broad range of mutations in live organisms

‘Straight Pride’ rally held at Planned Parenthood in Modesto

Drag Queen Story Hour ‘greatest grooming program ever devised,’ counselor says

So. Baptists launch ‘Caring Well Challenge’ to combat abuse within churches

Australian Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she votes beyond personal faith on matters of conscience

Buttigieg’s attempts to rally religious voters may not sway evangelicals

Americans Have Shifted Dramatically on What Values Matter Most

Original ‘Psychic Kids’ say they ‘enjoy skeptics,’ want to connect with families dealing with the paranormal

EFCA Now Considers Premillennialism a Non-Essential


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Scripture Should Seek a Restraining Order for This Assault by Kris Vallotton

Todd Bentley Confirms Disqualifying Accusations in Public Confession

Todd Bentley’s Alleged Homosexuality and Abuse Exposed

When Hillsong replaces the gospel with a ‘circus performance’ – this is not satire

Fayetteville Woman Ordered To Repay More Than $400,000 Stolen From Springdale Church

Stripper, pastor join forces in Oregon to raise funds for families affected by ICE raids

LGBT candidate Buttigieg attempts to convince voters of his Christian faith

Beloved Pa. pastor committed suicide by jumping to his death, coroner rules

40 Christians on pilgrimage attacked by suspected Hindu radicals in India


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

An article and/or blog post link doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the linked article/posting. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

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

August 26 The Power to Stand

scripture reading: Luke 22:31–62
key verse: Acts 2:14

Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.”

The night of the Lord’s Supper, Peter told Jesus: “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” (Luke 22:33 nasb). A short time later as Jesus struggled in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter could not stay awake long enough to pray for the One he called Master. With the betrayal and Jesus’ arrest, Peter found himself hovering beside a small courtyard fire outside Caiaphas’s house. There three times he denied knowing Jesus.

“Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’ And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ‘Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times.’ And [Peter] went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60–62 nasb).

Hours earlier, Peter said he would die for Jesus. Yet when the time came for him to stand beside the Lord, he denied knowing Him. It was not within Peter’s ability to withstand such an attack of the enemy. Jesus knew Peter would rely on his own ability and fail.

In the book of Acts, Peter was completely transformed. God’s Spirit was alive within him. The power you have in Christ is all you need to stand securely in the midst of the fiercest battle, the deepest sorrow, the longest wait. What Peter could not do on his own, he did mightily in the Spirit of God, and you can too!

Thank You, Father, that through the power of Your Holy Spirit, I can stand the fiercest battle, the deepest sorrow, the longest wait. What I cannot do on my own, I can do through You.[1]


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

26 august (1855) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Law and grace

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Romans 5:20

suggested further reading: 2 Peter 3:10–14

There has always been the salt of grace in the world to counteract the power of sin. The clouds have never been so universal as to hide the day. But the time is fast approaching when grace shall extend all over our poor world and be universal. According to the Bible testimony, we look for the great day when the dark cloud which has swathed this world in darkness shall be removed, and it shall shine once more like all its sister planets. It has been for many a long year clouded and veiled by sin and corruption; but the last fire shall consume its rags and sackcloth. After that fire, the world in righteousness shall shine. The huge molten mass now slumbering in the bowels of our common mother shall furnish the means of purity. Palaces, and crowns, and peoples, and empires, are all to be melted down; and after, like a plague-house, the present creation has been burned up entirely, God will breathe upon the heated mass, and it will cool down again. He will smile on it as he did when he first created it, and the rivers will run down the new made hills, the oceans will float in new-made channels; and the world will be again the abode of the righteous for ever and for ever. This fallen world will be restored to its orbit; that gem which was lost from the sceptre of God shall be set again, yea, he shall wear it as a signet about his arm. Christ died for the world; and what he died for, he will have. He died for the whole world, and the whole world he will have, when he has purified and cleansed it, and fitted it for himself. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound;” for grace shall be universal, whereas sin will be destroyed.

for meditation: The believer’s sure and certain hope of being freed completely from the presence of sin then, is a strong motive for seeking to be as free as possible from it now (1 John 3:2, 3).

sermon no. 37[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 245). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Monday Briefing August 26, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

PART I

 What’s New in Hollywood? Reputational Insurance: The Rise of the ‘Disgrace Business’ in Celebrity Culture

PART II

 Why Does Stigma Surround Sexually Transmitted Infections? How Shame and Guilt Point Us to the Cross of Christ

PART III

 The Celebrity Abortion Culture: Alyssa Milano Reveals She Had Two Abortions in the Span of One Year

PART IV

 Conservative or Libertarian? David Koch, Billionaire Businessman and Philanthropist, Dies at 79

DOWNLOAD MP3


DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING

PART I

NEW YORK MAGAZINE

 The rise of scandal insurance in Hollywood, by Boris Kachka

PART II

PART III

PART IV

%d bloggers like this: