Daily Archives: August 30, 2019

August 30 Bearing Unbearable Burdens

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 6:16–20

Key Verse: Jeremiah 6:16

Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ ”

When we are overburdened, the world seems a colder place. The sun may be shining, but our heads are bowed low so we don’t notice. The birds sing, but our ears are filled with the cries of our hearts—cries of pain, sorrow, and weariness.

We put distance between others and ourselves as our problems absorb our time and attention. Perhaps we are weighed down by unmet expectations, sudden trauma or death, or simply too much responsibility. Another possibility is that sin is causing our heaviness of heart. Whatever the cause, however, the result is the same: a crushing weight. Only the amount of the weight varies.

Into our bleakness comes the voice of God Almighty inviting us to draw near and find rest in Him. The old prophet Jeremiah spoke for God, telling his listeners to find the good way and walk in it. That’s how we will find rest.

Won’t you look up to your heavenly Father right now? Jesus offers living water. Take time to drink until your soul is strengthened enough for you to ask the way. With the Spirit’s help, take one step, then another, down that path of obedience, and He will give you the promised peace.

Jeremiah 6:16 ends with God pointing out the Israelites’ response: they wouldn’t walk with God. Let us stand and look and ask and walk so that we find the rest the Lord has promised for our souls.

Father, I want to walk in the ancient paths, the good way, Your way. I know that it is there that I will find rest for my soul.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 253). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 30 The Focus of Your Faith

Scripture Reading: Psalm 100

Key Verse: Psalm 100:5

The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

An imperfection in a piece of cloth or silverware may be unattractive but has few functional implications. However, a flaw in the construction of your home or engineering of your car can have serious consequences.

When it comes to the matter of faith, it is wise to periodically examine the spiritual integrity of your trust in Christ. A defect in this area can impair the quality of your relationship with the Lord and your response to His leadership.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does God or my personal concerns occupy the center stage of my faith?
  • Am I more interested in knowing what the will of the Father is, or just what the will of the Father is for me?

If you are not careful, your own neediness can crowd out the centrality of who God is in your walk of faith. Perhaps unintentionally, you allow pressing problems to supersede your chief duty to know God and enjoy Him forever.

Certainly God understands your desire to have your needs met (and He is more than willing to do so). However, He wants you to be supremely occupied with Him, to delight yourself in His personhood.

When the focus of your faith lies in the greatness and grandeur of God, you have little trouble believing He is faithfully and lovingly at work for your well-being.

Dear Lord, You are the focus of my faith. Keep me supremely occupied with You. Don’t let my problems and needs crowd out the centrality of who You are.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 253). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Denied Christ Thrice: Words of Comfort for When Your Loved Ones Leave the Faith — Pulpit & Pen

Let me offer words of encouragement for the loved ones of those who have denied Christ. There is hope. There is comfort. There can be peace.

WHAT IS APOSTASY?

Apostasy is the denying, or falling away, of believers. And it certainly seems to be getting more common.

The evangelical world is reeling in recent weeks over ‘Christian’ celebrities who have publicly denounced their faith. These include predictable apostasy from those who discerning believers wouldn’t assume were saved anyway, like Hillsong music leader, Marty Sampson (Contemporary Christian Music artists are notoriously unconverted, and Hillsong is a cult). But this rash of apostasies also include leaders who were once considered sound teachers, like Joshua Harris. In each case, believers have been saddened, even if they weren’t surprised.

But what about those who aren’t celebrities involved in high-profile theological train-wrecks, of which we can sit in the distance, detached and emotionally disconnected from the carnage? What about those who are our friends, our loved ones, our children, our parents, or even our church members or spouses who explicitly deny Christ once they have professed him?

WE HAVE MADE PEACE WITH SOFT-APOSTASY

In so-called Christian cultures, we are used to what one might call “soft apostasy.” We have gotten used to watching people slink away from the church, stop observing the Means of Grace, cease their Bible reading, forsake the Sabbath, and neglect the assembly.

Likewise, we are used to the soft-apostasy of behavioral sins. We all know professing Christians who cohabitate without marriage, as though it weren’t a shameful reproach. We all know professing Christians who engage in riotous living and regular debauchery. We all know professing Christians who live characteristically pagan lives.

For generations, we have made peace with soft-apostasy so long as the one who denies Christ by their lifestyle and consistent willful disobedience still occasionally attends church or can be goaded into offering prayer before family dinner. We have called soft-apostasy being ‘backslidden’ or more recently, ‘unchurched.’

Ultimately, these are also forms of apostasy, but it is one that we are comfortable with. So long as our loved ones ‘identify’ as Christians – no matter how insincerely – we so easily overlook the reality that they probably do not know Christ at all.

APOSTASY IS PROBABLY NOT WORSE IN 2019, IT IS ONLY MORE EXPLICIT

What has kept the soft-apostate over the last few generations still ‘identifying’ as Christian has been little more than societal or family pressure.

Simply put, there has traditionally been only a disadvantage to declaring oneself an atheist, agnostic, or unbeliever. Only a generation ago, it was culturally taboo not to have some religious affiliation. It was unheard of for someone in America not to consider themselves to “have a church,” no matter how infrequently they attended. People would identify as a Baptist, Presbyterian, or Lutheran, no matter whether they understood or appreciated the theology.

In fact, in 1960 almost 90% of American voters said they would not consider an atheist for President of the United States. Today, voters show almost complete indifference to the leading primary candidates being atheists or “non-practicing” Christians. It is no longer a public shame or scandal for someone to ‘come out of the closet’ as an unbeliever. There was a time, not long ago, when open atheism would have made someone a social pariah in their community, and it would even affect their gainful employment, their social standing, or the eligibility to marry many women.

These things have changed.

In fact, there are reward systems now in place for apostasy. Christianity – or religion of any kind – is no longer in vogue. Support systems are in place to celebrate the denunciation of faith, family members signal their ‘open-minded’ virtue by making apostasy a non-issue in the family dynamic, and often times open denunciation of theism is met with congratulations.

People probably aren’t leaving the Christian faith in higher numbers than they were a generation ago. They are only doing it more explicitly. The way that people ‘announce’ their apostasy (like Sampson and Harris) mirror exactly the way that homosexuals announce their sexual orientation. Their ‘coming out of the closet’ is done with bravado and publicity, and often it is done for applause. For celebrities, their apostasy is done in overly-dramatic Instagram posts and magazine interviews. For regular people, it’s done on Facebook or small-group settings or around the dinner table, much like a marriage announcement.

This is just the world we now live in.

WORDS OF COMFORT: APOSTASY IS NOT THE END

So many believers feel a sense of hopelessness when their family members denounce Christ. Indeed, it is tragic. But, the feeling of hopelessness is undeserved because there is, in fact, hope.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7)

God can – and does – conquer apostasy.

Apostasy, or denying Christ, is not the unforgivable sin. God regularly brings people back from the brink. He’s done it before, he does it now, and he’ll continue to do it to show his saving power over stubborn souls.

It is true that if someone dies while apostate we are foolish to presume their salvation, for as Solomon wrote, “Where a tree falls, there it lies.” However, while that person yet lives, there is time for God to quicken them, forgive them, and bring them back to Him. In fact, God rejoices to do so, and it glorifies Him greatly.

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? (Matthew 18:12)

Isn’t explicitly denying Christ a point-of-no-return?

No! Remember that Peter denied Christ thrice.

Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” (Matthew 26:34)

I’ll remind you that Peter was the first disciple to make a profession of faith in Jesus (1 Corinthians 13:7). He also denied Jesus three times in a single night before the rooster crowed in the morning.

However, ultimately, Peter returned to Jesus and Jesus freely forgave him. Jesus embraced him. Jesus took him back. Jesus restored him.

In 64 A.D. this one-time apostate went to his own cross, refusing to recant his belief in Christ. Crucified as was the Lord who bought him, Peter is a testimony to God’s power to save those who first professed him, but then denied him.

If you have a loved one who has said they don’t know Christ, remind yourself of Peter who said on the night of Christ’s betrayal, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” He was ultimately crucified, in Jesus’ glorious name.

No matter your loved ones’ denunciation of Christ, they are not outside the reach of an Almighty God. The Lord is impassible and without emotions, and does not have his feelings hurt as though spurned by a lover or good friend. Jesus died for apostates. Jesus saves apostates. And Jesus brings them back home again.

Have hope, friends. God helps to the hopeless and achieves the impossible, and no one is beyond his saving grasp.

via Denied Christ Thrice: Words of Comfort for When Your Loved Ones Leave the Faith — Pulpit & Pen

How to Lose Your Freedom in Christ – Ruth Bryan — The Fight of Faith

Eternally freed from sin, as one with Jesus; what a liberty! What a freedom! It is so, and so forever—it cannot be undone. “Wonder, O heavens! be astonished, O earth.” I myself do wonder, with great admiration, at the glorious blast of the jubilee trumpet, which has just reached my ear, and touched my heart. It was the voice of my Beloved, which said, “You are absolutely beautiful, my darling, with no imperfection in you.” Free from sin, being dead with Christ to it, “In that He died, He died unto sin once” (Rom. 6:10), and we died to it in Him—free from sin, in being risen with Him, to live unto God forever.

Paul knew this freedom (Rom. 6:7). Rom. 8:1, 2: “There is therefore no condemnation [then there can be no sin, for where sin is, condemnation is] to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh—but after the Spirit.” John knew it (1 John 3:6): “Whoever abides in Him sins not;” and 4:17: “As He is, so are we in this world”—that is, must be perfect, and without sin; not in our nature-self—but in Christ, and in that which is born of God and sins not (3:9).

Why, then, do I so often feel myself a transgressor? Because I build again, by my legality, what I had destroyed by faith, namely, justification by my own doings; and thus make myself a transgressor (Gal. 2:18). This is not walking after the Spirit—but after the flesh, and it tends to bondage. The Spirit points to Christ–the flesh leans to self. In Christ we have perfection, without spot, in which we can lift up our head with joy; in self we have spots and no perfection, which must needs make us ashamed!

-Ruth Bryan (1805-1860)

via How to Lose Your Freedom in Christ – Ruth Bryan — The Fight of Faith

August 30 God Is Your Strength

Scripture reading: Mark 1:32–35

Key verse: 2 Corinthians 11:3

I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Have you ever wondered why Peter was so quick to write a warning about Satan’s tactics? He was so committed to telling us the straightforward truth because he knew what it felt like to face Satan’s harshest trials.

Peter was the one who was tempted to deny Christ. He also was the one who allowed fear to enter his heart during a storm out on the Sea of Galilee. Both times, Peter underestimated the level of his faith and bypassed the fact that Satan was a powerful foe.

Peter’s word to the early church was to count Satan as their deceiving adversary, one who would stop at nothing to disrupt and, if possible, destroy their faith in Christ. Peter used the word resist to describe the posture we are to assume when facing the enemy. This is a powerful position to take. We resist Satan’s attacks by our belief in Christ.

Never enter into a talking or shouting match with the enemy. He will use that method to draw you away from your central focus—a focus that must be set firmly on Jesus Christ and His strength and ability.

You can do nothing in the spiritual realm apart from God. Therefore, when you battle the evil one, stay on your knees in prayer. Ask God to open your eyes to His faithfulness. Be encouraged. God is your victorious strength!

God, open my eyes to Your faithfulness. Help me recognize that You are my strength in the face of every temptation.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 253). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Weekly Watchman for 08/30/2019

Friendship Over Truth?
Aug 29, 2019 06:29 am | Stand Up For The Truth | Comments

There’s an old saying, “politics makes strange bedfellows,” but these days professing Christianity, government, and worldliness also seem to be aligning more often, developing very strange partnerships.  We’ve seen so-called “Celebrity pastors” often embrace Hollywood stars or elite sports celebrities who claim to be Christians, but they often do so without a modicum of discernment or wisdom, causing more confusion in a a church that is confused enough already.

In our final segment today we look at a resolution passed by the Democratic Party that applauds “non-religious Americans” while disdaining Christian churchgoers. Our guest today is Don Veinot of Midwest Christian Outreach. He joins Mike and David to discuss how friendship seems to be more important than truth to a growing number of Christian leaders, and how heresy is on the rise in the church itself.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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The Battle for Our Hearts and Minds

Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul.  In today’s busy, fast-paced world there are many things bombarding us, fighting for our hearts and minds; distractions that take us away from glorifying and enjoying God.  What are some of these distractions? Money, social media, politics, leisure, and entertainment just to name a few.  And every one of these can demand our attention, passion, or loyalty.  Some will go to great lengths to assure that they become the “masters” of our lives.

John Loeffler of Steel on Steel radio joins Mike and David to look at the power behind the institutions that vie for our attention and loyalty these days.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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How Christian Students Handle Argumentative Atheist Teachers

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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SHAPIRO: The New Generation Is Young, Woke And Ignorant Of History | Daily Wire

On Thursday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” Shapiro dismantles Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that the new generation is more knowledgeable of American history than previous generations. Video and partial transcript below:

Source: SHAPIRO: The New Generation Is Young, Woke And Ignorant Of History

Rep. Pete King Rips Comey’s ‘Abuse of Power’ After IG Report | Newsmax

Rep. Pete King said Friday that an inspector general ruling that former FBI director James Comey violated FBI policies with how he handled memos documenting his private conversations with President Donald Trump showed one of the most “disgraceful examples of abuse of power” he has seen.

“I have known Jim Comey for a number of years,” the New York Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

“I was on the intelligence committee during the Russian investigation, the Homeland Security Committee, but I actually fell for his act for some time.”

After reading the report, King said, he realized that Comey’s actions weren’t “occasional lapses. This is a systematic effort to go after candidate Trump.”

The resulting investigation, after Comey leaked the memos and spurred a special counsel investigation, was an attempted “coup,” said King, and “to have the most powerful law enforcement organization in the country be used by the director to bring this about is absolutely shameful.”

He also accused Comey of trying to “entrap” Trump, after the report found that Comey had sprung some of the salacious details from the eventually discredited dossier by British spy Christopher Steele on him and then transmitted the president’s reaction to the nation’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

“He went out of his way to say he was only doing this for President Trump’s own good, but of course, the FBI was not investigating the president,” said King. “It’s obvious now they were trying to set the president up and trying to trap him … the FBI director trying to entrap the president of the United States based on a salacious document provided by Russian intelligence [and] paid for by the opposing campaign’s committee.”

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Source: Rep. Pete King Rips Comey’s ‘Abuse of Power’ After IG Report

US Fed ‘unable to delay’ recession any longer – investor Peter Schiff | RT – Daily news

There is no question the US economy is heading toward recession, according to Peter Schiff, chief global strategist at Euro Pacific Capital. He says it was a “huge mistake” for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates last month.

“They never should have taken rates to zero in 2008 and held them there for 7 years,” the veteran broker told RT. “Zero interest rates and quantitative easing have created problems in our economy that will take generations to fix. However, the healing will never get underway if the Fed goes right back to zero (which is where they are headed).”

According to Schiff, it’s impossible to build a viable economy on the back of artificially low interest rates. “All it accomplishes it to push up asset prices, creating bubbles and malinvestments that hurt the economy. Relying on low interest rates for growth makes it certain that recessions will ensue when monetary policy tightens.”

Also on rt.com

US recession ‘the biggest concern’ amid Washington-Beijing trade conflict, warns Standard Chartered

A sustainable economy can only grow on the foundation of market-set interest rates, says Schiff, who predicted the 2008 financial crash. According to him, “the Fed is not causing the recession; they are just unable to delay it any longer.”

READ MORE: Trump says Fed ‘biggest problem’ for US economy, calls Powell ‘golfer who can’t putt’

For years, the expansion has been fueled by artificially low interest rates, but “the party is finally coming to an end.” Runaway government debt and the Trump tariffs provided the final push to tip us back toward an inevitable recession, Schiff said.

Source: US Fed ‘unable to delay’ recession any longer – investor Peter Schiff

The Democratic Party is Becoming ‘The Godless Party,’ Says Robert Jeffress — Pulpit & Pen

Robert Jeffress, of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, recently claimed on Fox News that the Democratic Party is quickly becoming ‘the Godless Party,” citing a story we wrote about at Pulpit & Pen.

You can watch the video below.

via The Democratic Party is Becoming ‘The Godless Party,’ Says Robert Jeffress — Pulpit & Pen